Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Brits bitten by the basmati rice bug

London: Brits are trying out new groceries and experimenting with international cuisines more than they did ten years ago, a survey has revealed.

According to the study for Morrisons, customers at grocery stores now prefer buying chilli sauce, basmati rice and balsamic vinegar to traditional items like pickle, long-grain rice and malt vinegar, reports the Scotsman.

About 60% of the meals prepared after Christmas are expected to be spiced up with chilli sauce than pickle and a quarter of leftover turkey will be served with hummus instead of coleslaw.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Science News Share Blog Cite Print Email BookmarkAntagonistic Genes Control Rice Growth

ScienceDaily (Dec. 18, 2009) — Scientists at the Carnegie Institution, with colleagues,* have found that a plant steroid prompts two genes to battle each other -- one suppresses the other to ensure that leaves grow normally in rice and the experimental plant Arabidopsis thaliana, a relative of mustard.
The results, published in the December 15, 2009, issue of The Plant Cell, have important implications for understanding how to manipulate crop growth and yield.
In plants, steroid levels reflect environmental and internal signals and control many processes. Steroid hormones called brassinosteroids (BRs) start their action on the surface of the cell and, through a molecular relay, send signals into the cell's nucleus to turn on or off specific genes, particularly those that are critical to regulating plant growth and development. Although a lot has been discovered about how the steroid affects genes in Arabidopsis, much less was known in crop plants such as rice.
Co-author Zhi-Yong Wang at Carnegie's Department of Plant Biology explained the work: "We knew that the steroid is very important for activating genes that control cell growth in Arabidopsis as well as in rice. One of the most sensitive responses to the steroid is leaf bending in rice, caused by expansion of the upper cells at the joint between leaf blade and leaf sheath. We wanted to determine how the steroid functioned in rice. We found that the steroid affects two genes encoding (or producing) proteins that turn other genes on or off; they are called transcription factors. In rice, when a gene called Increased Leaf Inclination1 (ILI1) is turned on, it causes leaf bending. Interestingly, we found that the ILI1 protein also binds to another transcription factor, called IBH1, and inhibits its function. When there is too much ILI1 protein, the leaves bend excessively making the plant shaggy. When IBH1 level is high, cell growth is stopped at the joint and the rice is very erect, taking up less space. In normal rice plants the balance between ILI1 and IBH1 keeps growth in check."
This pair of genes provides a unique tool to control the leaf angle, which is important for crop yield because erect leaves improve light capture and allows rice plants to be planted at higher density for a higher yield per hectare.
Through a series of experiments, the researchers determined how the steroid and genes interact. They found that brassinosteroid oppositely regulate these genes -- ILI1 was activated and IBH1 was repressed. As such, the steroid tips the balance between their protein products, ILI1 and IBH1, to initiate cell growth.
"It appears that the steroid causes the IBH1 genes to stop the production of IBH1 protein, and in the meantime increases the production of the ILI1 protein, which turns off IBH1's inhibition of cell growth. This ensures that the cell grows to just the right length according to the level of steroid," commented Wang.
The researchers performed similar experiments on the mustard, which showed that steroid interacted with the mustard genes the same way. "Since similar genes are doing the same thing in these different plants, this process is likely to be very old and found in many different higher plants. The more we learn about such mechanisms, the closer we will come to better engineering crops to feed a growing population," concluded Wang.
The work was supported by the National Science Foundation of China; The National Institute of Health; the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan; and the Carnegie Institution.
*Colleagues on the study are from the following institutions: Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences; Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences; Department of Plant Biology, Carnegie Institution; Yonsei University, Korea; RIKEN Advanced Science Institute, Japan.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Govt in discreet talks with 3 nations to import rice

Press Trust of India

Sunday, December 13, 2009 (New Delhi)

Notwithstanding the government's assertion that it has no immediate plan to import rice, it is understood to be in talks with a few rice-surplus countries to source the grain through the state channels.

"We are talking to three countries, including Thailand and Vietnam. Our holdings are not adequate, we have to import," a senior government official said.

While, Commerce Minister Anand Sharma said on November 17 that the government was in touch with a few countries for rice imports, he announced on November 20, after a meeting of the empowered group of ministers that there would be no imports.

The eGoM, headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, had also decided to scrap the three import tenders, floated by MMTC, STC and PEC after the bids had quoted very high prices.

Sources said the government made it public not to import the grain since it became wary of global prices shooting up in the backdrop of the poor harvest, to the extent of 15 million tonne, in Kharif due to the drought situations.

However, the officials said the country must build reserves as "we do not have holdings".

It is understood that even the government-to-government talks between India and few other countries are being kept under a wrap, to avoid a further price spiral.

While Minister of State for Commerce Jyotiraditya Scindia told the Lok Sabha of no plan to import rice, he indicated the possibility of doing the same. "However, if the trend of procurement shows shortfall, the government may, at an appropriate time, decide to consider import of rice to ensure availability of rice in the domestic market...," he said.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Prices rise slightly in fourth tender for 2010 rice supply

THE PHILIPPINES, the world’s largest rice importer, received slightly higher price offers from traders in the tender yesterday for 600,000 metric tons (MT) of rice -- the last of four advanced auctions for 2010 stocks.

The National Food Authority (NFA) bought 250,000 MT in the first advanced tender held last Nov. 4. The state grain agency said it will buy 509,950 MT out of the 600,000 MT target in the Dec. 1 auction due to higher-than-expected price offers. A government source said yesterday the agency may buy at least 474,000 MT from the tender last Dec. 8.
That would bring the country’s 2010 imports to just over 1.83 million MT, if it makes a full 600,000 MT award for the tender yesterday. This total, in turn, will be less than the 2.05 million MT the NFA had hoped to buy in advance to augment 2010 stocks after storms hit crops at the start of this quarter.
In yesterday’s auction, five traders offered to sell 25% broken long grain white rice at $664.90-$767.88/MT, cost and freight, higher than the $618.95-$768.50/MT offered during the Dec. 8 tender.
Given a higher budget and a smaller price increase, NFA Spokesman Rex C. Estoperez said the agency might award the entire 600,000 MT it sought, to be delivered March-June next year.
A trader said he was expecting the slight rise in prices as the Philippines held its last of three tender this month for the same volume.
"I think there was some improvement in the prices," NFA Deputy Administrator Ludovico J. Jarina told reporters. "Other prices are high, but others are within our range."
At the tender, Vinafood 2, Vietnam’s top rice exporter, submitted the lowest bid at $664.90/MT, C&F, for 600,000 MT. South Korean trading firm Daewoo International Corp. submitted the second lowest bid at $717/MT for 100,000 MT, followed by Thailand’s Chaiyaporn Rice Co., Ltd. with $725.90 for 100,000 MT, Louis Dreyfus Commodities Asia Pte., Ltd. with $748.89/MT for 100,000 MT, while Toepfer International gave the highest offer at $767.88/MT for 145,000 MT.
NFA has 10 working days to award or reject the bids.
"Yes, possibly," Mr. Estoperez said, when asked if the agency will award the entire 600,000 MT for yesterday’s tender.
NFA allotted P18.525 billion for the tender, up from the original P15.264 billion, pegging the price ceiling at $668/MT.
Mr. Estoperez said NFA’s strategy of not awarding deals immediately after tenders ensured price increases for the auction yesterday would be tame. "If we awarded early, the basis in the following tender will be the highest offer in the previous tender [$768.50/MT last Dec. 8]," he said.
One international rice trader said he was not surprised with price offers yesterday. "That is exactly what the NFA wants. [Holding four consecutive massive tenders] is manipulation of the market," the trader said in a phone interview yesterday. "The Philippines has a lot of money to spare. You need to import a lot of rice for the election season."
Rice stocks as of Oct. 30 stood at 2.383 million MT, deemed sufficient for 67 days worth of consumption, NFA data show.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Rice — wet year, regulations

Dec 15, 2009 10:44 AM, By Elton Robinson, Farm Press Editorial Staff
Wet weather at the wrong time will have a big influence on rice profitability in the Mid-South this year and next, but rice producers at the USA Rice Outlook Conference in New Orleans were also focused on two other factors that could impact their bottom line — rice prices and regulation.
“Overall, we had a good season,” said Jackie Loewer, a rice producer from Branch, La. “We had some really big yields. We didn’t break any records, but we did well in rice particularly, and soybeans looked good. We had a couple of days of pretty good harvests, then it started raining when everything was ready. It took several weeks before it was dry enough to thresh.”
While harvest operations proved expensive due to problems stemming from wet fall weather, “at least we had something to sell,” Loewer said. “We were through with beans and second crop rice before Thanksgiving, got all our beans delivered last week and sold them Dec. 7.”
Loewer is holding rice in bins, noting, “I think there’s some upside potential in rice. I’m not sure exactly where it’s going to go. Will it go to where it did in the spring of 2008? I don’t think so. But I can’t see anything real negative. Venezuela is going to need rice. Of course, they don’t like us, so they may not come to us right away.
“Around the world, I don’t see a lot of downside. Here in the United States, we’re somewhat stable with our yields year in and year out. The only downside we see right now is that the mills are really struggling in the export business.”
Loewer believes rice acreage for rice will hold in 2010. “Even at the prices we have right now for rice,people are selling.”
One problem could be the anxiety that some foreign buyers have expressed regarding the volatility of the U.S. futures markets. “Theoretically, using futures works for pricing rice, but in practice, it can be brutal,” Loewer said.
Mike Strain, commissioner of the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, who welcomed attendees to the conference, said producers should be concerned with coming regulation.
“Most Americans are three or four generations removed from the farm,” Strain said. “This lack of understanding of the importance of production agriculture is leading Washington bureaucrats to advance legislation and regulatory policies (such as cap and trade legislation) that will have a negative impact on agricultural producers.”
“All this is coming down at us,” Loewer said. “We seem to be in a very defensive mode. That’s not our comfort level. That’s not what we like to do. When we have a problem on the farm, we like to go fix it. Right now, we’re just accepting what’s going on. We’re just receiving information on what we’re required to do next year.
“We need to be more proactive. A lot of it is simply letting people in Congress know. The role of a leader is to accurately define reality. It’s our job to explain to Congress the consequences of what is happening at the farm level.”
Travis Satterfield, a Benoit, Miss., soybean and rice producer and president of the Delta Council for 2009-10, says the 2009 crop year is one he would just as soon forget.
“We had sort of a rough start. Initially, we had a wet spring and couldn’t get the crop planted. We had a lot of replant situations in soybeans. Then after we got the crop up, it turned dry. We had a small soybean crop that wasn’t growing real well so we ran some water across it, then we got some heavy rains. It just seemed that from the start to finish, we were out of step the entire season. Then the wet fall weather was another detriment to us. This has been year we’d like to forget and start over for next season.”
Satterfield noted that prices for soybeans and rice “seem fairly positive at this point. Corn prices appear to be a little weak, but hopefully that will improve. It looks like input costs have sort of stabilized, so maybe there is the prospect for a pretty good year in 2010.”
Satterfield said many Mid-South commodity producers are feeling the pinch of severe crop losses this year and higher costs next spring for ground preparation.
“That’s a big concern right now. We still have a lot of land that did not get much fall preparation, and it’s pretty rutted. We have some work to do.”
Satterfield is hopeful for some type of disaster assistance for commodity producers in the Mid-South, including sweet potato producers in Mississippi, who suffered severe losses in 2009. “We have strong support from our congressional delegation, and from surrounding states including Arkansas. When you have a regional disaster, it’s always a little more difficult to go forward, but we’re positive they’re working hard.”

Thai Flood-Resistant Jasmine Rice To Be Available Next Year

Thai Flood-Resistant Jasmine Rice To Be Available Next Year

By Oryza News on May 10,2007

A new flood-resistant variety of jasmine rice seeds will be available to Thai farmers by next year, Rice department chief Suraphong Pransilapa said Thursday. "Field trials of the new rice have just been completed," Suraphong said. "The upgraded variety can withstand up to 20 days of submergence of paddy fields due to floods and save farmers from losing the crop."
The rice, Khao Dok Mali Thon Nam Thuam, has the physical characteristics and long translucent grain common to regular jasmine rice. It is the result of a yearlong effort by scientists at the department working in conjunction with Kasetsart University, he said.
Apichart Vanavichit, director of the state-run Rice Gene Discovery Unit, said the research team first examined the weakness of regular jasmine rice eight years ago. It is popular with farmers in the north and northeast, but can't tolerate flooding at critical times of the year.
With initial funding coming from Thai princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, the team began searching for the right genes to give it flood-resistant qualities. The research team found the genes in a species of Indian rice and
experimented with implanting the extracted genes into regular jasmine rice. The stems of the jasmine rice became stronger, and better able to resist flooding, Apichart said.
The growing of flood-resistant jasmine rice showed that local varieties are significant in rice development, he said, adding studies should be made of many local varieties that contain unique qualities before they disappear.
"Researchers and local farmers should learn together in developing new varieties. That would pave the way for more sustainable preservation efforts," said Apichart. "The government will further develop the strain and promote the new variety in a big way, which will be readily available next year," he said.

Mills creating hurdles in rice paddy procurement

Mills creating hurdles in rice paddy procurement

By: Ramzan Chandio
Published: November 04, 2009
KARACHI - The rice mills owners in country are creating obstacles in smooth procurement of paddy from growers as they have expressed unwillingness to lease mills’ premises to the PASSCO, official sources told The Nation.
The PASSCO, which is a federal organization, has approached the owners of rice mills in the county to get mills’ premises on lease to store the paddy of kharif crop 2009 there, which is to be purchased from the growers.
The federal government has assigned task to PASSCO to procure the rice paddy of over one million tons from the growers directly on prescribed rates announced by Ministry of Food and Agriculture for this outgoing kharif season 2009.
The government has fixed minimum support price of Rs600/40kg for irri-6, above Rs1200/40 for Baspati and other varieties. Though, the PASSCO has started preparations to purchase the commodity from growers, but rice mills owners are creating hindrances in terms of disallowing their mills’ premises to lease PASSCO, sources said.
Keeping in view the problems in smooth purchasing of paddy from growers, the PASSCO has sought the help from provincial governments in this regard, sources in PASSCO said, adding that it is consciously striving to implement the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet/MINFA decision regarding PASSCO’s intervention in procurement of paddy of kharif crop 2009, but the arrangements critically depends on hiring/leasing of the rice mills. The official confirmed that during PASSCO’s initial efforts for leasing of the rice mills in the country, only 2 mills from Sindh have showed their willingness to lease their premises to PASSCO.
However, 94 rice mills from Punjab have expressed willingness to lease their premises to PASSCO, while no rice mills from Baluchistan came forward in this regard.

Malaysia agrees to import rice, cattle from Pakistan : Qureshi

Malaysia agrees to import rice, cattle from Pakistan : Qureshi

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has expressed its willingness to import rice and cattle from Pakistan and Malaysian delegation comprising official and private officials would visit Pakistan in December for the import of mango and other fruits.
The willingness was shown by Malaysian Agricultural Minister Haji Nooh Bin-e-Omar during meeting with visiting Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Tuesday.
Both the leaders during their meeting discussed in detail agriculture and agricultural industries, livestock and on the promotion of Halal food industry.
Malaysian Minister said Malaysian delegation would visit Pakistan soon and would hold meetings with Pakistani counterparts, while he would visit Pakistan next December and agreement-promoting cooperation in agriculture and livestock fields would be signed.
During the meeting, Qureshi said Pakistan produces high quality basmati rice in enough quantity, which is popular throughout the world due to its good taste and smell, while it has vast reservoirs of the rice for exporting it to Malaysia and there is no hurdle to disconnect its transportation.
Qureshi said Halal meat is being used in enough quantity and we have the international standard system for its processing and packing, through which severe scarcity of meat could be ended in Malaysian markets by providing freeze beef and mutton, while it can also import mango and other fruits of international standard.
He said Pakistan is the biggest country in the world of producing milk and its products, which neither could fulfill needs of Malaysian but could also improve Pak-Malaysian cooperation in this field regarding promotion of modern technology.
Pakistan can provide technical help to Malaysian in the field of cattle production and in the field of anti-cattle diseases, so that could increase the number livestock in Malaysia, adding, Pakistan can also export cows of Sahiwal breed and buffalos of Neeli Ravi breed.
Qureshi during the meeting invited the Malaysian Minster to visit Pakistan in December to promote Pakistan-Malaysian cooperation in food, agriculture and livestock and said Pakistan wanted to send technical manpower to Malaysia, so that could play role in the development of Malaysia.
He said Pakistan wants to avail the experiments of Malaysia and other countries in packing, processing and marketing fields for increase in trade volume and development and emphasized on the setting up of joint working group for increase in import and export of rice, beef, mutton, mango, milk and its products and promotion of cooperation in other fields and the working group should include representatives of government and private sectors of the two countries.
The Malaysian Minister welcomed the proposals of Shah Mehmood Qureshi and expressed his full willingness to them, saying, his countries takes interest in importing rice and cattle, so that could meet the country requirements effectively.
He said the Malaysian delegation during its visit in December would hold meetings with their Pakistani counterparts for the import of mango and other fruits, milk and its products.
Accepting the invitation of Pakistan visit, the Malaysian Minister thanked Shah Mehmood Qureshi and expressed the hope that during his visit to Pakistan agreement promoting Pakistan-Malaysian cooperation in food, agriculture and livestock would be signed.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Paddy farmers to get subsidised harvesters, dryers

Paddy farmers to get subsidised harvesters, dryers

Tuesday, October 27, 2009
By Aftab Maken

ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Commerce and Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited will provide subsidised paddy harvesters and dryers to farmers to help them overcome pre and post-harvest crop losses, reveals a draft of a scheme of the commerce ministry under Trade Policy 2009-10.
The Benazir Paddy Harvesters/Dryers Scheme for the farmers would be partly funded by the commerce ministry while remaining funds would be provided by the ZTBL to the farmers on easy installments, showed the scheme’s initial draft available with The News.
The commerce ministry would provide Rs500 million, which would be used as a matching grant for paddy harvesters and dryers for intending progressive farmers and millers. The grant would either be financed by the ZTBL or by the farmers and millers to get these machines for ensuring they were used in the paddy harvesting season, it added.
“Proper use of modern combined harvesters can save up to 30 per cent pre and post-harvest crop losses while dryers can also be introduced with optimum moisture for fetching a better price,” the scheme said.
Pakistan is the world’s fifth largest exporter of rice, which accounted for 11.4 per cent of the country’s exports last year with shipments worth over $2 billion. Lack of advanced grain-drying machines is causing a huge loss to the farmers and millers as inclement weather conditions result in damage to crops.
According to eligibility criteria, those farmers/millers will be entitled to subsidised machines who exclusively engage in processing, packing and marketing of more than 75 per cent of their own paddy/rice produce.
It said the farmers should be owner and cultivating export quality rice over a piece of land measuring 25 acres and above and should also produce proof of supply of export quality rice to the millers in the last three years.
The criteria further said the applicants should not be a defaulter of any bank or government department and should also deposit a token amount equal to 10 per cent of the price of machines along with the application. The bank would also charge a processing fee of Rs5,000.
In case, the applicant intends to purchase the harvesters and dryers on cash basis, he will have to deposit 50 per cent of the price on receipt of acceptance intimation, which will be inclusive of the 10 per cent amount already deposited by him along with the application.
They should be registered members of rice growers associations including Kissan Board Pakistan, Chamber of Agriculture, Basmati Growers Association, Awain-e-Zaraat, Sindh Chamber of Agriculture and Singh Hari Abadgar and these machines were also non-transferable for three years, the criteria said.
In 2008-09, rice exports were 3.3 million tons last year because of high demand and this year (2009-10), exports would again be above three million tons. Production is expected to be around 6.3 million tons while domestic consumption is estimated at 2.5 million tons.

Thailand to sell rice in gov’t-to-gov’t deals

Thailand to sell rice in gov’t-to-gov’t deals

BANGKOK — Thailand, the world’s biggest rice exporter, plans to sell 950,000 tons of rice from its stocks through government-to-government deals by the end of 2009, the commerce minister yesterday said.
"Our strategy is to drain rice out of the country in a bid to lift domestic prices during the harvesting season," Commerce Minister Porntiva Nakasai told reporters, referring to the year-end harvesting period.
The Commerce Ministry planned to release another 1.77 million tons of rice in 2010, she said.
The government is estimated to have in its stockpiles the equivalent of six million tons of milled rice, bought from farmers in rice intervention schemes.
"We plan to negotiate with several countries, including the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and Iran," Porntiva said.
On Monday, the Philippines said it was in talks to buy at least 250,000 tons of rice from Thailand in a government-to-government deal.
But Indonesia has said it was unlikely to import any rice next year.
"We are more or less self-sufficient in terms of production. We haven’t had to import in the last two years. The forecast production for this year still looks good," Indonesian Trade Minister Mari Pangestu told Reuters over the weekend on the sidelines of an East Asian summit in Thailand.
Thailand was expected to produce around 23.5 million tons of rice from its main crop, but around 5% of that may have been damaged by recent floods.
The government had planned to end its rice-buying intervention in favour of a scheme under which it would subsidize farmers without buying grain itself. However, it has been forced to run both schemes in parallel in the face of farmers’ protests.
Traders were not surprised by the plans to sell stocks through government deals, but they doubted this could be done without depressing prices.
"I think the government has a very short period of time to sell 950,000 tons rice this year and that is bound to affect prices as the lot is quite big," Chookiat Ophaswongse, president of Thai Rice Exporters Association, told Reuters.

Rice Imports Advanced by Philippines After Storms (Update2)

Rice Imports Advanced by Philippines After Storms (Update2)

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Oct. 12 (Bloomberg) -- The Philippines, the world’s biggest rice importer, brought forward planned purchases after storms hurt local crops and global stockpiles were forecast to decline, highlighting potential tightness in worldwide supplies.
The National Food Authority today issued an invitation to suppliers for 250,000 metric tons at an Oct. 30 tender, according to a notice on its Web site. That’s the earliest date the agency has set to fill next-year requirements, about two months ahead of usual practice, spokesman Rex Estoperez said.
The Philippine decision may help to drive rice prices higher, curbing a 12 percent decline in Chicago this year. Rice imports by the Philippines last year, coupled with export curbs by some suppliers, helped to send the contract to a record and sparked concern that there may be a global food crisis.
The early tender “sends a strong signal to the market,” said Safder Hussain Mehkri, a member of the Rice Exporters’ Association of Pakistan. Pakistani shippers would make offers for the order, said Mehkri, vice chairman of the South Group, which accounts for about 95 percent of the nation’s exports.
Rice futures, which gained 0.8 percent to $13.505 per 100 pounds today, surged to a record $25.07 on the Chicago Board of Trade in April 2008 as India and Vietnam held back shipments. Rice is the staple food for billions in Asia and Africa.
Makes Sense’
“It makes sense to do this expeditiously given the forecast contraction in the global grains markets,” said Gary Olivar, deputy spokesman for Philippine President Gloria Arroyo, referring to the tender. “Any contraction in supply will of course push global prices higher,” Olivar said today by phone.
Peter McGuire, managing director at CWA Global Markets Pty, said on Oct. 8 that so-called rice riots may reappear next year as prices surge on lower output in India and increased imports. Protests over high food prices swept the world last year from Haiti to Bangladesh.
The Philippines, which today raised its estimate for damage from the storms to 8.6 percent of fourth-quarter rice output, may boost overseas rice purchases by 13 percent to 2 million tons in 2010, National Food Authority Assistant Administrator Jose Cordero said on Oct. 9.
Tropical Storm Ketsana struck the Philippines’ largest rice-growing region on Sept. 26, causing the heaviest rainfall in more than four decades around Manila and surrounding provinces. Typhoon Parma hit parts of Luzon on Oct. 3, including Nueva Ecija, the largest rice-producing province, and Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte, La Union, Pangasinan, and Cagayan.
Declining Stockpiles
Worldwide rice stockpiles may drop 3 percent to 117.4 million tons next year as delays in the onset of rains in parts of Asia curb production in 2009, according to a forecast from the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization. The prediction was issued on Sept. 25, before the Philippine storms.
Rice output in India, the world’s second-largest producer and consumer, may fall 18 percent to 81 million tons in the marketing year that began Oct. 1 after drought parched crops, Concepcion Calpe, senior economist at the FAO, said last week.
The forecast decline may help to push the stockpiles held by the world’s five largest exporters down to 20 million tons at the end of the marketing year on Sept. 30 from 30 million tons a year earlier, Calpe said.
The Philippines will seek the supplies from the Oct. 30 tender from Thailand, Vietnam, China, Pakistan, Australia, the U.S. and India for delivery between January and April, the authority said. Thailand is the world’s biggest rice exporter followed by Vietnam.
Without typhoons devastating crops, the Philippines typically has a shortfall equal to about 10 percent of annual rice demand, which is estimated at 12.9 million tons this year, according to Estoperez from the National Food Authority.

Thailand, Philippines seek rice row solution: minister

Thailand, Philippines seek rice row solution: minister

(AFP) – Oct 24, 2009
HUA HIN, Thailand — Thailand and the Philippines held talks Saturday aimed at ending a row over rice tariffs which threatens to delay a trade agreement seen as key to regional integration, a Thai minister said.
Thailand, the world's biggest rice exporter, has said it will delay the "trade in goods" agreement between members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) if the Philippines fails to agree on a proposed deal.
But the Philippines, the world's biggest rice buyer, says it cannot afford Thailand's demands.
Ministers from the two nations met at the Thai resort of Hua Hin during the ASEAN summit and tried "to find a win-win solution over rice," Thai commerce minister Porntiva Nakasai said. Both countries of ASEAN members.
"The atmosphere at the talks went well today and it is likely to end well," she said, although she told reporters that "we did not discuss numbers".
Porntiva said they would arrange further talks with related organisations.
"We hope we can find a solution in the time we have left," she said, adding that they had until the end of the year to agree on terms.
In a statement released Saturday, ASEAN leaders said they "looked forward" to implementing the trade agreement, which forms a crucial part of plans to establish an EU-style economic community by the year 2015.
The leaders' statement also "urged member states to resolve the differences at the earliest opportunity".
Philippine Trade Secretary Peter Favila said after the talks that both countries were "committed to work towards an acceptable formula".
"We don?t want the member states to think that the Philippines is the one throwing in the monkey wrench," he added.
He explained that they had offered a 35 percent tariff on rice imports from Thailand, and could not afford Thailand's request of just 20 percent tariffs.
Thailand said Manila could keep tariffs at 35 percent if it committed to buying a certain volume of rice imports. But Favila said they can only commit to buying 50,000 tonnes from Thailand, lower than the request.

Thai, Filipino feud on rice threatens ASEAN pact

Thai, Filipino feud on rice threatens ASEAN pact

Fri Oct 23, 2009 4:19pm IST
HUA HIN, Thailand (Reuters) - The Philippines and Thailand are squaring off in an escalating row over rice that threatens to derail a trade pact at the heart of Southeast's bid to build an EU-style economic community by 2015.
Thailand, the world's biggest rice exporter, repeated its threat on Friday that it would delay a Southeast Asian free trade agreement unless it can get a "fair deal" on tariffs from the Philippines, the world's biggest buyer of the food staple.
The 10 members of the Association of South East Asian Nations -- of which Thailand and the Philippines are members -- are due to ratify an ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA) at a summit that began on Friday in the Thai seaside town of Hua Hin.
But whether they sign it depends on whether Thailand and the Philippines reach consensus on rice tariffs, said Thai Commerce Ministry spokesman Krisda Piampongsant. If ministerial talks fail on Saturday, their leaders will tackle it this weekend, he said.
"If they can't agree at the ministerial level, we will escalate it to the leaders' level," Krisda said. "We will try our best to agree on rice to have the ATIGA signed. But if we can't, it won't be signed.
"Many countries want ATIGA to be signed at this summit as it involves ASEAN's reputation."
According to the ASEAN free trade pact, Philippine rice import tariffs should be cut to 20 percent from 40 percent by Jan. 1, 2010. But Manila insists rice is classified under a "highly sensitive list" allowing tariffs to stay at 35 percent.
The Philippines is proposing to give Thailand a quota of 50,000 tonnes of tariff-free rice annually to compensate for not meeting the tariff target. Thailand has demanded 360,000 tonnes.
"It's a very sensitive issue. We're friends. We need to talk this through. It's sensitive for Philippines. It's a major importer of rice affected immensely by the typhoon, so we understand the situation," said Thai deputy commerce minister Alongkorn Polabutr.
Recent typhoons badly damaged farmlands and roads in northern Philippines, killing more than 900 people and forcing the country of 98 million people to import more rice rather than rely on cheaper, domestic supplies.
"It's the right of the Philippines to decrease (import tariffs) or not, but we're moving towards an ASEAN economic community. So from the new year we have to show the same movement to decrease tariffs," Alongkorn said.
Officials in Manila said rice had been taken off the agenda at the summit to allow Philippine President Gloria Macapagal to focus on other issues including climate change, disaster relief and human rights.
But Thai officials said it remained on the agenda, noting that it was one of several issues that are crucial for ratification of the Trade in Goods Agreement, a key plank of an ambitious bid by ASEAN and its 540 million people to build an EU-style economic community by 2015.
Thailand exported 10 million tonnes of rice in 2008 of which 599,677 tonnes went to the Philippines, according to Thailand's Commerce Ministry data.
From January to August 2009, Manila bought 116,322 tonnes of rice from Thailand, mostly premium grade for high-end restaurants. Vietnam has mainly snatched the market for lower quality rice grades by offering better prices, traders said.

(Additional reporting by Martin Petty; Writing by Jason Szep; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)

TCP tender ruins rice export deals

TCP tender ruins rice export deals

By Parvaiz Ishfaq Rana

Wednesday, 21 Oct, 2009
KARACHI: The involvement of the Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) in rice exports has badly damaged the private sector export contracts worth millions of dollars, exporters allege.
The state-owned TCP made its debut in export trade through an international tender last week for the sale of 25,000 tons of super basmati rice procured last year.
The rice exporters allege that the involvement of the corporation in rice export trade at a time, when the new paddy crop is just around the corner, is having a crippling impact on the price structure.
‘I was in the midst of finalising a 5,000 tons deal with the foreign buyers but immediately after the issuance of the TCP export sale tender about 10 days back the buyers held back the deal,’ lamented Shamsul Islam Khan, member managing committee of the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP).
He further said that the corporation had upset the export strategy of the private sector, which is presently perplexed over the course of action to be taken to protect its efforts stretching in developing the export market.
He recalled the performance of the defunct rice export corporation of Pakistan (RECP), which exported rice worth $300 million only and after incurring billions of rupees loss, was ultimately rolled back by the government.
He further said that when the private sector entered rice export trade 20 years ago they faced lot of hardships because the legacy of the RECP kept them hunting in the world market.
The Pakistani rice, he said, used to be branded as ‘poor quality’ product by importers in the world market. There were other complaints such as delays in delivery and there was a business mistrust at large.
Another rice exporter Zulfikar Thaver said that it was most shocking that the TCP had entered into export market at a time when the private sector was in full swing to enter the world market with the new crop.
He said that the role of the state in trade and commercial activities had been eliminated the world over. The state-owned corporations presently only operate as an arm, which could help governments meeting shortage and keep buffer stocks of essential commodities.
Mr Thaver said rice prices in the world market were already under pressure and immediately after the TCP tender most of the buyers withdrew to the sidelines and some even cancelled contracts, which were in advance stages.
The ministry of food, agriculture and livestock (MINFAL) has put the paddy harvests at around 5.5 million tons, which is less by around 1.4 million tons from last year.
He suggested that instead of allowing the TCP to enter into export trade, the procured stocks of last year’s crop with the corporation and the Pakistan Agriculture Supplies and Storage Corporation (Passco) should be held back as buffer stocks.
He said the stocks held by the state-owned entities should be released in the domestic market and directly to the consumers through the Utility Stores Corporation.

Rice exports may fall short of target

Rice exports may fall short of target
By Moonis Ahmed

KARACHI: Pakistan may not meet its rice export target set for the current fiscal year 2009-10 if TCP continuous its intervention in commodity exports, Rafique Suleman, Vice Chairman, Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) told Daily Times.
Rafique said that if REAP withholds its continued opposition to the government buying of rice via Passco and TCP Tenders, as owed to these tenders, Pakistan rice would no more be able to compete with other origins, and there would be an increasing fear to lose major tenders in big markets like Dubai, Iran and Saudi Arabia. Earlier, the Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) had floated a tender for the purchase of 25,000 tonnes of rice from international market, which REAP had strongly opposed.
Intervention of TCP has put a negative impact on the commodity exports on the account of the obvious price differences. The recent tender by international buyers are expected to be lost by Pakistan, he pointed out. He said that the prices of basmati and non-basmati rice are quoted at $1100-$1200 per metric tonne in international market by exporters; however TCP is likely to open its tender at $600-$700 per metric tonne which would substantially hurt exports.
The situation would create further hardships for the government, which is already under stress in financial matters due to current global recession. Exporters are reluctant to supply rice to the TCP tender since the purchase of rice would lead to exporters losing their international market captured through 20 years of efforts by the private sector, said Rafique. Expressing his concern he said that TCP could sell this 25,000 tonnes of rice to utility stores and in the domestic market as this quantity would be easily accepted by local market. Finally, he urged the government to give due consideration to the matter and said that “we must evolve and formulate a joint strategy on a $10 billion rice industry.”
Moreover, the ongoing power crisis has further pushed down exports. “The decline in our rice export will mainly occur due to power shortages”, an exporter said. He added that besides TCP intervention the never ending power crisis has also played its role in affecting milling. “Mills have not been working at their maximum capacity amid electricity shortages. The power outages have also badly effected husking and packing of the crop,” he added.
Although exports might face a decline, no domestic shortage of rice was observed and the country had sufficient carryover stocks before the new crop arrives in next month, he said, adding that Pakistan’s total production this year would be 6.5 million tonnes. Rice accounts for about 8 percent of Pakistani exports and 12 percent of gross domestic product.

Pakistan losing rice export markets due to govt intervention

Pakistan losing rice export markets due to govt intervention
By Moonis Ahmed
KARACHI: Pakistan may export rice worth $3.4 billion in the current fiscal year owing to the bumper crop of all varieties if the government’s machineries stop intervention in the market, the traders and exporters said.
The country had exported rice worth $2.5 billion in 2008. “If the intervention of the Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) and PASSCO were not stopped, it would be impossible to achieve the export target.” a trader said.“Pakistan is losing its share in international rice exports and may not meet its export target for the current financial year,” Abdul Rahim Janoo, chairman Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) told Daily Times.
TCP has quoted its rates at Rs 32.90 per kilogram on January 14 for the purchase of 25,000 metric tonnes, while its market price are in the range of Rs 25.77 per kg. The corporation is paying an extra amount of Rs 178 million.The prices of basmati and non-basmati rice have increased by around 23 and 30 percent respectively, owing to government intervention in rice purchase.
Iraq, Philippine and Mauritius were the regular customers of Pakistani rice, but owing to the higher prices quoted by Pakistani traders, we have lost the market in these countries. So far these countries had officially announced tenders of 0.75 million tonnes.
REAP continues its opposition to government buying of rice via Passco and TCP Tenders, as owing to these tenders, Pakistani rice can no more compete with other origins and has lost major tenders in Iraq, Philippines and Mauritius during last week. These three countries have been buyers of Pakistani rice markets for last several years.
The association has called for cancellation of these high priced tenders as so far inaction from government has already lead to complete halt in new orders to rice exporters. This situation has lead to the closure of 70 rice export processing units in Punjab and a similar fate is expected in Sindh.
Nine basmati rice buyers in the Middle East have reneged on deals with India recently and this situation could go in Pakistan’s favor if the government play its due role by not intervening in the rice sector, he added.
The prices have dropped 28.5 percent to $1000 per tonne in the past one month owing to the global financial turmoil and good crops in India and Pakistan.

Rice farmers ask NFA for access to drying facilities

Rice farmers ask NFA for access to drying facilities

Written by Butch Fernandez / Reporter
Monday, 19 October 2009 20:20

THE Congressional Oversight Committee on Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization (Cocafm) is asking the National Food Authority (NFA) to allow farmers to use its dryers and other production and postproduction machineries to save crops and reduce farm losses resulting from damage caused by typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng.
Sen. Loren Legarda, cochair of the oversight panel, aired the appeal on behalf of affected farmers even as she reiterated warnings on the need to prepare for the effects of erratic weather changes.
The senator took up the cudgels for the farmers over the weekend on learning that some NFA provincial offices were reluctant to allow use of the government-owned drying equipment and facilities.
Citing the NFA’s mandate to ensure food buffer stock and stabilize food prices, Legarda said she was told there were requests for the use of NFA dryers because farmers who dry their palay on the road are afraid of losing their precious harvest if they cannot dry them due to continuous rains. “And when they tried asking the NFA provincial offices, they were told that electricity is expensive.”
“I appeal to Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap, who is the chair of the NFA board, and NFA administrator Jessup Navarro to consider the farmers’ requests,” Legarda said.
“Secretary Yap can include electricity expense in the calamity fund for agriculture and fisheries,” she added.
Legarda said, “Here is an opportunity for us to reduce our rice importation and help our food producers. A great part of the donations we are receiving and the additional calamity fund we approved in Congress is for the basic needs of our people.
“Here are our farmers; they will produce food for themselves and for us. Let us help them help themselves and others. Let us allow them to use NFA facilities. The farmers need all the help especially that another supertyphoon is coming and they have not even recovered from Ondoy and Pepeng.”
Legarda lamented that in times of crisis, “our government is paralyzed by government policies. Our functionaries cannot think beyond their assigned duties and inform their higher-ups what to do to help our farmers, the producers of our food. Look at those heroes in the flood, what they did to save others. When what was at stake was life itself, they did the impossible and unthinkable solutions, even treading electric cables and building makeshift boats from discarded wood.”
Legarda suggested the idea of easing up credit for farmers and fisherfolk this season by using a part of the additional calamity fund and donations from abroad as guarantee for concessional credit.
“Lending to our poor farmers and fisherfolk with concessional terms is better than giving them outright grants during this critical time. We are receiving donations for the poor from all over the world. Let us use this to help them,” she said.
Addressing concerns about potential distortions in the credit market and future default by food producers, Legarda said this was why the oversight committee wants to pass the National Agriculture and Fisheries Extension System.
“We want the local extension workers to help our farmers and fisherfolk to produce profitably using modern technologies that will give them higher yield and help them pay their loans. We just have to trust that we will not go through the same mistakes in the past because our people have learned their lessons,” she explained.
“Farmers want to buy their dryers and mobile millers, even their own certified seeds and fertilizers. Let us make them autonomous decision-makers. But let our extension workers do their job of showing the farmers and fisherfolk the best options in technologies and markets and guiding them how to be disciplined in repaying loans,” she said.
She vowed to present the proposal to the Land Bank of the Philippines during the upcoming consultations with the agriculture sector.
“Maybe we do not have to distort the lending rates, but only allow deferred payments,” she said

Rice science, a must to cope with climate change

Rice science, a must to cope with climate change

Written by Ramon Efren R. Lazaro / Correspondent

Tuesday, 20 October 2009 20:36
PHILRICE, Nueva Ecija—As the country reels from the devastation brought about by typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng, experts blame climate change.
Rice experts from the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) explain that climate change is now upon us. We need not wonder why our weather is very erratic.
PhilRice experts claim that intense heat is a manifestation of climate change. Heat affects humans, animals and crops alike, especially rice.
Studies and crop-simulation models show that rice yield is expected to decrease by 10 percent to 15 percent for every 1°C increase in temperature. Heat stress is not good for the rice plant because it reduces tillering, height, number of grains and grain filling, which eventually lead to reduced yields, they added.
The Department of Agriculture-PhilRice and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) are into breeding drought-, saline-prone and submergence-tolerant rice varieties.
Heat-tolerant rice breeders are identifying possible parents from Pakistan, Iran and Saudi Arabia rice varieties. These countries have rice varieties that can thrive under high temperatures. From the best of these varieties, heat-tolerance traits will be transferred into popular local varieties.
Submergence breeding efforts have resulted in NSIC Rc194 (Submarino I), which can survive up to 10 days of submergence in water during its vegetative stage.
Varieties Rc 182, 184, 186, 188 and 190 are saline-tolerant. Rc192 is drought-tolerant.
Seeds of these climate change-adapted varieties are being multiplied for massive use by 2010.
The controlled irrigation (CI) technology that saves water in irrigated rice farms is now being promoted. Some 16-percent to 35-percent reduction in water use is possible through CI without significantly reducing grain yield.
Research studies on varieties that require less water are also in the pipeline. CI also saves on labor and input costs, and reduces methane emission.
State-of-the-art technologies like geographic information system and remote sensing also help identify and map vulnerable areas like drought-prone areas in the country. Studies like these are good inputs in recommending crops that can be planted in specific areas to optimize land use.
The use of information and communications technology can be incorporated as a tool to bridge the knowledge gap between farmers and climate-change adaptation and mitigation measures.
Rice emits methane, a greenhouse gas. Earlier research by DA-PhilRice, in collaboration with IRRI, identified ways to lessen methane emission in the rice field.
These include use of ammonium sulfate as nitrogen fertilizer in place of urea; use of phosphogypsum when applied in combination with urea fertilizer; midseason drainage; and direct seeding instead of transplanting.
The use of the leaf color chart also lessens the use of nitrogen fertilizer, one source of nitrous oxide greenhouse gas.
Being a diversified integrated rice-based farming system, Palayamanan reduces production risks brought about by climate change.
It reduces the use of chemical fertilizers through its biomass resource-recovery component. It increases or enhances sinks of CO2 through cropping intensity, planting of fruit trees and establishment of a miniforest.
It is also a location-specific system that depends on the environment, like weather and soil characteristics.
Because the effects of climate change are location-specific, this program is one good approach in mitigating climate change. National technology recommendations can now be downscaled to regions, provinces, municipalities, or even barangays and be based on existing soil conditions, weather patterns and climate trends of a certain contiguous area.
Likewise, proposals for adaptation and impact mitigation of climate change are works in progress. Present technologies will be reviewed to come up with a holistic approach on how to cushion the effects of climate change. The use of weather and climate information to safeguard and maximize yield will be encouraged.

Paddy procurement likely to be delayed

Paddy procurement likely to be delayed

Sunday, November 01, 2009
By By Munawar Hasan
Procurement of paddy in the country could be delayed as funds for the purpose have not been released and contracts with rice mills not finalized so far, official sources confirmed to The News here on Saturday.
The Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation (Passco) has planned to launch procurement campaign from November 02, in Punjab with one-day delay. Sources claimed that due to the lack of funds and other procedural delays, actual buying of paddy could start in the second week of November.
“We are still awaiting the release of nine billion rupees required for the procurement of 400,000 tons of paddy, a senior official told this scribe. He said that around Rs 5.5 billion was needed for procurement of 175,000 tons of Super Basmati while Rs 3.5 billion was required to buy 225,000 tons of Irri-six.
Top management of Passco wrote a letter to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MINFA) a couple of days back for immediate release of fundsî, the source said. However, he added, no further communication had so far been made in this direction.
It is learnt that modalities for procurement of paddy from Sindh and Balochistan provinces had not yet been finalized due to opposition of growers regarding the procurement plan. “Unlike past year, Passco wants to buy paddy directly from growers,” sources said, adding growers were insisting that last year’s mechanism should be followed. This has created a deadlock over the issue.
An official of Passco confirmed that modalities of paddy buying from Sindh and Balochistan could not be finalized due to lack of consensus among stakeholders. He expressed the hope that all issues would be resolved in the next meeting due to be held on Monday.
On the other hand, farmers’ representatives complained that owing to delay in initiating procurement campaign, the price of paddy had been crashed in many parts of the country.
Basmati Growers Association (BGA) president Ch. Hamid Malhi said farmers were left with no option but sell their produce at throw away prices. He claimed that middlemen and owners of rice mills were buying Super Basmati from growers at Rs 750 per maund in contrast to official price of Rs 1250. Similarly, he added, Irri-6 was being sold at Rs 450 per maund against official price of Rs 750. He said more than lip service was required for stabilizing price of paddy in the market.
He advised farmers to delay harvesting of Basmati paddy in wake of the current low paddy prices.
As per decision of the ECC of cabinet, PASSCO will buy Super Basmati for Rs.1250 per 40 kg, Basmati 385/2000 for Rs.1000 per 40 kg and IRRI-6 at the rate of Rs 600 per 40 kg.
When contacted, a senior official of Passco denied any delay in the procurement of paddy, saying Basmati crop was not fully matured in Punjab. He said it was expected that Super Basmati would be available for buying from November 10. He said the arrangements for buying of paddy were being finalized and it was expected that procurement would be in full swing soon.

Cambodia eyes Nov. 4 rice tender

Cambodia eyes Nov. 4 rice tender

MACTAN, Cebu -- Cambodia aims to double exports in five years and play a bigger role in the global rice market.
Ny Lyheng, managing director of the Federation of Cambodian Rice Millers Associations, said on Thursday that his group also plans to tap new markets, including the Philippines, as he expressed interest to participate in the Philippine tender on November 4.
Mr. Ny said Ambassador Noe Wong and his staff at the Philippine Embassy in Phnom Penh recently toured the facilities of Baitang (Kampuchea) Plc. (Cambodia Green Plc), which operates the first and biggest rice milling plant in Cambodia. The plant has the capacity to produce 720 metric tons a day, Mr. Ny added.
Cambodia presently produces around eight million metric tons of paddy rice, only half of which is for domestic consumption. The other half, which translates to about 3 million MT of milled rice, is exported to Germany, France, Malaysia and other countries.
The target is to more than double exports to 8 million MT of milled rice by 2015, Mr. Ny said.
"Cambodia has great potential to be a major player (in the rice market). We can compete in terms of quality and quantity," Mr. Ny said.
To increase production, Mr. Ny said they will cultivate more lands for rice, increase the cropping periods, improve farming techniques and upgrade rice mills.
The government had provided the federation a loan, part of which was used to held upgrade milling equipment throughout the country.
"Now, 15% of our mills are ready to export. They are expected to start exporting in 2010," Mr. Ny told delegates to the World Rice Conference here that ended Thursday.
The rest of the mills will continue to cater to domestic requirements while upgrading their equipment.
Cambodia presently has 2.6 million hectares of ricelands. "We have a very big land area. We can increase our irrigated lands," Mr. Ny said.
Other emerging rice exporters are Myanmar, which targets to export 1 million MT next year; and Uruguay, whose paddy exports may reach 1.25 million MT, or about 800,000 MT of milled rice. -- Marites S. Villamor

Sri Lanka to import rice to buffer price spikes

Sri Lanka to import rice to buffer price spikes

Oct 30, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka's government, which is ideologically committed to domestic rice production, will import 50,000 metric tons of rice as a buffer against an 'artificial shortfall', a senior minister said.
"We feel there might be an artificial shortfall in rice supply, so the government is going to import 50,000 metric tons of rice as a buffer stock," information minister Anura Yapa told reporters.
"This will be kept as a buffer stock if there is an increase in price. We are not just importing rice it will be released to the market if there is a spike in prices."
Sri Lanka has kept rice prices high, just below 'food crisis' prices last year to promote domestic production and also restricted the carbohydrate diet, especially of the poor, by taxing imported potatoes and wheat flour.
Sri Lankan rice is below international export quality and cannot be readily sold abroad, though it is relatively expensive.
But other countries in the region are bigger and agriculture is mechanized allowing them to get better yields, Yapa said.
"In Sri Lanka we are also introducing farming technologies. The yields have to go up," Yapa said.
But analysts say because prices are kept high and fertilizer is subsidized through heavy government interventions, farmers have no incentive to increase yields, making the rice farmer a burden on the non rice producing poor.
Restrictive land policies have also prevented consolidation.
Rice is water intensive and needs full inundation during part of its growth cycle.
Earlier this week, Sri Lanka's Geological Survey and Mines Bureau warned that paddy cultivation in the northwest Puttalam district was lowering the water table in the area and there was a threat of sea water contamination of ground water resources.

Pakistan’s Engro Plans to Ship Basmati Rice Overseas (Update1)

Pakistan’s Engro Plans to Ship Basmati Rice Overseas (Update1)

Oct. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Engro Chemical Ltd., Pakistan’s third-biggest urea maker, plans to start a rice processing plant in central Punjab to ship the basmati variety to the Middle East and Europe.
The plant will be completed by the fourth quarter of 2010 at a cost of 3.2 billion rupees ($38.3 million), the company said in a statement to the stock exchange today. An equity injection of 1.6 billion rupees will be required, it said.
Pakistan, the world’s fourth-largest exporter of rice, has a production target of 6.4 million tons for next year, according to the farm ministry. It also plans to export 4 million tons of rice this year after production exceeded domestic consumption.
“Pakistani rice is very high quality but sells at a discount against competitors because it’s not branded or marketed properly,” Asad Umar, chief executive officer of Engro Chemical Pakistan said in an interview on Oct. 15.
Engro Chemical’s shares rose 0.5 percent to 167.90 rupees at 10:08 a.m. local time on the Karachi Stock Exchange. The share price more than doubled this year.

Philippines to stay a net rice importer unless mills are upgraded

Philippines to stay a net rice importer unless mills are upgraded

MACTAN, CEBU -- Unless rice mills are upgraded nationwide, a trader-miller warned in a forum here that the Philippines will find it difficult to achieve self-sufficiency and could remain a net rice importer forever.
Herculano Joji Co, president of the Philippine Confederation of Grains Associations, Inc., said only a tenth -- or about 1,000 -- of the 10,000 rice mills nation-wide have been upgraded.
"The rest still use antiquated equipment. So we can’t compete in the world market. Unless these are upgraded, the Philippines will forever be a customer, and that will be music to the ears of the exporters," Mr. Co warned during the World Rice Conference, which ended here yesterday.
Other constraints to achieving self-sufficiency are the lack of irrigated rice lands and high cost of fertilizer and other inputs, he added.
The Philippines, which is the biggest rice importer in the world, has a self-sufficiency level of only 86%, National Food Authority (NFA) Administrator Jessup P. Navarro said. The target is to achieve 100% self-sufficiency level by 2013.
The upside is that Filipino farmers are among the most efficient in the world, Mr. Co said.
"Some have yields of as much as eight metric tons per hectare. We are very efficient compared to other countries," he said.
Locally produced rice can also compete in terms of quality with those produced by other Asian countries.
Ganador, a local variety, was cited along with Myanmar rice for good quality during the conference yesterday. Thailand’s Jasmine rice, however, was unanimously voted by seven international chefs as the best tasting rice in the world.
While officials have assured that there’s enough supply to last until the end of the year, fears of a shortage have been raised because of the devastation wreaked by back-to-back storms that hit Luzon recently -- and with another on the way by this weekend.
NFA Deputy Administrator Ludovico J. Jarina said that as of Sept. 30, the NFA still had an inventory of 1.246 million metric tons, while households held over 728,000 metric tons and the commercial sector holds over 360,000 metric tons.
Mr. Jarina said they were still validating damage caused by twin storms Ondoy and Pepeng. But latest assessments showed damage to agriculture has hit P27 billion.
Already, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has ordered state agencies to intervene to help stabilize the supply and prices of basic food items in the wake of the storms. Executive Order 834, issued on Oct. 15 and which will be in effect until end-December, authorized the National Food Authority, Food Terminal Inc. and the Philippine International Trading Corp. to include basic food items other than staple cereals in their coverage. "The [agencies], considering their capability and experience in the marketing of grains and non-grain commodities, are the most appropriate government agencies to intervene in the stabilization of basic food items," the order read.
Among other things, the EO provides that special safeguard duties on chicken meat and products, imposed in 2002, may be lifted to encourage private firms to import under guidelines to be issued by the Agriculture and Finance departments. -- Marites S. Villamor

Rice growers get tips on latest farming techniques

Rice growers get tips on latest farming techniques

(The Philippine Star) Updated November 01, 2009 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Farmers who are receptive to modern farming technologies and practices can truly increase their harvest and at least double their previous incomes from hybrid rice farming, according to Cathy Galura, senior vice president for operation of SL Agritech Corp., the country’s top producer of the SL-H8 hybrid rice seeds variety.
She said SL Agritech is currently conducting series of meetings among rice farmers nationwide “to keep them abreast with the latest technological approaches in hybrid rice farming.”
Galura said her firm started the three-month farmers’ meeting or “SL-Farmers’ Ugnayan” last September in support of the government’s hybrid rice production program. “Our main objective here is not only to uplift the farmers’ conditions but we likewise believe, it could spell progress for our country,” she said.
“In Sultan Kudarat, Pangasinan, Nueva Ecija, Zamboanga, Cagayan, Isabela, Ilocos Sur, Agusan del Sur, Occidental Mindoro at kahit na saan lugar kami mag-conduct ng ganitong pagbibigay kaalaman sa ating mga magsasaka, masasabi kong very enthusiastic ang mga farmers na matuto sila ng mga makabagong pamamaraan ng pagtatanim ng hybrid rice,” she said.
She said this month, the series of meetings will be conducted in other regions of the country to include Surigao del Sur, Compostela Valley and Davao del Norte.
Galura explained that actual lectures on the right farming technology for hybrid rice include pre-crop planting, land preparation, crop establishment, nutrient management, pest management and water management.
The meeting is being conducted by SL Agritech technical staff composed of Galura, Dr. Noel G. Mamicpic, vice president for quality control; Joh Dungca, promotions manager and Doña Lim, SL Agritech supply chain manager; the firm’s regional sales manager, technical sales representatives and field service officers, in coordination with the provincial agriculturists.

Vietnam ready to supply Philippine rice requirements

Vietnam ready to supply Philippine rice requirements

Vietnam, the world’s second-biggest rice exporter, is likely to start inter-government discussions with the Philippines to supply 1.5 million tons of rice for 2010 after a Manila tender on Nov. 4.
“We are in a position to supply rice to the Philippines. We will give priority to supply to the Philippines 1.5 million tons, subject to their demand,” Huynh Minh Hue, secretary general of the Vietnam Food Association, told Reuters on the sidelines of a rice conference in Cebu on Friday.
Hue said Hanoi was also keen on extending a three-year agreement ending in 2010 to sell 1.5 million tons of rice annually to Manila, the world’s largest buyer of the grain.
“We give priority to the Philippines because this is our main market,” said Hue.
“We have a very good relationship with the Philippines.”
Manila struck the three-year deal with Hanoi in 2008 to secure supply of the staple at a time when grain prices surged to record levels.
Vietnam sold 1.5 million tons of rice to the Philippines in a government-to-government deal in January, accounting for about 85 percent of Manila’s total 2009 imports of 1.775 million tons.
Manila is kicking off its 2010 rice buying program with an import tender for 250,000 tons next week, and Hue said talks between the two countries for an inter-government supply deal could start after the tender.
“I think the purpose of the tender is for the Philippines to check market prices, and maybe after that they will propose to negotiate for a G-to-G contract with Vietnam,” said Hue.
Manila’s National Food Authority (NFA) has set a budget of 6.366 billion pesos ($133.3 million), or around $533 a ton including cost and freight, for the tender.
Vietnam, fast catching up with No. 1 rice exporter Thailand, has reached its annual target to ship a record 6 million tons of rice this year, and is looking to lift exports to up to 6.2 million tons in 2010.
Traders say Vietnam will probably secure as much as 170,000 tons at the tender given its lower prices vis-a-vis Thailand.
The Vietnam Food Association groups the country’s rice exporters and millers, including the largest shipper Vinafood 2, the state-run firm that holds talks with Manila’s NFA on government to-government supply deals.
Hue said Hanoi could also export to India which is anticipated to become a net rice importer next year as a sharp fall in production due to drought and floods threatens to cut stocks.

Rice farming not just for men

Rice farming not just for men

By Emily B. Bordado (The Philippine Star) Updated November 01, 2009 12:00 AM

Farmer Eden tends to her rice crop.
MANILA, Philippines - Rice farming used to be the exclusive domain of the men in the family because it requires much physical strength and stamina. It was a traditional practice for the male heirs to take over from the father the task of managing and tilling the farm which is considered the most valuable asset that the parents could leave their children.
But the Valladolid family of Capuy, Sorsogon was no ordinary family.
It was Eduarda Valladolid-Ayo, fondly called “Eden,” who took over the responsibility of managing the family’s five-hectare rice farm when their father died. Because most of her siblings had careers of their own Eden, who had known the intricacies of farming and had shown a great interest in farming assumed the task of managing their ricefields, ricemill and palay and rice trading business. Although she herself had tucked a bachelor’s degree in Social Science, she opted to go full-time into farming.
Eventually, she established the E.V. Ayo Ricemill and ventured into allied businesses in line with rice farming and milling. She also embarked on trading palay, rice, copra, fertilizers and pesticides, as well as palay seed growing and hog breeding. She has also ventured into rice seed production and joined the elite group of see grower which was dominated only by male big-time farmers in the 1980s.
“With the diversity of farm activites, we had to rename our business,” Eden said.
Renamed E.V. Ayo Enterprise and run by Eden’s entire family, what started as a small business venture has provided jobs to over 3,000 regular farm workers in their rice fields alone at an average of 20 workers per hectare. They also hire additional seasonal workers as haulers and dryers during harvests. Regular workers are paid P150 – P170 per day while haulers are paid P10-P50 per sack depending on the distance from the highway where the palay are gathered.
For every hectare, the Valladolids spend an average of P50,000 and harvest 100 to 130 sacks of palay. From this they obtain a net income of P20,000 – P60,000 per hectare or a total of P3-P9 million per cropping. In 2008, they harvested 16,000 bags of palay.
E.V. Ayo Enterprise sells palay seeds to other regions and provinces like Palawan, Tarlac, Region IV and Region II and some nearby provinces of Bicol. Seeds that do not pass the certification are milled and sold as rice grains in their own NFA-accredited store in Capuy and the rest to another store owned by one of her sisters in Sorsogon city.
Aside from the rice mill, Eden and her family have built three warehouses and a drying pavement measuring about 4,000 square meters. They have also acquired one unit of 10-wheeler truck, one self-loader, a back hoe, seven units hand tractors, threshers, blowers, and a dump truck.
Recently, the family acquired three units of recirculating dryer capable of drying 120 sacks of palay per operation. Each unit is worth P630,000. These facilities use rice hull as fuel, thus, they are very cost-efficient.
“It is worker-friendly, unlike other mechanical dryers that have health-risks by exposing workers to too much heat,” Eden explains.
Eden regards the farm location as an important factor for her high yield production. The Capuy lot is situated near a natura spring which serves as a source of irrigation. The area also has very fertile volcanic soil. She also uses balanced fertilization, combining commercial fertilizer with organic. She buys dried chicken dung and utilizes the hog manure from their piggery farm as fertilizer. She also follows the Palay Check System an integrated rice management system.
Nowadays, she continues to advocate for synchronous planting among her fellow farmers to prevent infestation and pest population build-up.
“Also if you are a seed grower, it is a must for you to undergo training on latest rice production technologies and improved production practices,” she explained.
At 56, Eden remains full of energy and enthusiasm. She makes regular rounds on foot of their farms to be sure that she would not miss any small details. She is also constantly in touch with her farm workers and neighbors. A low-profile multi-millionaire, she has remained humble and soft-spoken. Although, she could have built herself a mansion in any of the uptown subdivisions, she opted to live in the same house and stay in same compound with her siblings close to where their rice fields are.
A woman with a keen business acumen, Eden knows where to put her investments and manage her resources well. Their family has invested in a 1,500 sow-level breeder farm in Rosario, Batangas being managed by her brother Joel. The dried manure from this farm are transported to Sorsogon and processed into fertilizer treated with the EM solution to remove the foul odor and hasten decomposition.
For her accomplishments and success and for her efficient use of the loan she obtained from the Land Bank of the Philippines she was awarded a special citation (SME Gabay at Patnubay) during the 200 Gawad Entrepreneur Award ceremonies in Manila.
She advises her fellow farmers not to rely too much on government support but to rely on their own strength and capabilities to uplift themselves.
“After all our country is so much blessed with natural resource,” she said. “We should not expect others to produce the rice seeds and our food for us. We should do it by ourselves.”
Eden is now training her 31-year old son Aldin to learn the ropes of the family enterprise. Aldin, who studied in Manila and was once a basketball player in the NCAA, has recently married and has now settled also in Capuy assisting in the family enterprise. From time to time Aldin goes to Batangas to check on their piggery farm there.
After a tiring day, Eden spends time with her family or retreats into her own little garden of Eden.
As this year’s women’s month celebration aptly affirms: “Babae, Yaman ka ng Bayan”, Bicol’s very own Eden Valladolid-Ayo enjoys the wealth and bounty that rice farming ha given her. She is truly an invaluable treasure not only of the province of Sorsogon provinc but of the entire Bicolandia region and the rest of the nation

Kharif rice output may see a shortfall of 17 million tonne

Kharif rice output may see a shortfall of 17 million tonne

28 Oct 2009, 0623 hrs IST, Prabha Jagannathan, ET Bureau

NEW DELHI: The shortfall in kharif rice output for 2009-10 may be closer to the 17 million tonnes (mt) estimated by the US Department of
Agriculture, compared to only 10-12 mt projected by the government in September. This will bring down the total annual output in the year to only 82 mt against an yearly average consumption of 89 mt, spelling a supply shortfall of seven million tonnes and possible hardening of prices.
Rice production in 2008-09 was a record 99.2 mt and government procurement, a record 33 mt. Government officials confirmed estimates of a 16 mt kharif rice shortfall, reiterating similar suggestions by the finance minister Pranab Mukherjee earlier.
Trade analysts, however, contend that the healthy foodgrain stocks (including a strategic reserve of five million tonnes) and high expectations of a bumper wheat crop this rabi could ensure that the foodgrain shortfall will be only five million tonnes.
'The 89 mt consumption average on which the government works yearly is fungible to an extent. Parts of the country switches between rice and wheat. So, the country can live with a 2-3.5 mt shortfall but the rest may have to be imported," an analyst told ET.
Indications are that the government, which notified the reduction of import duty to zero level (up to September 2010) last week on apprehension of a sharp rice production drop, may choose to either allow select state units to import just enough to beef up the PDS/welfare needs or import on a government-to-government basis.
Interestingly, Thailand, the world’s biggest rice exporter, announced plans on Tuesday to sell 950,000 tonnes of rice from its stocks through government-to-government deals by the end 2009. Agencies quoted Thai commerce minister Nakasai as saying: "Our strategy is to drain rice (stockpiles of 6 mt of rice bought from farmers through rice intervention schemes) out of the country in a bid to lift domestic prices during the (year-end) harvesting season." Another 1.8 mt of rice will be released in 2010.
But trade analysts point out that negotiating with Thailand for 25% broken rice, the price of which shot up from only $375/tonne to $414/tonne by October 21, may prove unviable. The landed price would work out to around Rs 24/kg for Thai rice. This could become a politically dicey since the government’s price for rice procured from Punjab works out to Rs 14/kg. Even with a bonus, that could work out to only Rs 17/kg, way lower than the Thai rice price.
Instead, sector watchers maintain, India could choose to negotiate a government-to-government rice import deal with Myanmar or Vietnam. Import negotiations through government-to-government deals on rice are less transparent and are perceived as allowing a larger leeway, both politically and price-wise, to the government.
To keep foodgrain shortfall to the minimum, the farm ministry is targeting a bumper wheat production this winter and an output of 16 million tonnes of rabi rice production.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Pakistan: Rice worth $2.5 billion lying unsold

Pakistan: Rice worth $2.5 billion lying unsold
Wednesday, 18 March 2009


LAHORE (March 18 2009): As the next season of rice crop planting is not far off, rice growers, traders and millers are in a state of gloom for, the present stock of exportable superior quality rice worth $2.5 billion is lying unsold and no one in the government is in mood to do anything to retrieve the agriculture economy from collapse.
Representatives of growers and millers told Business Recorder that instead of self-reliance and exploiting the indigenous resources for capital formation, the government has found an easy way out to get loans from the International Monetary Fund and other financial institutions such as the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, etc.
Painting a very dismal picture of the countrys second major foreign exchange fetching cash crop - rice, President Basmati Growers Association Hamid Malhi said that rice production during 2008 season was 6.5 million tons for the first time in history. The harvested crop in Sindh was mostly damaged due to the unexpected rains in early December 2008. The rice crop in Punjab remained safe and the 3.0 million tons of production along with last years stocks today pose a big challenge for the whole stakeholder chain, he added.
He said the government inducted Passco to procure 0.5 million tons of Basmati paddy from Punjab and 0.5 million tons Irri-6 paddy from Sindh; later TCP also floated tenders for purchase of a few thousand tons of Basmati and Irri-6 rice of new and old crop (a target of 0.25 million tons each was set for Basmati and Irri-6 rice).
Malhi said the current situation in the rice sector is very precarious. Passco has wound up operations of Basmati paddy purchases since December 31, 2008 (with 50,000 tons less than target purchases of Basmati paddy) while it continues purchases of Irri-6 paddy/rice in Sindh.
He said the Basmati paddy purchase price of Rs 1500 per 40 kg announced by Minfa managed to keep the market at Rs 1300-Rs 1400 per 40 kg during November-December, 2008. The rates of paddy in the first half of January 2009 were supported by the news of TCP tenders but later TCP cancelled all tenders and only 2300 tons of Basmati rice have been purchased while there have been no purchases of Irri-6 rice.
He said Basmati paddy prices are at rock bottom @ Rs 1000 and Basmati rice prices are @ Rs 2000 per 40 kg now a days. "The big stockists and exporters are making a kill while the trade sits as a lame duck in the absence of a clear government intervention," he contended.
Malhi maintained that the surplus production of Basmati which is valued at $2.4 billion (2.0 million tons x 1200$/ton) needs export marketing as the existing pace is unable to cater for the required outflow. "Around 1 million tons of Basmati rice is consumed in the country and the remaining 2 million tons is available for export" he added.
He said most of the export during the last eight months (July 2008 to February 2009) was from the 2007-08 crop while the current crop lies unsold, whereas the cost of doing business is also higher as compared to last year. Malhi pointed out that in another eight months the new Basmati crop would be in the market with no buyers, therefore it is extremely essential that a strategy is evolved to deal with the current situation.
He said the country can earn around $2.5 billion (Rs 200 billion) just from the export of 2008s Basmati crop. "This would not only relieve the whole stakeholder chain from the extra burden of stocks but would also give a positive signal for increased production of the next crop thus further boosting export earnings.
Former President, Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan and a prominent rice mill owner Azhar Akhtar told this scribe that there is a total chaos and mismanagement in the rice trade and export business. He suggested that the government should immediately call a meeting of all stakeholders to take corrective measures for putting the rice export business on sound track.
"Rice is too precious a commodity to be left at the mercy maverick exporters." President of Pakistan Agri Forum Ibrahim Mughal stated that the rice growers have been able to sell only 75 percent of the 2008 crop whereas 25 percent paddy was still lying with them and there was no buyer of the left over commodity.
He said the rice millers and traders have not paid price of the sold paddy to the growers and according to his network information nearly Rs 50 billion of the poor farmers money was stuck up with the traders and millers. He warned that if the rice growers dues were not cleared off forthwith, they would be unable to make any fresh investment in the sowing of next rice and other crops.

Pakistan 2008-09 rice crop seen over 6 million tonnes (Reuters)

Pakistan 2008-09 rice crop seen over 6 million tonnes (Reuters)

25 July 2008
ISLAMABAD - Pakistan's rice output should rise at least 10 per cent to over 6 million tonnes in the 2008-09 fiscal year on a larger planted area, officials and growers said yesterday, and exports could top 4 million tonnes.
A large rice harvest would add to the picture of growing supplies that has seen Asian benchmark prices come off 30 per cent from a record high reached in March.
Pakistan, the world fifth-largest rice exporter, produced 5.5 million tonnes of rice in the year to June and exported 3.33 million tonnes.
Fresh grain will start flowing to the market in late August, according to rice traders.
"There is nearly a 10 per cent increase in the cultivation area and the production is likely between 6.2-6.4 million tonnes," said Ibrahim Mughal, chairman of the Agri-Forum, a farmers' association.
"Several farmers switched over to rice from cotton because of rising prices for the grain both in domestic as well as international markets."
The government has set a production target of 5.7 million tonnes for the 2008-09 year, but Food Ministry officials were also hoping output will top 6 million tonnes.
The rice crop was targeted to be grown over an area of 2.5 million hectares (6.177 million acres).
Rice exporters however expected a harvest of around 7 million tonnes from the new crop, thanks to early rains and farmers using better inputs to enhance yield.
"With this kind of output, we will be touching 5 million tonnes in rice exports in this financial year," said Azhar Akhtar, chairman of the private Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan, which handles the bulk of the country's rice exports.
Pakistan's eight-month-long rice season runs from April to November. Final estimates of the crop could be made in late December.

Rice accounts for about 8 per cent of Pakistani exports and 1.2 per cent of gross domestic product. Annual domestic consumption of rice is about 2.3 million tonnes. Domestic prices doubled this year despite a good crop.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Your guide to useful rice related words you may come across. Use the quick link menu on the right to jump to the letter you are looking for:

Armstrong, Louis\cell signed his autograph "Red Beans and Ricely Yours\'85." Ash - from the Hulls of the rice is used to produce cellulose products e.g. rayon and rice fuel

Al dente\cell An Italian phrase denoting the texture of pasta, rice and vegetables as tender or soft on the outside but still firm to the bite within; its literal translation

Arborio rice\cell the classic risotto rice from the north Italian region of Piedmont; a medium to long grain rice, it absorbs a lot of cooking liquid yet still retains a good bite in texture.

Beer\cell various brands of beer are brewed with rice. When rice is used in brewing it is claimed that the rice gives the beer lightness.

Bran\cell the outer husk of the rice grain is cleaned and stabilised and used as a fibred supplement in the same way as wheat bran.

Bahia\cell a medium grain originating from Spain, used to make Paella

Cakes\cell Rice cakes are made from crispy puffed rice to produce a light base which can be topped with any sweet or savoury topping. They are very low in calories

Cosmetics\cell Rice grains can be ground and formed into cosmetic powders

Carolina\cell The name originally used for pudding rice as an early source for this rice was America.

Chelo\cell A Persian dish distinctive for its golden crusted rice grains.

Calas Tous Chauds\cell Rice fritters which were sold in the streets of the French quarter in New Orleans.

Dragon\cell Straw from the plant is used to make a 'Rice Dragon' for Silk Worms to build their cocoons upon

Death\cell is symbolised by chopsticks stuck into a mound of rice in Taiwan.

Della Rice\cell Aromatic rice developed in the US, described as having similar characteristics to Basmati. But its cooked kernels are not as long and as slender as Basmati as when it cooks it swells lengthwise and widthwise.

Dewie Srie\cell The Indonesian goddess of rice.

Dolmades\cell Arabic for "something stuffed," a Greek cuisine comprised of grape leaves stuffed with a filling of rice, meat, and lentils and various other seasonings. Usually braised or baked. They may be eaten hot or cold or at room temperature as an appetizer

Donburi\cell A bowl of rice with some other food on top of it.

Electricity\cell Hulls from the plant are used to generate electricity

Enriched Rice\cell Rice which has some of the nutrients replaced which were lost during milling. Most rice is enriched with Iron, Nacin and Thiamin

Earth\cell In many Asian cultures rice is considered the link between Heaven and Earth.

Flakes\cell rice grains are rolled and flaked and then used in a similar way as porridge oats to produce porridge, flapjacks and biscuits.

Flour\cell rice grains are milled finely to produce rice flour, which is used in baking and as a thickening agent.

Fertility\cell Rice is a symbol of fertility in Asian cultures.

Fried Rice\cell A Chinese dish of rice seasoned with soy sauce and stir-fried; eggs, chicken, pork, shrimp and/or vegetables are often stirred into the mixture. Fried rice is best prepared with chilled cooked rice.

Ground rice\cell is rice that has been coarsely milled. This produces rice similar to semolina and is used in baking and puddings

Gluten\cell Rice is gluten free and suitable for Coeliacs who are allergic to gluten

Gohan\cell the Japanese word meaning rice and a complete meal.

Glue\cell can be made by boiling ground rice.

Gumbo\cell A Cajun dish

Household Friendly\cell A few grains of rice in a salt cellar will keep the salt running freely

Honda\cell means 'main rice field'

Hulls\cell are used as a packing material to pad fragile cargo during shipping

Inari \cell is the Japanese rice god

Indigestion\cell Chinese believe that rice cures indigestion

Ice-cream\cell Rice has even been used to make ice-cream

Inkapati \cell is the Philippine rice god.

Jobless\cell Being jobless in Singapore is termed 'broken rice bowl' whilst a good job is termed an 'iron rice bowl'

Japanese meal names\cell are based around rice:

Jambalaya\cell A traditional Louisiana rice dish, its highly seasoned and flavoured with sausage, ham, seafood, pork or chicken

Jasmine\cell. Fragrant rice is similar to basmati.

Kin Khao \cell in Thai means having a meal or eating rice.

Kichiri \cell An indigenous dish of rice and lentils from India, adapted to form Kedgeree

Kedgeree\cell During the days of the British Raj in India it is believed that this dish was adapted from Kichiri.

Long Hair\cell In Sumatra rice is often sown by women with long hair hanging loosely down their backs as it is thought to help the rice grow more abundantly and with long stalks.

Laundry Starch\cell is manufactured from broken grains of rice.

Lontong\cell An Indonesian recipe which constricts rice as it cooks so that expanding grains form a mass which can be cut into squares.

Luck\cell Rice is a symbol of luck in many Asian countries

Marriage\cell Newly-weds would have rice thrown over them as it was believed that this would ensure the couple had numerous children

Marble\cell Rice Marble is the decorative effect of placing rice on book covers during their making

Manoomin\cell The name given to wild rice by native American tribes, meaning precious grain.

Money\cell Rice has been used as a substitute for money, in medieval Japan Samurai warriors were paid with rice.

Mae Posop\cell The Thai rice god

Noodles\cell are made from rice flour, white and semi-transparent they are used mainly in soups and stir-frying.

Nutrients \cell Rice is good source of essential nutrient's thiamin, riboflavin, nacin, phosphorous, iron and potassium.

Nasi Goreng\cell Means fried rice in Indonesian.

Nigiri\cell Japanese rice balls, rice is formed into balls and then wrapped in seaweed. Pickles are placed into the centre of the rice ball.

Ointment\cell In India, rice water (a decoction of rice) is prescribed to counteract inflamed surfaces.

Oryza sativa\cell is The Latin botanical name of rice.

O-himachi \cell is Rice harvesting festival in Japan.

Okaiyu\cell Japanese rice gruel, soft like oatmeal and is served as part of a typical breakfast

Paper\cell Rice Paper is not made from Rice at all, but from the pith of the 'rice paper tree', a small Asian shrub. Rice Paper is a thin edible paper used to line baking trays, in the East it is used for delicate paintings. A coarse rice paper can be made from rice flour and this is used to wrap spring rolls and other Asian foods

Pilaf \cell A light, fluffy rice dish originating from the Middle East. Rice is saut\'e9ed in fat and then cooked in a broth with onions, raisins and spices.

Pudding Rice \cell Short grain rice used in puddings and sweets, the grains are starchy and clump together when cooked.

Patna\cell is the name used for long grain rice when it was exported from India.

Pastries\cell Rice is ground into powder and used to form pastries.

Parboiled \cell a process perfected in the 1940's as a means of preserving nutrients that would otherwise be lost in the milling.

Queen of Fragrance \cell is the translation of Basmati.

Rice Shapes\cell Used as a gluten free alternative to wheat pasta

Risotto\cell an Italian dish which is rich and creamy, the rice is saut\'e9ed in fat and then cooked in a broth.

Rough Rice\cell Another name for Paddy

Rijsttafel\cell A Dutch term meaning 'rice table', a Dutch version of an Indonesian meal which consists of small well seasoned side dishes e.g. steamed, fried seafood or meats, vegetables, sauces etc

Sake\cell is an alcoholic drink that the Japanese make from fermented rice. It is served hot in ceramic bowls.

Sophocles\cell the Greek poet mentioned rice in the Greek Tragedies.

Straw\cell from the Rice plant has many different uses:
Twisted into sticks for fuel
Crafted into handicrafts, shoes and toys
Braided into rope
Moulded into bricks
Stacked and preserved as fodder for cattle
Made into Paper

Sushi \cell cooked rice formed into rice balls and served cold with brightly coloured seafood placed on top

Sekihan \cell A red rice dish, where the rice has been cooked with red azuki beans, the colour is festive for celebrations.

Toyota\cell means 'bountiful rice field'

Toothpaste\cell Ash from the hulls of the rice plant is used to clean discoloured teeth

Tisnawati\cell is the Indonesian Rice god.

Tauchiko\cell The rice planting ritual in Japan

University\cell There is a Rice University in the USA

UK\cell Has never been able to cultivate rice due to its adverse climatic conditions

Vinegar \cell three types are made white, red and black, which vary in taste and are used extensively in Chinese cooking.

Variety\cell rice has versatility unlike any other food; it can be made part of any meal in recipes for soups, salads, main dishes, desserts, drinks and vinegar

Vishnu\cell In Bali, it is believed that Lord Vishnu caused the Earth to give birth to rice.

Wine\cell the Chinese make wine from glutinous rice, used for cooking and drinking, it's similar to pale sherry

Wild Rice\cell Not a true rice, but an aquatic grass variety and from a different genus, the grains are long, thin and black. Are Rich in Vitamins ‘B’

Wealth\cell Rice is a symbol of wealth in Asian countries.

Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae \cell is a bacterial blight disease which affects rice plants and their crop.
Zizania palustris \cell is the Latin name of Wild rice. It is the only cereal grain native to North American continent


There are more than 40,000 varieties of cultivated rice (the grass species Oryza sativa) said to exist. But the exact figure is uncertain. Over 90,000 samples of cultivated rice and wild species are stored at the International Rice Gene Bank and these are used by researchers all over the world. The rice varieties can be divided into 2 basic groups, Long grain / all purpose and speciliaty.

All-purpose long grain rice are imported mainly from the USA, Italy, Spain, Surinam, Guyana and Thailand and can be used for all styles of cooking. At one time long grain rice was exported from India and was called patna after the district in which it grew. Today most of the long grain rice is imported into the UK from America. Long grain rice is a slim grain which is 4-5 times as long as it is wide. When it is harvested it is know as 'rough' or 'paddy' rice. It undergoes different milling techniques to give different types of rice.

One of the most popular types of rice because it has a subtle flavour which perfectly complements both rich and delicate sauces. Milled to remove the husk and bran layer, the grain is slim and 4-5 times as long as it is wide. On cooking the grains separate to give an attractive fluffy effect. Extremely versatile and is used for countless international savoury dishes. It is also an essential in Chinese Cooking.

This variety has a slightly fuller flavour. Unlike regular white rice which is milled direct from the field , it is steamed under pressure before milling. This process hardens the grain, reducing the possibility of over-cooking. It also helps to retain much of the natural vitamin and mineral content present in the milled layers. When raw the rice has a golden colour, but turns white upon cooking. Can be used in the same dishes as Regular Long grain, but is particularly good for rice salads.

This rice has a distinctly nutty flavour. Brown Rice undergoes only minimal milling, which removes the husk but retains the bran layer. Due to this the rice retains more vitamins, mineral and fibred content than regular or easy cook white rice. The grains remain separate when cooked, like long grain white, but take longer to soften. The cooked grains have a chewy texture, which many people enjoy. It is also available in easy-cook form. These include the aromatics, risotto, glutinous and pudding rice which are particularly suited to ethnic cuisines. These are often grown, cooked and eaten in the same location. Many rice varieties have been central to geographical region's survival.

The first class of rice which is classed as speciality is aromatic rice. These contain a natural ingredient, 2-acetyl 1-pyroline, which is responsible for their fragrant taste and aroma. The fragrance quality of aromatic rice can differ from one year's harvest to the next, like wine. The finest aromatic rices are aged to bring out a stronger aroma.

A very long, slender grained aromatic rice grown mainly in the foothills of the Himalayas in India and Pakistan. Some time described as the 'Prince of Rice'. It has a fragrant flavour and aroma and is the rice used in Indian dishes. The grains are separate and fluffy when cooked. In Indian recipes it is often cooked with spices to enhance the grain's aromatic properties. Easy cook basmati and brown rice basmati are also available. Brown basmati rice has higher fibre content and an even stronger aroma than basmati white.

Another aromatic rice, although its flavour is slightly less pronounced than basmati. It originates from Thailand. The length and slenderness of the grains suggest that they should remain separate on cooking but it differs from other long grain rices in that it has a soft and slightly sticky texture when cooked. Good with Chinese and South East Asian food.

The American rice industry has developed varieties of aromatic rices which mimic both basmati and jasmine rice. These grains look like a grain rice. These varieties are not generally available in the UK.

Short and medium grains are grown mainly in California. It comes in a variety of colours including red, brown and black. It’s used in Japanese and Caribbean cuisines due to its characteristic clingy moist and firm nature when cooked.