Monday, January 30, 2012

Vietnam tries to make ecological wood from rice hull

VietNamNet Bridge – Hull, the cover of the rice grain, is ground into powder, then it is mixed with glue and additives to create material balls. These allow making ecological wood planks from which people can make wooden furniture products which are much cheaper than that made of natural timber.

This is the result of the scientific research work on making ecological wood TGV cellulose composite from hull in order to more effective use rice hull by Dr Nguyen The Hung from the Physics Institute of the Vietnam Institute of Science and Technology.

Making wood from the huge resources of waste

The main products of rice plant are rice and rice bran. Rice is the main food for people, while bran is used as livestock feed. Meanwhile, the by-products - rice straw, rice husk have been thrown away.

Every year, Vietnam makes out 38-40 million tons of rice, while the amount of rice hull accounts for up to 20 percent, or 8 million tons. Meanwhile, only a small part of rice hull is used for cooking, while the other part has been thrown away or burnt, which causes pollution to the environment, killing fish and making river flow stuck. This is the popular scenery in Mekong Delta.

The scientific research work of Dr Hung and his colleagues began in 2006. In 2008, the research work on making wood from cellulose compound succeeded. In June 2010, the first product was successfully made at the Hanoi University of Agriculture. The total investment capital for the research work was 4 billion dong. A production line has become operation with the capacity of 35 square meter per day.

The hull processing line is a combination of the most advanced achievements of the science in the fields of mechanical engineering, electronic, automation, materials science, chemistry and physics. The nature of the technology is to manufacture wood planks with indefinite length from cellulose powder derived from rice husk.

Big economic efficiency

Dr Hung said that rice hull is grounded with soda in the environment with no oxygen, which aims to decompose hull into cellulose structure. Cellulose particles then are mixed with glue and additives and put into press to eliminate steam. After that they are put into a machine to create the wood plants which have the shapes set up by the machine.

The testing has pointed out that the wood made of hull has the equivalent portability with natural wood, while the ability to bear blending and compression is higher than natural wood.

Especially, the glue used for making hull wood is the know how of the technology of turning hull into wood. This kind of glue does not use formaldehyde; therefore, it does not affect the environment. The ideal temperature for the wood is from -400 oC to +1200 oC, therefore, it fits the heat in Vietnam and the cold in European countries. Therefore, this kind of good can be used to make chairs, beds, wardrobes and many outdoors works.

Hung recalled a long difficult period that he and the associates experienced. “In 2006, we nearly ran out of money, and we did not have money to return to home village to celebrate Tet,” he said. However, the scientists could foresee the success, which served as a driving force for them to go ahead.

According to Hung, some enterprises have come and placed orders, but the orders remain small. However, Hung hopes he would be able to join forces with investors to expand the business operation. Especially, he thinks that the wood can be exported, while people can make more complicated products from rice hull one day.

Wheat, sugarcane crops face difficult time

KARACHI: Agriculture sector in the country witnessed more than one hurdles during July to September 2011, resultantly support price and procurement provide strength to some of the cash crops of the country. According to first quarterly report of State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Saturday, flood damage to Kharif crops, taxation on inputs and low credit availability affected the growers’ margins. Although the increase in support price is likely to help wheat production, it was feared low global prices could make it hard to offload stocks that were procured by Public Sector Enterprises (PSE). The last six months of 2011 proved difficult to the key assumptions on which this year’s growth target were rested. Continuation of post-flood revival and global prices of agricultural commodities softened significantly to the disappointment of farmers. Moreover, industries found it difficult to run gas or furnace oil based captive power plants, in the wake of gas shortages and high oil prices. With this backdrop, realising the 4.2 percent growth target for FY12 gross domestic product (GDP) looks difficult. Agri expert Shakeel Ahmad said there was a dire need to improve supply chains, build storage facilities for cash crops and develop market-based solutions to hedge against price fluctuation. Although the increase in support price is likely to help wheat production, but low global prices hit it hard to export the produce. High fertilizer prices coupled with low agri credit availability created liquidity constraints, which in turn led to a sharp decline in tractor sales, he added. Manufacturing sector remained better with increase in demand for consumer and intermediate goods (food, fertilizers, POL, pharmaceuticals, consumer vehicles and cement). The initial assessment indicates major losses to cotton due to floods in Central and Southern Sindh. However, improved water availability, introduction of better yielding variety of rice, and the increase in wheat support price, are likely to help agriculture sector achieve its target for.
Cotton: The country will surpass the cotton production target set at 14.01 million bales for the 2011-12 crop season and reach 15.3 million bales by the end of April 2012, agriculture analysts said. Up till now the cotton production is estimated at 12.9 million bales. The CCAC also had reviewed its target after torrential rains and flash floods in the cotton belt in Sindh and Punjab at 12.2 million bales. Pakistan would produce more than 15.3 million bales by the end of April-May 2012 and this would be a record production. The three major reasons for the more than anticipated target are the use of BT cottonseed, appropriate fertilizer usage and water availability in major crop growing areas in Punjab and Sindh. The cotton crop target of 12.8 million bales was fairly conservative in early stage as compared to initial estimates of around 15.2 million bales. PCGA showed a YoY increase of 17.5 percent in cotton arrival up to January 20, 2012, he added.
Wheat: Wheat prices would remain depressed during the 2012 crop season, as global production is likely to be higher than initially thought. The most important development is the increase in the wheat support price to Rs 1,050 from Rs 950 per 40 kg. It was expected the higher support price to encourage growers to increase yields and also bring more area under cultivation. After conversion in Pak-rupee, the spot price of wheat in Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) is around Rs 760 per 40 kilogramme as on December 8, 2011. However, this rise in support prices only partially compensates farmers against the steep rise in the cost of inputs during the past three years.
Rice: The harvesting of irri rice in Sindh and Punjab is generally completed by mid-October, whereas harvesting of basmati rice continues till mid-November. Flood-related damage to rice is likely to be limited as most of the rice (around 70 percent of the rice in Sindh) is produced in the upper region, which remained unaffected by the floods. According to the report by Suparco, the rice crop has benefited from substitution of irri rice with better yielding hybrid varieties, improved water availability and rich soil moisture. The expected rice production is over 7.0 million tonnes compared to 4.8 million tons produced last year.
Sugarcane: Flood-related losses to sugarcane are expected to remain low, as the crop is relatively resilient to flooding. According to Suparco, the expected sugarcane production is 53.9 million tonnes. However, sugarcane growers are facing problems as mills again delayed sugarcane crushing till mid-November 2011. This delay is costly for farmers as prolonged exposure of sugarcane to flood water in Sindh, deteriorates the crop quality, farmers remain cash-strapped for a longer period and in some areas, farmers were unable to switch to wheat as their fields were not available. Government allowed Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) to procure 200,000 tonnes sugar from mills. This decision would considerably ease liquidity constraints of sugar mills.

IT program provides info to rice farmers

SCIENCE CITY OF MUÑOZ, Nueva Ecija, Philippines  – In just five minutes, farmers can now access vital information that they need in their rice production activities.
Now providing the quick and efficient service in the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Rice Research Institute (DA-PhilRice) through its Short Messaging Service (SMS).
PhilRice, DA’s rice research arm, was established in 1985 in this science city situated 141 kilometers northeast of Manila.
The SMS program is being implemented by PhilRice’s PinoyRice Farmers’ Text Center (PFTC), which was launched in 2004 initially as the Farmers’ Text Center (FTC) in answer to the rice farming sector’s inadequate access to new rice production technologies.
“The new service allows farmers and extension workers to get the information that they need within five minutes,” PhilRice executive director Eufemio Rasco Jr. said.
All information seekers have to do is call PFTC (0920-911-1398) through a cellular phone and ask their questions.
PhilRice information specialists Olive Rose Matchoc Asis, Stoix Norbin Pascua, Ronan Zagrado, Oliver Domingo, and Jennylene Malolos noted in a joint award-winning report.
“As most farmers and extension workers are scattered across the country, it is difficult to reach them by the traditional interpersonal methods of extension and communication. New strategies, therefore, are required to effectively disseminate relevant information and appropriate agricultural technologies to them.”
They cited the fact that the Philippines is the “text capital of the Asia Pacific with 66 million Filipino mobile subscribers sending 2.37 billion text message in 2008.”
Today, the PFTC receives an average of 100 text messages a day.
Since it was launched, the project has continually been innovating its strategies to be of greater service to the farming sector and help the country achieve self-sufficiency in rice soonest through the initiative of DA Secretary Proceso J. Alcala.
Just recently, the text center began offering a new service that automatically provides the characteristics of rice varieties released by the DA-National Seed Industry Council (NSIC).
The maturity period of rice varieties, yield, and reaction to posts are among the commonly asked questions in the PFTC.
The PhilRice-PFTC also recently developed another SMS-based information service to help farmers manage rice posts. The service mainly includes integrated post management (IPM) strategies.
The PFTC has to date won several awards, among them from the Crop Science Society of the Philippines (CSSP) and the 23rd National Rice Research and Development Conference (2010).
PFTC is a component of the Open Academy for Philippine Agriculture which explores application of text messaging in Philippine agriculture.
OPAPA is a joint venture of PhilRice (lead agency), Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD), DA-Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), DA-Bureau of Agricultural Research, and some state tertiary institutions, among them the Central Luzon State University.
OPAPA recently won the Saudi-Arabic-based Arab Gulf Program for Development (AGFUND), a regional development funding organization that works internationally in the field of development. To date, AGFUND has supported 1,268 projects in 133 developing countries, including the Philippines.

Rs 332.87 crore released for Green Revolution in eastern India

AHMEDABAD: Rs 332.87 crore have been released to seven north eastern states for extending green revolution in the current financial year (2011-12) as on 20.1.2012.  Under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana ( RKVY) Rs 400 crore have been earmarked for this sub-scheme for this year. The programme targets improvement in the rice based cropping system in the selected states.  Receiving more than twice the rainfall compared to the northwestern states, the seven states have relative advantage for sustainable production of rice, banana, sugarcane and aquaculture. Good quality ground water aquifers, and vast resources of social capital are the other advantage.  The agricultural productivity in this region is comparatively low in spite of the adequate availability of natural resources required for higher production.  The scheme is aimed at increasing crop productivity of the region by intensive cultivation through promotion of recommended agricultural technologies and package of practices.

India, Pakistan rice exports estimated to jump 32% in 2012

KARACHI: Rice exports from India, world’s second largest producer may go up by 32 percent to five million tonnes this year, according to International Grains Council (IGC).

Shipments from Pakistan too are expected to see a jump of 32 percent to 3.7 metric tonnes from 2.8 metric tonnes, IGC said in latest report.

India’s rice exports are projected to increase to five metric tonnes this year from 3.8 metric tonnes in 2011, said IGC, which forecast rice exports for five major exporters.

Forecast for India is based on assumption that government will continue non-basmati rice exports that was allowed in September 2011 and in anticipation of higher production.

India has kept target of record 102 metric tonnes of rice production in 2011-12 crop year (July-June). Basmati rice shipments are allowed at a minimum export price (MEP) of $900 per tonne. Pakistan does not follow any MEP regime.

According to IGC report, barring India and Pakistan, rice exports from Thailand, Vietnam and United States are expected to be lower in current calendar year.

While shipments from Thailand may drop to 7.2 metric tonnes in 2012 from 10.5 metric tonnes last year, rice exports from Vietnam are likely to decline to 6.5 metric tonnes from 7.1 metric tonnes in concerned period.

Similarly, shipments from the US are expected fall to 3.1 metric tonnes in 2012 from 3.3 metric tonnes last year.

IGC noted total global shipments are seen to be down at 31.5 metric tonnes this year against 34.1 metric tonnes last year, due to significantly reduced imports to markets in Far East Asia.

The world’s rice production is projected to go up marginally to 459 metric tonnes in 2011-12 crop year (July-June) because of increases in Asia, notably in China and India, it said. ppi

Farmer to convert cane farm to rice paddock

Sachindra Prasad clears his cane farm at Nagigi. Picture: Serafina Silaitoga

SACHINDRA Prasad could only stare at his seven-acre cane farm that was covered with cane which he burnt before his farm was ravaged by floodwaters.
Heavy rain experienced in the North last weekend swamped his farm at Nagigi, outside Labasa Town.
"I have lost $3000 as a result of the flood that damaged my farm," he said.
"Now I have to uproot the cane and replant.
"But I won't replant this year because it's too late because harvesting begins in June."
Mr Prasad said he would uproot the damaged crop and convert the farm into a rice field.
"It will be much easier because the land will still be soggy and the continuous rain is favourable for rice farming.
"Early next year, I will start planting cane again because it will be in time for the harvesting season in June."
Mr Prasad said rice farms were also submerged but that wouldn't pose a problem.
"In fact, it's good for my rice farm and at least I will get some money from the rice which will help me with my cane farm next year," he added.

Make Your Own Rice Milk

Lots of people these days avoid dairy and instead reach for alternatives to milk. We've covered making your own soy milk and almond milk in the past; if you prefer rice milk you can make your own by blending rice, water, and a sweetener.

Food blog contributor Karen Solomon shows us in the video above how easy rice milk is to make: pour 1 cup of dry long-grain white rice in a blender along with 4 cups of water. Let that soak for 8-10 hours then pulverize in your blender at it's highest speed for a full two minutes while you add 4 tbsp sugar or other equivalent sweetener. Strain that through a fine mesh strainer and you have fresh tasty rice milk.

Around the world this drink can also be made from sesame seeds, barley, or tigernuts and is commonly known as horchata.

Karen also suggests throwing in a stick of cinnamon while the rice soaks to add flavor. I imagine vanilla beans and many other spices would also work This makes me want to make a chai spices rice milk to add to strong black darjeeling tea.

Karen doesn't state how long the rice milk will last, but I'm guessing that you should go for a week's worth per batch.

Rising rice prices create rough waters for Thai river barges

Bangkok - Large steel rice barges floating down the Chao Phraya River behind tiny tugboats have long been a popular sight for tourists staying at Bangkok's posh riverside hotels.
Equally popular are cruises up the Chao Phraya on old wooden rice barges that have been converted into small pleasure boats for tourists.
The boats were replaced by the barges decades ago when Thailand surpassed neighbouring Myanmar as the world's largest rice exporter and Thai traders required bigger barges to transport their rice to bulk carriers in the Gulf of Thailand.
But tourists are seeing fewer of the barges this year as declining rice exports threaten the trade.
Thailand sold 10.5 million tons of rice overseas last year, but rice exporters were anticipating a 30- to 40-per-cent drop in exports in 2012 because of growing competition and a rice-pledging scheme introduced by the government late last year that threatens to see Thailand replaced by Vietnam as the biggest rice exporter.
Under the scheme, introduced by the Pheu Thai Party, which won the July 3 elections on a host of populist policies, farmers have been promised 15,000 baht (500 dollars) per ton of plain white rice and 20,000 baht per ton of jasmine rice, regardless of world prices.
Designed to boost farmers' incomes, the scheme has been criticized by rice exporters for pricing them out of the world market.
Over the past two months, rice exports have dropped more than 50 per cent when compared with the same period last year. The impact can be seen on the barge business.
'I've had no work this month because there haven't been any new orders,' said Banjong Kornphom, who rides rice barges with his wife for a living.
Thai white rice currently sells for 530 dollars a ton on the world market, compared with India's 430 dollars, while Thai jasmine sells for 1,000 dollars, compared with Vietnam's 560 dollars.
'If you look at the figures for December, rice exports were down from about 1 million [in 2010] to 450,000 tons [in 2011], so the barge business must be affected,' said Chookiat Ophaswongse, honorary president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association.
Exporters predict Thailand will export 6.5 million to 7 million tons of rice this year and lose its title of world's largest rice exporter, which it has held since the mid-1960s.
About 60 to 65 per cent of Thailand's rice destined for export is transported from warehouses along the Chao Phraya River in flat-bottomed barges to the island of Ko Si Chang in Chonburi province, where it is loaded onto ocean-going vessels too big to come up the river.
Making the barges has been the trade of Chaopayar Constructed Co Ltd, located just north of Bangkok, for three generations, or more than 60 years.
Anop Phuangkhao, the director of one of Thailand's oldest and biggest barge makers, said his grandfather founded it.
'My grandfather learned to make steel barges from the Japanese during World War II,' Anop said. 'The Japanese started building barges here during the war to transport provisions to their troops.'
The firm is located in Pathum Thani province's Sam Koke district, home to nine other barge builders. Ayutthaya province, just upstream, also hosts many barge makers.
They have faced numerous troubles recently. Most had to shut down for at least two months last year because of floods in October and November.
Thailand's exports of tapioca and sugar, also transported on barges, were expected to decline this year because of lower demand from China.
Barges also face growing competition from container ships, docked at the Chonburi port of Laem Chabang, where commodities are delivered by container trucks.
'I would say the future for barge transportation will be down a bit from the past because of the competition from containers, which nowadays is getting more and more cheap,' Chookiat said.
Anop said he believes there is still a place for river barges in Thailand.
'This is still the cheapest way to transport for exporters,' he said. 'One barge can hold 1,300 tons of rice, which is more than 10 trucks can carry, and you don't need to worry about petrol prices, replacing tyres or paying bribes.'
But Anop has an eye on the future, too.
'I'm the new generation, and I'm hoping to make some improvements,' he said. 'I'm thinking about converting barges into floating hotels and have them docked on the Chao Phraya or maybe off an island in the Gulf of Thailand.'

Aklan's rice supply to last four months

KALIBO, Aklan, January 30 (PIA) -- Aklan has enough rice supply to last four months, according to the National Food Authority (NFA) here.
According to NFA-Aklan Provincial Manager Procopio B. Trabajo II, this is because of the continuous rice planting activities of Aklan farmers.
“Because of our unpredictable weather, our farmers take advantage of the presence of water in their rice fields. If there is water, they plant,” Trabajo said.
Trabajo said Aklan has a current inventory of 375,593 bags found in households, commercial establishments, and government warehouses. He also revealed that Aklan has long been a rice-surplus province, along with Capiz, Antique, and Iloilo.
The only province in Western Visayas with insufficient rice produce, according to the NFA, is Negros Occidental, because it is more on sugar cane production. Negros Occidental’s rice needs are addressed by the rice surplus provinces in Region 6, Trabajo revealed.
Guimaras, on the other hand, is not a rice surplus- province, however, its produce is enough for the needs of Guimarasnons.
Besides Negros Occidental, NFA- Western Visayas also supplies the needs of other areas like Metro Manila, Cebu, Davao, and Zamboanga.
Despite supplying the rice needs of other provinces, Trabajo assured that Aklanons will not run out of supply, because there are also stocks coming from other provinces that enter Aklan.
He cited Mindoro, Antique and Capiz, whose rice stocks are also brought to Aklan and sold at public markets here.
“When we send out our rice, stocks from other provinces also enter our province, and so Aklan is far from experiencing a rice shortage,” Trabajo assured Aklanons.

Philippines sees rice output up

The Philippines' rice output is forecast to rise 2.7 percent in the first half of this year on expanded acreage and improved yields, a government report said on Wednesday, suggesting the country would not be importing large amounts this year.

Unmilled rice production may hit 7.782 million tonnes, above the January-June 2011 level of 7.577 million tonnes, the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS) said in a quarterly report.
The expected "wet summer" brought by the La Nina phenomenon would help boost the rice harvest, the report added.

Rice output in the June quarter is forecast to increase by 5.9 percent from a year earlier to 3.747 million tonnes, offsetting a projected 0.1 percent drop in the first quarter.

The Philippines, one of the world's biggest rice importers, has decided to limit this year's rice imports to 500,000 tonnes, lower than last year's approved purchases of 860,000 tonnes and almost a fifth of 2010's record imports of 2.45 million tonnes.The government will review the 2012 rice import plan by the end of February or in March.

The Agriculture department on Tuesday forecast growth of nearly 11 percent for unmilled rice production this year to a record 18.46 million tonnes.

The south-east Asian country, which lost about 1 million tonnes of unmilled rice in the second half of 2011 due to typhoons, aims to be self-sufficient in the national staple by the end of 2013.

The corn harvest in the first half may rise 5.1 percent to 3.477 million tonnes, the BAS said.

Three of a kind ... mango sticky rice

Sweet treat ... mango sticky rice. Sweet treat ... mango sticky rice. 

It's little wonder this Thai dessert has so many fans. Relatively simple to prepare from readily available ingredients, it can accommodate substitute fruits such as durian when the mango season ends. What's more, it's portable and, in Thailand, is often sold by hawkers who pre-steam the rice in bamboo cylinders, where it happily maintains moisture and warmth until being unwrapped. Throwing jasmine flowers or pandanus leaves into the steaming water adds fragrance. Like the earlier courses, it should balance sweetness with salt.

1. Chat Thai
If a stiff harbour breeze on the Manly ferry crossing stimulates the appetite, this place is perfectly situated to do something about it. There's clatter and buzz, with tables squeezed close together, and service is swift. Mango sticky rice ($8) features thick slices of fragrant kensington pride in peak condition and a generous mound of rice that's pleasingly chewy. A scattering of tiny, roasted mung beans adds crunch and a zigzag of coconut cream ties everything together.

2. Red Spoon
There are tables indoors, where the lighting is moody, and outside in the shopping centre courtyard in an area bordered by eateries of various cuisines and fit-outs. Mango sticky rice ($9) doesn't run to fresh fruit here, replacing it with a respectable sorbet. The black sticky rice is warm and chewy, sprinkled with nutty toasted coconut. The toppings are weird with whipped cream, Persian fairy floss and an almond tuile. Although they're not authentic, they are kind of fun.

3. Thai Pothong
Visitors could be forgiven for confusing this eatery with an urban temple, what with the buddhas in gold and stone at every turn. Some are garlanded, others unadorned, many are for sale. The mango sticky rice ($14.90) is a refined affair, the fruit sliced as thin as sashimi and arranged like rose petals. Underneath, there's black sticky rice which is nutty, warm and lightly salted. House-made coconut cream moistens the grain and crunchy mung beans dot the plate. Seems a shame to destroy it, but then again …

Rice Exports May Be 400,000 Tons This Month, Vietnam Says

Rice exports from Vietnam, the world’s second-largest shipper after Thailand, may total 400,000 metric tons this month, 25 percent less than a year earlier, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
While export prices “fell slightly” from December, Vietnamese companies haven’t signed many contracts because the nation’s prices are higher than those of other exporters like India and Pakistan, the ministry said in a monthly report.
Vietnam may export about 1.1 million tons in the first quarter, compared with more than 1.8 million tons in the same period last year, Thoi Bao Kinh Te Vietnam newspaper said today, citing the Vietnam Food Association.
Shipments may total 3 million to 3.5 million tons in the first half and 3.5 million tons in the second half, according to a statement on the government’s website, citing the association. Full-year exports are forecast at 6.5 million to 7 million tons, with 1 million to 1.5 million tons of stockpiles to be carried over to 2013, according to the statement, posted yesterday.
To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Diep Ngoc Pham in Hanoi at

Can govt push rice prices higher?

The government will release stock for bidding in the low-price market and under the "no-bidding method" for the high-end market.
rice plant
COMMODITIES: State seeks to improve stubbornly low rice prices by Phusadee Arunmas

The government plans to push the average price of exported rice to US$700 a tonne and reap revenue of 200 billion baht by focusing on quality over quantity, says newly appointed Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom. 

Thailand shipped 10.6 million tonnes of rice last year, up by 18% from 2010, with a total value of 190 billion baht, up by 13%. The average export price was $595 a tonne, up by 0.7%. The top five importers were Nigeria, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Iraq and Ivory Coast. 

Mr Boonsong yesterday convened a meeting with related government and private-sector groups to discuss rice policy

Yanyong Phuangrach, the commerce permanent secretary, said the government will release stock for bidding in the low-price market and under the no-bidding method for the high-end market. 

The ministry will open the bidding for 200,000 tonnes of broken rice with an aim to raise prices, not focusing on fair treatment

It will also seek cabinet approval for continuous implementation of the paddy mortgage scheme at the same price. 

It was noticeable that only some rice exporters - Chaiyaporn Rice and Food Products, CP Intertrade, Asia Golden Rice - were invited to the meeting, while key executives of the Rice Exporters Association, which opposed the mortgage scheme, were left out entirely. 

Prasit Booncheuy, president of the Thai Farmers Association, said the government has failed to boost rice prices in the market with its mortgage scheme implemented last October, as white rice paddy remains about one-third below the guaranteed price of 15,000 baht a tonne. 

He said the current price of paddy with 15% moisture content is 9,500 to 9,800 baht a tonne, but the price may be as low as 7,800 baht a tonne for paddy with higher moisture content. 

The Internal Trade Department reported a white rice price Thursday of 9,600 to 10,200 baht a tonne in Nakhon Sawan province. 

The project is not successful, as the market price is still low even though the government has announced to accept all grain to its mortgage scheme," said Mr Prasit. 

The association also detects corruption in the implementation. Mr Prasit said the flood cut down the registered amount of paddy production by some farmers, creating a loophole as millers pledged their own paddy under farmers' names. 

"Millers pay 1,000 baht a tonne to use the farmers' right to mortgage their paddy." he said. 

The practice is supposedly widespread in Lop Buri. 

Even so, the association wants the government to continue the paddy mortgage programme, as farmers who have begun cultivating rice will be able to harvest their paddy in May.

(Source: Bangkok Post, COMMODITIES, State seeks to improve stubbornly low rice prices, 28/01/2012, Phusadee Arunmas, link

Rice Industry Vocabulary

commodities - products or a raw materials, such as grain, coffee, cotton or metals, that can be bought and sold in large quantities, especially between countries (every unit such as a kilogram or liter of the commodity is uniform and the same and therefore can be priced the same (See Wikipedia)

improve - to make better meliorate
stubborn - will not do something,k even when asked many times
stubbornly low rice prices - prices that will not increase (no matter what you do to try to make them increase)

COMMODITIES: State seeks to improve stubbornly low rice prices

reap - gain (example: the company reaped rewards from the new contract)
revenue - income from taxes or business activities revenue.
reap revenue - gain revenue
appointed - given a position in an organization

the government plans to push the average price of exported rice to US$700 a tonne and reap revenue of 200 billion baht by focusing on quality over quantity, says newly appointed Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom

convened - officially start a meeting; gather for a meeting who gathered at a rally.
meeting - when a group of people come together to discuss issues and make decisions meeting.

- a part of the economy the country's economy. (public sector = government, private sector = all businesses, household sector = families and consumers, banking sector,...) (See Wikipedia)
private sector - all the businesses in a country

policy - a set of plans or action agreed on by a government, political party, business, or other group policy a plan of action to guide decisions and achieve outcomes (See Wikipedia)
rice policy

Mr Boonsong yesterday convened a meeting with related government and private-sector groups to discuss rice policy

commerce - the activity of buying and selling goods
permanent - happening or existing for a long time or for all time in the future permanent.
commerce permanent secretary

- to allow to go free; to allow a substance to flow out from somewhere release.
stock - an amount of something that you keep so that you can use it when you need it kept in stock.
release stock - allow goods (rice) to go out of the warehouse where it is being stored

bidding - making an offer in an auction (here trying to offer to do project for lowest cost and thus win contract)
release stock for bidding - allow a certain amount of rice to be sold in an auction

under the no-bidding method -
meaning: the government has selected certain buyers (and apparently it is not public information who was selected for what selling quantity and selling price)

Yanyong Phuangrach, the commerce permanent secretary, said the government will release stock for bidding in the low-price market and under the no-bidding method for the high-end market. 

ministry - a government department dealing with an area of activity the Ministry.
aim - purpose; goal; the thing you hope to achieve by doing something intended target.

with an aim to raise prices, not focusing on fair treatment - prices would normally be maximized with open bidding (side payments in the form of inflated bids for high quality rice as a payoff for being allowed to participate in the bidding for lower quality rice might be one possible game theory explanation of what is happening, two things are for sure: 1. it is not clear what is going on (lack of transparency), 2. if "fair treatment" means "open bidding" then this would normally be the way to "raise prices", in other words the statement "with an aim to raise prices, not focusing on fair treatment" really makes no economic sense and may be another indication of "corruption in implementation")

the ministry will open the bidding for 200,000 tonnes of broken rice with an aim to raise prices, not focusing on fair treatment

approval - official permission The junior Matsumoto.
implementation - making a plan into reality; actually do or carry out a plan; execution of a plan, making sure that something that is planned actually gets done (See glossary) The (plan) comes into force.
continuous implementation - doing the plan without stop, continueing the policy of plan without end

paddy - rice after it has been harvested from the field Paddy
mortgage - a legal agreement in which you borrow money from a bank in order to buy a house, build something, develop a piece of land, etc. Mortgage
scheme - a plan that is developed by a government or large organisation in order to provide a particular service for people plans for the project.
paddy mortgage scheme - the government system of guaranteeing farmers a high price for their rice

it will also seek cabinet approval for continuous implementation of the paddy mortgage scheme at the same price. 

key - important the major ones.
executives - a high level manager in a company (making plans and ensuring they executed successfully) the Executive.

It was noticeable that only some rice exporters - Chaiyaporn Rice and Food Products, CP Intertrade, Asia Golden Rice - were invited to the meeting, while key executives of the Rice Exporters Association, which opposed the mortgage scheme, were left out entirely. 

boost - to increase; to strengthen increase; There are a lot more.
implemented - when a plan is put into action, actually doing the things in a plan
remains - the body of a person or animal that has died carcass.
guaranteed - promised that they will get something, for sure

the government has failed to boost rice prices in the market with its mortgage scheme implemented last October, as white rice paddy remains about one-third below the guaranteed price of 15,000 baht a tonne

current - of the present time present.
moisture content - the amount of moisture in the rice
he said the current price of paddy with 15% moisture content is 9,500 to 9,800 baht a tonne, but the price may be as low as 7,800 baht a tonne for paddy with higher moisture content

grain - the seed from cereal crops such as rice, wheat, or corn grain.

the project is not successful, as the market price is still low even though the government has announced to accept all grain to its mortgage scheme

corruption - (See Wikipedia on bribery, corporate corruption, and political corruption)
registered - officially recorded as a business with the government (and given permission to operate)
loophole - a small mistake in an agreement or law which gives someone the chance to avoid having to do something loopholes in the law, weaknesses, flaws.
pledged - seriously promised to do something Swear.

the association also detects corruption in the implementation. Mr Prasit said the flood cut down the registered amount of paddy production by some farmers, creating a loophole as millers pledged their own paddy under farmers' names

practice - a way of doing something; something that people do regularly practice
supposedly - believed to be; thought to be It is believed that
widespread - happening or existing in many places, or affecting many people more widely.

the practice is supposedly widespread in Lop Buri  

harvest - gathering fully grown crops from the field; the activity of collecting a crop, in this case a rice crop the harvest.

even so, the association wants the government to continue the paddy mortgage programme, as farmers who have begun cultivating rice will be able to harvest their paddy in May 

Govt on track in zero-rice import goal

THE government remains on track on its  “zero rice importation” goal by 2013, Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala said on Monday.
In a radio interview, he said achieving rice self-sufficiency remained a top priority of the Aquino administration. To achieve this, he said his department was exerting efforts to not only increase palay production but also become self-sufficient in food staples.
These new staples include white corn and root crops such as cassava and kamote, which can be consumed together with rice. It is widely known that in the Visayas, locals consume rice with corn grits; in Mindanao, many consume rice with cassava.
“In order that we will no longer import rice from other countries in 2013, we have intensified our efforts to shift our focus on food staple sufficiency. This includes the promotion and use of the right volume of rice or palay together with other staples like root crops,” Alcala said in the vernacular.
Alcala noted that there are already 14 million Filipinos eating corn grits with their rice while residents of Zamboanga Peninsula, Jolo, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi are used to consuming rice with cassava. In Batanes, the known regional food staple is kamote, he said.
Alcala said that to encourage the consumption of these staples, the agency is pushing for the increase in the production of good varieties to be distributed to other places in the country where there is low production and encourage consumption of these staples and reduction of the demand for rice.
“We hope that after 2013 our rice importation will hit zero. We want to spend taxpayer’s money which used to buy farmer’s products from other countries for products produced by Filipino farmers,” Alcala said.
Efforts to attain the government’s rice self-sufficiency goal by 2013 include the restoration, rehabilitation and maintenance of irrigation systems; increasing farmers’ access to inbred and hybrid seeds; and reduction of postharvest losses through mechanization.
Alcala said the government is also looking at reducing rice wastage that was estimated three tablespoons or 14 grams in raw form per person. This would add up to at least 480,000 metric tons (MT) annually, the DA noted.
Assistant Agriculture Secretary and Bureau of Agriculture Statistics (BAS) Director Romeo Recide said the farm sector benefited from the good weather, particularly the first half of 2011. This was able to boost palay production to around 16.68MMT in 2011. --Cai U. Ordinario

Agriculture dep’t earmarks P128M for rice processing

THE AGRICULTURE department is allotting P128 million to put up four rice processing centers aimed at supporting farmers and increasing output.

In a text message yesterday, Agriculture Assistant Secretary Dante S. Delima said the department will be spending P32 million for each processing centers.

“We will be spending P32 million per rice processing center. This will be put up in San Francisco [in] Agusan del Sur, Sto. Niño [in] South Cotabato, Mexico [in] Pampanga and in Oriental Mindoro,” said Mr. Delima, who is concurrent National Coordinator for Rice Program.

He said the processing centers will have drying facilities to minimize “wastage during milling and to maximize the income of farmers.”

Similar facilities were put last year in cooperation with the Korea International Cooperation Agency in the provinces of Pangasinan, Iloilo, Bohol and Davao del Sur, Mr. Delima said.

Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala said last week that the country is targeting palay production at 18.46 million metric tons (MT) this year, higher than last year’s output of 16.68 million MT.

Meanwhile, rice production in Eastern Visayas grew 2.68% last year, but still below the region’s 5% annual growth target.

Antonio G. Gerundio, Department of Agriculture (DA) regional executive director, cited a Bureau of Agriculture Statistics (BAS) report which showed that the 2011 harvest reached 989,937 metric tons, higher than the 2010 harvest of 964,145 MT amid favorable weather conditions.

But Mr. Gerundio said the output again failed to reach the one-million-ton mark which the region had breached in 2008.

This year, the DA is targeting to harvest 1.014 million MT of palay in the region and raise the average yield per hectare to 3.51 MT from 3.37 MT in 2011.

Under the 2011-2016 regional rice industry road map, the region targets a 1.285-million-MT output and annual average yield per hectare of 4.76 MT by 2016.

“This can be easily achieved with the ongoing development of irrigation systems in Samar Island and significantly higher budget for irrigation,” Mr. Gerundio said

“The three (Samar) provinces occupy 51% of the rice area in the region but its share in terms of production is only 26%,” he added.

The National Irrigation Administration has reported that out of the P2.6-billion allocation for the region this year, P1.6 billion is intended for irrigation projects on Samar Island.

Four provinces recorded a yield increase while Southern Leyte and Biliran posted a decline of 0.58% and 6.19%, respectively. Southern Leyte harvested 93,762 MT and Biliran 66,643 MT.

Leyte, which accounts for more than half of the region’s rice output, produced 527,738 MT, or an increase of 0.92%; Samar production went up 11.46% to 138,309 MT; Eastern Samar harvested 57,083 MT, or a growth rate of 10.21%; and Northern Samar produced 106,402 MT, 8.15% higher.

To attain a better harvest, Mr. Gerundio said the DA regional office will provide local government officials with the rice industry situationer every quarter with recommended interventions.

“We will also focus on municipalities with the highest share to the provincial and regional rice output,” he said.

Other strategies include providing incentives to small farmers, increase area harvested through irrigation projects, increase cropping intensity especially in rain-fed areas with currently only one cropping a year, timely provision of the different program interventions, strengthen irrigators and farmers associations, and intensify pests and diseases surveillance. -- Louella D. Desiderio and Sarwell Q. Meniano

Rice Subsidy

OZAMIZ CITY, Philippines (PIA) – A total of P5.62 million in rice subsidy was released for the Cash for Training/Cash for Work Program of 1,879 farmers/fisherfolk beneficiaries in the city in 2011. Of the amount, P2.29 million or 40.75 percent was spent for the rice subsidy of 702 farmers who attended the first batch of the four-day training on farming skills and on Disaster Management, and other relevant topics, Ludie Salud A. Raras, City Social Welfare and Development (CSWD) officer, said. Under the program, participants were paid the minimum daily wage of P257 for them to buy rice for the duration of the training.
Childrens' Party
ILIGAN CITY (PIA) – Around 2,500 children from the evacuation centers and communities affected by tropical storm “Sendong” celebrated this city’s biggest party recently. The children who survived the catastrophe were gathered at the gymnasium of the Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology to celebrate the day’s activity dubbed “Paraisong Pambata.” Amazed by the presence of mascot characters, the children nevertheless had diverted their attention from the flash flood devastation, to looking at the exotic dance performed by the mascots where they later joined and danced to the tune of latest hit sound.
System Upgrade
DAVAO CITY – The country’s second business-friendly city recognized by a World Bank report in 2011, aims for more reforms in processing business permits this year by cutting some three to four steps from its current flow of issuing licenses. Tristan Dwight Domingo, business bureau chief here, said this proposal to shorten the process was introduced to Mayor Sara Z. Duterte in November, 2011, and received positive response from the local executive. “We have the whole year to iron this out. (With this development) we need funding, manpower, and technology to be able to reach this goal,” Domingo said. (Mick Basa)
Science Seminar
ZAMBOANGA CITY – Science educators in this city recently convened for a three-day Division Level Science Research Seminar-Workshop at the Don Pablo Lorenzo Memorial High School to promote science and technology awareness among the educators here. The seminar also aimed at encouraging skill enhancement on the conduct of research work, and applying correct statistical tools and the type of work conducted. The research involved a purposive, organized, and planned program of activities that result in the acquisition of new knowledge. Several topics about science were discussed during the seminar like Research Process, Research Ethics, and Statistical Data Analysis. (Nonoy Lacson)
Early Listing
DAVAO CITY (PNA) – The Department of Education (DepEd) here has successfully conducted the early registration day on Sunday in nine school divisions in Region-11. DepEd Davao spokesperson Jenielito Atillo said only few were able to register but everything was peaceful throughout the registration day. Atillo said they were thankful to private sectors, local government units, especially churches, for providing assistance to those who needed help in terms of communication. The early registration was open to all incoming qualified Grade 1 and first year high school students and out-of-school youth.

Vietnam Q1 rice exports seen down 39pc y/y

basmati_riceHANOI: Vietnam's rice exports in the first quarter of 2012 are expected to fall 39 percent from a year ago to around 1.1 million tonnes due to fierce competition from Indian and other Asian grains in its major markets, a state-run newspaper said on Monday.
Exporters of 25 percent broken grain have been losing market share in Africa to India, Myanmar and Pakistan, the Vietnam Economic Times quoted Truong Thanh Phong, chairman of the Vietnam Food Association (VFA), as saying.
Members of the association, which oversees the industry, also face difficulties signing contracts to ship rice to Indonesia and Bangladesh, Phong was cited as saying.
Asian markets account for 67 percent of Vietnam's rice exports while African importers take the rest.
Vietnam lowered floor prices for its rice exports early this month, but traders said that even these lower prices were still not competitive compared to those offered by Indian exporters.
In late 2011, exporters signed contracts to sell around 850,000 tonnes of rice this year, but the grain will be shipped throughout 2012, which contributed to the lower exports in the first quarter, the newspaper said.
Vietnam will raise exports to China to make up for the falling volumes in its major markets, Phong, the VFA chairman, was quoted as saying.
Vietnam plans to export 7 million tonnes of rice this year, after a record 7.1 million tonnes in 2011, a state-run newspaper said, citing annual targets from the Industry and Trade Ministry.

Myanmar ready to sell rice to Indonesia

Myanmar has agreed to sell up to 200,000 tons of rice a year to Indonesia under an agreement recently signed by the two parties to take effect in February, according to an industry association.

Myanmar Rice Industry Association (MRIA) secretary Ye Min Aung was quoted by Reuters as saying that between 100,000 tons and 200,000 tons of 5 percent broken rice would be sold to Indonesia
per year.

With the price of rice currently around US$500 per ton on the international market, the deal is potentially worth between $50 million and $100 million.

The association reportedly signed a memorandum of understanding with Indonesian procurement agency Bulog in Yangon, Myanmar, on Saturday.

Last year, Bulog imported 1.9 million tons of rice from Thailand, Vietnam and India, with the next outstanding importation to arrive in February.

However, the government said earlier this month that it had no plans to import rice this year as there were sufficient stockpiles. The government said that it expected domestic production of staple-foods to rise, helped by improved weather conditions and a planned expansion of arable land.

Bulog chief Sutarto Alimoeso confirmed that stance on Sunday and said the agency had yet to decide on imports this year.

“For now, we still have made no decision on this year’s import. We will just complete the 1.9 million tons of rice from last year’s contracts,” he told The Jakarta Post in a telephone interview.

According to Sutarto, the agency is still “seeking opportunities for imports” from Myanmar — as well as other countries, including Pakistan — as alternatives to key rice exporters Thailand and Vietnam.

Bulog said last December that it aimed to buy 4 million tons of rice, mostly from domestic farmers, to fulfill its stockpile target of 5.5 million tons.

The agency anticipated a distribution of 3.5 million tons of rice through market operations this year, which was set to curb price inflation, while at the same time keep at least 1.5 million tons as buffer stock.

The price of rice was the biggest contributor to last year’s overall headline inflation of 3.79 percent in Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous nation with around 240 million people.

Indonesia is currently the third-largest rice consumer, with a per capita annual intake of 139 kilograms.

Despite being self-sufficient in 2008 and 2009, the country began to import rice in 2010 after stockpiles dropped and harvests failed to meet targets.

Critics have pointed out that the government must be committed to relying on domestic production to achieve food security amidst potential declines in international food stocks.

The Agriculture Ministry has estimated that the production of unhusked rice will likely surge by 10.14 percent to 72.02 million tons this year — or equal to 40 million tons of husked rice — from 65.39 million tons last year as estimated by the Central Statistics Agency in its forecast last November.