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Vietnam, Thailand step up cooperation in rice exports
 
The Vietnam Farmers’ Association (VFA) wants to strengthen its relationship with Thailand regarding the production and export of rice, said VFA Deputy Chairman Nguyen Duy Luong.

Luong made this statement on February 17, while working with Thai Deputy Minister of Commerce Alongkorn Ponlaboot, who is on a visit to Vietnam.

The Thai deputy minister said that even though Vietnam and Thailand are two of the world’s leading rice exporters, their people live in poverty.

He expressed hope that the visit to Vietnam will contribute to strengthening the two countries’ trade and investment cooperation, especially in the fields of rice cultivation and rice exports, so as to improve the living standards of their people.

 Thailand to set up rice JV with Vietnam

 
Thailand has proposed establishing a rice trading joint venture company with Vietnam and other rice exporters in Southeast Asia in an effort to stabilise rice market prices.

According to the Thai Ministry of Commerce, the move aims to boost cooperation between rice exporters within ASEAN and around the globe, paving the way for these exporters to set a price appropriate to their production costs and market supply and demand. The joint venture company not only manages rice reserves, but also deals with fluctuations in the rice market.

Sources from the Ministry of Commerce say that Thai officials will discuss the issue with the Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade during his upcoming visit to Thailand. Successful negotiations will encourage other ASEAN nations to sign a memorandum of understanding on rice cooperation at the ASEAN summit to be held in Hua Hin, Thailand, late this month.

Thailand and Vietnam are the world’s leading rice exporters, producing 70 percent of global volume
Vietnam, Thailand step up cooperation in rice exports
HANOI, Feb 18 (VNA) – The Vietnam Farmers’ Association (VFA) has announced its desire to strengthen its relationship with   Thailand regarding the production and export of rice, said VFA Deputy Chairman Nguyen Duy Luong. 
       
Luong made this statement on February 17, whilst working alongside Thai Deputy Minister of Commerce Alongkorn Ponlaboot, who is in the middle of a visit to Vietnam.  
      
The Thai deputy minister said that even though  Vietnam  and   Thailand   are two of the world’s leading rice exporters, their people still live in poverty. 
      
He said he hopes that the visit to   Vietnam   would contribute to strengthening the two countries’ trade and investment cooperation, especially in the fields of rice cultivation and rice exports, so as to improve the living standards of their two peoples. (VNA)

'Floods destroy four million tonnes of rice every year'

3 Jun 2009,
 
That a water-intensive crop like rice cannot endure even four days of submergence spells a cruel irony for the world's millions of largely impoverished paddy growers. Pamela Ronald , a plant pathologist from the University of California, Davis, has helped create a strain of flood-resistant rice, all set to be introduced in India and Bangladesh. She spoke to Harsh Kabra:

What gives Swarna-Submergence1 its ability to tolerate flooding?

Rice is the primary food for more than three billion people. Each year millions of small farmers in the poorest areas of the world lose their entire crops to submergence. Approximately one-fourth of the global rice crop is grown in rain-fed, lowland plots prone to unpredictable flash floods that may occur at any growth stage of the rice crop. When the plant is covered with water, its oxygen and carbon dioxide supplies are reduced, which interferes with photosynthesis and respiration and inhibits its growth.

In Bangladesh and India, four million tonnes of rice are lost each year to flooding, enough to feed 30 million people. We have identified a gene called Sub1A that makes rice not only tolerant of being submerged in water but also produce high yields and retain other beneficial qualities. We have introduced this gene into agronomically important varieties.

How do you assess its benefits? Would it be costlier?

Cultivation of the new variety is expected to increase food security for 70 million of the world's poorest people. There would be no change in cost to the farmer or the consumer. Notably, farmers have reported obtaining a two- to fivefold increase in yield with this type under conditions of flooding.

When would this be available in India?

It is expected to be certified shortly and will be widely available this year.

Would this be subject to the strict regulatory approval process required for genetically modified crops?

The term genetically modified organism is misused and misunderstood despite an 8,000-year history of genetic modification using techniques such as hybridisation, mutagenesis and embryo rescue. Today, everything we eat has been genetically modified in some way. Studies conclude that genetic engineering, which uses a direct method to introduce new genes into a crop, is not inherently hazardous. It depends on the genes that are inserted. The genetic modification method we used to create submergence-tolerant rice is called precision breeding, which is a hybrid between genetic engineering and conventional genetic modification.

We used DNA technology to detect the inheritance of the Sub1A gene to seedlings resulting from a genetic cross between a variety from eastern India which was not being used much due to low yield and poor flavour but carried the rare Sub1A gene for tolerance with the locally adapted modern variety called Swarna. The resulting Sub1-Swarna variety has a taste and yield favoured by consumers and is subject only to standard seed certification. (Times of India)
 Rice staggers out of wet MayJun 1, 2009 9:40 AM, By Patti Drapala
MSU Ag Communications
An unusually wet May is causing some Mississippi farmers to plant rice late, but the crop still has time to develop into a good one for the Delta.Farmers could see decent prices, too, if several market factors play out by the time harvest occurs. They expect to complete planting by early June if rains relent and fields dry out. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that Mississippi’s rice crop will total 240,000 acres when farmers are through.While rice can tolerate some excessive rain during germination, the plants cannot emerge if water is standing over them for an extended time, said Nathan Buehring, rice specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service.He said farmers need dry fields for the plants to develop before they flood fields. “Rice needs to be at the five-leaf stage, which is from 6 inches to 8 inches tall,” Buehring said. “In fields where rice had been planted, rain and wind have made herbicide applications difficult, and that has also slowed crop development.”He said he is confident farmers will finish planting within the next two weeks if fields dry out and weather is sunny and warm. If not, some will switch to soybeans because of the later optimum planting window that crop has.“It’s really a question of what the weather may do,” Buehring said.The bigger production issue of 2009 is replanting some acreage damaged by wet weather.“We had to replant more rice acreage in the last two weeks than in past years because we’ve had 12 inches of rainfall or more in some areas within two weeks,” Buehring said. “Some replanted stands will develop late, and some will be thinner.”Coahoma County Extension director Don Respess said some rice fields in his area are in an “awful state,” a situation that may raise production costs. Despite weather problems, farmers in Coahoma County planted about 15,000 acres this year.“A big problem occurs when farmers have to buy additional rice seed and herbicides,” he said. “Replanting delays and late plant emergence bring in another set of weed control issues that can reach deep into the pocketbook.”Respess said there is hope the Delta’s rice crop will recover from its slow start. “Rice is the most consistent crop we can grow in the Delta because it yields well and fits in with many crop rotation systems our farmers have,” he said.The Washington County rice crop is off to a good start, said Extension area agent Lester Stephens. Farmers there have planted at least 30,000 acres of rice, but final tallies could put the crop closer to 40,000 acres when the remaining fields go in.“The plants are up and growing,” Stephens said. “Our farmers have more to do, but generally the crop is looking pretty good.”Weather has slowed the rice crop in Bolivar County, Stephens said. Farmers there will have about 57,000 acres of rice when planting is finished.“All rice farmers in the Delta are working hard to produce this crop,” he said. “They just need sunshine and some heat.”Despite weather-caused delays, rice will be profitable for many rice farmers this year if market prices maintain their current levels, said Extension agricultural economist John Michael Riley.“Harvest-time rice prices have been holding steady within a range of $11.50-$12.50 per hundredweight,” Riley said. “The firmness of these prices depends upon what happens in the field.”The U.S. Department of Agriculture is projecting a general increase in rice acreage around the world and higher yields for 2009. The agency estimates the domestic rice crop will be 3.183 million acres.Good field conditions and expected yield potential may work together to maintain decent rice prices for farmers. Poor growing conditions and declining yields may tighten supplies, and prices could go higher, Riley said.“These crops no longer stand alone. They are all linked in some fashion,” Riley said. “What happens in the soybean or corn markets will have an indirect impact on rice.” Rice self sufficiency by 2013 still on track, says DAApril 21, 2009, 5:45pm The government’s goal of attaining a 100-percent self sufficiency level in rice by 2013 through its food security program dubbed FIELDS remains on track, according to the Department of Agriculture (DA).FIELDS stands for Fertilizer; Irrigation and other rural infrastructure like farm-to-market roads (FMRs); Extension and education services for farmers; Loans; Dryers and other postharvest facilities; and Seeds and other genetic materials—was unveiled during the DA-sponsored National Food Summit in Pampanga in April last year.Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap has directed all regional executive directors (REDs) of the DA to “stay in close touch” with lawmakers and local elective officials in their respective regions to update them and other stakeholders on the progress of the government’s intervention programs under FIELDS.
“I have instructed regional directors to stay in close touch with local officials and congressmen to apprise our stakeholders about our programs,” Yap said. “Maybe, we can be specific about who have not been reporting results and projects to our congressmen and women.”
Yap said that the DA expects this year’s national palay production to surpass the record yield of 16.82 million metric tons (MT) in 2008, with the summer harvest alone likely to reach 7.3 million MT this year, or 2.8-percent higher than the year-ago volume of 7.1 million MT, as a result of the fast-track implementation of the restoration and rehabilitation of irrigation systems, and intensified cultivation of both hybrid and inbred rice certified seeds nationwide.As for the seed intervention, certified seeds cultivation has already outpaced the previous season’s performance with more than 557,373 hectares expansion (2008 dry season vs. 2009 dry season).
He said that Malacañang has even put FIELDS on the fast lane this year as several of its intervention
programs had been incorporated into the Comprehensive Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program (CLEEP) component of the President’s economic stimulus package, which is meant to help Filipinos ride out the deepening global economic crisis.
“At the end of the day, Philippine agriculture registered a positive growth in 2008 and rice production grew in 2008 despite the global food crisis. We project farm growth expansion as well for the first semester of 2009. Beyond the submission of reports is the incontrovertible statistics of growth. We will let the figures speaks for themselves.” Official data showed, said Yap, that government has accomplished the following under the FIELDS program. For the Fertilizers component, the DA distributed 27,237,198 kilograms of organic fertilizers and other soil ameliorants such as Bio-N, Vital-N and Bio-con to help farmers reduce the cost of inputs and increase their productivity.The DA also awarded 57 composting facilities in 2008 to Diocesan Social Action Centers , Local Government Units, State Colleges and Universities, Non-government Organizations, and Farmer Cooperatives, capacitating them to produce their own organic fertilizer primarily aimed at reducing production costs. To increase yield of corn and other high value crops, the Department established four Bio-N mixing plants in Tampakan, South Cotabato; Maguindanao; Davao Oriental; and Zamboanga City while two were maintained in Iloilo and Capiz.In 2008, 3.561 million fertilizer discount coupons (FDCs) were made available to 1.78 million farmers to support them against the increasing cost of inorganic chemical fertilizers. For a more practical means of increasing coconut yield, the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) conducted Salt Fertilization Project (SFP) covering 68,066 hectares with almost 7 million coconut trees, benefiting 61,767 farmers.To ensure correct application of fertilizers, minimize wasteful application of fertilizer and soil ameliorants, and guide the farmers on the specific nutrients required by their soil and crops, we distributed 1,766 soil test kits and 38,366 leaf color charts (LCC) and Minus-One-Element-Technique (MOET) kits for use in farmers’ fields.On the Irrigation and rural infrastructure component of FIELDS, the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) rehabilitated 87,305 hectares or 95 percent of its 92,230-hectare target from January-December 2008, which is already 45 percent of the total 202,051ha target for 2008-2010.From January-December 2008, the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) generated 575 hectares of small scale irrigation projects under the Accelerated Hunger Mitigation Program. The government also pursued the implementation of existing irrigation projects: 1) Agno River Integrated Irrigation Project (ARIIP) (13.14 percent complete); 2) Malmar I (completed in 2001 with a service area of 9,209 has); and 3) Kabulnan I (100 percent complete). On the other hand, Malmar II, Kabulnan II, and Balintingon are undergoing feasibility studies.In 2008, the government also programmed some 2,258 kilometers (km) of farm-to-market roads wherein 1,200km have been completed and the balance will be substantially completed by the end of June 2009. On Extension and education, the DA conducted 6,970 training and training-related activities for 136,921 farmers and fisherfolk to equip them with farming technologies that will improve their production and productivity.The Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) targeted to train 600,000 farmers, agriculture extension workers (AEWs), and other beneficiaries from November 2008 to December 2009. To date, 57,338 have been trained in 60 batches of “Training of Palaycheck Trainers” (TPTs), 1,571 Farmers Field Schools (FFS), and 58 techno demos and e-learning courses.
The Department established 3,026 techno-demo farms on Integrated Rice Technology (1,947); Integrated Fish farming (780); and others on rice varietal improvement, Diversified and Integrated Farming System (Palayamanan) and Palay Check System to showcase technologies that will help improve farming activities.
To generate production-enhancing, cost- reducing, and quality-improving technologies, the DA conducted 1,983 various research and development activities. It also held 34 information caravans
in 38 provinces throughout the country participated by 59,265 beneficiaries from the DA RFUs, LGUs and farmers for the FIELDS orientation together with the provincial rice sufficiency plan.
On Loans, the government facilitated agricultural loans totaling P17.06 billion through the Land Bank of the Philippines, of which P9.3 billion was for palay production covering 309,112 farmer beneficiaries.    

Rice Growers Seek to Halt Falling Prices

BANGKOK -- A delegation from Thailand, the world's biggest rice exporter, is asking Vietnam to help it stabilize the tumbling price of rice -- the latest indication of how agricultural markets have changed in the months since riots over food costs gripped parts of the developing world.

Industry experts aren't expecting any major price-fixing accords between the two countries, which together control about 45% of global rice exports.

[Thailand Rice] Getty Images

A Thai worker harvested rice in a field on April 22, 2008, in Suphan-Buri, Thailand.

A Thai participant in this week's meetings in Vietnam, held with representatives of its rice industry, emphasized that the two countries are speaking only in general terms about how to keep prices from falling from current levels.

He said the two sides hoped to announce increased coordination at a summit of leaders of Association of Southeast Asian Nations at the end of February in Thailand. One idea on the table is the creation of a regional rice reserve that could be used to prevent food shortages and absorb excess stocks during periods of oversupply, analysts say.

"We have to stabilize the world price," said Chookiat Ophaswongse, president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association and a participant in the Vietnam meetings. If the effort isn't successful, he said, "it's going to hurt the overall market."

Just a few months ago, residents in poor countries took to the streets to protest the soaring price of rice and other food. Since then, grain prices have fallen about 30% from their peaks in mid-2008, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

The price of Thai rice, a global benchmark, has dropped to about $600 a ton from nearly $1,000 in May. Rice prices in Thailand probably would have fallen further, analysts say, without a government program that buys excess supplies from farmers. In Vietnam, which doesn't have such a program, prices have fallen to about $450 a ton.

Thailand, Vietnam sign pact to stabilise prices of rice

Harvest time: A farmer displays his paddy in Suphan Buri province, about 105kms north of Bangkok. Thailand and Vietnam, two countries that account for half of world rice trade, have agreed to cooperate to prevent further wild fluctuations in rice prices. Picture: Reuters

Friday, February 20, 2009

THE world's top rice exporters, Thailand and Vietnam, have agreed to cooperate to stabilise prices, a senior Thai official said yesterday, but details have not been set yet and traders in both countries were sceptical.

The two countries signed a memorandum of understanding in Hanoi earlier this week when a Thai delegation including government officials, exporters and farmers visited Vietnam, Deputy Commerce Minister Alongkorn Pollabutr said.

"This is cooperation with operators ranging from policymakers through exporters to farmers to stop prices fluctuating too much, as they did last year," said Alongkorn.

The price of Thailand's benchmark 100 per cent B grade white rice hit a record high of US$1,080 per tonne last April but has since dropped right back and was quoted at US$580 this week.

Traders, mindful of past failures, doubted the two countries would be able to achieve much on prices.

The last attempt was in 2006, when Thailand proposed an "Opec-style" rice cartel with Vietnam, but the proposal went nowhere, especially as the governments failed to control output from their farmers, traders said.

"It's difficult to have such cooperation, to set minimum export prices, as the two countries have different production costs," said Chookiat Ophaswongse, president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association.

There was similar scepticism in Vietnam.

"There are discrepancies between Vietnam and Thailand, as the Thai government has its intervention scheme that influences prices while Vietnam doesn't have one," one Vietnam industry official said.

Differing rice quality was another problem, he added, Thai rice being superior.

Alongkorn said that under the agreement the two countries, which account for half of world rice trade, could create reference rice prices to lead the global market.

He declined to give further details and said the two countries needed time to work out prices and other matters.

The price of Thai five per cent broken grade white rice is at US$550 per tonne, well above levels in Vietnam, where the government has set a floor price of US$440 per tonne.

"It's really difficult to implement such rice cooperation," a trader with a foreign firm in Ho Chi Minh City said. "Unlike the food association here, all Thai rice exporters are private firms and it is difficult for the government to control them."

But Vietnam should develop similar intervention schemes and work closely with Thailand in regulating a reference price so the two would be able to compete with India or Pakistan, he added.

The state-backed Vietnam Food Association oversees rice production and exports. It is also charged with implementing government policies to make exports profitable while ensuring national food security.Alongkorn said the broad agreement meant Thailand and Vietnam would also cooperate on rice production, helping each other to cut costs and transferring technologies to push up yields. Reuters
Feb 11, 2009

Vietnam rice exports soar

HANOI - VIETNAM could export 3.5 million tonnes of rice in the first half of this year, a state-run newspaper reported on Wednesday, meaning a rise of about 43 per cent from last year, helped by a big Philippine contract.

Exporters have so far secured deals totalling 3.1 million tonnes and are about to sign more contracts, the Agriculture Ministry's Nong Nghiep Vietnam newspaper said, quoting Vietnam Food Association Chairman Truong Thanh Phong.

That amount includes part of a major contract to supply 1.5 million tonnes to the Philippines this year. Some 500,000 tonnes of the 25 per cent broken grain variety is to be delivered in February and March. No schedule has been given for the remainder.

Vietnam, the world's second-largest rice exporter after Thailand, is targeting total exports this year of 4.5 million to 5 million tonnes. It shipped 2.44 million tonnes in the first half of 2008.

The Southeast Asian country exported 310,000 tonnes of rice in January alone, a record for any month since it began selling the grain abroad in 1989, Phong told Agriculture Minister Cao Duc Phat at a meeting on Tuesday, the newspaper reported.

Phong said export prices could rise as China was facing a severe drought while India has yet to lift a rice export ban.

India was likely to enter the market after its general elections in April or May as its silos were overflowing after a record harvest in 2008, traders said.

Quotations for Vietnam's 25 per cent broken rice have risen around 13 per cent this month after news of the deal with the Philippines, the Vietnam Food Association said on Tuesday. -- REUTERS

 

In Brief: Why food prices have begun to climb
18 Feb 2009 13:43:13 GMT
Source: IRIN
Reuters and AlertNet are not responsible for the content of this article or for any external internet sites. The views expressed are the author's alone.
JOHANNESBURG, 18 February 2009 (IRIN) - The price of staple grains like wheat, rice and maize have been climbing since January, after falling from record levels at the same time in 2008, according to the latest Crop Prospects and Food Situation report by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation.

 

Wheat prices are being pushed up because a smaller wheat harvest is expected from Argentina, a major producer, where government has suspended export permits.

 

Rice prices have begun to climb since Thailand, the largest world's exporter, diverted some 4 million tons from the market and into public inventories at a price reported to be 20 percent higher than market levels.

 

Maize prices are volatile because of dry conditions in Argentina and Brazil and a lower demand for US maize.

 

For more read the report: http://www.fao.org/docrep/011/ai480e/ai480e01.htm

 

jk/he

Thai Jan rice exports fall 41 pct from year before

 

BANGKOK, Feb 5 - Thailand's rice exports dropped 41 percent in January from a year earlier because demand is weak and a government buying scheme has largely priced it out of the market, the country's exporters' association said on Thursday.

Thailand sold 433,773 tonnes of rice in the month, down from 738,890 tonnes in January last year, according to data from the Thai Rice Exporters Association.

"We can sell mostly parboiled rice and premium grade fragrant rice," said Chookiat Ophaswongse, the association's president. "For white rice, we have completely lost market share to Vietnam."

Thai prices are being supported by an intervention scheme under which the government is buying paddy from farmers at 12,000 baht ($344) per tonne, which equates to an export price of around $630 per tonne free on board.

The benchmark 100 percent B grade white rice <RI-THWHB-P1> was quoted by exporters at $590 per tonne on Thursday since some cheap rice is still available on the market despite the government's intervention.

Farmers are mostly poor and have to sell rice immediately after the harvest to get cash, especially as they do not have large granaries to hold stock until they can sell to the government at more attractive prices.

The government has bought up to 4.5 million tonnes of rice since its programme started in November, whereas overall output from the main crop (May/November) is put at 23.8 million tonnes.

Traders blamed the high, government-supported prices for the sharp fall in exports in January as Thai rice was at least $100 more expensive than Vietnamese rice.

Vietnam's 5 percent broken grade white rice was at $420 per tonne, well below a Thai price of $550 per tonne for that grade.

"The high price is a major problem and I think this problem will stay for a long time and could cut Thai exports in the coming month," Chookiat said.

Other exporters also said high prices were forcing some buyers to look elsewhere, citing the Philippines in particular.

Vietnam said on Wednesday it expected to export 1.5 million tonnes of rice to the Philippines this year, confirming a deal that would satisfy Manila's import needs for 2009.[ID:nHAN227635]

"Apart from the Philippines, I don't see any big orders from anywhere. I expect demand to remain thin from now on as most buyers are well stocked," one exporter said. ($1=34.90 Baht)

Last Updated on Saturday, 13 June 2009 12:56  

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