Category Archives: Issue: Rice

Ramon Magsaysay award for Cambodia’s Dr. Yang Saing Koma

AFA congratulates Dr. Yang Saing Koma, founder of the Center for Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture (CEDAC) for being one of this year’s recipients of the Ramon Magsaysay award. CEDAC help found the organization of small farmers in Cambodia called Farmer and Nature Net (FNN), which is now a close partner of CEDAC and an active member of AFA. FNN’s Chairperson, Mr. Uon Sophal, is also the Chairperson of AFA. Dr. Koma delivered a lecture series for the Ramon Magsaysay Center on August 29, with AFA Secretary General Esther Penunia as discussant. Dr. Koma will formally receive the RM award tonight, together with other recipients. Below is the link to an article about Dr. Koma that appeared today in the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Cambodian rice expert produces ‘more with less’

When he introduced his novel rice production method to Cambodian farmers more than a decade ago, Yang Saing Koma had to battle skeptics who laughed at his idea. How could less irrigation and shallower planting result in higher yield?

But Koma, founder of the Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture (Cedac), only had to tap one brave farmer to get his program going.

Today, his System of Rice Intensification (SRI) is an official rice production method endorsed by the Cambodian government, credited for doubling the country’s total rice output in the last decade.

And while other Asian nations, the Philippines included, still depend on rice imports, the country of almost 15 million is looking to expand its market internationally as grains constantly grow by Koma’s design.

Continue reading Ramon Magsaysay award for Cambodia’s Dr. Yang Saing Koma

In the News: Rice price hike possible due to new Thai policies

Thailand’s incoming government is planning to implement a new policy of buying unmilled rice or paddy from growers at 15,000 baht (about 50 per cent above current prices) by the end of the year. This will allow rice farmers to earn more, but it might also drive rice export prices up by around 50 per cent. The rice in prices might affect rice importing countries.

SINGAPORE: Thailand is expected to roll out policies to help its rice farmers get higher prices by the end of the year.

And there are some concerns this might affect importing countries like Singapore.

Some industry players said this might drive prices up by around 50 per cent, but some analysts said there is no need to panic yet because the eventual impact from the plans may not be significant.

Thailand’s rice farmers can expect to earn more when a new policy to guarantee them higher prices comes into force by year end.

Giving farmers a minimum price to sell their rice was one of the key policy changes for Thailand’s incoming government. Prime Minister-elect Yingluck Shinawatra had pledged to buy unmilled rice or paddy from growers at 15,000 baht, about 50 per cent above current prices.

But this has raised concerns because it will mean rice exports from Thailand could cost more in the future.

Read more from Channel News Asia

Asian farmers join Korean comrades in Seoul rally

In solidarity with their comrades in Korea, farmers from Indonesia and the Philippines joined the rally of the Korean Advanced Farmers’ Federation (KAFF) and the Women Advanced Farmers’ Federation (WAFF) in Yeouido Park, Seoul, South Korea last September 29, 2010.

Vicente Fabe (PAKISAMA) and Luisita Esmao (LAKAMBINI-PAKISAMA) from the Philippines and Ika Krishnayanti (API) from Indonesia joined around 10,000 farmers and supporters from all over South Korea in the public demonstration.

PAKISAMA, API, KAFF, and WAFF are all members of the Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA).

The participants brought different flags, thousand of balloons, straw dolls, posters, banners, and other accessories to help deliver their message to the Korean government.

Farmers belonging to KAFF and WAFF came from each county of Korea, such as Gyeonggi-do, Gangwon-do, Jollebukdo, Jollanam-do, Gyeongsangbuk-do, Gyeongsangnam-do, Cungceongbuk-do, and Cungceongnam-do.

As the music of KAFF’s marching tune spread in the air, the thousand of colorful balloons were released to the sky.

The event then continued with the speeches of each farmer-leader present. Government representatives also participated in the event and gave their speeches.

The farmers had 3 demands.

First, “the participants demanded the government to keep the price of rice stable,” said Kim Gi Cheol, a member of KAFF.

He explained that the price of rice keeps getting lower and lower each year. The price that they demand is not less than 170,000 Won/package (1 package = 80 kg). But usually, the price is 20,000 Won/package.

“170,000 Won is the minimal price we demand!” added Kim Gi Cheol.

While Korean rice farmers have to pay a lot of money to store the rice in the warehouse when produce surplus during the harvest season, the government does not allow them to export the surplus rice to North Korea, even if it is cheaper.

Second, the farmers were also rallying against the Korea-China FTA that is being negotiated this year. Negotiations on the Korea-US FTA is still in a deadlock.

Third, the farmers were also demanding for more bank credit for agriculture through the agricultural cooperative federation.

(Report and photos by Ika Krishnayanti, API)

Click here for more photos

In the News: S.Korea farmers demand rice shipment to N.Korea

SEOUL — Thousands of South Korean farmers rallied Friday, demanding the government stop a fall in rice prices by shipping surplus stocks in state silos to North Korea.

The farmers urged President Lee Myung-Bak to resume an annual shipment of 400,000 tonnes of rice to the North, which suffers severe food shortages. The shipment was suspended in 2008 as relations soured.

About 3,000 farmers took part in morning rallies in a dozen cities and counties, said the Korea Peasants’ League, which represents farmers, adding more were under way or planned in the afternoon.

“Resuming rice aid to North Korea is a short cut to stabilising rice prices and also improving inter-Korean ties,” league spokesman Kang Suk-Chan told AFP.

Read the full story here

In the News (ASEAN): Together we can

Asean rice millers are joining hands rather than competing in their bid to dominate the global rice trade but some cast doubts on whether the move is in the best interest of farmers,

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) will continue to keep its high profile in the global rice trade with a decision to form rice millers’ alliance, a fresh co-operation that aims to strengthen production and stabilise the prices of rice exported from the bloc.

The co-operation would pool the capacities of rice millers among Asean members, which together produce 25% of the world’s total output of 448 million tonnes and supplies up to 65% of the 29-million-tonne global rice trade. Two of the group’s members, Thailand and Vietnam, also rank the biggest and second biggest rice exporters respectively.

The move came after Asean has done away with the import tariffs on many farm products including rice. The six original Asean member countries _ Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines and Brunei _ have applied the scheme since the start of this year.

Read the full story at Bangkok Post

In the News (Cambodia): Rice industry safety net

PRIME Minister Hun Sen announced yesterday that the government would guarantee 50 percent of commercial bank lending to rice producers in a bid to increase Cambodia’s exports of the grain to a million tonnes by 2015.

Speaking at a Phnom Penh unveiling of the government’s new rice production and export policies yesterday, he said borrowers would still have to repay loans, but the state would cover 50 percent of defaulters’ payments.

“We decided to create this policy in order to encourage all commercial banks to provide loans to be used for expanding paddy production and rice exports without worrying,” he said.

Read the full story at The Phnom Penh Post

In the News: Global warming threatens Asian rice production: study

WASHINGTON — Even modest rises in global temperatures will drive down rice production in Asia, the world’s biggest grower of the cereal grain that millions of poor people depend on as a staple food, a study published Monday warned.

Researchers from the United States, the Philippines and the Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) looked at the impact of rising daily minimum and maximum temperatures on irrigated rice production between 1994-1999 in 227 fields in China, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

They found that the main culprit in cutting rice yields was higher daily minimum temperatures.

Read the full story from AFP

In the News (Philippines): NGO promotes ducks as solution to global warming, rice insufficiency

(Like the System of Rice Intensification or SRI, the Rice-Ducks Integrated Farming System or IRDFS being promoted by an NGO in the Philippines, is another organic farming technology that small scale farmers can adopt and benefit from. And with the unprecedented problems related to climate change and global food sufficiency, governments and development agencies should ensure that these environment and farmer-friendly technologies are fully supported. — Admin)

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—While the world’s leaders are scratching their heads and expensive think tanks wrack their brains trying to find answers to global warming and food security, a nongovernment organization here is propagating a solution that hit these two problems at one go, but has not talked much about its successes.

Instead, the Philippine Agrarian Reform Foundation for National Development (Parfund) Inc. is letting its ducks do all the “quacking.”

Through its Rice-Ducks Integrated Farming System (IRDFS), Parfund is slowly spreading the gospel that rural Filipino rice farmers can feed the nation with its staple diet and help save the planet from the effects of global warming.

“The Integrated Rice-Duck Farming System is a proven organic-farming technology that is being propagated by Parfund to improve rice-production performance and ensure rice self-sufficiency in the country,” said Jose Noel “Butch” Olano, Parfund executive director.

Read the full story at Business Mirror

In the News (Philippines): Rice-policy shift divides experts

(The debate on rice-policy shift in the Philippines heats up, with one side arguing for the abolition of the NFA, which provides rice-price subsidy that benefits small farmers and poor consumers, while the other side demands for increasing support to rice production through irrigation, credit and post-harvest facilities and a review of NFA governance structure that causes inefficiencies. — Admin)

ECONOMISTS on Wednesday lauded the policy shift to abandon decades-old rice-price subsidies through the National Food Authority (NFA) in favor of a more “focused” conditional cash transfer for the poor, but some experts said the state-run NFA itself should be abolished, and sought a deeper scrutiny of its over P170-billion debt.

Lawmakers expectedly rejected the proposal of scuttling the rice-price support—as strongly recommended to President Aquino by the Department of Finance—saying this would abandon the poor households to market forces.

Minus the subsidy from the national government, the NFA says cheap rice sold to the poor in “Tindahan Natin” outlets could go up by 37 percent to P25 per kilogram, from P18.25 per kilo.

“[Without the subsidy], syempre mag-a-adjust ang presyo [of course, the prices will move accordingly],” said NFA spokesman Rex Estoperez in a text message to the BusinessMirror.

Read the full story at Business Mirror

In the News (Thailand): Farmers’ ire grows over inaction on low rice price

Thousands of farmers are planning to descend on Bangkok tomorrow to put pressure on the government to solve the problems caused by the low price of rice.

The rally comes on the same day as the Supreme Court is due to deliver its ruling in the case of the assets seizure from former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his family, but the vice president of the Thai Farmers Association, Wichian Phuanglamchiak, said the farmers’ action had nothing to do with politics or the court ruling.

He insisted he would not encourage farmers to gather near the Supreme Court on Ratchadamnoen Nai Avenue or at the nearby Sanam Luang.

Mr Wichian said the farmers, mainly from the North and the Central Plains, would converge on Government House and the Commerce Ministry to demand that the government end the slump in crop prices.

The paddy price has fallen from 9,000 to 7,000 baht a tonne. Many farmers have fallen into debt because of the lower prices.

Mr Wichian said the farmers wanted the government to ask rice mills to buy their paddy at above-market prices in each of the affected provinces.

Read the full story at Bangkok Post

In the News: Vietnamese rice needs an int’l brand name

VietNamNet Bridge – Although Vietnam is one of the three largest rice exporters in the world, its rice prices are lower than Thailand’s. Experts say Vietnamese rice has no brand name and its quality is inconsistent.

In the domestic market, branded rice on supermarket shelves is 20 percent more expensive than that offered at street kiosks. To increase rice prices, experts say Vietnam needs to build a brand name for its rice in line with international standards.

Richard Moore, a well-known brand expert, says producers need to pour more investment into marketing, packaging and trading services if they want to increase their rice prices. He cites Thailand as a role model in building a brand name for its rice. It tops the list of global rice exporters and its prices are higher than Vietnam’s.

Read the full story at Viet Nam Net Bridge

In the News (Thailand): Rice pricing to be revised

The government intends to apply new criteria for calculating the reference prices in state rice tenders, particularly for deteriorated rice.

The new pricing plan for deteriorated rice in the state stockpiles would be similar to the method the private sector currently uses, said Yanyong Phuangrach, permanent secretary for the Commerce Ministry.

Private-sector bidders seeking deteriorated rice currently use pricing approaches based mainly on market mechanisms.

Read the full story at Bangkok Post

In the News (Taiwan): Aromatic new rice developed, named

A new rice variety that has good taste, texture and aroma has recently been developed and named, ready for application for intellectual property rights and distribution to farmers, the Council of Agriculture (COA) said yesterday.

The new grain, Taichung No. 194, was devised by Hsu Chih-sheng with a COA research farm in central Taiwan after 13 years of genetic engineering and modification, said Chen Jung-wu, director of the Taichung District Agricultural Research and Extension Station.

Read the full story at Taiwan News

In the News: Philippine Rice Shortfall May Widen on El Nino, Official Says

Jan. 8 (Bloomberg) — Rice output in the Philippines, the world’s biggest importer, may decline this quarter as El Nino reduces rainfall in major producing regions, an official said.

“The shortfall will naturally increase because production will be lower compared to last year,” Agriculture Undersecretary Emmanuel Paras said in an interview yesterday. “We are still assessing just how much the volume will drop.”

The Philippines, which lost 1.3 million metric tons of rice in storms last quarter, may remain in the import market as it faces El Nino after securing more than 2 million tons of rice from overseas suppliers since November. The nation lost 2.36 million tons when a moderate El Nino hit in 1998, Paras said.

“This time, the impact may not be as severe,” Paras said. “We’re monitoring the water levels in dams because that will determine how much water is available to the crop on the ground.”

Read the full story at Bloomberg