Category Archives: Commodity: Rice

AFA holds learning exchange visit in Cambodia

visit collage 01The Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA), in cooperation with Farmer and Nature Net (FNN), held a member-to-member cooperation and learning exchange visit last March 9-13, 2015 in Cambodia.

The visit was one of the activities under the project entitled “Advocacy for Increased Government Support for Sustainable Agriculture and Farmer-led Enterprises” funded by Agriterra.

Participants included Sidig Pamungkas, Manager of the Organic Rice Enterprise of APOLI (a local member organization of Aliansi Petani Indonesia or API in Central Java); Hasthanari Pamintasih, Finance staff of API and support staff/translator to farmer leaders’ representative; Sushma Neuphane, Youth woman entrepreneur and youth woman leader of National Land Rights Forum (NLRF); Jagat Deuja, Executive Director of Community Self-Reliance Center (CSRC); and, Victoria Serrato, Enterprise development and Marketing Officer of AFA.
Continue reading AFA holds learning exchange visit in Cambodia

Phil FOs to organize organic rice enterprise summit

AFA member PAKISAMA will organize the “Organic Rice Enterprise Summit” on August 14-16, 2014 at the Boso Boso Highlands Resort and Convention Center in Antipolo City.  The goal of the summit is to strengthen the network of the nine (9) FO-members of PAKISAMA engaged in organic rice enterprise particularly determining the possibility of consolidated marketing. Jane U. Zamar, PAKISAMA Business DevelopmentServices (BDS) Manager is overall coordinator of the summit.

AFA asserts role of smallholder farmers in vision for regional rice sector 2030

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Pattaya, Thailand — In a meeting convened by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Thailand today, the Asian Farmers’ Association (AFA), through its representative Policy Advocacy Officer Ma. Elena Rebagay, emphasized the role of small holder farmers in the vision for the regional rice sector 2030.

The vision is contained in the draft regional rice strategy document, entitled “Rice Strategy for Sustainable Food Security in Asia and the Pacific Region,” which was discussed during the “Consultative Meeting on Rice Strategy for Asia and the Pacific” held in Pattaya, Thailand.

The meeting, which was joined by senior agriculture officers from around 12 countries in Southeast, East Asia and South Asia, hoped to gather comments/inputs to the second draft of the rice strategy paper that will be presented to the 32nd Asia-Pacific Regional Conference in Mongolia. Continue reading AFA asserts role of smallholder farmers in vision for regional rice sector 2030

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: World’s biggest rice exporter sets GE-free rice policy

Manila, Philippines – Greenpeace today called on the Philippine government to follow the example of Thailand, the world’s top rice exporter, and commit to keep rice production free of genetically-modified organisms (GMOs).  The call came as farmers and environmental activists in Thailand celebrated Thai Rice and Farmers’ Day commending the country’s GE-free rice policy.

The GE-free rice policy, a key strategy in Thailand’s Rice Masterplan, not only protects rice farmers and consumers, but also safeguards Thailand’s thousands-year old rice heritage from the inherent risks posed by genetically-engineered (GE) crops.  The strategy is widely seen as an acknowledgement embedded in government policy that GE crops are unnecessary and a risk to sustainable future for farming.

“This strategy gives Southeast Asia’s rice farmers and consumers reason to celebrate — and it’s a blow for unscrupulous GMO crop promoters.  A major global rice producer and exporter acknowledges that GMOs are a bad option for rice production.  The Department of Agriculture should follow the Thai example and declare their commitment to keep rice farming sustainable and rice crops free of environmental and health risks associated with GE crops,” said Daniel Ocampo, Sustainable Agriculture Campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

Read more

 

AFA holds study tour on organic marketing and renewable energy

Marketing of organic products where farmers get a bigger share of the value chain. Clean and renewable energy systems that are appropriate for rural communities. These are just some of the concerns of small scale women and men farmers in Asia.

The Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA) arranged a study tour for its Cambodian member Farmer and Nature Net (FNN) and Laos partner Social & Economic Developers Association (SEDA-Laos) last March 2, 2011 in the Philippines in order to share some of the best practices of local NGOs and POs on these two important subjects.

Continue reading AFA holds study tour on organic marketing and renewable energy

In the News (Philippines): Gov’t to cut rice imports

MANILA, Philippines—The government will import less than one million metric tons of rice for 2011 because of improved harvests in the first quarter, according to Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala.

Alcala said the figure could be between 500,000 to one million metric tons.

He noted that the amount was less than half of the 2.4 million MT rice imported in 2010.

Read more at Inquirer.net

In the News: Indonesia battles rice shortfall

“Reports from farmers seem to back up that view. Muhammad Nuruddin, the head of the 147,000-member Alliance of Farmers, said dozens of large-scale farms on the main Indonesian island of Java reported declines in their most recent harvest of at least 20 per cent, while average per hectare yields halved to 2 tonnes.

With extreme weather expected to continue, 2011 production will be flat at best, and more likely fall 10-15 per cent, said Mr Nuruddin, which would force Indonesia to import more rice.”

Indonesia’s authorities are being forced to import large quantities of rice as the country’s own production has been hit by heavy rain, heightening fears of more price inflation.

Paddy fields across the country have suffered almost a year of excessive flooding, while disease and pests have damaged the rice crop. Domestic rice prices rose 30 per cent in 2010 and in many major production centres, farmers reported yield declines of up to 50 per cent in late December.

Read more from Financial Times

In the News: PHL gives Thailand bulk of rice import volume

The Philippine government has allotted Thailand with a rice import volume of 98,000 metric tons (MT), the bulk of what the private sector may buy from abroad this year under the country specific quota.

A notice on country specific data the National Food Authority released Monday, the Philippines also assigned 25,000 MT to China, 25,000 MT to India, and 15,000 MT to Australia, for a total allocation of 163,000 MT.

Each Philippine importer is limited to 5,000 MT, with each shipment subject to a 40 percent tariff.

Read more at GMA News

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 (South Korea): [Viewpoint] Giving the North rice may be wise

Domestic farming groups, sitting on stockpiles of surplus rice, turned hopeful on the news that North Korea was requesting rice aid from South Korea. By the end of October, South Korea’s rice reserves would have reached 1.49 million tons, double the amount recommended by the Food and Agricultural Organization.

Rice prices plunged to 132,500 won ($114) per 80 kilograms (176 pounds) in August from 151,400 won a year ago. In May, frustrated farmers rallied in front of the National Assembly in Yeouido, demanding government measures to halt the decline in rice prices. The central and local governments also have to worry about running out of silos to store the swelling supplies of rice. Storing the rice surplus costs state and local governments nearly 400 billion won a year.

The ruling party has good reasons to suggest the resumption of rice aid to North Korea even though cross-border ties have been severed following the North’s attack on the South Korean naval ship Cheonan in March.

Read the full article at Joong Ang Daily

In the News (Vietnam): High rice price cuts exports

HA NOI — Rice exporters are facing difficulties negotiating export prices due to domestic rice price increases, said the Viet Nam Food Association.

The association said this increase had made farmers happy but brought concerns to exporters. The exporters would have more difficulty in confirming export contracts because they could not compete with rival countries.

Over the last two weeks, rice prices have risen by VND500-1,000 per kilo to VND4,100-4,400 for low-quality rice, VND4,800 per kilo for medium-quality rice, and VND5,500 per kilo for high-quality rice.

Read the full story at Viet Nam news

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 (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 (Philippines): Aquino asked: Probe NFA debt, raise subsidy for small farmers

(Achieving rice self-sufficiency is an important food security concern for rice-consuming Asian countries like the Philippines. But government corruption and import dependency undermine food sovereignty and hurt small farmers and consumers alike. Further, advocates warn that the rice industry faces the threats of deregulation and privatization. — Admin)

MANILA, Philippines—President Benigno Aquino III should investigate first the source of surge in debt of the National Food Authority under the Arroyo administration before considering any proposal that may only worsen the problem, according to a network of food security advocates.

In a news release, the Task Force Food Sovereignty on Thursday warned that Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima’s proposed solution to stop the NFA rice subsidy and to sell the staple at prices determined by the market may only increase hunger and poverty incidence in the country.

Read the full story at the Philippine Daily Inquirer

In the News (Thailand): Rice planting overhaul planned

The government plans to spend 2 billion baht over three years to persuade farmers to grow rice no more than twice a year as it strives to reduce risks from pests, water shortages and uneven supply.

The programme will cover 22 provinces with 9.5 million rai, mainly in the well-irrigated central and lower North regions.

Plentiful water supplies have encouraged farmers in well-irrigated areas to grow as many as five crops a year. Such intensive cultivation increases the risk of brown planthoppers, depletes soil quality and lowers productivity per rai.

Very dry conditions this year have reduced the second crop, especially in areas where irrigation is poor, and the government has been asking farmers to curb planting because water is scarce.

Read the full story at Bangkok Post

In the News: Transnational ‘land grabbing’ now a global concern

LOS BANOS – Transnational “land grabbing” has become a global concern, prompting organizers of the world’s largest conference on the rice industry this year to place it on the agenda.

Among the topics during the 3rd International Rice Congress, slated in Hanoi from November 8 to12, are the latest in rice research, future technologies, trade issues and policies that define the cereal’s role in supporting poor rice-dependent communities.

The conference, the first time that the “land grabbing” issue will be addressed in a high-level meeting attended by 17 agricultural ministers, will be convened by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).

Recent interest in “land grabs,” or the trans-border acquisition of land to produce rice, is sparked by a looming threat of inadequate rice supplies as many countries do not have the capacity to grow enough rice on their own land to meet existing or anticipated demand, IRRI says.

Read the full story at Malaya Business Insight

In the News: Thailand’s rice production to take a battering from drought as water crisis looms

BANGKOK — The world’s largest rice exporter, Thailand, is facing major losses to its next crop of rice and a worsening water crisis because of the worst drought in nearly two decades.

Chanchai Rakthananon, president of the Thai Rice Mills Association, said Tuesday that rice output for the next crop cycle, ending in August, could fall to as little as two million tons from a previously forecast five million tons.

“It didn’t rain when it needed to rain,” said Angsumal Sunalai, director general of the Thai Meteorological Department. He blamed global climate change for the problem.

Chalit Damroengsak, director general of the Royal Irrigation Department, said there would normally be three to four monsoon storms a year during the annual rainy season, “but farmers will be lucky if there is one this year.”

Thailand produces about 20 million tons of rice annually in two to four crop cycles, exporting about 9 million metric tons and consuming the same amount.

Read the full story