Regional news and various data related to rice production and yield, exports, imports among Asian countries.
It seems that the world does not have a problem with rice shortage or under-production, but rather
soaring rice (and various food) prices that poor people simply cannot afford.
RELATED INFORMATION FOR READERS
Concern about rice production practices - more than half of the world's population (approx. 3 billion) relies on rice as the major daily source of calories and protein; productivity of rice is now increasing at a slower rate than during the height of the Green Revolution (1966-1990) - UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) (2002/07/17)
Why global rice production is plunging - world rice area fluctuated between 145 and 155 million hectares over the past two decades; rice prices nearly doubled from 2001 to 2007 due to deceleration in yield growth; export prices almost tripled between 2007 and 2008; attributing to adverse weather, high oil prices, and pro-ethanol policies combined with speculative trading and government trade interventions to control domestic prices - Commodity Online (2009/01/02)
While the yield has been relatively stable, the price of rice soared drastically
as a matter of adverse weather, high oil prices, and pro-ethanol policies combined with speculative trading etc. (see news report above)
Proposed rice alliance with Vietnam raises some hackles (in Thailand) - Thailand should be wary of rice production cooperation as Vietnam develops quickly via low-quality rice; prediction says Vietnam will become the top producer of rice within the next 10 years, while neighbouring countries like Cambodia and Myanmar will offer better grades - Bangkok Post (2012/09/03)
Thailand to renew rice intervention scheme in October - to spend 400 billion baht aiming to buy up to 25 million tonnes of paddy to shore up prices; continuing to pay farmers at 15,000 baht per tonne for white rice paddy, a policy the government had vowed to continue - Reuters (2012/09/03)
Thailand's unfeasible rice trick - this populist "rice pledging" policy looks very likely to become unpopular as the Thai government sits on about 11m tonnes of overpriced rice and has no storage space for any more - Financial Times (2012/09/05)
Thailand's growing rice predicament - dimensions of Thailand's rice dilemma started to come clear earlier this week when the government put 763,856 metric ton of rice on the market at an average of US$547 per ton, but sold less than a third of what it put up for auction: just 232,000 tons - Irrawaddy (2012/09/06)
Thailand eyes more rice exports - Thailand, the world's biggest producer and trader of rice, has asked the Philippines to increase the volume of rice imports of the private sector from 350,000 metric tons to 500,000 MT in exchange for Manila's bid to continue its protectionist policy on the commodity; China, Vietnam, India, El Salvador and Pakistan have asked for a higher volume, though not as big - Manila Standard Today (2012/09/13)
Thailand signs deals to sell 7.3 million tonnes of rice - sold rice from its stocks to foreign governments (as MoUs) and shipments would run from now until late next year; yet MoUs do not necessarily imply any commitment to buy; sceptics questioned - Business Recorder (2012/09/16)
Thailand working on rice-trading zone - as the world's largest rice exporter, Thailand will work with ASEAN partners in setting up their own duty-free rice-trading zones; Thailand is projected to export 6 million tonnes of rice this year, Vietnam would ship 7 million and Cambodia about 800,000 tonnes; Myanmar will also gradually increase to 600,000 tonnes this year - The Nation (2012/09/17)
Thailand will dump rice: US group - WTO urged to investigate the nation's compliance - Asia One (2012/10/19)
- yet Brazil managed to escape WTO oversight with its complex ploicies - differences paid to guarantee minimum price to producers and cooperatives
and the U.S. locked out of the E.U. since 2006 after long grain rice crop found to have been genetically engineered
Meanwhile, the decline is also seen in fruits and vegetables: "Poor safety standards hit food exports to Europe" - as suppliers have failed to upgrade to the required E.U. food safety standards, they choose to export to the Middle East instead where standards are less strict; problem boils down to the lack of traceability mechanisms and hence quality control - Bangkok Post (2012/11/07)
Thailand, India dumping 15-year-old rice in Africa - Nigeria, the largest importer of rice in the world (aggressive import substitution programme for rice which puts Nigerian farmers out of business), warns that while planning to spend some $150 million annually importing rice by 2050, is being dumped with rice coming out of some countries' strategic grain reserves - Thailand Business News (2012/11/21)
- Nigeria currently imports an annual 3 million metric tonnes, and is expected to grow to 36 million metric tonnes by 2050
Vietnam stays outside South East Asian rice alliance - in early October 2012, the Philippines (an importer), Myanmar and Thailand (both exporters) signed an MoU on the establishment a 3-member South East Asian rice alliance; Vietnam is not a member of the alliance - Vietnam Net (2012/10/21)
What might the US buy from Myanmar? - US about to lift restrictions on exports; Myanmar, the former top powerhouse of rice, also rich in energy resources (both oil and gas), needs huge investment and development - Financial Times (2012/09/10)
Myanmar seeks to restore status among top rice exporters - the could-be Asia's next economic frontier expect overseas sales to climb to as much as 3 million metric tons by 2017 from 1.5 million tons in the year ending March 2013 as yields and infrastructure improve - BusinessWeek (2012/10/28)
INDONESIA & CAMBODIA
Indonesia plans to sign rice-import agreement with Cambodia - agreement similar with the ones Indonesia has with Thailand and Vietnam; Indonesia was self-sufficient in rice in 2008 and 2009 but turned to imports in 2010 after stockpiles fell and output failed to meet targets - Bloomberg (2012/08/28)
- so Thai rice is simply too expensive they turn to Cambodia
China ups rice buying – from Vietnam - the year 2012 marks a radical departure from China's normal pattern of purchases: 2.3-2.4 million tonnes this year, 600,000 tonnes in 2011 - Bangkok Post (2012/12/12)
- and the problem is: nobody knows the actual volume of rice held in stocks by China
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For those you who don't have time
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disputes (links above), you may find the following video,
"The economic impact of a war between Japan and China",
"This trial is another example of the Kremlin's attempts to discourage and delegitimize dissent. It is likely to backfire."
John Dalhuisen, Director of Amnesty International's Europe and Central Asia Programme
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