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India Average Wholesale Rice Prices Increase in February 2014

Average monthly wholesale rice prices in India increased to around Rs. 2,731 per quintal in February 2014, up about 1% from around Rs. 2,702 per quintal in January 2014, and up about 4% from around Rs.2,627 per quintal seen a year ago in February 2013, according to official sources.

In terms of USD per ton, average wholesale rice prices in India stand at about $440 per ton (using current exchange rates) in February 2014, up about 2% from around $429 per ton (using historical exchange rates) in January 2014, but down about 10% from around $488 per ton (using historical exchange rates) seen in February 2013.

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India likely to export 18 mln tonnes rice, wheat in 2013/14

India is likely to export about 18 million tonnes of rice and wheat in 2013/14, the government's adviser on farm prices said, as the world's second-biggest producer of these grains looks for ways to handle another record crop.

Ashok Gulati also suggested India should release 15-20 million tonnes of the grains for open market sales to cut massive mounds of stocks and help ease food inflation.

India, the world's biggest rice and wheat producer after China, exported 22 million tonnes of the grains in the last fiscal year to March 31, 2013 after New Delhi lifted a four-year-old ban on overseas shipments of the staples in late 2011.

"Exports of 2012/13 and likely exports this year mean 40 million tonnes of shipments. You look at whatever historical data you have, India has never ever done that," said Gulati, chairman of the Commission on Agricultural Costs and Prices.

Gulati has advocated regular exports of rice and wheat from India. Rising rice exports helped India replace Thailand as the world's top rice exporter and wheat shipments picked up at the expense of rival suppliers Russia and Ukraine.

Unlike wheat, India does not export rice from government warehouses but shipments totalled about 10 million tonnes in 2012/13 and Gulati said they may be 11 million tonnes this year.

Global wheat prices fell 25.6 percent to $6.05 a bushel in 2013 due to oversupply, with benchmark Chicago futures still hovering around that level.

Global rice supplies are seeing a sharp increase as the embattled government of Thailand rushes to liquidate its stockpiles in order to pay farmers and avoid further protests.

Benchmark Thai rice prices fell as much as 15 percent last week.


Despite its export push, India sits on huge stocks of grains, thanks to bumper harvests since 2007. It took steps to boost production after unfavourable weather conditions hit the 2006 wheat harvest, forcing India to import large quantities from Australia at sky-high prices.

Stocks at government warehouses are still 2.25 times more than targets and lack of storage means much rots away even though India tries to provide cheap food to about 800 million.

"We have been recommending to the government to immediately liquidate 15-20 million tonnes of rice and wheat. Holding on to such high stocks is unnecessary," said Gulati, who is about to leave office after a nearly three-year term as the adviser.

The government buys rice and wheat from local farmers at a fixed price which is raised every year to encourage production, build stocks to supply subsidised food and meet any emergency needs such as a sudden spike in prices.

Hefty production and higher purchases by the government inflate the subsidy bill, which the government has pegged at 1.15 trillion rupees ($18.53 billion). Food Minister K.V. Thomas has said the subsidy could touch 1.3 trillion rupees, a major worry for the government as it tries to rein in public finances.

Stocks are going to swell further as India's harvest from the current crop year to June 2014 is forecast to be a record 263.2 million tonnes of grains.

Despite rising production, local prices of grains have jumped because government purchases leave only a small surplus in the market.

Domestic prices of rice and wheat combined rose 11.42 percent in January from a year ago, helping to push up food inflation to 9.90 percent, government data showed.

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India Winter Rice Crop Planting Area Up 26% from Last Year

Area under India's rabi (winter) rice crop (November – March) planting stands at about 3.414 million hectares as of February 21, 2014, which is up about 26% from about 2.714 million hectares recorded during the same time last year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture.

India’s total Rabi planting area (including rice and other grains) stands at about 66.306 million hectares, which is up about 6% from about 62.766 million hectares recorded during this time last year.

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India Government Projects 2013-14 Rice Production at Record 106.19 Million Tons

The Indian government says in its second advance estimates that rice production in 2013-14 (October - September) is likely to reach a record 106.19 million tons, the highest ever on record and up about 1% from an estimated 105.24 million tons produced in the previous year.

The government says that India’s total food grain production, which includes kharif season (July – December) and rabi crops (November - March), in 2013-14 is likely to reach around 263.2 million tons (about 6 million tons or 2% higher from 2012-13) and production of many crops is likely to break earlier records.

Local sources say that rice production is likely to get a boost this year helped by a surging rabi (winter) rice crop and high market prices. According to the agriculture ministry, India’s rabi rice area stands at around 2.8 million hectares as of February 14, 2014, up about 33% from last year.

Higher production will help India maintain record rice shipments in 2013-14. According to the USDA, India was the world’s largest rice exporter in 2012-13 with exports of around 10.9 million tons. The US agency estimates India’s rice production in 2013-14 at around 103 million tons, against a consumption of 95 million tons, while India’s exports are expected to reach around 10 million tons in 2013-14. However, rice traders in India expect rice exports to grow to around 11 million tons in 2013-14.

Government estimates are usually conservative, and the second advance estimate for rice production in 2012-13 was around 101.8 million tons, down about 3% or about 3.4 million tons from actual production of around 105.24 million tons.



अब 30-40 प्रतिशत ज्यादा होगा धान!

सुरेश उपाध्याय, नई दिल्ली :
धान की एक ऐसी किस्म का विकास किया गया है जो इसके उत्पादन में 30 से 40 फीसदी तक की बढ़ोतरी कर सकती है। इंडियन काउंसिल ऑफ एग्रिकल्चरल रिसर्च की हैदराबाद इकाई के वैज्ञानिकों ने इस नई किस्म का विकास किया है। अभी देश में हर साल करीब सवा 10 करोड़ टन धान पैदा होता है। नई किस्म भारत को धान उत्पादन के मामले में एक नए मुकाम पर पहुंचा सकती है।
धान की नई किस्म का विकास करने वाली टीम से जुड़े वैज्ञानिक कुतुबुद्दीन मौला बताते हैं कि लीफ और सीड ब्लाइट के कारण भारत में हर साल धान की 30 से 40 फीसदी फसल बर्बाद हो जाती है। इस बर्बादी को रोकने के लिए उनके संस्थान ने धान की जिस नई किस्म का विकास किया है वह लीफ और सीड ब्लाइट से निपटने में काफी कारगर पाई गई है। इसके कारण किसानों का इस रोग से निपटने के लिए कीटनाशकों पर होने वाला खर्च तो बचता ही है, पर्यावरण का भी भला होता है। वैज्ञानिकों की जिस टीम ने इस नई किस्म का विकास किया है, उसकी अगुवाई डॉ. के. दत्ता कर रहे हैं। इस नई प्रजाति पर अभी काम जारी है। उम्मीद है इससे अभी और बेहतर नतीजे हासिल किए जा सकते हैं।
धान की फसल को लीफ और सीड ब्लाइट से भारी खतरा रहता है। इसमें धान के पत्ते और बीज झुलस जाते हैं। इसे झुलसा रोग भी कहते हैं। इसकी वजह बैक्टीरिया और फंगस होते हैं, जो धान को नुकसान पहुंचाते हैं। पत्तों को नुकसान पहुंचने से धान का पौधा अपना भोजन नहीं बना पाता, जिससे वह वक्त से पहले ही नष्ट हो जाता है। बीज पर बैक्टीरिया या फंगस का अटैक होने पर उसका विकास नहीं हो पाता। इसके कारण या तो बीज बन ही नहीं पाता या फिर उसका पूरी तरह से विकास नहीं हो पाता। वातावरण में नमी होने पर लीफ और सीड ब्लाइट का खतरा बढ़ जाता है। इससे निपटने के लिए किसानों को बड़ी मात्रा में पेस्टिसाइड्स का इस्तेमाल करना पड़ता है। इससे उन पर आर्थिक बोझ तो बढ़ता ही है, साथ ही ये पेस्टिसाइड्स पर्यावरण के लिए भी बड़ा खतरा बनते हैं। इसके साथ ही इनके इस्तेमाल से मिट्टी की क्वॉलिटी भी खराब हो जाती है।

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An innovation that offers double bonanza for paddy farmers

Good news for paddy farmers! They can now doubly benefit by growing an additional crop without incurring extra cost, apart from contributing to the nation’s fuel needs.

A student of Ph.D at the Indian Institute of Sciences (IISc), Bangalore, has devised a technique to grow paddy along with an oil-producing algae, which helps farmers earn additional income.

Termed ‘Algiculture’, it is a sustainable method of algae cultivation in paddy fields. The interesting part is that it requires no additional land, water or nutrients. “Algiculture has the potential to benefit farming, especially in semi-arid regions, by offering an opportunity to farmers to attempt multiple-cropping and simultaneous generation of algal bio-fuel,” says Abitha, the student.

While paddy grows to be harvested, the new method allows farmers to raise an additional 100 kg algae in a hectare. In two months, it produces nearly six tonnes of algae that can be used as bio-fuel, as algae is looked upon as a source of renewable bio-fuel.

Abitha’s path-breaking project was the second runner-up at the innovation competition, ‘Power of Shunya : Challenge for Zero’, organised by DuPont. She teamed up with Vikas Gujral from Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad, to win the Rs. 2.5 lakh prize money.

In the new technique, algae rise as floating ‘flocs’ that are harvested every afternoon and sent for drying, oil extraction and cattle feed supplement. The dung is finally deposited in the paddy field for higher sustainability.

Abitha has successfully completed a pilot project at Tumkur in Karnataka. “Following its success, all farmers in the area are now keen to follow it, as it is not only financially beneficial but also enriches their land with nutrients.”

According to her, paddy is cultivated in 44 million hectares in the country, and even if 17 per cent of it is used for ‘algiculture’, India’s fuel needs can be met with no additional energy input.

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India Exports 7 Million Tons of Rice in April – November 2013; Up 10% from Previous Year

India’s total rice (basmati and non-basmati) exports in April - November of the fiscal year 2013-14 (April 2013 - March 2014) have increased to around 7 million tons, up about 10% from around 6.39 million tons exported during the corresponding period in the FY 2012-13, according to provisional data by the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA). At the current pace, India’s total rice exports are expected to reach around 10.5 million tons in FY 2013-14, up about 3% compared to around 10.15 million tons exported in FY 2012-13.

In value terms, India’s total rice exports have increased sharply to around Rs. 291,243 crore (around $4.884 billion) during April – November 2013, up about 44% from around Rs. 202,846 crore (around $3.716 billion) in the same period in FY 2012-13. In USD terms, value of rice exports grew by 31% during April – November 2013.

India's basmati rice exports have increased to around 2.37 million tons in April - November 2013, up about 11% from about 2.13 million tons exported in the same period in FY 2012-13. In value terms, basmati rice exports surged to about Rs.17,529 crore (around $2.962 billion) during the first eight months of FY 2013-14, up about 56% from around Rs.11,219 crore (around $2.055 billion) earned in the same period in FY 2012-13. In USD terms, India’s basmati rice exports grew by 44% in April – November FY 2013-14.

India’s non-basmati rice exports in April - November 2013 increased to around 4.65 million tons, up about 9% from around 4.26 million tons recorded in the same period in FY 2012-13. In value terms, non-basmati rice exports earned about Rs.11,595 crore (around $1.921 billion), up about 28% from around Rs.9,066 crore (around $1.661 billion) in the same period in FY 2012-13. In dollar terms, non-basmati rice exports grew by 16% during the period.

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Rice procurement likely to miss 34-mt target

The rice procurement drive by government agencies for the 2013-14 marketing season (October-September) is likely to fall below the target of 34 million tonne (mt).

Food ministry officials attribute the reasons for the slow progress in procurement from farmers to mainly late arrival of the kharif crop in eastern states and adverse impact of cyclone on key rice-growing areas of Andhra Pradesh and Orissa.

Besides, the slow pace of rice procurement has been also attributed to active participation of private traders in the market due to lower kharif output. As per latest data, with the exception of Chhattisgarh, all other key states that contribute to the government's rice procurement drive have recorded lower volume of purchase this year compared to last year.

Till Tuesday, FCI and the state government-owned agencies purchased more than 21.5 mt of rice from the farmers compared to 23.3 mt last year. This decline in total volume of procurement is more than 8% and is expected to widen in the next few months.

“Kharif crop arrivals in eastern states have been slower this year while a chunk of crop area was adversely impact by cyclone,” an agriculture ministry official told FE.

The government agencies have purchased 8.1 mt in Punjab, 4.6 mt in Chhattisgarh, 2.4 mt in Haryana and 2.4 mt rice in Andhra Pradesh, as per latest data.

Prior to the formal commencement of rice procurement in October, 2013, the food ministry, in consultation with states, set targets for each of the key contributing states.

Punjab and Andhra Pradesh were estimated to contribute 8.3 mt and 6 mt, respectively, the other key contributors to the central pool would be Chhattisgarh (5.5 mt), Haryana (2.3 mt), Uttar Pradesh (2.7 mt), Orissa (2.6 mt) and West Bengal (2.2 mt).

With the exception of Chhattisgarh, where state government has purchased more than 4.6 mt till now, in all the other key growing states --- Punjab, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa – the volume of rice procurement from farmers have been less than the target.

In Punjab and Haryana, where procurement is complete, the state agencies have purchased 8.1 mt and 2.4 mt of rice this season against 8.5 mt and 25.9 mt last year. Due to an untimely storm in many districts of Punjab in September, rice procurement was marginally lower in the state.

The biggest fall in procurement was witnessed in the cyclone-hit Andhra Pradesh, where state agencies purchased 2.4 mt till Tuesday against 2.9 mt last year. The government's rice stock with the FCI and other agencies was reported at 14.6 mt at the start of this month, which is more than double of strategic reserve and buffer stock norms.

The government had approved a minimum support price for 2013-14 at Rs 1,310 per quintal for common paddy rice, which is an increase of about 5% from around Rs1,250 a quintal last year.

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India Winter Rice Crop Planting Area Reaches 2.1 Million Hectares; Up 40% from Last Year

Planting area under India's Rabi (winter) rice crop (November – April) stands at around 2.1 million hectares as of January 31, 2014, which is up about 40% from about 1.5 million hectares recorded during same time in 2013, according to the Ministry of Agriculture. Rabi rice crop accounts for around 10% – 15% of total annual rice production in India.

India’s total Rabi planting area (including rice and other grains) stands at about 64.3 million hectares as of January 31, 2014, up about 6% from about 60.8 million hectares recorded during this time last year.

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Rice Exempted from Stock Holding Limit Under the Essential Commodities Act

The Commerce and Industry Minister Shri Anand Sharma has welcomed the order issued by Department of Consumer Affairs to exempt stocks of edible oil, edible oilseeds and rice meant for export from the stock holding limit under the Essential Commodities Act. The exporters have been demanding that they should not be subjected to stock holding limit prescribed under the Essential Commodities Act, if they have merchandize stocks of such commodities meant for exports.

The DGFT had taken up this matter with the Department of Consumer Affairs. The Department of Consumer Affairs have issued Removal of (Licensing requirements, Stock limits and Movement Restrictions) on Specified Foodstuffs Order, 2002 on 9th January 2014.

This will address the long felt need of such exporters and reduce their transaction cost.

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India set to retain top rice exporter tag

Sharp rise in demand from the US, Europe and the middle-eastern countries for Basmati rice and Africa and Asian countries for non-Basmati rice, India is all set emerge as world’s top rice exporters in the current fiscal.
This will be second time in a row that India is likely to emerge as biggest rice exporter globally. As per the commerce ministry data (April-November, 2013), India has exported close to 7 million tonnes (MT) of rice and expected to ship more than 10.5 MT by end of current fiscal.
More than 2.3 MT of aromatic and long-grain Basmati rice and 4.6 MT of non-Basmati rice were exported during first eight months of the current fiscal. “Demand for rice has been rising from all across the globe and we expect to reach a record level of exports by the end of current fiscal,” a commerce ministry official said.
The exporters are targeting to achieve more than 10.5 MT of rice in 2013-14 while in the previous fiscal, the country has shipped 10 MT. Thailand and Vietnam are the other rice exporters, who ship around 7 MT of rice annually each. Rice exports have been looking northwards since the country lifted a four-year ban on non-Basmati rice shipment after in September 2011. The ministry data also indicate that last fiscal rice exports fetched more than Rs 33,800 crore while in the April-November 2013 period, India has earned more than Rs 29,000 crore.

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Rice, wheat buffer stock move may push market prices up

In a final push to the food security law, the Union cabinet on Thursday would consider a proposal to increase buffer stock of two vital food grains, rice and wheat, by about 60% for easy roll-out of the programme.

Such stocking may trigger an increase in prices of food grains in the open market.

The food security law was enacted in September 2013 and state governments have one year for implementing it.

The law provides for priority households (existing below poverty line) getting 5 kg of food grains per month, and Antyodaya (extremely poor) households 35 kg per month.

The combined coverage of priority and Antyodaya households should be 75% of the total rural population and 50% of the urban population.

The food ministry has proposed a change in regulations to maintain a minimum 150 metric tonnes of buffer stock in a year. As of now, the minimum buffer stock is 99.30 metric tonnes in a year.

The government maintains buffer stock on quarterly basis for operational and strategic purposes. The operational purpose is to provide food grains for the public distribution system (PDS) as per quota fixed for each state. The strategic stock is for meeting emergency situations such as droughts and natural calamities.

The food ministry has proposed a substantial increase in both operational and strategic stock. This is what could possibly affect open market prices.

With change in buffer stock requirement, the government will need an increase in capacity of silos to store additional food grains.

The cabinet has already approved a policy for public private partnership to build international quality silos. According to an official source, the response of private players to the policy has been poor because of “inflexible” norms.

The Food Corporation of India often faces criticism over its storage facilities and large amount of food stock going waste.

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India FY 2013-14 Basmati Rice Exports Forecast to Reach Record 4 Million Tons

India’s basmati rice exports are forecast to reach around 4 million tons in FY 2013-14 (April – March), the highest annual basmati rice exports on record and up about 12.5% from around 3.5 million tons in FY 2012-13.

Trade sources say that India's basmati rice exports between April and December 2013 have increased to around 2.8 million tons, up about 15% from around 2.45 million tons exported during the corresponding period in 2012.

According to the executive director of the All India Rice Exporters Association (AIREA), India's basmati rice exports are expected to reach a record high in 2013-14 due to demand especially from the Middle East countries including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iran.

According to official sources, Iran is the top buyer of India rice and basmati rice sales to the country have almost doubled during the first two quarters of FY 2013-14. India’s basmati rice exports to Iran between April-September 2013 stood at around 851,859 tons, up about 77% compared to around 481,328 tons exported during the same period in 2012.

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India Winter Rice Crop Planting Area Reaches 325,000 Hectares; Down 27% from Last Year

Rice planting area under India’s winter (rabi) crop has reached around 325,000 hectares as of January 3, 2014, which is down about 27% from about 445,000 hectares planted with rabi rice during same time last year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture.

India’s total rabi planting area (including rice and other grains) stands at about 59.2 million hectares, up about 4% from about 56.9 million hectares recorded during this time last year.

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India Exports 9.6 Million Tons of Rice in January – November 2013

India has exported around 9.6 million tons of rice in January – November 2013, up about 1% from around 9.5 million tons of rice exported during the same period in 2012, according to the USDA Post in New Delhi.

The Post says that India’s basmati rice exports have slowed down since October 2013due to withdrawal of sanctions on Iran by the U.S. and some other countries. However, India’s PUSA 1121 basmati rice remains “very price competitive” compared to long grain rice of other origins and exports to Iran will resume soon, according to the Post.

The Post also says that the Indian government may review its non-basmati rice export policy in 2014 if government procurement drops significantly or if domestic prices increase. As of December 24, 2013, the Indian government has procured about 14.3 million tons of rice from the current marketing season 2013-14 (October – September), down about 6% from around 15.1 million tons during the corresponding period in MY 2012-13.

Untimely rains in October – November 2013 in eastern and southern states, and relatively strong open market prices have slowed down government procurement so far. The Post says that while procurement is expected to gather momentum in January 2014, total procurement in MY 2013-14 is expected to decline to around 32 million tons, down about 6% from previous year’s 34 million tons.

India’s rice production in 2013-14 is forecast to reach around 103 million tons, down about 1% from around 104.4 million tons produced in the previous year. India’s rice exports in 2013-14 are projected to reach around 10 million tons, down about 8% compared to around 10.9 million tons in the previous year, according to the USDA.

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India Winter Rice Crop Planting Area Reaches 214,000 Hectares So Far, Up 23% from Last Year

Area under India’s winter (rabi) rice crop planting has reached about 214,000 hectares as of December 20, 2013, which is up about 23% from around 174,000 hectares recorded during the same period last year, according to government sources.

Overall planting area under India’s rabi crop (including rice and other crops) has reached around 53.64 million hectares, up about 6% from around 50.73 million hectares recorded during this time last year.

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Rice basmati rises on stockists buying

Prices of rice basmati rose by Rs 200 per quintal at the wholesale grains market today on stockists buying against slowdown in arrivals from producing regions.

However, other grains ruled steady in scattered deals.

Traders said stockists buying following rising demand against restricted arrivals from producing belts mainly pushed up rice basmati prices.

In the national capital, rice basmati common and Pusa-1121 variety rose by Rs 200 each to Rs 8,600-8,800 and Rs 7,950-8,450 per quintal, respectively.

The following were today's quotations per quintal:

Wheat MP (deshi) 2,070-2,270, Wheat dara (for mills) 1,660-1,665, Chakki atta (delivery) 1,665-1,670 Atta Rajdhani (10 kg) 220, Shakti bhog (10 kg) 220, Roller flour mill 920-930 (50 kg), Maida 970-990 (50 kg) and Sooji 1,010-1,030 (50kg).

Basmati rice (Lal Quila) 10,400, Shri Lal Mahal 10,000, Super Basmati Rice, 9,500, Basmati common new 8,600-8,800, Rice Pusa-(1121) new 7,950-8,450, Permal raw 2,100-2,200, Permal wand 2,275-2,300, Sela 2,950-2,975 and Rice IR-8- 1,875-1,900, Bajra 1,320-1,325, Jowar yellow 1,400-1,450, white 2,300-2,500, Maize 1,405-1,410, Barley 1,400-1,410, Rajasthan 1,080-1,090.

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India Government Considers Increase in Rice Buffer Norms

The Indian government may increase buffer norms for rice and wheat in the central pool to ensure availability of food grains in the country for the implementation of the Food Security Act.

Today, the Cabinet referred a proposal by the National Centre for Agricultural Economics and Policy Research (NCAP) to a panel over a possible increase in buffer norms for rice and wheat by around 50% from the current norm of around 21 - 32 million tons of food grains to meet the requirement under the Food Security Act.

It is estimated that India’s food grains requirement under the National Food Security Act will increase to around 62-64 million tons, up from the current 56-60 million tons. The panel includes the Agriculture Minister, the Finance Minister and representatives of the Planning Commission.

Local sources say that increasing buffer norms for rice and wheat does not serve any purpose as current stocks are consistently about 100% than the required norms. Moreover, increasing buffer norms will make open sales of food grains difficult which may lead to higher prices and storage losses. Some experts say that increasing buffer norms for rice and wheat may also force the government to import food grains in a low production year or if domestic procurement does not meet the target.

India's buffer and strategic reserves were last finalized in April 2005. Strategic rice reserves stand at 2 million tons at any point of the year, while it is 3 million tons for wheat. The peak buffer norm for rice is 12.2 million tons as of April 1, while it is 17.1 million tons for wheat as of July 1. About 46% of total rice procurement in India takes place in the quarter October to December and 32.2% in the first quarter of calendar year.

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India Rice Prices Reach Record High in November 2013; Up 20% from Last Year

Average wholesale rice prices in India continue to soar, reaching around Rs. 2,931 per quintal in November 2013, up about 7% from around Rs. 2,750 per quintal in October 2013, and up about 20% from around Rs. 2,441 per quintal in November 2012. Current average wholesale rice prices are the highest since at least January 2011 and probably the highest on record, according to official sources.

In terms of USD per ton, average wholesale rice prices in India stand at about $473 per ton (using current exchange rates) in November 2013, up about 5% from around $451 per ton (using historical exchange rates) in October 2013, and up about 5% from around $450 per ton (using historical exchange rates) seen in November 2012.

Harvest of the main rice crop is going on in India, but local traders say rice prices are likely to remain high in the coming months and probably surge higher later next year due to lower anticipated production and continued exports. India’s 2013-14 rice production is estimated to fall about 5% from around 105 million tons produced in 2012-13 due to the adverse impact of consecutive cyclones in October – November 2013.

Last week, the Indian government extended stockholding limit for rice and paddy under the Essential Commodities Act for another year until November 2014 to prevent hoarding. However, rice exporters with government licenses are exempt from the limit until November 2014. The government said, “This [exemption] will help exporters benefit from economies of scale and bigger operation for optimally meeting export demands on a long-term basis.”

Maximum limit of stock for rice in India is decided by the state governments. In 2009, the northern state of Punjab had fixed 500 tons limit for rice wholesalers and 50 tons limit for retailers to control rice prices.

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Kharif output to drop to lowest level since 2010

 Timely access to irrigation water pushed up the sowing of paddy, compared to the normal acreage in Krishna district in kharif 2013. But the yield is going to be less then what is expected -- the lowest since 2010.

Agriculture officials estimated that the total paddy production in this kharif season in Krishna district will be around 11 lakh tonnes instead of the yield of over 13.56 lakh tonnes.

Over two lakh tonnes of paddy has been damaged by cyclones – Helen, Phailin and Lehar.

Of the three cyclones that hit the State in quick succession, it was Helen that inflicted the maximum damage.

According to Agriculture department statistics, paddy was sown in 2.56 lakh hectares this year against the normal acreage of 2.55 lakh hectares.

Paddy hit badly

“The total production is likely to fall from 13.80 lakh tonnes to around 11 lakh tonnes.

At least paddy crop in 60,000 hectares was badly damaged and the farmers can’t even recover the grain from most of this area,” Krishna District Agriculture Department In-Charge Joint Director Balu Naik told The Hindu.

The stretch of coastal mandals from Kruthivennu to Nagayalanka, which falls under the eastern part of the Krishna district, is the most affected. However, the sowing operations in this part were delayed by two months.

For farmers in this region, kharif is the only crop in the absence of rabi due to irrigation water woes, particularly since 2010.

The cyclones have also badly impacted the dairy sector.

“The highest loss is of fodder. The demand for fodder will be very much in Krishna, the State’s largest milk producing district. There is no way to collect it from the paddy that has collapsed due to the winds,” said Mr. Balu Naik.

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