The monthly Food Price Index, which measures international prices for a basket of food commodities, fell for the seventh time this year despite a nearly 10 percent surge in rice prices, said the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. Rice prices are at a 15-year high because of India's decision to restrict exports of non-basmati white rice.
The U.S. rice industry sharply criticized India, the world's largest rice exporter, for cutting off three-quarters of its overseas shipments. "This is another example of India playing games with global food security," said Bobby Hanks, a Louisiana rice miller and a USA Rice Federation official on Monday.
Some of the world’s agricultural powerhouses accused India on Thursday of violating world trade rules through exorbitant subsidies for its wheat and rice farmers. India was the ninth-largest farm exporter in the world in 2020, but its success was built on subsidized production, said Australia, Canada, Paraguay, Thailand, Ukraine, and the United States in a WTO filing.
With production surging by 4.4 percent, corn will drive world cereal grain production to record levels in 2020/21, said the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in its first forecast of the new crops. It was the second forecast in a week of record global output as the planting season ends in the northern hemisphere.
It is clear that India violates WTO limits on trade-distorting farm subsidies, said the Trump administration on Wednesday in announcing a “counter-notification” that could be the first step to a formal challenge of India’s wheat and rice subsidies.
In California's Sacramento Valley, farmers and conservationists are working together to create habitat for wildlife, trying to mimic wetlands that were once plentiful in the state but have shrunk to one-tenth of their historic size. The focus of their work is the rice industry, which ranks second in production after the Mississippi Delta. The effort is paying off. One farmer pointed out "egrets and herons, Sandhill Cranes, curlews, ibis, and countless ducks and geese filling whole sections of rice fields," reports Lisa Morehouse in her latest story for FERN, in collaboration with KQED's California Report. No paywall
The world’s farmers harvested a record 2.64 billion tonnes of wheat, rice, and feed grains in 2017, estimated the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. It was the group’s second sharp upward adjustment of its global production figure in two months.
The bigger-than-expected corn crop in the United States is helping to drive world cereal grain production to a record for the second year in a row, said the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.
Philippines officials are considering a request for a biosafety permit for so-called golden rice, which would allow use of the vitamin A-enriched GMO rice as food or feed and for processing, says the Cornell Alliance for Science. The biosafety permit would allow researchers to conduct human nutrition studies, the alliance said during the summer, and an application to allow cultivation of the rice in the Philippines "will be submitted in the future."
With winds of 105 mph early today, Hurricane Harvey could be the most powerful storm to hit the United States since 2005, bringing 15 to 25 inches of rain to the Texas coast and up to 15 inches of rain to central Louisiana, said the National Weather Service, as growers scurried to harvest cotton and rice ahead of the storm.
The nonpartisan U.S-Cuba Trade and Economic Council says the first shipment of U.S. rice to Cuba in eight years apparently passed unnoticed in the ongoing debate over trade with the island nation. Based in New York, the council, which produces monthly reports on commerce involving the countries, says the cargo was worth $252,000 and sailed from the Houston area.
Rice tends to absorb arsenic from the soil more readily than other food crops, prompting concern about the presence of the chemical in baby food. "Scientists have identified enzymes that help rice plant roots tame arsenic, converting it into a form that can be pushed back into the soil," thereby reducing the threat to humans, says Science News.
Arsenic’s reputation as a potent poison has been known since ancient Greeks and Romans used it to dispatch rivals. But scientists are just beginning to get a handle on the risks that come from chronic exposure to low doses of arsenic, which has complicated efforts to regulate the most common route of exposure: through diet.
Researchers are developing a new strain of genetically modified rice that contains much higher levels of iron and zinc, says the University of Melbourne. "This has the potential to reduce chronic malnutrition disorders that can be caused by an over-reliance on rice in the human diet," says the university.
With the floodwaters still rising in some parts of Louisiana, a lot of farmers with crops still in the field, as well as some with harvested crops in storage, are facing a total loss, says AgriPulse.
Two feet of rainfall over the weekend put the rice harvest in jeopardy in Louisana, the No. 3 rice state in the country. The deluge drove up futures prices by 6 percent on Monday, the largest one-day gain in five years, said Reuters. The rain flooded rice fields ready for harvest, according to a Louisiana State University rice researcher, and came on the heels of a USDA forecast of a record crop in the Pelican State.
Corn production will surge by a hefty 5 percent worldwide, pushing global grain production to within shouting distance of the record set two years ago, said the International Grains Council. Bigger-than-expected wheat and corn crops in the United States will be a factor in the near-record harvest and an expansion in the season-ending "carry over" stocks for the fourth year in a row.
The El Niño weather pattern, now on the wane, is the prime reason for crop-killing drought in Vietnam, "but it is not the only one," says the New York Times. Scientists say a contributing factor is the government's "rice first" policy, which leads to planting of three rice crops a year instead of the traditional one or two. The intensive growing depletes soil nutrients and magnifies the impact of drought.
The outlook for wheat and corn crops in the major grain-growing countries of the world has improved by 10 million tonnes in the past month, said the International Grains Council in forecasting the second-largest global grain harvest ever. Despite an upturn in consumption, the grain carry-over at the end of 2016/17 would be a record 474 million tonnes, up 6 million tonnes from 2015/16, the current record.