Sep 30, 2008

Government needs to clarify ethanol policy

By The Nation
Published on September 30, 2008 Thailand. The government should be clear on its ethanol policy as a means to promote the use of Thai tapioca. Thailand is one of the biggest producers of tapioca, and the product has been a major source of export income since the 1980s.

The tapioca trade has a solid structure and is supported by a number of associations including the Thai Tapioca Development Institute and the Thai Tapioca Trade Association. Thai tapioca producers have managed to improve the quality of the product to meet the needs of consumers. However, the need for tapioca on the world market has decreased over the past few years because there are other crops that can be used in the production of animal feed. Therefore, the government needs to find a new market for farmers who depend on cassava root plantations.

Ethanol production can provide a big market for Thai tapioca. However, the government has so far failed to spell out its policy on ethanol. Consequently, ethanol producers are now facing the problem of surplus domestic supply and they are forced to export, even though their produce is meant to support ethanol policies at home. A clear policy on ethanol should strengthen Thailand's position as the biggest producer of this crop in the future.

It is welcome news that the Commerce Ministry plans to host the World Tapioca Conference from January 15-16 next year to bring together international experts to discuss the prospects of this crop. The outcome of the conference should provide an answer on how to develop tapioca, which should be beneficial for Thai farmers. We should not lose out on an opportunity to continue with the success of this crop, which has been part of our economy for a long time.


State help sought for cassava glut

Feed industry urged to use more tapioca

Walailak Keeratipipatpong sep. 26, 2008. Local tapioca manufacturers say the government should buy at least five million tonnes of cassava from the new crop in order to stabilise prices that are expected to fall in a slowing market.

Industry surveys conducted last week found that local cassava production from the 2008-09 crop would be 29.15 million tonnes, a rise of 15% from the previous crop, as a result of larger plantations and higher yields.

Favourable prices last year driven by the ethanol craze have induced planters, raising the harvesting acreage this year above eight million rai, from 7.39 million a year earlier. In addition, the average yield per rai has improved to 3.64 tonnes from 3.4 tonnes, according to the Thai Tapioca Trade Association.

Chen Wongboonsin, the association's president said that in recent discussions with the Commerce Ministry's Internal Trade Department, planters and manufacturers agreed that tate intervention was necessary to prevent a price slump.

Farmers are worried that slowing demand from Europe and lack of clarity in the Thai government's ethanol policy could push down cassava prices. The root is currently fetching 1.70 to 1.80 baht per kilogramme, down from 2.70 baht early this year.

They have proposed that the government buy surplus output of around five million tonnes, at prices between 1.90 and 2.20 baht per kilogramme.

The Internal Trade Department will consider appropriate pledging prices to minimise the effect on export prices and on the government budget.

According to Mr Chen, tapioca pellet exports to the 27 countries of the European Union, the largest buyer, are likely to decline as EU grain production this year is up 25% to 304 million tonnes.

In the first eight months of 2008, the EU bought about 1.4 million tonnes of pellets from Thailand to use in livestock feed, about 500,000 tonnes higher than in the same period last year. A severe drought in the EU last year contributed to brisk sales of Thai tapioca pellets in the first half of this year.

Mr Chen said he was confident that with state intervention, the market would remain healthy thanks to more demand from the local animal feed industry. It is estimated that the industry will use as much as two million tonnes of pellets to mix with soybean meal, resulting in the equivalent nutritive value of maize.

As well, non-EU buyers that include South Korea, the Philippines and Indonesia are significant markets that could together import up to 500,000 tonnes of pellets from Thailand next year.

Despite the decline in imports of tapioca chips from Thailand this year, China is expected to remain a big customer for the product, use largely in its alcohol industry, as world maize prices are on the rise, reflecting a forecast drop in US production.

He said that tapioca demand from the native and modified starch industries also remained strong, estimated at 15 million tonnes of roots next year. As well, the opening of two or three new ethanol plants next year would drive demand to at least two million tonnes of cassava per year.

Currently, there is one ethanol plant that uses cassava, with annual demand of 300,000 to 400,000 tonnes.


Leading Rice Export Countries

Chinese Rice Exports Down 65% while Indian Grain Shipments Rise 41%
© Daniel Workman
Apr 16, 2008

In total, Thailand and the U.S. grow 6% of the global rice harvest yet account for about 45% of worldwide rice exports.

According to the latest rice statistics from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Thailand exports more milled rice by weight than any other country.

In 2004, overall world rice exports were 29 million tons up 4.4% from 2003. Thailand, India, Vietnam, the United States and Pakistan lead the world in rice exports.

Thailand Leading Rice Exporter
Thailand’s rice exports fell slightly to 9.7 million tons in 2007 and are expected to drop further to 8.5 million tons in 2008. While Thailand has not yet announced quotas or other restrictions on its rice exports, that could change given that other large rice exporters like India and Vietnam have announced controls including premium pricing to constrain rice shipments as a way to feed domestic consumers and control rising price inflation in the home country.

The analysis below identifies other top rice exporting regions from around the world.

Rice Exporters by Continent
1. Asia … 22.1 million tons (76.3% of global rice exports)
2. North and Central America … 3.1 million tons (10.6%)
3. Europe … 1.6 million tons (5.4%)
4. South America … 1.2 million tons (4.2%)
5. Africa … 952,380 tons (3.3%).

Top Rice Exporters by Country
The rice exporting countries on the list below are responsible for 97% of world rice exports, led by Thailand.
1. Thailand … 10 million tons (34.5% of global rice exports)
2. India … 4.8 million tons (16.5%)
3. Vietnam … 4.1 million tons (14.1%)
4. United States … 3.1 million tons (10.6%)
5. Pakistan … 1.8 million tons (6.3%)
6. China (including Taiwan) … 901,550 tons (3.1%)
7. Egypt … 836,940 tons (2.9%)
8. Italy … 668,940 tons (2.3%)
9. Uruguay … 609,170 tons (2.1%)
10. Spain … 346,030 tons (1.2%)
11. Argentina … 257,750 tons (0.9%)
12. Guyana … 256,330 tons (0.9%)
13. United Arab Emirates … 164,350 tons (0.6%)
14. Belgium-Luxembourg … 157,190 tons (0.5%)
15. Myanmar … 150,030 tons (0.5%).

Fastest-growing Rice Exporters by Country
Rice shipments from the following countries rose the fastest in 2004 from the prior year.
1. Guyana … 256,330 tons (up 59.2% in 2004)
2. Argentina … 257,750 tons (up 45.1%)
3. Egypt … 836,940 tons (up 42.9%)
4. India … 4.8 million tons (up 40.9%)
5. Thailand … 10 million tons (up 19.0%)
6. Italy … 668,940 tons (up 17.3%)
7. Vietnam … 4.1 million tons (up 7.2%)
8. Belgium-Luxembourg … 154,200 tons (up 1.9%)
9. Pakistan … 1.8 million tons (up 0.2%).

Fastest-declining Rice Exporters by Country
The rice-producing nations below decreased their milled rice exports the most in 2004.
1. China (including Taiwan) … 901.55 (down 65.4% in 2004)
2. Myanmar … 150.03 (down 61.3%)
3. United States … 3,066.77 (down 19%)
4. United Arab Emirates … 164.35 (down 14.6%)
5. Spain … 346.03 (down 9.4%)
6. Uruguay … 625 (down 2.5%).

This article presents independent calculations and insights based on statistics published on the International Rice Research Institute’s website.

The copyright of the article Leading Rice Export Countries in International Trade Commodities owned by Daniel Workman. Permission to republish Leading Rice Export Countries in print or online must be granted by the author in writing

Cassava produce to increase by 1 million tonnes this year

Amrit Rashmisrisethi Sep.27, 2008. The Agricultural Office in Nakhon Ratchasima province says cassava produce will increase by one million tonnes as more than 100,000 farmers have turned to grow the crop.

Official of the Nakhon Ratchasima Agricultural Office, Suphong Sinthurat (สุพงศ์ สินธุรัตน์), discloses that the province has more than two million rai of cassava plantation, increasing by 114,000 rai or 5.4% compared to last year. The plantations of cassava are expected to yield 4,300 kilograms per rai, increasing by 147 kilogram per rai.

However, Mr Somphong says the cost of production of cassavas is higher this year due to increases in the price of fertilizers and oil and higher labor wages. Farmers have turned to grow cassavas more as the price has risen last year.

Mr Somphong says further that 19 cassava factories in Nakhon Ratchasima can buy fresh cassavas of ten million tonnes in this harvest year. The provincial agricultural office educates farmers, especially those in seven districts, about how to increase produce per rai and raise the quality of cassavas. The provincial agricultural office expects that cassava produce will increase by 150 kilograms/rai/year and it will also promote the use of bio-fertilizers instead of chemical fertilizers, Mr Somphing says.

Source : National News Bureau, Public Relations Department of Thailand

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