AgFax Rice Review: Thai Subsidies to Be Scrapped; Mexico Working to Increase Production


    • Leslie Shaffer of reports that Thailand’s rice subsidy program is likely to be scrapped whether the current party wins re-election or not due to heavy criticisms and a lack of funding. Shaffer notes, however, that ending the program will entail its own problems as there are solid indications the program has alleviated poverty in rural areas, and there are concerns that ending the program will hurt upland retailers.
    • reports that Mexico has announced a new 6-year Agricultural Development Plan aiming to focus on increasing productivity, with the goal of increasing rice production by 50% to 27,000 tons of paddy rice by 2018.
    • reports that a large African business conglomerate is investing $300 million to help boost Nigeria’s rice production. Nigeria is striving for self-sufficiency in rice production with the government planning to ban all rice imports by 2015, though farmer representatives say such a ban is unfeasible.
    • reports that Pakistan has raised concerns with the WTO about India’s rice subsidies, claiming that India is in breach of prescribed subsidy limits while also expressing concerns that Indian rice exports could hurt their own rice exports. Pakistan also asserts that the agreement reached at the WTO meeting in Bali last month “is against WTO ideals and fails to protect other developing countries from the exports of subsidized staple crops like rice, wheat and cereals of countries like India.”


    • Paul Buttner, Environmental Affairs Manager for the California Rice Commission, writes on the blog that ongoing drought in California is not only a concern for crop production in the region but could also prove devastating to wildlife as the 500,000 acres of winter-flooded rice fields also double as wetland habitats for waterfowl which would not have enough space to support their populations otherwise.

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