Developing Countries Will Lead Global Rice Import Growth in 2013-22, Says USDA Rice growers positive California MG prices are UP Russia MG Harvest coming to end Egypt open rice exports Vietnam’s rice export in tough competition with India Thai rice exports in May Rise Above Target This Year Viet-Nam Rice exports likely to fall this year
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California growers question rice pool’s effect on prices
Low prices that have plagued rice farmers for the past year are causing some growers to question the state’s pooling system and to look for alternative ways to sell their crop.

Nearly all of California’s medium grain calrose rice is sold to about a dozen private marketers and grower-owned cooperatives that market the rice domestically and internationally.

In an era of low prices and a large Golden State crop, some growers are exploring alternative ways to market their grain.

Leaders of the newly reorganized Rice Producers of California have almost all tried to market their rice using independent channels over the past two years.

“In fact, several of us market the large majority of our rice that way,” said Greg Massa, director of communications for RPC, which recently revamped its board of directors and mission statement to focus on economic issues for growers. Massa said he started selling his rice independently in 2003, earning himself some earlier cash flow, and even a little more money, than he would have in the pool system.

“I didn’t get the top cash price paid that year, but I sold when I knew I was making a profit, and I’m very happy with my 2003 return,” he said. Still, the Colusa County grower considers the venture a good alternative to pooling rice.

“It has been successful,” he said. “And farmers are realizing more and more that the pool system works to depress prices.”

Industry experts agree prices are dismal, but they may argue with Massa on why prices are low.

“It’s almost all driven by that huge 2004 crop,” said Nathan Childs, an economist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service. California growers produced 230.8 million hundredweights of medium grain rice last season, smashing both the previous year’s harvest of 199 million hundredweights and the previous record, 215 million hundredweights, in 2001.

While the USDA is projecting larger rice exports in 2004-05, up about 1 million hundredweights from the previous season, California sales to Northeast Asia are all driven by World Trade Organization contracts. As a result, those countries will likely only purchase the amount of rice they’re required to buy under trade rules.

“None of those three markets (Japan, Korea and Taiwan) are expected to take any more rice than required under WTO rules,” said Childs. “They’ll only take the minimum requirements. It’s not like some markets where low prices boost total demand.”

“There is a tremendous amount of competition among the pool players for their various markets,” Creed said. “With competition comes aggressive pricing and price discounts that may not be what the grower had hoped for.”

Creed said the record crop would most likely result in a “burdensome” carryover of grain next season.

In an effort to force change, RPC board members will consider asking growers to hold grain from the pooling system. They hope it could generate higher price returns.
In many ways, the growers bear much of the market risk, he said.
MGR Archive 17.3.2005
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Russia Rapan $ 700
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