Sunday, October 23, 2022

Drought Hits China Rice Quality

Rice quality has been reduced by this year's drought conditions in south China. reports that hot, dry weather has resulted in low yields, low milling yields, and degraded quality that could affect the appearance, texture and taste of long grain rice. The problems have become apparent since the October 1 National Day. 

Rice with quality problems is fetching low prices, while supplies of good quality rice are tight. Grain and Oils News reported last month that the low quality of this year's crop was boosting demand for old crop long grain rice released from reserves. 

Authorities began purchasing long grain rice at minimum prices in Anhui, Jiangsu, and Henan Provinces this month. Such purchases are authorized only when market prices fall below the minimum price--set this year at 129 yuan per 50kg for single-season indica rice. Rice must meet grade-3 quality standards, and rice at higher grades gets a premium.

A communist party web site posted a Q&A on government intervention purchases of rice in Xiangtan City of Hunan Province emphasizing that rice they purchase must meet national quality standards, another indicator of concern about marketing of this year's rice crop. The Xiangtan City document said single-season long grain rice could be purchased at the minimum price from October 10 through January 31, 2022. The document reminded officials that rice they purchase must meet national standards for moisture, milling yield, and foreign material. They must purchase newly harvested rice for government reserves; in other words they can't buy up old rice to stock reserves. The document identified 5 state-owned companies in the local area that are eligible to purchase rice for reserves directly from farmers who deliver the grain to the warehouse. Rice cannot be purchased at minimum price from traders or other intermediaries. 

This year people delivering rice to granaries in Xiangtan will have to fill out a form with their name, i.d. card number, contact info, date of delivery, weight of the rice, registration number of trucks used to ship the rice, cadmium content, warehouse number, and the village, town and county where the rice was grown. The form is part of a new traceability system, apparently to trace the source of rice that has excessive cadmium detected. 

The Xiangtan City document reminded officials that stabilizing the grain market is especially important this year due to the communist party's 20th congress held this week, the struggle against the covid pandemic, and other world events. Each local government and enterprise must raise its political stance.

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