One of the important initiatives SunRice (National Stock Exchange:RGWB) offers to encourage rice production in the Riverina is GrowRice. GrowRice provides up to $1,000 per contracted hectare at a competitive interest rate prior to or during the growing season to assist with the purchase of water and other crop inputs, with repayments being deducted from your first harvest payment. I have been really pleased to hear how many growers make use of GrowRice and benefit from this initiative. A good example of this is former NRL footy star-turned rice grower Ryan McGoldrick and his wife Rosanna from Coleambally, who took advantage of SunRice's GrowRice funding facility to purchase water so they could plant their second ever crop of rice. In a time when many young people are swapping their rural lives for the city, it's wonderful Ryan and Rosanna can see a bright future in rice and the Riverina - read more about Ryan and Rosanna's story below. As we look beyond harvest and start planning for C19, I'd strongly encourage you all to look at GrowRice and see how it might assist your efforts to grow rice. For more details and eligibility criteria, visit http://www.abnnewswire.net/lnk/9TMAJ29D
These initiatives are strengthened by our focus on doing everything we can to deliver on the core objectives of our new five-year strategy: improving paddy prices and shareholder returns, as reinforced in CEO Rob Gordon's message below. As he explains, we're expecting a key driver of this to be the ability to market premium rice from the Riverina, to meet global consumers' increasing demand for quality, 'clean and green', healthy products.
As such, we're encouraging you to grow premium, high-value varietals such as medium grain, Low GI, Opus and Koshihikari.
Considering this, the Board was delighted to be able to announce last month a further $15 per tonne uplift to the lower end of the C17 paddy price range, with the estimated range for medium grain (Reiziq) now at $350 - $365/t. This represents an overall $50/t uplift on the initial estimated range of $300 - $320/t announced in August 2017. As communicated, the positive adjustment was made possible by a combination of factors, including: continued positive trading conditions; leveraging the recovery in world markets and prices; and premiumisation of branded products. The Board will again review the C17 range at the next Board meeting in April. Grower Services has also announced the interim first payment rates for C18. Once again this season, following the April Board meeting we will be quoting a range for estimated C18 pool returns with pool payments being set from the lower end of that range. Any changes to the interim payments will automatically flow through in future pool payments.
Grower Reference Group
We have held the first meeting of the newly formed Grower Reference Group, which we have established with the support of the RGA to help inform SunRice's thinking on key grower issues.
The Group is intended to broaden the range of views and feedback that SunRice gets from our growers, particularly given the limited proportion of growers that attend our regular meetings throughout the year. We want the Group to provide frank and robust face-to-face feedback and, as a result, we have chosen a diverse mix of members. Items for discussion may include Capital Restructure options, grower-related programs and processes such as PayRice and other issues arising. I consider the first meeting was a success, with all members purposefully contributing to discussions across a range of issues.
PayRice harvest payments
With the first harvest payment for C18 on the horizon, by now you should have received by email the new look delivery and payment documents from the Grower Services team. We are trying to reduce the amount of paper we are sending to you, while ensuring we provide clear and concise information. I have received my documents via email and am pleased with the format and layout. We have also sent you a short video to step through the new documents and to help you understand how you will be paid. This will cover our new standard payment terms and the PayRice facility. Please take the time to review this information which can be accessed via the Grower Portal and if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact Grower Services on 1800 654 557.
It was great to see those of you who attended the Rice Industry Field Day in Yanco recently, where it was exciting to be part of the launch of the new short season variety, YRM70, now named Viand. On behalf of the SunRice Board, I would like to wish you all the best of luck with harvest.
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About Ricegrowers Ltd
SunRice is the consumer brand and trading name of Ricegrowers Limited (NSX:RGWB), which is one of Australia's largest branded food exporters. a $1.1 billion global food business and one of Australia's leading branded food exporters. With sales, marketing and operations spanning the globe, we supply domestic markets and almost 50 countries with diverse and nutritious food products, from table rice, flour and snacks, to rice meals and companion animal and livestock products.