Friday, November 28, 2014

28th November,2014 Daily Exclusive ORYZA E-Newsletter by Riceplus Magazine

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27th November,2014 Daily Global Rice E-Newsletter by Riceplus Magazine

Rs 10 billion subsidy for basmati growers being announced in Punjab: minister

November 27, 2014
Punjab Agriculture Minister Dr Farrukh Javed has said that 10 billion rupees subsidy is being announced for Basmati rice growers keeping in view the downward trend in its prices. Growers will be given 5000 rupees per acre subsidy to help them meeting their losses. Dr Farrukh Javed disclosed this while talking to a delegation of growers here on Wednesday. He said that the government is continuing its pro-farmer policies. He said that growers had already been given a subsidy of 22 billion rupees in electricity prices and it would be continued.

He said growers would get subsidised rates of electricity at the rate of Rs 10.35 per unit. The Punjab government has also finalised an agreement with a German company to convert tube wells in the province on biogas and a pilot project will soon be initiated. The government will be bearing a subsidy of 200,000 rupees per tube well, the Minister added. The Minister claimed that present government had introduced farmer friendly policies and historic subsidy packages. He said that the province had a production of over 19.5 million tons last year owing to hard work of growers and co-operation of the government extended to them. He said some progressive growers achieved production up to 98 maund per acre establishing a new national record. He said the government had fixed new support price for wheat at Rs 1300 per maund to help the growers and shed the bad impact of low international wheat prices on local market.

He said government had fixed urea fertilizer bag at Rs 1765 per bag and its availability on this rate is being ensured. He said that the government had also increased the research funds for agricultural sector by 200 percent and it would continue to introduce more lucrative packages as per available resources to facilitate the farmers. 


Filipino farmers protest government research on genetically modified rice

IPS Thursday 27 November 2014
Jon Sarmiento, a farmer in the Cavite province in southern Manila, plants a variety of fruits and vegetables, but his main crop, rice, is under threat. He claims that approval by the Philippine government of the genetically modified ‘golden rice’ that is fortified with beta-carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A, could ruin his livelihood.Sarmiento, who is also the sustainable agriculture programme officer of PAKISAMA, a national movement of farmers’ organisations, told IPS, “Genetically modified rice will not address the lack of vitamin A, as there are already many other sources of this nutrient. It will worsen hunger. It will also kill diversification and contaminate other crops.”Sarmiento aired his sentiments during a protest activity last week in front of the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), an office under the Department of Agriculture, during which farmers unfurled a huge canvas depicting a three-dimensional illustration of the Banaue Rice Terraces in Ifugao province in the northern part of the Philippines.
Considered by Filipinos as the eighth wonder of the world, the 2,000-year-old Ifugao Rice Terraces represent the country’s rich rice heritage, which some say will be at stake once the golden rice is approved.The protesting farmers also delivered to the BPI, which is responsible for the development of plant industries and crop production and protection, an ‘extraordinary opposition’ petition against any extension, renewal or issuance of a new bio-safety permit for further field testing, feeding trials or commercialisation of golden rice.“We challenge the government to walk the talk and ‘Be RICEponsible’,” Sarmiento said, echoing the theme of a national advocacy campaign aimed at cultivating rice self-sufficiency in the Philippines.
Currently, this Southeast Asian nation of 100 million people is the eighth largest rice producer in the world, accounting for 2.8 percent of global rice production, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO).But it was also the world’s largest rice importer in 2010, largely because the Philippines’ area of harvested rice is very small compared with other major rice-producing countries in Asia.In addition to lacking sufficient land resources to produce its total rice requirement, the Philippines is devastated by at least 20 typhoons every year that destroy crops, the FAO said.However, insufficient output is not the only thing driving research and development on rice.
A far greater concern for scientists and policy-makers is turning the staple food into a greater source of nutrition for the population. The government and independent research institutes are particularly concerned about nutrition deficiencies that cause malnutrition, especially among poorer communities.According to the Philippines-based International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), “Vitamin A deficiency remains a public health problem in the country, affecting more than 1.7 million children under the age of five and 500,000 pregnant and nursing women.”The vast majority of those affected live in remote areas, cut off from access to government nutrition programmes.
The IRRI estimates that guaranteeing these isolated communities sufficient doses of vitamin A could reduce child mortality here by 23-34 percent.Such thinking has provided the impetus for continued research and development on genetically modified rice, despite numerous protests including a highly publicised incident in August last year in which hundreds of activists entered a government test field and uprooted saplings of the controversial golden rice crop.While scientists forge ahead with their tests, protests appear to be heating up, spurred on by a growing global movement against GMOs.
Last week’s public action – which received support from Greenpeace Southeast Asia and included farmers’ groups, organic traders and consumers, mothers and environmentalists – denounced the government’s continuing research on golden rice and field testing, as well as the distribution and cropping of genetically-modified corn and eggplant.Monica Geaga, another protesting farmer who is from the group SARILAYA, an organisation of female organic farmers from the rice-producing provinces in the main island of Luzon, said women suffer multiple burdens when crops are subjected to genetic modification.“It is a form of harassment and violence against women who are not just farmers but are also consumers and mothers who manage households and the health and nutrition of their families,” she told IPS.Geaga said she believes that if plants are altered from their natural state, they release toxins that are harmful to human health.
Protestors urged the government to shield the country’s rice varieties from contamination by genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and instead channel the money for rice research into protecting the country’s biodiversity and rich cultural heritage while ensuring ecological agricultural balance.Though there is a dearth of hard data on how much the Philippine government has spent on GMO research, the Biotechnology Coalition of the Philippines estimates that the government and its multinational partner companies have spent an estimated 2.6 million dollars developing GM corn alone.
Furthermore, activists and scientists say GMOs violate the National Organic Law that supports the propagation of rice varieties that already possess multi-nutrients such as carbohydrates, minerals, fibre, and potassium, according to the Philippines’ National Nutrition Council (NNC).The NNC also said other rice varieties traditionally produced in the Philippines such as brown, red, and purple rice contain these nutrients.
Danilo Ocampo, ecological agriculture campaigner for Greenpeace Philippines, said the “flawed regulatory system” in the BPI, the sole government agency in charge of GMO approvals, “has led to approvals of all GMO applications without regard to their long-term impact on the environment and human health.
”“The problem with the current regulatory system is that there is no administrative remedy available to farmers once contamination happens. It is also frustrating that consumers and the larger populace are not given the chance to participate in GM regulation,” said Ocampo.“It is high time that we exercise our right to participate and be part of a regulatory system that affects our food, our health and our future,” he asserted.
Greenpeace explained in statements released to the media that aside from the lack of scientific consensus on the safety of GMOs on human health and the environment, they also threaten the country’s rich biodiversity.Greenpeace Philippines said genetically modified crops such as corn or rice contain built-in pesticides that can be toxic, and their ability to cross-breed and cross-pollinate other natural crops can happen in an open environment, which cannot be contained.Last week saw farmer activists in other cities in the Philippines stage protest actions that called on the government to protect the country’s diverse varieties of rice and crops and stop GMO research and field-testing.
In Davao City south of Manila, stakeholders held the 11th National Organic Agriculture Congress. In Cebu City, also south of Manila, farmers protested the contamination of corn, their second staple food, and gathered petitions supporting the call against the commercial approval of golden rice.

Consumer Reports: Why rice & kids might not mix

By Jim Niedelman Published: Nov 26, 2014 at 1:22 PM PST Last Updated: Nov 26, 2014 at 5:49 PM PST
CONSUMER REPORTS -- Consumer Reports issued new guidelines for limits on how much rice you and your children should eat. Consumer Reports analyzed Food and Drug Administration data on more than 600 foods that contain rice and found some with worrisome levels of inorganic arsenic, which is linked to several types of cancer. The Food and Drug Administration recommends parents consider other options rather than rice cereal for their children’s first solid food.
Consumer Reports’ analysis found that hot rice cereal and rice pasta can have much more arsenic than its lab saw in previous tests. Consumer Reports now recommends that children rarely eat these foods, which means not more than twice a month. And Consumer Reports recommends children under five limit rice drinks, rice cakes and ready-to-eat rice cereals. Levels of arsenic vary. Consumer Reports based its recommendations on the higher levels in each food group to offer consumers the best protection. 

As for rice itself, Consumer Reports’ lab tests in 2012 found high levels of inorganic arsenic in white rice and even higher levels in brown rice. Consumer Reports tested other types of rice and other grains and found several alternatives with much lower levels of inorganic arsenic. Some good choices — sushi rice from the U.S. and white basmati rice from California, India and Pakistan. On average they had half the amount of arsenic as most other types of rice. And brown basmati rice from California, India and Pakistan has about one third less inorganic arsenic than other brown rice. Other good options — bulgur, barley and faro, as well as gluten-free grains like amaranth, buckwheat, millet and quinoa.

 In response to Consumer Reports’ investigation, the USA Rice Federation issued this statement: “Research conducted by the Food and Drug Administration and U.S. rice industry shows arsenic levels found in U.S.-grown rice are below safe maximum levels established this year by the World Health Organization. Studies show that including white or brown rice in the diet provides measureable health benefits that outweigh the potential risks associated with exposure to trace levels of arsenic. The U.S. rice industry is committed to growing a safe and healthy product; we continuously test our crop, and research ways of reducing the already low levels of arsenic found in rice even further.

The Food & Drug Administration issued this statement: The FDA’s ongoing assessment of arsenic in rice remains a priority for the agency. Last year, the FDA released what we believe to be the largest set of test results to date on the presence of arsenic in rice and rice products, and we are planning to release a draft assessment of the potential health risks associated with the consumption of arsenic in these same foods. Until that review is completed, the agency continues to recommend that consumers, including pregnant women, eat a well-balanced diet containing a variety of grains.

Parents should feed infants and toddlers a variety of grains as well, and consider options other than rice cereal for a child’s first solid food. Published studies and ongoing FDA research indicate that cooking rice in excess volumes of water – five to six times that of the rice – and draining the water can reduce the arsenic content, though it may also reduce the nutritional value of the rice.


The Best Thing I Ate Last Week was also The Most Exotic Thing I Ate Last Week

Nepal native Lama Salam Singh brings out a platter at Yak: The Kathmandu Kitchen restaurant in Mobile, Ala. (Mike Brantley/
Mike Brantley |

on November 27, 2014 at 2:00 AM

You won't hear me say this very much, but The Best Thing I Ate Last Week also turned out to be The Most Exotic Thing I Ate Last Week.I was invited to pay a visit to one of Mobile's most memorable, fun restaurants, Yak: The Kathmandu Kitchen. The occasion was to take a culinary tour of owner Lama Salam Singh's native Nepal and to find out what all the fuss was about.This tiny, storefront eatery is all the buzz among certain segments of the Port City's food culture. I was also there to do the prep work for a preview story on the Mobile International Festival so being the intrepid working boy that I am, I decided to kill two birds with one stone.Singh is a very amiable, friendly sort who loves talking about his native land, but he also never tires about talking about his adopted hometown - Mobile. He came to Coastal Alabama several years ago where he enrolled as a student at the University of South Alabama. 

He liked it so much he decided to say and open a restaurant that featured cuisine of Nepal and India."I come from a very, very large family and food is a big part of our culture,'' he said. "I wanted to bring some of the taste of my country to Mobile," he added.The cuisine is reminiscent of Chinese, only different. The flavor patterns are different and Nepali cuisine, Singh explained, doesn't use sweet or soy sauce. The dipping sauces are rich and piquant; my favorite was a tomato-based sauce that went really well with steamed dumplings.My best advice is to go and enjoy the daily buffet that offers a large cross-section of Nepali cuisine. If you have any questions, the friendly wait staff is delighted to offer assistance and answer any questions you have.Take my word for it, a visit to Yak: The Kathmandu Kitchen will be The Best Thing You Ate Last Week.

Yak: The Kathmandu Kitchen

Owner: Lama Salam Singh

Menu: It is dedicated to serving the authentic cuisine native to Nepal and India. The dishes are very fresh and much lighter than you would think. The dishes have exotic names like MoMo Chicken (which is really dumplings) and Nepalese Non-Veg Thali (an arrangement of dishes highlighted by chicken curry, salad, piquant fermented mustard greens, mixed, lentils, basmati rice and some tasty rice pudding for dessert.)

Atmosphere: Small and intimate. The decorations are authentic Nepali and Indian and are guaranteed to start many a conversation.

Cost:Very reasonable. The MoMo Chicken is $6.95 for eight dumplings and the Nepalese Non-Veg Thali is $12.95, but it's plenty big enough to share.

Owner Lama Salam Singh's parting words: "Sharing food is part of our culture. It makes me happy to see people eating authentic Nepali food."

David's parting words:  Yak: The Kathmandu Kitchen is a truly unique culinary experience. It's not like anything else you'll find anywhere in Coastal Alabama. The staff is very friendly and helpful; trust me, I had a lot of questions. I encourage you to drop by for lunch or dinner and see what I'm talking about. And I encourage you to sample a lot of the cuisine by sampling the goods laid out at the large buffet. And like I said, don't be afraid to ask questions; you won't be sorry.
Source with thanks:

Procurement Begins on Dull Note

By Express News Service
Published: 27th November 2014 06:06 AM
Last Updated: 27th November 2014 06:06 AM
SAMBALPUR: Even as paddy procurement in the district began on a dull note on Monday with farmers returning from market yards without selling their stock, the district administration is hopeful of streamlining the process in the next couple of days. Apparently, 21 paddy-laden trucks had to be returned from the market yards as no milling agents turned up to lift the stock. The situation was similar on Tuesday.Admitting to the initial hiccups, Collector Balwant Singh said the problems are being sorted out.Kharif paddy will be procured this time through 49 market yards and procurement centres to be opened under Sambalpur, Kuchinda and Rairakhol sub-divisions.
 Agencies like FCI, Markfed and Nafed besides, 46 primary agricultural cooperative societies (PACs) are participating in the procurement process.Sources said the agreement with rice millers who are to be roped in for custom milling of paddy, is yet to be finalised, which has kept the millers away from the market yards on the first and the second day. The Collector said 20 more rice millers will be roped in to expedite the procurement. Besides, unlike last year when procurement was done for 60 days, it has been extended to 90 days this year. The administration has prepared a database of farmers who will have to produce their  identity card to sell their stock. The procurement target too has been enhanced.
Paddy-laden vehicles at a market yard in Sambalpur I Express Photo

Burirum kicks off rice grain market weekly
Date : 27 พฤศจิกายน 2557

BURIRUM, 27 Nov 2014, (NNT), - The Internal Trade Office in Burirum Province has organized a weekly market buying paddy at higher prices than those currently offered in the market, with an aim to help ease the burden of local farmers. The project is a joint efforts of the province’s Internal Trade Office, Krasang Agriculture Cooperatives Ltd., and a group of rice millers in the Central region.

The weekly market is paying up to 13,400 baht for a ton of paddy, depending on the moisture content and quality of the grains. The price is considerably higher than that currently offered in the general market, which is in the range of 10-11 baht per kg., or between 11,000 and 11,000 baht a ton. The market is meant to be an alternative for local farmers, as unscrupulous middlemen and rice millers have reportedly been taking advantage of them by offering to buy grains at much lower prices. More than 100 rice farmers so far have expressed their interests in selling their crops to the market. According to the Provincial Internal Trade Office, the project provides a fair distribution channel for the farmers, adding that it plans to hold the market in 5 districts, which are Krasang, Kumuang, Nong Hong, Calermphrakiate and Muang Districts.

Pakistan exports Rs 201b goods in October

LAHORE: Pakistan has exported items worth Rs 201.076 billion in October that is 1.58 percent more than the corresponding period of last fiscal year, while imports into Pakistan during October 2014 remained Rs 438.369 billion that is 25.80 percent than the same period of last year.According to available data, Pakistan’s exports during October of the current fiscal year remained Rs 201.076 billion that is 9.90 percent less than the exports of September worth 223.172 billion. On the other hand, exports from Pakistan grew 1.58 percent as compared to Rs 197.940 billion exports in the same period of previous fiscal year.Exports during July-October 2014 totalled Rs 804.356 billion against Rs 888.025 billion during the corresponding period of last year showing a decrease of 9.42 percent.

Main exported goods during October were knitwear, cotton cloth, garments, bed wear, cotton yarn, rice, towels, made-up articles and cement.Knit wear export showed 5.44 percent decline during October 2014 as compared to September 2014, cotton cloth downed 9.56 percent, bed wear 13.07 percent, basmati rice declined 11.24 percent and cement export decreased 21.17 percent.Exports of garments and rice increased 10.66 percent and 35.48 percent respectively in October 2014 as compared to the exports of September 2014.Imports into Pakistan during October 2014 remained Rs 438.36 billion against Rs 466.77 billion in September 2014 and Rs 348.471 billion during October 2013 showing a decrease of 6.09% over September 2014 but an increase of 25.80 over October 2013.

On the other hand, imports during July-October 2014 totalled Rs 1.69 trillion against Rs 1.49 trillion during the corresponding period of last year showing an increase of 13.08%.Main imported commodities during October 2014 were petroleum products, palm oil, medical products, plastic materials, iron and steel, aircraft, ships and boats, electrical machinery, power generating machinery and fertilisers.
The increase recorded in main commodities imported during October 2014 over September 2014 are medical products that showed 126.82 percent growth, plastic material 0.43 percent, aircraft, ships and boats 26.58 percent, electrical machinery 19.34 percent and fertilisers grew 0.22 percent.Import of petroleum products decreased 7.93 percent, petroleum crude 9.01 percent, palm oil 11.54 percent, iron and steel 18.53 percent and power generating machinery 14.31 percent during October 2014 as compared to September 2014.

Farmers get relief from rice diseases in 2014

11/26/2014 02:57 PM
Disease in rice was not as big of a problem in 2014 for most growers as in previous years. LSU AgCenter plant pathologist Don Groth said, “With as much rain as we had, sheath blight wasn’t as bad as it could have been," The cold winter of 2013-14 could have played a role in the low incidence of disease, Groth said, but the mild disease year can also be  attributed to the direct result of breeding efforts that have selected for disease resistance.That selection took place through several years.
 Groth said, “We have a lot fewer very susceptible and susceptible lines in our nurseries, and resistance is being increased in the breeding process."  He siad current high yields would not be possible without disease resistance.Bacterial panicle blight wasn’t bad in 2014, Groth said, because temperatures were moderate, and blast was not found until late in the  growing season.  Blast resistance in variety development was increased with the bad outbreak of the disease in 2012, and that eliminated  many blast-susceptible lines.Out of the almost 800 advanced lines he evaluated for the disease in 2014, Groth said, only four or five showed signs of severe blast.
Many of the lines susceptible to Cercospora have also been eliminated. Groth suspects many farmers are spraying for that disease, even  though it may be unnecessary.Groth said, "It’s likely that fungicide-resistant sheath blight is continuing its spread in south Louisiana But we have the tools to manage it.” The main line of defense, Sercadis, should be applied at 6.8 ounces an acre because the lower rate of 4.5 ounces does not last long  enough, Groth said. Convoy fungicide also had good activity against both the wild and resistant sheath blight fungi.Groth tested six new fungicides in 2014, and he expects that two could be available by 2015 or 2016. Groth said, "Some of them look really good but the new fungicides only have activity against sheath blight. We really don’t have any new products for blast, and that has me worried.
" A generic version of Quadris Equation will be available in 2015 because the patent on azoxystrobin, the active ingredient, has expired.Groth will start a study in 2015 to look at the benefit of fungicide use on currently available, moderately susceptible varieties compared  with not spraying any of the products.Groth said, “There is a question if early-planted moderately-susceptible rice varieties need to be sprayed. Somewhere along the line, we  need to cut costs in rice production, and fungicide use is one possible area.”Research on rice diseases is supported by funds provided through the rice checkoff program.Director of the Rice Research Station Steve Linscombe said, “This program has paid excellent dividends for 40 plus years and will continue to help the rice industry in the future."
Copyright 2014 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Bangladesh farmers turn back the clock to combat climate stresses

Wed Nov 26, 2014 7:52am EST
DHAKA, Bangladesh, Nov 26 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - I ndigenous varieties of rice are making a comeback in Bangladesh as farmers abandon high-yielding hybrid rice in favour of more resilient varieties that can cope with more extreme climate conditions, researchers say.
About 20 percent of the rice fields planted in the low-lying South Asian nation now contain indigenous varieties that can stand up to drought, flooding or other stresses, said Jiban Krishna, director general of the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute.At its peak, high yielding varieties of rice are accounted for 90 percent of total rice grown in Bangladesh."In places where newly invented varieties fail to cope with stresses, farmers cultivate local varieties," Krishna told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in an interview.Bangladesh's government first introduced high-yielding rice in the 1960s, in an effort to promote food security and meet rising demand, Krishna said. Over time, most farmers adopted the new varieties, which brought in higher incomes.But in recent years, as climate change has brought more irregular rainfall - including worsening floods and droughts - farmers have had more difficulty producing consistent crops of high-yielding varieties.
That has led to a growing share of farmers returning to more resilient varieties capable of coping with the extreme conditions, or planting both old and new varieties side by side.The switch back to traditional varieties has happened with the help of non-governmental organisations that have reintroduced the varieties in an effort to protect "heritage" species and help farmers cope with adverse weather conditions , Krishna said.In C'Nababaganj district, for instance, the Bangladesh Resource Centre for Indigenous Knowledge has helped farmers return to planting varieties that had almost vanished.'Saika' rice, for instance, ripens in just 60 days - well short of the 90 to 110 days needed by hybrid varieties used in the area - and 'Sashi Mohon' needs hugely less water, said Pavel Partha, coordinator of the centre's food security programme.

The government previously never promoted such varieties, considering them too low-yielding, he said. But in the face of growing climate impacts, it is now actively encouraging their cultivation as part of efforts to help farmers adapt to climate change, Partha said.Farmers say returning to the old varieties has been a big help in ensuring they get a harvest each season.

"Cultivation in this area is facing immense trouble due to low and irregular rainfall. Even cultivation of rain-fed Aman (rice) is now totally dependent on irrigation which raises production costs," said Hasan Ali, a farmer in Barandra village."In this situation we have brought in these indigenous aromatic varieties which are tolerant to many stresses," he said.Another farmer, Anisur Rahman, said cultivation of the old varieties is expanding in part because they need almost no chemical fertiliser or pesticides - which makes them cheaper and easier to grow - and because their yields are good in tough conditions.Abdus Sattar Hiru, a farmer in Traltalia village in Tangail district agreed that the 'Afsara' traditional rice he is now cultivating has brought in consistently good crops.

"The variety (grows over a) short duration and can be cultivated once the rainy season is over and water starts receding. In that period, modern or high yielding varieties can't be cultivated but this local variety can," he said.Returning to 'Afsara' rice has also allowed him to bring back into production land previously left barren because high-yielding rice varieties did not grow there, he said.
(Reporting By Syful Islam; editing by Laurie Goering)

Should We Be Alarmed That There’s Still Arsenic in Rice?

Consumer Reports recently released strict guidelines on foods that contain the known carcinogen.