Monday, December 22, 2014

22nd December (Monday),2014 Daily Exclusive ORYZA Rice E-Newsletter by Riceplus Magazine

How Organic is Italy's Organic Rice?

Dec 19, 2014

Of late, organic rice and other organic food items have been gaining popularity in Italy. Especially, organic rice farmers have been selling their rice three times higher than that of conventionally grown rice. For instance, they sell organic rice at around €750 (around $926) per ton compared to around €250 (around $308) per ton of conventional rice. Organic rice farmers also claim that they produce about 6.7 tons per hectare compared to traditional rice yield of about 6.5 million tons.
However, there are concerns that the so-called organic rice is grown using traditional methods as a laboratory testing after milling process is not able to differentiate between organic rice and traditional rice. Also, experts say under normal conditions, organic rice is grown without chemicals and its yield cannot cross 3.5 tons per hectare.Some rice farms that claim to be organic farms grow both organic and non-organic rice, further muddling the distinction between the two in production and sales processes. 
Some farmer groups are calling for strict controls over use of use of chemicals in organic farms. They are demanding public and private institutions in various regions and provinces, and certification institutes, to verify the use of chemicals in the growing season. They say releasing such into the market tends to a fraud and those resorting to such frauds deserve punishment.

India Basmati Rice Export Prices Decline to $900 per Ton; Down 36% from Last Year

Dec 19, 2014

Basmati rice export prices this year fell to around $900 per ton, down about 36% from around $1,400 per ton last year, according to local sources. The decline is largely attributed to an expected increase in basmati rice production and decline in export demand, particularly from Iran.
Average basmati paddy rice prices fell to around Rs.2,200-2,800 per quintal (around $348-$443 per ton) this year from around Rs.3,500-4,000 per quintal (around $554-$663 per ton) last year.Iran imported around 1.44 million tons of rice in 2013-14 (April - March), up about 33% from around 1.08 million tons imported in 2012-13. Indian basmati farmers expecting the same trend to continue increased basmati rice acreage in 2014 kharif rice season (June - December) by about 40% to around 3.5 million hectares from around 2.5 million hectares last year. Indian government authorities are expecting basmati rice output this year to reach around 8.5 million tons, up about 40% from around 6.25 million tons produced last year.
However, Iran's stance to ban rice imports, is severely hurting Indian basmati rice farmers and exporters. While farmers are not getting fair prices, exporters who have already procured enough quantities of basmati rice expecting export orders are short of orders. According to the President of the All India Rice Exporters Association (AIREA), demand for basmati rice from other markets such as Europe and Saudi Arabia is stable, but due to excess supplies, exporters are forced to sell stocks at low prices.The AIREA President noted that there is yet no clarity over resumption of basmati rice imports by Iran, which constitutes about 35% of India's basmati rice exports. A senior official from the Agriculture and Processed Food Products Exports Development Authority (APEDA) noted that basmati rice prices currently are unrealistic and need a correction.
India exported 1.64 tons of basmati rice in the first six months of 2014-15 (April - September), down about 15% from around 1.94 million tons exported during the same period last year. At this pace, India's basmati rice exports are expected to decline by about 10-15% this year.India exported around 3.76 million tons of basmati rice in 2013-14, up about 9% from around 3.46 million tons exported in 2012-13.  

Italian Government Approves Use of Chemicals to Control Herbicide Resistant Weeds

Dec 19, 2014

Nearly 30% of Italian rice fields are infested by herbicide resistant weeds, according to the Italian Herbicide Resistance working group GIRE. The group is vigorously trying to help farmers overcome these weeds, which are known to severely impact rice production.The government is particularly concerned of the presence of barnyard grass, Echinocloa spp., and its several biotypes, including Alisma plantago-aquatica, Cyperus difformis, Schoenoplectus  mucronatus, in rice fields across the country. The Ministry of Agriculture recently approved use of powerful chemicals like quinclorac, pretilachlor, and propanil, mixed with herbicides ALS and in some cases with ACCAsi inhibitors to control herbicide resistant weeds. The use of these chemicals helped in controlling weeds to a large extent, according to the Ministry.
The Ministry also noted that a new weed called Eclipta prostata, mostly found in Spain, has been traced in Italy and is known to significantly reduce the paddy output. This particular weed can be controlled before seeding with oxadizon, or with ALS-inhibitors after seeding or with a mix of propanil and MCPA at a later stage also, according to the Ministry.Apart from weeds, presence of weevil such as Lissorhoptrus oryzophilus, is impacting productivity in some provinces like Mantua Verona, Ferrara and Sardinia.However, the Ministry recommended the use of these chemicals only for a limited time.

Oryza Overnight Recap - Chicago Rough Rice Futures Find a Bid Despite Lower Grains in Early Friday Trading

Dec 19, 2014
Chicago rough rice futures for Jan delivery were trading 11.5 cents per cwt (about $3 per ton) higher at $12.225 per cwt (about $270 per ton) during early floor trading in Chicago. The other grains are seen trading lower: soybeans are currently seen 0.4% lower, wheat is listed about 1.8% lower and corn is currently noted about 0.6% lower.U.S. stocks rose on Friday, with the Dow industrials and S&P 500 on track for their second best week in nearly two years. After veering between small gains and losses, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was lately up 41.95 points, or 0.3%, at 17,820.10.
The S&P 500 added 7.78 points, or 0.4%, to 2,069.01, with energy rising the most and telecommunications the sole laggard among its 10 main sectors. The Nasdaq gained 12.02 points, or 0.3%, to 4,760.38. On Thursday, U.S. stocks rallied, with the Dow industrials climbing more than 400 points for the first time in three years, as investors applauded the Federal Reserve's pledge that it would be patient in increasing interest rates. Gold is currently trading about 0.5% higher, crude oil is seen trading about 2% higher,  and the U.S. dollar is currently trading about 0.2% higher at 8:40am Chicago time.

Oryza Afternoon Recap - Chicago Rough Rice Futures Rally as Market Appears to Price in Positive Potential of Future Trade with Cuba

Dec 19, 2014
Chicago rough rice futures for Jan delivery settled 20 cents per cwt (about $4 per ton) higher at $12.110 per cwt (about $271 per ton). Rough rice futures traded steadily higher throughout the session today. Despite the days strong showing the market finished the week with a 3.5 cent per cwt (about $1 per ton) loss on account of a steep mid-week decline. The market remains trapped within an $11.800 -$13.000 per cwt (about $260-$287 per ton) trading range and looks poised to continue to do so in coming sessions. It will likely require a change in the fundamental outlook to push the market in either direction. The other grains were led lower by a sharp decline in wheat today; Soybeans closed about 0.5% lower at $10.3850 per bushel; wheat finished about 3.5% lower at $6.3225 per bushel, and corn finished the day about 0.1% lower at $4.1050 per bushel.
U.S. stocks rose on Friday, with the Dow industrials and S&P 500 on track for their second best week in nearly two years. After veering between small gains and losses, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was lately up 23.85 points, or 0.1%, at 17,7802. The S&P 500 added 8.57 points, or 0.4%, to 2,069.80, with energy rising the most and telecommunications the worst performing among its 10 main sectors. The Nasdaq gained 18.33 points, or 0.4%, to 4,766.73. Gold is trading about 0.2% higher, crude oil is seen trading about 5.8% higher, and the U.S. dollar is seen trading about 0.4% higher at about  1:00pm Chicago time.
Thursday, there were 1,324 contracts traded, down from 2,442 contracts traded on Wednesday. Open interest – the number of contracts outstanding – on Thursday decreased by 132 contracts to 9,908.

Indonesia Vice-President Stresses for Rice Self-Sufficiency, Zero Imports

Dec 19, 2014

Indonesian Vice-President has stressed on the importance of achieving self-sufficiency in rice production and stop importing rice, according to local sources.Speaking to the Agriculture Ministry officials, he noted that the country has vast land territory and does not have the need to import rice. He ordered all the agricultural experts in the Ministry to visit rice fields regularly so that they can focus on the problems faced by the rice sector.
The Vice-President said that the 15-hectare agricultural land under the Agricultural Ministry could be used in an effective manner to achieve the self-sufficiency goal. He also noted that in order to achieve self-sufficiency in rice production, the government should ensure good irrigation network, supply of good quality seeds and availability of fertilizers.Indonesia's new President who took over in October this year also advocated the policy of achieving self-sufficiency in basic food items such as rice, corn and sugar over the next four years. The government planning to introduce an agricultural stimulus package to boost rice production in the country.
The government is targeting an increase of about 4% in the paddy rice production in 2015 to around 73.4 million tons (around 48.44 million tons, basis milled) from an estimated 70.61 million tons (around 46.65 million tons, basis milled) in 2014, according to local sources.Indonesia imported around 425,000 tons of rice so far this year. USDA estimates Indonesia to produce around 36.3 million tons of rice, basis milled (around 57.17 million tons, basis paddy) and import around 1.4 million tons of rice in MY 2013-14 (January 2014 - December 2014, more than double an estimated 650,000 tons imported in 2013.

Thailand Signs Two Million Ton Rice MoU with China

Dec 19, 2014

Thailand has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with China today to export two million tons of rice next year in Bangkok during the two-day Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) summit scheduled for 19-20 December 2014, according to local sources.Details of the MoU would be discussed in the meeting, the Thai Prime Minister was quoted as saying. The Chinese Premier also confirmed the signing of the MoU. Last month, the Thai Commerce Minister hinted at striking a government-to-government (G2G) deal with China to export 2 million tons of rice next year. 
The two countries also signed a MoU under which China will construct two dual-track rail lines covering a total of 867 kilometers (around 542 miles). The two MoUs are expected to strengthen trade relations between China and Thailand.Thailand is also planning to speed up the delivery process under the existing one-million tons G2G contract with China. Thailand so far shipped 300,000 tons to China under the existing contract and is scheduled to export remaining 700,000 tons by July 2015. Thailand exported around 277,547 tons of rice to China in 2013, up about 94% from around 143,082 tons exported in 2012, according to data from Thai Rice Exporters Association (TREA).
Thailand currently has about 17.8 million tons of rice in its stockpiles, according to Bloomberg. The Thai Prime Minister was quoted as saying that it could three years to sell all the stocks. He noted that the government is planning to sell the stocks gradually to avoid price falls. According to a stock audit report of the existing rice stocks, 2.35 million tons are of good quality; 14.4 million tons are substandard but quality can be improved; 694,999 tons are of poor quality; and 390,000 tons are missing.
Meanwhile, the Thai Prime Minister hinted at filing civil and criminal law suits against previous governments' rice pledging schemes, which led to cumulative losses of around 680 billion baht (around $21 billion) to the exchequer. He noted that those responsible for losses would be sued for compensation.Today, the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) has cleared senior Democrat Party leaders of misconduct in connection with rice sales struck in 2009 when in government.

UDP Fertilizer Technique Gaining Popularity in Ghana

Dec 19, 2014

The Urea Deep Placement (UDP) method of fertilizer application, which was first time introduced in 2012 in Ghana, is now gaining popularity across the country, according to local sources.Under the UDP method, pellets of super granule fertilizer known as briquettes is placed near the root zone of the rice plant. Usually one pellet is inserted between four rice plants.
This method of fertilizer application is said to deliver more nutrients to the plant all through the growth cycle by helping primary nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium as well as secondary nutrients such as sulphur, magnesium and calcium, nor micronutrients, zinc, copper, manganese, iron, boron and molybdenum retain in the soil. In traditional fertilizer application methods, fertilizer is usually leeched into streams and rivers leading to environmental pollution. A group of farmers were introduced to this method as part of a project by the West Africa Fertilizer Program (WAFP), International Fertiliser Development Centre (IFDC) and Africa Fertiliser and Agribusiness Partnerships (AFAP).
 The project was financed by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).Farmers who adopted this method said by applying fertilizer using the UDP has increased their paddy yields by about 18 - 50% while reducing the cost of fertilizer by about 20 - 30%. They noted that this method has helped them to reduce input costs and increase incomes. The Chief of Party of the WAFP noted that the UDP method is found to more useful in Ghana where soil fertility is declining. It will help increasing yields by providing the needed nutrients and very little wastage and reducing carbon emissions significantly compared to the traditional methods.With the experiences of farmers who used the UDP technology, the WAFP is planning to vigorously promote the use of this method to help Ghana farmers increase their yields and reduce costs.
Ghana produces only 35% of the required demand of around 975,000 tons and imports the rest. Ghana's annual rice import bill stood at $306 million in 2013 and the government is planning to increase rice production by about 20% per annum over the next four years to make Ghana self-sufficient in rice. It is targeting at least 13% surplus rice production by 2018. The government has also sought technical support from Turkey, India and the Dutch to increase rice production in the country. It also developed a national rice seed map (NRSRM) to ensure self-sufficiency in quality rice seed production by 2018.According to the USDA, Ghana’s rice production is estimated at about 330,000 tons (milled basis) in MY 2014-15 (October - September). The U.S. agency expects Ghana to import 620,000 tons of rice during the year to meet consumption needs of around one million tons of rice. 

Weekly Recap: Oryza White Rice Index Pulled Lower by Declining India, U.S. Rice Export Quotes

Dec 19, 2014

The Oryza White Rice Index (WRI), a weighted average of global white rice export quotes, ended the week at about $430 per ton, down about $6 per ton from a week ago, down about $17 per ton from a month ago and down about $26 per ton from a year ago.The USDA forecasts 2015 global rice trade at about 41.9 million tons, pretty much unchanged from 2014 estimates.  The USDA forecasts 2014-15 global milled rice production at 475.2 million tons, down slightly from last year.  The organization forecasts 2014-15 global rice acreage at about 160.6 million hectares, down slightly due to expected declines in yield.
Thailand 5% broken rice is today shown at about $405 per ton, unchanged from a week ago, down about $5 per ton from a month ago, and up about $20 per ton from a year ago.The UN’s FAO forecasts Thailand to reclaim the world’s top rice exporter status in 2014.  The FAO expects Thailand’s rice exports to increase about 53% y/y to 10.2 million tons in 2014.  The agency expects Thai exports to further increase to 11 million tons in 2015.  The USDA also estimates Thailand to export a record 11 million tons in 2015.
The National Anti-Corruption Commission has urged the Office of the Attorney General to protect witnesses involved in dealing with the rice pledging case, some of whom face counterclaims or parallel law suits that might deter them from testifying accurately, according to local sources.
India 5% broken rice is today shown at about $390 per ton, down about $10 per ton from a week ago, down about $25 per ton from a month and a year ago.
The USDA Post has estimated India’s MY 2014-15 (October-September) rice exports to be around 8.7 million tons, down about 16% from last year.
A surprising decision by Iran to ban rice imports temporarily has had a negative impact on Indian rice exporters: in 2013-14, 85% of Iran’s rice imports came from India’s basmati rice, a total of about 1.45 million tons.
The UN’s FAO expects India’s rice exports to decline about 5% y/y to 10 million tons in 2014 and to further decline about 18% y/y to 8.2 million tons in 2015.
The depreciation of the Indian rupee, which hit a 13-month low at Rs. 63.53 against the U.S. dollar due to declining crude oil prices, has started to exert downward pressure on Indian rice export prices, according to local sources.
Vietnam 5% broken rice is today shown at about $390 per ton, unchanged from a week ago, down about $20 per ton from a month ago and down about $25 per ton from a year ago.
Pakistan 5% broken rice is today shown at about $375 per ton, unchanged from a week ago, down about $20 per ton from a month ago and down about $10 per ton from a year ago.
Paddy rice production in FY 2014-15 is estimated at 8.437 million tons, according to the National Space Agency of Pakistan and the UN’s FAO, a decrease of about 19% from last year.
Central & South America
Brazil 5% broken rice is today shown at about $550 per ton, unchanged from a week and a month ago and down about $135 per ton from a year ago.
The Brazilian paddy rice index maintained by CEPEA reached around 37.91 real per 50 kilograms as of December 15, 2014, down about 0.11% from around 37.95 real per 50 kilograms recorded on December 8, 2014.  In terms of USD per ton, the index reached around $283 per ton on December 15, 2014, down about 3% from around $292 per ton recorded on December 16, 2014.
Five percent broken rice from Uruguay and Argentina is today shown at about $600 per ton, unchanged from a week and a month ago and down about $30 per ton from a year ago.
Mexico’s Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Foodstuffs (SAGARPA) will provide support payments to rice farmers to help them overcome losses from declining rice prices since August 2012, according to the USDA Post.
Guyana’s rice production in 2014 has reached 633,000 tons, up about 18% from last year, according to the country’s Agriculture Minister.
U.S. 4% broken rice is today shown at about $515 per ton, down about $30 per ton from a week and a month ago, and down about $75 per ton from a year ago.
Recent actions by President Barack Obama to relax restrictions on food items from the 50-year embargo with Cuba may lead to increased U.S. exports of agricultural products, including rice.
Chicago rough rice futures dropped on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday after reaching a high of $12.490 per cwt (about $275 per ton) on Monday.  The low this week was on Thursday, when they fell to $12.050 per cwt (about $266 per ton) but they quickly rebounded on Friday, closing at the high of $12.345 per cwt (about $272 per ton).
The U.S. cash market mostly held steady this week, although it dropped some early in the week in sympathy with the futures market.  Trading was limited throughout the week.
Other Markets
Cambodia 5% broken rice is today shown at about $465 per ton, unchanged from a week ago, up about $5 per ton from a month and a year ago.
In the first ten months of 2014, China imported 2.014 million tons of rice, an increase of about 7% from the same time last year, according to the China Customs General Administration.
The UN’s FAO estimates Sierra Leone’s 2015 rice imports will be about 215,000 tons, slightly up from 2014, mostly due to decreased production, which is down about 8% y/y, and somewhat related to the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease.
The UN’s FAO estimates Guinea’s 2015 rice imports will be about 320,000 tons, up about 7% from 2014, due to decreased production resulting from the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak.
Total rice stocks in the Philippines as of November 1 were ab out 2.95 million tons, up about 63% from the previous month and up about 21% from the same period last year, according to the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics.
Paddy rice production in Nepal is expected to decline about 5.1% from last year to 4.78 million tons, due to poor rain scheduling, according to the Ministry of Agricultural Development.
Private sector imports in Bangladesh have reached 405,000 tons of rice so far in FY 2014-15 (July-June), up about 8% from last year, according to local sources.
The USDA Post forecasts Ghana’s MY 2014-15 rice imports to reach about 600,000 tons, down about 7% from last year, due to increasing prices of imported rice and the rapid depreciation of Ghana currency against the U.S. dollar.
Rice prices in Saudi Arabia are expected to fall by about 5-10% in the coming months as crude oil prices have plunged nearly 50%, according to local rice traders.
Iraq has issued a tender to buy at least 30,000 tons of rice from the U.S. , Uruguay, Argentina, Vietnam, Brazil, and Thailand with a closing date of December 22.

FAO Forecasts China 2014 Rice Imports at 2.4 Million Tons; Unchanged from Last Year

Dec 19, 2014

The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has forecasted China's 2014 rice imports at around 2.4 million tons, unchanged from last year due to an expected increase in production.The FAO estimates China's 2014 paddy rice production at around 205 million tons (around 143.3 million tons, basis milled), up about 1% from around 203.6 million tons last year (around 142.3 million tons, basis milled) . The increase is attributed to a slight increase in area planted, prompted by higher minimum purchase/support prices (MSP) and other government support measures, including direct payments to farmers and subsidies for seed and machinery as well as other agricultural inputs.
Average prices of Japonica rice remained stable despite increased supplies from the ongoing 214 harvest due to the government support measures.China has imported around 2.014 million tons of rice in the first ten months of 2014 (January - October), up about 7% from around 1.874 million tons imported during the same period last year, according to data from China Customs General Administration.USDA estimates China to produce around 144.5 million tons of rice, import around 4 million tons and export around 400,000 tons of rice in MY 2014-15 (July - June).

Thailand Rice Sellers Lower Some of Their Quotes Today; Other Asia Rice Quotes Unchanged

Dec 19, 2014
Thailand rice sellers lowered their quotes for 5% broken rice  and Parboiled rice by about $5  per ton to around $400 - $410 per ton, each, today. Other Asia rice sellers kept their quotes mostly unchanged.
5% Broken Rice
Thailand 5% rice is quoted at around $400 - $410 per ton, down about $5 per ton from yesterday and about $15 per ton premium on Vietnam 5% rice shown at around $385 - $395 per ton. India 5% rice is quoted at around $385 - $395 per ton, about $15 per ton premium on Pakistan 5% rice quoted at around $370 - $380 per ton.
25% Broken Rice 
Thailand 25% rice was last quoted at around $350 - $360 per ton, on par with Vietnam 25% rice shown at around $350 - $360 per ton. India 25% rice is quoted at around $350 - $360, about $20 per ton premium on Pakistan 25% rice quoted at around $330 - $340 per ton.
Parboiled Rice
Thailand parboiled rice is quoted at around $400 - $410 per ton, down about $5 per ton from yesterday. India parboiled rice is quoted at around $375 - $385 per ton, about $20 per ton discount to Pakistan parboiled rice quoted at around $395 - $405 per ton.
100% Broken Rice
Thailand broken rice, A1 Super, is quoted at around $330 - $340 per ton, on par with Vietnam 100% broken rice shown at around $330 - $340 per ton. India's 100% broken rice is shown at around $300 - $310 per ton, on par with Pakistan broken sortexed rice quoted at around $300 - $310 per ton.

22nd December (Monday),2014 Daily Global Rice E-Newsletter by Riceplus Magazine

Take steps to discourage rice imports

Parliamentary panel advises food ministry
Star Business Report
A parliamentary standing committee yesterday advised the food ministry to take steps to discourage rice imports to protect growers."We have sufficient domestic production now. So, rice imports should be discouraged for the time being, to safeguard the interests of farmers," Md Abdul Wadud Dara, chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on food ministry, told The Daily Star by phone.The panel made the recommendation at a meeting at the parliament building, citing media reports on the rise in rice imports, particularly from India.
Food Minister Md Qamrul Islam, members of the panel and top officials of the food ministry were present at the meeting.Rice imports in just five and a half months of this fiscal year crossed last year's total, as businessmen found foreign produce cheaper than local output. Bangladesh's private importers brought in 4.45 lakh tonnes of rice from July to December 17, exceeding last year's total import of 3.74 lakh tonnes, according to food ministry data.Surging rice imports supported by an absence of duty and the aman harvests, the year's second largest rice crop, have already lowered prices in the domestic market, affecting both farmers and local millers.
Retail prices of all types of rice, irrespective of quality, have declined between one percent and 3.53 percent in Dhaka markets, according to data from state run Trading Corporation of Bangladesh.In the face of spiralling imports, many millers are avoiding milling of paddy, fearing stiff competition from imported rice, Md Abdur Rashid, president of Bangladesh Auto, Major and Husking Mills Association, said last week.He demanded the government impose duties rice imports so that farmers do not feel discouraged to grow the staple in the upcoming boro season.The government has kept a zero-duty facility on rice imports since fiscal 2006-07, according to National Board of Revenue.
Dara said the parliamentary committee discussed the issue following media reports and favoured taking measures to discourage rice imports by consulting related ministries.Islam however said rice imports are negligible considering overall demand and production in the country.Production rose to 3.44 crore tonnes in fiscal 2013-14, from 3.38 crore tonnes a year ago, according to Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics. Bangladesh requires nearly 1 lakh tonnes of rice a day, said Islam."There is nothing to worry about.
However, we will discuss the matter with the commerce ministry on whether duty benefits for rice import can be withdrawn."Some imports are aromatic rice and some low quality rice is also being imported as cattle feed, Islam said."I don't think such imports can influence the market. But a section of people are trying to create confusion when we are exporting rice abroad."
On the recent fall in rice prices, he said prices usually go down during the peak harvesting period.


Hostels get fine rice, anganwadis left egg faced

 December 20,2014, 10.31 PM  IST | | THE HANS INDIA   

One man’s gain is someone else’s loss. This adage is getting pronounced by the Telangana State government much to the disappointment of toddlers who may not know that they are likely to be denied their staple dose of egg a day. If this comes as a huge letdown, there is another section that seems to rejoice a decision taken by the government, also meant for students.Enjoying a full meal comprising of fine rice and vegetables is nothing short of a luxury for inmates of welfare hostels spread over Hyderabad and Ranga Reddy districts.  If things go according to revised proposals, fine rice will be served to all 23,000 students staying in 244 hostels in the two districts. And that is precisely where the catch lies.

Kids having a meal at an Anganwadi centre in the city (file photo)
Fine rice will come at the expense of meals for kids up to the age of three. Government officials might dismiss it as a coincidence but NGOs and student bodies are not buying such excuses. While the officials of the welfare department are working round-the-clock to ensure that students living in welfare hostels eat fine rice from the New Year, the Telangana government has reduced the quantity of eggs supplied to anganwadis, which cook for children below the age of three.  

The supply of eggs has been cut from one egg a day to once in two days, towards which a GO has also been issued. The women and child welfare department officials state that the decision was taken in consultation with nutrition specialists, who said that yolk will increase the fat content among children. Meanwhile, the annual budget for meeting the welfare scheme has been reduced to a little over Rs 24.28 lakh from the earlier Rs 45.13 lakh.  Currently, welfare hostels in the city are serving PDS rice that has more stones and worms than rise. “A team of our officers are currently surveying the hostels in Hyderabad and Ranga Reddy as part of the plan to introduce fine rice. 

We aim to find out the number of students living in the hostels and the quantity of rice they consume every month,” informed an official from the welfare department. Currently, the students from classes 3 to 7 are being served meals worth Rs 25 while eighth to 10 standard students get to taste meals worth Rs 28.Recently, rice millers have agreed to the Telangana government’s plea to make available superfine quality rice such as BPT and sona masuri to all welfare hostels from January 1.
By:Aditya Parankusam

Source with thanks:


Sunday, 21 December 2014 17:47
Posted by Imaduddin
ISLAMABAD: Rice exports from the country during first five months of current financial year registered an increase of 8.32 percent as compared to the same period of last year.During the period from July-November, 2014 about 1,303,644 metric tons of rice worth $738.602 million exported which witnessed an increase of 8.32 percent as compared to the exports of corresponding period of last year.According the data released by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, rice exports during the first five months of last financial year were recorded at 1,160,586 metric tons valuing $681.859 million.During the period under review, exports of basmati rice grew by 6.01 percent and about 219,428 metric tons of basmati rice worth $ 247.193 million exported as compared to the exports of 214,447 metric tons valuing $233.182 million of same period last year.
From July-November, 2014, exports of others rice also increased by 9.52 percent and reached at 1,084,216 metric tons valuing $491.409 million which was recorded at 946,139 metric tons costing $448.677 million in same period of last year.Meanwhile, the exports of fish and fish preparations swelled by 0.67 percent as country earned $148.500 million by exporting 58,008 metric tons of fish and fish products. Fish and fish preparations exports during the first five months of last financial year were recorded at 56,457 metric tons costing $147.514 million.
However, the data reveled that overall food exports from the country during last five months remained on down track and decreased by 0.35 percent when it compared with the exports of same period last year.In first five months of current financial year country managed to earn $1.611 billion by exporting the different food staff which was stood at $ 1.66 billion during the same period of last year.Meanwhile, the data reveled that on-month on month basis, the food group exports remained on up track an swelled by 21.94 percent in month of November as compared to the exports of the October current year.

Source with thanks :


Rice exports surged in 2014 setting a new record – FAO
Saturday, 20 December 2014, 12:30 pm

Bangkok, 18 December 2014 – Bumper crops and a surge in demand for rice, particularly in the Far East, have resulted in 2014 recording the highest rice export figures ever, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported today.While final figures won’t be confirmed until early next year, FAO’s last quarterly report for 2014, the Rice Market Monitor, indicates much of the forecast growth in 2014 global trade in rice is likely to be due to a surge in exports from Thailand, which again will claim title as the world’s top rice exporter.

Indeed, a development dominating international rice trade this year has been the resurgence of Thailand as a leading rice exporter, “an advance made possible by key policy changes regarding government market intervention, namely the suspension of the paddy pledging programme and public stock sales,” the report states. “The ensuing restoration of its competitive edge has permitted Thailand to recapture much of the market share lost to India and Viet Nam over the past two years,” it adds.Increased exports of Thai rice to other countries in the Far East and Africa is expected to propel Thai rice exports to 10.2 million tonnes in 2014, which, if confirmed, would stand only 500 000 tonnes short of the 2011 record exports.

The RMM predicts that rice deliveries by India will fall by five percent to 10.0 million tonnes in 2014, depressed by a combination of heightened competition for markets and a reduction in demand in its major Basmati outlets. The export outlook is also bleak for Viet Nam, the RMM states, where official deliveries are now projected to remain close to the 2013 depressed level of 6.6 million tonnes, as the country is out-priced in Africa and rivalled by Thailand in important Far Eastern markets, such as the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Production remains steady

Despite regional variations, overall, global rice production has remained steady, down only slightly from the previous record-setting year. Weather conditions contributed to a 0.5 percent decrease in Asia.At 744.7 million tonnes (496.6 million tonnes, milled basis), the resulting 2014 global production forecast is expected to be only slightly lower this year compared with last year (down 0.2 percent or 1.6 million tonnes), reflecting a 0.1 percent contraction of both plantings and yields to 162.9 million hectares and 4.57 tonnes per hectare, respectively, brought about by unfavourable weather conditions.Overall global trade in rice is expected to exceed 40 million tonnes in 2014 (40.2) and could reach 40.5 million tonnes in the 2015 calendar year, the RMM states.

Import Demand

The anticipated growth in global rice trade in 2014 is forecast to be sustained by a near 2.0 million tonne surge in shipments to Asian countries to 18.9 million tonnes. At a country level, the increase would mostly mirror a resurgence of demand from the Philippines, in the aftermath of damages incurred as a result of typhoon Haiyan and depleted inventories. The country may close the year with delivery of 1.8 million tonnes, up 1.1 million tonnes year-on-year, part of which to reconstitute public rice reserves, the report states.

Supply shortfalls and difficulties in meeting programmed local purchases necessary to service welfare programs also induced the Government of Indonesia to recur to international markets this year. The move is expected to underpin a 500 000 tonnes rise in deliveries to the country to 1.2 million tonnes. Traditionally a self-sufficient nation, Sri Lanka has been compelled to rely on supplies from abroad to compensate for significant production shortfalls, with 280 000 tonnes assessed to have been purchased by the country.

High domestic prices, particularly in the context of cheaper offerings abroad, also underpinned a steep rise in consignments to both Bangladesh and Turkey, now forecast at a higher level of 700 000 tonnes and 400 000 tonnes, respectively. Iraq, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Nepal, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are all similarly envisaged to purchase more in 2014, while official deliveries to China (Mainland) hold steady at around 2.3 million tonnes, the report predicts.


International prices have eased further the RMM states. “Particularly steep falls have been evident in the fragrant segment, where quotations were weighed by prospects of large availabilities this season coupled with reduced import demand. These factors resulted in a 30 percent slump in the Aromatic rice sub-Index to seven year low of 190 points, reflecting increasing market arrivals, amid thinning buying interest,” the report said.

Source with thanks




Vietnamese Rice Farmers Battle Vietnam Rat Infestation As Snakes, Cats Become More Popular With Diners

  Cristina Silva @cristymsilva on December 19 2014 9:00 AM
Farmers harvest rice at a paddy field in Dong Tri village, outside Hanoi, Oct. 8, 2014. Rats, long a menance to the nation's robust rice farms, eat up to 20 percent of the annual grain crop, according to some farmers. Reuters
Vietnam's mighty rice industry is battling an ancient foe: Rats. The vermin, long a menace to the nation's robust rice farms, eat up to 20 percent of the annual grain crop and farmers have had enough. They are hiring workers to catch the rats and then dispose of them -- sometimes by eating them.
Rice is king in Vietnam. The communist country is the world's second-largest exporter of the grain and is expected to reap 45 million ton of paddy, or unhusked rice, this year, up 1.9 percent from 2013, according to Reuters. But in recent years the rat population has imploded and threatened rice crops as snakes and cats have become increasingly popular protein sources in Vietnam. That's a huge problem for rice farmers. "Rats cause hundreds of millions of dollars of damage, before we even mention the risk of communicable diseases," said Nguyen Manh Hung of the Institute of Agricultural Sciences. 
Part of the problem is that government officials want farmers to protects rice crops without using chemicals. But rats are difficult to catch. "We used to have to accept the loss of large chunks of our paddies -- the rats destroyed it. It made us wonder why we bothered working so hard," 46-year-old farmer Hoang Thi Tuyet toldNews 24. "It's hard to trap them, they're clever, they move fast and in Vietnam there are 43 different species of rat to contend with."In Thai Binh, near Hanoi, government officials are encouraging farmers to kill rats by giving out cats to people who turn in rat tails.

That means for some, rat killing has become a lucrative trade. Tran Quang Thieu, who goes by the name "Rat King," catches about 10 kilograms of rats in rice paddies near Hanoi on a typical day. He uses a special rat trap he created himself that relies on very strong springs. He said he has killed millions of rats. "The agricultural losses caused by rats are enormous -- and these rodents can cause fires and explosions by chewing electric cables in houses and factories," he told News 24.Thieu said he gets requests from all over the country from rice farmers asking him to catch their rats.
He said he has sold 30 millions of his special traps to rice farmers in Vietnam and neighboring China and Cambodia. Grant Singleton, a rodent expert at the International Rice Research Institute, trains farmers in Vietnam on how to kill the rats before they breed. More traditional methods include poisons, traps and electrocution, according to Radio Australia. Some rat hunters then sell their kill to restaurants or farmers to feed their livestock. Vietnam's total rice export volume for 2014 is expected to be between 6.3 million and 6.5 million tons, excluding the grain sold to China, according to the Vietnam Food Association.


Source with thanks :vietnamese-rice-farmers-battle-vietnam-rat-infestation-snakes-cats-become-more-1763419


Cuban trading could benefit local farmers

Published: December 18, 2014, 9:18 pm  Updated: December 18, 2014, 10:32 pm

President Obama is now in talks with Cuba about working toward resuming trade. Local farmers in Acadiana could reap the benefits. Owner of Falcon Rice Mill, Robert Trahan, is anxiously awaiting the outcome.“A country like that, that consumes that much rice is a really good market for us or potential market for us,” said Trahan.Trahan said in the United State alone half of their rice is exported.If Cuban trading resumes, it means more rice and other goods going out.
This would be the first time in more than 50 years.
“It’s a big deal and especially in South Louisiana. We are so close. We have a good freight advantage to them. It’s so close to them it’s easy to get rice to them,” said Trahan.Agriculture Commissioner, Mike Strain said before the trade embargo, the Port of New Orleans transported 65 percent of trading goods to and from Cuba.If trading were to resume, Director of Rice Research, Steve Linscombe, said change should would not be seen overnight.
“There’s a lot of hurdles to go through. There’s a lot of financial hurdles that need to be overcome relative to the banking end and assurances of payment and things like that,” said Linscombe.Linscombe said just talks of trade between the two countries had been long-awaited by farmers.“My entire career here at the Ag Center and I’ve been working with rice the whole time. Our farmers have been looking and lobbying for the Cuban market to open,” said Lincombe.LSU Ag Agent, Stanley Dutile, said this could also open up a door for Cuba to export sugar.It’s too early to tell, but he said while this could benefit some farmers, this have an adverse affect on local sugar cane farming.

Sushil Kumar Modi for one-time settlement of rice mills' dues

 PATNA: Former deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi on Thursday batted for rice millers in the state, saying the state government should go for one-time settlement (OTS) of dues with them if the rice mills in the state don't have to face a bleak future.Modi said the state government has been implicating them in "false" cases alleging the rice millers failed to give to Bihar State Food Corporation (BSFC) real account of rice milled and deposited to it.

 Rice mills are the only thriving industry in Bihar, he said and added these mills should be made centres for procurement of paddy from farmers after fixing minimum support price (MSP) for it.Modi said the state has 1,315 rice mills and added if false certificate cases are lodged against them, even the rice mill industry would collapse. He said CM Jitan Ram Manjhi has been attending their meetings and functions and also addressing them, but he has not been listening to their grievances.


Source with thanks :


Prime minister admits 1 million tonne goal is unlikely for rice sector

Fri, 19 December 2014

Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday admitted that the government target of reaching 1 million tonnes of rice exports by 2015 is likely to fail due to a lack of milling capacity and funding.Speaking at the graduation ceremony for students at the National Institute of Education yesterday, Hun Sen said this year’s rice export figure clearly proves that achieving the 1 million tonne target next year is unlikely.“From January to November, Cambodia exported only around 330,000 tonnes of rice, very far behind the 1 million tonnes we planned to achieve,” he said.
The Cambodian government set the target in 2010.The PM blamed the failure on a lack of investment in rice milling and paddy storage facilities.“Our rice production has overtaken rice milling capacity. Most of the rice millers do not have capital to buy paddy and then stock it for export, which results in Cambodia losing value-added gains for the rice industry,” he said.
“We cannot ban farmers from selling their paddy to traders as we do not have the capital to buy paddy for stock,” he added.Citing a report from the Council Development for Cambodia (CDC), which allegedly shows a number of approved investments in rice milling facilities, the premier said he was optimistic that Cambodia’s export capacity would improve in the coming years.Sok Puthyvuth, president of the Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF), and also the son-in-law of Hun Sen, agreed that Cambodia was unlikely to reach the 1 million tonne target. He said the uncontrollable offloading of rice stock to buyers had made it a tough year.“There have been problems in funding, which have left rice millers and exporters unable to stock paddy in large amounts.
We could have achieved a higher export target for this year, but our members are not confident in entering big deals because of the lack of stock,” he said.Puthyvuth said the CRF is working to improve infrastructure in the Kingdom’s rice sector, and is also considering taking out additional loans to buy paddy to stock in large amounts for export.“With the plan and the loan, we will hopefully be able to bring the export figure closer to the target next year,” he added.
Last month, the Post reported that the Chinese government had approved in-principal a $300 million to build a series of warehouses aimed at assisting the Kingdom’s rice industry with its storage woes.The loan is to be used to build more than 10 warehouses equipped with dryers capable of storing at least 1 million tonnes of Cambodia’s paddy. The facilities will be located along key rural production areas, urban markets and ports along the country’s value chains.


Year 2014 termed the bleakest for agricultural sector

December 21, 2014
Agriculturists and farmers' organisation representatives have termed the year 2014 as the bleakest year for agricultural sector during which growers suffered an accumulative loss of what they said around Rs 300 billion because of flood damages and price crash for three main crops ie cotton, rice and sugarcane. Basmati Growers Association (BGA) President & Farmers Associates Pakistan (FAP) Director Chaudhry Hamid Malhi and Punjab Water Council (PWC) Founder Convenor Farooq Bajwa while talking to Business Recorder here on Saturday said that though the first half of current calendar year was not good for agriculture but the last six months of the year played havoc with the agriculture of the country.
 BGA President Hamid Malhi said Basmati sector suffered yield losses due to floods and crash of prices at harvest time when the market registered price of Basmati paddy at nearly half of the last year rate of Rs2600 per 40kg. While the quantity of Basmati Rice's exports and the average rate per ton received during 2013-14 has increased by 16 percent, even then the domestic traders/ millers & rice exporters are not willing to pay a reasonable price for Basmati paddy. The burden of last year's stocks, still lying unsold with the traders/millers and exporters, was one big excuse which was being forwarded for those low Basmati paddy prices, Malhi added. To stabilise the market price and to facilitate marketing of the surplus stocks of Basmati Rice lying unsold, a Minimum Export Price (MEP) of 1150 $/Ton should have been enforced for all Basmati Rice exports to stabilise the market price above Rs 2200 per 40 Kg for paddy and to facilitate marketing of the surplus stocks of Basmati Rice at above Rs 4000 per 40 kg. 
He stressed the need for negotiating additional sales of one million tons of Basmati Rice with Iran, Iraq or Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Basmati Rice Policy should also been announced immediately to benefit the Basmati sector, Malhi observed. Coming to wheat prices, he said those were kept constant at Rs 1200 per 40 Kg during the last season. "This price was announced in November 2012. The cost of production during this period soared due to inflation, GST on all agri inputs, rising fuel and electricity rates, labour costs. The farmer was unable to compete with international rates which were low because of subsidy regimes world-wide. There was no market protection for his high cost of production.
Import of wheat is allowed duty free, this has kept prices low although the quality is questionable and its gluten content is also low, making it difficult to make a 'roti'. The price has been increased to Rs1250 per 40 Kg for the next crop to encourage increase in area of wheat." "It is unfair for agriculture, in the face of a ban on wheat exports. Wheat policy of the government has always been consumer centric, forcing the farmers to subsidise wheat to the consumer," he added. Similarly, he said cotton production was going to miss its target for the fifth consecutive year this season. "Production estimates have been revised downwards from 13.2 million bales to 12 million bales, while the Pakistan Cotton Ginning Association (PCGA) has estimated production this year at 11.7 million bales," Malhi claimed.
 "Major reasons were attack of the cotton curl leaf virus (CLCV), absence of a virus resistant variety, pesticides adulteration and uncertified seeds. The government yet not approved a BT cotton variety nor is there a law to check these fakes. The approved 16 traditional varieties are sown only on 20 percent of the total 3.2 million hectares. Cotton production is at great risk in light of the low prices and lack of subsidy to the effected farmers." Punjab Water Council (PWC) Founding Convenor Farooq Bajwa said growers suffered a loss of around Rs 120 billion because of price crash and flood damages to the cotton crop during the year under review. Similarly, he said rice suffered over Rs 70 billion loss during 2014 because of price crash and floods. He said another blow which growers of the province of Punjab suffered due to the floods was becoming 500,000 acres of land unproductive.
 He said expense for reclamation of land needed Rs 30,000 to 50,000 per acre so the growers had to incur those expenses which would add to the losses they suffered during the year. Similarly, he said livestock in the province also suffered loss because of fodder shortage and on other accounts. 


Source with thanks: business recorder Pakistan


Basmati exports set to decline

Komal Amit Gera  |  Chandigarh  

December 18, 2014 Last Updated at 22:33 IST
This year, earnings from the export of basmati rice are expected to fall 15-20 per cent, owing to Iran banning the import of the commodity from India.Iran purchases about 40 per cent of the basmati rice sold in the international market by Indian exporters. Through the past few years, Iran has been charging an import duty on rice (basmati and non-basmati) to safeguard the interests of farmers in that country. This was lifted once the local crop was consumed. Last year, the import duty was raised from 22.5 per cent to 40 per cent in July; the move was rolled back in December.
This year, however, Iran banned such imports.Mohinder Pal Jindal, president of the All India Rice Exporters' Association, told Business Standard though exporters had purchased about 80 per cent of the estimated export demand, there was no clarity on the demand from buyers in Iran.
Besides Iran, Europe and Saudi Arabia are the major buyers of Indian basmati rice.
Though demand from these regions is stable, given the bumper crop in India, exporters are bracing up for low prices.Last year, the average realisation was $1,400 a tonne; as of now, the price stands at about $900 a tonne. It is expected if the import restrictions in Iran aren't lifted, the price will fall further.
Enthused by the high demand and remuneration last year, farmers in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh have diversified from non-basmati to basmati this year. However, due to a fall in import demand and oversupply in the domestic market, prices have crashed from Rs 3,500-4,000 a quintal last year to Rs 2,200-2,800 a quintal this year. A senior official in the Agriculture and Processed Food ProductsExports Development Authority said the slowdown in demand had resulted from the ban by Iran. He added in the past few years, basmati exporters had booked huge profits, as Iranian importers had bought aggressively.
Last year, Iran had imported 1,450,000 tonnes of rice from India; this year, that country's rice imports from India will stand at 900,000 tonnes.Annual consumption of rice in Iran is about three million tonnes and production this year is reported at about two million tonnes.The official added a price correction for basmati was expected, as prices had become unrealistic. High production of food grain across the globe had led to a fall in the prices of various commodities and rice exporters couldn't remain insulated from this trend, he said.

Gang uses ‘rice pulling’ con to cheat Tumkur politician of Rs 6 cr


The lightning-charged metal is supposed to attract all sorts of objects
Unable to come out in the open about humiliation, he finally complains to cops

The seemingly silly scam of 'rice pulling' has snared a politician. An assembly election contestant from Bengaluru hailing from Koratagere in Tumkur and residing in Peenya, he has lost all of Rs 6 crore of his own and his relatives' money. Unable to come out in the open due to the humiliating fraud he suffered, he finally mustered courage to file a written complaint in the office of the DG&IG on Wednesday. The letter says, "I have been suffering a lot since the last six months. I have seen people being cheated like this style in TV and media. I was unable to tell this matter in open and I have faced a lot of pain and suffering and am putting it up before you today." 

The letter by the politician mentions 10 people who allegedly cheated him, and gives their mobile phone numbers. M S Shyam Sundar, the advocate for the politician, said, "It is not just my client but many other people who have fallen prey to this scam.

It is real and there are many people out there cheating people. It is in the best interest of everyone that they are nabbed at the earliest." It all happened when some people approached the politician about a strange element that pulled rice towards it. It was claimed that the element falls to earth during lightning strikes (especially if lightning strikes a vessel) and after hundreds of years, has the power to pull things towards it. Simple magic tricks are used to show that rice grains scattered around a vessel, which is said to have been drawn by the power of the material. The gang claimed that the item was in possession of another person (obviously a gang member) from whom it had to be purchased. 

The 'rice puller,' the gang claimed, was to be used in satellites and nuclear weapons and that NASA and ISRO would buy it for thousands of crore of rupees. Falling for these ridiculous claims, the politician said he ended up paying Rs 6 crore over six months. More money was taken from him when visiting 'scientists' came to 'test' the rice puller. The complaint says that scientists and a foreign company representative came with eight to ten police personnel as security to check the rice puller. Having fallen for such a silly trick, the politician is in no mood to reveal himself for now, but the police, sources said, are already on the look out for the culprits and to find out how many others they have been cheated in a similar fashion. 

Acreage under pokkali cultivation dips

‘Shrimp lobby behind flooding of sown fields’

Vagaries of the weather, rapid infrastructure and property developments and expanding shrimp farming have reduced acreage under pokkali cultivation in the State. According to available data, acreage under the rice variety, unique to the coastal areas of the State lying roughly between Kuthiathode in Alappuzha district and Kodungalloor in Thrissur district, has shrunk to about 1,800 hectares.Of these, data for 2013 season showed that only about 1,700 hectares came under sowing. Scientists engaged in research on pokkali rice estimate that the State may have had about 26,400 hectares at the turn of the century.
A host of problems have plagued pokkali farming in the State. Though shortage of hands was the key issue more than a decade ago, it has now turned out that vast tracts of the fields have come under shrimp farming throughout the year despite the State’s declared policy of “one rice and one fish” cycle in a calendar year.Information from some of the agricultural offices in the district showed that pokkali cultivation has had a reasonably good season this year. About 120 hectares came under sowing in Varappuzha panchayat. Kumbalanghi had about 38 hectares; Chellanam 40 hectares; Pallippuram 52 hectares and Edavanakkad 25 hectares.
A scientist at the Vyttila Rice Research Station said the most recent blow to pokkali cultivation was the flooding of the fields in 2013 when unprecedented rain inundated large areas in Alappuzha and Ernakulam districts.The flooding resulted in substantial loss in terms of seed production. About 1,700 hectares came under sowing during the 2013 season. However, most of the fields were inundated.A spokesman for Pokkali Samrakshana Samithi, a voluntary group engaged in propagating pokkali cultivation, said pokkali fields came under constant pressure from shrimp farming. He alleged shrimp lobby was behind the flooding of sown fields with salt water ahead of the harvest this season.Scientists also pointed out that large areas under pokkali had been taken over for developmental activities in Ernakulam district.

Ex-president Kufuor in big rice business

For every business magnate, US$400 million (GHC1.28 bil­lion) is money that cannot be put into a competitor’s pocket. In the world of a president, that is an amount of money that can put up several classroom blocks, supply water, or even purchase enough fuel to deal with ‘dum-so.’What about an ex-president? It is dif­ficult to tell, but the answer may not be far if you read the mind of former President John Agyekum Kufuor.That Ghana spends US$400 million on importation of rice is a headache to the former president. That amount is 147 short of the $547 million Millennium Challenge Account first compact which the United States awarded his administra­tion to construct the N1 (George Bush) Highway, the Mallam interchange and other road networks, especially in the Afram Plains area of the Eastern Region.

It is also about $112 million less than the amount of money the current adminis­tration received on oil exports over Janu­ary to December 2014.Now, the former president, who was awarded the World Food Prize in 2011 along with Brazilian Lula da Silva, has put the machinery of the John A. Kufuor (JAK) Foundation, which he chairs, into motion to advocate in favour of domestic production of rice.By this act, he is seeking to beat down the amount of money spent on rice im­ports and help to channel a chunk, if not all, of the amount into the hands of local rice farmers to produce the staple, which has now become the first choice meal for majority of Ghanaian households.“All we want to do is to ensure that appropriate policy environment is created for the production through processing and marketing of local rice,” Professor Baf­four Agyemang-Duah, Chief Executive Officer of the JAK Foundation, spoke of the former president’s intentions.

He was speaking on Tuesday in Accra where the JAK Foundation, in col­laboration with the Ghana Rice Inter-professional Body, GRIB, outdoored a Public-Private National Dialogue Council on Rice, a vehicle that will facilitate the sharing of ideas by private sector actors and public sector institutions on policy and regulatory improvements for the rice industry in Ghana.According to Prof. Agyemang-Duah, the Public-Private National Dialogue Council on Rice (or Rice Council) is “an effort, in collaboration with other partners, to revive the Ghanaian spirit especially in the area of Ghanaian rice production.“We want to today, constitute a council and inaugurate it…so that the public sector, which is normally controlled by government, and the private sector where individuals, independent people and com­panies are operating can come together, have a common platform to dialogue on the best, appropriate policies for our rice industry to meet local demand,” he intimated.

In real terms, the value of the rice industry per annum is worth more than the US$400 giving that local rice produc­tion is calculated to be in the region of 30 percent of national need.The JAK Foundation has, therefore, taken a strategic initiative to ensure that if the local production is not propped, in the least, the existing quota for local farmers can be preserved.Looking three to four decades back, however, one gets a picture of massive retrogression. Here, Prof. Agyemang-Duah recalled: “…we know that in the early 70s this country started exporting rice.

I was a young man, and I saw it myself under the government of General (Ignatius Kutu) Acheampong. Through a very, very vigorous policy of operation feed yourself, we produced so much rice we started exporting rice to our neigh­bouring countries.”Sprint into 2014, and you will find that Ghana is a pale shadow of its former self. Prof. Agyemang-Duah acknowledges that “We’ve been told many times by governments that we spend a chunk of our scarce resources on importing rice. And I understand that currently we spend about 400 million dollars a year on rice importation. The assumption is that if we can produce our own rice then we will be saving ourselves that much.”His lamentation is that “the whole idea of relying on imported rice is the problem just as we relying on so many goods im­ported for our livelihoods is a problem.” He expatiates that “Now we know we are importing not only rice, we are also im­porting tomatoes, some vegetables, plan­tain; things that in our very youthful days we will just walk behind the backyard and just get them free of charge to our homes for our meals.

”According to the Ministry of Trade, a minimum US$500 million is spent on rice imports and even that is modest because many importers engage in under-invoicing or under declaration of actual value of their imports in order to avoid tax.Evans Sackey, Executive Secretary at GRIB, supplies that current rice consump­tion is at 1.6 million metric tonnes, up almost three-fold from the 2008 figure of 600,000 metric tonnes. Per the statistics, not more than 500,000 metric tonnes, or 31 percent, is supplied by local producers.The inauguration of the Rice Council is, therefore, meant to address challenges to local production, which are mainly policy-related so that an enabling environ­ment can be created for local production to thrive.“The expectation is that after this council is inaugurated, it will look at the rice strategy and validate the priorities therein. We will not end there.

We are also hoping that zonal councils will also be launched in the regions where priorities of stakeholders will also be discussed. Then the findings at both the local and national levels will serve as the basis for the public-private dialogue on the rice industry,” said Prof. Agyemang-Duah.He added, “So, this is just the begin­ning. We are building the national archi­tecture, to be followed by the regional group.”Beyond the short term, “we envisage that in the near future, this council will link to the rice councils in other neigh­bouring countries, for instance in Nigeria and Burkina Faso, to constitute a West African rice council.

And if we succeed in that, we can link that to other sub-regional councils as, for instance, we have in East Africa,” the CEO said.Meanwhile, the JAK foundation is a partner to a major rice initiative – Com­petitive African Rice Initiative, CARI. In partnership with TechnoServe and Kilimo Trust of Tanzania, the project is designed to maximize rice production in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Nigeria and Tanzania.

 This five-year project empowers small-scale rice farmers in these Sub-Saharan Africa countries and is sponsored by the Ger­man Cooperation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and managed by the German Development Corporation, GIZ.“The JAK Foundation is a partner han­dling mainly the advocacy and policy as­pects of the rice industry in Africa,” Prof. Agyemang-Duah stated. “Through these four countries, we hope to create these councils that will, hopefully, cascade into an African kind of rice council so that in the future, all Africa can be self-reliant.”

Source with thanks :

Not enough rice in Central Visayas: DA

By Jeandie O. Galolo
Friday, December 19, 2014

THERE IS not enough rice in Central Visayas to feed its seven million - and still growing - population. Rice self-sufficiency in the region is only at 32 percent, according to government data.The report came from the Department of Agriculture 7 Director Angel Enriquez in a recent interview. She said yield per hectare is only at three metric tons, which is below the average target of 3.9 metric tons of yield per hectare.In a year, Enriquez said every person consumes 80 to 90 kilos of rice.Among the four provinces in the region, only Bohol can feed itself independently, even leaving surplus for others to consume, she said. Some farmers in Bohol have a yield of seven metric tons per hectare.

Nationwide figures, meanwhile, show the country at 96 percent self-sufficient.The figures, according to DA 7 chief for agribusiness and marketing assistance division Gerry Avila, could have reached 100 percent in 2013 if not for typhoons Santi and Yolanda, which caused massive destruction to the country’s top rice producers in Central Luzon and Eastern Visayas, respectively.Enriquez explained that the main factor for the low rice production in Central Visayas is the “limited” land resources of the region in contrast with those in Luzon and Mindanao.Data from the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics showed that rice production in Central Visayas has been declining. In the first quarter of 2014, palay production was at 93.371 metric tons, Q2 was at 57.074 metric tons, and Q3 was at 20,294 metric tons.

Capitol investment

But the productivity of Bohol is another story. Enriquez said what it is experiencing now are returns of the provincial government’s investments in agriculture, particularly in funding farming machineries.In the first semester of this year, Bohol’s production was at 118,042 metric tons while Cebu recorded only 7,523 metric tons.Instead of the farmers shouldering the cost of the machine, it is the province that pays for it, Enriquez said.Under DA’s production support program, Avila said DA shoulders 85 percent of the cost of the machinery which is then awarded to farming communities. The remaining 15 percent will be shouldered by the farmers or the local government unit.Like Bohol, Enriquez said DA wants to achieve rice self-sufficiency in the entire region with the help of the local government units, especially the chief executives.

She urged mayors to revisit and enhance their Agriculture Development Plan and know for themselves how much their towns are producing per hectare.In Cebu, rice fields are mainly concentrated in Carcar, Argao, Balamban and Toledo, said Avila.Carcar City administrator and agriculture office OIC Edgardo Oca in a phone interview said it has increased its rice production to five metric tons this year, an increase from their average 3.2 metric tons production.

Oca attributed this to the city’s assistance to their farmers by supplying them with rice inputs like hybrid, registered, and certified seedlings and fertilizers.Actual cultivated land area in Carcar is 220 hectares.In a separate interview, National Economic Development Authority (Neda) 7 Director Efren Carreon said the agency, together with DA, will be pursuing the preparation and implementation of Agri-Fishery Development Plans at the LGU level.

On a decline

Part of the plan is to upgrade the Municipal Agriculture Office with at least five personnel and fast track the implementation of the Philippine Rural Development Program (PRDP).According to Carreon, agriculture’s performance in Central Visayas in the past three years is declining and “needs much help.”Of the three sectors (agriculture, industry, and services) identified in the Gross Regional Domestic Product, agriculture has the lowest contribution at 6.7 percent in 2013. The two others are at 35.7 percent and 57.6 percent, respectively.Carreon attributed the slow down to the vulnerability of the agriculture sector to disasters and effects of climate change.

OSHA cites Basic Grain Products after 2 workers injured at Coldwater rice-cake plant

Last updated: December 19. 2014 12:53PM

COLDWATER — In response to a complaint of an electrical shock injury, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration found that a 20-year employee was injured while he performed service work on an electrical panel at a Coldwater rice-cake manufacturer, according to a news release this week. Following the investigation, OSHA has cited Basic Grain Products Inc. for two repeated and five serious safety violations.The employee missed two days of work due to the electrical shock injury which occurred Aug. 18.

OSHA also learned that another employee missed 20 workdays and was on restricted duty for an additional 22 days after part of his ring finger was amputated on June 19 as he adjusted a machine used to make rice cakes.“Basic Grain Products must ensure that its workers are not exposed to dangerous machinery and are never expected to conduct maintenance without shutting down electrical and energy sources,” said Kim Nelson, OSHA’s area director in Toledo. “Those actions can prevent severe injuries like those suffered by these workers.”OSHA’s investigation determined that the employee who suffered the amputation injury while servicing the rice-cake machine was exposed to the operating parts of the machinery because it had not been properly powered down before maintenance.

The investigation also found Basic Grain Products failed to implement electrical safety-related work practices, which included no use of personal protective equipment; untrained workers; and inadequate clearance in front of electrical panels. These violations resulted in five serious safety citations. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.OSHA also cited the company for exposing workers to unguarded rice-cake machines that had been improperly powered down to prevent them from starting up during maintenance. These violations exposed workers to amputation and laceration hazards. Similar violations were found at the company in 2013. OSHA issues repeated citations when a company has been cited previously for the same or a similar violation at any facility within federal enforcement states in the past five years.

Based in Coldwater with about 130 employees, Basic Grain Products is one of the largest private-label manufacturers and suppliers of rice cakes and other healthy snacks to supermarkets nationwide. The company faces proposed penalties of $58,410.The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
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Louisiana rice farmers could benefit from normalized Cuba relations

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- Rice farmer Allen McLain, left, watches his son, Allen McLain Jr., load rice into a truck at their drying station Wednesday in Abbeville in this December 2013 Advocate file photo.

Cuts in subsidies, other programs have hampered industry

Dec. 21, 2014
The prospect for normalized relations with Cuba could be good news for Louisiana rice farmers, who have fought to reopen what had been a lucrative market before the 1962 embargo and again as recently as a decade ago.“That would be a very big deal for the rice industry,” said Dustin Harrell, who is set to become the LSU AgCenter’s new state rice specialist in January.Experts say the benefits of normalizing diplomatic and trade relations would accrue gradually, and would come at a time when the rice industry is learning to cope with cuts in subsidies and other support programs brought on by the 2014 farm bill.
Michael Salassi, a production economics specialist for the AgCenter, said any benefits in terms of increased rice exports from Louisiana wouldn’t happen overnight but rather would slowly phase in over a period of years as any potentially new trading arrangements were formalized.“Should the U.S. be successful in normalizing diplomatic relations with Cuba, this certainly would have great potential for Louisiana rice exports to Cuba,” he wrote in an email response to questions about the impact of normalized relations.

Louisiana rice farming is concentrated in a belt that runs diagonally from the southwest into the northeast. Rice was worth about $494 million to Louisiana farmers in 2013, according to AgCenter figures. Value-added enterprises such as milling added another $164 million.In all, 1,023 farmers grew rice on about 410,000 Louisiana acres in what was considered a good crop year.Rice farmers got a taste of what an open Cuban market could do for prices after an easing of the Kennedy-era embargo in 2000 allowed food and medicine exports to Cuba.
U.S. rice exports grew to nearly 177,000 metric tons, worth about $68 million, by 2004, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The price of rice rose from $164 per metric ton in 2000 to just more than a $1,000 per metric ton in 2007.But the Bush administration toughened trade policy with Cuba in 2004, requiring cash in advance for food shipments. Rice exports to Cuba declined sharply and dropped to nothing in 2009.“An agreement between the two countries to facilitate commerce and banking activities would go a long way toward facilitating agricultural trade,” Salassi said.
“Should this occur, the Louisiana rice production sector would be in a prime position to supply a large portion of any rice exports to Cuba.”Published sources estimate total Cuban rice imports from all sources at 600,000 to 770,000 metric tons each year.In the agriculture policy portion of her website, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., cites an estimate that Cuba could buy 480,000 metric tons of U.S. rice if trade relations are normalized.Exports at that level would have made Cuba the second-biggest importer of U.S. rice in 2012-13. Mexico was the top importer of U.S. rice that year with 856,000 metric tons, according to the U.S. epartment of Agriculture Economic Research Service. Haiti was next with 366,000 metric tons.
Donald Sagrera is a former rice farmer whose family still works about 600 acres south of Abbeville.He said he’s heard that opening exports to Cuba could raise the price of a barrel of rice by about $2. Rice is currently selling at $23-$24 a barrel, according to the AgCenter.“I don’t know how much difference it will make,” Harrell said. “It would create a lot more demand, and that should help prices.”Rice prices have swung wildly over the last five years. The peak price was $615 a metric ton in August 2011. The low point was in May 2014, when the price dropped to $403.Farmers also have had to cope with high fuel costs and hurricanes Rita and Ike, which pushed salt water into fields as far north as La. 335 in Vermilion Parish, AgCenter rice specialist Johnny Saichuk said.
Before the hurricanes, Vermilion accounted for roughly one-fifth of Louisiana’s rice acreage, according to the AgCenter. But rice is sensitive to saltwater intrusion.The new farm bill’s effects could be another blow to rice farmers.Louisiana rice producers received nearly $2 billion in rice subsidies between 1995 and 2012, according to calculations by the Environmental Working Group. That ranks third among states.The new farm bill eliminates direct payments and requires farmers to choose between protection based on price or revenue and whether those values fall below government-established levels.“We’re getting ready to find out if we can make it or not,” Saichuk said.


Temasek Foundation's Aceh rice project yielding results

Residents in Indonesia's northern province of Aceh may soon have more varieties of rice to choose from. By 2017, there may be six more rice varieties - the result of an S$800,000 research project funded by Temasek Foundation.

Acehnese rice farmers. (Photo: AFP/Files)
BANDA ACEH, INDONESIA: Residents in Indonesia's northern province of Aceh may soon have more varieties of rice to choose from. By 2017, there may be six more rice varieties - the result of an S$800,000 research project funded by Temasek Foundation.Large areas of rice fields in the province became unsuitable for farming for many years after being flooded by salt water from the Indian Ocean tsunami 10 years ago. The project hopes to develop new rice types and increase rice production in Aceh.
Six out of 10 Acehnese are farmers. For Nasir, it's a means of living that has been passed down for generations. The 50-year-old is not well-educated but understands the value of science and how it can improve traditional farming methods.He agreed to participate in the rice project by setting aside a small plot of land for field trials in July. Results have been encouraging, and even attracted the attention of neighbouring farmers. Nasir said: "Many have asked for the seeds from me, they also want to try. I told them, 'not yet, be patient, it's not time yet'."On December 26, 2004, a massive earthquake triggered a tsunami. Giant waves crashed into coastal communities more than five kilometres inland, destroying about 20,000 hectares of farmland.
In 2008, Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory partnered Syiah Kuala University to build capabilities in rice research. Under the four-year collaboration, researchers developed new and improved rice varieties.
Two Acehnese rice - Siputih and Cantik Manis - were used in the project. The local rice have good quality grain, but low yields and are susceptible to diseases. Through the project, researchers improved the rice varieties using marker-assisted selection (MAS).The process selects rice genes which have desired traits, for example, genes that can control higher yields and are more tolerant of diseases. These genes are then combined with those from the local rice varieties, and the outcome is a new rice variety that is superior in all areas.Dr Zhongchao Yin, Senior Principal Investigator at Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory, said: "One of the local Acehnese rice lines, called Siputih, the grain quantity is quite good, as good as Thai fragrant rice but the yield is very low - about two tons per hectare. But our improved line, through the field trials, can achieve six to seven tons per hectare.
"The variety I mentioned - Siputih - when you grow it in the hilly area, it takes about seven months to harvest but for the improved line we can harvest it around four to 4.5 months."The new rice lines are then sown at one location as part of field trials and the results monitored. In the next phase, they will be tested in several locations. The multiple location field trials have to be conducted in at least three provinces across Indonesia. The Aceh rice project researchers are looking at North Sumatra, Riau and Central Java. These provinces are the rice producing areas in the country.
As part of the partnership, lead scientists from the Syiah Kuala University received training on rice breeding technologies in Singapore. They said the training and funding have been useful.Dr Sabaruddin Zakaria from Syiah Kuala University's Department of Agrotechnology, said: "The Indonesian government gives great attention to improve the field of molecular biology, but Indonesia also has a very big area, and we have almost more than 100 national universities. So, it's not easy for the government to provide equipment. We have received grants two times - in 2009 and 2010 - but not complete yet, so we cannot run the equipment properly yet."

Indonesia is among the top five rice-producing countries in the world. Nearly 70 million tons are expected to be produced this year. However, Aceh is not a major rice-producing province, contributing close to only two million tons.From the fields, the rice is then brought to factories to be processed. After the rice is packed, it is loaded onto trucks and distributed to cities like Medan in North Sumatra. Ridwan Daud, a distributor from PT Bina Usaha Pratama, said: "Aceh has excess to even export rice. Aceh feeds the people in North Sumatra. They depend on rice from Aceh."
When the rice finally reaches the local markets, consumers are spoilt for choice as there are many types available. The popularity of any new rice variety depends on several factors, especially price. Muhammad Yusuf, owner of Meuraxa Jaya, said: "The price will depend on the quality, its packaging and marketing. But, our traditional community here would choose cheaper rice."
It has been six years since the research collaboration started. The training phase and single location field trials are over. Researchers will now focus on the multi-location field trials, expected to be completed in 2017. The results of the trials will then be submitted to the Indonesian Agency for Agricultural Research and Development. Once the new rice varieties are approved, the seeds can then be distributed to farmers for mass production.Peter Chia, Chief Operating Officer of Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory, said: "With agriculture becoming more knowledge-based, more knowledge-intensive, suddenly it opens a new area for us to partner with people, to work with companies and countries to see how we could improve our lives as a community, as a region.
"So, in the case where technology is a resource enhancer, if we are able to produce a lot more with less natural resources, not only are we able to become more sustainable in our activities, we are also able to reduce our ecological footprint, and you can see the benefits translating across to everybody."The Aceh rice project is just the start of many more collaborations Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory has with other countries in the region. It has established partners in Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam on other rice projects, using technology to enhance productivity.
Technology is again a game changer in food production where rice is a staple to feed a majority of the population in Asia. Results have been positive, and researchers are quietly confident the new rice varieties will be ready for mass production in the next few years.But more than that, they hope the new capabilities can sow the seeds for greater research for Aceh to harvest its potential as a major rice-producing province in Indonesia. Researchers even have a name for the new rice variety - SIKUTEM - the acronym for Syiah Kuala and Temasek. 
- CNA/ir
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Bihar minister says govt sincere on paddy procurement

Press Trust of India  |  Patna  
December 19, 2014 Last Updated at 17:11 IST

Bihar Food and Consumer Protection minister Shyam Rajak today said the state government is "more sincere" than BJPon paddy procurement and condition of rice millers. "As per central government notification, Bihar has extended the procurement period till December 31, 2014 to obtain Custom Milled Rice (CMR) from the millers for the year 2012-14. We will take strong action against millers who are unable to provide CMR," Rajak said. The minister said the problems with rice millers would be solved soon, but BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi should not give wrong statements on the issue. 
"Modi should give suggestion on how to deal with millers who have paddy or rice worth Rs 1,961 crore pending with them. They have not returned it and we need to extract it from them," Rajak added. The minister said according to central government standards, paddy is purchased only when the moisture content in it is less than 17 per cent. At several places, paddy is not reaching at the procurement centres due to this reason, impeding the procurement process. Rajak also said procurement centres have been opened at all designated places and officials have been deputed for the purpose.

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Persian, Somali food in short supply in Winnipeg, so this duo is a great discovery

Posted: 12/18/2014 3:00 Last Modified: 12/18/2014 8:49 AM | 

Several years ago we had a few Persian restaurants and, in the more recent past, the occasional Somali restaurant. With the temporary closing (several months now) of Kabob Palace, and the permanent closing of Sa'aadal Kheyr, we lost our only sources of Persian and Somali food. Recently, though, I found a new source for each of those cuisines -- limited in both cases and definitely not run-of-the-mill.It seems almost axiomatic that the more difficult the communication, the better the chances of good food; at least that's how it was in today's two subjects.

 Ordering may be difficult, but what George's and Palm Tree have in common is the smiling welcome and warmth of the owners who, despite the difficulties in communication -- or possibly because of it -- are exceptionally eager to please those who show an interest in their cuisines.Today's source of Persian food is a surprising one. Certainly a name like George's Inn & Submarine offers no clues, and, in fact, they still turn out good burgers, thick subs and fresh-cut fries. But they weren't the reason I'd sought out this little place, and the only clue to that reason is one small sign in the window with what I assume is Iranian script.The relatively new owners (as of seven months ago) speak very little English, but in this case, ordering is easy, since there are only three Persian dishes.

 And, fortunately, those three are absolutely delicious. They are listed on the wall-board menu, all of them kabobs, but served off the skewers (from $6.89 to $14.89, combos from $13.89 to $23.89). Chicken of course, we all understand, and I happened to know that koubbideh meant ground beef. But what, I wondered, was barg? Fortunately a bilingual Iranian customer was there to tell me that barg meant small pieces of beef.All the meats had been marinated, were redolent of lemon juice, hints of onion, possibly garlic and sumac, and bursting with exquisite flavours.

They come with a platter of saffron-streaked basmati rice, with a roasted tomato on the side, the use of which the owner demonstrated for us -- slipping the skin off, spooning it onto the rice, adding a pat of butter, sprinkling it with salt, pepper and sumac (from the table shaker), and mixing it all up. And yes, the rice was as wonderful as the kabobs. A nice little touch was the complimentary little saucer of pimento-stuffed olives and chunks of raw onions, and the delicious Persian tea was a perfect finish.

It's a simple place, with moulded, bolted-to-the-floor plastic booths, but bright, spotless and cheerful, with big pots of geraniums lining the window sills, and one entire wall adorned with a rendition of sidewalk cafes. Yes, communication can be a problem, but there are only the three Persian specialties and all of them are musts. So do as I did, and order all three. You'll be as delighted as I was, and wish, as I did, that there were more Persian dishes to sample.The walls are lemon yellow and when they're at full power the lights are very bright, but the colourful tablecloths and placemats add cheerful notes in the Palm Tree. Since there are more choices than at George's the ordering may pose more problems, but most of the results are also delicious.

Before we'd even chosen anything, steaming bowls of soup turned up -- a flavourful broth that tasted of beef and bean liquid (with an underlying nip). A Somali custom, apparently, and a lovely one, since it staved off hunger while we tried to decipher the menu. It wasn't easy. Some items are listed under Breakfast (including a Somali omelette, chicken or beef burgers and oatmeal), and some under Lunch and Dinner (with entrées from $6.99 to $13.99). Some items aren't listed at all -- the crisp sambusas, for instance, filled with slightly spicy beef and potato.There were no helpful descriptions, so I resorted to my customary plea in such situations -- could we have a little of everything? Well, of course we didn't get everything, but we did get a decent variety, starting with a huge platter of delicious basmati rice pilaf, accompanied by another platter with small portions of a number of items.

 Most were good, two were outstanding, and whatever else you may have here, don't miss the kalaankal dry (i.e. sauceless) beef stew -- cubes of beef with onions and peppers -- and the chicken stew of cubed white meat chicken, also with onions and peppers, but with a different flavour and slightly saucier. The seasoning in both was subtle, but both were so beautifully flavoured we actually asked for more. In fact, the spicing in everything we tried was relatively mild -- milder, possibly, than it might be for the Somali clientele

Also on the platter were a roasted chicken leg -- juicy and tender, with a pale orange glaze on the skin -- a slice of grilled kingfish (slightly dry, with no notable seasoning, but decent); and chunks of goat on the bone. Before we'd ordered the goat, our server kept mentioning the bones, but I didn't get the hint -- these were huge and unwieldy, with cartilage attached. The meat was delicately flavoured, though, and if I had it to do over, I'd take the hint and order the goat boneless, in a stew.

Also included were big, floppy chapatis (unleavened flatbread) and a tasty relish of sautéed onions with beans, raisins and a few chunks of potato.We finished with Somali chai, spiced with (among other things) hints of cardamom. It was wonderful but a tad too sweet, and it's probably a good idea to add the sugar yourself.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 18, 2014 C5
Source with thanks: Winnipeg Free Press.

Adelaide’s international chefs add cultural touches to their Australian Christmas tables

DECEMBER 21, 2014 7:14PM

DANISH TREAT: A Hereford Beefstouw chef Maja Rahbek with her adopted Australian family Carol and James Sumner of Belair, at their home in Belair with Danish roast pork, apple with red current jelly and potatoes. Picture: STEPHEN LAFFER Source: News Corp Australia

BRANDY and coke with a wedge of lemon, Indian chutneys, cured and smoked fish, prawns simmered in coconut, sour stews and poached apples stuffed with berries ... that’s a whole new picture of Christmas cooking Down Under.It’s a different kind of delicious on the menu at the homes of some of Adelaide’s favourite chefs who bring their rich cultural food histories to their festive tables.
Here, they share Christmas plans and hints for a cultural twist to your December 25 feast.RAGINI DEY
Indian chef/owner
Dhaba at The Spice Kitchen
“The religious aspect is very important to us,” says Ragini Dey. “The day starts with the kids joining us for a family prayer.“By 7am the fragrance of a richly spiced lamb stock – for a festive lamb and basmati rice, yakhni pulao – wafts through the house.“Later we simmer prawns in fresh coconut, which also smells wonderful.

“The phone goes mad with international and interstate calls late into the night and the next day.“Amid all this, traditionally we dress in new clothes with plenty of bling, but many years ago we learned the hard way that Australian is much more casual. We were invited to lunch elsewhere, and wore our Christmas best only to find everyone else in bathers!”HINT OF INDIA: For Ragi’s Christmas Chutney, “great with prawns, ham, turkey, salmon and cheese”, Pit, peel, dice 2 limes, 2 green mangoes, 1 small pawpaw, 1 cup cherries, ½ a pineapple, 4 each peaches, nectarines, apricots and plums.

 “If any fruit is unavailable simply increase others”. Heat 1 tbsp. mustard oil in a heavy based pan until it smokes. Add 1 tsp five-spice, 1 tbsp. ginger, then the fruit and ½ tsp salt. Cook on low heat 6 minutes. Add 2 cups sugar. Stir until it melts. Remove from heat, cool and serve. Store in fridge up to two weeks. Serves 10.

Polish head chef
Auge (Italian)
“I will be working, so will spend the day with my sister and our good Ukrainian friends, who will no doubt lay out all the trimmings,” says Judyta, who will be working during Wigilia (Christmas Eve), the biggest celebration of the year in Poland.Normally, no meat is eaten for religious reasons
“Once, it was 12 courses, but nowadays its only three to four.
“We start with ‘oplatek’, a thin wafer (like at communion), then my favourite is barszcz – beetroot soup with tiny mushroom ‘ravioli’.“Then pierogi (dumplings), herrings in sour cream, sauerkraut with mushrooms, gherkins, and salads with mayonnaise.“The main dish is carp or pike in Poland, but here snapper, trevally or barramundi. I’m hoping to prepare the fish (which will be) baked whole, stuffed with thinly sliced pickling onions, garlic, fresh horseradish, dill, bay leaves, lemon and peppercorns.“Our pudding (kutia) is made from wheat grains, honey, poppy seeds and cream. Also, dried fruit compote and poppy seed rolls.

HINT OF POLAND: For a Sos Wisniowy (cherry sauce), place 500g cherries, 1 cinnamon bark and 1 cup water in a medium size pan, over medium heat, and cook 20-25 minutes, until cherries are tender. Force through a sieve, return to pot and add 8 tbsp. sugar and 1 cup sweet or dry red wine and simmer for a further 15-20 minutes, until sauce has thickened. Serve with pudding or vanilla ice cream. Serves 4-8.

South African chef/owner
“South Africa is also hot so we spend a lot of Christmas outside,” says Duncan who grew up in Johannesburg, and still enjoys the national drink, brandy and coke, with a wedge of lemon.
Duncan and wife Catherine, who also is a chef, have two children. When it’s his turn to cook Duncan prefers to his barbecue outside. For Christmas he has a fish recipe that is a family must.
“Every year I do whole snoek (snook) entree. It’s delicious, cheap – and good to eat straight off the barbecue. I beer-baste it, add apricot jam and hot-smoke it.

“In South Africa, a funny thing we tend to do is watch Leon Schuster movies (the South African version of National Lampoon).”HINT OF SOUTH AFRICA: For Duncan’s Christmas Snook: Sprinkle 1 side of snook with 50g salt, 50g sugar and zest of two lemons and leave to cure for 4 hours. Then wipe the fish clean with a damp tea towel. Wait until the barbecue coals are completely ashed over. Let heat die down. Mix 1 stubbie dark beer with 100g apricot jam and juice of two lemons, and baste the fish. Wrap in foil and place on barbecue away from coals. Cover the barbecue, gently cook until the flesh is just set. Serves 4-6 as entree.

Filipino executive sous chef
Hill of Grace, Adelaide Oval
With a Filipina mother and Australian father, Christmas is usually quite a cultural mix, and this year, Dennis’s girlfriend, Eve Linne, and her Filipino family will join the Leslie celebrations at Glenelg.“We don’t have a lot of Christmas traditions, so we make it about special-occasion foods,” says Dennis.“We’ll have the staples of adobo (vegetables marinated in vinegar, soy sauce and garlic, browned in oil, and simmered in the marinade) and sinigang (sour, savory soup or stew, often with tamarind). We will also spend more time on special dishes such as kare kare (stewed oxtail) and palabok (noodles with shrimp sauce), and lechon (rolled pork) which we love for its nice shiny, crispy skin.

HINT OF PHILIPPINES: To make lechon, lay out a 2-3kg pork loin (including rind and flap). Top with shallots, black pepper, lemongrass and fresh bay leaves. Roll it up and tie. Steam 20 minutes, then roast at 220C for 20 minutes. Lower heat to 140C and cook for 1½ hours. Baste with a mix of oil, vinegar and soy sauce. Serves 8-10.

Danish head chef
A Hereford Beefstouw

In Denmark it would be family time, and a small but special dinner on Christmas Eve.
“I am spending my first real Christmas Day with my adopted Australian family,” says Maja.
A long lunch is planned at the Belair home Maja shares with Carol and James Sumner, as well as new-found friends.

She will add some Danish-style dishes to the menu including slow-cooked pork loin flavoured with bay leaves tucked under the skin, sided by poached apples and berries, as well pickled red cabbage, “which is great with any meats, but especially baked pork or duck”. Then Maja’s risalamande, a festive Danish rice pudding, “mixed with whipped cream, vanilla, and chopped almonds, served hot or cold with kirsebaersauce (cherry sauce)”.HINT OF DENMARK: For the poached apples, scoop out the middle of four peeled apples and poach gently in water, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla. Cool, then fill the centre with red currant jelly. Serves 8 as side to pork.

Source with thanks :Originally published as Ditch turkey and prawns this Christmas Day

Winter comfort with a gourmet twist

Renowned chefs reinvent traditional age old recipes for your palate
December 20, 2014 Last Updated at 00:25 IST
Winter brings to mind trees hidden by fog, cosy blankets, evenings spent by the heater and, of course, warm foods.Gajar ka halwa, chicken broth, khichdi, bisques, stews, fiery-hot rasam and sarson ka saag are just some of the staples that have been made in homes across the country during these chilly days. But, here’s your chance to reinvent the traditional recipes with a gourmet twist, as suggested toAvantika Bhuyan by leading chefs. These dishes are loaded with nuts, warm oils, delicate seafood, fresh seasonal produce and have all the drama of presentation that you need to impress guests at home.

Warm foods to beat the chill

“When we think of comfort food during the biting cold, we think of pakoras, parathas and hot cups of chai. But we need to think beyond that,” says Anita Jatana, chief dietician, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, New Delhi. She suggests livening up the winter spread with whole grains such as bajra and jowar. These contain complex carbohydrates that take time to break down and generate warmth. They are also great sources of B Complex vitamins.

Though winter brings with it festive cheer, it is also sometimes accompanied by ailments such as cough, cold and dehydration. “People take less water and more tea and coffee which leaches the body of essential fluids,” says Sunita Roy Chaudhary, chief dietician, BLK Super Speciality Hospital. “One must keep having liquids such as fresh orange and sweet lime juices or thick, rich soups.” One way to make your tea sparkle is by adding cinnamon, cloves or a pinch of garam masala to it. “The heat-inducing spices can keep cough away and make your tea tastier,” says Jatana. Some people also keep cinnamon-infused water on the dining table — not only does the shimmering, golden liquid look delicious but tastes great too.

One must-have during winter is seafood. “It has calcium, Vitamin E and essential oils that are needed in this season,” says Chaudhary. It is no wonder then that winter menus in restaurants  are dominated by sea fish and crustaceans. This is also the time when mushrooms and morels grow in abundance. “They are great source of protein for vegetarians,” points out Chaudhary. And those who want to add vivacity to their desserts and salads can do so by adding heaps of sesame seeds and nuts. “A combination of nuts and seeds is ideal as they are a great source of Omega 3 fatty acids,” says Jatana.
Manish Mehrotra


Manish Mehrotra
Corporate chef, the Indian Accent, New Delhi

Chef speak:  “During winter, we get such good fresh produce that we simply have to incorporate these in our menu. So, this year, I am doing items like bajra and parmesan khichdi, polenta crusted malai corn, sarson ka saag, makki flat bread, gajar murabba tart and Indian celery soup with garam masala. We are also planning a custard apple cream. These are twists on some traditional dishes that are made at home.”

5 morel mushrooms, 50 gm button mushrooms, 50 gm oyster mushrooms, 50 gm ceps mushroom, 15 ml refined oil, 5 gm chopped garlic, 2 gm chilli flakes, 5 gm garam masala, salt to taste, 10 gm grated mozzarella, 20 gm roasted walnuts, 20 ml cooking cream, 5 gm chopped ginger, 2 gm chopped garlic, 2 gm chopped green chillies, 5 gm chopped coriander and 10 gm grated parmesan
Kashmiri Morel Mussalum
Thoroughly wash morel mushrooms in running water and soak. Change the water at least three to four times. Finely chop  the rest of the mushrooms. In a heavy bottom pan, heat oil and saute garlic. Add the grated mushrooms and cook till water evaporates. Cool the mixture, add grated mozzarella,garam masala, chopped coriander, chilli flakes and salt. Clean and trim the morels into equal sizes, stuff them with the mushroom mixture, toss them in cream. Roast the walnuts and crush them to a coarse consistency. Sprinkle this on the morels

For the cream sauce: Saute the chopped ginger, green chillies and garlic. Add cream and adjust seasoning.

For the parmesan papad: Spread grated parmesan cheese on a silpat and bake at 160 C till golden.

Plating: Slit the morels from top, spoon some sauce on the plate, place the morels, garnish with parmesan papad.
Abhijit Saha
Abhijit Saha
Chef-entrepreneur, Caperberry, Bengaluru
Chef speak: “It is that time of the year when people crave rich food for its spiciness and warmth. Olive oil is ideal for this season as it adds a fat component to the dish. One item on our menu that is a hot favourite is the chicken, walnut and celery soup, which is a heart-warming winter dish made with chicken stock, fresh puree of chicken and walnut. The crunchiness in the velvety soup comes from small dices of celery and toasted walnuts that are added as garnish. Seafood is also a popular winter food and hence the bisque recipe but with a dramatic flambé.”

For the bisque: 300 gm prawn head and shells, 60 ml white wine, 4 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp chopped garlic, 1 roughly chopped onion, 1 roughly chopped carrot, 1 chopped leek, 2 diced ripe red tomatoes, 100 ml tomato puree, 2 tbsp rice (washed and soaked), 2 tbsp softened butter, salt and crushed black pepper to taste, 30 ml brandy/cognac
For the timbale: 100 gm diced shrimps, 2 tbsp chopped onions, 2 tbsp chopped carrots, 1 chopped leek, 2 tbsp chopped green and yellow zucchini, 50 gm butter, 4 tbsp cream, 0.5 tsp chopped dill, salt and pepper to taste

Garnish: 4 prawns (medium, tail on, peeled and deveined), 4 dill sprigs, extra virgin olive oil
Prawn Bisque
Bisque: Wash and clean the shells and the head under running cold water. Place them in a saucepan with olive oil and cook for three to four minutes, stirring occasionally over medium heat. Pour in the white wine and allow the alcohol to evaporate for a couple of minutes. Add garlic, onion, carrots, leeks, tomatoes and tomato puree. Continue to cook for five to seven minutes or until the vegetables turn light brown in colour. Pour one-and-a-half litres of water in the saucepan and bring to a boil. Add rice, reduce heat to simmer and cook for 45 minutes. Remove from heat, allow it to cool. Fish out the shells and head. Make a smooth puree of the rest in a food processor, pass it through a kitchen strainer and transfer back to the saucepan. Set it aside.

Timbale: Heat butter in a pan, add onions and saute for a minute or so without browning. Add leeks and carrots, cook for another minute. Add the zucchini, cook for a minute and add the prawn dices. Toss for a couple of minutes, add cream and dill and season with salt and pepper.

To serve: Bring the bisque to a boil, slip in the prawns, cook for three to four minutes over medium heat. Adjust the seasoning, reduce heat to a simmer and stir in the softened butter. In a separate pan, heat the brandy and allow it to ignite. On each soup plate, place a ring 2 inches in diameter and put some of the prawn timbale mixture. Press with a spoon and add a piece of prawn. Pour in the soup, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and garnish with dill sprig.
Nayna Nanji
Nayna Nanji
Chef, Ziya kitchen at The Oberoi, Mumbai
Chef speak: “This year, we have taken ingredients that can be paired well with different spirits. One of the signature dishes is a lovely lobster flambeed with whiskey and served with beetroot galouti. We are known for our vegetarian galoutis.Another of our trademark items ideal for winter is the lifafa paneer and wild mushroom khichdi. It is an Indian dish but presented in an evolved way. We use shiitake and porcini mushrooms, add truffle oil to that and on the side, serve a nice puff of paneer topped with makhni sauce.” [Note: We are sharing the recipe of the wild mushroom khichdi sauce. The entire recipe with the lifafa paneer is available]

20 ml olive oil, 10 gm whole jeera, 15 gm ginger, 60 gm large onion, 400 gm basmati rice, 75 gm button mushrooms, 75 gm ceps mushrooms, 40 gm shiitake mushrooms, 80 gm unsalted butter, 30 ml truffle oil, 100 ml cream, salt to taste
Wild mushroom khichdee
Wash the rice and soak for half an hour. Soak the ceps and shiitake mushrooms separately. In a pan, heat oil, add chopped ginger, chopped onions. Add the soaked rice and stir well. Add the water in which the mushrooms had been soaked. Cook till half done. Add salt. Add the chopped mushrooms and water, cover and cook. Pour in cream, butter and truffle oil to finish.

Tomato and sesame chutney
Ingredients: 60 ml ghee, 1400 gms tomato, 2 gms bay leaf, 9 gms chilli green, 25 gms sesame seed, 3 gms cardamom powder, 10 gms honey, 5 gms fennel seeds, salt to taste

Method: Blanch tomatoes. Chop and keep aside. In a pan, heat ghee, add bay leaf, slit green chillies, fennel seeds and the tomatoes. Cook till the tomatoes leave water, then add in the salt and honey. Cook till tomatoes soften. Finish with green cardamom powder and sesame seeds.

Makhni Sauce
Ingredients: 20 ml ghee, 10 gms ginger paste, 10 gms garlic paste, 10 gms jeera powder, 200 gms table butter, 10 gms coriander powder, 10 gms deghi mirch powder, 600 gms tomato paste, 600 gms tomato pellati, 15 gms kasoori methi powder, 15 gms sugar grains, 200 gms cream, 2 gms cardamom powder, salt to taste
Method: Heat ghee in a pan, add ginger-garlic paste. Now add jeera powder, coriander powder, tomato paste and saute well. Now put in the tomato pellati and cook thoroughly. Add butter and cream. Finish with kasoori methi and cardamom powder.

Lifafa paneer
Ingredients: For the filling: 575 gms paneer malai, 10 gms deghi mirch powder, 1 gm ajwain seeds, 150 gms hung curd, 15 gms red chilli paste, 10 gms ginger-garlic paste, 100 ml oil, 150 gms spinach, 200 gms onions, 200 gms tomato, 15 gms coriander powder, 15 gms jeera powder, 5 gms turmeric powder, 5 gms salt, 3 gms garam masala powder, 5 gms whole jeera

Method: Marinate paneer with chilli paste, ginger-garlic paste, ajwain seeds and hung curd. Cook in an oven, cut in small cubes and keep aside. Heat oil in a pan. Add whole jeera, cumin powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, chopped onions and ginger-garlic paste. Cook well. Add chopped tomatoes. Cook till they soften. Cook well till the mixture becomes dry. Add salt, fresh coriander and garam masala powder. Now cut the puff dough in A4 paper size. Layer the centre with fresh spinach leaves. Fold it over one overlapping the other like an envelope. Turn around. Make a slit on the top. Bake at 220C for 15 to 20 minutes
Christophe Gillino
Christophe Gillino
Executive chef, The Leela Palace New Delhi.
Chef Speak: “Usually, one hears of seafood stews during winters, but I have created a seafood vol-au-vent which is made live in front of the guests. It’s a seafood stew with cream, winter mushrooms, white sauce, prawns, scallops, shrimp, clams and mussels. It is served as a tiny portion. I also mix a lot of fish with meat juices and forest herbs. So, you will find a roasted salmon with heavy wine sauce, chicken jus and rosemary. It is our yearly bestseller. Also, one of our signature dishes is the seafood brodetto which is a tomato broth with fennel and shrimp. It is a rich, warming dish.”
Ingredients: 1000 ml fish stock, 2000 gms tomatoes, 100 ml tomato sauce, 5 gms dry fennel, 30 gms fresh fennel, 5 gms star anise, 50 ml white wine, 10 ml pernod, 100 gms onion, 50 gms carrots, 25 gms celery, 20 gms leeks, 5 gms bay leaf, 5 gms peppercorns, 50 gms lemon, 100 gms snapper, 100 gms prawns, 100 gms scallops, 100 gms halibut, 50 gms garlic, 50 ml olive oil, 50 gms basil
Seafood brodetto
Method: Prepare a fish stock with fish bones. Cover the bones with water, add some carrot, cubed onions and bay leaf. Boil for 20 minutes, not more. Strain it and reserve it. Peel and clean the fresh tomato, reserve it. Pan fry the chopped onions, chopped garlic and fresh tomato with olive oil. Cook for 30 minutes very slowly and then add fish stock, celery, leek, carrot and onions, dry and fresh fennel and star anise. Cook it slowly till you get the desired consistency for the soup. Don’t strain it, but take out the dry fennel and star anise. Cut small pieces of snapper, get one prawn, one scallop and a small piece of halibut per person. Pan fry the fish for a minute on each side and the prawns for two minutes per side. Then add this to the soup with some lemon zest, olive oil and chopped basil. Finish it in the oven (for two to three minutes). Serve in a deep plate.

Source with thanks:

The weekend cook: Thomasina Miers’ seafood recipes for the run-up to Christmas


When time’s short in the kitchen, fish and shellfish are a real life-saver: they’re healthy, tasty and damned quick to cook
The Guardian, Friday 19 December 2014 18.00 GMT
Turn to seafood when time is short. Food styling: Katie Giovanni Photograph: Johanna Parkin/Guardian
Before the fishermen go on holiday and Christmas turns the world upside down, I tend to eat a lot of fish. I don’t have much spare time to spend cooking in the lead-up to Christmas – there are too many stocking fillers to buy, presents to be wrapped, last-minute errands to run – so I turn to fast, enticing dishes, redolent with spices, to warm us up and ward off bugs. You can get fresh turmeric and curry leaves at larger supermarkets and Asian food shops; if you can’t find them, use ground turmeric instead of fresh and coriander instead of curry leaves.

A simple bowl of curried mussels

The sauce is so lip-smacking that I’ve been known to it eat as it is, scattered with cubes of paneer or feta. Over mussels – a terrific and cheap fast food – it becomes an extraordinarily comforting bowl of rich goodness. Serves four.
4 tbsp vegetable (or rapeseed) oil
1½ medium onions, peeled and finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced
5cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
5cm piece fresh turmeric, finely grated (or ½ tsp dried)
1 tsp cumin seeds, freshly ground
1 tsp coriander seeds, freshly ground
2 400g tins plum tomatoes
½ tsp sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2kg live mussels
20 curry leaves (or a handful of roughly chopped coriander leaves)
1 tsp black mustard seeds

Pop a large saucepan on a medium heat. When hot, add two tablespoons of oil and the onion, and sweat, stirring, for five minutes, until soft and translucent. Stir in the garlic, ginger, turmeric, cumin and coriander, cook for five minutes, then add the tomatoes (break them up in the pan with a wooden spoon) and sugar. Season generously, bring to a simmer and leave to bubble gently for 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, scrub clean the mussels and tug off their beards; discard any mussels with broken shells or that do not shut when tapped firmly on the side of the counter. (If you prepare the mussels in advance, put them in a bowl and keep in the fridge, but not in water.)
Put a large casserole pan with a lid over the highest heat. When smoking hot, add the remaining oil, then the curry leaves (if using) and mustard seeds. Once the seeds start to pop, tip in the mussels with a few tablespoons of water, clap on the lid and cook for about five minutes, or until all the mussels have opened (discard any that do not). Pour the sauce on top; if you are using coriander instead of curry leaves, add it now. Bring back to a simmer, and serve at once.

A proper kedgeree

Thomasina Miers’ proper kedgeree: ‘The perfect way to kick off the festivities.’Photograph: Johanna Parkin for the Guardian. Food styling: Katie Giovanni
Kedgeree is my favourite Christmas Eve dish: buttery, fluffy rice scented with subtle spicing and seasoned with flakes of poached haddock is the perfect way to kick off the festivities. Serves four to six.
275g basmati rice
600g undyed smoked haddock
60g butter
1 medium onion, peeled and finely sliced
2 tsp cardamom pods, freshly ground
2 tsp coriander seeds, freshly ground
1½ tsp cumin seeds, freshly ground
5cm piece fresh turmeric, finely grated (or ½ tsp dried)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
250g frozen peas
3 free-range eggs, soft-boiled
Several large handfuls flat-leaf parsley, leaves finely chopped
Lemon wedges, to serve
Rinse the rice in cold water a few times, then cover in water and leave to soak for 10-15 minutes. Put the haddock in a pan over a medium heat, cover with boiling water, and leave to simmer for a few minutes, until barely cooked. Turn off the heat and let the fish cool in its bath.Put a casserole on a medium heat and add three-quarters of the butter. When sizzling, add the onions and spices, season generously with pepper and a little salt, and cook for about 10 minutes, until the onion is soft and translucent. Drain the rice and stir into the onion pot, making sure to coat all the grains in the fat. Pour in 500ml of the fish poaching liquid, bring to a simmer, and leave to bubble gently for 15 minutes. Stir in the peas, adjust the seasoning to taste, and leave on the heat.
Meanwhile, pull the skin off the haddock, and allow the fish to fall into a bowl in nice, big chunks. After the rice has been cooking for five minutes longer, turn the heat to its lowest possible setting (or heat the oven to low) and lay the fish gently on top of the rice. Cover the pan with a lid and leave for 10 minutes (or until the rice is tender): this allows the rice to finish cooking in its steam. Meanwhile, boil the eggs in gently simmering water for six minutes, drain and cool under cold, running water.
When you are ready to eat, shell the eggs and cut into quarters. Gently stir the parsley and remaining butter through the rice and spoon into a serving dish. Top with the quartered eggs, squeeze over half a lemon and bring to the table with warm plates and more lemon wedges for squeezing.

And for the rest of the week…

Leftover kedgeree is the breakfast of kings: gently reheat in a pan with a splash of water and more butter and parsley. And buy a slightly bigger piece of haddock than you need and use the excess in fishcakes, gratins, croquetas and the like. Leftover mussels are also a treasure: shell and put them in the fridge with any remaining sauce, and use in a silky mussel sauce for spaghetti by pureeing them with a little cream and topping with chopped coriander. Fresh curry leaves usually come in large bags, so freeze any left over: they keep brilliantly, make almost any curry taste better and can be used straight from frozen.
Thomasina Miers is co-owner of the Wahaca group of Mexican restaurants.. Her latest book, Chilli Notes, is published by Hodder & Stoughton at £25. To order a copy for £20, go
Follow Thomasina on Twitter

Source with thanks: The Guardian News