Monday, January 26, 2015

26th January (Monday),2015 Daily ExclusiveORYZA Rice E-Newsletter by Riceplus Magazine

Asia Rice Quotes Unchanged Today

Jan 23, 2015
Asia rice sellers kept their quotes mostly unchanged today.
5% Broken Rice
Thailand 5% rice is quoted at around $405 - $415 per ton, about $40 per ton premium on Vietnam 5% rice shown at around $365 - $375 per ton. India 5% rice is quoted at around $395 - $405 per ton, about $35 per ton premium on Pakistan 5% rice quoted at around $360 - $370 per ton.
25% Broken Rice 
Thailand 25% rice is quoted at around $365 - $375 per ton, about $25 per ton premium on Vietnam 25% rice shown at around $340 - $350 per ton. India 25% rice is quoted at around $360 - $370, about $40 per ton premium on Pakistan 25% rice quoted at around $320 - $330 per ton.
Parboiled Rice
Thailand parboiled rice is quoted at around $405 - $415 per ton. India parboiled rice is quoted at around $390 - $400 per ton, about $10 per ton discount to Pakistan parboiled rice quoted at around $400 - $410 per ton.
100% Broken Rice
Thailand broken rice, A1 Super, is quoted at around $320 - $330 per ton, about $5 per ton premium on Vietnam 100% broken rice shown at around $315 - $325 per ton. India's 100% broken rice is shown at around $300 - $310 per ton,  about $10 per ton premium on Pakistan broken sortexed rice quoted at around $290 - $300 per ton.

Oryza Afternoon Recap - Chicago Rough Rice Futures Break $11.000/cwt as Falling Crude and Global Competition Continue to Weigh on Prices

Jan 23, 2015
Chicago rough rice futures for Mar delivery settled 15 cents per cwt (about $3 per ton) lower at $11.010 per cwt (about $243 per ton). Rough rice futures continued lower today, adding to losses sustained yesterday and on the week. These losses bring the total on the week to 33.5 cents per cwt (about $7 per ton) and saw the market dip below psychological support at $11.000 per cwt (about $243 per ton) in late session trading. Today’s dip to $10.960 per cwt (about $242 per ton) marks a fresh contract low and has returned price to levels not seen since 2010. Although the market did manage to close just above the previously mentioned level of support, the outlook for trading early next week remains negative and traders expect a continuation lower. Negativity in outside markets such as crude and the euro continue to weigh on US grain prices and will likely continue to do so in coming sessions. The other grains finished the day with mixed results today; Soybeans closed about 0.4% lower at $9.7375 per bushel; wheat finished about 0.7% lower at $5.3000 per bushel, and corn finished the day about 0.8% higher at $3.8775 per bushel.U.S. stocks mainly fell on Friday, with the S&P 500 halting a four-session winning run, as investors considered economic data, energy costs and a reduced 2014 earnings estimate from United Parcel Service. Friday's economic reports had had existing-homes sales rising 2.4 percent to an annual rate of 5.04 million in December. After a 91-point slide, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was lately off 39.66 points, or 0.2%, to 17,774.32. The S&P 500 shed 3.45 points, or 0.2%, to 2,059.70, with materials and telecom hardest hit and utilities and technology faring best of its 10 major sectors. The Nasdaq gained 13.83 points, or 0.3%, to 4,764.21. Gold is trading about 0.7% lower, crude oil is seen trading about 1.5% lower, and the U.S. dollar is seen trading about 0.8% higher at about  1:00pm Chicago time.Thursday, there were 800 contracts traded, up from 240 contracts traded on Wednesday. Open interest – the number of contracts outstanding – on Thursday decreased by 10 contracts to 8,746.

FAO Estimates Liberia to Import 350,000 Tons of Rice in 2015; Up 24% from Last Year

Jan 23, 2015

The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has estimated Liberia to import around 350,000 tons of rice in 2015, up about 24% from an estimated 282,250 tons in 2014 due to a reduction in paddy rice production following the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).  Liberia's total cereal imports are estimated at around 445,000 tons in 2015.   
Liberia's 2014 paddy rice output is estimated to decline to around 237,000 tons (around 174,000 tons, basis milled), down about 12% from around 270,000 tons in 2013, according to the FAO.The outbreak of EVD during the planting and harvest time of the rice crop has disrupted various farming activities including crop maintenance (such as weeding, fencing and application of chemicals) and harvesting due to labor shortages.
Harvesting of the 2014 paddy crop was completed in December. According to the FAO GIEWS Disease Impact on Agriculture – Simulation (DIAS) Model, paddy crop has been hard hit in Lofa and Margibi counties, where losses are estimated at about 25%.Since Liberia relies heavily on food imports, including rice, border closures, quarantine measures and other restrictions to contain EVD outbreak led to severe food shortages. According to the World Bank data, as of November 2014, nearly 630,000 people are estimated to be food insecure (of which 170,000 are attributed to EVD), and the number is projected to increase to 750,000 (250,000 attributed to EVD) by March 2015. Most of the people affected by EVD are farmers, fishermen, hunters and unskilled laborers.
Prices of imported rice in the country have increased significantly during the past five months partly due to EVD and partly due to local currency depreciation against the dollar, but stabilized in November 2014, according to the FAO.USDA estimates Liberia to produce around 189,000 tons of milled rice and import around 300,000 tons in 2014-15 (October-September) to meet an annual consumption demand of around 480,000 tons.

IGC Estimates 2015 World Rice Trade at 41.6 Million Tons; Slightly Down from Last year

Jan 23, 2015

The International Grains Council (IGC) has estimated 2015 world rice trade at around 41.6 million tons, slightly down from around 42 million tons in 2014 as a reduction in imports to Far Eastern countries such as China, Indonesia and the Philippines is expected to be offset by increased imports to other regions such as Africa.
The IGC expects total rice imports by Far East Asian countries including Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia, China and the Philippines, at around 13.1 million tons in 2015, down about 5% from around 13.8 million tons last year. It expects China to remain largest importer in 2015 with about 3.8 million tons. The IGC expects Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to import around 600,000 tons and around 200,000 tons in 2015. It expects rice imports by the Philippines and Indonesia to be lower than last year but to be significant due to their efforts to maintain reserves. The IGC estimates shipments to sub-Saharan Africa at an above-average level of about 14 million tons. Shipments to Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Ghana and Nigeria are expected to increase. 
On the exports side, the IGC estimates Thailand to export around 11 million tons of rice in 2015, up about 8% from around 10.2 million tons in 2014. Most of its sales are expected to sub-Saharan Africa and Far East Asia, especially China. The IGC expects India to export around 8.8 million tons of rice in 2015, about 17% lower than around 10.3 million tons exported last year due to increasing concerns of the impact of a weak monsoon on the country's production.  
The IGC estimates 2014-15 global rice production at around 474 million tons, slightly down from around 475 million tons in 2013-14. It expects decline in production in many parts of the world to offset a 1.5% increase in production in China to around 144.5 million tons. It expects India's rice production to decline 3% y/y to around 102.5 million tons. The IGC is expecting higher output in the Philippines and Vietnam but a lower output in Thailand. It is also expecting higher outputs in the U.S. and South America.
It expects global rice consumption in 2014-15 to increase to around 482 million tons, up about 1.2% from around 476 million tons in 2013-14 due to expected increased consumption in Asian countries including India (98.3 million tons) and China (147 million tons) as well as in sub-Saharan Africa (26 million tons) and in the Americas (4.2 million tons). 
The Council expects world rice ending stocks in 2014-15 to decline to around 101.6 million tons from around 109 million tons in the previous year. It expects inventories of major rice exporters to decline to around 31.7 million tons, down 20% from around 39.4 million tons last year mainly due to higher stock depletion in India and Thailand.

Oryza U.S. Rough Rice Recap - Prices Weaken Further despite Record Export Shipments

Jan 23, 2015
The U.S. cash market was softer yet again today falling with a futures market that can’t seem to find a bottom. Analysts continue to believe that prices will remain in free fall without a substantial increase in export demand.In the meantime, the USDA reported that cumulative net export sales for the week ending on January 15th, totaled 97,800 tons, which was 27% higher than last week and considerably higher than the prior 4-week average.
Increases were reported for the following destinations: 79,100 tons to Mexico, 4,000 tons to El Salvador, 3,000 tons to the United Kingdom, 2,500 tons to Turkey, and 2,400 tons to unknown destinations.U.S. rice exporters shipped 148,900 tons, a marketing year high, which was considerably higher than last week and the prior 4-week average. The primary destinations included 62,500 tons to Turkey, 31,400 tons to Iraq, 25,100 tons to Japan, 12,500 tons to Mexico, and 9,400 tons to Haiti.

Spain's Rice Sector to Receive $13.9 Million Support in 2015

Jan 23, 2015

The Spanish government will support the country’s rice sector with around around 12.2 million euros (around $13.9 million), according to official sources. The amount also includes funds allocated to the sector under the European Union (EU) Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) as well as some contributions from local communities. 
The allocated amount can support about 122,060 hectares of rice fields concentrated around the regions of Andalucia, Catalunia and Valencia. Spain is the second largest producer of rice in the EU after Italy.According to the Royal Decree number 1075/014 approved on December 19, 2014, rice farmers intending to receive direct help from the government need to declare their rice fields October 15, 2015, confirm the actual planted area by November 15, 2015. As per the available funds, each farmer can get maximum help of around 400 euros (around $455) per hectare.Also rice farmers need to grow rice in irrigated area and use seeds of varieties included both in the EU common Catalogue of agricultural plants as well as in the Spanish Register of commercial varieties; or take a special permission from the Agriculture Ministry. The decision is to safeguard rice production in traditional areas where there is no alternative to rice growing as well as for protecting ecological balance.The total amount available for the sector is said to be published every year, from 2015 to 2020, on the web site of FEGA, Fondo Español de Garant├Ča Agraria (Spanish Fund of Agricultural Guarantee).

Armyworms: Farmers' Foes in Australia

Jan 23, 2015
Armyworm, a type of caterpillar of a native moth, is known to be attacking rice crops in Australia, especially in New South Wales region, according to local sources.The worms usually appear enclosed in a shell type covering and attack the rice crop just when the rice heads begin to emerge. When they attack, there are chances that nearly 50% of the rice output is affected. They mostly affect rice varieties that are drained mid-season. Local agronomists say this pest was not so attacking a few years ago but of late they have become very powerful. They say the pest has to be eradicated in the beginning and before they multiply to prevent significant damage. They say the armyworms can be killed with chemicals at budding stage. But they have to be properly identified, say agronomists. They also noted that once killed in the initial stage, there is a very little possibility that they re-emerge.

Oryza Overnight Recap - Chicago Rough Rice Futures Look to Open Higher on Strong Export Sales -- but Will They Be Enough to Erase Steep Losses Sustained Yesterday?

Jan 23, 2015
Chicago rough rice futures for Mar delivery are currently listed 7.5 cents per cwt (about $2 per ton) higher at $11.235 per cwt (about $248 per ton) ahead of floor trading in Chicago. The other grains are seen mostly lower: soybeans are currently seen 0.6% lower, wheat is listed about 1.1% lower and corn is currently noted about 0.1% higher.U.S. stock-index futures wavered on Friday, a day after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi detailed plans of a larger-than-expected bond-buying program. In an effort to bolster the euro-zone economy, Draghi said the central bank would make monthly bond purchases of as much as $70 billion, starting in March and running to September 2016. The stimulus package was well-received by global markets, with European stocks rallying on Friday.
The euro also weakened to an 11-year low against the dollar, and euro-area sovereign bond prices ticked up. The day also brings several key data releases. Existing home sales at 10:00 a.m. ET are expected to push back just above 5 million, having dipped below this level for the first time in six months in November. The Conference Board's Leading Index for December is also due at 10:00 a.m. ET. In other news, Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah died early on Friday and his brother Salman has been named king. Investors will be keeping a close eye on the oil-exporting nation and what the succession means for crest-fallen commodity. Gold is currently trading about 0.3% lower, crude oil is seen trading about 1.1% lower,  and the U.S. dollar is currently trading about 0.7% higher at 8:30am Chicago time.

Pakistan to Develop Rice Husk Based Power Plants

Jan 23, 2015
Pakistan Rice Millers Association (PRMA) has collaborated with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) to develop rice husk-based gasification power plants in the rice producing areas of the country, according to local sources.The project funded by the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) aims to generate cheap and uninterrupted power supply from rice husk. To start with, the PRMA has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the UNIDO, under which the UNIDO will support the PRMA to support the development of a feasibility study for 1 Mega Watt (MW) rice husk based gasification power plant at Bawalnagar, according to local sources.
Of late, Pakistan has been facing serious energy issues, including frequent power cuts and breakdown downs due to which the small and medium scale (SMEs) have been facing several problems such as low productivity and incomes.The project is expected to lay a foundation for the development of biomass gasification technologies in the future in Pakistan, according to the industrial development officer at the UN.“Pakistan being an agricultural country possesses a fuel for future which is cheap, clean and abundant. Such projects will enable SMEs to have uninterrupted electricity to run their operations, which will increase their productivity and also help in providing low cost electricity,” the The UNIDO’s country representative for Pakistan was quoted as s

Thai Government Fixes Rice Floor Prices for Upcoming Auction at Below Market Levels

Jan 23, 2015
The Thai government has reportedly fixed floor prices for rice to auctioned on January 29, 2014 at below market levels. According to local sources, the government has fixed floor price for white rice at around 8-10 baht per kilogram (around $245-$307 per ton), while the market price is quoted at around 13 baht per kilogram (around $399 per ton). On the other hand, the government has fixed the floor price for Hom Mali rice at around 20-21 baht per kilogram (around $613-$644 per ton) compared to market price of around 31-33 baht per kilogram (around $950-$1,012 per ton).
The government is planning to auction around 850,000 tons of 5% broken rice and around 150,000 tons of jasmine rice on January 29. The Director General of the Foreign Trade Department was quoted as saying that the government would auction rice on a whole-warehouse basis and a wide variety of grades and varieties would be offered for sale. The government is understood to auction rice from 168 warehouses in 36 provinces.The government has told that it will allow prospective bidders to inspect samples of rice stocks being put up for sale before the scheduled auction to ensure transparency in rice sales in the wake of concerns over the deteriorating quality of rice stocks.
Two or three auctions are expected before the end of March, according to official sources. The military government is keen on selling around ten million tons of rice stocks this year. About 60% of this year's sales will comprise of premium-grade rice and 40% will comprise of substandard grains, according to the Commerce Ministry Permanent Secretary.It sold around 681,740 tons of rice in last four auctions raising around 6.36 billion baht (around $195 million) after it took charge on May 22, 2014.

Weekly Recap: Former Thailand PM Yingluck Impeached; Ebola Rages On; Asian Rice Quotes Continue Lower

Jan 23, 2015

The Oryza White Rice Index (WRI), a weighted average of global white rice export quotes, ended the week at about $425 per ton, down about $6 per ton from a week and a month ago and down about $38 per ton from a year ago.
Thailand 5% broken rice is today shown at about $405 per ton, down about $5 per ton from a week and a month ago, and down about $35 per ton from a year ago.
Today, Thailand’s military-appointed legislature voted to impeach former Prime Minister Yingluck.  In response, Yingluck said the move was part of a “political agenda” and adding on Facebook, “Democracy has died in Thailand today, along with the rule of law.” Her political party, the Pheu Thai, is considered the most popular political party in Thailand and won the 2011 on promises of higher rice prices under the government’s now-failed rice pledging scheme. 
The joint panel consisting of members of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) and the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) will recommend criminal charges against former PM Yingluck under the criminal code’s Section 157. Losses from the rice subsidy/pledging scheme between 2004 and 2014 are estimated to exceed earlier estimations of about $682 billion baht (about $21 billion USD) if depreciation and missing rice stocks are included, according to the Finance Permanent Secretary.  The government of Thailand has said it will maintain transparency in all future G2G contracts, following misdealings that occurred during Yingluck’s tenure as Prime Minister.
Meanwhile, the government plans to sell about one million tons of rice in a tender on January 29, and it will allow prospective bidders to inspect samples of rice stocks being auctioned, according to the Wall Street Journal.
It seems that long after the end of the rice mortgage scheme and the now impeachment of Yingluck, Thailand rice export quotes are depressed, Thailand rice stocks remain high, and farmers are arguably facing worse market conditions than before the scheme started.
India 5% broken rice is today shown at about $400 per ton, unchanged from a week ago, up about $10 a month and down about $10 per ton from a year ago.
The High Level Committee, tasked with looking into the present structure and operational aspects of the Food Corporation of India (FCI), submitted its recommendations to the Prime Minister today.  The Committee recommends that the FCI hand over all procurement operations of paddy, rice and wheat to states that have requisite infrastructure and instead focus on procurement in states where farmers suffer from distressed sales.
The Indian government plans to increase exports of rice (and other products) to China in continuing efforts to contain increasing trade deficit with the neighboring country, according to the Economic Times.
The Prime Minister of Bangladesh reiterated their government’s willingness to export rice to India, after India showed interest in buying around 20,000-30,000 tons of rice from them. Separately, many private business firms and multi-national corporations are planning huge investments in Bangladesh’s $6.4 billion rice milling sector following a consistent and rising demand for rice in the country.  Recently, blockades of highways, railways, and waterways have been disrupting the supply chain there since the Opposition Leader called for blockades on January 5.
Vietnam 5% broken rice is today shown at about $370 per ton, down about $10 per ton from a week ago, down about $20 per ton from a month ago and down about $35 per ton from a year ago. The forward outlook remains dim for quotes. The Vietnam Food Association (VFA) has scaled down expectations for rice exports in the first three months of 2015 to around 900,000 tons.  Meanwhile, the VFA plans to procure the entire paddy rice output in 2015 in efforts to protect farmers from anticipated price decreases.
Pakistan 5% broken rice is today shown at about $365 per ton, down about $10 per ton from a week and a month ago and down about $30 per ton from a year ago.
In December 2014, Pakistan exported about 490,371 tons of rice, an increase of about 7% from November, according to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.  In terms of value, export earnings increased to about $238.2 million in December, up about 8% from November.
Central & South America
Brazil 5% broken rice is today shown at about $540 per ton, unchanged from a week ago, down about $10 per ton from  a month ago and down about $125 per ton from a year ago.
The USDA Post estimates Mexico’s MY 2014-15 rice imports at around 775,000 tons, up about 10.7% from MY 2013-14.
U.S. 4% broken rice is today shown at about $500 per ton, down about $15 per ton from a week and a month ago and down about $90 per ton from a year ago.
The U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control announced new trade norms with Cuba following President Obama’s announcement to relax the 50-year embargo with the country. The U.S. rice industry is hopeful about exports to Cuba.
The U.S. share in South Korea’s total rice imports in 2014 declined to about 15% from about 30% in 2013 due to high prices driven by drought conditions, according to the USDA Post.
U.S. cash prices for rough rice has been quiet this week as with bids and offers both hard to find.  Buyers remain hand-to-mouth, and later in the week the cash market fell in tandem with the futures market.
After a holiday on Monday, Chicago rough rice futures for March delivery were around $11.350 per cwt (about $250 per ton) and climbed slightly during the short week before dropping Thursday and Friday.  Futures for March delivery closed the week at $11.050 per cwt (about $244 per ton).
Other Markets
Cambodia 5% broken rice is today shown at about $440 per ton, down about $5 per ton from a week ago, down about $25 per ton from a month ago and down about $15 per ton from year ago. Separately, Cambodia’s MY 2014-15 rice exports are expected to increase about 15% from MY 2013-14 to 1.15 million tons (official and unofficial tonnage), according to the UN’s FAO.
Starting in April 2015, Myanmar will begin exporting rice to China legally, following the finalization of a trade agreement between the two countries.
The Food and Agricultural Organization data show that prices of food, including rice, have increased on average from 30% to 75% in African regions affected by the Ebola virus, and the UN’s International Fund for Agriculture Development warns that if the situation continues for long, those regions may face acute food shortages.
Nepal is considering allowing rice exports to China in the fiscal year 2014-15 (August-July), based on the huge demand for Nepali rice in China.
Paddy rice production in Indonesia is expected to increase about 4% to 73.4 million tons in 2015.
Paddy rice output in the Philippines in 2014 has increased about 2.87% from 2013 to reach about 18.97 million tons (about 11.95 million tons, basis milled).
Japan has purchased about 61,000 tons of non-glutinous milled rice from Thailand and the U.S.
In the first eleven months of 2014, China imported about 2.244 million tons of rice, down about 1% from the same period last year, according to the China Customs General Administration.
The Sri Lanka government will release the stored rice in its warehouses into the open market before the harvest season of the 2014-15 Maha rice crop (September-April) begins next month.
The FAO estimates Liberia will import 350,000 tons of rice in 2015, up 24% from last year.
The government of Spain has said it will support the country’s rice sector with around 12.2 million euros (about $13.9 million).

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26th January (Monday),2015 Daily Global Rice E-Newsletter by Riceplus Magazine

Thailand Rice Subsidy Scheme: What It Is And How It Toppled Thai Leader Yingluck Shinawatra

 Shuan Sim @ShuanSim on 
Former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra arrives at Parliament before the National Legislative Assembly meeting. Yingluck was impeached over her controversial rice subsidy program Friday. 

Former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra was impeached Friday for her role in a rice subsidy program that cost the Thai government billions. The rice subsidy that was supposed to help farmers eventually saw Yingluck ousted from the government, sparked protests and led to the former government leader's expulsion from Thai politics for five years. So how did the subsidy program work exactly?
The rice program introduced in 2011 sought to buy rice from local farmers at above-market prices, stockpile them to drive up global prices, and then sell them for increased revenue. Thailand was the world’s largest exporter of rice at the time and had the clout to affect prices of the staple. The program was earlier promoted by Yingluck’s brother Thaksin, who was the former prime minister and is now exiled from the country.
The program was one of the main campaign messages that Yingluck’s Pheu Thai party ran on, winning her party a landslide election in 2011. "It helped those with lower incomes earn more," she said at herimpeachment hearing on Thursday, according to Reuters. "Farmers are the backbone of the country." Farmers account for 23 percent of Thailand’s 67 million people.The subsidy was popular with farmers initially as they expanded their production in Thailand’s rural north. "I wanted to get more money," farmer Jaroen Namhap told the Wall Street Journal.
"Many other farmers in this district decided to do the same thing by expanding the amount of land used to grow rice. The government was offering such a good price. It was much better than selling to rice mills."However, the program went south when India returned to the rice export market after a long absence, and prices dropped worldwide. Yingluck’s government began to run out of money to support the subsidy, and many farmers are still waiting for payment from the government for the rice they turned in.
Rice farmers had threatened to park 100 tractors at the Thailand airport in protest.Yingluck’s rice subsidy program supposedly cost the government some 500 billion Thai baht ($15.3) in losses. Thailand’s National Anti-Corruption Commission found Yingluck guilty of corruption last May for ignoring flaws in her program to advance her populist political agenda. "The rice subsidy is fraught with weaknesses and risks at every level, leading to corruption and impacting the state budget, farmers and the country's fiscal position," Commissioner Vicha Mahakun said at a news conference announcing the panel's verdict, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The Thai Constitutional Court removed Yingluck from office in May, sparking protests from the pro-Yingluck faction known as the Red Shirts. Opposition to Yingluck’s government, comprising many of the country’s traditional elite, planned their own rallies, too. A military junta, the National Council for Peace and Order, was established at the ousting of Yingluck and has imposed martial law since May.Thailand’s current National Legislative Assembly is mostly comprised of military officers put in place by the junta government, known for its strict censorship laws and nationalist policies. Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha had said he did not order the NLA to vote to indict Yingluck, according to Reuters.
Yingluck also faces criminal charges for the rice subsidy program that could see her jailed for up to 10 years."Thai democracy has died along with the rule of law," Yingluck said in a statement posted on her Facebook page, reported by Reuters. "I will fight until the end to prove my innocence, no matter what the outcome will be. And most importantly, I want to stand alongside the Thai people. Together we must bring Thailand prosperity, bring back democracy and truly build justice in Thai society."

Efficient rice farming to curb emissions

VietNamNet Bridge – New water- and cost-efficient farming techniques will allow Viet Nam to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in wet rice production by 15 to 20 per cent by 2020, said Mai Van Trinh, director of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development's Institute for Agricultural Environment.
Trinh spoke at a conference held yesterday on the first phase of the Project on Reduced CH4 Emissions in Wet Rice Cultivation in Viet Nam. Trinh's institute and the Manila-based International Rice Research Institute held the event on Friday, Jan 23, in Ha Noi. To achieve the target, the ministry will use the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), a plan in which farmers will increase productivity, quality and economic effectiveness, while reducing pesticides and nitrogenous fertilisers.In addition to these measures, the ministry will also encourage farmers to use green production methods.

The sector will also apply Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) in cultivation, which means using techniques that consume less fertilisers and water, employing better land preparation techniques and reducing methane emissions.Another technology mentioned at the conference was Alternative Wetting Drying (AWD)."Actually, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in rice growing, the institute has tried AWD while implementing a project on reducing CH4 emissions in wet rice cultivation," Trinh said, adding that AWD is no longer strange to rice growers in Viet Nam, as it has already been incorporated in several other programmes, including SRI.Vu Duong Quynh, the project coordinator, said a major challenge with SRI is water management.

 Most problems are caused by the unfavourable terrain in many areas, fragmented rice fields and a lack of co-operation between irrigation staff and farmers. This is especially troublesome considering the fact that efficient irrigation is the best way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Quynh said.To overcome these difficulties, Quynh said that in its first phase, from October 2014 to June 2016, the project intends to collect lessons learnt from efficient irrigation models and to gather data on land and infrastructure in each province, to make a water-efficient irrigation map."When looking at this map, one can read out which province can apply AWD, as not all types of land are suitable for this technology," Quynh said.
In the second phase, the project will incorporate other technologies.

Image: Farmers check the rice plants at the Vu Lac Cooperative in Thai Binh Province. New farming techniques will allow Viet Nam to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in wet rice production by 15 to 20 per cent by 2020, says an official.
Source: VNS

Tags:Farming techniques,reduce,greenhouse gas emissions,

Afghanistan, Pakistan to improve trade ties

Published: January 25, 2015
KARACHI: As Afghanistan and Pakistan work towards a common goal, Afghan Ambassador Janan Mosazai has said that both the countries must work to deal with common issues like terrorism, illiteracy, poverty, water shortages, energy crisis and infrastructure development.
 “We are dependent on each other and cannot live in isolation. We need to effectively utilise the available resources in order build deeper relations between the two countries and stay focused on translating our words into action,” he said this during his visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI).“We will have to stop bloodshed and work jointly against terrorism in order to ensure a better future for our generations to come,” he added.

The Afghan Ambassador, while assuring support to KCCI by the embassy of Afghanistan, said that the doors of his country were wide-open for Pakistani business community to invest and enhance trade with their counterparts in Afghanistan.He also asked the KCCI to organise a delegation’s visit to Afghanistan with a view to explore trade and investment opportunities. In this regard, the business community of Karachi can play a leading role in the economic progress and prosperity of the region as Karachi, being the financial and economic hub of Pakistan, can contribute significantly to improve trade ties.He also invited the business community of Karachi to invest in free economic zones in Afghanistan to boost economic and trade ties between the two neighbors. Pakistani investors can set up their units in these tax-free zones where they will get cheaper and reliable electricity along with security.
Setting up of Pakistani industrial units in Afghan free economic zones would not only help them effectively penetrate into the Afghan market but also gain access to Central Asian Republics, he added.“We are ready to offer additional facilities particularly to Pakistani investors which should give them more confidence as it shows the level of commitment and desire to have strong relations,” he added.Identifying various sectors for undertaking joint ventures, he pointed out that business communities of the two countries can undertake joint ventures in agriculture, education, construction, mining, precious stones, natural resources and other important sectors of the economy.
He pointed out the huge potential in Afghanistan for Pakistani rice exporters that cannot only export rice to Afghanistan but also to the Central Asian Republics via Afghanistan.He also underscored the need to develop highways, railways and air-links between two countries. Various agreements have already been signed in this regard, now it was high time to implement all these projects, he added.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 25th, 2015.

Image:Afghan Ambassador pointed out the huge potential in Afghanistan for Pakistani rice exporters who can also export rice to the Central Asian Republics. PHOTO: AFGHAN FOREIGN MINISTRY

Ghanaian scientists edge up GM rice

Researchers in Ghana say they are recording favourable outcomes in the trials of genetically modified (GM) rice in the country.The confined field trials started in April 2013 at Nobewam in the Ashanti region, after receiving approval from the National Biosafety Committee (NBC).The fourth successive experiment of the Nitrogen Use Efficiency (NUE) rice is being conducted by the Crops Research Institute (CRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).Principal Investigator, Dr. Maxwell Asante, says the project has already identified a lead event which will give at least a 15 percent yield advantage over non-GM version of the planted rice.

“If the lead event is confirmed, we will request for permission from the NBC to allow it to be grown by farmers in Ghana after testing. The genes that make the GM rice nitrogen-use efficient will then be transferred to other varieties in Ghana through conventional breeding methods,” he stated.There is strong opposition to the introduction of GM crops in Ghana’s food production chain.Biosafety advocate, Albert Aubyn, however says there is no cause for worry with the current trials, noting that field activities are strictly in conformity with regulative measures.

“Not until the experiment has proved that it is safe for humans to use, what we do is that we make sure that in this case of rice, pollen doesn’t flow out to pollinate other related crops,” he said. Ghana spends over $500million annually in rice importation, in addition to huge foreign exchange in the importation of other food items. “Biotechnology is cutting-edge technology that can help us in our quest to improve food security,” said Dr. Stella Ennin, Director of the CSIR-CRI. “Fertilizer is very necessary for our plants, yet the cost is so high and our farmers cannot afford it; so we are going around the system to find varieties that can produce a good crop of rice with minimum nitrogen fertilizer applied and we are using the science of GMO.
”The next set of experiment will involve the evaluation of the triple-stack gene rice plants to identify lead events in nitrogen-use efficiency, water-use efficiency and salt tolerant genetically modified rice – dubbed “NEWEST Rice”.This will especially help farmers deal with the effects of climate change and expand rice cultivation to areas previously not supported.Ghana’s GM or NEWEST Rice is projected to go commercial within the next three to five years.Three confined field trials of rice, cowpea and cotton are currently being evaluated in Ghana in compliance with the Biosafety Act 2011, Act 831, which regulates GMOs.

Ban of rice importation is detrimental to the state -Importers

Jan 24, 2015
The Small Scale Rice Dealers Association of Ghana (SSRIDA-GH), on Thursday said the assertion by Ministry of Trade and Industry that the total ban of rice importation is detrimental to the state is not nationalistic.The media report attributed to Mr Ibrahim Murtala, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry said Ghana’s rice self sufficiency is about 30 per cent and government consider as a high priority to see the country productivity high.He however said a total ban on rice importation is not the ideal thing to do and would also be in violation of World Trade Organisation regulations.
Mr Murtala said the country must also improve the quality and quantity of rice production.The Minister was reacting to a call by SSRIDA-GH to Ministry of Trade and Industry to ensure an outright ban of rice importation.It said the ban on inland rice importation is not only having negative impact on the traders but also discriminatory and in favour of the major players in the industry.A statement issued by Yaw Korang, National Coordinator of SSRIDA-GH said given monopoly of large scale importation of the commodity to foreigners is unfair, and so if government finds it untenable for small-scale rice dealers to be in business then an outright ban would be necessary .“The ban as it stands now is pushing poor Ghanaians out of business and helping foreign traders to thrive,” the statement.The statement said the ministry on October 14, 2013 served a notice of ban on inland importation of rice stating that with effect from November 1, 2013, all imports of rice shall be done through only the Kotoka International Airport, Tema and Takoradi Ports.“This directive gave SSRIDA-GH only two weeks ultimatum to fold up our trading business through the border. As petty traders, our capital base would not allow us to do our business through the air or by the sea. The directive also came at a time when we had made orders with loans for goods for the Christmas festivity.“We humbly wish to state that our business is only a threat to the monopoly being practiced by foreign rice importers, whose activities are a threat to the nation`s economy because they do the importation under the cover of warehousing and sell their products for high prices in dollar equivalence before paying their revenue and sometimes run-off without paying.“We do our business in the CFA-FRANC and pay our duty into the consolidated fund at the borders before we are allowed to bring our goods into the country to sell.The statement asked Dr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, the sector Minister to review the ban on inland importation of rice or prohibit the trade in Ghana.However another statement by the SSRIDA-Ghana says the 500 million dollars spent annually to import rice is a drain to the national economy and could be used to step up the productivity of the crop.It said great rice producing nations like Thailand dreamt big and were nationalistic enough to go great length to achieve the feat.The statement said: “Nigeria was able to do it and now local rice is in high demand in the West African nation.”It said for the Ministry to say that total ban of rice importation is not feasible is “too simplistic, unpatriotic and uninspiring. It can be done if we embrace the challenge”, the statement said.

Unending Controversy About Nigeria’s Rice Policy

Written by Joke Falaju, Abuja

•Stakeholders Seek Investigation Of Quota Regime 
THE backward integration policy of the Federal Government in the rice value chain for some time have been generating heated debate in the media, with some investors accusing government of granting import waiver to stakeholders who do not have investment in the rice sector.  Of concern to them is the granting of arbitrary waiver and import quota to investors still planning to invest locally, at the expense of some others already having rice farms and mill factories in Nigeria. For instance, whereas Elephant Group, which has a planned investment, got an investor allocation of 61,770, Ebony Agro with two functional rice mill got an Existing Miller Allocation of 15,000mt without getting allocation as an investor. Also, MIKAP rice got an allocation of 82,897mt as an investor and existing miller, while Stine Rice, an investor with existing rice mill, got allocation of 30,000mt. Although a group of rice millers told The Guardian that the policy is the best any government can venture into to encourage local investors at the expense of stiff competition from foreign products, many of them have faulted the manner by which the policy is being implemented.

But President Goodluck Jonathan, during the AgriFest  2015 Celebration of Nigeria’s Agriculture, held at Eagles Square, Abuja on Friday, read the riot act, insisting that “all those owing Nigeria on rice import duties must pay.” “Nigeria, our dear country, will not be held hostage by rice importers. There will be no sacred cows under my watch. All those owing Nigeria on rice import duties must pay,” said Mr. President. According to him, “high quality Nigerian rice is now competing favourably with imported rice in the markets. Our rice millers have taken advantage of these new opportunities, and the number of integrated rice mills has expanded from 1 (one) at the beginning of this administration, to 24 today. And they are all here today. I celebrate you all.

I eat Nigerian rice and can tell you it is better than imported rice.”  In his opening speech, Minister of Agriculture,  Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, said: “We have here today over 20,000 farmers and agribusinesses from the 36 states of Nigeria and the FCT. Today, they are here to celebrate the achievements of your Agricultural Transformation Agenda.  The agricultural transformation agenda has turned around the lives and destinies of millions of farmers.    ‘Farmers from across the country daily besiege my office asking to have an opportunity to thank the President who has done so much for them. If I were to request for appointments for the delegations that daily want to meet you, your calendar for two years cannot accommodate them,” Adesina said.   

 Co-chairman of the rice investor Group, Mr. Tunji Owoeye, took sides with government, stating that the view being expressed by some stakeholders are unfair to government officials, who have worked hard to midwife the policy.Indeed, the government had come up with the new rice policy as part of its efforts to ensure self-sufficiency in production, and to protect local investors, to the point they can reasonably stand on their feet. The policy was developed based on what is produced presently against the obvious shortfalls. Supposedly, the policy should encourage local investors against those whose core interest was importing and selling locally without the mind of contributing to the national dream of self-sufficiency; but some stakeholders allege that ‘portfolio investors” without clear investments on ground are truncating the policy by reselling their quotas.    

The Nigeria Rice Investor Group had explained that the quota allocation given to both existing rice miller and investors in equity was based on the supply gap of import grade rice of 1.5million metric tonnes, “existing millers and others with expressed interest submitted Domestic Rice Production Plan (DPP) and based on the submissions, a total of 1.3million metric tones of rice import quota was issued to 25 qualifying millers at the preferential levy of 20 percent and duty of 10 percent. The remaining 0.2 million metric tonnes of rice imports was given at a higher levy and duty of 10 percent.    To the group, government should be commended for its transparency, “This is the first time that the government is so transparent in allocation of quota in this industry, because they ensure that nobody is shut out, farmers, millers, traders and outgrowers (smallholder farmers) have all being considered”.  

 Owoeye said that the government had contacted them as an association to provide a list of their investments in the rice value chain. “We contacted all our members to send details of their investment to the government, which they all complied with; and, based on this list, allocations were given. If government had wanted to sweep the allocation of quota under the carpet they wouldn’t have contacted the association.”   He, however, agreed that some quota beneficiaries are trading their slots to interested buyers at 60 to 80 percent levy having got the same at 20 percent. He said it implied that 60 percent levy is lower than what is charged as penalty, otherwise why would anyone pay above that to buy from those who got the waiver.  “It may not be the best policy, but we moved from a static position to a position where investors were encouraged, and government came up with the criteria for assessing and qualification to be part of the investment concession. Government had looked at four areas in assessing investment in local rice value chain.

They looked at Domestic Rice Production Plan, Paddy Purchase Outlook –from paddy Application Center, Paddy Purchase from out-grower scheme and farmers purchase and ownership of milling facility.  Owoeye submitted that it was not possible for any investor without veritable production plan to benefit from quota allocation, as the ministry has a team that goes to verify this fact, in terms of production, rice farming, milling capacity and outgrowers scheme.   Chairman Mikap Rice and former Attorney General of the Federation, Michael Andoaka, said before the administration of President Jonathan came on board, the issue of quota was not made public, as nobody knew how it was being distributed. “But this government changed; and now, local rice millers are getting the quota. So people who monopolised it feel that something is wrong.

” He alleged that it was the cabal (the big-time rice importers) that are faulting government’s action.  He said he was not going to speak as if he is taking sides with the government on the new rice policy, but maintained that no government in recent times have given attention to agriculture like the current administration is doing, “because I am a direct beneficiary of the transformation in that sector, I started a small mill and in less than five years I have expanded to 8.5 tonnes because of the support have received from the government.    On the Rice Quota, he said he never knew what it was all about. “I was surprised when I got a call from the Ministry of Agriculture that, based on what the Minister saw in my factory and Ashi Rice owned by the Governor of Benue State, we should come over and get the rice quota. I never lobbied for it, even when I was in government, it never happened. I am the Secretary of the Rice Millers Association, many of our members have confirmed to have gotten the quota. We simply went to the registry and were given the quota.
 Anybody who doubts this level of transparency has other things in mind,” he noted.   Meanwhile, another rice investor commended the backward integration policy, but faulted the manner in which the policy was being implemented. He noted that government applied the backward integration policy in an effort to stop cement importation and today, Nigeria has not only attained self-sufficiency in cement production but will soon become a net exporter.”   
 He said: “During the period, government did not allow investors to import finished goods; it had to be the unfinished ones, so that it is brought to their factory and processed, and gradually importation of cement was reduced. That was the same advice we gave to the minister to discourage importation of finished rice and then encourage importation of brown rice so that it is milled and packaged in the country. However, the reverse is the case.”

   He expressed the fear that, with the way government is going about the implementation of the policy, local rice millers may be forced out of business, because they may not be able to compete favourably with the foreign rice, thereby discouraging many of the farmers from growing paddy, which would in turn affect plans to attain self sufficiency in rice production.   It would be noted that presently there is glut in the rice market, as it is flooded with foreign rice. Distributors would rather buy cheaper foreign rice at N6500, as against the local rice which gets to the market at the price of N8,700.The rice investor disclosed that due to late release of the quota allocation, and the removal of the embargo placed on rice importation, many of the investors went ahead to import rice at 30 percent duty, having seen that they qualify for quota allocation, thereby flooding the market with over 1.2million mt of rice. 

He lamented that because of the present glut in the rice market, many local millers have stopped production, because there is no market for their produce.  On the way out of the crisis,  the investor said the Federal Government should do all it can to end smuggling, as foreign rice still makes its way into the Nigerian market through the Cotonou/Seme borders. He also called for proper management of the import regime and the quota allocation.   The source urged government to provide mechanisation and irrigation facilities, as well as planting materials for rice farmers across the country. He said with the glut in paddy rice in the north, there is still less production in the Southeast, as rice farming is still being done with hoe and cutlass; and, since there are no irrigation facilities, rice farming is done once a year.     Chairman of Stine rice, Akai Egwuomwu, noted that the policy was a good one that could ensure self  sufficiency in rice production.

However, government need to look into the manner in which it was being implemented, especially in the area of granting waivers. He said waivers should not be given randomly, rather government should anchor it on the milling capacity of  the so-called investors.   He lamented that government was giving preferential treatment to investor, who had planned investment against some others that have been in the business for the past four years. He said:  “A miller spend not less that N2billion in establishing a mill, and after spending so much money, it would be unfair if government do not give them consideration.”

   He also advised that waiver should be given for brown rice as this would further strengthen the capacity of the local millers.  A representative of one of the rice farms, told The Guardian that there is no truth in the claim that they are owing the Federal Government, as the minister cannot retroactively impose a quota in December 2014 and request payment of excess duties for importations made when quota was not in place and then want to impose penalty on them.He said: “There are about 10-11 of them who imported beyond the allotted quota and their names were not mentioned. The importation we did was based on our level of investment in the rice value chain. We have an existing investment of $100million.”   

 He said though the government mean very well, the way quotas are being given to people without established mills, as against those with established mills, needs to be checked.    He further observed that there is an existing production gap of 3million metric tonnes, with government only giving concession of 1.3million mt. He wondered what would happen to the remaining gap of 1.7million metric tonnes.   On the way out of the crisis, he said there is the need for the Ministry of Agriculture, Finance, Trade and Investment, National Planning to do a thorough investigation of the quota regime and also streamline the method in which it is being granted, and ensure that it is not done randomly.     He, however, frowned at the granting of waiver to import brown rice, saying it would affect paddy production.

Nigerians Impoverished By Over-dependence On Oil – Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan has regretted that in spite of the abundance of agricultural resources the country is blessed with, over dependence on crude oil and prolonged neglect of the agriculture sector have impoverished Nigerians.Speaking yesterday during the 2015 Agricultural Festival (AGRIFEST) at the Eagle Square, Abuja, the president vowed that there would be no sacred cows among importers who are owing the country on rice import duties.AGRIFEST is an international agriculture exhibition organised by the Ministry of Agriculture to aid the sector in achieving a green revolution.

President Jonathan told the huge number of farmers who attended the event that they could rely on him as their Farmers’ President and be rest assured of his support at all times to further boost your efforts to produce more food for the nation.He announced the release of N26 billion towards the 2015 Dry Season Farming Programme, saying with the support of the farmers, he hoped to be with them next year as president to do even more for them.Lamenting the plight of Nigerians, he said, “Our nation is blessed with abundant agricultural resources, but for too long we have depended on crude oil and neglected agriculture. This situation created poverty and suffering in our rural communities.

“Agriculture is now the lifeline for Nigeria. As crude oil prices decline, we must create new wealth from the richness of our soils, the vastness of our rivers and the abundance of our cheap labour. We will produce more, and we will industrialise the agricultural sector.Noting that the rice revolution is taking place across the country, the president said, while high quality Nigerian rice was now competing favourably with imported rice in the markets, rice importers cannot hold the country hostage.He said, “Nigeria our dear country will not be held hostage by rice importers.

There will be no sacred cows under my watch. All those owing Nigeria on rice import duties must pay.“Rice farmers across the country have a new lease of life, due to the transformation taking place in the sector. Over six million rice farmers have received improved rice seed varieties, boosting domestic rice production by an additional seven million metric tons. “Our rice millers have taken advantage of these new opportunities, and the number of integrated rice mills has expanded from one at the beginning of this administration, to 24 today. And they are all here today. I celebrate you all. I eat Nigerian rice and can tell you it is better than imported rice.

”On his part, the minister of agriculture and rural development, Dr Adesina.Akinwumi said the sector will in no distant time topple the nation’s oil sector with policies that are geared toward ushering in farm sector-led economic growth.Akinwumi observed that as crude oil plummets, he was convinced that the new currency for Nigeria will be agriculture, not just oil and gas.

Jonathan’s rice policy nets over $1.6bn investment

– The Backward Integration Programme (BIP ) policy in the rice sector put in place by the President Jonathan to boost local rice production with the approval of an inbuilt tariff/levy differential deliberately skewed in favour of investors has been commended by stakeholders.The policy, which is said to have attracted more than $1.6 billion of private sector investments, allows investors to temporarily import brown or finished rice to bridge the present gap in supply and demand.

Supply and demand

Those who have keyed into the policy are allowed to enjoy 10% tariff and 20% levy on imported rice, while on the other hand mere rice traders are allowed to import at 10% tariff and 60% levy.Curiously, this apparent federal government’s magnanimity aimed at massive rice value chain in the country did not go down well with an aggrieved group which members have millers and farmers and therefore thought that the Government’s largesse was meant to bring in “intruders” or “outsiders” into the rice business.Again, there was the spurious claim that the waivers and import quotas would exacerbate the rate and level of smuggling of the commodity into Nigeria from neighbouring countries especially Republic of Benin.

But the President of the Nigeria Rice Investors Group, Tunji Owoeye, said the policy has not only discouraged smuggling but has also led to a quantum leap in investment into Backward Integration Programme, adding that the policy was geared towards self-sufficiency in rice production in the country.According to the group, this was the first time; import quota was being allocated to the right people with verifiable investments in rice production in the country.Owoeye noted that there had been significant improvement since the review of the policy, adding that the rice policy of the present administration is visible for all to see.

“If you travel through Zamfara, Niger, Benue, Sokoto and many other states in the country, you will see vast plantation of rice in the last two year.“We have also seen some of our members who were pure traders making huge investment in local rice production. We have seen serious increase in employment and value creation in the rice sector,” he said.Owoeye, who is also the Managing Director of Elephant Group, said that the federal government had provided rice investors with improved seedling which has led his members to having better rice production.

The Former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Michael Aondoakaa and Secretary Rice Processors Association of Nigeria (RIPAN) commended the present administration for matching his words with actions, by not allowing the business to be as usual in rice production.“The truth is that many have wished the old system where some highly connected people influence rice quota allocation, but this administration made sure it went to rice farmers with visible investments,” he said.On his part, the President of Rice Millers, Importers and Distributors’ Association of Nigeria, Abubakar Mohammed noted that five years ago there was only one processing mill in the whole of Nigeria, but with the commitment of the government, it had increased to 24.

Abubakar said that that before the present administration, rice paddy produced from Nigeria was one of the worst in the world, but added that, currently, it is one of the best in the world.”We process 800,000 tonnes of paddy rice annually and the government is putting measures in place to produce additional 360,000 tonnes.
”All these happened by the help of President Goodluck Jonathan and the minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina,” said Abubakar.

Obama's lunch menu: Gujarati Kadhi, Bhuna Gosht Boti

Modi and Obama, who is the chief guest at India's 66th Republic Day parade, held bilateral summit level talks at Hyderabad House here.

NEW DELHI: US President Barack Obama was served a sumptuous array of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes, including "Gujarati Kadhi" - tangy curry made from buttermilk and gram flour, and "Bhuna Gosht Boti" - tender pieces of lamb cooked in tomato and onion masala, at the lunch hosted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi here. 
The non-vegetarian menu also included "Murgh Neza Kebab" - escallops of chicken marinated with gram flour, cream and cooked in tandoor - "Shrimp Karavalli", stir fried tiger shrimps flavoured with tellicherry clack pepper and star anise, and "Mahi Sarson", fish cooked with mustard.

Modi and Obama, who is the chief guest at India's 66th Republic Day parade, held bilateral summit level talks at Hyderabad House here. Other food items on the lavish menu included "Shatwar ka Shorba", asparagus flavoured cream soup served with asparagus tip; "Nadru Ke Goolar" - kebab made of lotus stem, stuffed with figs and spices; "Ananas Aur Paneer Ka Soola" - chargrilled cottage cheese spiked with pineapple; and "Paneer Lababdar" - fresh cottage cheese chunks in onion and tomato masala. "Kela Methi Nu Shaak" - unripe banana and fenugreek cooked together and tempered with cumin; "Mixed Vegetable Kalonji" - seasonal vegetables seasoned with onion seeds; "Matar Pulao" - aromatic basmati rice garnished with green peas along with an assortment of Indian breads were also on the menu. 

For dessert, Obama was served "Gajar Ka Halwa", a rich, sweet preparation of grated carrots, topped with pistachio; "Gulab Jamun" - small cheese dumplings, deep fried and soaked in sugar syrup, and fresh fruits. On the menu, South Indian Coffee and Herbal Tea were also available. 

The Times of India

Gujarati Kadhi', 'Bhuna Gosht Boti' for Obama  New Delhi, January 25, 2015 | UPDATED 15:54 IST

US President Barack Obama was served a sumptuous array of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes, including "Gujarati Kadhi" - tangy curry made from buttermilk and gram flour, and "Bhuna Gosht Boti" - tender pieces of lamb cooked in tomato and onion masala, at the lunch hosted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi here.The non-vegetarian menu also included "Murgh Neza Kebab" - escallops of chicken marinated with gram flour, cream and cooked in tandoor - "Shrimp Karavalli", stir fried tiger shrimps flavoured with tellicherry clack pepper and star anise, and "Mahi Sarson", fish cooked with mustard.Modi and Obama, who is the chief guest at India's 66th Republic Day parade, held bilateral summit level talks at Hyderabad House here.

Other food items on the lavish menu included "Shatwar ka Shorba", asparagus flavoured cream soup served with asparagus tip; "Nadru Ke Goolar" - kebab made of lotus stem, stuffed with figs and spices; "Ananas Aur Paneer Ka Soola" - chargrilled cottage cheese spiked with pineapple; and "Paneer Lababdar" - fresh cottage cheese chunks in onion and tomato masala."Kela Methi Nu Shaak" - unripe banana and fenugreek cooked together and tempered with cumin; "Mixed Vegetable Kalonji" - seasonal vegetables seasoned with onion seeds; "Matar Pulao" - aromatic basmati rice garnished with green peas along with an assortment of Indian breads were also on the menu.

For dessert, Obama was served "Gajar Ka Halwa", a rich, sweet preparation of grated carrots, topped with pistachio; "Gulab Jamun" - small cheese dumplings, deep fried and soaked in sugar syrup, and fresh fruits.On the menu, South Indian Coffee and Herbal Tea were also available.

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