Monday, February 23, 2015

23rd February (Monday),2015 Daily Exclusive ORYZA Rice News by Riceplus Magazine

Oryza Overnight Recap – Chicago Rough Rice Futures Seen Slightly Lower as a Retracement in Other Grains Weighs on Prices

Feb 20, 2015
Chicago rough rice futures for Mar delivery are currently listed 2.5 cents per cwt (about $1 per ton) lower at $10.775 per cwt (about $238 per ton) during early floor trading in Chicago. The other grains are seen trading lower this morning: soybeans are currently seen about 0.6% lower, wheat is listed about 1.3% lower and corn is currently noted about 1.2% lower.U.S. stocks traded lower on Friday ahead of an expected announcement on Greece debt talks with the euro zone. The Eurogroup of regional finance ministers met on Friday to discuss Greece's loan extension proposal.
Germany rejected the plan on Thursday and called it a "Trojan horse." A decision is expected late Friday morning, Eastern Time. Greece faces the risk of default and exit from the euro zone if the country does not obtain enough funding or an extension beyond the Feb 28 deadline. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell more than 100 points in the open before recovering to trade about 64 points lower, or 0.38%, to 17,918. The S&P 500 traded down 8 points, or 0.38%, to 2,089, with energy leading declines across all sectors. The Nasdaq reversed to trade lower, down 9 points, or 0.17%, to 4,916. Gold is currently trading marginally lower, crude oil is seen trading about 1% lower,  and the U.S. dollar is currently trading about 0.3% higher at 8:30am Chicago time.

Asia Rice Quotes Unchanged Today

Feb 20, 2015
Vietnam rice sellers are out today due to national holiday. Other Asia rice sellers kept their quotes unchanged today.
5% Broken Rice
Thailand 5% rice is quoted at around $405 - $415 per ton, about $50 per ton premium on Vietnam 5% rice last shown at around $355 - $365 per ton. India 5% rice is quoted at around $390 - $400 per ton, about $45 per ton premium on Pakistan 5% rice quoted at around $345 - $355 per ton.
25% Broken Rice 
Thailand 25% rice is quoted at around $365 - $375 per ton, about $40 per ton premium on Vietnam 25% rice last shown at around $325- $335 per ton. India 25% rice is quoted at around $355 - $365, about $50 per ton premium on Pakistan 25% rice quoted at around $305 - $315 per ton.
Parboiled Rice
Thailand parboiled rice is quoted at around $405 - $415 per ton. India parboiled rice is quoted at around $385 - $395 per ton, on par with Pakistan parboiled rice quoted at around $385 - $395 per ton.
100% Broken Rice
Thailand broken rice, A1 Super, is quoted at around $320 - $330 per ton, about $15 per ton premium on Vietnam 100% broken rice last shown at around $305 - $315 per ton. India's 100% broken rice is shown at around $280 - $290 per ton,  about $5 per ton premium on Pakistan broken sortexed rice quoted at around $275 - $285 per ton.

Global Rice Quotes
February 20th, 2015

Long grain white rice - high quality
Thailand 100% B grade           415-425           ↔
Vietnam 5% broken     355-365           ↔
India 5% broken          390-400           ↔
Pakistan 5% broken     345-355           ↔
Myanmar 5% broken   410-420           ↔
Cambodia 5% broken 430-440           ↔
U.S. 4% broken           480-490           ↔
Uruguay 5% broken    NQ       ↔
Argentina 5% broken   NQ       ↔

grain white rice - low quality
Thailand 25% broken 365-375           ↔
Vietnam 25% broken   325-335           ↔
Pakistan 25% broken   305-315           ↔
Cambodia 25% broken            410-420           ↔
India 25% broken        355-365           ↔
U.S. 15% broken         470-480           ↔

Long grain parboiled rice
Thailand parboiled 100% stxd             405-415           ↔
Pakistan parboiled 5% broken stxd      385-395           ↔
India parboiled 5% broken stxd           385-395           ↔
U.S. parboiled 4% broken       555-565           ↔
Brazil parboiled 5% broken     570-580           ↔
Uruguay parboiled 5% broken             NQ       ↔

Long grain fragrant rice
Thailand Hommali 92%           920-930           ↔
Vietnam Jasmine         460-470           ↔
India basmati 2% broken         NQ       ↔
Pakistan basmati 2% broken    NQ       ↔
Cambodia Phka Mails 785-795           ↔

Thailand A1 Super       320-330           ↔
Vietnam 100% broken             305-315           ↔
Pakistan 100% broken stxd     275-285           ↔
Cambodia A1 Super    365-375           ↔
India 100% broken stxd          280-290           ↔
Egypt medium grain brokens   NQ       ↔
U.S. pet food   380-390           ↔
Brazil half grain           NQ       ↔
All prices USD per ton, FOB vessel,

India 2014-15 Basmati Rice Exports May Decline by 10% Due to Iran Import Ban, Says AIREA Official

Feb 20, 2015
India's basmati rice exports in the fiscal year 2014-15 (April - March) are likely to decline by about 10% to around 3.2 million tons from around 3.57 million tons exported in FY 2013-14, local sources quoted the Executive Director (ED) of the All India Rice Exporters Association (AIREA).The expected decline is mainly due to the temporary ban imposed by Iran on rice imports citing presence of excess stocks in the country.
Description: Description: Iran is an important destination for India's basmati rice exports and accounts for nearly 30% of India's total basmati exports.In 2013-14, India exported about 1.4 million tons of basmati rice to Iran, about 39% of total basmati rice exports. The AIREA ED noted that so far in this fiscal year, India's basmati rice exports are lagging by about 5-7% from the same period last year.Iranian authorities have reportedly assured Indian representatives, who visited Iran recently, to resume basmati rice imports from March this year and that they would issue a notification in that direction on March 21, 2015.
 The AIREA ED noted that India's basmati rice exports may not recover this year despite Iran's resumption of rice imports. However, higher demand for basmati rice from European nations such as Denmark and Czech Republic have offset Iran ban effect, according to local sources.In the beginning of this month, India's Commerce Ministry officials told local sources that they are expecting Iran to import around 800,000 to one million tons of basmati rice in 2014-15. According to data from the Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), India exported only 608,107 tons of basmati rice to Iran in the first eight months of FY 2014-15 (April-November 2014) and total India's basmati rice exports during the period stand at around 2.19 million tons.
The impact of reduced shipments to Iran has also hit basmati rice prices severely. India's basmati export prices declined by about 40% to below $900 per ton from around $1,400 per ton last year, and are expected to decline further due to low export demand and increasing inventories.  

Indonesian Trade Minister Rules Out Immediate Rice Imports Despite Rising Prices

Feb 20, 2015
Description: Description:
Indonesia may not import rice immediately despite rising domestic prices, as the existing stocks and the output from upcoming harvest in March and April would be sufficient to control price hikes, local sources quoted the country's Trade Minister as saying.The Minister told local sources that the government is against rice imports ahead of the harvest time as it would make local rice uncompetitive and affect the farmers' incomes.
According to the Director General of the  Agriculture Ministry is expecting the harvest from the ongoing crop season at around 13.2 million tons, basis paddy. Indonesia's 2015 paddy rice production is expected to reach about 71.28 million tons, up about 0.95% from around 70.6 million tons produced in 2014.Domestic rice prices have been surging since September 2014. Currently local rice prices stand at around 9.78 million Rupiah (around $761) per ton, up about 10% from around 8.93 million Rupiah (around $750) per ton in September 2014, and up about 9% from their year ago levels.Indonesia imported around 425,000 tons of rice from Vietnam and Thailand in 2014.USDA estimates Indonesia to produce around 36.5 million tons of rice, basis milled (around 57.4 million tons, basis paddy), and import around 1.3 million tons of rice in MY 2014-15 (October - September).

Indonesia Signs New Agreement with IRRI to Boost Rice Production

Feb 20, 2015
Description: Description: Indonesian Agency for Agricultural Research and Development (IAARD) has collaborated with the Philippines-based International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) as part of its efforts to boost rice production and achieve self-sufficiency over the next four years, according to local sources.The IAARD and the IRRI have formally signed a new working plan for the next four years (2015 - 2019) in line with the government's targets to achieve self-sufficiency in rice production, maintain adequate rice stocks to secure food supply as well as end rice imports. The working plan was signed between February 16-18, 2015 in Jakarta. It is expected to encourage collaborative research between the IRRI and Indonesia's rice research programs as well as enhance the country's national rice research capacity.
The IAARD Director General told local sources that the institute is stepping up efforts to develop more climate resilient and higher yielding rice varieties. The new plan with the IRRI will help Indonesia to receive the best of rice science to further improve rice yields, while withstanding harsher climates as well as constantly-evolving diseases and pests. production, he said.The IRRI launched an ICT-based application called Layanan Konsultasi Padi (LKP), which provides location-specific fertilizer advice to farmers, following the work plan signing formalities.
According to an independent assessment published in 2011, the IRRI released about 230 rice varieties between 1985 to 2009 that are high-yielding, pest, drought, flood and salinity resistant. The IRRI also disseminated requisite crop management practices to farmers through management technologies. Indonesia produced around 70.61 million tons of paddy in 2014, and the government is estimating 2015 paddy production at around 71.28 million tons in 2015.USDA estimates Indonesia to produce around 36.5 million tons of rice, basis milled (around 57.4 million tons, basis paddy), and import around 1.3 million tons of rice in MY 2014-15 (October - September). Consumption during the year is estimated at around 39.2 million tons.   

Oryza Afternoon Recap - Chicago Rough Rice Futures Finish Little Changed Following Late Session Recovery; Grains Retrace Yesterday's Gains

Feb 20, 2015
rice futures for Mar delivery settled 1 cent per cwt (about $0.22 per ton) lower at $10.790 per cwt (about $238 per ton).  After spending the majority of the trading session in negative territory the market managed to mount an afternoon recovery to close nearly unchanged. Price action took on a negative tilt despite a strong export sales report as outside markets turned bearish and the sentiment in neighboring grain pits weighed on the trade. Today’s session marks the expiration for options on March futures contracts and traders will keep a keen eye on today’s CFTC report as well as open interest as the majority of trade action has now moved into the May contract.
May futures finished with a slight gain which is seen as positive given the negative backdrop. The other grains finished lower as traders likely took profits following yesterday’s rally; Soybeans closed about 0.8% lower at $9.9925 per bushel; wheat finished about 3.3% lower at $5.1025 per bushel, and corn finished the day about 1.2% lower at $3.8525 per bushel.U.S. stocks turned positive on Friday to trade near highs after reports that indicated progress towards a Greece deal. The S&P 500 traded above its closing record of 2,100.34 to touch a new intraday record of 2,103. The Dow traded above its record close of 18,053.71.
The Nasdaq continued to advance towards the key 5,000 level. Euro zone ministers and Greece agreed on a draft accord that could form the basis for an agreement to extend the Greek bailout, a Greek government official told Reuters. The Eurogroup foresees 4-month extension to Greek bailout, Dow Jones reported, citing officials. A press conference will be held at 2:00 p.m. ET, according to the Eurogroup website. The Eurogroup of regional finance ministers is expected to make an announcement on Greece's loan extension proposal. Germany rejected the plan on Thursday and called it a "Trojan horse" with "immense room for interpretation." The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded up 41 points, or 0.23%, to 18,026.
The S&P 500 traded up 1 point, or 0.07%, to 2,099, with energy the greatest laggard and health care leading five advancers. The Nasdaq traded up 8 points, or 0.18%, to 4,933. Gold is trading nearly unchanged, crude oil is seen trading about 0.7% lower, and the U.S. dollar is seen trading a touch lower at about  1:45pm Chicago time.Thursday, there were 2,197 contracts traded, down from 2,771 contracts traded on Wednesday. Open interest – the number of contracts outstanding – on Thursday decreased by 142 contracts to 9,398.

Pakistan Rice Exports Decline Sharply in January 2015

Feb 20, 2015
Pakistan exported around 419,153 tons of rice (including basmati and non-basmati) in January 2015, down about 14.5% from around 490,371 tons exported in December 2014, according to provisional data from the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS). In terms of value, Pakistan's rice export earnings declined about 14% to around $204.7 million in January 2015 from around $238.2 million earned in December 2014.Year-on-year, Pakistan’s exports declined about 18% from around 511,019 tons exported in January 2014.
In terms of value, they declined about 24% from around $267.8 million in January 2014.Pakistan exported around 34,567 tons of basmati rice in January 2015, down about 12% from around 39,200 tons exported in December 2014 and nearly half of around 67,018 tons exported in January 2014. In terms of value, Pakistan's basmati rice exports earned $39.7 million in January 2015, down about 11% from around $44.7 million earned in December 2014, and down about 46% from around $73.97 million earned in January 2014.Pakistan exported around 384,586 tons of non-basmati rice in January 2015, down about 9% from around 451,171 tons exported in December 2014 and down about 13% from around 444,001 tons in January 2014.
In terms of value, Pakistan's non-basmati rice exports earned $164.99 million in January 2015, down about 15% from around $193.5 million earned in December 2014, and down about 15% from around $193.85 million earned in January 2014.Pakistan has exported around 2.26 million tons of rice (around 313,540 tons of basmati and around 1.95 million tons of non-basmati) in the first seven months of FY 2014-15 (July 2014 - June 2015), up about 2% from around 2.22 million tons (around 336,290 tons of basmati and around 1.88 million tons of non-basmati) exported during the same period in FY 2013-14.
In terms of value, Pakistan's exports earned around $1,181 million (around $315.7 million from basmati and around $865.85 million from non-basmati) in July 2014 - January 2015, down about 2.5% from around $1,212 million (around $368.5 million from basmati and around $843.4 million from non-basmati) earned during the same period in 2013-14.

Italian Paddy Rice Quotes Mostly Firm

Feb 20, 2015
Italian rice paddy quotes remain firm.  Farm gate quotations supplied by the Milan Grain Exchange as of February 17 are as follows:
Arborio-Volano rice was shown at 725-755 euros (about $ 825-860) per ton, unchanged from the prior week.Balilla paddy prices are firm at 315-330 euros (about $ 358-375) per ton, unchanged from the prior week.Lido and similar paddy varieties are unchanged at 360-375 euros (about $ 410-427) per ton.Padano-Argo is shown at 570-670 euros (about $ 649-763) per ton, unchanged from the prior week.Vialone Nano softened to 810-860 euros (about $ 922-979) from 820-870 euros (about $ 934-991) per ton of February 10, due to increased acreage in 2014.
Thaibonnet and similar Indica varieties are are slowly increasing: up to 298-308 euros (about $ 339-350) per ton on February 17, up from 278-288 euros (about $ 316-328) per ton a week prior.Sant'Andrea was quoted 530-580 euros (about $ 603-660) per ton on February 10, advancing to 560-610 euros (about $ 637-694) per ton on February 17; Ariete and similar varieties received no quotations on both weeks.Carnaroli was fixed at 725-755 euros (about $ 825-860) per ton, unchanged from prior week.Baldo paddy prices were firm at 575-625 euros (about $ 654-711) per ton, unchanged from the prior week. Roma is firm at 590- 620 euros (about $ 672-711) per ton, unchanged from the prior week.  Selenio was shown at 345-370 euros (about $ 392-421) per ton on February 17, up from 340-365 euros (about $ 387-415) per ton on February 10.

Weekly Recap: Global Rice Quotes Remain Soft Amid Continued Thailand Political Drama

Feb 20, 2015

The Oryza White Rice Index (WRI), a weighted average of global white rice export quotes, ended the week at about $420 per ton, down about $1 per ton from a week ago, down about $9 per ton from a month ago and down about $41 per ton from a year ago.
Thailand 5% broken rice is today shown at about $405 per ton, unchanged from a week and a month ago and down about $25 per ton from a year ago.
The Thai Attorney General has filed criminal charges against Thailand’s former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.  She is facing criminal and civil suits in the controversial rice pledging scheme introduced by her government in October 2011.
The government plans to auction another one million tons of rice from its stockpiles in February 2015.
The UN’s FAO has forecasted Thailand’s 2015 rice exports at around 11 million tons, up about 7% from 2014.  The increase is expected despite the anticipated slight decline in production due to high levels of public stocks and the government’s attempts to clear more of existing rice stockpiles.
India 5% broken rice is today shown at about $395 per ton, down about $5 per ton from a week and a month ago and down about $25 per ton from a year ago.
Description: Description: oryza white rice indexThe Food Corporation of India has procured around 20.744 million tons of rice in KMS 2014-15 (October-September), according to data by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution.
In its second advance estimates for major crops, the government of India has estimated India’s rice production for 2014-15 marketing year (October-September) at 103.04 million tons, down about 3% from 2013-14.
Basmati rice exports in fiscal year 2014-15 (April-March) will likely decline by about 10% from last year, to about 3.2 million tons, according to the Executive Director of the All India Rice Exporters Association (AIREA).
Vietnam 5% broken rice is today shown at about $360 per ton, unchanged from a week ago, down about $20 per ton from a month ago and down about $40 per ton from a year ago.
Vietnam exported about 271,995 tons of rice from January 1 to February 12, a decrease of about 57% from the first two months of 2014.  Average rice export prices so far this year are around $450 per ton (FOB), up about 5% per ton from the same time last year.
Vietnam is planning to stockpile one million tons of rice starting March 1-April 15.
Pakistan 5% broken rice is today shown at about $350 per ton, unchanged from a week ago, down about $15 per ton from a month ago and down about $50 per ton from a year ago.
Pakistan exported about 419,153 tons of rice (basmati and non-basmati) in January 2015, down about 14.5% from December, according to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.
Central & South America
Brazil 5% broken rice is today shown at about $550 per ton, up about $10 per ton from a week and a month ago and down about $115 per ton from a year ago.
U.S. 4% broken rice is today shown at about $500 per ton, unchanged from a week ago, down about $15 per ton from a month ago and down about $80 per ton from a year ago.
U.S. farmers are likely to cut down acreage on rice (in addition to wheat, corn, soybeans, and cotton) in 2015-16 (August-July), due to declining crop prices and profit margins.
The U.S. cash market was firmer this week, continuing last week’s rally amid welcomed demand from Colombia.  Prices reached at least $0.50 per cwt (about $11 per ton) higher than the levels seen trading last week.
Chicago rough rice futures for March delivery recovered some this week after the Monday holiday, reaching a high of $10.925 per cwt (about $241 per ton) on Wednesday.  Later in the week there was a slight reversal, but futures still closed up from last week at $10.740 per cwt (about $237 per ton).
Other Markets
Cambodia 5% broken rice is today shown at about $435 per ton, unchanged from a week ago, down about $5 per ton from a month ago and down about $20 per ton from a year ago.
The National Food Authority in the Philippines has decided to import 500,000 tons of well-milled long grain white rice through G2G deals in efforts to boost buffer stocks ahead of the lean season (June-August).
Average domestic rice prices in the Philippines increased sharply in 2014
Japan is looking to purchase about 50,856 tons of rice in an ordinary tender.  Japan has bought and sold a total of around 412 tons of whole grain/brown rice of U.S. Australia, and Thailand origins, and about 640 tons of broken rice of U.S. and Thailand origins in the seventh SBS tender of FY 2014 (April-March).
The government of Sri Lanka has fixed paddy procurement prices for Nadu and Keeri Samba varieties harvested during the 2014-15 Maha season (September-March).
The UN’s FAO estimates Nigeria’s total cereal imports, including rice and wheat, will increase in 2015 to about 7.72 million tons, up about 1% from last year.
The UN’s FAO estimates North Korea’s 2015 paddy production will decline about 9% to 2.62 million tons from about 2.9 million tons in 2014.  The decline is expected due to a 4% decline in plantings and expected lower yields.
The European Commission received about 37 notifications in 2014 from the EU member countries over rice and rice-based products coming from various countries.  Notifications in 2014 were about 15% higher than in 2013.
The UN’s FAO has estimated Sri Lanka’s domestic rice prices will decline in February, following the government’s decision to release about 100,000 tons of imported rice stocks into the market during the ongoing 2015 “Maha” season harvest.  Prices were relatively high but stable in 2014.
The USDA Post estimates Malaysia’s milled rice imports will increase to about 1 million tons in MY 2015-16 (January-December), which is about 1% more than last year, due to expected slow demand growth.
Indonesia may not import rice immediately despite rising domestic prices, as the Trade Minister says existing stocks and output from upcoming harvest in March and April will be sufficient to control price hikes

Philippines Uses Multi-Environment Trials to Test Elite Rice Varieties

Feb 20, 2015

The Philippines Department of Agriculture (DA) is encouraging farmers to test elite rice varieties through multi-environment trials (MET) to evaluate their performance in various cropping conditions, according to local sources.It is understood that the so-called elite rice varieties or next-gen (next generation) varieties have been developed with desirable traits, such as high yielding ability, disease resistance, flood, drought, heat, or salinity tolerance but their adoption rate is very low. The DA is keen on increasing the adoption of these varieties in order to boost production.
Description: Description: to a Senior Associate Scientist at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), to know the actual performance of these varieties, they have to tested in different locations rather than testing in only one location. This is because different varieties are suitable to specific locations.The MET addresses this issue and allows farmers to observe varietal traits that are suitable to their location and choose those varieties under a process called Participatory Varietal Selection (PVS). The IRRI rice breeders will guide farmers in choosing varieties appropriate for their locations. The process also helps farmers to evaluate rice varieties from vegetative to ripening stage under conditions specific to their locations. They can test varieties for their tolerance to pests, texture, aroma, grain length as well as yield.
The Philippines produced around 18.97 million tons (around 11.95 million tons, basis milled) of rice in 2014, up about 2.87% from around 18.44 million tons (around 11.62 million tons, basis milled) in 2013. The Philippines Statistics Authority (PSA) is estimating the country's paddy rice output in the first six months (January - July) of 2015 at around 8.55 million tons, up about 2.02% from around 8.38 million tons produced during the same period in 2014. USDA estimates the Philippines to produce around 19.3 million tons of paddy (around 12.2 million tons, basis milled) and import around 1.6 million tons of rice in MY 2014-15 (July - June). 

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23rd February (Monday),2015 Daily Global Rice Digital Newsletter by Riceplus Magazine

Rift between Sindh Balochistan Rice Millers
LARKANA: February 18, 2015. (nazir Siyal) A rift between Sindh Balochistan Rice Millers and Traders Association (SBRMTA) representatives of 1500 Rice millers in Sindh after rift and allegations of removal of three REAP-Rice Export Association of Pakistan members in SBRMTA told President Mr. Abro.Whereas, the removed members among Haji Ismail Shaikh, Zubari Memon and angry office bearers have decided to removal of President SBRMTA Abdul Aziz Abro by legally way presenting no confidence vote in upcoming CEC meeting to be held on 22 February 2015.President SBRMTA Abdul Aziz Abro told this scribe that over hundreds members and general body called on the issue and decided to removal of these three members and further told that they have misused of export the Sindh Rice in spite Punjab Rice and billions of rice could not be exported of Sindh he alleged.
 While addressing the press conference Senior Vice President Haji Qamaruddin Gopang, General Secretary Assad Ali Tunio revealed that the SBRMTA President Abdul Aziz Abro has violated bylaws of organization and take extra constitutional steps by sacking three office bearers without seeking approval from executive committee and general body, he imposing his favorite which is violation of rules and organization constitution. They said that President Abdul Aziz Abro had no power to personally set-aside any office bearer it was delegated powers to executive committee and general body to decide and remove legal way, alleged him that due to his poor policies, rice mill owners and traders have faced loss of millions of rupees, President was unable to address the issues of rice millers, they said.
They alleged Mr Abro wanted to shift the head office to Karachi from Larkana to facilitate himself and his favorites without consent of members and legal way, any dictatorial steps will be dealt with stiff resistance.Leaders told that 11 office bearers out of 15 are against the policies of President and supporting to convene the executive committee to table no confidence requisition against the President Abdul Aziz Abro on 22 February 2015.Former President Gada Hussain Mahessar told media men that Mr Abro has imposed martial law in Sindh Balochistan Rice Millers and Traders Association and inflicted the loss to organization by introducing dictatorial decisions.
It is pertinent to mention here that President SBRMTA Abdul Aziz Abro had removed three members of Rice Exporters Pakistan including General Secretary Asad Ali Tunio, Ismail Shaikh and one other.On the occasion Vice President Amanullah Shaikh, Treasurer Ramesh Lal and others were present.
Source with thanks:

Aerobic cropping a good fit

23 Feb, 2015 03:00 AM
Description: PrintTHE southern NSW rice industry is hoping to lift its water use efficiency by tapping into achievements being made by the fledgling North Queensland sector where it grows as a row crop.Unlike the traditional paddy rice crop, the current 350 hectares planted in raised bed rows in the sub-tropical north represent a groundbreaking shift into commercial "aerobic" rice cropping.About 12 farms, mostly in the Burdekin Valley, now grow rice as a break crop on sugar cane country, supplementing the region's 900-plus millimetre annual rainfall with irrigation waterings in much the same way cotton, maize or soybeans are grown.
While weed management is still being refined and yields vary widely from five tonnes to 10t/ha, more farmers are keen get involved. Some as far north as Tully or in Central Queensland at Emerald have already given it a try.National rice marketer SunRice is encouraging research efforts which could use northern crop experience, combined with breeding for better plant root development and cold tolerance traits, to make Australia's 800,000t-plus rice industry more water efficient.
Via its subsidiary Rice Research Australia, SunRice also hopes to enhance characteristics found in temperate climate varieties grown in NSW Murrumbidgee and Murray valley's to lift Queensland yields.Researchers are also working hard to breed for improved resistance to the internationally prevalent tropical fungus, rice blast.Rice blast has been a major impediment to expanding the crop into northern Australia, particularly in the Ord irrigation areas.For the time being, however, SunRice chief executive officer Rob Gordon regarded the Burdekin Valley as opening up an exciting new chapter for his industry.He said the Burdekin region, which previously grew ponded rice in the 1980s and '90s, had potential to expand the 80-year-old industry's production footprint and help boost rice exports at a time when Australian production was lagging well behind export needs.

Andrew Marshallis the national agribusiness writer for Fairfax Agricultural Media

Muse rice traders hoping New Years brings better luck
By Zaw Htike   |   Sunday, 22 February 2015
Muse-based rice traders are hopeful that the Year of the Sheep will improve their fortunes. Rice exports to China have plummeted to almost nothing from peaks of 2000 tonnes a day following a series of raids conducted by Chinese customs on allegedly illegal rice importers on the Chinese side of the border.
Description: Exports prepare cargo at 105 Mile export zone near Muse. Photo: Aung Htay HlaingThe Muse commodity exchange centre is closed for Chinese New Year from February 18 to 25. said Muse-base rice trader U Min Thein. “We hope trade will improve after the festival. We’re optimistic.”The customs raids carried out between September and November were followed by a respite. But since the end of January, the raids have resumed with particular severity, traders say. One of the country’s leading rice exporters, who asked not to be named, said, “This time, the customs went looking for imported Myanmar rice in the rice mills and warehouses in Ruili.
They arrested some Chinese traders who had imported rice from Myanmar. This is worse than before.” He added that the crackdown had blocked exports of rice from Ayeyarwady, Bago, Sagaing, Yangon and Mandalay regions. “Over a 10-day period, about 1 million rice bags were blocked in Muse. We have no idea what will happen next,” he said.On the other hand, the Myanmar and Chinese governments have been working since the middle of last year to formalise the rice trade between them.
The two sides signed a Memorandum of Understanding last September, and the Myanmar Rice Federation has designated nine companies that will register to export high-quality rice officially to China, perhaps as early as the end of April or early May.The federation says it expects to export at least 1 million tonnes of rice to China officially in 2015.In 2013-2014, Myanmar exported 800,000 tonnes of rice to China through Muse.Image: Exports prepare cargo at 105 Mile export zone near Muse. Photo: Aung Htay Hlaing

Food segment outperforms peers in manufacturing
Mohiuddin Aazim
GROWING domestic and foreign demand, coupled with efficient e-marketing and backed by bank lending, are fueling the growth of the lucrative food business.In FY12, when overall growth in large-scale manufacturing was just 1.2pc, food sector’s output grew by 6.4pc. In FY13, the food sector’s growth of 9.4pc beat overall LSM growth of 4.3pc and in FY14 production of food, beverages and tobacco companies expanded 7.16pc against aggregate LSM output increase of 3.95pc, official statistics show.The changes in output of food sector is computed on the basis of variations in production of around 1900 companies of which the number of tobacco companies is no more than a dozen or so.
Some success stories, particularly those of big food companies, get public attention while a vast majority of smaller food firms do not come under spotlight
The stats, therefore, reflect more or less a true picture of what’s happening in the food sector.Wheat, sugar and rice milling make up the core of food business with rice millers regularly catering to foreign buyers as well, and wheat and sugar millers tapping foreign markets off and on.Maize being the country’s fourth major food crop has huge export potential and in recent years Pakistan has been exporting more of value-added corn products than the mere maize grains.
Moreover, dairy, meat and seafood sectors’ output has been growing on the back of higher domestic demand due to growth of population, urbanisation and income levels, annual economic surveys of the last few years reveal. Exports of dairy, meat and fish and fish products, too, have recorded a modest to high growth.Also, business groups with focus elsewhere have realised how profitable it is to be in food sector and have accordingly ventured into it or, if they were already in this business, expanded their production capacity.That is why, in recent years food companies, including multinationals, have witnessed robust growth in sales and profits.Half yearly sales of Nestle Pakistan, for example, rose to Rs50.3bn between January-June 2014 from Rs42.4bn a year-ago and its net profit swelled to Rs4.6bn from Rs3.5bn.The company’s full year sales had increased two and half times within five years, from Rs34.2bn in 2008 to Rs86.2bn in 2013.
And, its net profit had surged from Rs1.55bn to Rs5.86bn.Engro Foods’ net sales also increased to Rs12.4bn in the fourth quarter of 2014 from Rs9.9bn a year ago. In full year 2014, too, the company reported sales of Rs43bn against that of Rs37.9bn in 2013 which quadrupled its net profits to Rs889m from Rs210m.Similarly, Unilever Pakistan Foods’ sales grew to Rs4.105bn in the first half of 2014 from Rs3.465bn a year-ago and its net profit increased to Rs619m from Rs 469m. Earlier the company’s sales had surged to about Rs6.96bn in FY13 from around Rs5.86bn in 2012 and its net profit had reached Rs1bn, up from about Rs729m.These are just glimpses of how food is performing but reflects a trend not setting in, but taking roots.Most of the non-listed companies are also doing good business taking advantage of low cost of production and highly diversified market in terms of purchasing power of the middle class end-consumers.
The food companies’ successes are attributed to growing demand of processed and value-added items on the back of a growing trend of processed food consumption.Fusing foreign demand for Pakistani food items has increased exports of fruits and vegetables, pulses, spices, nuts, meat, fish and other seafood, dairy products and hundreds of other items. Dollar earnings of all food items, (minus rice, wheat and sugar), increased from $1.762bn in FY11 to $2.023bn in FY12 to $2.256bn in FY13 before slipping to $2.167bn in the last fiscal year. Behind the increasing trend in these food items are success stories of dozens of large and thousands of small food companies engaged in production or value-addition of food products.
Whereas some success stories particularly those of big food companies get public attention, a vast majority of smaller food sector companies do not come under spotlight.The strong performance of food business has attracted bank lending, making it possible for producers and exporters of various sub-sectors to build capacity and improve quality of their products. In FY14, banks net loans to food sector rose to Rs26bn from Rs16bn in FY13. And in the first half of this fiscal year banks’ have so far lent Rs15bn to this sector, SBP stats reveal.As more and more food companies continue to obtain international standardisation certificates, bankers say they find it easier to lend to them. The certification enables the industry to sell more to high-end local markets and boost exports with better returns required to repay bank loans.
Published in Dawn, Economic & Business, February 23rd, 2015

Green Revolutions 2.0 & 3.0: No farmer left behind

Written by Gene Hettel.
Description: IRRI Director General Robert Zeigler on IRC 2014Several million of the world's poorest farmers are already adopting one of the first new technologies of the second Green Revolution (GR2.0)—flood-tolerant rice! This was the optimistic pronouncement of Robert Zeigler, director general of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), during his keynote address to kick off the 4th International Rice Congress(IRC2014) in Bangkok on 28 October 2014. More than 1,500 delegates from 69 countries attended the week-long IRC, touted as the Olympics of Rice Science.

Start of GR2.0 pinpointed

It is thanks to one farmer, Mr. Asha Ram Pal from the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, that Dr. Zeigler pinpoints, at least in his opinion, the exact start of GR2.0. It was 31.07.2008 13:17 (1:17 in the afternoon of 31 July 2008)—the exact moment in time when, ignoring the advice of his neighbors by showing faith in the science, Mr. Pal decided not to plow under his severely flood-ravaged and sick-looking rice crop on his 1-hectare field that had been submerged for around 17 days across two floods.
Well, those rice plants with the SUB1 flood-tolerance gene recovered to yield 4.5 tons, a good yield for any rainfed paddy in the world!
"This was—unambiguously— the start of GR2.0," Dr. Zeigler said, "because for any agricultural revolution to be successful, farmers must adopt the product of the science. Since then, Sub1 rice varieties have spread like wildfire in eastern India and other regions where flooding is a perennial problem for farmers growing their crop in such marginal environments."
According to the internationally respected plant pathologist who has led IRRI for the last 9 years, the new technology can be attributed primarily to high-level and high-quality science—science publishable in the top scientific journals in the world—brought to bear on the problems in farmers' fields.
Indeed, one scientific study indicated that "the scheduled castes are likely to be a major beneficiary from the spread of Swarna-Sub1 in India. "When I read this last paragraph of the study, I literally got goose bumps," he told the delegates. "The scheduled castes are the lowest of the low. So, this technology—the most exquisite research from some of the finest laboratories in the world—is significantly benefiting the poorest of the poor. Now if that is not scientific revolution, I don’t know what is. It gives me great pride to be a scientist and to be associated with the people who have done this work."

GR3.0 will stagger the imagination

"GR2.0's run will be fruitful—and quicker than GR1.0—particularly for farmers in marginal weather- sets the stage for GR1.0 stressed environments," Dr. Zeigler predicted. He said there is a very wide array of problems, previously thought to be absolutely insurmountable, that researchers can now address more rapidly using the scientific tools coming out of parallel high-science revolutions in genetics, molecular biology, and plant physiology.
According to Dr. Zeigler, GR2.0 is allowing researchers to successfully meet great challenges with unprecedented research efforts that will result in unparalleled impact—ranging from mining the rice genomes and wild relatives of rice for needed traits to developing climateready rice and from fighting human malnutrition with more nutritious rice to better management of water and nutrient resources in farmers' rice fields.
"Over the next 10 to 20 years, during which GR2.0 will phase into GR3.0, we will seize opportunities for sustainable rice production in ways that will stagger our imagination," he confidently forecasted. In another bold prediction, he envisions the start of GR3.0 sometime around 2030 when farmers start planting yield plateau-busting C4 and nitrogen-fixing rice varieties and consumers begin finding broad-based nutritious rice in the marketplace.

Summarizing the GR series

Dr. Zeigler summarized for the delegates what he calls the ongoing Green Revolution Series. "GR1.0, which basically built a high-yield plant architecture adapted to the low-stress environments, is justly criticized for benefitting only farmers in those relatively stress-free areas," he said. "GR2.0 is incorporating tolerance to severe stresses and additional nutritional value and ultimately, as already mentioned, is leaving no farmer behind. GR3.0 will accelerate the evolution of the rice plant itself. It will effectively produce designer rice by leaving no Oryzaspecies untapped."

Young scientists will lead the charge

Description: RT14 1green revolution irc
During a media briefing following his keynote, Dr. Zeigler told reporters that leading the charge of the sciencebased GR2.0 and 3.0 is the next crop of vibrant, intelligent, and caring young scientists. They are in league with IRRI through the Global Rice Science Partnership and its five rice-breeding hubs in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Many attended their first-ever International Rice Congress in Bangkok. Twentynine of these young rice scientists were chosen to present their research during the science sessions and they were formally recognized for this notable achievement during the IRC gala dinner (photo above)."The future of rice science is at stake because without new blood in the experiment plots and laboratories, the outlook for a continuing GR2.0 would be grim and there wouldn’t even be a GR3.0," he warned reporters.
Source with thanks:IRRI

A passion for growing rice in Venezuela

Written by Adriana Varón Molina.
Description: Oscar Alvarez on his rented rice field in Portuguesa StateFinding a way to increase rice production in the country with the largest petroleum reserves in the world—and thus ample means to pay for imports—has posed a colossal challenge for Venezuela’s farmers over the last 4 decades. Today, they produce about 1 million tons of paddy rice annually—down 300,000 tons from 8 years ago. But the country’s rice sector is working hard to regain its strength of an earlier 20-year period, when it not only met local demand but also exported its surplus to its neighboring countries.
For now, though, Venezuelan growers can supply only 65% of the rice consumed domestically— about 1.2 million tons. According to Pedro Luis Cordero, president of the National Rice Foundation (Fundarroz), the breaking point for the country's rice growers came in 2006, when the government changed the rules of the game, pushing production in both the public and private sector to the edge of the abyss.Since then, growers have been hard pressed to obtain inputs, such as seed, fertilizer, and replacement parts for agricultural machinery, and have met with logistical obstacles in transporting harvested grain. Against this background, a resurgence of rice in Venezuela has just one thing going for it: an expanding culture of innovation.

Six steps to success

Farmer Rafael Urdaneta, though originally from the city of San Cristóbal, began growing rice 23 years ago near Calabozo in the state of Guárico, one of Venezuela's main rice-growing areas. He has decided to give new crop management practices a try on his 600 hectares, following to the letter the six key steps that Fundarroz and the Latin American Fund for Irrigated Rice (FLAR) are promoting to boost productivity. His reward is rice yields of 8–11 tons per hectare, well above the national average of 4.27 tons.
Adjusting the planting date and density, using treated seed to ward off disease pathogens, ensuring proper weed control and fertilization, and managing water adequately are the practices that have made the difference for Mr. Urdaneta."The key is using exactly the right amount of inputs and planting at the optimum time to realize the full genetic potential of the improved varieties," says Mr. Urdaneta, a beneficiary of the Guárico River Irrigation System. He cites two other factors that also help account for the unprecedented rice productivity in his fields: direct seeding and his passion for what he does.

Crazy neighbors

About 500 kilometers away, near Majaguas in the state of Portuguesa, other passionate farmers are following the six points to success as well, in addition to using direct seeding in their rice fields. Eubencio Terán, Óscar Álvarez, Venturino Cicconetti, and Nicola Campo have all exchanged conventional production practices for the new approach. After several years of trial and error, they now serve as models for other farmers who visit their fields to see their secret formula.
Description: Venezuelan farmer Venturio Cicconetti"We started rotating rice with other crops such as maize, sugarcane, and soybean, and we’ve also adopted direct seeding and now plant in straight lines rather than in contour lines," says Mr. Cicconetti, who boosted his average rice yield from 5 tons per hectare to 9–11 tons. "We’ve gone from three rice harvests annually to two or just one, and we’re using newer machinery.

"Mr. Terán is following Mr. Cicconetti's footsteps. Four years ago, he began rotating crops on his farm, La Celinera: irrigated rice in the dry season and rainfed maize in the rainy season. Mr. Terán now harvests 8 tons of rice and 5 tons of maize per hectare. But still, he has set his sights on the goal of raising the yield of both crops by 2 tons per hectare."Before, people called me the 'crazy neighbor.' They were convinced that the new technologies would fail," says Mr. Terán, who has been farming for 25 years. "There are still some small-scale farmers in this area who are reluctant to change, but there are also a lot more crazy neighbors like me."

Racing to close yield gaps

In Venezuela's race to raise rice productivity and close yield gaps, various organizations deserve recognition for their efforts in support of this work. FLAR, the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), and several national organizations—including Fundarroz, the Western Plains Association of Certified Seed Producers (Aproscello), the Venezuelan Federation of Rice Producers’ Associations (Fevearroz), the Danac Foundation, and other public and private sector actors—have joined forces, using their respective experiences with innovation in technology development, genetic improvement, and marketing to restore the country’s self-sufficiency in rice.Daniel Brito, a Fundarroz agronomist and extension officer, is in charge of the program for technology transfer in the state of Portuguesa.
Every week, he visits farmers in the region who are following the six steps as well as those who haven’t yet decided to take the technological leap. "The idea is to increase the number of rice growers to learn about successful experiences and to adopt innovative practices on their farms," says Mr. Brito.According to Fuaz Kassen, the president of Fevearroz, Venezuela's rice growers can satisfy local demand and cater to Central America and the Caribbean markets. "The future of rice in Venezuela lies outside the country," he says. "We need more capital investment to expand production into new areas and the adoption of new technologies with state support."Apart from giving Venezuela plenty of "black gold," nature has provided it with other riches as well, including fertile land, abundant water, and an ideal climate. These, together with new technologies, should suffice to allow innovative rice growers to regain control of the nation’s food security, win back former clients, and open new pathways toward rice exports.
Ms. Varón Molina is communications coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean at CIAT.

Source with thanks:Phil Rice

Amay’s House: A fragrant and rare Myanmarese find

VANCOUVER — The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Feb. 20 2015, 11:34 PM EST
Last updated Saturday, Feb. 21 2015, 3:42 PM EST

Aung San Suu Kyi stares down serenely from a framed portrait hung on a neon-tangerine wall. Her placid image, a cherished fixture in most Myanmarese homes and restaurants, doesn’t help calm our mounting impatience.Myanmar’s First Lady of Freedom may have sustained millions of impoverished followers and their thirst for democracy during her 15 years of house arrest. But we unworthy gluttons are obviously impervious to the charms of her Buddhist grace. As fragrant fried rice, fishy noodle soups and oily curries pile up on nearby tables, we anxiously drum our fingers, gulp our water and eventually stand up, waving to the sole server for attention.Oh, for the shame of first-world hunger pains.
The military junta that controlled Myanmar (formerly Burma) from 1962 to 2011 may have failed to crush Ms. Suu Kyi’s non-violent resistance. But it did largely succeed in controlling the migration of the nation’s cuisine with sealed borders and restrictions on travel.Myanmarese restaurants are relatively rare in North America.In Vancouver, there are three: Amay’s House, Wahh Tee Burmese and Laska King (Rangoon closed last month).All have their virtues, but Amay’s House, open now for almost two years, offers the most extensive menu and traditional dishes. A modest mom-and-pop eatery, it is owned by Hihaa Kyaw and his wife, Mya Nyunt.Before they came to Canada in 1996, Mr. Kyaw worked as a cook at the Inya Lake Hotel, a four-star, colonial-style resort in Yangon (formerly Rangoon).
He also trained as a pastry chef, which explains why his prata, a flat-grilled bread made from layers and layers of oiled dough, is so light and airy – almost like a thin, crispy croissant. Do try it folded inside a creamy egg omelet that you can dress with a clear fish sauce with lime juice called ngapi (similar to Thai nam pla) -- if your ravenous friends don’t beat you to the side bowl and drain it first. Grrr.Myanmarese cuisine – it still sounds strange not to call it Burmese – is strongly influenced by the cooking styles of India, Thailand, Cambodia and China.The first Indian settlers arrived in 250 B.C. – long before the Tibetans (ninth century A.D.) and the Chinese conquest (1272). Deep, dark curries – built on a basic paste made from onion, garlic, chili, ginger and turmeric – are common.
The paste is heated in a smoking wok, like Chinese cooking, and reduced until the oil floats to the top. But the flavour isn’t greasy, probably because lighter peanut and sesame oils are used.Amay’s House makes a fantastic chicken biryani, slow roasted and richly redolent of cardamom. It’s served on the bone, in a bed of pale yellow and bright orange saffron-scented basmati rice. The rice was silky and buttery. Mr. Kyaw wouldn’t reveal his secrets, but we think it was finished with ghee.Myanmarese cuisine also offers many cold salads, including a distinctively funky fermented tea leaf salad. The fishy ferment gives the tea a pungent, murky flavour and its caffeine will leave diners with a jolty buzz. But when mixed with fresh citrus, red onion, chunky peanuts and crispy lentils, the salad is actually quite lively and refreshing. (Wahh Tee Burmese actually makes the brightest version of this ubiquitous dish; Laska King’s was a bit dark and dreary.)
Even better, is the ginger salad at Amay’s House. It’s tossed with the same choppy mix of peanuts, yellow peas, broad beans and sesame seeds. But instead of tea leaves, slivered ginger root pickled in vinegar is the main ingredient.Royal noodle salad is one of my new favourite comfort foods. At Amay’s House, the thick udon noodles (another Chinese influence) are prettily topped with chicken curry, dried bean powder, fried noodles, fresh cilantro, raw onion and boiled egg, all separated into their own sections. You pour a bowl of fish soup over the noodles and mix it yourself.
It’s hearty and rich, yet again bright and herbaceous. At Wahh Tee Burmese, they add shrimp powder, which it gives it even more sticky heft.Last but not least on the must-try list is mohinga. The lightly flavoured catfish chowder, bobbing with rice noodles and crispy lentil cakes, widely considered Myanmar’s national dish. All three restaurants make it slightly different. Laska King’s is the heaviest, almost a stew, laden with extra lentils and a slightly gelled broth. Wahh Tee has the boldest chili heat, which sneaks up the back of the throat and slowly seduces.
Amay’s House is the lightest because, as Mr. Kyaw explained, he uses semolina flour instead rice flour.Although Amay’s House is the best of the bunch, adventurous eaters will want to try all three restaurants. Just be patient with poor Ms. Nyunt, who serves the dishes (alone) as fast as her husband can cook them. Great food, like freedom, comes to those who wait.
Source with thanks:The Globe and Mail Inc

Saturday, 21 February 2015 13:14
Posted by Parvez Jabri
Description: imageWASHINGTON: The United States has pledged continued support for Pakistan's fight against terror, as Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and White House National Security Advisor discussed bilateral relations, efforts for regional stability and the need to align support for Afghan reconciliation.
"They agreed to continue working together as partners against the threat of terrorism," the White House said in a statement, after the meeting."They also discussed ways to mutually support regional stability in the near term, highlighting the need to align support for Afghan-led reconciliation efforts and continue regular US-Pakistani engagement," the statement added.Ambassador Rice commended the role played by Pakistan's delegation, which Minister Khan led, at the White House-hosted Summit on Countering Violent Extremism.President Obama's Special Assistant on Afghanistan and Pakistan Jeff Eggers joined NSA Rice in the meeting, the Pakistani embassy said.
"The two leaders exchanged views on matters of mutual interest in both bilateral and regional context. Expressing satisfaction on the state of play in the bilateral relationship, both sides agreed to continue the momentum of cooperation generated in the wake of last Ministerial session of the strategic dialogue process held in Islamabad."Rice "commended the resolve of the leadership and people of Pakistan to deal with terrorism in a comprehensive manner. NSA Rice assured the Interior Minister of the continued US support for Pakistan's efforts to eliminate terrorism."Noting the timely US initiative to convene the Summit on Countering Violent Extremism, the Interior Minister apprised NSA Rice about the ongoing military operations and steps being taken in follow up to the National Action Plan to eliminate terrorism.Rice appreciated the sacrifices and commitment of Pakistan in the fight against terrorism and extremism.

Quota restricting rice export to Malaysia

February 22, 2015
Description: having potential of over 0.2 to 0.3 million tons annually, Pakistan could export just 119,358 tons rice to Malaysia during last fiscal year due to quota restrictions by the Malaysian government. The exporters have laid emphasis on more export of rice from Pakistan to Malaysia and requested the Malaysian Consul General and Trade Consul to assist them in this respect. They noted that the balance of trade between Pakistan and Malaysia is tilted in favour of Malaysia for a long time and in order to narrow down the trade deficit, there is dire need for increasing export of non-traditional items as well as the existing items being exported to Malaysia. 

The rice exporters invited the attention of the government to focus on the international markets of China, Malaysia, Indonesia and Bahrain for strengthening the rice export trade, which is ultimately beneficial for all the stakeholders, particularly the growers of rice. He added that depressed prices in international rice markets are affecting overall agricultural sectors of all rice exporting countries of the world.Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) chairman Rafique Suleman also highlighted the trade between Pakistan and Malaysia and said that the trade balance is in the favour of Malaysia, as a huge quantity of palm oil is imported from Malaysia, whereas our exports are negligible.

 He emphasized that Government of Pakistan must take measures to balance the trade and talks must be held with Malaysian government to discuss the possibilities to export 200,000 Metric Ton of Pakistani rice to Malaysia.Discussing rice export to Bahrain, he said that Pakistan has exported 27,805 tons of rice worth $26,213,194 during July 2013 to June 2014.He said that Bahrain is also a high potential market for Pakistani rice and we request government to further improve mutual economic relations which will be beneficial in bilateral trade between the two countries.
“There is immense scope for expanding the existing volume of bilateral trade between the two countries which currently stands at $200 million. Currently there are approximately 100,000 Pakistanis living in Bahrain and it was one of the favourite destinations for Pakistanis working abroad and we welcomed the decision of the Bahrain government to award dual nationality to some of them.Discussing rice export to China, he said that Pakistan has exported 353,675 tons rice worth $128,068,072 during July 2013 to June 2014.“REAP noticed that China has made several G-2-G deals with other neighboring countries, e.g. the contract with Thailand, MoU with Cambodia. Since the total rice import quota of China is limited, we’ve afraid that the market share of Pakistani rice in China will decline.

 In order to further strengthen the bilateral rice trade relations, we request Government of Pakistan to arrange similar mechanism, like China done with Thailand and Cambodia, in order to stabilize the rice trade between China and Pakistan. We hope we could export additional 200,000 M/Tons good quality Pakistani rice every year, starting from Year 2015.”

US, Pakistan discuss methods to mutually support regional stability

Top officials of US and Pakistan have discussed methods to work together as partners and mutually support regional stability in the near term to fight against terrorism, the White House has said.National Security Advisor Susan Rice had met with the Pakistan Minister of Interior, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, at the White House yesterday.During the meeting, Rice commended the role played by Pakistan’s delegation led by Minister Khan at the Summit on Countering Violent Extremism.
“They agreed to continue working together as partners against the threat of terrorism,” said Bernadette Meehan, Spokesperson of the National Security Council.“They also discussed ways to mutually support regional stability in the near term, highlighting the need to align support for Afghan-led reconciliation efforts and continue regular US-Pakistani engagement,” Meehan said.Rice had earlier called for a renewed commitment to building a world unmarred by terrorism and ideologies of violence.
(This article was published on February 21, 2015)

Bringing new technologies in the uplands

Description: bringing-new-technoogies-in-the-uplands-imgEvery day, Margie Baclay, 21, hopes to have a bountiful harvest as this means more money to buy rice and send her two children to school.The young farmer and single parent belongs to the Aeta community that lives in the mountains of Brgy. Sta. Rosa, Bamban, Tarlac.Struggling to make both ends meet, Margie had to stop her elementary education and resorted to what most people in the rural areas cling on – farming.

 For almost a decade now, she has been planting banana, gabi, papaya, sugar cane, and other crops without applying fertilizers and pesticides. She relies on the richness of the soil. She believes that the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991 left their mountains with volcanic ashes that made the soil fertile.Farming in the uplands is challenging, according to Margie. No questions asked.“I dig the soil of a steep mountainside and pull the weeds one by one while sitting on a heap,” she says.From the mountain down to the river, she fetches water for her plants. She descends from the mountain for an hour to sell her produce and accompany her children to school.
During the rainy season, the mountain trail gets slippery and dangerous. Hence, she waits for good weather to bring her produce to the market while her children stay at home. She recalls that after the eruption of the volcano, they have not cultivated upland rice due to the unavailability of seeds.In 2013, the DA’s Upland Rice Development Program reached the Aeta community and re-introduced upland rice farming.

Margie’s family did not hesitate on trying the new technology and started planting a 2-kg traditional rice variety known as “Pinilisa” in May 2014 and harvested 25 kg of seeds in October.“I learned the science behind upland rice farming and how to make our own organic fertilizer,” shares Margie. She decided to keep the seeds for mass production and share them later to their fellow farmers. Margie reports they are eager to try new agricultural technologies and revive upland rice farming in their community.
Culture and identity

According to upland rice technologist Julian Macadamia of PhilRice, the Aetas are receptive to new technologies.“Margie and her community were able to balance new and old practices. The Aetas have a way of adopting new technologies while keeping their identity intact,” he says.“The Aetas are not afraid of change because they know how to be a conduit of the old and the new. They become better through knowledge acquisition but still remain who they are – that for me is a good example of an unconventional farmer,” he adds.

Rice cultivation in general is highly valued by Aetas. They acquire rice through barter or with the money they make from selling vegetables, root crops, wild fruits, or tubers to the lowlanders.“As long as my family doesn’t sleep with an empty stomach, I will be happy with what I do every day despite the challenges that we face in farming,” Margie reassures herself.The sight of her crops growing assures her that her family will have something to eat. She’s surely adept in survival matters.

For her, she can’t think of any way of making a living apart from tilling the land. If by chance there will be additional jobs available, she would not totally abandon the land that provides them food.“Indeed, this land on top of the mountain is a gift to our ancestors and to us,” Margie becomes emphatic and emotional.And as the day ends, Margie sleeps with her dreams. She believes that through farming, her children will, unlike her, remain in school.
 Tagged as: amjose, technology, upland

Strings of Young Ideas

The infomediary campaign made its first step two years ago. Now, it’s taking huge strides.With its initiative to mobilize high school students to serve as information providers in their rice-farming communities—it treks on as it continues to involve over a hundred schools nationwide.Certainly, the campaign has gone a long way.Eventful enough, in fact, that several practices can now be emulated toward engaging young people in agriculture.Best-fit practices
The campaign team draws added inspiration from strings of innovative ideas growing from teachers among participating schools.For certain teachers in Davao Oriental, Kalinga, Albay, and Negros Oriental, the best way to re-echo the campaign is through the Parents and Teachers Association (PTA) meetings.
Description: strings-of-young-ideas-imgThe info-drive on Climate Change and Rice Production module was performed in Occidental Mindoro and Negros Oriental where students relayed to farmers modern technologies in rice farming such as the Minus-One-Element Technique (MOET), Leaf Color Chart (LCC), and controlled irrigation, among others.Elizabeth Pajarillo, a crop production teacher in Mindoro Occidental, said that exposing students in community-based activities is a good opportunity for farmers to appreciate tips on rice production coming from them.
In some cases, teachers were clever enough to maximize the use of ICTs in promoting the campaign’s components.This is evident in Samar and Bulacan where students promoted the PhilRice Text Center by posting bond paper-sized campaign materials in public places inside and outside their campuses.The campaign also relies upon good collaboration among Internet and Computer Fundamentals (ICF) and other instructors.
In Claveria Rural Vocational School in Cagayan, for instance, the crop protection teacher and the ICF instructor developed a computer-based quiz on infomediary campaign-related topics.“We thought of a way to make the campaign much more challenging and exciting. We’ve developed the Nutri E-Quiz featuring PhilRice’s Infomediary Campaign and the Pinoy Rice Knowledge Bank. Right now, it’s the second year of E-quiz implementation,” Allan Tomas, the quiz developer said.While innovative campaign methods are being executed in most schools, ripples of information are equally helpful.
In Sarangani, for instance, Malalag National High School (MNHS) disseminated the campaign by sharing the learning modules as well as some seeds to its neighboring schools.“We still plan to reach out to other schools and share modules on rice production. This is our way of contributing to the campaign since it has been helpful for us. This would also address the lack of textbooks on rice production,” Onofre Labrador, MNHS instructor said.
MNHS has thus far reached out to Maguiling NHS, Wali Integrated School, and Salakit NHS.In Bulacan, Balagtas Agricultural High School integrates rice production through essays in English and Filipino subjects.
The key school officials are also supportive of the campaign.To encourage other schools to replicate these practices, the campaign team has created a Facebook group where representatives of Infomediary campaign-participating schools can post all activities they are doing.“Technically, however, it is not much about replicating the best-fit practices. Such practices require that we work hard to determine which strategies will work best given specific development contexts.
 Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach in implementing development initiatives. It is all about asking and seeing from there which strategies will work best,” Jaime Manalo IV, the campaign lead clarified.
From the evaluation, 94% of the students performed their role as infomediaries, either by sending text messages to PTC, searching information from the PRKB, or reading publications on rice from their school libraries.Meanwhile, 41% of them reported their parents and other farmers believed in their recommendations.
Collaboration with local government units also exists, as reports in Albay show local officials and farmers attending the PTA meetings. In Cagayan, a local executive lent land for the rice garden in Claveria.The doubts on whether farmers would believe students who have inadequate experience on rice farming are now being slowly erased.Across sites, the students reported their parents believed them. An infomediary in Bulacan, for instance, managed to convince her father and uncle to minimize the use of pesticides in their fields after she shared with them the concept of harmful and helpful organisms.
“Before, I just sprayed on every insect I saw in the farm. Now, I try to avoid spraying on helpful organisms,” Marcelo Hernandez, farmer-parent, said in Filipino.Farmers from nearby areas have asked for seeds from the participating schools. This has been the case in Cagayan, Davao Oriental, and Sarangani. Certified seeds have 10% yield advantage over home-saved seeds being used by some farmers.
Through field days, farmers are introduced to the PhilRice-produced seeds. They then see the schools as sources not only of information but also of seeds.By the end of the day, so to speak, the infomediary campaign is still young and is equally innovative as the young generation.With the strings of ideas from its partners, active involvement of the youth, plus the heart that beats for farming, the campaign is just waiting to take its next big leap.

Source with thanks: Phil Rice

Modern agriculturists

Description: modern-agriculturists-img“Ayaw ko kumuha ng agriculture [course]. Ano makukuha kong trabaho dyan?” (I don’t want to take up Agriculture. What job can I possibly get with it?).Admit it, many of us must have heard or read about this statement or its variant somewhere in time. The thought of working in agriculture or on a farm could be alien to young urban and rural Filipinos.Dr. Eduardo Bagtang, president of the Kalinga-Apayao State College, stated in an interview with the Manila Times that the main reason why the children of farmers do not want to take on agriculture-related professions is that they’ve seen how their parents toil in the field day after day but barely able to make ends meet. Even our college education system is primarily focused on preparing the youth for employment, not entrepreneurship.Fortunately, not all Filipino youngsters have lost faith in agriculture.
Changing the game

Friends Ryan Aguas, Enzo Pinga, and Illian Pascual, while studying abroad, met in New York City to discuss plans of starting an agriculture-related business in the Philippines when they return. They wanted to create an impact by helping Filipino farmers and believed agriculture is the best way to go about it. Illian, a mechanical engineer, introduced them to vertical farming (aquaponics), since sustainability and green agriculture were among his interests.

The trio realized that aquaponics may just be the technology they needed to pursue agriculture given that it requires no soil and is modular; the perfect setup in an urban environment where land for farming use is limited. Thus was the beginning of the Bahay Kubo Organics (BKO), based in Muntinlupa City.BKO is a young social enterprise that vows to help address food security in the Philippines. They grow crops, and help communities in rural areas through capacity- building via training and education. Currently, these three guys are mostly supplying produce to friends and relatives but someday wish to expand to more clients.

“We established partnerships with many different organizations in all of our community builds, including the Fairplay for All Foundation, Mu Sigma Phi, GK Sta. Rita, Dream Project PH, Rotary Club of Bacolod South, ASSIST, and Kawil Tours. The projects we do with these organizations mainly focus on engaging communities interested in learning about the technology and applying it in their own areas”, says Ryan.
All in the family

Passing-the-baton best defines the Gapuz Grape Farm in Bauang, La Union. The farm started with 50 prunes of grapes through the passion and efforts of Cirillo & Roger Gapuz, father and son, during the late 1980s. During those times, grape vineyard was unpopular in the area, and a number of tourists and customers doubted the quality of the local harvest. Through the years, father-and-son tandem strove until they were able to expand their vineyard and market reach. Thus, the beginning of the Farm, now among the local tourist attractions in the municipality.The passion and dedication to grape farming have lingered within the present generation.

The baton was passed on to Danica, the eldest daughter of Roger, a human resource course graduate and currently a consultant in Makati City. Doubling as sales and marketing manager of the Gapuz Grape Farm, she also operates the vineyard’s social media site.It wasn’t hard for Danica to engage in grapes despite having a stable job, as she grew up exposed to farm work. And she was not sour-graping. Through her efforts, the farm expanded and gained new clients. Thanks to social media, they now have customers in Visayas and Mindanao; clients who are not only purchasing the fruits but also the cuttings that they grow in their own backyards.“The demand for grapes outside our locale is huge.
This is why we decided to make our own social media account to help in promotion. Through it, our network stretched, and we now have customers as far as Davao City,” said Danica.Her active marketing drives paid off when the Farm was featured on national TV. As a result, Danica became one member of the Go Negosyo Young Agriprenuers, and is occasionally invited to deliver talks on radio about grape farming. The increased sales and income due to more media exposure helped the Gapuz family to purchase another piece of land in their area. According to Danica, part of the new farm will grow dragon fruit and local vegetables.
A goldmine in plain sight

Ryan of BKO sees Philippine agriculture as rich with potential. All people need to do is tap on the right resources. “Although we currently are not meeting the agricultural needs in our country, we believe that if we continue on this path and improve our agriculture by providing more support, then we aren’t too far away from being self-sustaining,” he added.Danica is of the same opinion. “Farming and agriculture as a whole has a huge potential for generating income. Youth today should be educated that agriculture is not just having your sweat, blood, and tears flow to sustain your crops. Agriculture can be rewarding when treated as a business” she reflected.

Fresh Forces in Farming

Ana Sibayan uses a pen and some sheets of paper to prepare for her presentation. She is about to face more than 300 scientists, extension workers, policy makers, academicians, among other participants in a prestigious international conference on agriculture and rural development. Her topic – attracting the youth to engage in agriculture.

Description: fresh-forces-in-farming-imgAt 25, Ana is one of the youngest farmer-leaders in the country. In her hometown Victoria in Mindoro Oriental, she juggles her time between farming and school as she devotes most of it to encouraging young individuals to cultivate lands.Deciding to farm, Sibayan’s choices in life are rather rare compared to most of the youth her age.“I see how we survive in our town and farming is definitely something we can’t live without. I want the younger generation to realize their worth in feeding us. We, the youth, have a crucial role to play,” Sibayan said.
Numbers speak
Looking at global figures on youth engagement in agriculture, Ana is indeed one in a million. Although a lot of young people aged 15-40 have shown interest in farming, they are just a small portion of the population.The International Labor Organization (ILO) reported in 2014 that agriculture accounts for more than 32% of the world’s employment, and 39% in Asia and the Pacific’s developing countries. Yet, agriculture remains at the bottom of the youth’s most preferred job list.
They look at agriculture as the “past and antithesis of progress,” the ILO contends.African countries carry a major burden in handling more than 60% of their unemployed people – the youth. A burgeoning 72% of their youth live on barely US$2 or P90 a day even as their agriculture sector offers vast job opportunities for them.The Food and Agriculture Organization saw the need for investment planning to “adequately reflect youth employment issues and consider explicit youth employment promotion programs” including adoption of postharvest value addition and innovation on labor-saving technologies.
Official Philippine statistics reported in 2012 more than 34% of the population aged 15 and above were thriving on agriculture. The youth comprises 45% of the country’s workforce in 2013. Of the nearly 20 million youth, 16% are still unemployed.The irony of youth unemployment is magnified by the fact that most of them live in agricultural countries. However, farming is always associated with poverty and ancientness. Instead of staying in rural agricultural communities, the young people tend to migrate to cities.
The education sector is not spared. In UP Los Baños alone, enrolment in agriculture-related courses has sharply declined to 4.7% compared with 51% in the 1980s. Most schools that offer agriculture courses suffer from the same malady.With the farmers who produce food all over the world aging every second, this situation seriously rings an alarm.
Push and pull
The Asian Farmers’ Association (AFA) believes that the youth in the region find farming as the sure way to get their hands rough and dirty.“For the youth, there is no pride and dignity in farming. It is an unstable work, with low income and high risk. For the young people, rural life is also boring,” the AFA report said.AFA also named access to land, capital, credit, and support services as the key element that convinces the youth to farm. Children are affected by the hardships their farmer-parents go through to sustain a living.While youth migration to the cities increasingly threatens food production, some scholars are exploring ways to encourage and maintain youth involvement in agriculture.
In a study on youth outmigration, Jaime Manalo of PhilRice and Elske van de Fliert of the University of Queensland in Australia identified the factors that trigger and sustain youth exodus from rural to urban areas. Their paper detailed how involvement in actual crop production, personal perception on farming, parents’ dream job for their children, and education can help shape the youth’s decision to move to the cities. Curiously, many of the youth are inclined to go back to the farm when they retire.
“While intentions to migrate were high, young individuals had a strong desire to remain connected to their family’s farms. Hence, policy makers would do well to assist those who leave the rural areas and return after some time,” Manalo said.Policies are set to attract the youth to agriculture. Aside from RA 8044 known as the Youth in Nation-Building Act that serves as pillar of support for the youth, the Philippine government has been devising incentives for smallholder farmers, including the women and the youth.
The Agricultural Training Institute resorts to the 4-H Club as an informal teaching modality for the youth in agriculture. PhilRice wages the Infomediary campaign that mobilizes high school students as information catalysts. The Departments of Agriculture, Agrarian Reform, and Trade and Industry also rear incentive schemes to further draw the youth to farm.
 Multiplied potentials
Various organizations recognize the role of the youth in development advocacies.Youngsters are prime information movers in the community and are the future hands of food production.“Equal attention should also be given to urban migrants who may not return to rural areas but are willing to invest in farming to employ their poor relatives. Migrants can often raise the resources needed to finance the input-intensive rice farming operations.” Manalo and de Fliert said.

Careers in agriculture abound from the farm itself to research and development, education and extension, and agricultural entrepreneurship. Agriculture professionals can attest to the many options the field can offer. To encourage strong youth participation in agriculture, AFA-Philippines pushes for the Magna Carta of Young Farmers. The advocacy promotes and protects the rights of young farmers, establishes sound programs for them, institutionalizes their representation in agricultural policy-making bodies, and defines discrimination against them.Despite the complications in the higher level of decision-making on interventions, Ana Sibayan would still want the youth to return to farming.

“My hands-on experience in the farm and exposure to youth activities open my eyes on the real issues concerning the youth. We need training, and be provided with basic resources to farm. There’s nothing wrong in getting dirty hands when you feed the world using the same hands,” Sibayan said.The current status of the youth in agriculture challenges us to build a new wave of farmers who are empowered, productive, resilient, and prosperous. How then can it be addressed?
Income, meaning, sense of pride – that’s how Ana Sibayan reflects on the matter.

Source with thanks: Phil Rice
PhilRice Agusan is best  branch station again

PhilRice Agusan received the top prize in the 2014 Best Station contest – an annual internal competition organized by the Institute to elevate and improve the modalities in promoting new technologies in rice production. It also aims to highlight the best-fit practices of the stations in rice R&D.Agusan was also recognized for successfully and creatively executing the Intensified Rice-Based Agri-bio Systems (IRBAS) program in support of PhilRice’s major advocacy, the Rural Transformation Movement (RTM).
RTM aims to reduce help poverty by promoting diversified farming and agri-business ventures. Nucleus estates will be put up to give farmers access to support services including training, inputs, custom services, technologies, product development and packaging, and marketing.
“I thank the PhilRice management for organizing this contest and all my colleagues for keeping our station beautiful and world-class,” said Abner T. Montecalvo, station manager.PhilRice Midsayap and Batac placed 2nd and 3rd, and were cited for creating a strategic research direction and for continually improving their internal systems and processes in accordance with Integrated Management Systems standards.

PhilRice has three ISO certifications.The following awards were also given: Most Improved Field Day to Los Baños; Most Interactive Field Day to Negros; and Most Innovative External Linkage to Bicol.The judges traveled across the country to evaluate each station based on the following: IRBAS (Rural Transformation Campaign Execution); level of mechanization; organization of field day; varietal demo; client satisfaction; innovations; internal processes and financial reports; housekeeping and safety; state of infrastructure; income generation; and station management.
The judges were Dr. Rex Navarro, former director for communications of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT); Dr. Genaro San Valentin and Thelma Padolina, PhilRice consultants; Charlene Tan, founder of Good Food Community; and Donald Mateo, from the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PHilMech).PhilRice Agusan had earlier received the Best Field Day (2011) and Best Station awards (2013).

Testing rice for processing tech 

PhilRice will test local rice varieties for a food processing application that produces low-protein rice, a healthier alternative for people suffering from kidney disease and diabetes.

Description: testing-rice-imgThe tests will use propriety technology of Biotech Japan Corporation, an exclusive manufacturer of plant-origin lactic acid bacteria, a naturally occurring element found in grains, vegetables, fruits, and beans that can be used to reduce protein content in milled rice and cooked rice.In a meeting with officials from the Niigata-based corporation, PhilRice executive director Eufemio T. Rasco Jr said that the partnership is vital as production of low-protein rice is limited only to Japanese rice for now.
The Philippine Renal Disease Registry reported in 2008 that more than 1.2 million Filipinos suffer from chronic kidney disease in which 41% of the cases resulted from diabetes.The Japanese corporation, established in 1994, said that it is necessary to reduce ingestion of protein in kidney patients to lessen the burden on the kidneys.“By helping reduce the amount of protein in rice and bread, which are common staple foods, kidney patients will be able to have better qualities of life,” the company stated.
An experimental facility at PhilRice in Nueva Ecija was also proposed to pilot-test the technology through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).“This groundbreaking facility will enable us to learn about the technology and conduct our own researches later on if we want to create similar products,” Rasco said.“An additional advantage of this partnership would be our people`s exposure to Japanese work values in terms of quality control and assurance, plant operation, marketing strategies—the culture of continuing improvement,” he added.A follow-up meeting is scheduled on February 2015 to secure the Memorandum of Agreement among PhilRice, Biotech Japan Corporation, and JICA with a target kick-off in April.

Program launching highlight ARMM Rice Farmers’ Field Day in Maguindanao, Lanao Sur
 February 23, 2015
COTABATO CITY, Feb. 23, (PIA)—Some 500 farmers, out-of-school youth and students from the provinces of Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur participated in the celebration of ARMM’s Regional Rice Farmers’ Field Day held on Saturday under the auspices of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF).DAF-ARMM Regional Secretary Makmod Mending, Jr., led the celebration held at  barangay Tapayan, in  Sultan Mastura, Maguindanao the site of the 2-hectare demo farm for the new rice variety Green Super Rice (GSR).Mending said, while the government intensifies its efforts to achieve increased agricultural productivity for the country’s sustainable food sufficiency, there is a serious concern over the noted decreasing number of farmers engage in agricultural production and the trend of preference among the young generation to reside and seek employment in urban centers.
“We are here to launch several programs to address a very alarming situation. Based on statistics, the average age of a farmer is 52 years old so if the average life of a person is 60 to 65 years old, in 8 years time   no more  farmers will be tilling the lands  here  if  our youth decides  to seek employment in cities. The implication is, in 8 to 10 years time there will be no food in our table if this trend continues,” Mending said.Consistent with the mandate geared towards the attainment of increased agricultural productivity and food sufficiency, the agriculture department and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) launched collaborative programs – the Rice Crop Manager (RCM), Philippine Rice Information SysteM (PRISM), and the Next Generation (Next Gen).With this year’s theme “Pushing the adoption of new technologies for increased productivity and income” poses the challenge to create awareness on the advantages of such modern technologies to farmers seen to increase farm productivity and profitability through the use of high yielding rice varieties, climate resilient and more adaptive to different types of weather condition.
RCM program through modern IT gadgets and equipment provides appropriate recommendations on rice/crop production management practices to address problem on seed use (low yielding), nutrient deficiency, water (flood and drought) pests and disease control with the expected  1 ton increase in production per hectare, while PRISM supports decision-making and activity planning for increased rice production and serves as a platform to develop consistent and regular assessments of rice crop production, crop health, and crop losses brought about by natural calamities and outbreaks of pests and diseases.Next Generation is designed to accelerate the introduction and adoption of higher-yielding rice varieties and hybrids such as the inbred and Green Super Rice (GSR  proven to be climate resilient  and tolerant to biotic and abiotic stresses  (alkalinity, salinity, iron toxity, etc)for increased production and higher income. Pilot areas identified under PRISM include Ampatuan and Datu Odin Sinsuat in Maguindanao, and for Rice Crop Manager –Sultan Mastura, Pagalungan, Datu Paglas also of Maguindanao and Taraka, Lanao del Sur with total target of 10,500 farmer-beneficiaries.
Pushing for the commercialization of the Green Super Rice proven to be climate resilient and adaptive to all types of weather condition and resistant to pests and diseases and high yield to farmers, each of the farmer-participants were given a kilo of GSR seed and a bamboo seedling as part of the campaign to mitigate and address the issue and concern on climate change.“Based on our tests, Green Super Rice yield per hectare is 7 metric tons. The average yield in ARMM is 3.1 metric tons per hectare. If the ARMM has a total production of 600,000 metric tons, with GSR the production yield would be 1.2 million metric tons which is more than double our production, more than enough to feed all the people in the autonomous region,” Mending said.
As part of the aggressive efforts toward increased agricultural production for food sufficiency, the agency likewise purchased six units of Combined Harvester that has the capacity to reap/ harvest and thresh 2 hectares rice field in one hour for use with 15% counterpart by partners Irrigators Associations (IAs), Farmers Associations (FA), Cooperatives and LGUs   particularly during extreme weather conditions such as flooding to prevent crop damage and losses. (PBChangco/PIA Cotabato City) 

$10m investment for rice industry

Ropate Valemei
Monday, February 23, 2015

A KOREAN rice company in Navua is looking at investing $10million in the revitalisation of the rice industry in the country.For Grace Road Company Ltd, this means more land to be acquired to employ more local people for their rice farm.Company managing director Daniel Kim said local people needed to be educated on why we should eat rice.From root crops to the rice, we want the Government to educate the local people on the importance of rice," Mr Kim said.
He said a firm, stable production and supply of food was of most important requisite that influenced a country's economy.And when considering the poor production of rice in Fiji, the gravity of this requisite cannot be emphasised enough.With the investment, he said they would provide all the affordable and suitable machines which were on their way from Thailand.He said these included 20 units of machines with 16 units of tractor."Think about it, it's huge. We will be the main distribution for the rest of the Pacific Islands.
"He said they would also provide the market for Fijians who utilised their land for rice farming."Fiji has a big land which can be utilised for farming. After they farm, we will buy their rice at a reasonable price so all Fijian can continue planting rice."With four varieties of rice seeds in the country, he said they were looking at introducing more variety of rice seeds.
The company is also looking at building a rice research centre and an agricultural training institute in the country to train local people and Government officials on rice farming.For the research centre, he said they were looking to spend about $0.5m and $0.5m for the training institute which they hoped to complete by October this year.

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