Tuesday, February 24, 2015

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

Sindh agriculture growth project

A World Bank mission recently held meetings with agricultural officers and farmers to review the progress on the Sindh agriculture growth project (SGAP), which entered the implementation phase in October last year.
The mission visited different areas where project is to be executed in agriculture and livestock sectors. Tendering process is being undertaken by the provincial government for implements and machinery — for use by the growers.This project is designed to support small and medium size growers in eight selected districts, more districts will be gradually covered by the programme. It will focus on minor crops like onion, chillies, rice and dates and help farmers and agriculture officers become used to better farm practices, minimise crop losses and fetch better price of their produces.

The project aims to stem 30-40pc losses in the rice crop on account of processing practices

The value addition is the main objective. A funding formula of 70-30pc debt equity ratio has been worked out for purchase of implements and other farm inputs. The WB mission met onion and chilli growers in Umerkot and Tando Allahyar to see how they are working, shared project’s objectives with them and discussed how they have to proceed.The Sindh government, says Director General Agriculture Extension Sindh Hidayatullah Chhajro, intends to ensure that the gap in per acre yields is minimised and growers derive maximum benefits of increased per acre productivity with improved farm practices. Not only farmers but agriculture officers are to be trained under SGAP over a period of five years. “It will be our effort that value addition is done and farmers come up with quality produce in the market which is at par with other competitors,” says the DG.
Mahmood Nawaz Shah, who is a member of the SGAP’s provincial steering committee and vice president of Sindh Abadgar Board (SAB) feels that so far needed substantive consultation or engagement of stakeholders has not yet taken place. “I have been telling the department that if they start procuring technology or equipments or anything else that does not suit our environment, it will be pretty useless and wastage of money,” he stressed. For instance, he adds, sprouting issue in onion is a big problem hampering its export but no one knows how this is going to be tackled.
An officer connected with the SGAP, while requesting not to be named, points out that Sindh agriculture department is a bit slow, considering the fact that agreement was signed last year in October. “You are aware of working style and culture of Sindh government officers; they are still sitting in offices and haven’t approached the growers,” he says, and adds that transparency should be ensured through regular coordination so that farmers make the maximum gains.The WB mission visited Kunri’s chilli market, and according to a noted chilli grower Mian Saleem was disappointed to see existing market conditions and those of research station. Mian Saleem shared his experience with them as to how afflatoxin issue is controlled. He was of the view that a plant breeder, plant pathologist, quality seed and afflatoxin kits are needed to increase productivity of chilli and check the disease.
The mission hinted at improving trading platforms in the Kunri market under public private partnership.Sindh government had initiated SGAP in 2014-15 budget; it’s modalities were being worked out for improving productivity and market accessibility. The value addition in livestock sector would be separately and independently dealt with by SGAP having an allocation of Rs2,630m. A project director has been appointed. Capacity building, dairy value chain, rehabilitation of veterinary hospitals and dispensaries and establishment of artificial insemination (AI) training centre are major features of the project.An implementation unit has been set up for Tharparkar district — currently under grip of severe drought for the third straight year — to cover Mirpurkhas district also.
 According to a livestock officer 150,000 litres of milk per day is still obtained in the desert in these harsh conditions from cows alone. “Chilling plants will be set up with the private sector’s participation to collect and process available milk”, says Abdul Qadir Junejo, project director for livestock component. The market price of milk would be ensured for the livestock breeders. Livestock related officers note that Sindh contributes 30pc of Pakistan’s milk production but its yields are still on the lower side as compared to many countries.The project aims to stem 30-40pc losses in rice crop on account of processing practices.
 It would finance threshers for the use of farmers and paddy dryers for the use of small mill operators besides soil and moisture testing kits, conductivity meters, etc on cost sharing basis to modernise Sindh’s rice management and increase productivity by an estimated 20pc.In case of date crop, focus will be on tissue culture’s promotion and on disease-free dates plant. Laboratory working in Khairpur is to be upgraded. An Agriculture Research Development Fund headed by Sindh Agriculture University (SAU) Tandojam will look into financing research on minor crops and livestock, and come up with workable proposals.
Published in Dawn, Economic & Business, February 23rd, 2015

Need for a new fertiliser policy

PAKISTAN’S demand for main plant nutrients — nitrogen, phosphate and potash — is rising, but the government lacks an effective fertiliser policy to spur agricultural growth.
The country’s per acre yield of wheat, rice and other grains and cereals needs to increase, and according to the just-published FAO report ‘World Fertiliser Outlook,’ the demand for nitrogen fertiliser in Pakistan is expected to rise by 4pc by 2018, while its demand is projected to rise by 18pc in China and 17pc in India. In the case of phosphate, the demand will increase by 3pc in Pakistan against 27pc in India and 10pc in China.Domestic fertiliser production has been hit by natural gas shortages, and the demand is being met through imports.
After the success of the fertiliser policy in 1989, which assured reasonable prices of fertiliser to farmers (below the import price) and brought substantive investment to enhance domestic production, the government launched another policy in 2001, mainly to attract investment in the industry.That policy has lost its relevance due to the shortage of natural gas, as the government has not revised it even after a span of 14 years despite the fact that the country’s agricultural productivity is much below its potential and it is losing its share in foreign markets, particularly for rice and wheat, whose domestic prices are higher than those in the international market.The National Fertiliser Development Centre is quietly functioning in the planning commission, whose project director, Jalil Marwat, feels the need for a new fertiliser policy. He says that with alternative sources of energy like LNG coming up, the domestic fertiliser industry is expected to be revived.

The National Fertiliser Development Centre’s project director, Jalil Marwat, says that with alternative sources of energy like LNG coming up, the domestic fertiliser industry is expected to be revived

However, an assessment of the fertiliser development centre indicates that the application of fertilisers during 2014-15 is likely to fall to an estimated 4m tonnes, against the sale of 4.1m tonnes during 2013-14. The main reasons for the decline are attributed to less investment by farmers owing to low market prices of sugarcane, rice and cotton.Pakistan’s domestic fertiliser production is 3.1m tonnes, against the average demand of 4m tonnes. The gap of 0.9m tonnes is met through imports. The urea production capacity has been estimated at 6.3m tonnes, and if the full supply of natural gas is ensured, the country can produce at least 5m tonnes, according to the NFDC.Out of 20 urea plants, 18 are operating below their capacity, while two units have been closed for the past one year due to gas shortages.
According to the NFDC, gas supply to fertiliser plants has started to improve lately.According to the FAO report ‘World fertiliser trends and outlook to 2018,’ “the global capacity of fertiliser products, intermediates and raw materials will increase further”.As the potential to produce fertiliser will outpace its use, the global potential balance — the amount available over actual demand — will grow for nitrogen, phosphate and potash, the main three soil fertilisers.Global use of nitrogen, by far the largest fertiliser base, is projected to rise 1.4pc each year through 2018, while phosphate use will increase 2.2pc and potash 2.6pc. In comparison, the supply of those three critical farm inputs is expected to grow by 3.7pc, 2.7pc and 4.2pc per annum, respectively.The report does not forecast future price trends, but notes that fertiliser prices, after surging in 2011, were broadly lower in mid-2014 than in 2010.Published in Dawn, Economic & Business, February 23rd , 2015

Unsold commodity: Stocked rice could cause a loss of millions to PASSCO

Published: February 21, 2015
The corporation would face a huge financial loss if it succeeds in selling the rice at Rs50 per kg in response to the fourth tender, an official close to the development said. CREATIVE COMMONS
LAHORE: In an effort to sell the piled-up stock, the Pakistan Agriculture Storage and Services Corporation (Passco) has issued tenders for the fourth time to dispose of 1,648.75 tons of rice procured in 2008-09.
Description: http://i1.tribune.com.pk/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/841674-PASSCO-1424456075-737-640x480.JPGThis came as a result of poor response from its own employees to purchase the quantity at Rs50 per kg, The Express Tribune has learnt.The corporation would face a huge financial loss if it succeeds in selling the rice at Rs50 per kg in response to the fourth tender, an official close to the development said.This year, the price of paddy crop in the open market was very low and it was expected that bidders would offer a lower price for the stocked crop as compared to last year, he said. In the tender that was floated in November-December last year, Passco received the bid of Rs50 per kg with the condition of six-month time to lift the stock.
This offer was rejected by the management, who then gave its employees the offer to purchase the leftover rice at the same price. However, the response was very poor, the official said.Rice was procured on the direction of the federal government at the rate of Rs75 per kg to help maintain the support price of paddy crop in the open market and protect the farmers from losses, the official said.According to details, Passco procured 4 million kg of rice from the open market on the instructions of the federal government to bring stability in paddy prices and facilitate the growers.

Out of the total procured quantity, the corporation sold about half in 2009-10 to the bidders at Rs75 per kg. The remaining was stocked at Hadi Rice Mill.The mill owners submitted a claim of dues regarding the cost of keeping the quantity, but the corporation failed to make these payments, the official said.In response to the deteriorating condition of the stock, the federal government appointed a new managing director of Passco, Capt (Retd) Tariq Masood, in April last year, giving him the task to dispose of the stock on a priority basis.The new MD negotiated with the mill owners and lifted the stocked rice and shifted it to the corporation’s warehouse at Manga Mandi in the last week of April.
As a result of keeping the stock, Passco lost millions as the rice that was procured at Rs75 per kg was now being sold at Rs45 per kg, he added.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 21st, 2015.

Western Port Slowdown Appears to Be Over

WASHINGTON, DC -- Media are reporting that an agreement has been reached between dockworkers and employers to bring an end to the work slowdown that has reduced trade in and out of 29 western ports to a slow drip.
The slowdown was particularly troublesome to the California rice industry that exports about half of its crop each year.After nine months of squabbling between the parties, President Obama dispatched U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez to the area to help end the conflict.    While that seems to have worked, it will take some time for operations to return to normal at the ports.  And consumer confidence has been impacted as well.  Perez told the Los Angeles Times "[t]hey understand that they not only have to restore service, they have to restore confidence.""The USA Rice Federation had joined with more than 90 ag and trade groups urging a quick resolution to the dispute that was causing the work slowdown," said USA Rice President & CEO Betsy Ward.  "These delays have had a direct effect on export sales for rice and we're hopeful this settlement is a permanent solution that allows everyone to get back to work."
Contact:  Michael Klein (703) 236-1458
Image: Ready to ship
Courtesy: USA Rice Federation

2015 Dietary Guidelines Stresses Sustainability and Shift to Plant-Based Diet, Rice Well-Positioned   
 From left:  Katie Maher, Fred Zaunbrecher, and Bryon Holmes
WASHINGTON, DC -- Last week the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS) released the Advisory Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) for public comment and rice remains well-positioned thanks to the industry's sustainability record and the committee's grains recommendation. The DGAC develops influential nutrition recommendations designed to reduce the risk of chronic disease while meeting nutrient requirements and promoting health of the U.S. population.
The 2015 Advisory Report identifies that a healthy dietary pattern is higher in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low- or non-fat dairy, seafood, legumes, and nuts; lower in red and processed meats; and low in sugar-sweetened foods and drinks, as well as sodium, saturated fat, and refined grains - especially when refined grains are combined with added sugar, solid fat, and sodium."This report emphasizes increasing whole grain consumption, which is not new advice, but is good for rice," said Byron Holmes, an Arkansas rice grower and chairman of the USA Rice Nutrition Subcommittee.
 "In fact, the 2015 report, in many ways, is similar to the 2010 guidelines that recommend half of American's grain intake should come from whole grains and recognizes the important nutrient contribution of enriched, fortified grains to the diet." "The panel also supports a shift to a more plant-based diet and considered the composition of dietary patterns that were linked to health outcomes, such as the Mediterranean and vegetarian patterns," said Fred Zaunbrecher, a Louisiana rice producer and chairman of the USA Rice Domestic Promotion Committee.  "And this is beneficial for both whole grain rice and enriched white rice because they are a great base for the foods the DGAC recommends.
"New this year, the Advisory Report references the sustainability of foods and cites it as one of the benefits of a plant-based diet, saying Americans should take the sustainability of food production into consideration when making food choices."The U.S. rice industry's nutrition and sustainability studies we provided to the DGAC, demonstrated both the nutritional benefits of rice and positive scientific data showing that rice farmers are producing more rice with less resources and that rice growing has a unique relationship to wetlands, habitat, and wildlife," said USA Rice President & CEO Betsy Ward.USA Rice will submit comments to the Advisory Report through the Grain Industry and Grocery Manufacturers Association coalitions. Following the comment period and a public meeting next month, USDA and HHS will finalize the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015 for release later this year.
 Contact:  Katie Maher (703) 236-1453

Sushi proposal leaves health department cold

Ken Dixon
Published 8:11 pm, Sunday, February 22, 2015

HARTFORD -- A proposal to use vinegar instead of refrigeration to preserve rice at sushi restaurants has drawn snickers in the Capitol and started a food fight between small businesses and the state Department of Public Health.Stuck in the middle is state Sen. Rob Kane, R-Watertown, whose attempt to help a constituent in his town of 22,400 has turned him into the target of sushi jokes in the General Assembly session.Kane's bill, called "An Act Concerning Sushi Rice," brought some comedy last week in an exchange between Kane, whose district includes Oxford and part of Seymour, and Rep. Matthew Ritter, D-Hartford, co-chairman of the Public Health Committee.

During a public hearing before the committee,Cynthia Tun, owner of Endo Sushi Express in the Oakville section of Watertown, said that the so-called acidification of sushi rice is an industry standard and a better choice than refrigeration during meal service.Under current law, the Department of Public Health and local health departments are not required to allow acidification of sushi rice as an alternative to refrigeration.Kane contends that the simple change in state law would not impact public health, while allowing small businesses to flourish. Various health districts around the state look at sushi rice in different ways. Some allow the acidification process to substitute for refrigeration, while others don't."The title of this bill has certainly been the butt of many jokes around this building," Kane, a committee member, said during the hearing.Tun and Kane first talked about the issue at a Watertown coffee shop."Is it a big deal, this change of policy that you're looking for?" he asked Tun. "And if not, then how will it help your business grow?"

"This would not only be helpful for our business, but for other sushi businesses as well, because there would be consistency," Tun said of the differing opinions among health inspectors. "Number two, it would take the focus off the issue of time and temperature, which is really not important when we consider the manufacture of sushi rice."The state Department of Public Health submitted testimony in opposition to the bill, saying that the current four-hour window allowed before rice must be refrigerated is safer for consumers than the complicated process of acidification.If passed, the bill would require the state's more than 400 food inspectors to receive more training, said Dr. Jewell Mullen, commissioner of Public Health, adding that if the bill passes, it should require restaurants to meet federal standards.

Massachusetts, Ohio and Kentucky are among the states that have accepted the federal guidelines."I doubt most health inspectors have really taken the time to read the FDA study on sushi rice," Tun said. "If we think about it, the Japanese created this acidified rice centuries ago and it's a really simple idea. If we think about any kind of pickle, it's the same thing. All sushi is made this way, across the world. It's just an understood principle of sushi.""It is important for a small business like hers and others that we provide consistency in the regulations," Kane said. "I was hoping you'd bring some samples today, because Chairman Ritter wanted to try it. He has yet to try sushi, he said to me earlier.""Let the record reflect," Ritter said, "it is true I don't eat sushi. I eat rice, so I get half of you. My wife puts up with my eating habits, which are very limited, unfortunately."
kdixon@ctpost.com; 860-549-4670; twitter.com/KenDixonCT; facebook.com/kendixonct.hearst; blog.ctnews.com/dixon
CME Group/Closing Rough Rice Futures  
CME Group (Prelim):  Closing Rough Rice Futures for February 23
Net Change

March 2015
- $0.325
May 2015
- $0.320
July 2015
- $0.320
September 2015
- $0.320
November 2015
- $0.305
January 2016
- $0.305
March 2016
- $0.305

Robotics and automation take off for farmers - research

Orange harvester.
Description: Orange harvester.New research released last week by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is predicting that advanced robotics will boost productivity by up to 30% in many industries by 2025. Robotics will also lower total labour costs by 18% or more in countries like USA, Japan, China, South Korea and Germany.Although industrial robots have been used in factories for decades, the use of advanced robots and automation is now reshaping how we grow and harvest the world’s food and fibre.
Boning in meatworks has already been automated. Robotic milking systems are growing in popularity, easing staff workloads and lifting milk production. Robots are increasingly being used for tasks like weed management, fertilising and seeding. It seems now that the use of multiple cooperative highly-autonomous farm vehicles could lead to the next step in agricultural automation.Robotic technology is about to transform the way we produce food.Unmanned tractors, an on-farm version of Google's driverless car, is now been trialled in Australia. The tractor is guided by GPS signals and trials by Rice Research Australia, and their Japanese partners, have been successful in keeping the tractor to within 3cm accuracy. The specialised satellite system also provides useful data like engine temperature and fuel usage to the operator.
In New Zealand, Auckland University and RoboticsPlus are developing an ‘Autonomous Multipurpose Mobile Platform’ (AMMP) modular robot to operate autonomously in orchards. Whether it is precision spraying kiwifruit or picking apples, modules like vision sensors, arms and grippers will be designed to be added or removed from the unit depending on the application.US based Boston Dynamics, who was acquired by Google in 2013, has been at the leading edge of engineering and robotics design for some time now. Boston Dynamics are developing quadrupedal robots that look and walk like cheetahs and dogs. Originally developed for the US Military, these four-legged robots are redefining how machinery can move across rugged terrain. While wheeled and tracked vehicles still have a strong future, it’s not hard to see how this technology will be used by farmers in the future.
Boston Dynamics, Rice Research Australia and Auckland University will all be presenting at the upcoming MobileTECH 2015 event series. This series will profile advances in robotics, automation and the increasing use of UAVs or remotely piloted aircraft. MobileTECH 2015 is running for this regions primary industries on 21-22 April in the Gold Coast, Australia and again on 29-30 April in Auckland, New Zealand."The objective of this event series is to profile innovative new technology, demonstrate how it’s being used and discuss operationally and financially just what it has meant to the early adopters," says Programme Manager for Connex: Event Innovators, Ken Wilson.Other key presenters within the series include companies like; X-craft Enterprises, Aeronavics, Australian UAV, Unmanned Systems Australia, Pastoral Robotics, Ravensdown, KanDO4U, Australian Centre for Field Robotics, University of Sydney, MasTec and Scion.
"The technologies been applied in manufacturing or operationally within the agricultural, horticultural, forestry, fisheries or grain industries more often than not are able to be replicated across the primary sector. MobileTECH 2015 is one of few technology events where the developers, researchers and end-users can come together to discuss new innovations, opportunities for collaboration and the real results from early adoption," says Mr Wilson.Registrations are now open and further information on this event can be found at www.mobiletech.events

Local farmers to add 2.9m MT to Nigeria’s rice stock

By Our Reporter on February 24, 2015 
About 2.9 million metric tonnes of high quality milled rice from Nigerian producers will be available from the 2014 season, according to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD).The Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, gave this assurance while inspecting a 420-hectare rice farm and mill belonging to Olam Nigeria in Rukubi, near Doma, Nasarawa State.
He said, “this would bring Nigeria closer to being self-sufficient in rice production and a potential exporter of milled rice.”According to him, 1.9 million metric tonnes of the commodity were produced in the 2013 dry and wet seasons, contributing N320 billion to the GDP and creating 670,000 jobs in the process.“The Ministry’s “rice revolution” is gaining momentum with a projected 2.9 million metric tonnes of rice in 2014,” he said. The Minister stated that with importation at about 1.9 to 2.0 million metric tonnes per annum, Nigeria was now at the exit door of importation. “We are going to be Thailand of Africa in terms of rice production and export,” Adesina said.
Nigeria has also seen other prime players investing in the rice value chain as multinational conglomerate, Stallion Group, has established fully integrated agricultural operations including world-class rice mills at strategic locations to promote milling and paddy cultivation in the captive areas. The group has fully backward integrated its rice value chain namely production, procurement through collection centre, association with co-operatives and farmers, logistic and post-harvest services, marketing and acting as a catalyst toward sustainable growth.Stallion now operates a fully integrated state-of-the-art rice mill in the country with an aggregate capacity of 360,000 metric tonnes per annum and is producing premium varieties of rice from local paddy being marketed under the names, “Royal Stallion Shinkafa” and “Super Champion’’ which are now very popular in the country.
The Minister added that the Federal Government was putting in place the enabling environment for production of rice on small, medium and large-scale, through its Growth Enhancement Support (GES) scheme for the rice value chain under the Agriculture Transformation Agenda (ATA) launched in 2011.He further disclosed that these new varieties have revolutionised rice production in Nigeria, as the ministry through seed companies, has consistently multiplied and distributed seeds to farmers for cultivation since 2011 when the implementation of GES commenced.In addition to seed and extension support to farmers, the Minister listed the development and strengthening of other elements of the rice value chain, including subsidised inputs, mechanisation services through Agricultural Equipment Hiring Service (AEHS) for which financing support is accessible through the Bank of Agriculture (BoA) and Bank of Industry (BoI).
The Minister, who was impressed with the wide hectarages under cultivation, the growing stockpile of mill-ready paddy rice, mechanised planting and harvesting operations and land preparation for new planting, going on simultaneously with the installation of the 600 metric tonnes capacity mill, stated that all factors favourable for growing and processing large quantities of rice are not only in place in the country but effectively working also.Adesina disclosed that prior to the launch of the ATA in 2011, only one integrated rice mill was in place but that in addition to 12 others, the 60,000 tonnes Olam Farm mill expected to commence milling in June brings the number of mills in the country to 13 within three years.
 Other than these, he said the small mills, which, according to him, are now 4,350 in number and growing at an annual rate of 40 per cent, are the major rice milling drivers.The Minister equally disclosed that paddy bulking and aggregation centres, a bridge between rice farmers and millers, would be set up to effectively address the problems of stock supply security identified by investors in a commissioned study as a concern along with poor infrastructure and access to credit.The paddy bulking and aggregation centres will stock, assess and grade paddy sourced from growers with a view to creating easy access to millers that may have neither farms nor paddy supply from farmers.
These facilities, Adesina said, will further bolster Nigeria’s rice production capacity along with 15 rice and other Staple Crop Processing Zone (SCPZ) to be set up at various locations in the country, with a projected contribution of addition of $9.0 billion to the GDP.Earlier, while briefing the Minister and his entourage, who visited the Olam Farm for progress assessment, the Country Head of the farm, Mukul Mathur and the Rukubi Farm Manager, Regi George, explained that Olam Farm is a subsidiary of Kewalrams Group, which has been in Nigeria for about 150 years and in different sectors of agriculture for 25 years.The company’s foray into rice farming began four years ago with the Rukubi rice farm and mill being its biggest commitment with $72 million.The company disclosed that currently, the farm has a target of putting 4,600 hectares under cultivation with 3,000 hectares already cultivated in both dry and wet seasons.

Gulfood – Halal food goes global
02/22/15 11:28 pm
Description: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-OQ4GLDhMhtg/VOZ0t2Hc3_I/AAAAAAAAMiw/gbMm9n1zHS8/s1600/gulfood%2B3.JPGBY ELISABETH LANG, SPECIAL TO ETN
Amazing Dubai. It is difficult to imagine that only 20 years ago there was only a two-lane road leading to the World Trade Center Dubai, and besides that, nothing but sand. After a seemingly long drive from Deira, all of a sudden the World Trade Center appeared like a Fata Mogana.Today, 20 years later, the Metro, which is more a Skytrain, arrives silently in front of the World Trade Center, where luxurious hotels like the Fairmont, the Conrad, and the Radisson Blu are lining up, while on the other end of the exhibition halls, IBIS and Novotel are waiting for travelers with smaller budgets.Dubai has become a big hub for the entire Gulf region and makes Manhattan with its tall skyscrapers seem outdated. Dubai is a city of superlatives, with the world’s biggest shopping mall, the world’s most expensive mall (under construction), the world’s tallest buildings, and is a city that sees more than 3 million people in a single day. The estimated total of 3,023,426 people includes tourists and people who work in the emirate but live outside of it.
Description: Gulfood – Halal food goes globalDescription: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-l4hKzeoDKHU/VOZ0vmzLuZI/AAAAAAAAMi8/Ni6EoAPA4pk/s1600/gulfood%2B4a.JPGDescription: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-XtIRhkS9pIA/VOZ0w6FC9YI/AAAAAAAAMjE/dNOxCd7pK2E/s1600/gulfood%2B5.JPGLast week, the Dubai World Trade Fair halls hosted over 4,800 international food companies. There were 80,000 visitors who came together at the 20th edition of – what else – the world’s biggest annual food and hospitality trade show. The Gulfood event was inaugurated by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance.“We have seen Gulfood grow from humble beginnings to what we have now – more than 120,000 square meters of exhibition space with 4,800 companies taking part. Gulfood is creating a benchmark for the industry, and it is a win-win for everybody. Gulfood raises its standard every year and also develops the regional food industry across many categories,” said HE Essa Al Ghurair, Chairman, Al Ghurair Resources LLC. His company received the Gulfood industry’s Outstanding Achievement Award, in recognition of the company’s outstanding commitment and achievement within the Middle East food and beverage industry.At The World Security Summit held at the Conrad hotel, securing the Gulf Cooperation Council’s (GCC’S) future supply and building coherent global governance for food security was discussed by experts. Other issues looked into how the global food system can be made more resilient to extreme weather shocks.More than 1,000 industry professionals attended the three-day conference at the Conrad hotel addressing global food security action plans and policies. A part of the summit included the Halal Investment Conference and the Food Franchising Forum, one of the fastest-growing segments of the worldwide food industry, currently worth US$ 1.1 trillion globally. The international Halal food market occupied an integral part of Gulfood 2015, with key Halal industry players and senior government decision-makers discussing commercial and business opportunities presented by the $1.1 trillion global Halal food market.Among the speakers was His Excellency Nabil Molla, CEO of the GCC Standardization Organization (GSO), underling to the UAE’s leading role in Halal standardization and certification agenda. More transparency was urged for Halal imports, as products sold in some Arab nations do not comply with Sharia, the moral and religious code of Islamic law.
Description: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-S-RbkxGCW88/VOZ0sk84J5I/AAAAAAAAMik/YyYgzB8U1bo/s1600/gulfood%2B2.JPG Under the new UAE Halal scheme, Halal compliance is checked thoroughly through the entire process of production, distribution, and storage according to Farah Ali Al Zarouni, Director of the Standards Department at THE Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology (Esma) of the government of Dubai.With the fast majority of the world’s major Halal-certified beef and mutton producers coming from South America, the Institute for Promotion of Investments and Exports revealed that Uruguay is currently the world’s sixth largest exporter of beef, and the Middle East accounts for 95 percent of the total Uruguayan export to the region this year, marking an increase of 77 percent since 2010.Among the big players, and present with huge stands at Gulfood, was Brazil and Argentina as well as multiple companies that export Halal-certified beef to countries including Russia, China, Canada, the USA, Kuwait, and more. It was a surprise to learn that Northern Thailand has over 4,000 Halal-certified companies selling over 125,000 items globally. India is also a major exporter to the UAE, with $1.9 million worth of annual exports, including Basmati rice, spices, processed food preparations, and more.
The war in Syria has wrecked the country’s economy, and Syrian companies are eyeing the F&B (food and beverage) market in the Gulf as a mean to cope with disruptions to operations in their country. Syria was known for excellent agricultural products and was once the farmhouse for neighboring countries. However, now most of the companies have been clashed, and land has been destroyed. Eibo, a company that exports confectionary products, used to produce 30 tons a day, but sadly, now it doesn’t even reach one ton day said its Export Manager.Gulfood is held annually, and it has positioned itself as a big name player in the world market food fair arena, reaching out to main markets such as Asia (China + India) and Africa, with a total participation of 156 countries. The mother of invention - ANUGA (Cologne, Germany), the world’s largest food and beverage fair – is held every 5 years, and will be back this year from October 10-15, 2015. In 2010, the event welcomed 6,777 exhibitors and over 150,000 trade visitors from 96 nations.

PhilRice News

Science community marks good harvest
Science City of Munoz, Nueva Ecija – The science community here celebrated the county’s sustained good harvest in an exhibit dubbed as “Bountiful Harvest,” at the Rice Science Museum, Feb. 23. Early this month, Sec. Proceso J. Alcala of the Department of Agriculture announced that the Philippine agriculture in 2014 has achieved growth despite “strong typhoons that battered some key production areas.
” Palay output reached 19 million metric tons or 2.87 percent more than last year’s harvest.Located at the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), the museum showcased farm implements from the colonial to modern era of Nueva Ecija, one of the country’s top producing rice provinces. A gallery on women’s contributions to good harvest was also displayed.“One of the sections here features traditional postharvest materials from the farmers of Nueva Ecija that the Central Luzon State University collected. By viewing these artifacts, the visitor is given a glimpse of the past, when technology was simple and life was different,” Diadem Esmero, museum curator said.Visitors from the science community such as the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization and the Philippine Carabao Center learned more about the intricacies of farm implements including rakem, lingkaw, and bangkang pangpinawa.
“Photographs on the ‘Woman of Rice’ also humble us with the strength and sacrifice that women give to agriculture,” she said.In a study by Maria Daryl Leyesa in 2008, she found that women in agriculture spend as long as 11 hours of daily work during the planting and harvesting seasons. Women also spent 2.33 more days in harvesting than men and 2.75 more days in drying rice. Moreover, their top farm activities were planting, harvesting, weeding, and accessing production capital.Traditional and modern rice varieties across the country were also displayed.
Renewable energy facility in Calabarzon  
Description: BioethanolAn alternative source that does not rely on fossil fuels was established in Infanta, Quezon to help supply the energy demand in rice and rice-based communities, Jan. 29. Located in Brgy. Binonoan, the bioethanol distillation facility produces energy without negative impact on environment as nipa sap is processed into biofuel for spark-ignition engines that farmers commonly use.Nipa is an indigenous product of Infanta.“This facility built basically produces hydrous bioethanol (95% alcohol) fuel to be used for small farm machines,” Engr. Alexis T. Belonio, lead inventor of the technology, said.
According to Belonio, hydrous bioethanol, which can be produced from the farm like nipa sap, sugar molasses, and sweet sorghum, is a good alternative for fueling pumps, threshers, dryers and small rice mills.“We need to increase rice production. One way to do this is to improve [farm practices from land preparation to post-harvest], and by [doing this], we need mechanization. In mechanization, we need fuel, so what is mechanization without the gasoline? [With this facility], we have an option [on what energy type to use],” said Belonio, the first Filipino to win the Rolex Award for Enterprise in 2008 for his breakthrough creation of a simple rice hull-powered stove.
“We are aware of the pressing need for alternative fuel to run farm engines. We want to manufacture machines for farming that do not depend on fossil fuel,” former PhilRice Executive Director Eufemio Rasco Jr. said during the launching.Three bioethanol facilities will be set-up in three years to discover the appropriate model that is competitive for farming.“With our depleting fossil fuel supply, the bioethanol technology is a cost-efficient system because we can now produce and use clean energy at the least cost,” Belonio said.
Belonio, however, said that the technology is being modified to minimize corrosion of engine parts, particularly the fuel tank and carburetor.“We are retrofitting the engine so that the feeding of fuel bypasses the fuel tank and the carburetor. Then, the hydrous bioethanol may be ready to use,” Belonio said.Belonio is optimistic on the future of rice farming with less, if not without, use of fossil energy.“If we are talking about the future of this technology, it is unlimited. We may also study coconuts, water lilies as sources; there are a lot of options as long as there are sources of sugar,” Belonio added.A pilot testing of the machine is expected to be conducted this year on pumps, transport vehicles like tricycles and motors, micromill and bangka if possible.The project is jointly implemented by the Mariano Marcos State University, Philippine Rice Research Institute, UP Los BaƱos, and the local government unit.
DA official up to steer PhilRice
Description: Asec De LunaEdilberto M. De Luna, assistant secretary of the Department of Agriculture accepts the challenge of leading PhilRice as he was designated officer-in-charge of the institute upon the retirement of former Executive Director Eufemio T. Rasco Jr., Feb. 3.  Rasco turned 65 on Feb. 3. The search for the new executive director is ongoing.“I accept the challenge being assigned as OIC of PhilRice until a new executive director is selected. There is a need to continue what you have achieved,” de Luna, also the DA National Rice and Corn Program coordinator, said.
During the turnover ceremony of PhilRice leadership, De Luna thanked Rasco for his service to the Filipino people and praised the institute for having the “best human resource.”“Let us work together because whatever success PhilRice has, we are all part of it,” he added.De Luna rose from the ranks from Agriculturist I in 1987, Division Chief in 1999, to Regional Manager in 2005, all in the Philippine Coconut Authority. Pres. Benigno Aquino III appointed him in 2010 as DA Assistant Secretary for Field Operations and concurrently serves as the director of the National Rice and Corn Programs.
He also chair working committees in DA including the Special Bids and Awards, Gawad Saka, Community-based Employment, NGOs/POs Accreditation, and Transition Investment Support for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
De Luna is also an alternate representative of the Secretary of Agriculture to the Human Development and Poverty Reduction Cabinet Cluster and a permanent representative to the Joint Government of the Philippines and Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Sajahatra Bangsamoro Development Program. He is also part of the Advisory Board of the National Youth Commission.He is an agriculture graduate of the Manuel S. Enverga University Foundation in Lucena City, Quezon and has a master’s degree in business administration from the same university.
Courtesy: PhilRice News

SunRice outlines capital restructure

23 Feb, 2015 08:40 AMDescription: PrintDescription: Increase Text Size
Description: Description: Decrease Text SizeRICE farmers and other shareholders will get their first look at SunRice's much-anticipated capital restructure plans at a series of meetings in the Riverina starting next week.The meetings in the first two weeks of March will provide an update on the grower-owned marketing and processing company's ownership structure, and a glimpse at the sort of model proposed.The SunRice restructure proposal, developed by the Macquarie banking and investment group, is aiming to give outside investors a chance to contribute to the company's capital pool without letting control of the business slip away from growers.
The company wants "adequate capital backing to underpin SunRice's growth", while also preserving the rights of A Class (grower) shareholders and enhancing the value of B Class shares owned by growers, their families and some and industry-related individuals.SunRice currently has a dual share co-operative style ownership structure, with its B Class shares on the National Stock Exchange, currently trading about $3.30 each.Next week's shareholder updates will coincide with tours of SunRice's operations at Leeton and Deniliquin, including inspecting a $9.8 million capital upgrade at the Leeton microwave rice packing plant.
Another key meeting will be at a Jerilderie rice field day next week, while growers, shareholders, their accountants and financial advisors have been also invited to discuss the technical details of the potential structure at a Jerilderie workshop on March 6.A series of smaller district "shed" meetings on farms and at community halls will be held across the Murray and Murrumbidgee valleys the following week.SunRice chairman Mr Laurie Arthur has urged all growers and shareholders to provide feedback to help determine the next steps taken in the capital structure review."We've always said we would only come back to shareholders when we had a model that could deliver on the review's objectives," he said."We remain non-negotiable around preserving A Class shareholder or grower shareholder control on an ongoing basis.

Officials ousted for fraud over govt rice deals
THE NATION February 23, 2015 1:00 am
THE Commerce Ministry has dismissed two top officials for alleged involvement in fraudulent "government-to-government" rice deals.The decision to remove the Foreign Trade Department officials followed a committee ruling by the ministry's Office of the Civil Service Commission, and came after a National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) investigation.A source from the ministry said the two civil servants had to be dismissed after the NACC found they had committed fraud.The officials can, however, appeal the committee's decision through the Merit System Protection Commission within 30 days.

It is the first time something like this has happened at the ministry.The two officials were involved in four alleged "government-to-government" rice deals led by former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra and ex-commerce minister Boonsong Teriyapirom.Other politicians and individuals, including a retired civil servant and the two aforementioned officials were also reported to have been involved.The NACC filed a petition alleging corruption in the deals and has called on those involved to compensate the country over the huge financial loss.There has also been a development in a separate case centred on high-level officials at state-owned Public Warehouse Organisation (PWO) who were corrupted over the packed-rice scheme, with two officials provisionally discharged from the government service pending the result of an inquiry.

PWO chairman Jintana Chaiyawonnagal said the organisation had set up a committee to investigate the matter and would estimate the losses from the corruption and call on the ex-executives to pay compensation.The scrapped rice-pledging scheme aimed to support poor farmers and produce cheap rice for sale to the public.However, the PWO also found that a large quantity of rice disappeared from its stocks, while |the quality of much rice also |suffered.

Rice Prices Stable Despite Holidays

Kang Mi Jin  |  2015-02-23 11:45
Sources in North Korea report that despite last year’s disappointing rice harvest, the market price of rice has continued to remain stable. Unlike previous years, where prices of items such as rice spiked just before the holidays, cost of the staple food saw minor fluctuations around the 5,000 KPW [0.63 USD] mark but were overall stable across the country right up to the 2015 Lunar New Year.Analysis of source reports revealed that although most families purchase goods in the months leading up to and after January 1st and February 16th [Kim Jong Il’s birthday], costs have remained relatively unwavering. Notwithstanding marginal differences that emerged regionally, overall market prices have been keeping with normal levels.
In particular, despite curtailed market activity due to the mobilization of residents for compost collection, the state’s "first call to battle" in 2015, there have been little to no changes in market prices. Sources determined that the galvanization and expansion of market activity compared to years prior has seen prices no longer affected by short-term constraints. “It was normal for the cost of rice to increase every year just before the holidays from 500 KPW [0.06 USD] to even 1000 KPW [0.13 USD],” a source in Yangkang Province told the Daily NK. “Despite the recent back-to-back occurrence of Kim Jong Il's birthday and the Lunar New Year, the cost of rice has hovered at 5,000 KPW per kilogram with no noticeable fluctuations in the price of other goods.” 
According to the source, since the end of last year to the present, the cost of 1kg of rice has risen or dropped approximately 500 KPW at times, but has shown no trends of instability, such as increases due to approaching national holidays or decreases due to distribution of rations. “It’s common for the cost of rice to start increasing from the end of December, when parties for the end the of the year occur all over the country. This generally continues through the Solar New Year [January 1st], February 16th [Kim Jong Il’s birthday], and the Lunar New Year, but it didn’t this year," he said, adding that even sharp jumps in prices typically emerging a day or two ahead of the holidays in the past have been absent this year. 
He offered two theories to explain the stable rice prices. “Despite the drought last year, crop harvests in beolbangs [towns with expansive fields and rice paddies] were relatively good,” he said, outlining his first hypothesis. He asserted the other contributing factor to be the 50,000 tons of food aid in rice provided from Russia last year. According to Daily NK's sources within the North, supply routes for goods in North Korean markets such as rice, industrial products, and side dishes have diversified compared to years past. This surge in the quantity of goods has made stable market distribution and consistent prices possible. In fact, not only have distribution systems expanded beyond the high dependence on Chinese imports and smuggling, market distribution is smoothly extending to other means, namely an autonomous national cottage industry and a growing manufacturing sector run by the emerging wealth class.
The state's role in dispensing of rations has also contributed significantly to the stability of market prices. North Korea has commenced the allotment of regular rations for Pyongyang residents, and last March and April potato rations were distributed in Yangkang Province. In addition, rations released to the Musan and Hyesan mines are also likely playing a part in the overall stability of rice prices. Still, some predict that the rice prices may increase in early April, the start of the “farming hardship period.” Many speculate that the cost will be heavily affected if demand for rice increases before and after the hardship season and the state fails to continue with the relatively stable distribution of rations to the aforementioned areas.

Clear challenge ahead for Punjab to reduce paddy acreage

Ikhhlaq Singh Aujla  
CHANDIGARH: With the focus on crop diversification in Punjab, challenges before the state government, agriculture department, farm scientists and farmers are quite clear. While the first three have to ideate, plan and implement policies to bring the change in cropping patterns in the state, farmers have to execute the same for a tangible effect on the ground.

Task for the farm officials is cut out as they work to reduce the area under water-intensive paddy crop and make farmers shift to maize, cotton and sugarcane in the 2015 kharif season, planning for which has already been started by the agriculture department. But their efforts face a big stumbling block in the farmers' reluctance to switch to other crops from paddy, which offers them good returns due to assured marketing by the state-run procurement agencies, especially the Food Corporation of India (FCI) that buys from Punjab for the central food grain buffer stock.

However, the Centre has been telling the Punjab government to encourage its farmers to shift to other crops from paddy as other states, which had lower output of rice earlier, have started achieving higher production. In few years, paddy production in such states, especially in eastern India, will go substantially up, thus decreasing the dependence surplus rice-producing states like Punjab and Haryana - both are biggest contributors to the central rice kitty.

Courtesy: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/Clear-challenge-ahead-for-Punjab-to-reduce-paddy-acreage/articleshow/46337323.cms


China invites more rice exporters

Published on Monday, 23 February 2015 09:10
The Myanmar Rice Federation (MRF) announced it has invited more firms to export rice to China in addition to the original nine companies.
The MRF originally sent a list of more than 100 companies to China for scrutiny checks but the Chinese replied that it was difficult to scrutinise so many firms.The federation then chose nine companies: MAPCO, FRP, Myanmar Rice Mill, Golden Land East Asia, Bayintnaung Business Group, MRDC, Shan (north) SPRDC, Ayeyar Pathein, Rakhine Rice and Paddy. 
The exporters will have to pay the costs to return rice that fails to meet the designated marks.“China has asked for additional rice exporters. Companies can register at the MRF. The rice quality ordered by China is 25 mark, 35 mark and broken rice,” said Dr Soe Tun, secretary general of the MRF.China allows Myanmar to export 1 million tonnes of rice a year.

Courtesy: http://www.elevenmyanmar.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=9104:china-invites-more-rice-exporters&catid=44:national&
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