Friday, March 20, 2015

20th March (Friday) ,2015 Daily Exclusive ORYZA Rice E_Newsletter by Riceplus Magazine

EU Imports 130,102 Tons of Rice from Asian LDCs in First Six Months of 2014-15, Up 3% from Last Year

Description: 19, 2015
The European Union's (EU) rice imports, including milled and semi-milled, from the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) of Asia such as Cambodia and Myanmar under the Everything But Arms (EBA) Agreement have reached around 130,102 tons in the first six months of the crop year 2014-15 (September 2014 - August 2015), up about 3% from around 126,502 tons imported during the same period last year, according to data from the European Commission (EC).
The EC data shows that imports from Cambodia (which account for about 78% of total imports from Asian LDCs in September 2014 – February 2015) declined about 11% to around 102,084 tons from around 115,219 tons during the same period last year. On the other hand, rice imports from Myanmar (which account for about 19% of total imports from Asian LDCs in September 2014 – January 2015) increased over three times to around 25,350 tons from around 8,804 tons during the same period last year.
Under the EBA Agreement, the EU imports rice from the LDCs at zero-percent duty. It was basically aimed to raise incomes and living standards of farmers in the LDCs. Rice imports (milled equivalent) from the Asian LDCs mostly Cambodia and Myanmar) increased about forty times to around 402,000 tons in MY 2013-14 from just 10,000 tons in MY 2008-09, according to the new Chairman of Copa-Cogeca (The united voice of farmers and their co-operatives in the European Union) Rice Working Party.
Italy, the EU’s main rice producer, has been expressing concern that the competitiveness of Italian rice has been declining significantly due to an increase in imports from EBA countries. The Italian government and the Ente Nazionale Risi (National Agency for Rice) have been urging the EU to adopt a safeguard clause to curtail imports from EBA countries.
  Global Rice Quotes
March 19th, 2015
Long grain white rice - high quality
Thailand 100% B grade           400-410           ↔
Vietnam 5% broken     355-365           ↓
India 5% broken          390-400           ↔
Pakistan 5% broken     345-355           ↔
Myanmar 5% broken   415-425           ↔
Cambodia 5% broken 425-435           ↔
U.S. 4% broken           480-490           ↔
Uruguay 5% broken    580-590           ↔
Argentina 5% broken   570-580           ↔
Long grain white rice - low quality
Thailand 25% broken 370-380           ↔
Vietnam 25% broken   340-350           ↔
Pakistan 25% broken   310-320           ↔
Cambodia 25% broken            410-420           ↔
India 25% broken        360-370           ↔
U.S. 15% broken         470-480           ↔
Long grain parboiled rice
Thailand parboiled 100% stxd             385-395           ↔
Pakistan parboiled 5% broken stxd      380-390           ↔
India parboiled 5% broken stxd           380-390           ↔
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%           890-900           ↔
Vietnam Jasmine         455-465           ↔
India basmati 2% broken         NQ       ↔
Pakistan basmati 2% broken    NQ       ↔
Cambodia Phka Mails 790-800           ↔
Thailand A1 Super       320-330           ↔
Vietnam 100% broken             305-315           ↓
Pakistan 100% broken stxd     280-290           ↔
Cambodia A1 Super    345-355           ↔
India 100% broken stxd          275-285           ↔
Egypt medium grain brokens   NQ       ↔
U.S. pet food   380-390           ↔
Brazil half grain           NQ       ↔
All prices USD per ton, FOB vessel,

Italian Paddy Rice Quotes Mixed

Mar 19, 2015
A general rebalance of paddy quotations is taking place on Italian market, according to local sources.. Prices are still elevated compared to the same period last year.
Below are farm gate paddy quotations supplied by Milan Grain Exchange, as of March 17:
Arborio-Volano rice was shown at 705-735 euros (about $743-774) per ton, down from 715-745 euros (about $ 753-785) per ton one week prior..
Balilla paddy prices are firm at 370-385 euros (about $390-405) per ton, unchanged from the prior week.
Lido and similar paddy varieties are again unchanged at 360-375 euros (about $379-395) per ton.
Padano-Argo is shown at 565-665 euros (about $595-701) per ton, unchanged from the prior week.Vialone Nano quotes seem to be recovering from a recent downtrend.. On March 17 it was shown at 785-835 euros (about $ 827-880), up from 770-820 euros (about $ 811-864) per ton of March 10..
Thaibonnet and similar Indica varieties are firm at 328-338 euros (about $345-356) per ton on both weeks; Sant'Andrea is quoted 570-620 euros (about $ 601-653) per ton, unchanged from the prior week; Ariete and similar varieties received no quotations in the last two weeks.
Carnaroli advanced to 715-745 euros (about $753-785) per ton, up from 705-735 euros (about $743-774) per ton shown a week prior.
Baldo paddy prices were firm at 575-625 euros (about $606-659) per ton, unchanged from the prior week. 
Roma is firm at 590-620 euros (about $622-653) per ton, unchanged from the prior month.  
Selenio declined to 380-405 euros (about $400-427) per ton on March 17 from 395-420 euros (about $416-442) per ton a week prior.

Low Domestic Prices Have Led to a decline in SBS Rice Imports in JFY2014, Says USDA Post

Description: Description: 19, 2015
USDA Post reports that due to low domestic prices in 2014, Japan's food service industry, which normally uses imported rice, has shifted to domestic rice and consecutively only 11,506 tons of rice was contracted in the eight Simultaneous Buy and Sell (SBS) tenders JF2014 (April 2014 - March 2105). As of March 3, 2015, eight Simultaneous Buy and Sell (SBS) tenders and thirteen Ordinary Minimum Access (OMA) tenders had been held in JFY2014. Last month, the Post reported that Japan may not import the targeted 100,000 tons under the SBS tenders due to declining local prices. The SBS rice goes to retailers and foodservice users and is consumed as table rice.
A bumper harvest in 2014 and high level of stocks from previous years have led to a 16% y/y decline in prices. In order to avert further price falls, the Rice Stable Supply Support Organization, a private group consisting of producers and wholesalers, has decided to hold 200,000 tons of table rice without entering the market until the price recovers by bearing their storage costs.
The USDA Post has estimated Japan to import around 700,000 tons of rice in 2015, up about 7% from an estimated 650,000 tons in 2014 due to an expected decline in production.
Based on production data from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), the Post reports that the 2014 rice production declined about 1.2% to around 7.583 million tons from around 7.676 million tons in 2013. The decline is attributed to a decline in the planting area by about 1.5% y/y to around 1.575 million hectares. Declining prices in 2014 are said to have discouraged plantings. The Post reports that weak prices are expected to continue in 2015 as well discouraging 2015 planting.
The Post reports that per capita consumption of table rice in Japan has been declining but that for feed has been increasing. Per capita consumption of table rice is expected to decline to about 56.1 kilograms in 2015, which is less than half of about 11.3 kilograms in 1962. The government has been incentivizing the conversion from production of rice for food to production for feed. Feed production increased about 55% to around 178,000 tons in 2014 from around 115,000 tons in 2013. Most of the OMA rice is used for production of feed.

Oryza Global Weather Outlook

Mar 19, 2015
Rain is expected across the Yangtze valley and western south China this week, which will favour early rice crop growth there.
A few isolated showers are expected across north-western Pakistan this week.
Weather is expected to remain dry in India and Bangladesh this week.
In Indonesia, rain is expected across western Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, Kalimantan, East Malaysia, Sulawesi, and Java this week.
Rain is expected across central Thailand this week, which will maintain moisture for second season rice growth.
Light rain is expected across northern Vietnam this week.
In the Philippines, rain showers are expected across north-eastern Luzon this week.
Rain is expected across northern and eastern portions of the centre-south Brazil and across northeast Brazil this week, which could slow harvesting there.
A few light showers are expected in north-western  Argentina this week.
In the U.S., rain is expected across the Coastal Bend and southern Delta this week. Rice planting will begin in April.

Oryza Afternoon Recap - Chicago Rough Rice Futures Give Back a Portion of Yesterday's Gains but Close Far from Session Low

Mar 19, 2015
Chicago rough rice futures for May delivery settled 12 cents per cwt (about $3 per ton) lower at $10.925 per cwt (about $241 per ton). Rough rice futures failed to find follow-through buying interest following yesterday’s nearly 50 cent per cwt (about $11 per ton) rally. Prices pulled back overnight and fell further upon the opening of floor trading this morning. However, the market did manage to close well off of session lows and has maintained a good portion of gains earned yesterday. Despite the day’s losses, traders see a positive tilt to the market and expectations are for higher prices.
 The other grains finished mostly lower, with only wheat managing to close higher on support from weather concerns; Soybeans closed about 1.1% higher at $9.6500 per bushel; wheat finished about 1.4% higher at $5.1075 per bushel, and corn finished the day about 1% higher at $3.7475 per bushel.U.S. stocks traded mostly lower on Thursday as investors weighed the Federal Reserve statement that indicated a rate hike would come gradually. Only the Nasdaq traded higher. The Dow Jones industrial average fell by as much as 128 points before paring losses and the S&P edged lower, giving back some of their major gains from Wednesday following dovish Fed news.
 The U.S. Federal Reserve removed "patient" from its statement on Wednesday, as most analysts expected, but lowered its December rate outlook and cut economic forecasts. The U.S. 10-year note yield held below 2%. The U.S. dollar recovered some of its recent losses. Crude oil fell more than 3% after the Kuwaiti finance minister said OPEC had no choice but to keep production steady. Weekly jobless claims rose slightly to 291,000 for the week ended March 14. The national current account deficit sharply widened in the fourth quarter to the largest level since 2012. The Philly Fed index showed a modest increase in manufacturing in March. Leading indicators rose 0.2%, in-line with estimates. The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded down 117 points, or 0.66%, at 17,958. The S&P 500 fell 12 points, or 0.58%, to 2,087, with energy leading nine sectors lower and health care the only advancer. The Nasdaq traded up 5 points, or 0.10%, to 4,987. Gold is trading about 1.5% higher, crude oil is seen trading about 2.9% lower, and the U.S. dollar is seen trading about 0.8%  higher at about  1:00pm Chicago time.
Wednesday, there were 700 contracts traded, up from 227 contracts traded on Tuesday. Open interest – the number of contracts outstanding – on Wednesday decreased by 149 contracts to 8,702.

Oryza U.S. Rough Rice Recap - Prices Slip as Exports Disappoint; Dollar Regains Most of Its Losses

Mar 19, 2015
The U.S. cash market was slightly weaker after long grain export sales and shipment figures disappointed traders coupled with fact that the dollar regained most of its loses from yesterday.Analysts note that export sales figures will have to increase significantly if this rally is to be sustainable and that will be unlikely unless Venezuela and/or Iraq show interest in U.S. origin.
In the meantime, the USDA reported that cumulative net export sales for the week ending on March 12, totaled 76,500 tons, which was 7% lower than last week but 11% lower than the prior 4-week average.
Increases were reported for the following destinations including 36,200 tons to Japan, 22,000 tons to South Korea, 9,000 tons to Saudi Arabia, 2,100 tons to unknown destinations, and 2,000 tons to Colombia.
U.S. rice exporters shipped 41,800 tons, which was 21% lower than last week and 15% lower than the prior 4-week average. The primary destinations included 17,000 tons to Mexico, 13,100 tons to Japan, 3,600 tons to Saudi Arabia, 2,400 tons to Canada, and 2,300 tons to Jordan.

Oryza Overnight Recap – Chicago Rough Rice Futures Sharply Lower Overnight as Market Reevaluates Yesterday’s Move

Mar 19, 2015
Chicago rough rice futures for May delivery are currently listed 28.5 cents per cwt (about $6 per ton) lower at $10.760 per cwt (about $237 per ton) ahead of floor trading in Chicago. The other grains are seen trading higher this morning: soybeans are currently seen about 0.2% higher, wheat is listed about 0.4% higher and corn is currently noted unchanged.U.S. stock index futures indicated a flat to lower open on Thursday, after closing sharply higher Wednesday following a dovish statement from the U.S. Federal Reserve, which indicated that rate hike may come later rather than sooner. The Fed dropped the word "patient" from its March meeting statement, a subtle indication that the era of zero interest rates could end in the coming months.
However, the U.S. central bank was seen as broadly dovish, with the Federal Open Market Committee lowering its December rate outlook by about 50 basis points. Weekly jobless claims rose slightly to 291,000 for the week ended March 14. The national current account deficit sharply widened in the fourth quarter to the largest level since 2012. Data expected on Thursday include the Philly Fed's business outlook index at 10.00 a.m. ET, along with the Conference Board's Leading Indicator for February. Across the Atlantic, European equities traded higher after the Fed's dovish comments, with all European indices and sectors except the German DAX trading in positive territory. Gold is currently trading about 1.2% higher, crude oil is seen trading about 3.8% lower,  and the U.S. dollar is currently trading about 0.4% higher at 8:00am Chicago time.

Pakistan FY 2014-15 Paddy Rice Production Estimated to Decline 19% y/y to 8.437 Million Tons

Mar 19, 2015
In the February Crop Monitoring System Bulletin, the National Space Agency of Pakistan (SUPARCO) and UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO have estimated Pakistan FY 2014-15 (July - June) paddy rice production to decline about 19% to around 8.437 million tons (around 5.65 million tons, basis milled) from around 10.04 million tons (around 6.72 million tons, basis milled) produced last year.
The decline is attributed to floods that hit the Punjab state in the month of August  2014 having damaged around 116,700 hectares of paddy fields. Over 217,000 tons of paddy is said to be lost in the Punjab state. The government of Punjab has announced a compensation of Rs.16 billion (around $159 million) to the flood-affected communities.SUPARCO is estimating FY 2014-15 paddy rice acreage at around 3.285 million hectares and yield at around 2.568 tons per hectare.
According to SUPARCO, January received slight rain after dry periods in November and December, and received heavy rains in February, The weather was cool in February and is expected to be favorable (due to expected heavy rains) for the cultivation of ongoing rabi crops such as wheat.
Paddy prices of both non-basmati and basmati, which began to decline since November 2014  continued to decline in January due to increased supplies from the just completed harvests. Prices of basmati dropped to around Rs.1,500 - 1,600 per 40 kilograms (around $368 - $392 per ton) in February from around Rs.4,500 - 4,800 per 40 kilograms (around $1,121 - $1,196 per ton) in the beginning of November. Prices of non-basmati prices declined to around Rs.700 - 800 per 40 kilograms (around $172 - $196 per ton) in February from Rs.900 - Rs.1,000 per 40 kilograms (around $224 - $249 per ton) in November 2014.
Meanwhile, experts have been urging the government to take appropriate measures to increase fertilizer production to around 5 million tons from the existing 3.1 million tons. Pakistan needs about 4 million tons of fertilizer yearly for paddy cultivation. production reaches 5 million tons.
USDA estimates Pakistan's MY 2014-15 (November - October) milled rice production to decline about 3% to around 6.5 million tons (around 9.75 million tons, basis paddy) from around 6.7 million tons (around 10.05 million tons, basis paddy) in MY 2013-14.

Description: Description: Exports About 443,639 Tons Rice During January 1 – March 10, 2015

Mar 19, 2015

Vietnam exported about 443,639 tons of rice in January 1 - March 10, 2014, down about 64% from about 1.22 million tons of rice exported in in first three months of 2014, according to data from the Vietnam Food Association (VFA). Average rice export price so far in this year stands at about $452 per ton (FOB), up about 4% per ton from same time last year.During March 1-10, 2015, Vietnam exported about 22,437 tons of rice, down about 96% from about 583,294 tons rice exported in full month of March 2014, and down about 89% from about 200,814 tons rice exported in full month of February 2015. Average export prices in so far in March stands at about $427 per ton, down about 2.7% from a year ago, and down about 6% per ton from a month ago.

Thai Court to Prosecute Former Prime Minister in Rice Pledging Case

Mar 19, 2015
Thailand's Supreme Court has decided to prosecute the former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra for her alleged role in encouraging corruption in the rice pledging scheme introduced by her government in October 2011, according to Bloomberg.The Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions will hear the case against the former PM. According to local sources, a panel of nine judges have decided to accept the case against the former PM and has scheduled the first hearing on May 19, 2015.Ms.Yingluck has been charged with dereliction of duty and with abuse of authority under Section 157 of the Criminal Code and Section 123/1 of the 1999 Counter Corruption Act, according to local sources. She reiterated her innocence in the case after the decision was announced.The former PM was impeached by the Thai National Legislative Assembly on January 23, 2015 banning her from active politics for five years. If found guilty in the present case, she may have to face a ten-year jail term, according to local sources.
The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) has also advised the government to file a civil suit against the former PM to recover the money lost in the rice program, which the Finance Ministry claims to be about 600 billion baht (around $18 billion).The Yingluck-led government promised to buy paddy from farmers at nearly 50% above market prices under the controversial rice pledging scheme. While Yingluck claims the scheme was aimed at reducing inequality among farmers by boosting rural incomes, many opined that it was ill-conceived, encouraged corruption and was a form of vote-buying. The scheme is being blamed to have pushed up market prices and impacted Thai rice exports severely.

Water Rationing Measures in Taiwan May Reduce 2015 Rice Production by 10% y/y but No Increase in Imports Seen, Says USDA Post

Mar 19, 2015
USDA Post reports that water rationing measures in Taiwan due to extended drought conditions are likely to reduce 2015 rice production by about 10% or about 110,000 tons over last year. USDA forecasts Taiwan's 2015 milled rice production at around 1.1 million tons, down about 9.6% from an estimated 1.22 million tons in 2014.
However, the Post says rice imports are unlikely to increase due to sufficient stocks from increased harvests in recent years. It expects no changes in 2015 country specific quota (CSQ) allotments and tender schedules. According to Taiwan’s WTO accession agreement, Taiwan's rice TRQ (tariff rate quota) is 126,000 tons (milled basis). Of this the U.S. country specific quota (CSQ) allocation is 56,000 tons. The Post estimates Taiwan's 2015 rice imports at around 134,000 tons.

Description: Description:
Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) has decided to implement water rationing measures in response to drought conditions in three stages. First stage began on December 26, 2014 and has reportedly reduced water supply to about 44,000 hectares of annual agricultural area. Of this 23,000 hectares are under rice cultivation. The Post estimates Taiwan 2015 rice acreage at around 248,000 hectares, down about 8.5% from an estimated 271,000 last year.The Post reports that rice farmers would be provided with additional subsidies to the extent of about  NTD $80,000 (around $2,545) per hectare to substitute for losses from decline in production. However, amount of compensation depends on land use, says USDA Post.While agriculture accounts of 70% of total annual water usage in Taiwan, industry and households account for 10% and 20% respectively. 

Vietnam Rice sellers Lower Some of Their quotes; Other Asia Rice Quotes Unchanged Today

Mar 19, 2015
Vietnam rice sellers lowered their quotes for 5% broken rice and 100% broken rice by about $10 per ton and $5 per ton to around $355-$365 per ton and around $305-$315 per ton, respectively, today. Other Asia  rice sellers kept their quotes mostly unchanged today.
5% Broken Rice
Thailand 5% rice is indicated at around $385 - $395 per ton, about a $30 per ton premium on Vietnam 5% rice  shown at around $355 - $365 per ton, down about $10 per ton from yesterday. India 5% rice is indicated at around $390 - $400 per ton, about a $45 per ton premium on Pakistan 5% rice shown at around $345 - $355 per ton.
25% Broken Rice
Thailand 25% rice is shown at around $370 - $380 per ton, about a $30 per ton premium on Vietnam 25% rice shown at around $340- $350 per ton.  India 25% rice is indicated at around $360 - $370, about a $50 per ton premium on Pakistan 25% rice shown at around $310 - $320 per ton.
Parboiled Rice
Thailand parboiled rice is indicated at around $385 - $395 per ton. India parboiled rice is indicated at around $380 - $390 per ton, on par with Pakistan parboiled rice shown at around $380 - $390 per ton.
100% Broken Rice

Thailand broken rice, A1 Super, is indicated at around $320 - $330 per ton, about a $15 per ton premium on Vietnam 100% broken rice shown at around $305 - $315 per ton, down about $5 per ton from yesterday. India's 100% broken rice is shown at around $275 - $285 per ton,  about a $5 per ton discount to Pakistan broken sortexed rice shown at around $280 - $290 per ton.

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19th March (Thursday) , 2015 Global Rice E-Newsletter by Riceplus Magazine

DA, Germany sign agreement on palay, abaca

March 18, 2015 8:24 pm
by James Konstantin Galvez

The Philippines and Germany have signed agreements to boost income of abaca farmers by giving them access to markets here and abroad and to provide education and training to rice producers on specific farming techniques and use of modern technology, a top official said.Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said the following agreements were signed: Abaca Sustainability Initiative (ASI), which will be implemented in Madalag and Libacao in Aklan, Janiuay and Maasin in Iloilo; and Better Rice Initiative Asia-Fostering Agriculture and Rice Marketing by Improved Education and Rural Advisory Services (BRIA-FARMERS) in Aurora, Iloilo and Southern Leyte.

The Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority will implement the ASI in 2015 and 2016 and it aimed to increase the certified production areas to 500 hectares, Alcala said.He said about 300 farms, with an average landholding of 1.5 hectares per farmer, will take part in the project under the Rainforest Alliance, a certifying body recognized by the Sustainable Agriculture Network.“With their farms certified, the farmers will be assured of better market access in the coming years, hence, increasing their annual income,” Alcala said.He said the project, which has a P19 million budget, would require putting up nurseries for replanting and rehabilitation of areas affected by abaca plant diseases and fiber extraction and drying processes will be introduced.
The project areas were expected to supply the demand for certified products such as teabag manufacturers and the program will be replicated in other abaca areas in the country to benefit more farmers, Alcala said.Alcala said at least 8,000 farmers would be beneficiaries of the BRIA-FARMERS project, which will be implemented by the Agricultural Training Institute and the Philippine Rice Research Institute starting this year until 2017.He said the project, which has a P90 million budget, will involve training farmers on value chain analysis, basic agriculture, use of technology-based nutrient management, post-harvest handling and mechanization.

“Another fresh feature of the project is improving the farmers’ marketing and enterprise skills through participation in farm business schools,” Alcala said.“We have been deliberately incorporating entrepreneurship in our programs as we want to produce not only good farmers but also successful agri-entrepreneurs,” he said.
Agriculture key part of plan to improve watershed health
Ryan Urban
Chronotype staff
Improving agricultural practices is a central part of a new plan to improve the health of the Red Cedar Watershed, according to presenters at the annual Red Cedar Watershed Conference held last Thursday in Menomonie.Daniel Zerr, a UW-Extension natural resource educator, presented a plan by Red Cedar Water Quality Partnership focused on reducing phosphorus in Tainter Lake at the lower part of watershed by 40% within 10 years. Phosphorus in soil, fertilizer and animal waste fuels blue-green algae blooms seen in local lakes."It's an ambitious plan," said Zerr. "We need to decrease phosphorus by a lot if we're going to make a difference.

"More than 40 lakes and streams in the Red Cedar Watershed-covering most of Barron and Dunn counties-are classified as Impaired by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, including Rice Lake and much of the Red Cedar River.The10-year implementation plan seeks reduce phosphorus by 186,000 pounds annually with several measures. The strategies with the most potential impact are increasing no-till farming (64,000 pounds), responsible manure storage (34,000) and farmers' use of nutrient management plans (31,000) and cover crops (18,000).Other strategies focus on treating milkhouse waste, traditional conservation practices,urban stormwater control and stream buffers, among others.

Case for conservation

Several presenters made a case that keeping fertilizer on fields of no-till soil benefits farming yields as much as the health of the streams and lakes."Soil erosion is a tragedy," said Rod Olson, conference co-chair from Rice Lake. "It is far more of a tragedy to the farmer. That is his very best soil washed down the river."Andy Bensend, a Dallas area farmer, presented the challenges and benefits in his 25 years of using limited field tillage.
Bensend said after going bankrupt from stagnant milk prices in his first attempt at farming, he started over in the late 1980s doing no-till agriculture on depleted farmland."The first thing that happened was our yields were less," said Bensend, adding that having fewer equipment expenses helped him withstand lower profits.Patience paid off in 5 years. "Our crops didn't demand as much fertility. But we put on the same amount of fertilizer and our yields went up," he said.
To demonstrate the benefits of no-till fields and cover crops, United States Department of Agriculture soil health specialist Ray Archuleta presented two experiments with chunks of tilled soil and non-tilled soil. The live demonstrations showed that water infiltrates non-tilled soil at a significantly faster rate while retaining its structure better than tilled soil."When the water rushes in, we don't want the soil to fall apart," said Archuleta.Soil that breaks apart is more easily washed into waterways.
Archuleta said natural no-till soil is also more fertile because organic matter breaks down more slowly when not disturbed. "Tillage is an intrusive tool. It is destructive to the soil ecosystem. Nature does not till," he said.Archuleta said while there are reactive ways to keep phosphorus-carrying sediment out of the water-such as buffer zones that catch sediment-the best thing for both land and water is to be proactive to stop runoff at the source. "We have to take care of the raindrop where it lands," he said.

Increasing cooperation
Implementing the Red Cedar River Water Quality Partnership plan will depend on getting organizations and the public more involved. Ways to do so include collaboration between groups and agencies, educational events, equipment sharing and farmer-led councils, said Zerr.
He said the plan will have ongoing evaluations and adjustments and continue accordingly beyond the first 10 years.The Red Cedar River Water Quality Partnership is a coalition of several government agencies, municipalities, organizations, universities and businesses.
Focus on Poverty: Improving nutrition isn’t just about science
·         A ‘green revolution’ is more of a challenge for Africa than it was for Asia
·         Improved crop varieties must fit into complex agricultural and economic systems
·         Better jobs are also needed to cut poverty and improve diets more widely
 As Africa prospers, will diets improve?” The media has been pondering this question lately. [1] On the one hand, veteran environmentalist Lester Brown warns that huge dustbowls could leave regions of northern Africa in serious agricultural trouble. [2] On the other, SciDev.Net reports encouraging progress on sweet potato production in Africa. So what do we need to know to make an assessment? Two recent academic studies are useful. In his book Food security and scarcity, Harvard academic and Center for Global Development fellow Peter Timmer says global hunger eradication is so hard “because governments and markets need to work together around an agenda of pro-poor growth, agricultural development, and stable food economies”. [3] (See below for a video of Timmer discussing how agriculture meshes with broader structural economic changes in the developing world.) 
Per Pinstrup-Andersen, an economist at Cornell University in the United States, has edited a complementary volume, Food price policy in an era of market instability. [4] This is written in the context of the food price volatility seen worldwide since 2007. The book is mainly based on 14 case studies from developing countries. It shows how government responses either amplify or address the issue. Both books draw out several interesting policy lessons and make clear that scientific research is only one element among many needed to improve people’s diets. Let’s take the Pinstrup-Andersen book.
He writes, among other things, of the need to strengthen the “policy-relevant evidence base”, to reduce the “fiscal costs of short-term interventions” such as subsidising food and fertilisers, and investing in “improved rural infrastructure”. (Pinstrup-Anderson summarises these and other issues in a handy policy brief.) [5] 
Returning to Africa: this should not be that surprising, since its agricultural practices are different from those in Asia, where nutritional improvements have been comparatively easy to achieve. The high and reliable yields of the rice varieties championed by the International Rice Research Institute over its 50-year history ensured that Asian countries increased supply dramatically. Noting this, Timmer contrasts his visits to Karawang in West Java, Indonesia, and the Machakos region of Kenya. While Karawang has extensive and well irrigated rice fields, Machakos has poor roads, a dependence on rainfall and small farms that grow multiple crops next to each other. There are maize, sorghum, millet, cassava, yams, groundnuts, cowpeas and many other crops. For such reasons, a Green Revolution for Africa is much more challenging. It is not only a question of developing new and better varieties of crops, but also of ensuring that these fit into a highly complex agricultural and economic system. 

So it is hard to say in general whether Africa’s diet will improve soon. You only need to check the country-by-country studies released this month by the Global Nutrition Report to see how complex the situation is. [6] 
Too much of Africa’s growth depends on exporting minerals, oil and natural gas. Many countries certainly need a more productive agricultural sector, where agricultural research and food policy both play a role. Without generating a surplus or costly food imports, the cities cannot be fed. But it is not just a question of increasing agricultural productivity. Other factors, such as better employment for those in the informal sector, are needed to provide the inclusive growth and poverty eradication that will improve diets more widely. 

Image credit: Brian Sokol / Panos

Roger Williamson is an independent consultant and visiting fellow with both UNU-WIDER and the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex, United Kingdom. Previous positions include organising nearly 80 international policy conferences for the UK Foreign Office and being head of policy and campaigns at Christian Aid

German finance agency eyes P109-M PHL agricultural projects

by Philippine News Agency
March 19, 2015 (updated)

Abaca drying/Photo by John Washington (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Description: Abaca drying/Photo by John Washington (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (], via Wikimedia CommonsThe Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), or better known as the German Development Cooperation, on Wednesday signed two memoranda of agreement for two agricultural projects worth about P109 million that will cater primarily to Filipino rice and abaca farmers.Agriculture Secretary Prospero Alcala and GIZ country director Andreas Kalk led the signing ceremonies that officially kicked off the Better Rice Initiative Asia – Fostering Agriculture and Rice Marketing by Improved Education and Rural Advisory Services (BRIA-FARMERS) and the Abaca Sustainability Initiative that are aimed at further ensuring sustainability of the government’s current programs on improving rice and abaca production.
The funds for the twin projects will be provided by GIZ and would be implemented by DA attached agencies.BRIA-FARMERS seeks to contribute in achieving the goals under the Philippine Development Plan in strengthening the agriculture sector through the development of a sustainable strategy across the public and private sectors to enhance food security and economic development.
The €1.8 million (about P90 million) project will be implemented by the DA’s Agriculture Training Institute (ATI) and the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) from 2015 to 2017 and will cover the municipalities of Dipaculao, Maria Aurora and Baler in Aurora province; Leganes, Oton, Pototan, Zarraga and Sta. Barbara in Iloilo, and Hinunangan, Silago, Saint Bernard and Sogod in Souther Leyte.Under the project, agricultural technicians, lead farmers and private service providers will be trained on value chain analyses, basic agriculture rice-specific farming techniques, the use of technology-based nutrient management, post-harvest handling, farm mechanization and market access.
Alcala said that one of the projects feature is the enhancement of farmers’ marketing and enterprise skills through participation in farm business schools.“We have been deliberately incorporating entrepreneurship in our programs as we want to produce not only good farmers but also successful agri-entrepreneurs,” he said.On the other hand, the Abaca Sustainability Initiative aims to secure the ecological sustainability of abaca fiber production and to enhance the income of abaca farmers through improved access to markets and extension services.
With a budget of €386,000 (about P19 million), the project specifically aims to increase the certified production areas in the provinces of Aklan and Iloilo to a minimum of 500 hectares and would directly benefit some 300 abaca farmers with an estimated average landholding of 1.5 hectares.It will be implemented by the Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority from 2015 to 2016 in the towns of Libacao and Madalag in Aklan and in Januiay and Maasin in Iloilo.The farms covered under the project will undergo certification from the Rainforest Alliance, a certifying body recognized by the Sustainable Agriculture Network.

Aman output strikes all-time high

The Financial Express (Bangladesh)
Bangladesh, March 19 -- Aman rice output hit an all-time high of 13.19 million tonnes in Aman rice season as farmer bounced back from last year's savage flood, the government has said.The rice yield in Aman season showed 1.3 per cent growth in the current financial year over a year earlier, Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) said.Sector insiders said higher production in the first two rice seasons---Aus and Aman-has ground for restricting riceimport to safeguard the local rice industry.Considering the financial year or the Bangla calendar year, Aus is the first rice cropping season in Bangladesh followed by Aman, contributing 38 per cent, and Boro, contributing 55 per cent, to overall output, according to the agriculture ministry.
BBS latest data revealed that the production of Aman was a record13.190 million tonnes at 5.53 million hectares of land in FY'15, which was 13.02 million tonnes in FY'14.Deputy director (agriculture wing) of BBS Bidhan Boral said that cultivable land remained almost static at 5.53 million hectares but per hectare yield has increased notably this FY which helped rise the production.He said Aus production increased minimally by 2,000 tonnes in the current financial year and the two cropping seasons jointly gifted 15.518 million tonnes so far, which was 15.346 million tonnes in FY'14-or 1.12 per cent growth.The BBS data showed that the country got a record 33.465 million tonnes of rice in the last financial year against 33.1 million tonnes of demand estimated by the Director General of Food (DGoF).
The government has now a good stock of 1.097 million tonnes of cereal including 0.814 million tonnes of rice and 0.099 million tonnes of wheat.The food stock size was 1.084 million tonnes in the corresponding period of the last fiscal, the food ministry data showed.According to the Bangladesh Auto Major and Husking Mills Owners Association, the biggest platform of the country's rice millers, more than 20,000 millers and 0.35 million of traders have above 3.5 million tonnes of rice stock for every two month.Despite bumper production in almost all cropping seasons, rice import (through the private channel) witnessed a record in the current financial year, according to the ministry of food.
The food ministry data showed that importers brought a record 1.057 million tonnes of rice in July-March'15 period of the current financial year when overall import was 0.374 million tonnes in FY'14.The uncontrolled imports coupled with the two and a half month-long political turmoil have dealt a severe blow to the local rice industry, said the traders.Rice millers said more than 60 per cent of the mills across the country were forced to close their operation this year following uneven competition with the Indian rice and the political upheaval continuing since January this year.
Rice prices, which increased significantly in January-February period, went down to the level of pre-blockade period from March, according to Bangladesh Auto Major and Husking Mills Owners Association (BAMHMOA).BAMHMOA secretary KM Layek Ali told the FE that in the absence of any import duty, imported rice has flooded the market.He said the government fixed minimum Aman rice price at Tk32 per kg when importers are bringing it at below Tk23-26 per kg.He said: "Our milling cost is above Tk29-29.5 per kg for swarna variety.""This uneven competition forced 60 per cent of millers in the rice growing hubs to stop their operation", he said.He said: "Import is logical if the domestic supply is lower and price is volatile, but the country has been getting bumper production for the last few years.
"He said: "The government should impose a minimum 20 per cent import duty on rice import to protect the local rice industry."Center for Policy Dialogue (CPD) additional research director Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem said domestic supply, demand and market prices should be considered before importers to import.He said the local producers and its market players should get the first priority for the country's food security.He also said that the government should also look into the matter why local output cost is not competitive compared with that of other exporting countries.He said the devaluation of Indian rupee against the US Dollar is on the rise parallel to it strong BDT against the greenback is giving the Indian exporters room for sending rice to Bangladesh.
Published by HT Syndication with permission from The Financial Express. For any query with respect to this article or any other content requirement, please contact Editor

IBEC to launch Isabela biomass plant next month

March 19, 2015 10:01:00 PM

A 20-MEGAWATT (MW) biomass project in the province of Isabela will start operations next month, an Energy department official said on Wednesday.

Energy Undersecretary Zenaida Y. Monsada said Isabela Biomass Energy Corp. (IBEC) has completed major works on the P2-billion power facility.“It will start around end of April. It was a little delayed because it was affected by the port congestion,” Ms. Monsada said in Makati City.The project -- which will serve as IBEC’s maiden venture -- was originally due to be operational early this year.The 20-MW project is being built in Barangay Burgos in the municipality of Alicia.
Asked if IBEC expressed interest to expand the plant, Ms. Monsada said: “They can still do it but they want to see how the first one will work first.”IBEC was established by a group of six rice millers in Isabela. The feedstock that will be used for the power plant will come from their milling by-product.Ms. Monsada said the project, once completed, will enter the feed-in tariff (FIT) program.Under the FIT, renewable energy developers will dispatch the capacity of their projects to the grid at a fixed rate for a period of 20 years.The Energy Regulatory Commission approved, in July 2012, FIT rates for run-of-river hydro (P5.90 per kilowatt-hour); biomass (P6.63/kWh); wind (P8.53); and solar (P9.68/kWh).The rates are based on the assigned installation ceilings per technology, which total 750-MW. Run-of-river hydro and biomass projects are allocated 250 MW each, wind power 200 MW, and solar power 50 MW.
Earlier this month, a 12-MW biomass plant owned by San Jose City I Power Corp. (SJC IPower) in Nueva Ecija also started commercial operations.The P2-billion biomass project is located in a five-hectare complex in Barangay Tulat, San Jose City.It represents the first phase of the 24-MW planned biomass project in the area. The second plant will start operations next year.SJC IPower is 66%-owned by Lucio L. Co’s Union Energy Corp. The remaining interest is held by 21 rice milling firms in Nueva Ecija. -- Claire-Ann Marie C. Feliciano

Chinese lead world in genetic rice research but government limits success
Mandy Zuo | March 19, 2015 | South China Morning Post
Angel or demon, transgenic crops have become one of the “frontier technologies” that China is determined to embrace.In contrast to China’s usual modesty in academic matters, mainland scientists claim that genetically modified organisms, utilising recombinant DNA technology, is among the few fields in which China can claim to be globally competitive.Genetically modified rice, in particular, is the achievement that China should be most proud of, they say. But they fear the government’s persistent hesitation to commercialise their successes could make China’s GM quest lose momentum.
A quarter of the world’s top research papers on rice have been written by Chinese researchers, said Yan Jianbing, a corn genomics researcher at Huazhong Agricultural University in Wuhan .With vast funding and a big team, China was ready to bring to market an insect-resistant transgenic rice it developed on its own a decade ago, said Zhu Zhen, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Bureau of Life Sciences and Biotechnology.
But the government has chosen so far not to commercialise its GMO expertise as the technology remains controversial around the world and has triggered fierce debate at home.“Public opinion remains unfavourable for the technology, and even now, the prospect for commercialisation is unclear,” Zhu said.But in the government’s first policy directive this year, issued earlier this month, authorities called for improvements in safety management and public education on GM crops.
Read full original article: Genetically modified food in China: time to reap what scientists sow?

Pangasinan among top rice producers in 2014
 March 19, 2015
By April M. Montes
DAGUPAN CITY, March 19 (PIA) – Pangasinan bagged its third Agri-Pinoy Rice Achiever Award from the Department of Agriculture (DA) as one of the country’s top rice-producing provinces in 2014.The annual contest recognizes the country’s rice farmers and their respective provincial and municipal officials and farm workers for their continuing efforts and contributions to increased rice production.Assistant Provincial Agriculturist Nestor Batalla said that Pangasinan and other top rice-producing provinces, municipalities and cities, farmers and irrigators’ associations, and agricultural workers will be honored in appropriate ceremonies in Metro Manila on March 25.
“We have been notified that the province is one of the country’s top three rice producers last year,” Batalla said.The province will receive a trophy and check worth P4 million for rice-related projects during the awarding ceremonies, he added.“In gunning for the award, the provincial government has banked its claim on a rice productivity enhancement program launched in 2012 when the provincial government decided to plow in funds, extend outreach technology services and provide support infrastructure to rice farmers in the province” the Provincial Information Office reported.
As a result of the program, about 150,000 rice farmers in Pangasinan harvested 1.099 metric tons of rice last year which was 34,166 tons higher than total harvests the previous year, data collected by the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics had shown.As part of the rice program, the provincial government extended partly subsidized and interest-free loans in the form of fertilizer and certified seeds to 2,130 farmers in 14 rice producing towns.It also put on the ground P275 million in support infrastructure projects that included small irrigation systems, farm-to-market roads, multi-purpose pavements used for sun drying, and bridges.
And in tandem with DA and a non-government organization, the province expanded its seed production and distribution project that resulted in 75 percent of the province’s rice farmers shifting to the full use of certified and hybrid palay seeds.These resulted in higher harvest for each farmer that redounded to an over-all growth in total harvests by about four percent, much higher than the national average of less than two percent.Good farm gate prices of palay also resulted in higher earnings for each of the individual rice farmers last year. (MCA/AMM/PIA-1, Pangasinan)

NLA to Hear G2G Rice Distribution Scheme Case on April 2

NLA to Hear G2G Rice Distribution Scheme Case on April 2
BANGKOK, 19 March 2015 (NNT) – The President of the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) has announced that the legislative body will begin hearing the impeachment case of the former officials in the Commerce Ministry associated with the rice pledging scheme on April 2.

NLA President Ponpetch Wichitcholchai yesterday announced that the assembly was slated to open the impeachment cases of former Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom, former Deputy Commerce Minister Poom Sarapol and former Director General Department of Foreign Trade Manas Soiploy on April 2.The NLA has received the case files from the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) which has accused the defendants of power abuse and dereliction of duty which led to financial damages in the government-to-government (G2G) rice distribution scheme.In a similar case, the NLA voted on January 23 to impeach former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra for her failure to halt or rectify the costly and corrupt rice-pledging scheme, effectively banning her from political activity for 5 years. The case was also submitted by the NACC.

Thai court says ex-premier to stand trial over rice program

BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand's Supreme Court announced Thursday that former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra will stand trial for her role in overseeing a rice subsidy program spearheaded by her ousted government that lost billions of dollars, a move likely to deepen the long-running political crisis in the military-ruled nation.Yingluck faces 10 years in prison if found guilty in the case, seen by her allies as part of an attempt by an elite minority to crush her family's political machine, which has repeatedly won power through democratic elections over the last decade.
In a post on her Facebook page, Yingluck insisted she was innocent and called on the judiciary to give her a fair trial — unlike past cases she said were "politically intended to destroy me."Yingluck was ousted from her post as prime minister by a court decision that came two Description: In this Jan. 9, 2015 photo, Thailand's former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, center, talks to reporters on her arrival at parliament in Bangkok, Thailand. Thailand's Supreme Court announced Thursday, March 19, 2015 that Yingluck will stand trial for negligence related to a rice subsidy program spearheaded by her ousted government that lost billions of dollars, a move likely to deepen the long-running political crisis in the military-ruled nation.(AP photo/Sakchai Lalit)weeks before the military staged a coup last May. Earlier this year, she was impeached by the military-appointed legislature, which banned her from politics for five years.
On Thursday, Supreme Court Judge Weerapol Tangsuwan said that a nine-member judicial panel had studied documents submitted by prosecutors from the Attorney General's Office and accepted the case since it fell within the court's jurisdiction. He set the trial for May 19.Yingluck, who was not present in court, is being charged with dereliction in overseeing the controversial rice subsidy program, which temporarily cost Thailand its crown as the world's top exporter.
In this Friday, Jan. 9, 2015 photo, Thailand's former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, leaves …
Description: In this Friday, Jan. 9, 2015 photo, Thailand's …The program was a flagship policy that helped Yingluck's Pheu Thai Party win elections in 2011, and Yingluck has argued it was aimed at helping poor farmers who were paid about 50 percent above what they would get on the world market. The program, however, racked up losses of at least $4.46 billion as the Thai government stockpiled mass quantities of rice. Prosecutors say Yingluck ignored multiple warnings from several state agencies about possible corruption — none of which has yet been proven in court.
Earlier this year, the National Anti-Corruption Commission recommended the Finance Ministry sue her personally for at least 600 billion baht ($18.4 billion).Thailand has been plagued by political turmoil that boiled over after the army ousted Yingluck's brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, in a 2006 coup. The putsch was part of a societal schism that in broad terms pits the majority rural poor, who back the Shinawatras, against an urban-based elite establishment supported by the army and staunch royalists who see Yingluck's family as a corrupt threat to the traditional structures of power.
Yingluck's opponents argue the Shinawatras have used their electoral majority to impose their will and subvert democracy.The day Yingluck's trial begins has significance in Bangkok. It marks the fifth anniversary of a bloody army crackdown against demonstrators backing the Shinawatras who had occupied downtown Bangkok for two months. More than 90 people were killed in the protests, which ended with parts of the city shrouded in black smoke from burning buildings.

Govt Trashes Reports on Sale of Fake Rice

By Express News service
Published: 19th March 2015 06:05 AM
Last Updated: 19th March 2015 06:05 AM
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The State Government has trashed reports which said that fake rice, allegedly containing plastic, was being sold in the state.Scientific examination of rice samples have proved the reports wrong, Health Minister V S Sivakumar said here on Wednesday after a joint meeting on food adulteration convened by him, Food Minister Anoop Jacob and Agriculture Minister K P Mohanan. Food Safety officials have tested 25 samples and plastic was not detected in any of them, Sivakumar said.The tests were conducted after reports emerged last week that fake ‘plastic rice’, reportedly originating in China, was being sold in the state.The Minister said that the sticky membrane-like substance formed of starch in the rice would burn once it is dry.
The rice variety Oryza glutinosa is stickier than Oryza sativa variety and the film of starch is thicker. For more clarity on the issue, the public can also get rice samples tested at the analytical laboratories of the Health Department in Ernakulam, Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode, Sivakumar said.Nearly 2,000 samples were examined following reports which said that coconut oil laced with toxic mineral oil was being sold in the state, but the examinations have proved these reports wrong, Sivakumar said.
These samples were collected at checkposts and manufacturing units. Examination of 300 other samples collected from various parts of the state revealed the presence of palm oil and palm kernel oil, he said.Wednesday’s meeting decided to strengthen vigil against food adulteration in rice, coconut oil, vegetables and fruits sold in the state. So far, two criminal cases have been charged against distributors and vendors for artificially ripening fruits using calcium carbide.Agriculture secretary Rajan Khobragade, Food Safety Commissioner T V Anupama, Civil Supplies Commissioner Shyam Jagannathan, Health Department director Dr P K Jameela, Agriculture director R Ajith Kumar, Horticulture Mission director K Prathapan, Horticorp Managing Director M Suresh Kumar, Kerafed Managing Director Ashok Kumar and other officials attended the meeting.


White Rice, Brown Rice Or Red Rice: Which One is the Healthiest?

NDTV Food, Modified: March 19, 2015 17:23 IST
Description: White Rice, Brown Rice Or Red Rice: Which One is the Healthiest?Would you not like some rice along with chicken curry? Instead you settle for tawa rotis or probably try to pacify your taste buds with just a few spoons of the humble staple. Why has eating rice been such a problem for those who are trying to lose weight or are on a strict calorie restricting diet? Putting it across, in straight and much simpler words - rice is not an enemy of the weight related goals that you are trying to achieve - inadequate knowledge about this food item is.

White rice
Let's unravel what makes this traditional variety such a huge topic of debate in the health and fitness circle. White rice is the highly refined version of raw rice, which is hulled and milled. What makes this variety a not-so-healthy one despite it being widely consumed throughout the world is the fact that processing and milling takes away significant parts of the grain - bran and germ. Bran and germ are rich in dietary fibre as well as nutrients that are beneficial for human health.

According to a Delhi based weight management expert, Dr. Gargi Sharma, "If white rice undergoes further process of polishing then its aleurone layer gets removed leading to loss of nutrients. This layer is rich in B vitamins, other nutrients and essential fats."

White rice is primarily starch. Due to processing, it falls short on some essential nutrients like thiamine, also known as B1 as well other B Vitamins. Consuming un-enriched white rice can lead to a condition called beriberi, which occurs due to thiamine deficiency. White rice is also treated with additives that can - in certain cases - harm human body and trigger metabolic disorders like diabetes, obesity and so on.
According to Dr. Ritika Samaddar, Max Healthcare Saket, New Delhi, "The milling and polishing destroys 67% of the vitamin B3, 80% of the vitamin B1, 90% of the vitamin B6, half of the manganese, half of the phosphorus, 60% of the iron, all of the dietary fibre as well the essential fatty acids present in the raw variety." As alarming as these facts may seem, doing away with white rice completely may be a tough choice for most people. This is where healthier alternatives like coloured rice step in.
The healthier alternatives: Brown, red and black

Both brown and red rice have similar nutritional profiles including harvesting process. These are either un-hulled or partially hulled types of rice, which means you get to chew on the bran and germ that are known to have various beneficial properties. Brown rice is easily available across the globe whereas the red one is specifically typical to Himalayan Mountains, southern Tibet, Bhutan, as well as southern India.

According to Dr. Gargi Sharma, "Brown rice and red rice are quite similar when we talk about them on the nutritional front. Both are great sources of fibre, B vitamins, calcium, zinc and iron, manganese, selenium, magnesium and other nutrients. One thing that sets the red variety apart from its brown counterpart is it being enriched with antioxidants that can help fight damaging free radicals in our body."

Why brown and red rice?
The red variety gets its rich colour from an antioxidant called anthocyanins, which are also found in deep purple or reddish fruits and vegetables. The compound is believed to have properties that can reduce inflammation, allergy, prevent risks of cancer and help in weight management. The manganese present in both varieties helps in strengthening metabolism, while magnesium helps in migraine, lowers blood pressure as well as risks of heart attacks. Along with calcium, magnesium helps in maintaining healthy bones and teeth, and prevents risks of arthritis and osteoporosis. Selenium on the other hand protects the body against infections.

Moreover, since they are high in fibre content, the digestion process is slow, which leads to a strengthened digestive system. Fibre also aids in slowing down the rate at which carbs are converted into blood sugar; therefore fibrous foods are low on the glycemic load.
According to experts, the two varieties are also highly recommended for diabetics - because of their low glycemic index - and heart patients. These are considered whole grains, which can help in reducing the arterial plaque, prevent risks of cardiovascular diseases, tame high cholesterol and regulate blood sugar. According to recent studies, consuming one cup of brown rice on a daily basis can significantly cut short the risks of developing diabetes by up to 60%.


We stumbled upon a few studies that talked about a certain component in brown rice that can cause harm to human health - phytic acid. Dr. Gargi Sharma explains, "Phytic acid can hinder iron and calcium absorption. It can happen in cases where you consume brown rice along with food that are rich in calcium or iron. Only those on a high calcium or iron diet would need to be a little careful with the consumption of brown rice."

The forbidden rice

Once known as a food served only to the royals in ancient China, the consumption of black rice was forbidden by the masses. The surge in food trends revolving around healthier options like brown rice, quinoa or sunflower seeds has finally given way to unravel this superfood. Shiny black grains of rice when cooked turn purple that not only is a treat to eyes but also to the taste buds.

This variety beats the nutritional benefits of brown and red rice combined. Rich in fibre, it comes loaded with antioxidants, phytonutrients, phytochemicals, Vitamin E, protein, iron, and other nutrients. It is believed to be beneficial for the liver, kidney and stomach. It has high content of anthocyanins, which help in preventing risks of cancer. Its low sugar and glycemic content makes it an extremely desirable dietary option for heart patients, diabetics as well as for those with high blood pressure.


"A spoonful of black rice bran contains more health promoting anthocyanins antioxidants than are found in a spoonful of blueberries, but with less sugar, more fibre, vitamins and antioxidants," noted Zhimin Zu, associate professor, Louisiana and State University, America.

With over 40,000 different varieties of rice cultivated and consumed all across the globe, depriving yourself of the simple pleasure of digging into a bowl is unfair. A healthy lifestyle is all about striking a balance between good food and nutrition. Identifying what's nutritious for your health and giving it an interesting, flavourful spin is the remedy.

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Govt allocates Rs 4bn for paddy purchasing
 Mar 19, 2015  Melanie Santiago  
Description: Govt allocates Rs 4bn for paddy purchasingThe government has allocated four billion rupees in order to purchase paddy.  Minister of Food Security Gamini Jayawickrama Perera says that these funds will be distributed amongst the district secretaries after consulting the Prime Minister in this regard.He added that they have informed  the divisional secretaries to give the ministry two days notice if there is shortfall in the funds provided, as there could be a delay in the process.The Minister also added that the allocated funds will be remitted to the relevant divisional secretariats once they are provided with the money by the treasury.

Arkansas Governor Calls for End to U.S. Cuba Embargo        
LITTLE ROCK, AR -- Yesterday, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson signed House Joint Resolution 1006, calling on the U.S. government to lift its trade embargo on Cuba and open the market to American rice and other commodities.Senator Eddie Jo Williams (R-AR-29) and Representative David Hillman (D-AR-13) sponsored the bipartisan resolution that supports the message Arkansas Rice members had delivered to their Congressional delegation during last month's USA Rice Government Affairs Conference.
"We thank the General Assembly and Governor Hutchinson for supporting our effort to open the emerging Cuban marketplace to Arkansas agriculture," said USA Rice Chairman and Arkansas rice grower Dow Brantley.  "Rice is one of many commodities that could see significant gains for our farmers and Arkansas's economy if the federal government eases its decades-old trade embargo on Cuba."
Re-opening the Cuban market is a priority for USA Rice; most believe the first step is establishing normal, two-way commercial trade."Normal trade will get the Cuban economy moving to create capital that can be used to purchase the products they need -- rice foremost among them," said USA Rice's Marvin Lehrer, who recently returned from a trade trip to Cuba.
 Standing from left to right: Rep. David Hillman, Sen. Eddie Joe Williams, Bill Reed, Eric Vaught, Jerry Hoskyn, and Ben Noble with Governor Asa Hutchinson at the signing of the Cuba Rice Trade Resolution.
Contact:  Ben Noble (501) 375-1100
Weekly Rice Sales, Exports Reported       
WASHINGTON, DC -- Net rice sales of 76,500 MT for 2014/2015 were down 7 percent from the previous week and 11 percent from the prior four-week average, according to today's Export Sales Highlights report.  Increases were reported for Japan (36,200 MT), South Korea (22,000 MT), Saudi Arabia (9,000 MT), unknown destinations (2,100 MT), and Colombia (2,000 MT).  Exports of 41,800 MT were down 21 percent from the previous week and 15 percent from the prior four -week average.  The primary destinations were Mexico (17,000 MT), Japan (13,100 MT), Saudi Arabia (3,600 MT), Canada (2,400 MT), and Jordan (2,300 MT).  This summary is based on reports from exporters from the period March 6-12.
CME Group/Closing Rough Rice Futures   

CME Group (Prelim):  Closing Rough Rice Futures for March 19
Net Change

May 2015
- $0.120
July 2015
- $0.125
September 2015
- $0.100
November 2016
- $0.100
January 2016
- $0.100
March 2016
- $0.100
May 2016
- $0.100

March 19 Rice outlook and farm bill Q&A webinar

Mar 18, 2015Bobby Coats Delta Farm Press
Editor’s note: Bobby Coats is a professor in the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture.
Rice outlook
In its March report, USDA raised the U.S. long-grain season-average rough rice price 30 cents on both ends, to $12.20-$12.80 per cwt.
UDSA made no supply side revisions in their March report.
• Total U.S. supplies of rice in 2014/15 remain projected at 275.9 million cwt, 11 percent higher than a year earlier.
• Total U.S. exports were revised up 1.0 million cwt to 104.0 million cwt. Long-grain milled rice accounted for all of the increase.
2014/15 global rice production is forecast at 474.9 million tons (milled basis)
• Up 0.3 million tons from last month’s forecast. Global rice production is still 2.2 million tons below the 2013/14 record.The global 2014/15 consumption forecast at a record 483.7 million tons.2014/15 global rice ending stocks are forecast to 97.6 million tons, the lowest since 2009/10.The 2015 global rice trade forecast is 42.6 million tons, the second highest on record.
• USDA revised their 2015 import forecasts upward for China, Saudi Arabia, and the European Union. 
Rice outlook and farm bill webinar March 19, 2015:
Tony Franco, Chief, Farm Programs Division, Arkansas State FSA Office, and Anita Wilson, Agricultural Program Specialist, Farm Programs Division, Arkansas State FSA Office, and I will continue our series of Farm Bill and Outlook webinars.On March 19, 2015, Nathan Childs, Agricultural Economist, USDA Economic Research Service, will be the primary presenter discussing the U.S. and Global Rice Outlook.Tony Franco, Anita Wilson and I will be fielding farm bill and Decision Aid questions. If you have farm bill-related questions, feel free to log-on at 8:30 a.m. and we can have a farm bill question and answer session before the primary presentation begins at 9 a.m.
Nathan Child’s previous webinar was Feb. 13 on U.S. and Global Rice Outlook. Links to his presentation and video follow: Power Point PDF and Presentation Video.



Thai Court to Try Ex-Leader Yingluck

Former prime minister will face criminal trial over botched plan to steer global rice prices higher

Updated March 19, 2015 2:08 a.m. ET
BANGKOK—Thailand’s former leader Yingluck Shinawatra will face a criminal trial for her role in a botched plan to steer global rice prices higher, costing the country billions of dollars in paper losses.The Supreme Court on Thursday said it would accept the case after state prosecutors charged Ms. Yingluck with dereliction of duty in February, nine months after Thailand’s military seized power in a coup d’état.The case...
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Make Rice Pudding Without a Recipe

BY Food52 and Kyle Orosz | Mar. 18, 2015 | 1:58
Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs of Food52 show you how to make three variations of rice pudding, all without a recipe.
Watch Video:

UK: Tesco To Stock Indo-Chinese Products
Tesco is set to become the first UK supermarket to stock fusion Indo-Chinese food products, aiming to tap into the growing popularity of the cuisine. Indo-Chinese cuisines blends meat and vegetarian dishes with spices and seasonings commonly used in both food cultures such as cumin, coriander, turmeric, hot chilli, ginger, garlic. The cuisine was introduced to India by the Hakka migrants in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) more than 200 years ago, and further deveoped by the Ghurkhas, who then took it to places like Gujarat, Mumbai, northern India and abroad. 

Popular items include Chicken Manchurian - chicken dumplings in a savoury soya and ginger sauce, with mixed vegetable fried basmati rice. Tesco noted: “Indian and Chinese are Britain’s two favourite cuisines so diners get the best of both worlds with this delicious fusion. Indo-Chinese food is a gourmet’s dream and offers a mouth-watering explosion of flavours. We believe it could be the next big food trend to hit the high street. We’ve selected the most popular Indo-Chinese prepared dishes including Chicken Manchurian plus soups, seasonings and sauces to introduce the cuisine to our customers.”   
NamNews - Thursday 19th March 2015

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