Friday, July 03, 2015

3rd July (Friday),2015 Daily Exclusive ORYZA Rice E-Newsletter by Riceplus Magazine


UNISAME Urges Pakistan Government to Speed Up Closure Process of QRC to Boost Rice Exports
Jul 02, 2015

The President of the Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (UNISAME) has urged the Commerce Ministry to speed up the process of the closure of the Quality Review Committee (QRC) and help small and medium rice exporters (SME), according to local sources.
He noted that since the Ministry has already decided to close the QRC as it has become futile and its committee is not serving any purpose, it should direct the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) to disband the futile committee and close the body immediately.
The UNISAME President also noted that the QRC has not been monitoring rice quality in line with the buyers' needs. In most cases, it has been issuing certificates for non-basmati as basmati to keep business going. For instance, most of the buyers in the Middle East and Gulf nations prefer blended rice. Some varieties of normal rice such as 1121 and 386 are mixed with basmati to add a flavor of aroma. Such blended varieties are said to be classified as basmati by the QRC and helping some exporters to sell this blended rice as basmati and make more money. Therefore, the UNISAME President says SME rice exporters who export genuine rice are facing difficulties. QRC is more a hurdle than a monitoring body, he adds.
Pakistan has exported around 3.71 million tons of rice in the first eleven months of FY 2014-15 (July 2014 - June 2015), up about 6% from around 3.49 million tons exported during the same period in FY 2013-14.
Global Rice Quotes
July 2nd, 2015

Long grain white rice - high quality
Thailand 100% B grade 380-390
Vietnam 5% broken 345-355
India 5% broken 380-390
Pakistan 5% broken 375-385
Myanmar 5% broken 415-425
Cambodia 5% broken 425-435
U.S. 4% broken 450-460
Uruguay 5% broken 565-575
Argentina 5% broken 555-565

Long grain white rice - low quality
Thailand 25% broken 350-360
Vietnam 25% broken 325-335
Pakistan 25% broken 335-345
Cambodia 25% broken 410-420
India 25% broken 350-360
U.S. 15% broken 440-450

Long grain parboiled rice
Thailand parboiled 100% stxd 380-390
Pakistan parboiled 5% broken stxd NQ
India parboiled 5% broken stxd 365-375
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% 830-840
Vietnam Jasmine 475-485
India basmati 2% broken NQ
Pakistan basmati 2% broken NQ
Cambodia Phka Mails 835-845

Brokens
Thailand A1 Super 315-325
Vietnam 100% broken 310-320
Pakistan 100% broken stxd 290-300
Cambodia A1 Super 350-360
India 100% broken stxd 275-285
Egypt medium grain brokens NQ
U.S. pet food 350-360
Brazil half grain NQ
All prices USD per ton, FOB vessel, oryza.com
Indian Researchers Conserving Indigenous Rice Varieties to Develop New High-Yielding Ones
Jul 02, 2015
Researchers from the Central Rice Research Institute (CRRI) and the State Seed Testing Laboratory (SSTL) in Odisha along with the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR) under ICAR and Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers' Rights Authority (PPV & FRA) in New Delhi are collecting and preserving indigenous rice varieties in order to develop new high-yielding rice varieties, according to local sources.
The CRRI Director told local sources that they have planned to conserve indigenous rice varieties as they are often destroyed by rapid urbanization and industrialization. Their best genes can be later used to develop new varieties, he said.
CRRI reportedly has nearly 30,000 indigenous varieties, including 5,000 from Odisha and 11,000 from NBPGR. "We preserve them by maintaining a temperature of 4 degree centigrade and 30% relative humidity for medium-term conservation of eight years. But, NBPGR has nearly 10, 2000 varieties of different crops, including rice. It stores them by maintaining temperature of -18 degree centigrade and 15% relative humidity for long-term conservation of over 50 years," a CRRI scientist was quoted as saying.
A NBPGR official claimed that their stock with the CRRI includes 300 wild varieties that belong to five rare species in the world. He noted that only 20 wild rice species have been identified in the world.An official from SSTL told that they genetically cleanse indigenous rice varieties so that their yield potential increases by 25% on an average.
"Each variety has over 62 traits and it is mandatory to analyze 29 and report to PPV & FRA for its acceptance," another official from SSTL was quoted as saying.
Usually NBPGR collects and stores up to 20 grams of a variety, the CRRI collects up to 250 grams and SSTL collects 3 to 4 kilograms.
El Nino May Push Up Thai Rice Prices in Second Half of 2015, Says Official
Jul 02, 2015

The Director-General of the Foreign Trade Department (Dg-FTD) under the Commerce Ministry has noted that the Thai rice prices, which have fallen significantly since the beginning of this year, are likely to increase in the second half as El Nino weather pattern is expected to impact production in many countries, according to Bloomberg.
Demand from China, Indonesia and the Philippines is also expected to support prices. The price of Thai 5% broken white rice has increased by about 2.7% to around $375 per ton from around $365 per ton in first week of June.
The Commerce Ministry is putting up around 1.39 million tons of rice for sale on July 7. It  sold about 2.94 million tons of rice in the first seven auctions since it took power in May 2014, raising about 30.2 billion baht (around $894 million).
The Thai military government currently holds over 16 million tons of rice in its warehouses and is planning to sell about 10 million tons this year about six million tons next year. It also is planning to sell about 5.89 million tons of spoilt rice to industrial users in July.
Brunei Stepping Up Efforts to Increase Quality of Rice Production, Says Minister
Jul 02, 2015

The government of Brunei is stepping up efforts to increase the quality of rice production rather than focusing on just increasing the volume, Brunei Times quoted the Minister of Industry and Primary Resources (MIPR).
The Minister who attended the forth planting of Padi Laila at the Kampung Limau Manis Agricultural Development Area (Kawasan Kemajuan Pertanian, KKP), which was organized by the Department of Agriculture and Agrifood (DAA), told reporters that the government is also planning to provide farming entrepreneurs with a quality planting system in order to support them to achieve quality yields by avoiding threats like birds, rodents, insects and pests. He noted that more research is needed to identify potential threats accompanying rice production.
Rice production is being carried out in KKP since 2013 by 21 entrepreneurs who completed a basic padi planting management course through the Brunei Rice Farmers Field School organised by the DAA and each entrepreneur manages two to three lots. The DAA had supported the KKP project with a concrete drainage and irrigation technology. The project yielded a total of 100,800 kilograms in the 2013-14 prime season, 42,000 kilograms in the off-season and 79,700 kilograms in 2014-15 prime season. The project sells its output to the government under a buy-back agreement.
In March this year, the MIPR Minister apprised the Parliament that the country produced around 1,380 tons of milled rice in 2014, up about 12% from 1,230 tons in 2013 and was far from achieving the 60% rice-sufficiency target by 2015. He noted that the Ministry has identified certain problem areas, which have to addressed to achieve a significant increase in rice production.
Brunei’s milled rice production has remained at around 1,000 tons since 2002, and the country imports most of rice required for domestic consumption. In 2008, the Sultan of Brunei said that Brunei Darussalam should not be dependent on other countries for its rice supply and should have their own strategic plan to ensure food security.
The USDA estimates Brunei's milled rice production to remain at 1,000 tons in the MY 2014-15 (January - December 2015), and estimates the country to import around 40,000 tons in MY 2014-15 to meet an annual consumption demand of around 41,000 tons.
Thailand Rice Sellers Increase Some of Their Quotes Today; Vietnam Rice Lower Some Quotes Today
Jul 02, 2015
Thailand rice sellers increased their quotes for 100% broken rice, 5% broken rice and 25% broken rice each by about $5 per ton around $380-$390 per ton, $370-$380 per ton and $350-$360 per ton respectively. They increased quotes for parboiled rice by about $7 per ton to around $380-$390 per ton. Vietnam rice sellers lowered their quotes for 5% broken rice by about $5 per ton to around $345-$355 per ton. Other Asia rice sellers kept their quotes mostly unchanged today.                                                                                          
5% Broken Rice
Thailand 5% rice is indicated at around $370 - $380 per ton, up about $5 per ton from yesterday about a $25 per ton premium on Vietnam 5% rice shown at around $345 - $355 per ton. India 5% rice is indicated at around $380 - $390 per ton, unchanged from yesterday and about $5 per ton premium on Pakistan 5% rice shown at around $375 - $385 per ton.
25% Broken Rice
Thailand 25% rice is shown at around $345 - $350 per ton, up about $5 per ton from yesterday and about a $20 per ton premium on Vietnam 25% rice shown at around $325- $335 per ton.
India 25% rice is indicated at around $350 - $360, about $15 per ton premium on Pakistan 25% rice shown at around $335 - $345 per ton.
Parboiled Rice
Thailand parboiled rice is indicated at around $375 - $385 per ton, up about a $5 per ton from yesterday. India parboiled rice is indicated at around $365- $375per ton, unchanged from yesterday and about a $30 per ton discount to Pakistan parboiled rice last shown at around $395 - $405 per ton.
100% Broken Rice
Thailand broken rice, A1 Super, is indicated at around $315 - $325 per ton, about $5 per ton premium on Vietnam 100% broken rice shown at around $310 - $320 per ton. India's 100% broken rice is shown at around $275 - $285 per ton, unchanged from yesterday and about a $15 per ton discount to Pakistan broken sortexed rice shown at around $290 - $300 per ton.
World Bank to Support Vietnam's Rice Restructure Plan
Jul 02, 2015

The International Development Fund (IDF) of the World Bank (WB) is providing Vietnam with a loan of $238 million to support its agricultural restructuring plan, according to local sources.
Vietnam is particularly planning to reform its two major exporting sectors, rice and coffee, under the plan, according to World Bank’s Lead Rural Development Specialist and team leader for the project. He noted that Vietnam's rice sector is characterized by unsustainable practices and high-volume but low-value exports. The project aims to bring structural changes in the pattern of production and the supply chain in order to benefit small-holder farmers.
The WB's credit is expected to directly benefit about 200,000 rice producing households of about one million people in the Mekong River Delta (MRD). The project will assist rice farmers in the provinces of Kien Giang, An Giang, Hua Giang, Tien Giang, Can Tho, Soc Trang, Dong Thap, and Long An to adopt latest on-farm practices and improved basic production and processing technologies for producing high quality rice.
Experts have been advising the government to focus on high quality rice production in order to increase the country's competitiveness in the global market.
DNA Chip Unveils Truth About Two Groups of Cultivated Rice Varieties
Jul 02, 2015
A DNA chip developed by researchers of the Benares Hindu University (BHU) researchers for fingerprinting of rice by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) scientists proved that the two most important groups of cultivated Aus and Aman (Indica) rice varieties were domesticated in India, according to Times of India.
The findings have gained importance in the light of a debate that has been going on as to whether the two varieties were first cultivated in India or China.
Scientists told local sources that they have developed the chip based on a comprehensive set of single-copy rice genes. The lead researcher of the chip project noted that the chip can used to store and study data related to genetic diversity and phylogenetic characteristics of cultivated and wild rice varieties. "The chip has also proved useful for monitoring the spread of new rice varieties, checking the purity and varietal identity of rice seeds and therefore in quality control and regulation of rice seed business," he was quoted as saying.

"The ICAR rice chip will help identify new useful genes from our vast genetic resources of wild rice and traditional rice varieties to face the twin challenges of growing population and climate change," he added.
The BHU spokesperson noted that the DNA chip is  a breakthrough in rice genetic research. It is a high density chip and is capable of storing 50,051 SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism) genotypes and can be used for both genetic and evolutionary studies as well as molecular breeding in rice, he added.

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2nd July (Thursday),2015 Daily Global Rice E-Newsletter by Riceplus Magazine

BUHARI URGED TO SUPPORT RICE PRODUCTION

Published on Thursday, 02 July 2015 04:00

Written by Misbahu Bashir, Kaduna


President Muhammdu Buhari has been urged to make favourable policies for paddy growers and millers in the country.The call was made by the General Manager of Labana Rice Limited, Birnin Kebbi, Alhaji Abdullahi Idris Zuru, during a Ramadan Food Fair organized by Al-Amin Foundation in Kaduna.Alhaji Abdullahi said the federal government should encourage rice production by improving steady supply of electricity and discourage illegal importation of rice. e said to ensure uninterrupted supply of paddy to millers, government must support local farmers through provision of imputes and subsidies.“Local rice farmers and millers, if encouraged can supply enough rice for the country. That is why we are appealing to the president to end activities of those smuggling foreign rice into the country. Rice smuggling is really a problem to local farmers and millers. Government needs to block all loopholes because we have the capacity to produce rice required annually in the country,” he said.

http://www.dailytrust.com.ng/daily/index.php/news-menu/news/58907-buhari-urged-to-support-rice-production

Millers to not sell basmati below 5,500/Q


Neel Kamal  
MUKTSAR: Punjab-based basmati rice millers have decided not to sell milled rice below Rs 5,500 per quintal in the coming kharif marketing season. The millers are currently getting Rs 4,600 per Q for milled basmati rice, which has registered a jump of Rs 700 per Q in a fortnight, owing to strong overseas demand, they said after a meeting held in Malout town of Muktsar district on Wednesday andPunjab Basmati Rice Millers Association spokesperson Ashish Kathuria said, "Export orders from Iran, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are mounting, but we have very low stocks. In the prevailing circumstances, we have decided not to sell rice below Rs 5,500 per Q. In the previous year, millers had to suffer a loss of Rs 8,000 crore due to steep fall in the prices of basmati rice in the international market."
He said the there was a carryover stock of 2.7 lakh tonnes of basmati paddy from the previous season, out of which about 1.27 lakh tonne rice could be obtained after milling over next three months. Kathuria said about 60,000 tonnes of basmati rice was available with the millers in Punjab."As fresh crop is expected only in the last week of November, it is very hard for exporters to buy desirable quantities of basmati rice from Punjab and Haryana according to the growing global demand. We are expecting the prices to rise further. Apart from that, farmers are not planting much of Pusa 1509 variety as it has lost acceptability in the international market," he added.Another association member Bharat Bhushan Binta said that rise in the rates of basmati rice was also expected because of weak monsoon spurred by EI Nino factor and the low food grain buffer stock with Asian and African countries, including Ghana.
"Expected decline in basmati acreage this season is nearly 40% in India. It is also a major factor behind the surge in basmati rates in India," he said.He said that, last year, basmati was planted over 8.62 lakh hectares in Punjab and the output was about 35 lakh tonnes while the area under aromatic crop was likely to be 5.5-6 lakh hectares this season with an estimated production of 22 lakh tonnes.Amritsar-based basmati rice exporter J S Chatha said, "Due to higher international demand and less supply from India, prices of basmati rice have increased. Also this year, the area under Pusa 1509 variety gone down, which means lesser output in the ensuing season. This could further lead to spurt in basmati prices."
DROP IN IMPORTS HAS AFFECTED REVENUE’
Published on Thursday, 02 July 2015 04:00
Written by Mahmud Jega

Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service Dikko Abdullahi Inde speaks to Daily Trust on several topical issues involving the service.It is over a year now since Nigeria Customs Service took over Destination Inspection from private contractors. What has happened since then? Has there been an improvement or a decline in revenue generation?

The Customs Service insisted on taking over this function from the private contractors in the interest of this country but many Nigerians didn’t seem to appreciate that. The companies contracted to carry out Destination Inspection [DI] were issuing a paper called RAR. That RAR is a self-assessment report, an assessment of duty to be paid for imported goods. However there were delays because RAR was only issued when the cargo arrived in Nigeria. It was only when the goods arrive that the importer will start going to NAFDAC, SON, NDLEA, state security etc to seek for clearance stamps. When the contract period expired and we wanted to take over, many people thought the Customs Service would not be able to ensure a clearance procedure that is smooth and quicker than what the contractors were doing.

The contractors were being paid with monies we collected under a fund called Comprehensive Import Supervision Scheme, CISS. They were being paid between $20million to $40 million a month, so by taking over the function we have now saved this money for the nation. On three different occasions when we tried to take over this function from the contractors, we were thwarted by some interests. When we finally took over our main focus was to simplify the clearing procedure and to reduce the time limit for clearance. We initially targeted 48 hours. We replaced the RAR with the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report [PAAR] which means when an importer gets an invoice, the bank opens Form M and follows up on the procedure of import. When the final invoice is issued the bank will upload it unto our system.

Our system will automatically profile the importer with an automatic profiling machine, his genuineness, integrity. We will then know the type of person we are dealing with because our policy is to encourage the compliant trader. So when we have the information and the trader is compliant then we give him a fast track so that when the cargo arrives he can take it out without any hindrance. Further examination of the cargo will be done at the owner’s premises, together with all the other security agencies. So the PAR that contractors used to issue [after the cargo arrived] is now issued two to three weeks before the cargo’s arrival.

The importer can go and pay his duty even before the cargo’s arrival. But if you are an importer that for example imports fans today, imports stoves tomorrow and then imports canvas shoes the day after, then the profiling machine will not recognise you because you are a heterogeneous importer. Under the Risk Assessment System we have the blue which is rudimentary check. We have red which is physical examination. There is yellow which means scanning and we have green which is release. If you have yellow then you go through scanner and if nothing is seen you are allowed to go but if it is red, then the goods have to be examined physically, especially goods such as used spare parts and mixed supermarket goods.
We have to examine those because of the nature of the packing. Basically, we have now run the PAAR for more than one year and I can assure you that Nigerian traders are very happy. We have saved Nigeria a lot of money from the payment of those contractors and we increased the revenue by 20% from what they were collecting before. Basically, it is our job. If not because of the drop in imports due to the economic situation which has affected the traders, we would have done even better than that. 

You mentioned the current economic situation and the drop in government revenue. How has it affected Customs’ revenue targets especially since many people are hoping that since we can’t get money from oil then let us get more from Customs?

It has affected our revenue targets in two ways. Most of the firms involved in the oil business are importers, that’s one. Secondly the oil price fall also affected the naira’s value against the dollar which inevitably affected importers. These factors have seriously affected us because the casual importers who used to bring in two or three containers have mostly closed shop though the large importers are still able to get by due to economy of scale. Our hope is that when the general economic situation improves, Customs’ revenue generation will also improve.
 
So your revenue target has been affected? 

Definitely! Our revenue collection is dependent on the volume of imports. Don’t forget, there were some unfriendly policies that we complained about that affected our revenue collection such as rice, vehicles and Free Zones. As a professional I don’t believe that smuggling across the land borders is worse than smuggling through the air and seaports. Take the case of Free Zones. This is an avenue for smuggling. When we took up the case of TINAPA sometime ago, we were happy that the governors supported us because we made a lot of discoveries and a lot of money was recovered. There were people who wanted to evade duty in various ways.

Goods that are going to the Free Zones are duty free goods. They are like diplomatic cargo; you cannot open them until they arrive in there. We find that the goods that go there are mostly finished products or goods that are supposed to pay duty but they escape to that place. So coming out of that place, we say they have to pay duty. There is a law that gives them 75% waiver of that duty, so whichever way you look at it we are losing revenue. I strongly feel therefore that regulations with respect to the Free Zones should be reviewed. Only raw materials should be allowed to go into Free Zones since the essence is to boost foreign exchange earnings through exports. Whatever is produced there is supposed to have value addition and also the goods produced there are supposed to be exported but if it is going into Nigeria, then it must pay the duty that all other goods imported into Nigeria attract.
 
In addition to these, we also have problems with the trade liberalisation of West African states. Honestly the intention is not about trade liberalisation; it is about dumping and smuggling. We have detected some [West African] countries that import goods from foreign countries and they label them made in a country in West Africa. I don’t want to mention names. From the documentation we could see that the goods were not made in any West African country. The principle underlying the policy is that the legal person making those goods must be in West Africa and the payment for the goods must stay in West Africa but we found out that the money was paid to some foreign countries. So this also affects Customs’ revenue generation targets. Before you can amend such schemes you must go through ECOWAS. We have drawn our government’s attention to this and I expect that the new government will confront this matter head on.

You said with respect to the Free Zones that it is raw materials basically that are supposed to go to them. But you see imported manufactured goods headed for the Free Zones and you can’t open them. What kind of arrangement is that? 

You see, a Free Zone is a country within a country. If you have cargo meant for Benin Republic and it arrives in a container, we cannot examine it. We can only escort it to Benin where the Customs there can inspect it. Although we have Customs officers inside the Free Zones, but it is like a place where untouchable people are doing business. So our officers are threatened and cajoled not to reveal the truth to us, or they connive with them. So after taking some steps we discovered that irregularities are taking place but we have been unable to redress it because the regulations as they exist now are not in favour of tax collection.
 

You mentioned briefly the issue of rice imports. We read reports recently about some companies that imported rice above their quota and didn’t want to pay the duty that Customs slapped on them. What happened? Have they paid the duty?

Nobody evaded duty payment. The issue was one of rule of law. Whoever is into a business he must obey the rules that apply for that business. Unfortunately the situation we find ourselves in with respect to the rice issue has become a nightmare. We did not even know who was responsible for allocating rice import quotas. We received a letter from the Minister of Agriculture issuing quotas but it was flouted by some companies that exceeded the quotas and only issued indemnities. This happened because even though the rice import policy was rolled out in May last year, the quotas were not allocated until December. So as Customs we did not know who was authorised to bring in what.

 What we did instead was in the spirit of trade facilitation we allowed companies to bring in and clear the rice by issuing indemnities, so that when the quota is finally issued we will calculate what you imported and if there is any balance to pay, you pay it.The approved duty was 10-20 for millers and 10-60 for traders. So if a miller exceeds his quota then he is now a trader and must pay the higher duty. We have a list of such firms that exceeded their quotas; we went to the National Assembly and it passed a resolution that all those that exceeded their quotas must pay the duty and we will make them to pay.

This rice importation policy is really cumbersome. What has the Customs recommended to government with
respect to this dual tariff policy on rice imports? 

I have written several letters to the Ministers of Finance and Agriculture and even to the President. I did not support the dual tariff regime because if one were to import brown rice, value must be added before it becomes a finished product. The same thing with paddy rice which must be cleaned, polished and making it parboiled rice. If millers are therefore allowed to import husky brown and paddy rice at less duty I have no objection to that because there will be value addition, Nigerians are going to be employed and millers must invest to bring in rice mills.

But to say that a rice trader should import rice at 10-60 whereas someone can bring in his own parboiled rice---a finished product---at 10-20 simply because he has milling capacity, I see no justice there. There is no level playing ground. The duty concession given to millers should be limited to brown rice which requires milling but not parboiled rice. Even the calculation of national rice supply gap is controversial, and it is based on this that quotas are allocated to some people to import parboiled rice at concessionary duty. Personally I will recommend to government to ban the importation of parboiled rice. Anybody who wants to import rice should import brown rice and then mill it or he should grow the paddy rice inside Nigeria. 

The general policy on waivers has been controversial for a long time. What exactly has been the impact of
waivers on the Customs’ revenue generation targets?

Waivers are meant to help local industries. However, we have hardly seen the impact of the waivers that were granted to investors for the importation of machinery and raw materials. For example, since 2010 import of textile machinery has attracted zero duty but why is it that we still have problems of quality and also complains that the industry is not doing well? We lose the duty on that and we also collect levies on textile material imports. The levy is used to support local textile industries but there is still no appreciable effect. So before waiver is given to any sector let us see that the revenue loss is offset by employment generation and other economic benefits. So far we have not seen that which amounts to double jeopardy for the country. There are also proven cases of diversion.

For example waiver is granted to a person who is setting up a hotel of more than 100 rooms but he instead imported trade goods. We hope the new government will review the waivers policy so that clear benefits should be seen that outweigh the loss of revenue.I understand there are also waiver issues with respect to the automobile industry.

It is granted under Chapter 87 which covers things to do with vehicles. However, we see a clause which does not exist in our nomenclature which is SKD, that is semi knocked down. The concession granted under Chapter 87 is for those who have vehicle assembly plants. As far as we know there are only two vehicle assembly plants in Nigeria today, Peugeot and ANAMCO. Others make the claim but since they are not under the excise control of Customs we cannot make a report on them. My suggestion to the government is that every assembly plant must be made to register with Customs for the purpose of inspection even if it is not paying excise duty. We need to confirm that it is living up to the reason for which a waiver was given to it.
 

Right now waivers are given to some people who do not have assembly plants. Someone will bring in cars and say they are semi knocked down; the only things missing from that car are tyres. Every other thing in the car is intact and you call it semi knocked down. It means the person will only have a vulcanising outfit and call it an assembly plant, to the detriment of others who are paying 35% duty and 35% levy on a new car. He is only paying 20%. This should not be allowed and all those who cheated in this way should be made to pay the correct duty.
 

How much has Nigeria lost from these waivers and concessions? 
Since 2013 we have lost N144 billion annually and the amount is increasing. If not for all these Customs would have generated for the government about N1.7 trillion. My estimate is that we lost 600 to 700 billion to waivers and concessions.

You were in Kano recently inspecting a huge warehouse of seized textile materials but I think I later saw a report saying the goods were released. What happened in that case?

I am glad you brought up this issue. You see, whenever the issue of smuggling comes up people tend to mention a particular place and a particular person but I want to assure Nigerians that nobody is above the law. A lot of the things people say are hearsay and rumour. It is good for newsmen to ask Customs before they rush to town with allegations of smuggling, whether the person concerned has paid duty and whether he has the authority to clear cargo. Whoever obtains a Customs clearing license should operate where there is an approved border.
 
This issue of textiles has been lingering for a long time. Initially, cargo was intercepted at the railway station in Lagos. It was a large quantity of textile materials. At first we seized it but we later found out that the company actually pays duty.

 If you seize it, you will merely auction it at a giveaway price so it is much more advantageous for the government if we collect the duty instead. We then find out what the person’s intention was and we prosecute him. We found out that they were misled. After we concluded our investigation we recovered the Customs duty with penalty. We also took them to court where the case is still pending. The people who connived with them are being prosecuted too. The goods came through the railway, not the Katsina border that many people were saying. While we were inspecting those goods in Kano we also intercepted other containers that came to the inland container terminal from Apapa. They were carrying the same material and two days later we arrested more containers at Kaduna inland terminal again with the same goods. 

You see, the Chinese are out for dumping. They produce these goods in huge quantities and are looking for where to dump it and some unscrupulous Nigerians promise to help them to bring it here. When they stock the container with African print, one quarter of the container will be left for concealment. The one in Kano, it was concealed with food flasks. Majority of the inland container terminals do not have the equipment to bring down these materials for 100% Customs examination. So Customs have a limited capacity to go inside the container to see what is in there. When a Customs officer examines up to one quarter of a container and keeps seeing food flasks he will believe that the person is an honest importer, so you use your discretion and allow him to carry his cargo. Unknown to you he has concealed African print inside.
 

So people should not think that smuggling is always through the land borders because smugglers are very clever. We are also getting wiser by the day. 98% of crime detection in the world is based on information. There are no sacred cows here, contrary to what some people are alleging. They can check our records at whichever border post they like. There is no difference between the procedures at Jibia border and those of Seme border. People should be properly guided before they talk. Go and check the records and see if anyone is not paying duty.
 

You said these goods came through the railway to Kano; did they come through the seaports or Seme border or where?

Some came from Malabo, Equatorial Guinea through Calabar to the railway where we seized them. Others came legitimately through the seaports and they were transported to inland container terminals because that was where the importer addressed them to. That container was transported officially but we found out that textiles were concealed inside food flasks.  We also seized 36 containers of the same goods inside Apapa ports. The biggest seizure of textiles we made was in the creeks along Seme border, with the help of Nigerian Navy. It was coming from Malabo.

The Kano seizure was child’s play compared to that one. After seizing the goods in Kano, the government removed African print from the import prohibition list so we decided to collect duty with penalty rather than auction the goods. We even brought EFCC into the case to ensure transparency. 
I saw a story that Customs levied a compromised duty; that is a painful allegation and we even brought in other agencies just to be transparent in that matter. The owners of those goods are Chinese manufacturers. They were looking for an emerging market and some Nigerians from Kano presented themselves as agents of that manufacturer. The manufacturer now sent his representatives to come along with the so-called agents.

When they came to Nigeria they opened a warehouse. Where we made the seizure had nothing to do with Kantin Kwari market. The warehouse is in a residential area in Gandun Albasa. When you drive in you think you are driving into a house but it is actually a warehouse. And they are coming into the country from different directions. They were stocking up for a long time. We invoked Section 147 which allows us to enter a suspicious place without a warrant to find out if the goods were legitimately imported and if they paid duty
http://www.dailytrust.com.ng/daily/index.php/business/58818-drop-in-imports-has-affected-revenue

Two rice varieties first domesticated in India’

Binay Singh  

VARANASI: Amidst raging controversy whether rice originated in India or China, data generated by a DNA chip developed for fingerprinting of rice by Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) scientists has indicated that the two most important groups of cultivated rice varieties were first domesticated in the Indian subcontinent. A patent has been filed for the chip and the work has been published in the prestigious journal, 'Nature Scientific Reports', on June 26. "The chip's data lends weight to the theory that the two most important groups of cultivated rice varieties, Aus and Aman (Indica), are very closely related to the Indian wild rice and were first domesticated in the Indian subcontinent.
The findings are significant as they come amidst growing controversy whether rice originated in India or China and where was it first cultivated," said N K Singh, an alumnus of the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) who led a team of ICAR scientists in developing the chip for fingerprinting and breeding rice. The ICAR scientists faced the challenge of designing their own DNA chip as the only other such chip which has been developed by the Cornell University of the US, was not available for research in India. The Indian chip is unique as it is based on a comprehensive set of single-copy rice genes and, therefore, gives better result in terms of call rates and reproducibility for which a patent has been filed, Singh claimed. 
The usefulness of the chip in genetic diversity and phylogenetic studies of cultivated and wild rice germplasm has been demonstrated. The chip has also proved useful for monitoring the spread of new rice varieties, checking the purity and varietal identity of rice seeds and therefore in quality control and regulation of rice seed business," Singh said. 
"Rice is the post important food crop of the world providing staple diet to more than half of the human population. Therefore, developments in genetics and breeding of new high yielding, stress tolerant and improved quality rice varieties are crucial for the global food security. The ICAR rice chip will help identify new useful genes from our vast genetic resources of wild rice and traditional rice varieties to face the twin challenges of growing population and climate change," he claimed.
 
Formerly with BHU's department of Genetics and Plant Breeding, Institute of Agricultural Science, Singh is the national professor, BP Pal Chair, at the National Research Centre on Plant Biotechnology, New Delhi. According to BHU spokesperson Rajesh Kumar Singh, it's a breakthrough in rice genetic research as the high density microarray chip with 50,051 SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism) has been developed exclusively for DNA fingerprinting and breeding applications in rice. 
SNP is the most abundant form of DNA sequence variation present in the plant genomes. ICAR scientists designed and validated the SNP genotyping chip for use in genetic and evolutionary studies as well as molecular breeding in rice. "Assays with the chip showed high success rate and reproducibility because of the single-copy gene based design with no sequence redundancy and cross-hybridisation problems," Singh said.
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/varanasi/Two-rice-varieties-first-domesticated-in-India/articleshow/47908571.cms

Thailand lowers 2015 rice output forecast by over 2 mln tonnes


BANGKOK, JULY 1 | 
The Thai government lowered its forecast for this year's main-crop rice output by over 2 million tonnes, according to the latest report from the Office of Agricultural Economics, as the major rice-producing nation battles with a severe drought.A drop in output in Thailand, one of the world's top rice exporters, could underpin benchmark Thai prices of the grain. Prices are near their lowest since January 2008 amid a massive overhang of rice stocks built up under the previous government's buying program.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperative's Office of Agricultural Economics said that Thailand will produce 24,135,450 tonnes of main-crop rice this year, lower than its previous forecast of 26,576,150 tonnes.The estimate comes after Thailand asked rice farmers last week to delay planting their main crop in the fertile Chao Phraya River Basin area as the country battles drought in 16 out of 76 provinces.Although the wet or monsoon season has begun, dozens of provinces are still contending with drought conditions. Last week, Thailand's finance minister said drought was threatening Thailand's already sputtering economy and could cut economic growth by 0.5 percentage points this year.
Thailand has around 15.4 million tonnes of rice in storage, accumulated under the previous government's rice-buying programme that left the grains hanging over markets.The government plans to sell around 5.89 million tonnes of deteriorated rice held in stockpiles to the industrial sector starting in July, Duangporn Rodphaya, director general of the Commerce Ministry's Department of Foreign Trade, told reporters on Wednesday.Price of Thailand's benchmark five-percent rice fell to its lowest level in over seven years last month, when quoted at $365-$368 a tonne, FOB, on June 17.The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) latest estimate expects Thailand to produce around 19.8 million tonnes of milled rice in the 2015/16 crop year, up from 18.8 million in 2014/15, as yields improve.
The USDA will revise its figures for Thailand's rice output by around mid-July, the USDA's agricultural specialist in Bangkok told Reuters. (Additional reporting by Pracha Hariraksapitak; Editing by Amy Sawitta Lefevre and Gopakumar Warrier)
http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/07/01/thailand-rice-idUSL3N0ZH30M20150701

Plan to convert deteriorated rice into fuel
 Erich Parpart
The Nation July 3, 2015 1:00 am
The Energy Ministry has been assigned by the government to help off-load around 5.89 million tonnes of deteriorated rice held in stockpiles with the plan at the first stage to convert around 1.3 million tonnes of the rice into ethanol fuel and the rest into biochar (bio-charcoal)."The plan is to convert this rice into fuel instead of just burning them. The value of what we will get from converting these C1 and C2-grade rice into ethanol and biochar will be less than the price of the rice when sold to the middleman. The lowering of the stockpile will increase the price of rice and reduce the maintenance cost and that is what we want," Energy Minister Narongchai Akrasanee said yesterday.
The price of Thailand's benchmark 5-per-cent rice fell to its lowest level in more than seven years when it was quoted at US$365 to $368 per tonne last month."We have to start with the plan to convert about 1 million to 1.3 million tonnes of the deteriorated rice into ethanol first, as there is less supply of cassava and there are seven ethanol factories that currently have the technology to convert the rice into ethanol fuel," he added.
He explained that the Energy Ministry is ready to buy the rice from the Commerce Ministry as soon as they have "unchained" the lock on the stockpile. The deteriorated rice is being used as evidence in the claims of corruption and negligence against the previous government over its rice-pledging scheme.Thailand has around 15.4 million tonnes of rice in storage, accumulated under the previous government's rice-buying programme."We are ready to start the process tomorrow if required but we cannot convert all of the rice into ethanol fuel since the supply of cassava will eventually recover while the setting up of a new factory would take too long," said the Energy Minister.
The process to convert the 1 million to 1.3 million tonnes of rice into ethanol fuel will take around 4 months.Narongchai revealed that another way to convert the rice into energy would be to turn it into biochar but this process can be done at any charcoal factory so it can wait for a while. The prices of ethanol fuel and biochar that will be gained from the conversion are similar and it will be determined by how much heat it can produce.Meanwhile, the Energy Ministry is planning to spend about Bt3 billion of its left over budget (about Bt4.8 billion) to replace government agencies' normal light bulbs and old air-conditioners with LED energy-saving light bulbs and No 5 energy-saving air-conditioners, to cash in on the decline in the price of LED light bulbs. They expect this energy-saving investment will reduce government agencies' electricity consumption by 50 per cent.
http://www.nationmultimedia.com/business/Plan-to-convert-deteriorated-rice-into-fuel-30263618.html

Rice Field Day attracts over 400 people to discuss future of the rice industry

Published: July 1, 2015, 5:22 pm
Over 400 people gathered at the LSU AG Center Rice Research Station on Wednesday to discuss the future of the rice industry.Attendees took tours through the rice fields, learned about the research done at the station and listened to guest speakers such as Senator David Vitter and Former Louisiana Lt. Governor Scott Angelle. With the constant heavy rainfall in Louisiana, rice farmers are expecting a smaller crop this year, and a smaller crop means less money.“Two weeks we caught fourteen inches of rain so I lost a thousand acres of rice.” says Jeffery Sylvester, a Ville Platte rice farmer, who also says all of the rain washed away the pollen needed to harvest the rice seeds. Sylvester says he attends the rice station field day every year to learn. “The research that they do over here makes us a better farmer.
When they came out with Cypress it made all the farmers a better farmer because our yields went up fifteen percent and we didn’t do anything different we just had a better product to plant.”LSU Agricultural Economics Professor, Dr. Mike Salassi, says the 2015 national rice crop price is down since last year for several factors including excess product in the market and rainfall. However, he says Louisiana’s rice industry is still doing well. “Last few years we’ve had record yields. Our average yields now are over seven thousand pounds an acre. That’s really the primary thing that keeps growers in business..
This station here and the research they do is so important”The station has been doing research on the how to grow rice for one hundred and seven years to help Louisiana farmers. The farmers help fund that research and the station by contributing five cents for every 100 pounds of rice sold… creating a continuous cycle for both parties.“This is an opportunity for all of us to allow for all of the rice industry people to come in whether its producers, consumers, millers and some of our end users to kind of give them an overview of all of the research we’ve been doing.” says Dr. Steve Linscombe, Director of the Rice Research Station.In addition to educating farmers on topics such as weed control, insect control and disease control. The rice station has released 50 varieties of rice in it’s history, 30 in the past 25 years
Watch  video on website:
http://klfy.com/2015/07/01/rice-field-day-attracts-over-400-people-to-discuss-future-of-the-rice-industry/

No threat to paddy crop despite deficient rain forecast: Govt

The country got 28 per cent more than normal rainfall last month
Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi  
July 2, 2015 Last Updated at 22:31 IST

The government on Thursday tried to allay concerns on paddy crop, saying there's no threat to it despite India Meteorological Department (IMD)'s projection of deficient rains in July and August. The sowing is under way in most parts of the country. IMD has forecast eight per cent and 10 per cent deficient rains for July and August, respectively. The country got 28 per cent more than normal rainfall last month.“IMD has projected eight per cent less rains for this month. If there are rains in an interval of seven-eight days, we can save our crops despite deficient rains. So, there is no threat to paddy crop,” Agriculture Secretary Siraj Hussain told reporters here.The sowing of paddy, the main kharif (summer) crop, has started picking up in major growing areas. The area under paddy has so far improved in states such as Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Punjab due to the pick-up in rains in June.
In Punjab, transplanting of paddy so far has been done in 12.45 lakh hectares, against the target of 28 lakh hectares. Farmers in Andhra Pradesh have sown the crop in 78 per cent of the average normal area. Telangana has seen similar progress, according to government data.As of June 26, paddy in India was sown in only 23.28 lakh hectares, slightly lower than the 25.04 lakh hectares in the year- ago period, the data showed.     Sowing of paddy and other paddy kharif crops begins with the onset of southwest monsoon.
http://www.business-standard.com/article/markets/no-threat-to-paddy-crop-despite-deficient-rain-forecast-govt-115070200783_1.html
TDAP urged to close QRC to boost rice export
July 02, 2015
KARACHI - The Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (Unisame) has invited the attention of the ministry of commerce (Mincom) to the difficulties being faced by the SME rice exporters due to the lingering in the implementation of already decided closure of the Quality Review Committee (QRC).President Unisame Zulfikar Thaver said it was finally decided by the Mincom to close the QRC as it was unanimously agreed that QRC has become futile and the committee as pointed out by all stakeholders is not serving any purpose. The buyers prefer to import rice in their own or selected brands of blended rice.
He urged the federal commerce minister engineer Khurram Dastagir to direct the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) to disband the futile committee and to close it immediately as every single day matters for closure of this troublesome body.Many buyers demand blended rice of different varieties with basmati rice as basmati rice has aroma and when mixed with 1121 and 386 makes it aromatic.

It is pertinent to note that 1121 is the most expensive rice. It is in great demand all over the Gulf and Middle East countries but is not classified as basmati rice. The demand for basmati rice is very little as compared to 1121 and 386.QRC is not required any more and its presence as an inspection cell is more a hurdle than a monitor because it is issuing certificates for non basmati rice as basmati rice under pressure to keep business going. The big rice exporters are obliged but the SMEs are facing difficulties.
http://nation.com.pk/business/02-Jul-2015/tdap-urged-to-close-qrc-to-boost-rice-export

APEDA NEWS (India)
Price on: 30-06-2015
Product
Benchmark Indicators Name
Price
Apricots
1
Turkish No. 2 whole pitted, CIF UK (USD/t)
5975
2
Turkish No. 4 whole pitted, CIF UK (USD/t)
5375
3
Turkish size 8, CIF UK (USD/t)
4375
Raisins
1
Californian Thompson seedless raisins, CIF UK (USD/t)
2278
2
South African Thompson seedless raisins, CIF UK (USD/t)
2163
Sultanas
1
Australian 5 Crown, CIF UK (USD/t)
3025 
2
Iranian natural sultanas (Gouchan), CIF UK (USD/t)
1866
3
Turkish No 9 standard, FOB Izmir (USD/t)
2350
Source:agra-net
For more info
Market Watch
Commodity-wise, Market-wise Daily Price on 01-07-2015
Domestic Prices
Unit Price : Rs per Qty
Product
Market Center
Variety
Min Price
Max Price
Barley (Jau)
1
Visnagar (Gujarat)
Other
1275
1275
2
Deoli (Rajasthan)
Other
1000
1100
3
Loharu (Haryana)
Other
1200
1200
Maize
1
Amreli (Gujarat)
Other
1160
1615
2
Bellary (Karnataka)
Local
1359
1396
3
Koraput (Orissa)
Other
1310
1330
Mousambi
1
Phagwara (Punjab)
Other
2000
3500
2
Mechua (West Bengal)
Other
2400
2800
3
Vikasnagar (Uttrakhand)
Other
1800
2000
Carrot
1
Bharuch (Gujarat)
Other
1200
1750
2
Bonai (Orissa)
Other
2000
3000
3
Muktsar (Punjab)
Other
3000
4000
Source:agra-net
For more info
Egg
Rs per 100 No
Price on 01-07-2015
Product
Market Center
Price
1
Pune
350
2
Chittoor
373
3
Hyderabad
330
Source: e2necc.com
Other International Prices
Unit Price : US$ per package
Price on 01-07-2015
Product
Market Center
Origin
Variety
Low
High
Potatoes
Package: 50 lb cartons
1
Atlanta
Colorado
Russet
23.50
23.50
2
Baltimore
Idaho
Russet
22
26
3
Detroit
Wisconsin
Russet
19
19.50
Cauliflower
Package: cartons film wrapped
1
Atlanta
California
White
22.50
23.50
2
Detroit
Michigan
White
13
15
3
Miami
Mexico
White
18
18
Apples
Package: cartons tray pack
1
Atlanta
Virginia
Red Delicious
19
19
2
Dallas
Washington 
Red Delicious
19
22
3
Detroit
Washington
Red Delicious
26
26.50
Source:USDA

 

UK GM wheat trial highlights costs of violent activism

via IRRI
Description: via IRRILast week, scientists at Rothamsted Research, an agriculture science institute based in the UK, made a rather unusual announcement: A five-year long field trial to test a genetically modified variety of wheat found that the crop did not repel pests as it was designed to.The news media, both in the UK and U.S., widely covered the story. Why was this unusual? It’s not often that a hypothesis that is not confirmed by experiments is published, let alone that it would receive so much attention. But, in this case, the wheat trial had caught media buzz earlier in 2012 when an activist group called ‘Take the Flour Back’ threatened to destroy and ‘decontaminate’ the field trials. Scientists eventually managed to convince the activist group to not damage the crop. So a demonstration and a relatively peaceful protest outside the institute resulted instead. Upon learning of the outcome of the trials, those opposed to GM crops quickly pointed out that the decision to do the experiments was flawed to begin with and called the trials a ‘pointless’ waste of public resources in a “bid to outwit nature”.

But the whole ordeal brought to light a bigger issue at play. Rothamsted disclosed last week that while the research funded completely by the UK government cost a little more than $1.1 million, UK taxpayers spent more than thrice that amount – approximately $3.4 million in fencing to protect the field and security measures to prevent the crops from being destroyed by vandals and activists.A cost that not mentioned and likely harder to calculate is the time and money lost by the institute in its efforts to engage Take the Flour Back in peaceful dialogue and protect its facilities from damage. They even spent the time to make an appeal on YouTube emphasizing that they were all publicly funded scientists conducting research, the results of which would be freely available.

Threats against trials of GM crops funded by governments or non-profits are not new. In 2011, Greenpeace vandalized a GM wheat trial in Australia, a crime for which the organization was fined and two members givensuspended jail sentences. The organization also destroyed trials of a genetically modified Bt eggplant in the Phillipines, leading to prosecutionthere as well. Infamously, in 2013 activists wearing HazMat suits uprooted fields of vitamin A enriched ‘Golden Rice’ being tested in the Philippines by the non-profit International Rice Research Institute with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation.

Opposition to GM crops often tends to focus on the potential control of all agriculture and in turn the food supply by large multinational corporate entities. Kumi Naidoo, the executive director of Greenpeace Internationalwrote in an opinion that he supported “Greenpeace Australia’s efforts to stop control of this crucial food staple from falling into the hands of transnational GM food companies.” But when crop varieties (GM or otherwise) developed by governments and non-profits are made freely available to farmers who can use them without any fear of patent infringement, this would only allow more growers to take control over what seeds they get and how they use them, contradicting the idea of a monopoly over food supply. Acts of vandalism only serve to push this process back, both in time and money.

Going back to the Rothamsted trials, the failure of these experiments is not really a failure for all GM crops as has been portrayed by many media reports. Firstly this was the first time a plant had been engineered to produce an insect pheromone, a feat in itself. And even as researchers hypothesized planned further experiments to overcome the potential problems with the current variety, there was much information gained from the trials that could be put to use in the future. Jonathan Gershenzon, a plant chemistry expert at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Germany commented on this in a Nature News article,“It was good that they tried. It’s a different system with wheat, it’s a different aphid,” and they did it in field conditions, he says. “I give them lots of points for trying and even more points for being willing to publish negative data. It shows how science can work.”
The trial has brought to everyone’s attention however, how such violent activism and protecting against it costs millions of dollars to taxpayers, significantly increasing the economic burden and slowing down research. At a time when research funding has declined significantly there is little doubt that these costs could have been put towards a more important goal – identify the most promising research be it either in organic, conventional or GMO agriculture and bring it to market as quickly as possible.

Arvind Suresh is a science media liaison at the Genetic Expert News Service. He is also a science communicator and a former laboratory biologist. Follow him @suresh_arvind.

http://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/2015/07/02/uk-gm-wheat-trial-highlights-costs-of-violent-activism/

U.S. rice growers want to get in on Cuba

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Description: http://www.marketplace.org/sites/default/files/styles/primary-image-766x447/public/GettyImages-472600974.jpg?itok=6keLNAvOThe U.S. will open an embassy in Havana — so said President Barack Obama Tuesday, a significant step showing that efforts to normalize relations with Cuba are ticking along. However, the embargo still stands, and only Congress can lift it. Should that happen, many U.S. exporters will stand to benefit, including American rice farmers.
Ray Stoesser grows about 4,000 to 5,000 acres of rice on his Texas farm and would very much like to see some of it head to Cuba.“We as farmers, we analyze what the market is, what people want to buy, and we grow it,” he says. “Right now, we don’t have enough buyers, and that’s why the rice price slipped so much.”Rice prices have dropped significantly this year, but Stoesser thinks if the U.S. could sell to Cuba, the increased demand would help prices recover. Cuba was a major importer of rice before the embargo.
But Louisiana grower Fred Zaunbrecher says margins are so slim right now, growers aren’t investing in new equipment or planning for new potential customers.“We really can’t bank on it, or grow a crop on it or make financial decisions on it until it’s actually opened and our markets are responding to that demand,” says Zaunbrecher.However, should Congress decide to lift the embargo, the rice industry will be ready, says Terry Harris with Riceland Foods, a large rice miller and marketer.“We have the abilities, we have the infrastructure,” he says. “We could ship rice to [Cuba] starting next week.”
A biplane from Williams Ag Service drops rice seeds on a field in Biggs, California. The U.S. rice industry could benefit from normalized relations with Cuba.
http://www.marketplace.org/topics/world/us-rice-growers-want-get-cuba

2 rice millers in vigilance net

Press Trust of India  |  Moga  
July 2, 2015 Last Updated at 19:57 IST
Two rice millers form villages Ajitwal and Kokri Kalan in the district were arrested today by sleuths of Punjab Vigilance Bureau on charge of embezzling paddy worth Rs 17 crore, an official has said. The millers had cheated Punjab Agro Food Corporation as it had stocked paddy on the premises of the rice mills, the official said, adding, on an enquiry it was found that grain worth Rs 17 crore was missing from the stock for custom milling. hile Ajitwal miller Manoj Jain, and one of the owner of mill at Kokari Kalan Kunal Bansal have been arrested, his partner Ashish is absconding, he said. A case of cheating was registered against the three millers on July 15, 2014 after they failed to deliver the custom milling paddy, he added.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/2-rice-millers-in-vigilance-net-115070201217_1.html

VB arrests 2 millers in Rs 18-cr paddy scams

Moga, July 2
The state Vigilance Bureau today arrested two rice millers in multi-crore rice scams, which were unearthed in Moga district last year.Notably, the Moga police, after having registered three criminal cases against the rice millers, had not arrested them. Instead, they gave a clean chit to them during a re-investigation marked by the Inspector General of Bathinda Range.
It was only after the intervention of the state Home Secretary that the investigations of these cases were handed over to the Vigilance Bureau recently. The total embezzlement of paddy and custom-milled rice by the three rice mills have been estimated at Rs 42 crore.Surinder Kumar, DSP of the bureau, who is investigating these cases, said Manoj Jain, owner of Mahadev Rice Mill, Ajitwal; and Kunal Bansal, owner of Mahaveer Rice Mill, Ajitwal; had been arrested. Paddy worth Rs 7,70,30,099 and Rs 10,52,96,315 had gone missing from these rice mills, respectively.They would be produced before a local court tomorrow to seek police remand. The third partner of these rice mills, Ashish Bansal, was yet to be arrested, the DSP said.
These two rice mills had together “embezzled” paddy and custom-milled rice worth over Rs 18 crore. The paddy was allotted to them by the Punjab Agro Foodgrains Corporation. The economic offences wing of the local police registered two separate cases against them.Meanwhile, the alleged kingpin in the third case, one of the biggest paddy scams of the state, worth Rs 24 crore, Inderpreet Singh, alias Bunty, is still on the run. He is son of Ram Tirath, owner of Kwality Rice Mills Private Limited, Dharamkot. An FIR was registered against him in the Dharamkot police station in December 2014.
http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/vb-arrests-2-millers-in-rs-18-cr-paddy-scams/101682.html
Rice mills directed to submit details of available stock
July 03, 2015 RECORDER REPORT 0 CommentsE-mailPrintPDF
The Punjab government has directed all the rice mills in the province to submit details of their available stocks in next five days to the government enabling it for chalking out a strategy to resolve the problems being faced by the growers at present or with regard to the coming crop. The millers will submit stock reports in next five days in the office of the Director General Agriculture (Extension). A form has been despatched through rice growers', traders and millers and market committees across the province.
Millers can obtain their form from any of these bodies and then submit stock reports directly or through these bodies, sources in the provincial agriculture department said here on Thursday. The sources said that an important meeting to discuss the problems of the rice growers was held here the other day with Parliamentary Secretary Ch Asad Ullah Arain in the chair. The meeting was attended by the stakeholders of rice business including exporters, millers and growers' representatives. The meeting decided that correct information of rice stocks available from crop 2013-14 and 2014-15 should be collected to get a clear picture and then talk to departments concerned for solution of the problems faced by the rice growers and businessmen.
http://www.brecorder.com/agriculture-a-allied/183/1203176/

FARE Crowns 2015 Culinary Competition Winners


Published in CSP Daily News
By  Abbie Westra, Editor-in-Chief, Convenience Store Products
 Photographs by Scott Mitchell
The winning dish: a Southwestern-style Asian bulgogi wrap with fruited rice salad and a caramelized-onion and barbecue vinaigrette spring salad.
Description: Winning dish in FARE Conference Culinary competitionNASHVILLE, Tenn. -- If CSP’s annual FARE Conference is all about bringing together operators from across the foodservice segments to talk about their businesses, then the event’s annual culinary competition is the embodiment of that mission.Held on the opening night of last week’s conference, the culinary competition pitted teams of chefs against each other to determine who could prepare the best dish in an hour or less. The contestants—ranging from convenience store chefs to senior-living operators and restaurant chefs—were grouped into teams a week in advance, giving them a quick chance to exchange ideas and develop a game plan.

The winning team featured Clementine de Roode, executive chef of the United States Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala., and Peyton Edmonson, commis chef, Sinema Restaurant and Bar in Nashville. They prepared a Southwestern-style Asian bulgogi wrap with fruited rice salad and a caramelized-onion and barbecue vinaigrette spring salad.Taking its cue from the Korean dish of grilled and marinated beef, the mesquite-smoked beef brisket was seasoned with red wine vinegar, brown sugar, barbecue sauce, chipotle pepper and cilantro—“a nice sweet and hot combination,” said de Roode. “We cooled it with the sweet crisp peppers and topped them with sweet and spicy pickled onion.”The rice was seasoned similar to sushi rice and mixed with pears, apples and sweet peppers.

“The salad added color and finished the plate with something light, spicy and sweet,” said de Roode.Participants were given 60 minutes to prepare, package and serve an original and innovative on-the-go-style meal item. They were judged on a 10-point scale in four categories, each weighted equally: taste, creativity and innovation, presentation and—a true FARE twist—portability/convenience: Dishes could be considered grab-and-go or made-to-order and either travel well for later consumption or be eaten easily on the go.To create their dishes, teams had to use at least one product from sponsor companies Arcobasso Foods, Emmi Foodservice, McCormick for Chefs and Tyson. They had to serve their dishes in to-go containers provided by Georgia-Pacific Professional, and use the Ovention ovens situated at each teams’ station. A pantry of basic staples was also available.
Other participants and teams consisted of:
§  Rich Daggett, CEO and president of Tasty Enterprises Inc., New York, and David Sparrow, culinary specialist forQuickChek Corp., Whitehouse Station, N.J.Dish: Creamy caramelized-onion mac and cheese and brisket sandwich.
§  Edward Ziems, executive chef for M. Gibson Hotels in Knoxville, and Brandon Shackleford, food and beverage director for M. Gibson Hotels, Knoxville. Dish: Barbecue beef brisket pizza topped with a Caribbean jerk and wild greens salad.
§  Mickey Sellard, executive chef/manager of dining services for Golden Living, Fort Smith, Ark., and Lisa Pickett, food and beverage category manager for Tri Star Energy LLC, Twice Daily & Daily’s, Nashville, Tenn. Dish:Chicken Alfredo sandwich with macerated peppers and tomatoes.
Judges for the culinary competition included:
§  Ben Lucky, project manager-QSR for Maverik, North Salt Lake, Utah
§  Sara Rush, senior associate editor for Restaurant Business magazine, Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.
§  Kyle Patterson, executive sous chef for Sinema Restaurant & Bar, Nashville, Tenn.
§  Neil Doherty, senior director of culinary development for Sysco Corp., Houston
§  Pete Torres, sous chef, EatZi’s Market and Bakery, Dallas
“It was no easy feat to quickly transform the market-basket items into a portable and elevated dish in this year’s culinary competition, but all of the competitors did a great job,” said Rush. “Those that delivered the most craveable meals played with big, bold flavors, whether it was a tangy barbecue sauce or a sweet-and-spicy Asian glaze, both of which had me going back bite after bite.”
FARE also welcomed Steak Shapiro to the role of emcee for this year’s competition. A well-known character in Atlanta food circles, he is featured in two Food Network shows: “Food Truck FaceOff” and “Best.Ever.” Celebrity chef Robert Irvine took the stage during the next day’s general session to help announce the winning team.Next year’s FARE conference will be held June 20-22 at the Gaylord Texan in Dallas. Stay tuned towww.fareconference.comfor details on the 2016 conference and culinary competition.

 

http://www.cspnet.com/category-news/foodservice/articles/fare-crowns-2015-culinary-competition-winners

 

Two rice varieties first domesticated in India’

Binay Singh  
VARANASI: Amidst raging controversy whether rice originated in India or China, data generated by a DNA chip developed for fingerprinting of rice by Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) scientists has indicated that the two most important groups of cultivated rice varieties were first domesticated in the Indian subcontinent. 
A patent has been filed for the chip and the work has been published in the prestigious journal, 'Nature Scientific Reports', on June 26. "The chip's data lends weight to the theory that the two most important groups of cultivated rice varieties, Aus and Aman (Indica), are very closely related to the Indian wild rice and were first domesticated in the Indian subcontinent. The findings are significant as they come amidst growing controversy whether rice originated in India or China and where was it first cultivated," said N K Singh, an alumnus of the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) who led a team of ICAR scientists in developing the chip for fingerprinting and breeding rice. 
The ICAR scientists faced the challenge of designing their own DNA chip as the only other such chip which has been developed by the Cornell University of the US, was not available for research in India. The Indian chip is unique as it is based on a comprehensive set of single-copy rice genes and, therefore, gives better result in terms of call rates and reproducibility for which a patent has been filed, Singh claimed. "The usefulness of the chip in genetic diversity and phylogenetic studies of cultivated and wild rice germplasm has been demonstrated. The chip has also proved useful for monitoring the spread of new rice varieties, checking the purity and varietal identity of rice seeds and therefore in quality control and regulation of rice seed business," Singh said. "Rice is the post important food crop of the world providing staple diet to more than half of the human population.
Therefore, developments in genetics and breeding of new high yielding, stress tolerant and improved quality rice varieties are crucial for the global food security. The ICAR rice chip will help identify new useful genes from our vast genetic resources of wild rice and traditional rice varieties to face the twin challenges of growing population and climate change," he claimed. Formerly with BHU's department of Genetics and Plant Breeding, Institute of Agricultural Science, Singh is the national professor, BP Pal Chair, at the National Research Centre on Plant Biotechnology, New Delhi.
According to BHU spokesperson Rajesh Kumar Singh, it's a breakthrough in rice genetic research as the high density microarray chip with 50,051 SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism) has been developed exclusively for DNA fingerprinting and breeding applications in rice. SNP is the most abundant form of DNA sequence variation present in the plant genomes. ICAR scientists designed and validated the SNP genotyping chip for use in genetic and evolutionary studies as well as molecular breeding in rice. "Assays with the chip showed high success rate and reproducibility because of the single-copy gene based design with no sequence redundancy and cross-hybridisation problems," Singh said.
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/varanasi/Two-rice-varieties-first-domesticated-in-India/articleshow/47908571.cms

Indigenous varieties of rice conserved in Odisha

  
CUTTACK: Both the Centre and the state are collecting and conserving indigenous rice varieties to craft new ones.The State Seed Testing Laboratory (SSTL) in Bhubaneswar, Central Rice Research Institute (CRRI) in Cuttack, National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR) in New Delhi under ICAR and Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers' Rights Authority (PPV & FRA) in New Delhi are conserving indigenous varieties. The objective is to culture them, preserve them and come out with high-yielding varieties.


"Rapid urbanization and industrialization destroy rice varieties' habitats. Besides, we use their best genes to generate new varieties," said CRRI director Trilochan Mohapatra.Now CRRI has nearly 30,000 indigenous varieties, including over 5,000 of Odisha and 11,000 of NBPGR. "We preserve them by maintaining a temperature of 4 degree centigrade and 30% relative humidity for medium-term conservation of eight years. But, NBPGR has nearly 10, 2000 varieties of different crops, including rice. It stores them by maintaining temperature of -18 degree centigrade and 15% relative humidity for long-term conservation of over 50 years," said B C Patra, a CRRI scientist.
The NBPGR's stock with CCRI includes 300 wild varieties, according to D C Pani, In-charge of NBPGR's regional station in Cuttack. "Only 20 wild rice species have been identified in the world, including five in Odisha. Our 300 varieties belong to these five species," he said.Scientists genetically cleanse indigenous varieties of their weak and vulnerable characteristics to boost their productive potential and resistance capacity. Conversion of 'nua dhusara' from 'dhusara' and 'nua kala jeera' from 'kala jeera' by CRRI are pointers. Yield potential increases by 25% on an average after genetic cleansing, according to SSTL's assistant agriculture officer C Panda.
While NBPGR collects up to 20 gram of a variety, CRRI gathers maximum 250 gram. But, SSTL collects 3 to 4 kg. India has over 80,000 indigenous rice varieties. The NGPGR, which also collects samples of other crops, keeps small quantities because of space crunch. Similarly, CCRI collects rice varieties not only from different states but also from foreign countries. But, SSTL stores larger quantities for detailed characterization of a variety."Each variety has over 62 traits and it is mandatory to analyze 29 and report to PPV & FRA for its acceptance," explained S R Dhua, a former CRRI scientist and adviser to SSTL
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/environment/flora-fauna/Indigenous-varieties-of-rice-conserved-in-Odisha/articleshow/47910184.cmsField Day Features USA Rice Presentations      

Rice farmer Ray Stoesser (l) in talks with USA Rice's Ben Mosely
EAGLE LAKE, TX -- USA Rice staff Betsy Ward and Ben Mosely addressed Texas farmers at the dinner and program following the Eagle Lake Rice Field Day this week.Ward gave an overview of USA Rice work on behalf of rice farmers and specifically addressed trade issues critical to the rice industry like the TPP negotiations, Iraq, China, and domestic and international promotion initiatives.Mosely outlined USA Rice's work with Congress and the U.S. Department of Agriculture on implementation of the farm bill, and plans to submit a pre-proposal next week for a small reservoir here as part of the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).  The project will be executed in cooperation with Ducks Unlimited and the Lower Colorado River Authority, among several other partners, as a way to reduce groundwater usage on rice fields and in managed waterfowl habitat.
"Visiting farmers helps us develop our message to Congress and federal agencies," said Ward.  "Rice is a small commodity and our goal is to speak to policymakers and influencers with one voice so that the industry delivers a strong, clear message.  We want to keep fighting above our weight class for farmers in Texas and across the rice states."Ward and Mosely also answered questions on recent changes to farm policy and trade from members of the Texas Rice Producers' Legislative Group and the Texas Rice Producers' Board and heard from both groups about the important issues on the ground.
Contact:  Amy Doane (703) 236-1454
WOTUS Publication Met with Multiple Lawsuits      
WASHINGTON, DC -- On Monday the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) and Army Corp of Engineer's Clean Water Rule:  Definition of "Waters of the United States,"commonly called Waters of the U.S. or WOTUS, was published in the Federal Register along with thousands of pages of supporting documentation showing the agencies' intent.  The rule is effective on August 28, 2015. Lawsuits began to be filed as soon as the document was published with four suits filed by 27 states and one lawsuit filed by a private energy company; one more state-initiated lawsuit is expected.  The primary tenets of the lawsuits are: the rule was finalized while a major structural document, The Connectivity Report, was incomplete; there were procedural violations such as a failure to respond to comments; and, the rule violated the Administrative Procedures Act, the Clean Water Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act. 
  Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi filed a joint lawsuit asserting that the EPA's final rule is "an unconstitutional and impermissible expansion of federal power over the states and their citizens and property owners."  There appears to be overlap in the lawsuits which may lead to consolidation in some cases.The rule states that rice fields are excluded from jurisdiction.  A review of the Response to Comments suggests that EPA's intent was more nuanced.
 Rice fields that would revert to uplands if no longer farmed are excluded as are rice fields that are prior converted wetlands. However, rice fields that were created in wetlands and retain wetland characteristics could be jurisdictional but normal farming exemptions would still apply.  Rice fields are allowed other uses including crop/crawfish rotation, fallowing, and hunting without becoming jurisdictional waters.
 Rice irrigation water drainage conveyances are open to interpretation.  Conveyances bringing water into rice fields are likely excluded from jurisdiction while drainage ditches that empty into waters of the U.S. are likely within jurisdiction of the rule.
USA Rice will continue to review the supporting documentation, including the Response to Comments, to fully understand the rule's ramifications for farmers.
 Contact:  Steve Hensley (703) 236-1445
Industry Calls for Normalization of Relations with Cuba Grow Stronger      
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Choose the shortest rice route 
WASHINGTON, DC -- The U.S. State Department and the Cuban government recently announced they will re-open embassies in Washington and Havana.  President Barack Obama said that Secretary of State John Kerry would travel to Cuba later this summer to formally open the embassy, following the official re-establishment of diplomatic relations on July 20, and he called on Congress to fully lift the embargo, which has been in place since 1961.  

Prior to the President's announcement, a resolution came out of the Louisiana State Senate, authored by Senator Dan Morrish, from Jefferson Davis Parish, urging the U.S. Congress to "restore trade relations between the United States and Cuba in order to open the market to Louisiana rice."

Louisiana's rice industry has the potential to benefit greatly from normalizing trade relations with Cuba, and the resolution sent to Congress makes the parameters of that potential clear. USA Rice's involvement with the U.S. Agriculture for Cuba (USACC), and support for normalizing trade relations with the country, were also mentioned in the Louisiana resolution."USA Rice has been advocating for the end of the embargo," said USA Rice President & CEO Betsy Ward.  "Along with loosened travel restrictions and some new economic ties, the restoration of diplomatic relations and reestablishment of embassies would be a huge steps toward this goal." The United States exported $64 million worth of rice to Cuba as recently as 2004 but the Cubans have not bought any U.S. rice since 2009.



Weekly Rice Sales, Exports Reported        
WASHINGTON, DC -- Net rice sales of 69,200 MT for 2014/2015 were down 47 percent from the previous week, but up 18 percent from the prior four-week average, according to today's Export Sales Highlights report. Increases were reported for Mexico (45,700 MT), South Korea (7,500 MT), Costa Rica (7,400 MT), Jordan (4,000 MT), and Canada (1,900 MT). Net sales of 13,000 MT for 2015/2016 were reported for South Korea (9,000 MT), Canada (3,200 MT), and unknown destinations (800 MT). Exports of 50,800 MT were down 25 percent from the previous week and 28 percent from the prior four-week average. The primary destinations were Japan (10,000 MT), Haiti (10,000 MT), Honduras (7,800 MT), Costa Rica (6,500 MT), and Mexico (5,700 MT).
This summary is based on reports from exporters from the period June 19-25, 2015. 
CME Group/Closing Rough Rice Futures   
CME Group (Prelim):  Closing Rough Rice Futures for July 2
Month
Price
Net Change

July 2015
$10.380
+ $0.025
September 2015
$10.635
+ $0.010
November 2015
$10.900
+ $0.010
January 2016
$11.165
+ $0.010
March 2016
$11.365
+ $0.005
May 2016
$11.365
+ $0.005
July 2016
$11.365
+ $0.005

 

Local Rice Farmers May Soon Trade With Cuba

Jeané Franseen
07/01/2015 03:49 PM
07/01/2015 05:30 PM
NORTHEAST LOUISIANA--  Rice farming is a trade important to the state of Louisiana

"Over the entire state, there's about 400-thousand acres of rice grown," says Richard Letlow, LSU AgCenter County Agent. Description: http://video-static.clipsyndicate.com/zStorage/clipsyndicate/175/2015/07/01/22/19/ibzyoqqewzurrybyoopc.jpg

Much of the rice grown comes from Morehouse and Richland Parish."There's 40-thousand acres of rice generally in Morehouse Parish and Richland Parish has about 20. So there are many acres that we have," says Letlow.County agent for the Louisiana State University Ag-Center, Richard Letlow, says relations between the two countries will lead to more rice sells."Any time you open up a new market, of course that's going to give it a bit more competition and more rice sells will probably mean high rice prices in the long run," says Letlow.
Letlow adds before the embargo in the 60's, they once traded with Cuba and did pretty well economically."Louisiana rice was exported to Cuba as one of the biggest markets we had here in Louisiana," says Letlow.Those rice sales could also improve Louisiana's economy as a whole."Which means more money for the state. Anytime anything is exported through the port, that helps the state in general. The state gets tax money off that," says Letlow.Today, President Barack Obama announced that the United States and Cuba have struck a deal to open embassies in each other's capitals, and re-establish diplomatic relations for the first time in half a century.
http://www.myarklamiss.com/story/d/story/local-rice-farmers-may-soon-trade-with-cuba/82477/UU7Xfv6N2EyBr8K4C0O7wA?utm_source=USA+Rice+Daily%2C+July+2%2C+2015&utm_campaign=Friday%2C+December+13%2C+2013&utm_medium=email

One more time: Don’t delay enrolling in ARC/PLC programs in the new farm bill

Payments could be held up if signup falters
Jun 28, 2015Forrest Laws | Delta Farm Press
Wilson said Farm Service Agency personnel are hopeful they can complete the ARC or PLC enrollment for the nation’s farmers by the Sept. 30 deadline. But she acknowledged staff and producers may be challenged. Besides enrolling in the programs for two crop years, growers will also be reporting their acreage, and some may be signing up for disaster programs.Tired of making trips to your county Farm Service Agency office to comply with yet another of the myriad requirements of the Agricultural Act of 2014 – aka the 2014 farm bill?
You’re probably not alone, but now is not the time to throw in the towel. The latest deadline of Sept. 30 for enrollment in the Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs could be the most important deadline yet.Arkansas Farm Service Agency specialists told participants in the University of Arkansas Extension Service’s Farm Bill Webinar series Thursday (June 25) that failing to meet the ARC/PLC enrollment deadline could delay the issuance of payments for the two programs.
Loss Coverage or Agricultural Risk Coverage payments are triggered for the 2014 crops – after Oct. 1 of this year. Farmers have until Sept. 30 to enroll in either of those programs at FSA offices for the 2014 and 2015 crops.“If for some reason, enrollment has to continue into October – the sheer volume of enrollment could run us into October – then PLC or ARC payments for wheat and feed grains (corn, grain sorghum and soybeans) would be delayed,” says Anita Wilson, state agricultural program specialist with the Arkansas Farm Service Agency.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Since this article was posted, officials with the USA Rice Federation have told Delta Farm Press that Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has agreed to publish the final 2014 national average market price for medium grain, excluding Japonica rice, and the preliminary 2014 national average market price for long grain rice in its Oct. 29 Agricultural Prices Report.
“ARC/PLC payments for medium grain rice, excluding Japonica, will be made in early November 2015, rather than February 2016,” the secretary said in a letter to USA Rice Producers Group Chairman John Owen and to USA Rice Federation Chairman Dow Brantley.“NASS will also publish a preliminary 2014 national average market price for long grain rice in the October 29 report. This price will be used to establish 2014 PLC and ARC payment rates. The payment rates will be deemed final and will not be adjusted if the final price differs from the preliminary price.” 
http://deltafarmpress.com/cotton/one-more-time-don-t-delay-enrolling-arcplc-programs-new-farm-bill?page=1&utm_source=USA+Rice+Daily%2C+July+2%2C+2015&utm_campaign=Friday%2C+December+13%2C+2013&utm_medium=email

Agriculture: El Nino to erode Thai output by 2%

2 Jul 2015 at 08:10
The government expects drought from the El Nino weather phenomenon to shave Thai rice production for this year's main crop by 2% to 26 million tonnes, though this could mean a rise in prices.The estimate from the Agriculture Ministry is based on a delay in rice farming for two months until August. However, if the drought is prolonged, the rice yield may be much lower.  
The ministry expects El Nino will cut global rice production by 1% from 476 million tonnes last year. Commerce Minister Chatchai Sarikulya said yesterday at the meeting of the National Rice Policy Committee chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha that rice prices have risen since the middle of last month, as importers are wary about potential higher rice prices thanks to lower supply from India, Vietnam and Cambodia.However, Nipon Paopongsakorn, a distinguished fellow at the Thailand Development Research Institute, argued it remains difficult to predict the impact of El Nino on agriculture.
Chookiat Ophaswongse, honorary president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association, said the dry spell has had a psychological effect on global rice trade. Importers are increasingly aware the dry weather may worsen rice production.Buyers who had been reluctant to purchase rice and stockpile it in recent years are now doing just that because they are worried global rice prices will rise, he said.In a related development, yesterday the committee approved the Commerce Ministry's plan to open bids for rice sales for industrial use such as ethanol production.However, a panel handling the rice sales was told to reconsider the appropriate volume for ethanol in order to curb the impact on other crops used for ethanol production such as tapioca and sugar cane.
The Commerce Ministry reported state rice stocks as of June totalled 15.46 million tonnes. Since Gen Prayut took office, the ministry has held seven auctions to speed up disposal of 18 million tonnes of stocks accumulated from rice pledging schemes. It has sold 3 million tonnes for 30 billion baht.Existing state stocks consist of 4.6 million tonnes of C-grade poor quality rice, which the ministry plans to call bids for this month for industrial use."Some 1.29 million tonnes are categorised as rotting rice that cannot be sold for ethanol production, but could be used as fuel for cement production," said Gen Chatchai.The committee also approved measures to stabilise main crop prices, including 200 baht per rai to cut production costs, a 3% interest rate subsidy for millers to purchase paddy, and a 3% interest rate subsidy for cooperatives to delay their stock sales.

Bangkok Post e-newspaper

 Indigenous varieties of rice conserved in Odisha

By Niroj Ranjan Misra, TNN | 2 Jul, 2015, 03.41PM IST

CUTTACK: Both the Centre and the state are collecting and conserving indigenous rice varieties to craft new ones.The State Seed Testing Laboratory (SSTL) in Bhubaneswar, Central Rice Research Institute (CRRI) in Cuttack, National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR) in New Delhi under ICAR and Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers' Rights Authority (PPV & FRA) in New Delhi are conserving indigenous varieties.
The objective is to culture them, preserve them and come out with high-yielding varieties."Rapid urbanization and industrialization destroy rice varieties' habitats. Besides, we use their best genes to generate new varieties," said CRRI director Trilochan Mohapatra.
Now CRRI has nearly 30,000 indigenous varieties, including over 5,000 of Odisha and 11,000 of NBPGR. "We preserve them by maintaining a temperature of 4 degree centigrade and 30% relative humidity for medium-term conservation of eight years. But, NBPGR has nearly 10, 2000 varieties of different crops, including rice.
It stores them by maintaining temperature of -18 degree centigrade and 15% relative humidity for long-term conservation of over 50 years," said B C Patra, a CRRI scientist.The NBPGR's stock with CCRI includes 300 wild varieties, according to D C Pani, In-charge of NBPGR's regional station in Cuttack. "Only 20 wild rice species have been identified in the world, including five in Odisha. Our 300 varieties belong to these five species," he said.
Scientists genetically cleanse indigenous varieties of their weak and vulnerable characteristics to boost their productive potential and resistance capacity. Conversion of 'nua dhusara' from 'dhusara' and 'nua kala jeera' from 'kala jeera' by CRRI are pointers. Yield potential increases by 25% on an average after genetic cleansing, according to SSTL's assistant agriculture officer C Panda.
While NBPGR collects up to 20 gram of a variety, CRRI gathers maximum 250 gram. But, SSTL collects 3 to 4 kg. India has over 80,000 indigenous rice varieties. The NGPGR, which also collects samples of other crops, keeps small quantities because of space crunch. Similarly, CCRI collects rice varieties not only from different states but also from foreign countries. But, SSTL stores larger quantities for detailed characterization of a variety.
"Each variety has over 62 traits and it is mandatory to analyze 29 and report to PPV & FRA for its acceptance," explained S R Dhua, a former CRRI scientist and adviser to SSTL.


http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/environment/flora-fauna/indigenous-varieties-of-rice-conserved-in-odisha/articleshow/47910184.cms

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