Monday, July 06, 2015

6th July (Monday),2015 Daily Exclusive ORYZA Rice E-Newsletter by Riceplus Magazine

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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6th July (Monday),2015 Daily Global Rice E-Newsletter by Riceplus Magazine

Government Job: Indian Institute of Rice Research, Hyderabad Recruitment 2015

Editorial Team | July 03, 2015 4:32 PM
Description: Description: Clerk LDC

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Applications are invited by the Project Director, Indian Institute of Rice Research (IIRR), Hyderabad from eligible candidates for recruitment to 2 administrative posts of Lower Division Clerk at IIRR, Hyderabad, under the administrative control of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). The recruitment would be done through written test and interviews to be conducted by the IIRR. Last date to apply for recruitment is within 30 days/ 45 days (as applicable) from the date of advertisement.
Vacancy details: 
·         Name of the posts: Lower Division Clerk
·         Total posts: 02 posts
·         Pay scale: Pay Band 1 of Rs. 5200- 20200 with Grade Pay of Rs.1900
·         Educational qualification: Candidates applying should have pass Class 12th or equivalent qualification from recognized a Board or University and have typing speed of 35 wpm in English or 30 wpm in Hindi on computer.
·         Age limit: Candidates applying should not be less than 18 years and not more than 27 years of age as on January 01, 2015.
Selection process: Candidates would be recruited through an examination which shall be conducted in 2 stages:
·         Written test
·         Interview
 How to apply: All eligible and interested candidates should send their application, in the prescribed format, along with crossed DD of Rs. 300 in favour of ‘ICAR Unit – A/c IIRR’ payable at Hyderabad, as non-refundable application fee, and attested copies of supporting documents to ‘The Administrative Officer, ICAR – Indian Institute of Rice Research, Rajendranagar, Hyderabad -500030’ by post within 30 days/ 45 days ( as applicable) from the date of advertisement. [No application fee for SC/ ST/ PH/ and female candidates]
Important dates: Last date for receipt of applications:
·         within 30 days from the date of advertisement.
·         within 45 days from the date of advertisement for candidates from Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Tripura, Andaman & Nicobar, Lakshadweep, Minicoy and Admindivi Island. Ladakh division of J&K state, Pangi sub-division of Chamba and Lahul & Spiti district of HP.
·         Date of Advertisement: June 29, 2015
Click here for recruitment advertisement.

Rice Business and Matters Arising

04 Jul 2015
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Julius Ogunrombi
Description: Description: 0603F05.Muhammodu-Buhari.jpg - 0603F05.Muhammodu-Buhari.jpg
One primary campaign promise of the Buhari-led government has been to stamp out corruption in Nigeria. At the moment, the country’s rice sub-sector is assailed with corruption, protectionism and smuggling, all pulling each other in the same direction of destroying the plan of self-sufficiency in the rice sector.
 Analysts are however hopeful that the rice sub-sector will benefit from this proposed cleansing.It is a pity however, that the rice business is becoming synonymous with high level corruption that runs from ordinary citizens smuggling one or two bags of rice into the country, to the big ones who work with Custom officers, and government officials who circumvent the nation by influencing government’s policy and regulation to their selfish advantage. In the end, the efforts of the nation toward self-sufficiency remains largely unattainable.Of particular interest is the furore which arose from the lack of transparency in the 2014 Rice Quota allocation.
 This has brought renewed anxieties over the 2015 provision which reliable sources claimed, were quickly passed by the Jonathan-government to favour some ‘friends-of-government’.As it is, the Buhari-led government appears to be in the process of weighing the magnitude of corruption in the different economic sectors; it would be good if he makes a priority of reviewing policies and regulations in the rice sub-sector, the rice value chain relevance of foreign and local investors, and as well place checks in the activities of government officials involved in the rice market.As it appears, we are fast becoming a country that does not learn from its past. So far, the 2014 Rice Quota replays the rice uproar of 1981, which happened during the Shehu Shagari government.
At that time, considering the fluctuating irregularities in the market, and subsequent rice shortages, the government decided to protect local rice farmers from imported food through the quota system. And just as promised in the 2014 Quota, it was an attempt to protect local players from foreign investors. The result however was a high-level corruption among high government officials.The cusp of rice policy-making in Nigeria typically shifts between high tariffs and quota allocations. These processes encourage smugglers to find ways to corrupt systems like the Customs Service which already lacks integrity.  It also encourages local traders to partner with timeserving importers who are grouped with genuine investors, building mills and raising paddies across Nigeria.
It is important to note that government’s instability of policy and regulations in the rice sector is a major reason it has lacked sustainable growth. Foreign investors are not the problem; as they are governed by the rules of the land.Also, granting rice quota to those who are all out to make quick money, without investing in the rice value chain, undermines the effort of those who are working towards the self-sufficiency goal of the government.Interestingly, some ‘victimised’ foreign investors are in this category. They are the ones who run functional mills, grow paddies, and work with local farmers.Should the government decide to offer equity to investors, it should consider bring it with open hands; especially in this case as food security is involved.

 It should also place in perspective that investors are running a business, and this implies they need to plan ahead, manage budgets and have turnarounds.  The inconsistency of deploying unstable regulations and policies, makes rice business a huge risk, and in the long run, largely unattractive for investment.It can be said that the 2014 quota allocation is an obvious way of how a government must not implement policies, and it is largely hoped that the Buhari-led government would not repeat the same mistake.The crisis surrounding the quota began when the Federal Government accused foreign investors in the country of owing the government N36.56 billion naira, which they explained accrued from exceeded quota allocations.  As published in newspapers, the Nigerian Rice Millers Association (NRMA) said it received a circular from the former Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on the 2015 – 2017 Fiscal Policy Measure on Rice. It stated that the President had assessed the fiscal policy on rice, as a measure to promote investments in the rice value chain through backward integration as from 26 May 2014.

One of the newspapers reporting quoted from the circular:  “Importation of Husked Brown rice (H.S. Code 10006.2000.00) and semi-milled or wholly milled rice, whether or not polished or glazed (H.S. Code 10006.3010.00), by investors with rice milling capacity and verifiable backward integration programme, shall attract 10 per cent duty rate with a levy of 20 percent and will be limited to the national supply gap to be determined by the Committee (for a period of fours) and; Importation of Husked Brown rice (H.S. Code 10006.2000.00) and semi-milled or wholly milled rice, whether or not polished or glazed (H.S. Code 10006.3010.00), by pure traders, shall attract an import duty rate of 10 percent plus 60 percent levy.

”By the time the circular got to NRMA, the Nigerian Customs had granted some companies—merchants, investors—shipment, using the preferential tariff reserved for the investors. Mindless of this, the NRMA went along with the circular, and imported rice into the country, but received another letter in December, which was backdated to November 27 from the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, informing the association that a tentative import quota had been given to each rice importer. It asked them to pay 10 per cent duty and 60 per cent levy for a surplus into the national treasury. This would be the quota list of twenty-six companies, paraded around.Hence it was an ex post fact o penalty which to an observer could be a form of ‘foreign investor exploitation.
’ The truth as time have revealed, over and over, is that the problem in our rice sub-sector is beyond the outsiders-are-milking-us issue, rather we have a national problem.  The corruption in our rice market is influenced locally; so that advancement of the-foreigners-are-out-to-kill-our-rice-market theory, works as a huge distraction on solving the problem ground.The rice sub-sector is in need of an urgent change, and the Nigerian government may need to call for a stakeholders’ meeting to understand the immediate problems, while establishing long-term solutions that will help the country reach its self-sufficiency goal.Ogunrombi, a public affairs analyst, writes from Ibadan, Oyo State

CBN: Our Economic Fundamentals Remain Strong, Replies Economist

04 Jul 2015
Mr. Godwin Emefiele, CBN Governor

Obinna Chima
Description: Description: 051014F-Godwin-Emefiele.jpg - 051014F-Godwin-Emefiele.jpgFollowing its decision to exclude funding of 41 items from the forex market, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Friday told The Economist that Nigeria's economic fundamentals remain strong despite grappling with oil price decline.
The apex bank added that it would not take desperate measures to satisfy those it described as "few misguided interests in the market.
"The CBN's reaction was in response to an article by The Economist titled: “Toothpick Alert,” published in the print edition of July 4th 2015, of the international magazine.The banking sector regulator also said it would "not panic", even as it reiterated that Nigeria cannot attain its full potentials by importing anything and everything.The apex bank last week announced the restriction of importers of 41 items from accessing forex from the official foreign exchange market.Some of these items include rice, wheel barrows, head pans, cement, margarine, palm kernel/vegetable oil, meat and processed meat products, vegetable and processed vegetable products, poultry, private airplanes/jets, Indian incense, toothpicks and canned fish in sauce (geisha/sardines), among others.

As a result of this, the value of the naira has depreciated to N230 to a dollar at the parallel market.But the Central Bank pointed out that The Economist article ignored the fact that the exchange rate is simply a price that is essentially determined by the forces of supply and demand.It explained: "The CBN believes that the 48 per cent decline in oil prices may not be transitory and made bold policy changes including closure of the subsidised official forex window, which resulted in a 22 per cent depreciation in the naira. Because the Nigerian economy is heavily dependent on imports and the exchange rate pass-through to inflation is high, we believe that this adjustment is optimal at this time.
"Contrary to the article’s argument, adjustments to a sharp decline in supply of US dollars cannot all be borne by an indeterminate depreciation, without considering the full impact on the Nigerian economy. The demand side also has to be considered, not just in response to the pressure on the naira but as an opportunity to change the economy’s structure, resuscitate local manufacturing, and expand job creation for our citizens."Take rice imports, for example: why should we keep allocating scarce forex to rice importers when vast amounts of paddy rice of comparable quality produced by poor hardworking local farmers across the rice belts of Nigeria are wasted, and farmers are falling deeper into poverty while we export their jobs and income to rice producing countries?

"Few decades ago, Nigeria was one of the world’s largest producers of palm oil but today we import nearly 600,000 metric tonnes while Indonesia and Malaysia combine to export over 90 per cent of global demand. Under these circumstances, the CBN will do the little it can to protect the jobs and incomes of local farmers, using some of the same principles Western Economies use to justify the protection of their farmers through huge subsidies."More also, it pointed out that if the article believes the CBN should adjust to reflect the current parallel market rate, why was the suggestion not made in the week following the inauguration of President Buhari when the same rate fell sharply to under N190 per dollar.
"For far too long, this trend has significantly weakened the operating capacities of our industries, but now is a good opportunity to begin a reversal. Although the article hastily derides this idea as lacking in economic foundations, it is the same principles upon which many other countries do not allow importation of certain products."Furthermore, it appears condescending to suggest that the list of items seemed “to have been drawn up by someone wandering around a house and a building site”. On the contrary, items were only included after thorough and exhaustive discussions at the highest policymaking body of the Bank, with the strategic national interest of Nigeria.
"Like other oil-exporting countries, Nigeria is grappling with its share of the aftermath of the oil price decline. Despite this, our economic fundamentals remain strong. Inflation is still within the CBN’s single-digit band, the exchange rate has stabilised around N197 per dollar for the last  five months, GDP expanded by four per cent in the first quarter of 2015, and 469,070 new jobs were created in the same quarter."With ingenuity and productiveness, we believe that Nigerians will seize this opportunity and use it for the greater good of the country. As we transition into a new administration in Nigeria, we must continue to ensure policy stability at all times," it added.
Tags: News, Nigeria, Featured, CBN, Economy

Probe source of fake rice, Aquino orders

By: Ronnel W. Domingo

06:53 AM July 4th, 2015

President Benigno Aquino III on Friday ordered law enforcement agencies to start tracking down sources of “synthetic rice” that may have entered the country although state scientists would not say for sure whether or not a suspicious sample from Davao City was indeed made of fake grains.The President told Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to get their investigation line agencies—the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) of the Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation, respectively—on the case.
The Food Development Center (FDC), the laboratory arm of the National Food Authority (NFA), held a press briefing yesterday to say that preliminary results of their tests showed the Davao sample was “contaminated with dibutyl phthalate or DBP, a raw material for making flexible plastic products.”But FDC officer in charge Jocelyn M. Sales stressed that further tests were needed to know whether the sample was actually not rice. The samples, she added, did contain starch—which is also found in rice.

Earlier reports on the suspected synthetic rice, supposedly smuggled from China, included information that the grains were a mixture of potatoes, sweet potatoes and plastic or an industrial synthetic resin.DBP is a plasticizer used to soften materials like PVC so that it could be processed easily. “It is used in the manufacture of various products, including food-containing items like plastic wraps and lunch boxes,” Sales explained in a press briefing yesterday.
Francis Pangilinan, Presidential Assistant on Food Security and Agricultural Modernization, told Davao residents not to panic. He said the contaminant DBP was not a poison that could kill a person immediately upon ingestion.“I was informed that, for harmful effects to be felt, one has to be ingesting DBP everyday for at least three months,” Pangilinan said.“And even if the sample from Davao City was found with DBP, there was no cause for alarm or panic,” he insisted. “The NFA has been conducting daily inspections to ensure that there is no fake rice in the market,” he claimed.
NFA administrator Renan B. Dalisay said the agency had addressed more than 20 complaints from various parts of the country, including General Santos City and Metro Manila, regarding consumers’ suspicions about the milled rice they bought.“In most of these instances, we were able to easily verify that the questionable product was actually rice,” Dalisay said. “It was only on the complaint from Davao that we needed laboratory tests.”Roxas, interviewed in Cagayan de Oro City, confirmed that the President discussed the matter with him early yesterday. He said he had already told the CIDG to “help the NFA and the DA (Department of Agriculture) in their investigation.”In particular, he tasked the CIDG to determine the component of the “plastic rice” and locate the warehouses where such shipments are brought. “The CIDG should determine where these came from. In other words, the police will follow and establish the supply chain or custody chain (of the fake rice),” he said.“We will also find out where these were sold and where are the warehouses so that we will able to know how they arrived),” Roxas added.

De Lima also said on Friday she was ordered by the President to investigate the presence of synthetic rice in the Philippine market.“I’ve been directed by the President to look into that. I will constitute a task force to investigate that,” De Lima said in a statement sent via text message yesterday.She said she would coordinate with Pangilinan and tap the NBI.The NFA found that the suspicious rice in Davao City came from a trader in Bansalan town, Davao del Sur.Fake rice is said to look no different from real rice but has the texture of styrofoam when cooked and consumed. With Marlon Ramos and Tarra Quismundo

C-DAC launches mobile apps marking Digital India Week

The Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) has launched four mobile apps as part of the Digital India Week, the first two pertaining to agriculture, and the other two for fishermen and environment education for children.RiceVocs mobile app is a compendium of rice-related vocabulary, and comprises about 2,500 terms related to paddy crop, arranged in alphabetical order.It works as a ready reckoner for the extension officers working with the knowledge about rice, a press release informed on Friday.The Learnrice mobile app will provide users with a comprehensive list of courses specifically designed for paddy crop. Both the apps were developed in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Rice Research.
The Potential Fishing Zone Advisory mobile apps in Indian languages can be used to produce advisories to the fishermen on daily basis with specific references to the 586 fish landing centres along the Indian coast.The app has been developed in collaboration with the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS).The Joy of Learning mobile apps developed in association with Centre for Environment Education for classes III to V, VI to VIII, and IX to XI provide details of useful science experiments for schoolchildren, the note informed.In another press release, the C-DAC informed that it has signed a MoU with the Kakatiya University to forge research and academic collaboration.
Global Rice Bran Oil Conference 2015 to be held in August  
            Mumbai | Saturday, Jul 4 2015 IST
The second international conferencetitled 'Global Rice Bran Oil Conference 2015', hosted by The SolventExtractors' Association of India (SEA), will be held on 7th and 8thAugust 2015 at Trident Hotel, Nariman Point, Mumbai. The conference,according to the organizers SEA, will bring together over 400delegates and special invitees from not only India, but also fromChina, Japan, Vietnam, Thailand and other countries, for a closerinteraction for promoting rice bran oil and its value addedproducts.
 This conference will showcase the latest products anddisseminate information on the latest technologies on rice bran oiland its value added products.Speaking on the beneficial qualities of rice bran oil, an officialfrom SEA said, "Rice bran oil, also know as the 'Wonder Oil' is aunique edible oil produced from the oily layer of brown rice, whichis separated as rice bran, while producing white rice."The world production of rice bran oil is about 15 lakh tonnes, outof which 9.5 lakh tonnes are produced in India, against thepotential of 16 lakh tonnes, according to SEA. Other major rice branoil producing countries are China, Japan, Thailand and Vietnam.UNI JS FH SM1432
-- (UNI) -- C-1-DL0169-212636.Xml 1234

Every grain of rice

Description: Description: Sightly yellowish Saila rice.
Sightly yellowish Saila rice.KARACHI: They say no feast is complete without the rice dish be it in the shape of pulao, biryani, the plain white variety or sweet zarda. There are some people who don’t touch bread or roti and like having everything with rice. In the subcontinent, lentils and fish curry are usually eaten with plain white rice.Rice as mentioned already can be cooked in many ways. Pulao is cooked in broth. There is also pea pulao or vegetable pulao that’s popular among children. Biryani, of course, is enjoyed with plenty of spices and meat and potatoes. Zarda or sweet rice is coloured saffron and is a popular dish for distributing when sharing any good news with friends.
Description: Description: Sacks full of rice in a godown.But these are different ways of cooked rice. There are also different kinds of rice used for different kinds of dishes. You must have heard of Basmati, Saila, Tota, etc. But a visit to the retail market, Jodia Bazaar, introduces you to several more varieties of rice in different jars. There are varieties such as Kernel rice, Super Kernel, Irri-6, etc. There are other varieties too that are different in colour when compared with each other. Some are white, some off-white, some even grey. And all are priced differently. Buyers come all day examining the different varieties and taking or placing orders for what they need or like.
Description: Description: The different varieties of rice on display in jars at a shop.“The varieties are created during sorting to remove the brown peels that the thrashing in the fields didn’t do away with, stones within the grains, etc. During the process, the machines may break the grains which are separated to sell as Tota or broken rice,” explains Fahad Ahmed, a rice dealer.“Saila rice doesn’t break easily. Since it’s rather stubborn, we steam it, which changes its colour from white to yellowish. Some varieties of Saila is double steamed as well,” he shares.
Sacks full of rice in a godown. “Some people prefer extra long grains that grow even longer when cooked. They don’t mind paying a little extra for it. Others who are price conscious and don’t care about the appearance go for the cheaper Tota,” he says.“There is another variety of rice grown from Indian seeds, which is quite expensive. It is very expensive due to its beautiful long grains but it doesn’t taste as great as our local Basmati,” he says.Asked then why is Pakistani rice not as much in demand as Indian rice when ours tastes better, the rice expert explains that Pakistan doesn’t fumigate the rice grains very well and the foreign buyers are pretty disgusted to find insects crawling in the rice we export. “Cleanliness matters,” he says.
The different varieties of rice on display in jars at a shop.When asked if it is dangerous to fumigate something that is going to be eaten, he shakes his head with a smile. “Why? Don’t we spray crops? Rice fumigation is not strong. The effect of the fumigation wears out with time. It is not dangerous.”
Published in Dawn, July 5th, 2015

Indian scientists' new DNA chip for speeding up rice breeding

By PTI | 5 Jul, 2015, 11.04AM IST
Rice is considered to be the 'king of cereals', hence rival claims on its centre of origin cause a lot of heart burn in research community.
By Pallava Bagla
Description: Description: Description: Rice is considered to be the 'king of cereals', hence rival claims on its centre of origin cause a lot of heart burn in research community.
NEW DELHI: One Chinese lie has been finally nailed this time by a team of Indian scientists who provide irrefutable evidence that rice did originate in India, a fact contested by China. If one thought the Asian Big Brother was only fighting a proxy war to usurp Arunachal Pradesh, parts of Kashmir and encircle India with a 'string of pearls' in the oceans, there was also a deeper scientific conspiracy to rid India of the tag that our staple food rice actually originated in China and not in Mother India. Ownership of intellectual property
is a hugely emotional issue and can lead to bruising skirmishes. Traditional wisdom has to be guarded at all costs.Lead researcher Nagendra Kumar Singh, a biotechnologist working at National Research Centre on Plant Biotechnology, Indian Agriculture Research Institute (IARI), New Delhi, says "Our work proves that rice was indeed domesticated in India."Rice is native to India is the verdict of a team of scientists at IARI who, while publishing their findings in the journal Nature Scientific Reports, have effectively proved that the rice varieties grown in India have actually originated in India.

This finding which demolishes the Chinese claim is actually a colateral benefit of a neat new development from Singh's laboratory, the development of a new 'DNA chip for rice' a handy tool that will speed up development of new varieties of rice as the world tries to adapt to a changing climate. This chip will also help finger print rice varieties.Rice is considered to be the 'king of cereals', hence rival claims on its centre of origin cause a lot of heart burn in research community.
In the 20th century, it was widely accepted that rice was independently domesticated in both China and India.But, Chinese literature attributed the domestication of rice to legendary Chinese Emperor Shennong. This legend from Beijing got bold impetus when a landmark 2011 research paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences refuted the widely held belief that India was also a centre of origin of rice. It suggested that a single domestication event some 8,200-13,500 years ago, in the Yangtze Valley of China was the source of all rice in the world.

This fact peeved many Indian researchers until this week's new finding which succinctly refutes the Chinese claim.Concurring with the IARI's claim, Gurdev S Khush, Adjunct Professor, University of California, Davis, and former head, Plant Breeding Genetics and Biotechnology, International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) Philippines says, "This new paper certainly leads to the conclusion that some of the varieties were domesticated in India."Therefore, in a way it possibly settles the controversy that China alone should take the credit for giving the world this wonder crop. It seems ancient farmers more than 10,000 years ago independently in both countries figured out that rice was a great plant to cultivate. The National Gene Bank in India houses about 90,000 different varieties of rice and in parts of Odisha and Chhattisgarh wild relatives of rice can still be found.
The 13-member team mainly from IARI actually set out to develop a unique DNA Chip (rather different from a computer chip) that would help look for the best genes and speed up development of new varieties. The scientists developed unique genetic probes which are embedded on the surface of a glass plate and when a suitable genetic mixture extracted from leaves of rice is poured, the wanted regions glow under special conditions this helps the scientists identify the presence or absence of the right gene combinations.

The new IARI Rice Chip accommodates 50,000 combinations of genes on a single plate and is today the best of its kind in the world. Its nearest rival can house only 44,000 variants and was developed by Susan R McCouch at the Cornell University in USA a few years ago.Singh says, "India was forced to develop its own 'rice chip' after the American team denied India the import of this technology." The team has now patented this new 'rice chip' and the knowhow will be available for all breeders to use.

Singh says traditional plant breeding takes anything up to 15 years to develop a new variety of rice but if one uses the new 'rice chip' the time taken to breed can be halved. This, he says, is especially useful as there is a need to hurriedly make agriculture 'climate resilient' as vagaries of weather affect the globe due to global warming. The new chip is already finding use and Singh says the popular Pusa Basmati-1 variety has recently been made resistant to a damaging disease called 'rice blast' and to develop this new resistant variant the chip was deployed. The chip is also being used to develop varieties of rice that can tolerate long durations of flooding.

The team developed the 'rice chip' in about 5 years and at a cost of Rs 30-40 lakh and help was taken from a private Californian firm Affymetrix that custom makes these chips. "India should be proud of this breakthrough," says Khush. According to the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), India has the world's largest area under rice with 42.5 million ha and is the second largest producer with 106 million tonnes - in 2014 next only to China. It contributes 21 per cent of global rice production. Within the country, rice occupies one-quarter of the total cropped area, contributes about 40 to 43 per cent of total food grain production and continues to play a key role in the national food and livelihood security system. Rice export contributes nearly 25 per cent of total agricultural exports from the country.
However, productivity of rice is only 2.54 tonnes/ha of milled rice as against the global average productivity of 3.28 tonnes/ha. In contrast, China produces more rice by cultivating just about 29 million hectares with yields almost double that of India. Singh says, "Modern molecular breeding can help bridge this yield gap and the chip will be helpful." An ICAR estimate for the production of rice in 2050 suggests that by then the population would touch 1.63 billion and India would need to grow about 136 million tonnes of rice, possibly on a smaller cultivable area and with increased shortage of water. Khush says, "The new rice chip will certainly help speed up rice breeding and thus will contribute to food security."

Dangote Backs Central Bank's Forex Restrictions on Rice, Toothpicks, Others

05 Jul 2015

Says without such ban, he would not have been able to build his cement plants across Nigeria
By Festus Akanbi
Following the criticisms by foreign media who are calling for a massive devaluation of the naira instead of foreign exchange restrictions on certain items such as rice and toothpicks by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Africa’s richest man and foremost businessman, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, has come out in  strong support of the CBN’s decision, calling the ban on 41 items from forex market as "excellent and one of the best decisions taken so far by the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele."
Description: Description: Alhaji-Aliko-Dangote-2308.jpg-Alhaji-Aliko-Dangote-2308.jpg
Apparently miffed by criticisms in some quarters against the apex bank’s decision to restrict forex on the importation of certain items, Dangote, who is President of Dangote Group, described the CBN’s intervention as appropriate for the Nigerian economy saying, “We cannot be importing poverty and exporting jobs.” The apex bank recently announced the restriction of importers of 41 items from accessing forex from the official foreign exchange market.

Some of these items include rice, wheel barrows, head pans, cement, margarine, palm kernel/vegetable oil, meat and processed meat products, vegetable and processed vegetable products, poultry, private airplanes/jets, Indian incense, toothpicks and canned fish in sauce (geisha/sardines), among others.

Dangote  believes that this should be seen as a clarion call for all hands to be on deck in the development of the nation’s economy disclosing that the foreign exchange restrictions on the 41 items also affected the Dangote Group, especially the Dangote Rice. He however believes that the measure would encourage his firm “to look inward and  massively produce locally to create jobs for our growing young population.”

Dangote said without such ban by the administration  of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, he wouldn’t have got the opportunity to grow his cement business as it is today such that he is now exporting cement when only 10 years ago Nigeria was importing cement massively.His cement firms, Obajana Cement Plc Kogi; Benue Cement Company, Benue and Dangote Cement Works Ltd, Ibese have a combined capacity of 20 million metric tonnes per annum, providing hundreds of thousands of direct and indirect jobs across Nigeria.“When Obasanjo introduced the policy, he was massively criticized by multinationals and the same foreign media. But today, we are self-sufficient in cement production,” he recalled.

Dangote maintained that those criticising Emefiele for the decision on foreign exchange restrictions do not have the interest of Nigerians at heart.He therefore called on people in the South-south  region of the country to focus on the development of palm plantations instead of importing palm oil. In the same vein, he enjoined the people of Nigeria to see this as an opportunity to invest in fish farming across Nigeria from the North to the Atlantic ocean, rather than importing fish, saying Nigeria can borrow a leaf from Senegal. "Although fish is a major staple food in Senegal, the country does not import fish..... why should we be importing fish in Nigeria with all our God given ocean resources,” he asked.

He lauded Emefiele for his bold and courageous decision to place certain items that could be produced locally on forex restrictions.The CBN had also in a statement on Friday dismissed a report by The Economist titled: “Toothpick Alert,” published in the print edition of July 4, 2015, of the international magazine., insisting that Nigeria's economic fundamentals remain strong despite grappling with oil price decline.The apex bank added that it would not take desperate measures to satisfy those it described as “few misguided interests in the market.”The banking sector regulator also said it would "not panic", even as it reiterated that Nigeria cannot attain its full potentials by importing anything and everything.The CBN had stated in the statement:"Take rice imports, for example: why should we keep allocating scarce forex to rice importers when vast amounts of paddy rice of comparable quality produced by poor hardworking local farmers across the rice belts of Nigeria are wasted, and farmers are falling deeper into poverty while we export their jobs and income to rice producing countries?

"Few decades ago, Nigeria was one of the world’s largest producers of palm oil but today we import nearly 600,000 metric tonnes while Indonesia and Malaysia combine to export over 90 per cent of global demand. Under these circumstances, the CBN will do the little it can to protect the jobs and incomes of local farmers, using some of the same principles Western Economies use to justify the protection of their farmers through huge subsidies."

Area under aromatic rice varieties decreases in K'shetra

Kurukshetra, July 4
After having failed to fetch fair prices for their aromatic varieties last year, farmers this year have given preference to non-basmati varieties.While last year the aromatic varieties were sown in 55 to 60 per cent area in Kurukshetra, it has come down to 35 to 40 per cent this year.Gurnam Singh Charuni, BKU (Charuni) chief, said, “Last year, farmers didn’t get fair returns for their produce, which is the only reason behind the fall in the cultivation area of the aromatic varieties. This year, the farmers have preferred to increase the area under PR varieties.
”He said, “Farmers had recently fetched good prices for aromatic varieties, following which a spurt was witnessed in its cultivation. However, a drastic fall was witnessed last year. The pure basmati and pusa-1121 varieties have fetched Rs 5,800-6,000 and Rs 4,400-4,500 per quintal to farmers in the past, but last year, they failed to get even the half of it.”Charuni maintained, “The situation is the same across the state. Though the area under cultivation has come down this year, it is hard to anticipate what level the aromatic varieties will witness this season.”Wazir Singh, Deputy Director, Agriculture, said, “A fall in the cultivation area of aromatic varieties has been observed. It has dropped by over 20 per cent and the major fall has come in the sowing of pusa-1509 variety.
 Last year, it was sown in over 20 per cent area, but it is likely to be around five per cent this year.”Replying to a question, he said, “Owing to the high incidence of breakage, the demand for pusa-1509 has dropped drastically, which is the prime reason behind the fall in its area.”Wazir Singh said, “Nearly 85 per cent cultivation has been completed and the rest is likely to end in a week.”“This year, rice millers had advised the farmers against growing pusa-1509, as they would not purchase it,” said Rakesh Kumar, a farmer.Amit Chandna, a trade expert, said, “Though a marginal uptrend has been witnessed in the prices of aromatic and non-basmati rice varieties this week, it is hard to anticipate the future trends of market.”   

Needed: Green Thumb

Tonnes of waste prevented from being dumped in 2010 due to compositing and recycling efforts
Here is a look at the current development pattern vis-a-vis green concerns

Description: Description: Tonnes of waste prevented from being dumped in 2010 due to compositing and recycling effortsThe just released socio economic census reminds us that still it is miles to go on the development front. A majority of population in country still lives in villages where a vast majority is deprived of developmental benefits. At present, metropolitan agglomerations and industrial cities in India have attracted village folks in quest of employment and a better life. However, perhaps they have not been able to provide the desired better life. As many of them have crossed the carrying capacity, have huge population resource imbalance, and the cities are facing environmental problems.

It is a good idea to have several smart cities, but mostly the idea is not realised in its totality.The drinking water woes of Dwarka sub-city in Delhi is the best example. I am not sure if in the present form it qualifies to be a smart city. But the fact remains that the city has scarce groundwater resource. The over-exploited and polluted Yamuna does not have much water for drinking purpose, which can be supplied to the city. It also generates huge sewerage, which ultimately joins Yamuna. Similar is the story of several other cities.

An answer to this was sewerage treatment initiatives which again is a good vision, but many social and governmental audits have revealed that most of the sewerage treatment plants function below their capacity or are non-functional.It is nice that we have realised that development and environmental protection goes together. But the real problem is how to link them. Big bang approach to ecological restoration is often fascinating. But we should not forget that ecology is a system where there are many variables.

In this context it is heartening to learn about initiatives like clean Ganga. It is good that the holy and national river of India is being cleaned. We must also realise that the state of a major river in its basin is manifestation of ecology of the basin.The clean Ganga initiative should also integrate land and water resource management. The tributaries to the river also needs to be cleaned. Also, we must define river space and permit ecologically sensible land use in the river space. The numerous small and big industrial towns and urban agglomerations in the Ganga river basin require to be upgraded as big or small 'smart cities'.

In most cases the environmental flow in a river is affected by diversion of river water for irrigation purpose. But still in the agriculturally developed regions, it is seen that in canal command areas groundwater abstraction have increased drastically and at the same time other areas have problem of soil salinity. This certainly reflects lack of optimal and prudent utilisation of the canal network and may be mismanagement in canal allowance.Besides land and water management at watershed scale (incorporating water conservation) should be able to sustain local agriculture. The non-remunerative agricultural activity is also forcing many farmers to move toward exotic remunerative high yielding water intensive crops. Basmati rice cultivation in Punjab and Haryana is the best example.

In my opinion value addition to indigenous crops in various part of country would help.The genetic engineers should develop less water intensive high yielding crops: “more crop per drop”. An efficient irrigation practice based on micro-climatic condition would help in a long way. Many schemes aimed at rural poor have been aimed at providing fish rather than the fishing rod.We must also not forget that everybody can not leave their village. I think urbanisation and industrialisation of rural India is required. Not by putting big industries, but by promoting agro-based industries and giving then incentives for adhering to strict environmental norms. I am reminded of North Bihar where sugarcane industries in water rich areas did wonders by: 1. Giving option to farmers for a cash crop 2.

 Providing jobs to family members of farmers 3. Small entrepreneurs like tractor and truck owners got assured business 4. Hardware shops for maintenance of vehicles used in transportation of goods had ample business and 5. Farm laborers used to earn sufficient.But there is a serious ecological issues with such sugarcane industries, the molasses and other wastes are often discharged directly in rivers. I think this can be solved by stricter enforcement and incentives for environment protection.

But given the fact that industries often tend to maximise their profit; a social of audit of such waste discharge should also be done.The forests of the country are huge resource and there are non tangible ecological benefits associated with them. They are often good groundwater recharge areas, their ability to purify air and influence ambient climate is well established. The development at the cost of deforestation may not be sustainable. In the end it is nice to see that ecological issues have become glamorous. An integrated bottoms up approach would further sustain this.

The writer is assistant professor, department of geology, University of Delhi

Entire tobacco crop to be procured by Sept 30’


Description: Description: MP Rayapati Sambasiva Rao felicitating Union Minister of State for Industry and Commerce Nirmala Sitharaman at a meeting organised by the Tobacco Board in Vijayawada on Saturday.- Photo: Ch.Vijaya Bhaskar
MP Rayapati Sambasiva Rao felicitating Union Minister of State for Industry and Commerce Nirmala Sitharaman at a meeting organised by the Tobacco Board in Vijayawada on Saturday.- Photo: Ch.Vijaya Bhaskar
Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman assured tobacco farmers here on Saturday that the entire production of 172 million kg in Andhra Pradesh in the 2014-15 crop season would be procured by September 30 but within a price band based on five years’ average prices. It would be around nearly Rs 125 a kg for bright varieties and farmers could expect that price only if the crop has negligible or no pesticide residue, she said.Addressing tobacco farmers from West Godavari, Krishna, Guntur, Prakasam and Nellore districts after holding deliberations with manufacturers and traders for close to three and a half hours, Ms. Sitharaman said tobacco was a restricted crop, so a minimum support price was not being fixed for it for the last four years.
But she said she had persuaded the industry to agree to a minimum price band. However, she pointed out that farmers were under obligation not to produce excess. If they do so, they cannot expect unrealistic prices.She said only about 46 million kg of tobacco has been purchased so far because of the global economic turmoil, which has rendered even basmati rice non-remunerative.However, the Ministry of Commerce was doing its best to enable tobacco farmers earn remunerative prices while discouraging excess production. Tobacco cannot be compared with food crops, she pointed out.
Ms. Sitharaman clarified that Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) was permitted for purchasing and exporting tobacco from India.It was a misinterpretation that FDI was not allowed in the tobacco sector, due to which foreign investors have stayed away. FDI was in fact not allowed only in tobacco manufacturing; there was no objection to letting FDI flow into trading of the commodity.This anomaly has been set right and communicated to the Reserve Bank of India, which has disseminated the information to all countries through Indian embassies.
This would be of great help to farmers as their produce would be purchased by foreign investors, subject to quality norms.Earlier, Ms. Sitharaman held parleys with manufacturers and exporters in the presence of ministers Pratthipati Pulla Rao and P. Sujatha and MP Rayapati Sambasiva Rao, M. Murali Mohan and Maganti Venkateswara Rao (Babu) and Tobacco Board chairman K. Gopal spoke about the bleak export scenario for tobacco.
Vietnam vies with Thailand, Filipino rice importers
VietNamNet Bridge - The Philippines appears to have successfully exploited the stiff competition between two large rice exporters, Vietnam and Thailand, to force the prices down. 

Part 1: Philippine strategy

The Philippines said it will no longer import rice as domestic production is high enough to satisfy domestic demand.Some exporters think that if Vietnam cannot sell rice to the country, the Vietnamese rice market would collapse. However, analysts commented that it would be better for Vietnam not to sell rice to the Philippines under the current mode.In order to get the right to sell rice to the Philippines, exporters have to travel there to attend bids opened by the Filipino National Food Authority (NFA).The exporters who win the bids must offer the lowest prices, and the prices must not be higher than ceiling prices set by the authority.Both Vietnam and Thailand offered prices higher than the ceiling price of $340 per ton for 25 percent broken rice set by NFA in the June 5 bid, which NFA opened to seek suppliers of 250,000 tons of rice. Vietnam got the right to supply 150,000 tons of rice later, after it agreed to lower the selling price.
Description: Description: Vietnam, rice export, G2G market, export contracts

More recently, Vietnam offered to supply 100,000 tons of rice at $416 per ton, but it still lost the June 15 bid because the NFA’s ceiling price was much lower, at $408.14 per ton.In late February, Vietnam also won the right to provide 300,000 tons of white long grain rice to the Philippines under the G2G (government to government) contract, after it agreed to slash the selling price to the same level offered by Thailand.Analysts said that once NFA sets the ceiling price, this means that the Philippines, or the buyer, always has the right to set the prices. Therefore, Vietnam and Thailand have to compete with each other to win the contract under Philippines’ control.For many years, the prices of 25 percent broken rice have been set at levels hovering around $340 per ton, which is very close to the production cost.

However, in most cases, Vietnamese exporters decided to lower the selling prices in order to win the contracts. They did not want to return to Vietnam empty-handed. Since the exporters could not sell rice at high prices, they tried to force the prices down in the Vietnamese market. As a result, Vietnamese farmers could not make reasonable profits.According to the Vietnam Food Association (VFA), Vietnam had exported 2.1 million tons of rice by the end of May, earning $870 million, a decrease of 10 percent in export volume and 13 percent price decrease in comparison with the same period in 2014.To date, Vietnam has signed contracts on exporting 3.5 million tons of rice, or 8 percent lower than the same period of last year.


How Forex Restriction On Rice Can Boost Local Production, Employment

Description: Description: Some-farmers-manually-weeding-a-rice-farm Nigeria is the largest producer of rice, a staple food for almost all if not all households in the country. Yet it is the second largest importer of rice in the World. Rice is mainly imported from Thailand, Brazil, India, USA, UAE over the period as at 2010.Rice is grown in approximately on 3.7 million hectares of land in Nigeria, covering 10.6 per cent of the 35 million hectares of land under cultivation, out of a total arable land area of 70 million hectares. 77 per cent of the farmed area of rice is rain-fed, of which 47 percent is lowland and 30 per cent upland. The range of grown varieties is diverse and includes both local (such as Dias, Santana, Ashawa, Yarsawaba, and Yarkuwa) and enhanced varieties of traditional African rice (such as NERICA) (Bayou 2009).
Despite the country’s huge potential in rice production, statistics show a decreasing trend in production, associated with a decline in area harvested between 2006 and 2010.Over the years, yields on rice production has been on the rise, but area of land harvested and the number of tonnes produced has been on the decrease, showing a possibility of a declining number of rice farmers.This decline began in 2008. Before then, government policies affecting rice production had been directed at protecting the local industry through tariffs and providing extension support to rice farmers.
 The import tariff on value-added rice was 100 per cent in 1995, 50 in 1996 through 2000 and 85 in 2001.However, with effect from May 2008, rice imports into Nigeria were declared free from all duties and charges, including customs duty, seven per cent surcharge, value-added tax and levies.This caused a surge in rice importation and discouraged local farmers as it became cheaper to import the calorie-giving food.Currently, Nigeria spends about N1 billion daily importing rice, a development, which the former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, said is helping to put farmers to work in countries like the United States, India and Thailand, while putting farmers out of work in Nigeria.This had prompted the decision to make Nigeria self-sufficient in rice production by the end of this year. Although rice exporters like the United States has criticised this move, the National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANT) and Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) have argued that it is achievable.
The president of NANT, Ken Ukaoha, had recently charged the federal government to ensure that all of the nation’s efforts are channelled towards achieving food security in the country because “a country that cannot depend on itself for the food with which its citizens are sustained is not truly an independent nation.”Consequently, one can say the recent move by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to stop its foreign exchange support for the importation of rice is a right step towards increasing production of rice in the country.Before now, the CBN sells foreign exchange directly to rice importers, making available to them cheap foreign exchange to the detriment of local producers. Asides this, the oil price decline had put a lot of pressure on not only the nation’s income but also its foreign reserves which has declined to $29 billion.
The CBN’s decision to end foreign exchange support for rice importation however goes beyond the value of the naira and the foreign exchange reserves. It is meant to create an import substitution for rice.Nigeria has the capacity and potential to not only be self sustaining in rice production, but also be among the exporters of rice. The recent move is directed at one of the key goals of the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele when he assumed office last year June. It goes beyond reducing foreign exchange pressures but is targeted at industrialisation of the economy, generating employment and reducing poverty in the country.According to the director of communications at the CBN, Ibrahim Mu’azu “why should we keep allocating scarce FX to rice importers when vast amounts of paddy rice of comparable quality produced by poor hardworking local farmers across the rice belts of Nigeria are wasted, and farmers are falling deeper into poverty while we export their jobs and income to rice producing countries?

“The CBN will do the little it can to protect the jobs and incomes of local farmers, using some of the same principles Western Economies use to justify the protection of their farmers through huge subsidies.”
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