Tuesday, August 11, 2015

10th August (Monday),2015 Daily Global Regional Local Rice E-Newsletter by Riceplus Magazine

China to buy 1m tonnes surplus rice


10 Aug 2015
Sacks of rice are moved at a warehouse. China has agreed to purchase 1 million tonnes of surplus grain accumulated under the defunct rice-pledging scheme. (Photo by Walailak Keeratipipatpong)

China will buy a million tonnes of rice from the country’s huge stockpile accumulated under the previous government’s subsidy scheme, authorities said Monday.Commerce Minister General Chatchai Sarikulya told reporters that China had agreed during his visit to Beijing last week to purchase the rice.China would buy the rice "at market price" the minister said, adding that there would be further negotiations for another million tonnes in September.

The country built up more than 13 million tonnes of surplus rice through Yingluck Shinawatra's rice-pledging scheme. The current government said that the now-defunct programme was full of corruption and irregularities.Bangkok has struggled to sell off the stockpiles, managing to auction off only 3.88 million tonnes for around 40 billion baht, according to government figures.
Iran was also interested in buying rice from Thailand, Mr Chatchai said. Bangkok Post

Rains beneficial for major crops

Sindh’s agriculture officials said they earlier received complaints of pest attacks on cotton, with farmers going for repeated sprays. So the rains have come as a boon as they will wash out pests like jassid, thrips and whitefly. —APP/FileTHE current spell of monsoon rains has remained largely beneficial for kharif crops so far, except for areas where breaches occurred owing to the mismanagement of saline water drains by the irrigation authorities.And there are further forecasts of rains.However, the floodwater, which has inundated almost the entire katcha area from Guddu upstream to Kotri downstream, will improve soil fertility. And farmers will grow wheat in the winter once the water recedes.

Sindh’s agriculture officials said they earlier received complaints of pest attacks on cotton, with farmers going for repeated sprays. So the rains have come as a boon as they will wash out pests like jassid, thrips and whitefly

The availability of water remained largely satisfactory in the current kharif season, and even before the rains there were only a few complaints about water shortage from areas like the Naseer division in Mirpurkhas. The monsoon rains will not only do way with the issue of water shortage but also help eliminate pest attacks on the cotton crop.The farmers consider one or two showers equivalent to two bags of urea for crops and orchards. The rains may pose the risk of discolouring and shedding, and the matured bolls may be damaged. However, it will be followed by a healthy flowering and fruit-setting. The next picking would make up for the initial damage.
Agriculture officials said they earlier received complaints of pest attacks on the cotton crop — which is being grown on 648,000 hectares (ha) against the targeted 650,000ha — with the farmers going for repeated sprays. So the rains have come as a boon as they would wash out pests like jassid, thrips and whitefly.

Meanwhile, crops like sugarcane and paddy — both high delta crops — are also set to benefit from the current rains. Around 85pc (635,000ha) of paddy’s sowing target (750,000ha) for the season has been achieved.The accumulation of rainwater will, however, damage the crop in low lying areas due to non-existent or non-functional drainage systems. The paddy growers in upper Sindh had gone for late sowing of the hybrid variety to avoid the heat wave. Nurseries of local varieties had been prepared and transplanted on time.And the rainfall has not been that heavy in upper Sindh, confirms Gada Hussain Mahesar, a rice grower and farmers’ representative from Larkana. “Even otherwise, after a long gap we got timely water flows to prepare our nurseries, and the transplantation also took place on time.”

Reports of recent damages to the paddy transplanted in some parts of Tando Mohammad Khan and Badin have been received. At this initial stage, the plant doesn’t usually attain sufficient height to sustain rainwater.Nabi Bux Sathio says the cotton and paddy crops have been hit in low lying areas like Bulri Shah Karim, Golarchi and Badin taluka, as the saline water drains didn’t drain out the rainwater. “On an overall basis, the rains have been good for the crops,” he says.Meanwhile, sugarcane has been sown on 313,000ha, exceeding the target of 300,000ha.Farmers in lower Sindh say the onion, chilli and tomato crops have been badly hit. Dundi cut chilli would be affected as it usually faces post-rain diseases. Its hybrid variety is at the harvesting stage, while the dundi cut crop is still at the fruiting stage. A loss of around 15-20pc is feared for the dundi cut chilli crop in low lying areas.

Karamullah Saand, a grower from Mirpurkhas, said the losses to the chilli crop, mainly the dundi cut variety, are just being reported.“The hybrid variety has some sort of resistance against diseases and it can sustain rainwater to some extent as well. So there are no chances of losses to the hybrid variety at this stage.“But if the rainwater remains standing in the fields for a longer period, it will hit the hybrid variety too.” He adds that even the banana can be damaged if the water stagnates in the orchards.The nurseries of onions and tomatoes have also been lightly hit. Tomato cultivation is quite scattered, while the sowing of onions has been partially delayed due to the rains. Its nurseries, prepared just before the rains, could not be transplanted in 10pc of the cases.The growers believe that the crop would be delayed by a month as fresh nurseries would be prepared after the floodwater ebbs.

Onion nurseries are prepared in the riverine area, and the land in the katcha areas is currently under floodwater.Before rains, a one-acre nursery was sold for Rs14,000-15,000, but post- rains the price has dropped to Rs4,000-5,000 as land in the katcha areas has been inundated and the transplantation delayed. Usually onion is transplanted after 35-40 days.
Published in Dawn, Economic & Business, August 10th, 2015

Rice Expo Salutes Arkansas Rice Industry     
AR Rice Expo
A full house at the Arkansas Rice Expo
STUTTGART, AR - Hundreds of people came out for the fifth annual Arkansas Rice  Expo here last week to celebrate the successes of the farmers who make agriculture the state's largest industry.  Attendees toured research plots, heard various agriculture promotion board reports, observed cooking demonstrations, tasted rice samples, and participated in a myriad of family-friendly activities.

 AR Rice Expo
Exhibit hall

In addition to attending the Rice Expo, USA Rice staff gave a financial and promotion activity update at Friday's meeting of the Arkansas Rice Research and Promotion Board (ARRPB).  Domestic promotion highlights included the launch of the Think Rice marketing campaign, activities to promote U.S. rice through retail dietitians, efforts to increase rice use in school meals, and a look ahead to plans for the 25th Anniversary of National Rice Month.  USA Rice President and CEO Betsy Ward provided the ARRPB with an update on trade issues including efforts to access the Iraqi market, ongoing negotiations for the Trans Pacific Partnership, and the successful re-entry of U.S. rice into Europe.
Gov Hutchinson
Gov. Hutchinson at the Rice Expo
"Arkansas is America's number one rice state, so I commend  the University of Arkansas'  Division of Agriculture for organizing this important event," said Ward.  "Our job is to make sure there is demand both here and abroad for U.S. rice and I am excited about the new initiatives we are working on to help promote U.S.-grown rice, expand existing markets, and open new ones."
 Touring the mill
The view from the mill
While in Arkansas, staff also met with Southwind Milling in Pine Bluff to learn about their future operations and encourage their participation in USA Rice and the Rice Millers' Association.  Maria Olmos, Southwind Milling project coordinator, gave USA Rice a tour of the new mill currently under construction.
Contact: Chuck Wilson (870) 673-7541
Crop Progress:   2015 Crop 81 Percent Headed   
WASHINGTON, DC -- Eighty-one percent of the nation's 2015 rice acreage is headed, according to today's U.S. Department of Agriculture's Crop Progress Report. 

Rice Headed, Selected States 
Week Ending
 August 9, 2014  
August 2, 2015 
August 9, 2015
2010-2014 average
Six States


Bicol reporters take up newsroom workshop on climate change

Submitted by Vox Bikol on Mon, 08/10/2015 - 22:55,PIA
LEGAZPI CITY, Aug. 9 (PIA)–-Government communicators and members of the media in Bicol who were interested in agriculture and the science of climate change went to a workshop conducted by the Philippine Agricultural Journalists, Inc.(PAJ), the leading group of journalists and information officers in the country who cover agriculture.The workshop was held last July 31 and Aug. 1 at Ninong’s Hotel in this city and was attended by journalists from print, TV, radio and government information officers.Dubbed “Climate Change: Gets Mo Na Ba?,” the event provided participants “science-based” information on climate change, agriculture, food security and human safety, the techniques in data interpretation and planning on information dissemination.

The thrust, according to PAJ president Roman F. Floresca, was to help journalists craft better and more science-based stories about the issues of climate change.The global climate change, described by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration as the accelerated warming up of the Earth, has generated low media reportage, according to an online report of one of the workshop organizers, the Philippine-based International Rice Research Institute.
The IRR report said numerous scientists and experts around the world have expressed their concern at media discussions on climate change that “lack accurate information or are too technical for the public.”

“We aim to laymanize climate change processes and terminologies and enable journalists in the Bicol region to write, publish and broadcast better and more stories (about the matter),” said Floresca, also the business editor of Philippine Star.The discussants underscored the impact of climate change on agriculture and food security and the critical role of journalists in enriching public understanding on the matter.International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) communication head Tony Lambino recommended writing stories that depict the “positive, hopeful and reformist” side to the climate change because they ”can more likely lead to progress.”

Two of Lambino’s examples were rice varieties ready for climate change conditions such as drought, rising sea level, heavy floods and intense heat; and success stories of farmers who were able to propagate and gain increased yield through “climate smart farming strategies.”
“Positive and hopeful news make readers think that they can do something,” he said. “(This thinking) can prompt them to be inspired and take action.”Philippine Network of Environmental Journalists (PNEJ) president Imelda Abaño tackled the state of climate change reportage.She expressed concern at the low media reportage on science, the communication gap between scientists and journalists, and the lack of resources of the media to report science.For journalists who struggle to report climate, her advice was to understand the science of climate change, go beyond press releases, get the right news sources and report more on the human factor of climate change.“We need more stories on gender dimension taking into account its impact on men and women, indigenous peoples, the plight of our farmers, following the money such as the people’s survival fund and champions of CCA and DRR,” she said.

By CCA and DRR, she meant climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction.At the workshop, the participants tried to prove their enhanced skills in climate change news reporting by crafting articles regarding the higlights of the event.Some of the participants even shared their personal insights and observations and offered measures to implement climate-related initiatives, programs and advocacies.  The event was supported by Department of Agriculture, Metro Pacific Investments Corp., Smart Communications, Philex Mining Corp., CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security in Southeast Asia, World Agroforestry Center and IRRI. (EAD/SAA/PIA5/Albay)   

Recipe: Creamy cardamom rice pudding with almonds & apricots
Cardamom gives a resinous flavour to this rice pudding.
Kieran Scott

1 cup basmati rice
Full-cream milk
200g sugar
3 cardamom pods, seeds removed and crushed, husks discarded
1⁄4 cup dried apricots, sliced intostrips (or 200g canned apricots,drained, chopped)
75g ground almond
50g slivered almonds, toasted
Natural yoghurt to serve

1. Rinse the rice well under cold running water. Drain then transfer to a saucepan with the milk and sugar. Bring almost to the boil then quickly stir in the crushed cardamom seeds and the dried apricots (if using canned apricots, don't add them yet).
2. Reduce the heat to low and cook the rice, stirring to prevent it from sticking, for 12-15 minutes or until the rice is tender, thick and creamy.
3. Towards the end of cooking, stir in the ground almonds and the canned apricots, if using.
4. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly. Serve the rice pudding in small bowls, topped with the toasted almonds and a dollop of natural yoghurt.
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From eating the 'world's oldest cake' to visiting the opera and futuristic museums: Six things you MUST do in Linz

The lively Austrian city was named the 2009 European Capital of Culture
Travellers can see a state-of-the-art opera house and stroll the Danube
Though the city's picturesque New Cathedral looks old, it was built in 1924 

The Austrian city of Linz refuses to be overawed by its two better-known neighbours – Vienna and Salzburg. 
The lively city was the 2009 European Capital of Culture, and includes a state-of-the-art opera house, a sparkling museum of the future, (possibly) the oldest cake in the world, and the famous Danube.Here are six unmissable spots of the absorbing European destination.  
Find a cafe for a slice of Linze torte. The city claims it's the world oldest cake – jam on a pastry base, under a lattice crust
1)      Cake walk

The Linz Card is one of the best-value European city cards, costing €15 for a day, or €25 for three. It gives free entry to the main museums and unlimited use of public transport. Linz is compact and easy to navigate.Ride the tram from the main train station, through the heart of the old city on Landstrasse to the Nibelungen Bridge over the Danube. Then walk back and explore the great 13th Century Hauptplatz, the main square, cordoned with elegant baroque buildings, and the 60ft Holy Trinity column, striking in white marble, as its centrepiece.Old Linz is close at hand down side streets – look for Renaissance palaces with inner courtyards, and the house where Mozart wrote the Linz Symphony in four days. Then find a cafe for a slice of Linze torte. The city claims it's the world oldest cake – jam on a pastry base, under a lattice crus


Chinese Researchers come up with New Rice Variety that Emits Less Methane

Written by Molly Solana on 10 Aug 2015
A team of Chinese researchers has recently cultivated new rice which they claim can help reduce global warming and climate change. The findings of the study were published in the journal Nature.Flooded rice fields are a known source of atmospheric methane, which is the second most important greenhouse gas responsible for about 20% of the global warming.Increasing rice production since long has remained the primary objective of agricultural researchers, but no interest was paid on reducing the methane emission from paddy cultivation.Researchers in the new effort to mitigate rice-associated methane emissions focused majorly on agricultural practices such as water management, fertilizer use, tillage and crop selection, which are labor intensive.According to researchers, the new rice variety called SUSIBA2 fulfills two major goals - high yield and limiting amount of methane emission as compared to other conventional varieties.
The new rice variety has come after the collaborative work of scientists from the Fujian Academy of Agricultural Sciences and Hunan Agricultural University in China with researchers in the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Washington.SUSIBA2 was created by transferring genes from barley that are responsible for the production of starch in stems and grains using 'transcription factor technology'.Paddy leaves and stems take up carbon-dioxide (CO2), which is transformed through photosynthesis into sugars. These sugars are then used to produce plant biomass or storage compounds, such as starch, in the shoots, roots and rice grains.Researchers during the study reported a significant reduction in methane emitted from SUSIBA2 rice plants, as compared with a widely grown unmodified variety.

Scientists from China create new rice to reduce global warming

Posted by: Kimberly French August 10, 2015

A new type of rice has been developed by China that could ease concerns about global warming and climate change. Flooded rice fields have long been regarded to release atmospheric methane, which is the second most influential greenhouse gas other than carbon dioxide. It is claimed flooded rice fields are directly responsible for roughly 20 percent of all global warming.The main goal of agricultural research has typically been to increase rice production and not much time has been spent on a way or ways to diminish methane emission from rice paddy cultivation. Currently, methods to contain this type of methane emission involve water management, fertilizer use, tillage and crop selection, which involves agricultural practices and considerable manpower.
These practices could change in the near future, however, as the journal Nature recently published, work was conducted by Chinese scientists to cultivate a new type of rice by the name of SUSIBA2. This new item is ground-breaking for two reasons: it produces a high yield and paddies with this rice emit less methane than other kinds of rice.This new strain of rice was created through the efforts of scientists from the Fujian Academy of Agricultural Sciences and Hunan Agricultural University in China with researchers in the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Washington.The scientists formed SUSIBA2 by transferring genes from barley that trigger the production of starch in stems and grains through “transcription factor technology”.In rice, the leaves and stems take up carbon-dioxide (CO2), which through photosynthesis transforms into sugars. These sugars then build plant biomass or storage compounds, like starch, in the shoots, roots and rice grains.The transgenic SUSIBA2 rice produces grains with a high starch content by sending more carbon during photosynthesis to grains and stems rather than the roots. This in turn leads to less carbon dioxide for methane-producing microbes in the soil and results in diminished emission of methane from rice paddies.
The researchers collected data for this study from field trials carried out in three regions of China in three consecutive growing seasons. They state “a significant” decrease in methane from SUSIBA2 rice plants, compared with a various other kinds of rice. “We suggest that the use of SUSIBA2 rice in cutting methane emissions from paddies may become more relevant with global warming,” their study concluded.The dual benefit of ‘high-starch, low-methane’ rice variety indeed “represents a tremendous opportunity for more-sustainable rice cultivation, but it raises many issues,” the journal said in an accompanying article.
Although what genetically modified crops for human consumption means still needs to be clarified, “we do not yet have a clear picture of how this modification affects rice plants’ survival and general function,” it said. The article also said it “will be assessment of the long-term consequences of reduction of root-exuded carbon on beneficial soil microbes”.If this is transpiring in China, would India would suit for this type of research or creating a new rice strain of their own? “It is quite interesting and challenging,” Tikam Jain, a former assistant director general of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research and currently a consultant to the World Bank aided projects in Asia, said in an email.He also stated the government would have to assess “if the rice quality and its production capacities are acceptable to the Indian farmers before any further action is taken by India for adopting this.

Cuba ripe for rice sales, governor says

By Glen Chase
STUTTGART -- Arkansas needs to do what it can to position itself to export goods such as rice and poultry to Cuba as Congress debates whether to end a 50-year-old trade embargo with the island nation, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Friday."While I am very concerned with [Cuba's] suppression of human rights, I also recognize that agricultural products shouldn't be used as a tool of foreign policy," Hutchinson told about 500 people attending the Arkansas Rice Expo at the Grand Prairie Center.Hutchinson said Cubans want high-quality, U.S.-grown rice which comes with reduced transportation costs given the country's proximity to U.S. ports. Demand will grow as the country's economy improves in areas such as tourism, he said.
"As they expand their markets and their tourist opportunities, which is going to happen in the coming years, there's going to be more demand for rice. Arkansas needs to be there at the table and be No. 1 in exports to Cuba and other global markets," Hutchinson said.With the reopening of embassies and a return to normal diplomatic relations, U.S. business are assessing how to gain access to the Cuban economy, which is heavily controlled by the nation's government.In late September, Hutchinson will lead a trade delegation to Cuba to talk about agricultural exports and other ways businesses from the state can gain inroads there.
Congress must first lift the embargo, but the House and Senate disagree on the process.U.S. Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., wants to repeal a law prohibiting U.S. banks and other businesses from extending credit to Cuba for agricultural exports. On July 23, an amendment to that effect was attached to the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill now pending before the Senate.At the Rice Expo, U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Ark., called the amendment a good first step, but added that the U.S. government and businesses need to identify other ways to work with the Cuban government to step up agricultural exports.Crawford said it's unlikely that Congress will lift the entire trade embargo any time soon, given opposition to the centralized nature of the Cuban economy. But U.S. interests should be looking to develop a private entity that will allow exports to Cuba once the "cash and carry" requirement is lifted.
"The impediment is not necessarily the Cuban government, it's ours," Crawford said after his talk. He said the time has come to explore ways to provide incentives to the private sector to open the market for U.S. exports, adding that there are already several nongovernmental organization working in Cuba."If they know that the policy has changed with respect to U.S. [agricultural] commodities, then we hope to see nongovernmental entities rise, if there's not one already, that we could work with," Crawford said. That would allow U.S. commodities and products to reach Cuban markets without having to go through the government's central purchasing agency, Alimport.Friday's Rice Expo is an annual event that promotes the state's rice industry through events such as field tours, presentations on rice breeding, weed control, and irrigation, as well as cooking demonstrations, horticulture seminars and other activities.Arkansas is the nation's leading rice producer, growing slightly more than half of all U.S. rice.
Speaking during a breakout session earlier in the day, Terry Harris, senior vice president for marketing for risk management for Stuttgart-based Riceland Foods, said breaking into the Cuban market will be tough."When people say we need to have the ability to sell directly to the people, that's not possible" because exporters are required to sell directly to the government, which then rations goods back to the citizens, Harris said. He said Alimport spends as much as $1 billion annually on food purchases.Cuba consumes 900,000 tons of rice each year, but is only capably of raising 400,000 to 600,000 tons -- which means it must import the difference. Currently, its chief supplier is Vietnam, which allows Cuba to buy on credit, taking as long as two years to pay. Harris said Vietnamese officials have developed close relationships with their Cuban counterparts, which has resulted in low prices and easy credit.
While the U.S. ships some agricultural products to Cuba, it received its last shipment of U.S. rice in 2007 worth about $24 million, according to the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council, which tracks relations between the two countries. Frozen chicken is Cuba's top U.S. agricultural import, with the island nation buying chicken worth $147.6 million in 2014.Because of the poor state of its economy, Cuba needs credit to buy commodities, he said, adding "Cuba is a cash-strapped country."However, he said there is interest in U.S.-produced rice because of its quality and proximity. U.S. processors could deliver a shipment to Cuba in a few days while it can take 60-90 days for a shipment to arrive from Vietnam.
Keith Glover, president and chief executive of Producers Rice Mill said access to Cuba is one of several factors that will affect rice prices in the coming year. Others include the strong U.S. dollar in relation to other currencies, production yields in the U.S. and other rice-producing nations and worldwide weather.He said exports to countries such as Colombia, Venezuela and Iraq could create demand and keep prices stable as worldwide rice stocks hold steady.But he said U.S. producers do have several advantages, he said. Rice consumption in the U.S. is holding steady. About 60 percent of the rice produced in the United States is consumed here. And, 88 percent of U.S. production remains in the Western Hemisphere. However, he said he expects South American countries such as Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil to price their rice crops aggressively on world markets this year.
Business on 08/08/2015
Print Headline: Cuba ripe for rice sales, governor says

Govt readies food stocks for El Niño

Ina Parlina, Arya Dipa and Ganug Nugroho Adi, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta/Bandung/Sukoharjo | Headlines | Fri, August 07 2015, 4:20 PM
Despite grim predictions of drought and harvest failure on account of El Niño, the government remains optimistic that the country will survive the prolonged dry season with sufficient food stocks throughout the year.“Harvests will continue until August. What we are looking at are [food stocks] in September to October,” Agriculture Minister Amran Sulaiman said after a limited Cabinet meeting at the Presidential Office on Thursday. Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) has predicted that the weather phenomenon will reach its peak in October.

“We have been taking measures since January as mitigation efforts,” he added, saying that the government had built irrigation channels than span 1.3 million hectares, small dams and shallow wells. Amran’s office has also distributed 21,000 water pumps to farmers in areas prone to drought.According to Amran, there are several areas currently experiencing drought, namely Indramayu and Cirebon in West Java; Demak, Pati and Grobogan in Central Java; Bojonegoro in East Java; and Timor Tengah Selatan regency in East Nusa Tenggara.Amran said his office had saved around 100,000 ha of farmland this year in the country, where around 200,000 ha from a total of 8.1 million ha of farmland are prone to drought annually.In line with the recent estimation made by the Central Statistics Agency (BPS), Amran was upbeat that the production of unhusked rice would reach 75.5 million tons this year, or an increase from 70.85 million tons last year.
“We do hope so,” he said and later pointed out what he deemed as an adequate existing stockpile of 1.5 million tons.The State Logistic Agency (Bulog) is now also working to ensure it will be able to acquire 2.5 million tons of rice in October.BMKG head Andi Eka Sakya, who was invited to Thursday’s limited Cabinet meeting, said he reported to the President that “El Niño could potentially get stronger”.

In his opening speech during at meeting, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo said it was important to prepare for the implications of El Niño, particularly drought and the possibility of harvest failure.Jokowi said the governors of East Java and South Sulawesi had told him that they predicted rice production to suffice.Yet, despite the optimism of the government, a number of areas have expressed concern over the prolonged dry season.West Java Agriculture and Food Crops Agency head Diden Trisnadi said that the prolonged dry season would significantly lower the rice production target in the province, which is also one of the country’s largest rice-producing regions.“As of today, there are 7,400 ha of paddy that has experienced harvest failure,” Diden told
 The Jakarta Post over the phone on Thursday.

Meanwhile in Sukoharjo, Central Java, farmers in six subdistricts harvested their paddy early due to the water crisis.The farmers’ group leader in Kenep subdistrict, Hartono Raharjo, said at least 500 ha of paddy in the regency had been prematurely harvested to prevent further losses.“It is very difficult for us now to get water [for irrigation]. If we insist on harvesting the paddy until they reach normal, we will get broken rice grains as their stems will dry out and die,” Hartono said.During the past several weeks, farmers in many regions in the country have reported difficulties in providing sufficient irrigation for their crops due to the long absence of rain, which has been triggered by El Niño. The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) has also reported that as many as 16 out of 34 provinces in the country are currently experiencing drought.


Thailand aims for rice exporter champ this year

  Thailand aims for rice exporter champ this yearBANGKOK, 10 August 2015 (NNT) – Thailand is hopeful to become the number one rice exporter of the world this year despite the decline in exports due to the global economic situation, says the deputy government spokesman.
The Deputy Government Spokesman, Sansern Kaewkamnerd, has said that Thailand is positive to remain as the number one rice exporter to the world in terms of quantity and trade value despite the decline in global economic growth and negative export values in several countries.According to the Thai Rice Exporters Association, Thailand was the number one rice exporter in the first half of this year with an amount of exported rice at 4.46 million tons valued at 72.142 billion baht, while the runner up for rice exports was India with an export of 4.25 million tons.
It is expected that the amount of exports in the second half of this year will increase as many countries have expedited imports of rice from Thailand due to concerns regarding the current drought situation. The weakened Thai baht currency also contributes to an increased pricing competitiveness of Thai export products to other countries, the Deputy Government Spokesman has said.The Thai government is still confident in Thai entrepreneurs as the country is among those with lower declines in export value when compared to other countries. Thailand has seen a decrease by 4.8 percent in its export, 79 percent in import, and 3.47 percent surplus in trade balance.Many Thai export products have also shown positive growth, reflecting their growth potential despite the global recession and the capability of Thai products to penetrate the global market.
The Deputy Government Spokesman has revealed the export products that have shown positive growth in the first six months of this year. Among these were electric transformers and parts, which have grown by 10.66 percent, condensers by 28.3 percent, cement by 8.81 percent, motorcycles and its parts by 6.75 percent, other vehicles and parts by 38.27 percent, and tapioca products with 18.10 percent. The overall export value was at 2.05 billion US dollars.

Cambodia’s Rice Export Increases Over 50% in First Seven Months

Noy Noeun and So Sophavy
 Saturday, 08 August 2015
  PHNOM PENH, Aug 8 (AKP) - For the first seven months of 2015, Cambodia has exported some 312,317 tons of milled rice to international markets, up 53.1 percent if compared with the same period last year, pointed out a report of the Secretariat of One Window Service for Rice Export Formality.In July alone, about 28,492 tons of milled rice have been exported, an increase by 28.40 percent from the figure in July 2014, added the report.According to the report, Cambodia exported its milled rice to 53 countries by 72 rice exporting companies. The markets for Cambodian rice included 26 EU member countries (193,903 tons), some ASEAN member countries: Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore (34,099 tons), and other 24 countries and regions like China, Hong Kong, Australia, the U.S., Taiwan, and Canada (84.315 tons).

Rice Federation: More Than 1 Million Acres of Paddy Fields Destroyed by Floods

 Rice farmer, Tin Aung, surveys what remains of his ten acres of rice paddy in Chin Sone village on the outskirts of Kale, Sagaing Division. (Photo: Steve Tickner / The Irrawaddy)

RANGOON — More than 1 million acres of paddy fields in Burma have been swamped during recent torrential rains and flooding across the country, Chit Khine, chairman of the Myanmar Rice Federation (MRF), told The Irrawaddy on Monday.With many regions of the country hit by severe floods since mid-July, vast stretches of paddy fields and other crops have been destroyed.“Roughly, more than 1.3 million acres of paddy fields have been flooded, mainly in Kale, Kanbalu and Monywa in Sagaing division,” Chit Khine said.On August 2, the MRF announced it would provide flood relief to inundated areas and work to prevent rice shortages. It also asked its member groups to halt rice exports until mid-September in order to meet local demand and mitigate a dramatic rise in rice prices in flood-hit areas.

In Burma, the annual paddy-harvest runs from around June-July until September-October. The Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation and related associations have begun providing paddy seeds for farmers who plan to replant crops before the end of the harvest season.“In some areas, however, farmers are not able to replant paddy as farms have already been ruined,” Chit Khine said. “We’re providing paddy seeds for some areas which can be replanted when the water begins receding.”According to MRF estimates, more than 700,000 acres of paddy fields can be replanted among the more than 1 million lost.

The MRF announced separately last week that farmers, millers and traders that have suffered due to the floods will be supported, with the federation pledging to provide seeds, fertilizer and equipment to those in need.A senior official from the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation said related state and division departments had already been providing paddy seeds to farmers as well as equipment to aid replanting.However, in Magwe Division’s Pwintbyu, a township where thousands of acres of paddy, sesame and beans were lost, at least one local expressed skepticism that farmers would be able to replant destroyed fields in the short term.Replanting will not occur, said U Wayamainda, the abbot of Konezaung Village monastery in Pwintbyu Township, “as long as the irrigation department can’t help them to reconstruct small spillways destroyed by flooding.”The abbot said most farmers were focused on rebuilding their homes.

The Ministry of Commerce and the MRF have been working to distribute rice in flood-hit areas at normal prices, but the risk of shortages remains.“For the short term it’s ok but we will have to see long term,” Chit Khine told The Irrawaddy. “If we can’t provide adequate rice for local consumption after September, we asked the government to import rice from Thailand.”With rice a major export product of Burma, the government may be reluctant to allow the importation of rice from regional competitors. However, the MRF believes authorities may allow imports from Thailand if the situation demands it.“It would be a last resort situation.

As long as we can still provide rice for local consumption, we won’t import rice,” he said, adding that the price of Thai rice exports was reasonable, at US$350-370 per ton.Toe Aung Myint, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Commerce, told the state-run newspaper Myanma Ahlin on Monday that the government will control the price of rice and other crops in cooperation with local agencies.“We will work for supply and demand to be balanced by controlling prices,” he was quoted as saying.The Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement announced in state-run media on Monday that 99 flood-related deaths had been recorded and over 1 million people affected across 12 states and divisions.


Paddy sowing rises by 4.5% to 278 lakh hectares: Agriculture Ministry

By PTI | 7 Aug, 2015, 09.17PM IST

Paddy sowing has increased by 4.50 per cent to 277.89 lakh hectares so far in the ongoing kharif season compared with the last year.NEW DELHI: Paddy sowing has increased by 4.50 per cent to 277.89 lakh hectares so far in the ongoing kharif season compared with the last year. The area under paddy last year at the same time was 265.90 lakh hectares. Similarly the area under other kharif crops such as oilseeds, coarse cereals, pulses and cotton has also increased. Area under pulses has increased to 92.64 lakh hectares from 81.24 lakh hectares, acreage of coarse cereals rises to 158.62 lakh hectares from 141.43 lakh hectares, as per official data.

 "The total sown area as on 7th August, as per reports received from states, stands at 847.40 lakh hectare as compared to 808.40 lakh hectare at this time last year," Agriculture Ministry said in a statement. Area under oilseeds has increased to 157.43 lakh hectares from 152.31 lakh hectares in the last season, sugarcane acreage has also rose to 47.36 lakh hectares from 47.17 lakh hectares. However, the area under cotton has declined to 105.68 lakh hectares from 112.24 lakh hectares in the last season, and Jute and Mesta acreage has also come down to 7.79 lakh hectares from 8.11 lakh hectares. eanwhile, Agriculture Secretary Siraj Hussain had said that there is no threat to paddy crop despite IMD's projection of deficient rains in July and August.
Economic Times
Lagos empowers rice farmers with inputs support
By Press Release
August 9, 2015 17:16:01pm GMT |

Lagos state Government through the Ministry of Agriculture has again empowered Rice farmers in the State with inputs support ranging from Land preparation, Seeds, Fertilizer and Water Pumps to boost production during this dry season farming.Speaking at a programme to flag-off this year’s Dry Season Rice farming and distribution of Agriculural inputs and small irrigation scheme equipment at Itoikin Rice field, The Permanent Secretary, Dr. Olajide Bashorun  disclosed that the programme is aimed at boosting rice production. 
“The present administration of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode believes that  governance should shift to the community hence the distribution of inputs support ranging from Land preparation, Seeds, Fertilizer and Water Pumps; this will not only boost production but also bring about effective and efficient rice production thereby increasing the production of rice in the state” he said.Bashorun noted that among the very prime value chains that Lagos State has comparative and competitive advantage gain is rice value chain stressing that the State government places premium on this value chain including others like Vegetables, Poultry and fisheries chains.
The Permanent Secretary who was represented by the General Manager, Lagos State Agric Input Supply Authority, Mr. Bolaji Balogun pointed out that the event is symbolic especially against the backdrop of farmers often depending on Rainfed Agriculture adding that since the State has an Ogun/ Oshun River basin authority, the need to maximise the water resource to aid all year round farming cannot be overemphasized. “Rice is an area that Lagos State can demonstrate enormous capacity with support from Ogun- Oshun  and FADAMA III project addititional financing, we can put more line into rice twice or thrice a year and move the annual gig of rice from two tonnes to Six tonnes”, he said.
According to Bashorun, farmers are contributing towards ensuring food security in the state and one of the  primary goal of the State Government,  is to ensure that the state is food secured and can  substantially meet its food demand. “We also know that rice has become a major stable food in the state and in a situation where the country is spending on the average a billion naira monthly to import rice and 365 billion yearly, its high time we become dependent on rice production and rice utilization market is guaranttee as Lagos is one of the States in the federation that has put in place a modern rice mill machine”, he posited.
Bashorun however admonished the farmers to utilize the 332 water pumps distributed by the Ogun – Oshun river basin Development Authority effectively adding that the least expected from them all is to create more jobs, create wealth from the production being generated and above all to develop themselves.Earlier, the Managing Director of Ogun – Oshun River Basin Authority, Engr. Akin Soyemi stated that he look forward to a continued collaboration and cooperation between his organization and the State whilst also encouraging beneficiaries to make proper use of the equipment and facilities.


Thailand to sell 1 million tonnes of rice to China

By Reuters | 10 Aug, 2015, 02.10PM IST

The rice will be sold to China at market prices, said Chatchai, adding that the sale involved Hom Mali, or Thai jasmine rice, and Thai 5-percent broken white rice.BANGKOK: China will buy 1 million tonnes of rice from Thailand, the Thai commerce minister said on Monday, easing pressure on a military government struggling to shift stockpiles of the grain accumulated under a previous farm-subsidy programme. Thai Commerce Minister Chatchai Sirikalya, following a visit to China last week, said the country agreed to buy 1 million tonnes of rice to be delivered at year-end.
Thailand, the world's second-largest rice exporter, has about 14.5 million tonnes of rice in stockpiles built up under a generous rice subsidy scheme run by a government that was overthrown by the military in May 2014. The rice will be sold to China at market prices, said Chatchai, adding that the sale involved Hom Mali, or Thai jasmine rice, and Thai 5-percent broken white rice. "In the past week the commerce ministry travelled to China and agreed with the Chinese government to do a government-to- government sale and agreed to officially sell rice (to China)," Chatchai told reporters. Chinese government officials did not immediately respond to emailed requests for comment.
In December, Thailand said China would buy 2 million tonnes of rice after the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding during a two-day regional summit in Bangkok. The deal announced on Monday was part of that agreement, said Chatchai, adding that negotiations for the sale of a further 1 million tonnes would begin in September. He said Thai government officials would travel to Iran at the end of August to try to strike similar deals. "Iran has expressed interest in buying rice at the end of August," said Chatchai.

China's new rice to abate global warming?

By K.S. Jayaraman | IANS India Private Limited/Yahoo India News – Mon 10 Aug, 2015
Bangalore, Aug 10 (IANS) Report of a new rice cultivated by China is sure to be a welcome news for those worried about global warming and climate change.Flooded rice fields are a known source of atmospheric methane -- the second most important greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide -- and is said to be responsible for about 20 percent of global warming.While increasing rice production has always been the primary objective of agricultural researchers, not much attention was paid to reducing methane emission from paddy cultivation.

Existing efforts to mitigate rice-associated methane emissions have focussed mainly on agricultural practices - such as water management, fertilizer use, tillage and crop selection - which are labour intensive.Now a report in the journal Nature says that Chinese scientists, in a ground-breaking demonstration, have grown a new variety of rice called SUSIBA2 that meets the twin goals: it is high yielding and, at the same time, the fields growing this rice emit less methane than conventional varieties.The new rice variety is the result of collaborative work of scientists from the Fujian Academy of Agricultural Sciences and Hunan Agricultural University in China with researchers in the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Washington.

The authors generated SUSIBA2 by transferring genes from barley that are responsible for the production of starch in stems and grains using what is called "transcription factor technology".In rice, the leaves and stems take up carbon-dioxide (CO2), which is transformed through photosynthesis into sugars. These sugars are used to produce plant biomass or storage compounds, such as starch, in the shoots, roots and rice grains.The transgenic SUSIBA2 rice produces grains with a high starch content by diverting more carbon (from photosynthesis) into grains and stems, and less into roots. This results in less carbon being available for methane-producing microbes present in the soil and hence less emission of methane from rice fields.The researchers present evidence for this from field trials conducted in three regions of China in three consecutive growing seasons.They report "a significant" reduction in methane emitted from SUSIBA2 rice plants, compared with a widely grown unmodified variety.

"We suggest that the use of SUSIBA2 rice in cutting methane emissions from paddies may become more relevant with global warming," their study concluded.The dual benefit of 'high-starch, low-methane' rice variety indeed "represents a tremendous opportunity for more-sustainable rice cultivation, but it raises many issues," the journal said in an accompanying article.Besides the general questions surrounding the use of genetically modified crops for human consumption, "we do not yet have a clear picture of how this modification affects rice plants' survival and general function," it said.More important, it said, "will be assessment of the long-term consequences of reduction of root-exuded carbon on beneficial soil microbes".Is the Chinese development something to be followed up by India?

"It is quite interesting and challenging," Tikam Jain, a former assistant director general of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research and currently a consultant to the World Bank aided projects in Asia, said in an email.He says authorities must however first examine "if the rice quality and its production capacities are acceptable to the Indian farmers before any further action is taken by India for adopting this technology".

(K.S. Jayaraman can be contacted at killugudi@hotmail.com)
China to buy 1m tonnes of Thai rice
The Nation August 10, 2015 4:45 pm
Commerce Minister Gen Chatchai Sarikalya announced today that China and Thailand recently reached the government-to-government deal for the transaction of 1 million tonnes of Thai rice.He said the shipment of the jasmine and white rice would start in December. The transaction is based on market prices and it does not involve barter trade, he said.Thailand also aims to open another negotiation for the sale of additional 1 million tonnes to China during September 13-14.
Private sector powers seed business growth
Developing stress-tolerant variety big challenge
Yasir Wardad
The private sector's share in seed business has gradually been increasing as it is expanding fast following continued rise in crop production.The country's demand for seeds, a fundamental agro input, reached 1.14 million tonnes, of which the private sector alone contributed more than a quaerter in recent years, insiders said.The total seed business turnover is now nearly Tk 105 billion (excluding farmers' share), according to the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) and the Bangladesh Seed Association (BSA).Experts said development of stress-resistant seed in a changing climatic condition will be the key challenge in the current century for Bangladesh's seed sector--both at the public and private levels.
Director General of Seed Wing under the MoA Anwar Faruqe said the public sector and the farmers (informal private sector) are still dominating the seed market, especially that of rice, wheat, spices and potato while the private businesses have captured the overall vegetable seed business.He said the total seed demand reached approximately 1.143 million tonnes in the country, of which rice comprises 0.214 million tonnes, potato 0.6 million tonnes, wheat 0.064 million tonnes, spice seed 0.155 million tones and maize 6,500 tonnes.He said the BADC and informal private players (farmers) now hold major share of the seed demand.

"As the private sector will lead the seed business in the coming days, the government is giving all necessary supports for the growth of the sector," he said.Chairman of the Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation (BADC) Md Shafiqul Islam Laskar said they supply nearly 0.145 million tonnes of cereal seeds, of which rice has 0.113 million tonnes.He said farmers themselves hold 30 per cent and the formal private sector now supplies 20 per cent of rice seed.  

General Manager of the Seed and Horticulture Wing Md Aminul Islam said annual sale of seed under the BADC was 0.143 million tonnes worth Tk5.0 billion in the financial year 2014-15.
Vegetable seed market is now almost dominated by private seed businesses and the sector has marched forward to capture a notable share of cereal seeds, businesses said.
Bangladesh Seed Association (BSA) Secretary Syed AKM Asadul Amin told the FE that the contribution of the private sector to overall seed supply increased to 26-27 per cent in 2014, which was 20-21 per cent in 2012.

The sector's annual turnover is now nearly Tk 100 billion, a four-time rise in a decade, he said.
He said: "We are dominating almost 98 per cent of vegetable seeds both of hybrid, inbreed and open pollinated (OP) varieties out of 4,500 tonne demand."He said the private sector is now developing both hybrid and inbreed (inbreeds supplied by the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute or BRRI) rice seeds.The private sector share of rice and potato seeds is also increasing-nearly 20 per cent and 25 per cent respectively.

"We are selling 8,000 tonnes of hybrid rice seed which is 90 per cent of the national demand", said the Secretary of the BSA which represents nearly 1,000 seed companies.He said the private sector is dominating the market share of maize seeds with 6,000 tonnes.He told the FE that hybrid vegetable seed demand in the country has expanded to 1,500 tonnes.
National Sales Manager of Lal Teer Agro Ltd, G M Faruque told the FE that his company now supplies 70 per cent of hybrid vegetable seeds of the national demand."We are marketing 131 varieties of 33 vegetable crops in the country of which 55 are hybrid and 76 OP varieties.

"He also informed that they are in a final stage to export hybrid rice seeds to some neighbouring countries.However, Syngenta and Brac, two other companies, are leading the maize seed business, while Supreme Seed Company Ltd is dominates the hybrid rice seed market, according to the BSA.Md Mahtab Uddin, director of the company, said his company is focusing on hybrid rice, vegetable, potato, cotton and maize.The company is contributing more than 40 per cent of the total hybrid rice market share which stand at 3,000-3,500 tonnes.ACI Seed, a sister concern of the ACI Ltd, is supplying more than 40 per cent of water melon hybrid seed in brand name 'Sugar Emperor'.The company ACI is now contributing 300 tonnes of vegetable seeds, mostly inbreed.
ACI is also marketing 1,000 tonnes of hybrid rice seed in brand name ACI-1, ACI-2, Razkumar, Shampad etc during Boro season, an official said.The company has started delivering foundation seeds of local high-yielding rice varieties (HYV) that include Brridhan-28, 29, 11, Bina-8, BR-16 etc, an official said.When asked, BSA Secretary AKM Asadul Amin said export of seeds, specially that of rice, potato and spices seed is mainly done through informal sector (farmer-to-farmer level) in the border areas.He said according to the study done by the association, nearly 0.1million tonnes of seeds worth Tk 10 billion are exported to neighbouring India.

When contacted, director of Plant Quarantine Wing under the Department of Agricultural Extension Chhabi Haridash said the quarantine okayed 3,448 tonnes of seed imports of which maize was 3,262 tonnes and vegetable 518 tonnes in January- September 2014 period.However, private seed traders said apart from the formal import, a good quantity of import is done through informal channel in the same way like export.

Former president of the BSA F R Mallik said the country imports more than 60 per cent of jute seed out of the 4,500 tonnes of demand which is being met through informal channel.Director General of Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI), Dr Jibon Krishna Biswas said salinity and inundation in the coastal districts and drought in the northern and north-western regions have been increasing due to both natural and man-made disasters.Submergence, salinity and drought-tolerant seed varieties should be developed to cope with such environment."The challenge of agriculture in the current century is to develop climate-friendly seeds," he said.Seed scientist Dr MA Sobhan said the private sector is still dependent on import especially for hybrid rice and vegetable seeds.

He said hybrid varieties are highly stress- intolerant which can't be an option in changing climatic condition.He said rice varieties of Aus season were globally famous for their stress-resistant quality.The BRRI should remove the local disaster- tolerant Aus and Aman rice seeds from the germplasm centre, where nearly 8,000 varieties are available.


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