Monday, December 21, 2015

21st December 2015 Daily Global Rice E-Newsletter by Riceplus Magazine-Latest Rice News Updates

 News Headlines…

·        Malaysia shows interest to buy JF-17 from Pakistan

·        UAE rice imports total AED2.5 billion in 2014

·        Chinese firm to set up rice farms in Nigeria

·        Kerala should seek aid from climate fund: Swaminanthan

·        3 containers of rice sit at Big Creek port

·        Skewed paddy policies result in Rs 40k-cr loss

·        Rice exports may surpass 2015 target

·        Climate change to positively impact rice, tea in northeast'

·         Local heroes raise climate hopes
News Detail…

Malaysia shows interest to buy JF-17 from Pakistan

Dr Sani says CPEC will change Pakistan’s economy, beneficial for entire Asia
December 20, 2015, 5:52 pm
 SLAMABAD – Malaysia is considering as one of the option to purchase JF-17 Thunder fighter jets from Pakistan and a deal will be finalised between the two countries after completing required formalities.Malaysian High Commissioner to Pakistan Dr Hasrul Sani said his country wanted to purchase JF-17 Thunder from Pakistan. “Pakistan and Malaysia are enjoying excellent relations in defence as a result of a joint committee which played role as an active forum,” he said.He said that this jet fighter was considered an excellent production of Pakistan in the defence sector and a decision about numbers would be taken very soon by the Malaysian government. He expressed his satisfaction over Pakistan-Malaysia bilateral relations and said that both the countries were enjoying cordial and fraternal bilateral relations especially in trade, economy and defence.


He said that Pakistan was one of the largest trade partner of Malaysia with a total trade volume of more than two billion dollars and that could be enhanced further in future times. He said that Malaysian companies were keen to invest in different sectors in Pakistan.

He also said that Malaysian investors may keen to invest in Pakistan again as the security situation had improved owing to the efforts of the government especially after the success of the Zarb-e-Azb military operation against terrorists. He said that Malaysian companies were looking for joint ventures with Pakistani companies through chambers of commerce to invest in mining and energy sectors especially in hydro power projects.He said that the government of Pakistan should provide proper infrastructure, good banking system besides one window services to international companies to attract them for investment. He said that many Malaysian and other international companies were interested to invest in various projects in Gwadar but could not come due to non-availability of proper infrastructure and facilities.
He said that Pakistan was a blessed country with an important strategic position and it should take maximum advantage from this position for the development and betterment of the nation through economic revolution. “We are happy over the announcement of CPEC and this project will attract multi billion dollars investment to Pakistan as it is being considered one of the biggest indicators for the better economic future of Pakistan,” he said.

“CPEC will change the entire economy of Pakistan and it will be a huge project which will open many windows of development in Pakistan. It will not only beneficial for Pakistan and China but also for the entire region as well as whole Asia,” he said. The high commissioner also appreciated efforts of Pakistan for bringing peace in Afghanistan and lauded its role for holding Heart of Asia conference.

He hoped there would be a permanent peace and stability in Afghanistan due to the efforts of neighbouring countries. He said that Pakistan should also focus on enhancing its trade relations with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states as there was a great scope of exporting Pakistani goods especially rice beside other items to ASEAN countries. Malaysia was the largest importer of rice and mangoes from Pakistan and was focusing meat and other halal foods, he said.

He also said that the High Commission of Malaysia would very soon extend the invitation to President Mamnoon Hussain to visit Malaysia. He said that more than 4,000 Pakistani students were studying in various Malaysian educational institutions and he expected more in the coming years. He said that about 80,000 Pakistani tourists were visiting Malaysia annually and there were numerous scope of more tourists in future years.
UAE rice imports total AED2.5 billion in 2014
Demand in the Emirates is projected to grow by 6.3 per cent a year in average in the coming few years
20/12/2015 10:32 am EDT

The United Arab Emirates’ imports of rice totalled AED2.5 billion in 2014; a large proportion of which was re-exported to African countries at value of AED338 million.Demand for rice in the UAE is projected to grow by 6.3 per cent a year in average in the coming few years, driven by rising population and higher income, according to a report by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.The report indicates that the UAE imports rice from India, Pakistan, Thailand and the United States, pointing out that the main markets for the UAE’s rice re-exports are Benin, Oman, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.UAE exporters have managed to reach and send exports to new growing rice-consuming markets in sub-Saharan Africa.
Most of the world’s rice production comes from Asian countries, with India, Pakistan, Thailand and Vietnam topping the list as the largest producers. Saudi Arabia, China, the United States and the UAE are among the world’s top importers and consumers of rice.Noteworthy, Abu Dhabi Ports and Al Dahra Agriculture LLC, a leading international agribusiness company, have recently celebrated the breaking ground on their rice milling, storage and distribution plant’s silos at Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (Kizad).This AED140m facility will produce up to 80,000 metric tonnes of rice per annum.-

Chinese firm to set up rice farms in Nigeria

By Abdullateef Salau | Publish Date: Dec 18 2015 10:47PM | Updated Date: Dec 18 2015 10:49PM
A Chinese firm, Sanya Twin Rice Industry, Research and Development Company, has expressed its readiness to establish a rice factory in Nigeria.
The firm’s chief executive officer, Mr. Wang Jingxin, stated this during a courtesy visit to the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Bulus Lolo.
He said the firm’s desire to establish rice factory in the country was not only to make profit but also to boost Nigeria’s agriculture through rice production.
Jingxin said through the establishment of a research centre, the firm would also engage local farmers in different trainings to boost their capacity in rice production.
“Our desire now is to acquire 500 hectares of land for experiment.
After four months, if the land is suitable, we would ask for larger hectares of land,” he said, adding that of the 36 states the firm wished to partner with, three states of Akwa Ibom, Rivers and Imo have shown interest.
 The permanent secretary, represented by a senior official of the ministry, Ambassador Ozo Nwobu, told the 8-man delegation that their visit reaffirmed China’s commitment to engage Africa in a strategic partnership for economic development and growth.
Nwobu, who said the federal government spends over $20 billion annually on rice importation, noted that Nigeria has all the conditions for rice cultivatio

Kerala should seek aid from climate fund: Swaminanthan

by Our Correspondent

Alappuzha: Kerala should make efforts to receive assistance from the $100-billion Green Climate Fund (GCF) to study the change in climate patterns in the State, renowned agricultural scientist M. S. Swaminathan has said.Speaking at the first meeting of the executive committee constituted to oversee the upcoming sea-level farming research centre in Kuttanad on Thursday, he said that the fund could also be utilised for the operations of the centre.
“The Green Climate Fund is being created to support developing countries to reduce their emissions and adapt to climate change. As there is a steady rise in the sea water levels across the globe due to climate change, the technique of below sea-level farming gains importance. The Kuttanad model got the heritage status because of its uniqueness and efficiency in dealing with soil and pest-related problems. So, the authorities should take measures to ensure that the centre is benefitted from the GCF,” Swaminanthan, who is also the vice-chairman of the training and research institute, said.
An initial allocation of Rs 5 crore was made to set up the centre, said Chief Minister Oommen Chandy who presided over the function.The centre which would also benefit coastal regions like Lakshwadeep, the Maldives, the Sunderbans and a number of SAARC countries, would be inaugurated by the Chief Minister at a function to be held at the Rice Research Station (RRS) at Mankombu on February 2.
The research institute would temporarily function at the RRS and the Regional Agriculture Research Station (RARS), Kumarkom.The inauguration of the Sustainable Agriculture course, offered by the Government Higher Secondary School, Mankombu, will also be taken place on the same day.The government would allot 200 acres under the Smritivanam programme to set up a sea-level farming research centre at Purakkad, said Forest Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan.Ministers K. P. Mohanan, P. J. Joseph, K. Babu, Agriculture University vice-chancellor Dr, K. P. Rajendran, Fisheries University vice-chancellor Dr. B, Madhusoodana Kurup also attended the meeting.
3 containers of rice sit at Big Creek port
Headline— 19 December 2015— by Johnelle McKenzie
BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Dec. 17, 2015–Gustavo Carrillo of Port of Big Creek told Amandala that three 24-foot containers of rice arrived in the country today, but these containers are still sitting at the port in Big Creek.Sergio Garcia, the consultant for businessman Jitendra Chawla (also known as Jack Charles), who has embarked on a commercial effort to import rice into Belize from Guyana, which he intends to sell at much lower prices than locally produced rice, told Amandala that they went to collect the rice, but were told by Port of Big Creek authorities that the port’s management had been given instructions not to release the rice.
For some time now, Chawla has been promoting his rice on the radio, frustrating local producers who fear that they will lose business due to the presence of this cheaper rice from Guyana on the local market.“The matter is more than just about the price of rice,” the Belize Chamber of Commerce stated in a press release dated December 16, 2015.The Chamber of Commerce release continued by stating that the measure the importer is taking will cause at least 20% of our local farmers to lose business. The release also cautioned that the importer must ensure that he follows proper procedures in order to protect the consumer.In its conclusion, the release remarked that the importer must prove that the quality and standard of the rice he is importing justify the losses that will be suffered by our local farmers and the negative impact of such importation on the Belizean economy.
Amandala contacted Customs officials in Big Creek and was told that missing from the Customs documentation for Chawla is the import permit from Belize Agriculture Health Authority (BAHA), which still needs to give their stamp of approval that the imported product is satisfactory for consumers’ consumption.Garcia told us, however, that, “Under the Treaty of Chaguaramas, CARICOM products don’t need an import permit to enter the country. Garcia pointed to section 79 – General Provisions on Trade Liberalisation.
1. “The member states shall establish and maintain a regime for the free trade movement of goods and services within the CSME (CARICOM Single Market Economy).
2. “Each Member State shall refrain from trade policies and practices…which is to distort competition, frustrate free movement of goods and services or otherwise nullify or impair benefits to which other Member States are entitled under the treaty.
3. “The Member States shall not introduce in their territories any… restrictions on imports or exports of Community origin save as otherwise provided in the Treaty.”
Garcia told Amandala that Chawla had attempted to import the rice earlier this year in March; however, Government had promised to lower the local price of rice in order to make it more affordable for consumers.
As a result, Chawla reconsidered importing rice, but after eight months had passed without Government lowering the price, he proceeded with his plans to import rice from Guyana. Chawla’s imported rice will cost approximately 50 cents less than our local rice.
Stanley Rempel, CEO of Circle R products, explained how the local price of rice is determined: Paddy rice which is received from the farmers is milled. After milling, one pound of white rice is reduced to half a pound of white rice. At this point .30 cents is added on for the conversion of the rice, which brings the cost to .60 cents. Added onto that are .10 cents for milling, .8 cents for packaging, another .10 cents for distribution, then 20% retail markup, which brings the retail price of price to $1.05 per pound.
Garcia said that they feel secure in importing this rice, since the Treaty of Chaguaramas supersedes the “national legislation’.
Garcia also added that it is the Caribbean Court of Justice that makes the final decision on anything that is related to the CSME.

Skewed paddy policies result in Rs 40k-cr loss

New Delhi: Dec 21, 2015, DHNS
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has detected irregularities in paddy procurement payments made by the Centre which have resulted in losses to the tune of Rs 40,564 crore to the exchequer.
The government auditor found that rice millers across four states had received “undue benefit” to the tune of Rs 3,743 crore between 2009-10 and 2013-14, largely due to the skewed pricing policies of both the Central and state governments.Both the Central and state government agencies supply paddy to rice mills after procuring it from farmers. As per the government policy, a miller has to return 67 kg of raw rice or 68 kg of parboiled rice for every quintal of paddy supplied to him by a state agency.
The miller gets to keep the by-products — rice husk, rice bran and broken rice which find applications in a variety of sectors such as power generation, pharmaceutical and solvent plants.The CAG audit, which for the first time looked at the Central expenditure on paddy milling charges, found that the actual value of by-products left was much more than the Rs 33 per quintal discounted by the government. This indicates that an excess amount of Rs 3,743 crore was realised by the paddy millers of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh from sale of these by-products.
The government recovers market value of these by-products at rates fixed in 2005. “These milling charges as well as deductible value of by-products have not been revised since 2005 despite significant increase in realisable value of by-products extracted out of convertible paddy into rice,” the CAG said in its report presented to Parliament recently.
Rice exports may surpass 2015 target
HA NOI (VNS) — Viet Nam's rice exports are likely to exceed the target set for 2015 by 200,000 tonnes to 300,000 tonnes, hitting around 6.5 million tonnes for the year.A strong end to the year has been attributed to the sector's success.According to the Viet Nam Food Association, the country had shipped 5.807 million tonnes of rice as of November this year, and the figure for December is forecast to reach about 700,000 tonnes.
Additionally, rice exported through unofficial channels across the borders is estimated to be between 1.6 million tonnes to 1.8 million tonnes, which is expected to lift the yearly exports through both official and unofficial channels to about 8 million tonnes.Vietnamese rice exporters have recently won bids to supply 450,000 tonnes of rice to the Philippines and one million tonnes of rice to Indonesia, helping raise the price of rice in the domestic market.
Viet Nam has around 4.1 million ha of paddy fields, 53 per cent of which are concentrated across the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta.In 2014, the country exported 6.3 million tonnes of the 45 million tonnes it produced, making it the world's third largest rice exporter after India and Thailand.In the first ten months of this year, Asia maintained its position as Viet Nam's biggest rice importer, despite an annual decline of 11.2 per cent in the market share to 71.58 per cent. Africa, Australia, and Europe showed greater demand for Vietnamese rice with higher imports recorded during the period. — VNS
Viet Nam had shipped 5.807 million tonnes of rice as of November this year. — Photo
Climate change to positively impact rice, tea in northeast'
Kolkata, | 19 December, 2015
Climate change is going to "positively" impact rice and tea crops in northeast, a scientist said on Friday.According to Chandan Mahanta of the IIT-Guwahati, a modelling study carried out by the institute showed in the next 15 years (till 2030), rice and tea can actually have an advantage from climate change."Climate change is going to positively impact rice and tea in at least coming 15 years in the northeast. We have modelled that," Mahanta said here at the South Asia Water Dialogue, adding that scientists looked at climate data, such as temperature, humidity and precipitation in the region to study the changes on the two important crops.
Explaining the variation, he said: "Sometimes it's not just the temperature alone but also the rate of change of temperature or the rate of change of precipitation so it is not always very simple to say."In addition, the difference in growing times also has an influence."Tea is grown at three different times. Even rice is grown at different times. Maybe one particular rice variety may be less affected, others may be more affected," said Mahanta, a professor of the department of civil engineering.The Dialogue was organised by Observer Research Foundation in collaboration with the German Embassy.

Local heroes raise climate hopes 
Abu Bakar Siddique, Rajib Bhowmick

Farida Parvin (left) distributes seeds of salinity-tolerant paddy, which she developed, to fellow farmers in her village of Shyamnagar in Satkhira. Like her, a local farmer in Chapainawabganj has revived Magurshail (right), a nearly extinct local variety of drought-tolerant rice. Both farmers used organic methods to develop these rice varieties   

Farida Parvin is not your regular paddy farmer from one of the worst salinity-hit districts of Bangladesh.
While other paddy growers have given up hope in the face of extreme salinity in the soil, this woman from Shyamnagar of Satkhira district took the climate change-induced phenomenon right on the face.Using entirely traditional indigenous technology, she has so far developed at least 14 hybrid varieties of paddy that can tolerate salinity of up to 3ppt (parts per thousand).“I am now working to make at least one of these varieties tolerant to up to 20ppt salinity,” Farida, who has studied up to higher secondary level, said at a national dialogue titled Contribution of Local Paddy Varieties in Combating Climate Disaster in Dhaka yesterday.
Bangladeshi researchers have already thrown their hands in the air and said that with the existing knowledge they can make paddy tolerant to 12ppt salinity at best.“How did you do the cross-breeding?” “How did you sort the samples?” “How many trials have you run before releasing the breeds?” “What is the lifespan of the breeds that you have developed?” – these were the questions shot at Farida by some of the leading agricultural scientists of the country.
The confidence with which the female paddy grower from a remote village answered all the questions was amazing.She did not even stutter once – which shows she knows very well what she does.Farida said: “In our country, farmers do not have control over the supply of seeds. Things become particularly difficult after natural calamities. So I took this initiative to make sure that farmers always have their own stock of seeds, which will also suit the salty soil of our region.”
The panel of highly educated scientists from Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) and Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (Bari), who have spent decades in their state-of-the-art laboratories trying to develop climate tolerant breeds of paddy, was listening with a sense of disbelief to what Farida has achieved.BRRI Director General Jibon Krishna Biswas later told the Dhaka Tribune: “What they are doing is praiseworthy no doubt. But it is also true that they have some shortcomings because they do not have the facilities that we have in our well-equipped laboratories.
“In our laboratories, we cross-match among several hundred samples at a time to develop one new variety. But the farmers cross-match among only a few. So, it would be too early to predict the long-term success of their endeavours.“Then again, I believe they will be able to overcome their shortcomings as they gain more experience working with various breeds of paddy.”The programme was jointly organised by Bangladesh Resource Council for Indigenous Knowledge (BARCIK) and the Christian Commission for Development in Bangladesh (CCDB).
While talking to the Dhaka Tribune, Farida said she took a two-day training from BARCIK on traditional techniques of cross-breeding back in 2011. Following five-year trials of each of her 14 breeds, she has recently released six of those to her fellow local farmers, who are cultivating them now.Farida was not the only local hero who came to the Chhayanaut at Dhanmondi yesterday to attend the dialogue.Take, for example, Yusuf Molla from the northern drought-prone district of Chapainawabganj.
He already has a collection of around 300 indigenous varieties of Aman, Aush and Boro paddy and he has been cultivating around 100 of these rare varieties – including Dadkhani, Raghushail and Magurshail – for many years to keep them alive.Yusuf brought gifts of 1kg of Magurshail rice – a nearly extinct low-irrigation variety – for everyone attending the programme yesterday.In his area, underground water level has gone down alarmingly, making irrigation  expensive and challenging. So, he has been trying to popularise these low irrigation varieties among the local farmers.
Nuaj Ali Fakir, not as educated as Farida or Yusuf but no less knowledgeable, from the marshland-dominated Habiganj district has discovered a new variety of paddy that can tolerate stagnant water and flash flood. He named the variety “Churak.”He told the Dhaka Tribune that he found this rice, which stands taller than an average human being, from among a collection of unnamed paddy.Nur Mohammad, from Rajshahi, is now awaiting approval from the Seed Certification Agency (SCA) for one of his cross-matched fine grain aromatic drought-resistant rice variety.At yesterday’s programme, Jibon Krishna Biswas, DG of BRRI, asked Nur Mohammad to send all his cross-matched breeds to his organisation and promised to get them approved by the SCA upon scrutiny.In his speech, Jibon said indigenous varieties and local inventions can play an important role in coping up with the changing pattern of climate.At present, BRRI has a total of 8,044 paddy samples in its germplasm centre and 4,600 of these are indigenous.
BRRI has developed seven salinity-tolerant, four drought-tolerant and two submergence-resistant breeds of paddy. The DG said that the term “high yielding variety” has now become obsolete; they now call these “modern varieties.”Earlier, the programme began with a lively presentation by BARCIK coordinator Pavel Partha, who showed some of the most interesting and unique but traditional usage of paddy.For example, Binni rice is an indispensable part of wedding among the Garo. The stickiness of the rice is symbolic of the bonding in marriage.
Farida Akhter, executive director of Policy Research for Development Alternative (Ubinig), discussed why thousands of local varieties of paddy have become practically extinct.She said this began during the Ayub Khan-era Green Revolution in the 1960s when the then government promoted high yielding dwarf varieties of paddy instead of the local breeds. 

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