Monday, January 25, 2016

25th January 2016 daily global rice e-newsletter by riceplus magazine

Today Rice News Headlines...

·         CRF kicks off annual forum with rice competition
·         $10-M IRRI seed lab to study climate change effect on rice
·         Price Controls Re-emerge in Cuba’s 2016 Economy
·         Cagayan farmers get drought-resistant rice variety
·         Latest rice seed market research for agriculture sector released with historic and forecasts data
·         Sanctions removal: Rice export to Iran ineffective sans detailed mechanism
·         Why is rice-based farming good for farmers and consumers?
·         How Jonathan govt. issued multi billion naira rice import quotas last day in office
·         15,000 tons of rice gifted to Cuba
·         Stakeholders canvass research to improve agriculture
·         Jonathan Signed Multi-Billion Naira Rice Deal Before Handover
·         Airlift The Rice To Monrovia, Please!
·         Taste Takes Center Stage at Cambodia Rice Festival
·         Kuwaiti farms yield rare produce for the first time in Mideast history
·         Recipes from Mughlai and Awadhi kitchen
·         APEDA Rice Commodity News
News Detail...
CRF kicks off annual forum with rice competition
The Cambodia Rice Federation opened its annual rice festival yesterday with a competition to find the country’s best rice, with Prime Minister Hun Sen scheduled to address the forum today. The three-day festival, the fifth time it is being organised by the Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF), gave out three awards in different categories, with the announcement of two other awards to be made by Hun Sen today. The competition was a way to push farmers and millers to increase the quality of rice produced in the Kingdom, said Sok Puthyvuth, president of the CRF.“Based on this competition, the federation will know where the best rice is grown and farmers and associations can study and learn more about the technique used across the country,” Puthyvuth said.Battambang-based agricultural community of Sangha Phal was awarded the best paddy in the Kingdom, with its representative Nov Sopheap saying the 200 farmers who make up the community will now look to expand its operations and use better growing techniques.“With the prize, we will expand membership and land that is farmed to produce more rice. We will also provide technical assistance to people to get access to good seeds,” Sopheap said.Chan Pech, general manager of Cambodian rice miller Signatures of Asia, which won best parboiled rice, said his product was popular in the European Union, where it was appreciated for its quality.“It makes us proud that Cambodia can produce the best quality of rice, like India or Pakistan.
 The prize will encourage us to strengthen the quality going forward,” he added. Cambodia’s biggest rice exporter, Amru Rice, was awarded for having the best quality long grain white rice, while the remaining two awards will be for fragrant and jasmine rice. Over the next two days, the meeting will conduct sessions with technical experts looking to improve productivity and access to finance, as well has have panel discussions with government officials and the private sector.

Judges inspect rice yesterday at the Sokha Hotel in Phnom Penh during the Cambodian Rice Federation's annual rice festival. Pha Lina


$10-M IRRI seed lab to study climate change effect on rice

By: Maricar Cinco

03:42 AM January 25th, 2016

By: Maricar Cinco, January 25th, 2016 03:42 AM
LOS BAÑOS, Laguna—Imagine giant refrigerators and microwave ovens.A $10-million (approximately P480 million) plant-growth facility, meant for the studies of the impact of climate change on rice production, has started operating at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) compound here.Sprawled across a 3,000-square meter area, the Australian-funded facility has eight controlled environment glasshouses and large sets of plant and seed laboratories that can simulate weather conditions such as drought, flood and heat.ADVERTISEMENT
It allows researchers to “precisely control” temperature, humidity, light intensity, atmospheric gases and water management systems, an IRRI statement said.

“Fundamentally, (the facility will) enable scientists to simulate the effects of climate change,” said Bruce Tolentino, IRRI deputy director general for communication and partnerships, in an interview at the opening of the facility last week.“We will know exactly how the plants react to the effects of climate change and ensure how [they] will continue to grow and be productive [under these conditions],” he said.Tolentino described the chambers as something like giant refrigerators, microwaves or incubators that simulate climate conditions experienced in different countries such as the Philippines, Africa, Thailand and Vietnam.

”The facility was named after Lloyd T. Evans, the late Australian plant physiologist and a member of the IRRI board of trustees from 1984 to 1989. It was funded by the Australian government through the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research.Tolentino said about three to four dozen scientists from around the globe would be working at the new plant facility.He said similar research facilities were being built by the Philippine government on the University of the Philippines Diliman and Los Baños campuses, but IRRI remains to be the leading institution in science work.

Price Controls Re-emerge in Cuba’s 2016 Economy

An experiment started a few days after the meeting of Cuba’s 2016 National Assembly meeting.  The issue is food prices, and the solution – or the experiment – is price controls, which are officially called, “variable.”The National Assembly of People’s Power, held at the Havana Convention Center on December 29, 2015, was called, “Year 57 of the Revolution”.  Although not mentioned directly in his address, Raul Castro said that measures would be taken to bring prices in line with wages in response to complaints about food prices.According to the US Department of Agriculture, Cuba has the highest per capita rice consumption of any country in the Western Hemisphere.

 Unable to meet production targets, Cuba imports more than 60% of its consumption of rice.Prior to the 1962 embargo, Cuba was the number one export destination for US-grown rice.  In 2000, Congress permitted US agricultural exports to Cuba.  US rice sales to the island nation totaled 635,000 MT between 2002 and 2006.  A rule tightening in 2005 crippled US exports to Cuba, and there have been no US rice sales to Cuba since 2008.According to the USDA, Cuba’s field yields averaged 2.8 metric tons per hectare (rough-rice basis) from 2009/10 to 2013/14 and have shown no signs of long-term growth since the late 1970s. Cuba’s yields are low compared with other rice growing countries in the region. From 2009/10 to 2013/14, rice yields averaged 4.7 metric tons per hectare in the Dominican Republic, 4.4 metric tons in Nicaragua, and 3.5 metric tons in Costa Rica.

In another development, a Pakistani ship set several days ago sail carrying around 15,000 tons rice to Cuba.Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, said that Pakistan would extend all possible assistance to help Cuba by reciprocating in the same spirit as Cuba had done by sending teams of doctors following the aftermath of the country’s magnitude 7.6 earthquake that took the lives of more than 100,000 Pakistanis in 2005.

Cagayan farmers get drought-resistant rice variety

January 24, 2016 8:06 pm
TUGUEGARAO CITY, Cagayan: Farmers in Cagayan Valley are adopting a drought-resistant rice variety recommended to them by the Department of Agriculture (DA) to combat the effects of the long dry spell that has resulted in the loss of more than P2 billion worth of crops in the region.Ernesto Guzman, DA-Region 2 chief of operations, said they are introducing the rice variety called “green super rice” (GSR) to help farmers’ cope with the effects of the prolonged El Niño phenomenon.He said farmers in the towns of Amulung and Lallo in Cagayan; Cauayan City in Isabela; and Mad¬dela town in Quirino–areas in Caga¬yan Valley that suffered the most from natural calamities–were the first recipients of the said variety.Guzman explained the GSR variety is a product of research on drought resistant crops and this suits the environment in Cagayan Valley. Region 2 is vulnerable to a prolonged dry spell weather condition during summer up to the third quarter of this year.

“GSR variety could survive during dry season and could produce yields even without pesticides and less fertilizer inputs. Based on our thorough research, the green super rice variety has a better yield and higher production compared to the usual varieties planted by farmers,” he added.The DA office in Region 2 has initially allocated more than 3,000 sacks of GSR for distribution to farmers in the areas most affected by the long dry spell and those recently hit by the onslaught of typhoons and floodings.“Our policy is to provide one sack of green super rice variety per family to give chance to others to avail of the said variety,” Guzman said.

Meanwhile, DA officials said research expansion is being conducted in the towns of Iguig and Gonzaga in Cagayan; and towns of of Alicia and Burgos and Santiago City in Isabela to boost production of GSR seeds to be distributed to more farmers in the region.“We would like to assure our farmers in Cagayan Valley of the GSR variety’s good quality as staple food which will surely be patronized by consumers,” Guzman added

Latest rice seed market research for agriculture sector released with historic and forecasts data

WhaTech Channel: Agriculture Market Research
Published on Monday, 25 January 2016 19:08
Rice Seed Industry 2016 Market Research Report is a professional and in-depth study on the current market state of rice seeds providing a basic overview of the industry including definitions, classifications, applications and industry chain structure. The Rice Seed market analysis is provided for the international market including development history, competitive landscape analysis, and major regions’ development status. Development policies and plans are discussed as well as manufacturing processes and cost structures.This report also states import/export, supply and consumption figures as well as cost, price, revenue and gross margin by regions (United States, EU, China and Japan), and other regions can be added.
This research on rice seed market helps focus on global major leading industry players with information such as company profiles, product picture and specification, capacity, production, price, cost, revenue and contact information. Upstream raw materials, equipment and downstream consumers analysis is also carried out.What’s more, the Rice Seed industry development trends and marketing channels are analyzed.
Finally, the feasibility of new investment projects is assessed, and overall research conclusions are offered. Companies profiled in this rice seed market report include Dupont Pioneer (USA), Bayer (Germany), Nuziveedu (India), Kaveri (India), Mahyco (India), RiceTec (USA), Krishidhan (India), Rasi Seeds (India), JK Seeds (India), Syngenta (Switzerland), Longping (China), China Seed (China), Grand Agriseeds (China)¸ DBN (China)¸ Hefei Fengle (China), Win-all Hi-tech (China), Gansu Dunhuang (China)¸ Dongya Seed (China), KeepLong Seeds (China), Hengmao (China)¸ OPULENT Technology (China)¸ Zhongnongfa (China)¸ Anhui Nongken (China), Beijing Doneed (China), Origin Seed (China)¸ Hefei Fengbao (China) and CHENGDU JINZHUO (China).
Sanctions removal: Rice export to Iran ineffective sans detailed mechanism
| REAP chairman wants Pak, Iranian banking sectors to establish active linkages to facilitate traders
January 24, 2016
Salman Abduhu
LAHORE - The restart of rice export to Iran will remain ineffective until detailed mechanism is evolved and appropriate currency transfer arrangements are made through State Bank of Pakistan, which has not been implemented so far. Pakistan’s rice export is stagnant for the last many years, both in quantitative and value terms and is hovering around 4 million tons in quantity and $2 billion in worth. “Although Iran could be a huge market for Pakistani rice but country’s rice sector is not ready to take advantage of this opportunity yet, because energy crisis and lack of research & development, which leads to development of new seeds, have turned us regionally uncompetitive,” said Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan chairman Ch Shafique. 

He appreciated the lifting of sanctions on Iran, as it will provide Pakistan with a historic opportunity to raise mutual trade and investment. REAP chairman demanded that the banking sectors of the two countries should also establish active linkages within weeks to facilitate traders to channel their payments. “In the past few years, lack of recognised and trustable payment mechanism through banks proved to be the single largest factor hindering bilateral trade,” he added. Bilateral trade with Iran fell drastically as a result of sanctions and the unwillingness of banks to finance trade. “The last hurdle in resuming smooth trade relations between the two countries has been removed, providing an opportunity to implement the projects which have been in limbo for the last few years,” REAP chairman opined. 

Pakistan once was the largest exporter of rice to Iran before imposition of sanctions on Iran, but now almost 80 per cent of rice is going to Iran from India though import from Pakistan is more economical, he said.The REAP chairman also appreciated the move of government to initiate a free trade agreement (FTA) with Iran in the wake of lifting of sanctions on Tehran, as Commerce Minister Khurram Dasatgir Khan a few days back had stated that Pakistan was interested in negotiating an agreement with Iran. Ch Shafique also welcomed the Pakistani plan to construct three border posts along the Iran border on modern lines to facilitate the land trade. The next logical step after a preferential trade agreement is an FTA and Pakistan couldn’t find a better time to initiate negotiations on a new trade agreement, he opined.

“New circumstances merit new agreements and enhanced cooperation for the mutual benefit of the two neighbours,” he added. “Pakistan wants more predictability in tariffs on agricultural produce and products from Iran. Iranian duties on agriculture fluctuate widely depending upon the time of harvest ranging from on-seasonal highs to off-seasonal lows. The two sides need to agree on sanitary and phyto-sanitary standards as this proves an unwanted barrier in bilateral trade,” he said. Ch Shafique hoped the conclusion of an FTA between Pakistan and Iran and inclusion of Iran back into the world trading system would bring more predictability and clarity and the seasonal shifts in duties and trading pattern would give way to surer trading regime
Why is rice-based farming good for farmers and consumers?
The rice-based farming framework promoted by the Philippine Rice Research Institute. Source: RTM/PhilRice
Rice-based farming will increase farmers’ income and consumers will have healthier options according to Dr. Eufemio T. Rasco Jr., of the National Academy for Science and Technology (NAST) and a former executive director of PhilRice.The said approach requires diversification, integration, and intensification of farming practices.
“Instead of rice mono-cropping, farmers should also grow other crops, and livestock alongside rice. With the use of existing models like vermiculture, mushroom production, mungbean, corn, garlic, duck, and fish that can be grown and maintained alongside with rice, farmers will have reduced dependence on rice as the main source of income,” said Rasco during a seminar at PhilRice, 13 January.
Rasco highlighted the significance of Palayamanayon, a PhilRice advocacy that aims to transform a community of farmers into agri-preneurs. Its scope is not limited to crops and livestock but also covers fishes and vermiculture. Its scale is not just for household food security but also covers the national food security as well.In Palayamanayon, everything a farmer places in his farm serves a purpose. With rice as the main crop, vegetables and livestock are also integrated to optimize the overall farm system. Ducks and fish may be integrated for pest control and added income; or azolla may be planted as source of organic inputs. Nothing is wasted in the close-loop method.
With rice-based farming, consumers may also try other staples. Kamote, cassava, white corn, brown rice, and parboiled rice are among them. Raco also emphasized the consumption of brown rice in-line with the Brown4Good campaign of the Institute. It is also rich with dietary fibers, magnesium, selenium and other vitamins that help reduce the risk of colon cancer.
PhilRice has new deputies
Dr. Calixto M. Protacio, executive director of PhilRice, designated three acting deputy executive directors (DED), effective January to December 2016.Roger F. Barroga has been designated as acting DED for administration. Drs. Eduardo Jimmy P. Quilang and Flordeliza H. Bordey have been designated as acting deputies for research and for development, respectively.
Barroga currently leads FutureRice, a program that explores ways to increase current rice output using 21st century and practical cutting edge technologies. He was the former director of the Open Academy for Philippine Agriculture (OpAPA), a consortium of agriculture stakeholders that enabled the Philippine agriculture benefit from modernized ICT. OpAPA was the recipient of the 2010 International Prize for Pioneering Human Development Projects awarded by the the Arab Gulf Programme for Development (AGFUND).
Barroga holds Master’s degree in Development Communication from the University of the Philippines Los Baños. Quilang was PhilRice’s DED for Development from 2011to 2015. Under his watch, several campaigns and special projects were launched such as the Palayabangan: The 10-5 Challenge, PalaYamaNayon: The Rural Transformation Movement, Be Riceponsible Campaign, Gusto Namin Milyonaryo Kayo Campaign, Best Station Contest, and Rice Science Museum. The new DED for Research holds a PhD in Agricultural Sciences specializing in Bioproduction Environmental Science from Kyushu University in Japan under the Monbukagakusho Scholarship.
Meanwhile, Bordey, an economist, was former head of PhilRice’s Socioeconomics Division. She leads the DA-FSSP-funded project titled Benchmarking the Philippine Rice Economy Relative to Major Rice-Producing Countries in Asia. In 2010, she was the program lead of the Impact evaluation, policy research and advocacy program of the Institute. She obtained her PhD in Agricultural Economics at the University of Illinois in 2010 under the Fulbright – Philippine Agriculture Scholarship Program. Bordey has been with PhilRice for more than 15 years and published papers on food policy, trade liberalization, production economics, impact assessment, and climate change.  The new DEDs are expected to oversee the preparation and implementation of various transdisciplinary R&D programs of the Institute.

How Jonathan govt. issued multi billion naira rice import quotas last day in office

Former President Goodluck Jonathan
A few hours to the expiration of President Goodluck Jonathan’s tenure, papers for a huge rice import quota worth billions of Naira were rushed in for the president’s accent, ostensibly as parting gifts to cronies and businessmen close to the power corridor.A state House memo dated May 27, 2015 and obtained by PREMIUM TIMES conveyed the President’s approval of another memo forwarded to him only a day earlier by his Vice President, Namadi Sambo.In the earlier memo dated May 26, 2016, the then Vice President had sought a subsidy approval for select rice importers to bring in a total of 782,000 metric tonnes under what was termed ‘2015 Rice Quota Allocations’.The then President signed the largesse deal on his last day in Aso Rock. But the allocation was rejected, and cancelled by the succeeding Muhammadu Buhari administration.
PREMIUM TIMES had on December 21, 2015, published an investigation detailing the corruption that plagued the 2014 Rice Quota Allocations and how some of the privileged beneficiaries of the rice subsidy colluded with smugglers to subvert the national rice development policy.The report exposed the ingenious ways employed by the beneficiaries to sell their quotas to pure businessmen, helping them to dodge the payment of 40 percent tariff to government.The same ingenuity was deployed to divert cargoes originally meant for Cotonou, a notorious seaport that thrives on welcoming any vessel carrying items on Nigeria’s import prohibition list.
The May 27, 2015 quota was not the first to be released for the year 2015.A botched attempt was earlier made on April 13, 2015 when a list of 22 beneficiary companies was released by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture after what was supposed to have been a laborious due process.However the joy of the new beneficiaries were short-lived when nine days later, on April 22, the same Agric Ministry reversed itself and cancelled and withdrew all allocations.Before the then Agriculture Minister, Akinwunmi Adesina, departed for the African Development Bank as its president, he had in a memo titled ‘Approved List of Companies Allocated Rice Import Quota for April 2015 – March 2016 Period’ and sent to his Finance Ministry counterpart, mentioned that his ministry had identified a domestic rice supply gap of 1.3 million metric tonnes for the year 2015.He said he had, therefore, issued import quota allocations to 22 approved companies to import 961,000 metric tonnes of rice at 10 percent duty and 20 percent levy.
However, in announcing the cancellation of Mr. Adewunmi’s quota list, Permanent Secretary Of the ministry, S. T Echono, talked about a new information reaching the ministry to the effect that some Nigerian rice farmers were unable to sell their paddy to local rice millers due to a flooding of the market with imported rice.Industry watchers blamed the flooding on influx of smuggled rice from Cotonou and Niger Republic.To keen observers, the discordant tunes coming from the same Ministry belied high-powered politics in the scramble for a chunk of a new national cake.The second quota announced by Mr. Adewunmi had new beneficiaries such as Arewa Livestock Farms, African Farms, Olea Nigeria Ltd, Dependable Foods & Confectionary, Blue Line Investments Nigeria Ltd, Quarra Rice, Hammond Wright Nigeria Ltd and Blaine & Wilkes Nigeria Ltd.All of them were however thrown out of the list of the third quota beneficiaries supervised by Vice President Sambo.
The Sambo committee reviewed downward the national supply gap from 1.3 million MT to 782,000 MT just as it pruned beneficiaries from 22 to 20. But even the third quota allocation is not recognised by the Customs service, and is treated as though it never happened.The gulf in the two figures bandied as national supply gap is seen by concerned stakeholders as indicator of how sentiment and cronyism are robbing government of much-needed revenue in the face of dwindling oil fortunes.A policy analyst, Evelyn Beredugoh, blamed the discrepancy on phantom local capacities as claimed by many of the local rice investors.She said, “For you to qualify for import quota you must have a rice farm or rice mill the size of which determines the size of your allocations. Some people call themselves investors even when they have no verifiable business down the rice value chain.
“Some of the investors quote local capacities that are only a figment of their imagination. Because there is no serious verification exercise, these phantom figures are added up as national rice production capacity. The higher the local capacity, the lower the national supply gap.“In the end, you find that the actual supply gap might be higher than the 1.5 million metric tonnes quoted in 2014. The real beneficiaries remain the smugglers while the real investors face hard times in boosting local production which is the only objective of the rice policy.”

15,000 tons of rice gifted to Cuba

January 23, 2016
Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) dispatched some 15,000 tons rice to Cuba as a gift from people of Pakistan. Sources told Business Recorder on Friday that it was after a long gap that the state-run grain trader has made a export shipment of rice, procured from domestic exporters/traders amounting to around Rs 689 million, while another rice export consignment is likely to be sent next month for Benin. They said that some three domestic exporters/traders have supplied the commodity for the export/gift purpose and a ship `Mv Moleson' carrying 15,000 tons rice, including long grain white rice (IRRT-6) and super Basmati rice, has sailed to Cuba. Following the directives of the federal government in December last year, the TCP initiated procurement of some 15,000 tons of rice for sending it to Cuba as a `gift'.

The TCP invited separate bids for procurement of 10,000 metric tons IRRT-6 and 5,000 metric tons super Basmati rice on Free on Board (FOB) basis. Some 10 exporters/traders submitted bids for supplying IRRT-6. The tender award committee found that the lowest bid of Rs 34,490 per metric tons (exclusive of taxes) on COST & FOB (transit between seller's warehouses and loading on board/vessel) basis for a quantity of 5,000 metric tons IRRI-6 was quoted by M/s KAFI Commodities (Pvt) Limited. As the lowest bid was responsive and competitive, TCP declared M/s KAFI Commodities as successful bidder and issued the award letter for supply 5,000 metric tons to the firm. As the total required quantity was 10,000 metric tons, the tender awarding committee cognisant of the fact that a single vessel has been hired through PNSC for dispatching the cargo and in view of urgency of the matter offered the second lowest bidder - M/s Noor Rice Mills - for price matching of first lowest bidder.

 Claiming that the price matching request was justified in terms of Rule 42(v) (d) of the Public Procurement Rules, 2004, the sources said that M/s Noor Rice Mills accepted the offer and was issued letter for award for supplying remaining quantity of 5,000 metric tons IRRI-6 at a price of Rs 34,490 per metric ton COST & FOB. M/s Noor Rice Mills had earlier submitted bid for 5,000 metric tons of IRRI-6 at a price of Rs 34,987 per metric tons, the sources added.. With regard to procurement of 5,000 metric tons of super Basmati rice, sources said that some six exporters/traders submitted their bids and the tender award committee declared M/s Chappal Traders as the successful bidder as it offered 5,000 metric tons super Basmati rice at the rate of Rs 68,920 per metric ton, excluding taxes on COST & FOB (transit between seller's warehouses and loading on board/vessel) basis

Stakeholders canvass research to improve agriculture

January 24, 2016
Anna Okon
Stakeholders in the agriculture sector have emphasised the need for research development to improve the agricultural sector.According to the Group Executive Director, Elephant Group, Mr. Akin Ogunbiyi, since the the focal point of the current administration was to boost agriculture to diversify the economy, there is an urgent need to adopt technology and research in identifying products in which the country has comparative advantage.Ogunbiyi, in a recent interview, advised the the nation to look at research development in the sector and boost agriculture extension programmes.
Also, the President, Kaduna Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, Dr. Abdul Bello, in an interview with our correspondent, emphasised the need for research in the sector, lamenting that Nigeria had continued to record poor crop yields, while there were soil testing laboratories lying waste.He also stressed the need for the sector to embrace technology, adding, “We must learn to work with Information and Communications Technology. Rwanda has adopted ICT in every sector of its economy and everything in that country is currently working. Nigeria should do the same.”Bello made a case for the decentralisation of the agriculture ministry, adding that little could be achieved by concentrating everything at the centre.
The Chairman, Rice Millers, Importers and Distributors Association of Nigeria, Mr. Tunji Owoeye, on his part, decried the effect of policy inconsistency on the development of large-scale farming and backward integration.He urged the government to encourage large-scale farming through consistent and stable policies, adding that Nigeria had become one of the largest producers of cassava today because of past government policies that encouraged cultivation of cassava.“If Nigeria can be the largest producer of cassava in the world, with the right political will and consistent policies, we can also be the largest producers of other commodities including rice,” he said.
He advised that government policies targeted at the growth of agriculture such as the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending should be maintained.He also said government should increase access to credit for the value-chain operators, improve the capacity of NISRAL to take on insurance and risks more to support the teeming value-chain operators across all the products.To make Nigeria succeed as a net producer and exporter of rice, Owoeye suggested that the 10 rice mills approved by the Federal Executive Council of the previous administration should be made to come on stream.“If we put those 10 on stream, with the capacity of 35,000 metric tonnes per mill, that is about 350,000 metric tonnes added to the nation’s paddy processing. This would encourage our farmers, create employment and bring down pressure on the foreign exchange,” he said.He added that agribusiness must be technologically driven as it is done in the western world.

Jonathan Signed Multi-Billion Naira Rice Deal Before Handover

Details have emerged of how the former president, Goodluck Jonathan signed a multi-billion Naira rice import quota deal a few hours to the expiration of his tenure, Premium Times Reports.
A state house memo dated May 27, 2015 showed that Jonathan signed the approval of another memo forwarded to him by Namadi Sambo, the then vice president a day earlier.In the memo, Sambo had sought a subsidy approval for select rice importers to bring in a total of 782,000 metric tonnes under what was termed ‘2015 Rice Quota Allocations’.Jonathan had signed the deal on his last day in office but the allocation was subsequently rejected and cancelled by the incoming president, Muhammadu Buhari.

The beneficiaries of the rice subsidy had been colluding with smugglers to subvert the national rice development policy and dodge the payment of 40 percent tariff to government.It was reported that effort had earlier been made in April 13, 2015 when the Ministry of Agriculture released a list of 22 beneficiary companies for the rice quota but the list was withdrawn a few days later by the ministry.Akinwunmi Adesina, he then minister of agriculture had in a memo titled ‘Approved List of Companies Allocated Rice Import Quota for April 2015 – March 2016 Period’ and sent to the Ministry of Finance mentioned that his ministry had identified a domestic rice supply gap of 1.3 million metric tonnes for the year 2015 and so issued import quota allocations to 22 approved companies to import 961,000 metric tonnes of rice.

However, Sonny Echono, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture cancelled the quota list on the ground that information reaching him showed that Nigerian rice farmers were unable to sell their paddy to local rice millers due to a flooding of the market with imported rice.A new quota was released and contained new beneficiaries such as Arewa Livestock Farms, African Farms, Olea Nigeria Ltd, Dependable Foods & Confectionary, Blue Line Investments Nigeria Ltd, Quarra Rice, Hammond Wright Nigeria Ltd and Blaine & Wilkes Nigeria Ltd but all of them were thrown out in the quota supervised by the vice president. The Sambo quota made changes by cutting the beneficiaries from 22 to 20 but the customs serviced refused to honour it.Evelyn Beredugoh, a policy analyst said some people parade themselves as investors even when they had no business in the rice chain.

“For you to qualify for import quota you must have a rice farm or rice mill the size of which determines the size of your allocations. Some people call themselves investors even when they have no verifiable business down the rice value chain.

 “Some of the investors quote local capacities that are only a figment of their imagination. Because there is no serious verification exercise, these phantom figures are added up as national rice production capacity. The higher the local capacity, the lower the national supply gap.
“In the end, you find that the actual supply gap might be higher than the 1.5 million metric tonnes quoted in 2014. The real beneficiaries remain the smugglers while the real investors face hard times in boosting local production which is the only objective of the rice policy.”

Airlift The Rice To Monrovia, Please!

Mon, 01/25/2016 - 00:22 admin
In the Observer’s end-of-year edition, we made Lofa County farmer John Selma Person of the Year. The choice for us was clear. Here was a man who, after all of the noise the international community had made over food sustainability, galvanized a group of Lofa farmers and decided they would produce enough rice to feed the country. The Liberian government has long paid lip service to agriculture, and these patriotic, hardworking Liberians had decided that that notwithstanding, they would grow enough food to feed their country—at their own expense.The farmers borrowed money from a village loan and savings scheme, expanded their farms and yielded an abundant harvest. They were overjoyed—until they found out that there was no way of getting their produce to market and their government was wasting time in helping them.

Then last week, we found out that the farmers were in trouble—that they could face legal action if they were not able to pay back the money they borrowed to expand their farms.The Observer contacted the Ministry of Agriculture to ask whether the government could mandate that rice importers purchase rice from local farmers before being allowed to import it from India and China. The Ministry of Agriculture said that was the Commerce Ministry’s job. When the
Observer contacted the Commerce Ministry, they said they were waiting for the Ministry of Agriculture to take the lead in mandating that foreign rice importers buy from Liberian farmers first before being allowed to import.

Economically and logically speaking, food produced in-country should be much less expensive than imported food. But the price of locally grown rice (affectionately known as ‘country rice’) is on par with the price of imported rice on the Liberian market mainly because of the cost of transporting it to Monrovia on very bad roads.So the farmers have done their part. Whose job is it now to ensure that they are able to sell their rice at a profit so that their families are fed and their children go to school? So that in such a tough economy, as Varney Sherman has already warned us, there is an affordable and sustainable alternative on the market as far as the supply of our staple food is concerned? So that more and more Liberians are encouraged to go back to the soil in a country so rich in vegetation? So that we do not wake up one day to find this country embroiled in another April 14?

We can answer most unequivocally that it is the government of Liberia’s (GOL) job. Whom do they expect to build farm-to-market roads? These farmers are not asking for a handout; nor did they drink and party away the money they borrowed. They have the evidence to show that they did what they were supposed to with the money. They were responsible and even united. And must they now be punished for such a patriotic initiative?

The government of Liberia is creating around this issue an air of impossibility, as if fixing the roads would be the only way to get the rice to markets. Why has the government of Liberia not contracted cargo planes from Ghana, Nigeria or even asked the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) to make the rice available on the market? Surely rice milling machines can be made available to the farmers (we understand they are made in Ganta).

And so, as we understand it, there is absolutely no other reason why Liberian ‘country rice’ is not being sold on the market at a competitive price other than a lack of commitment on the part of the GOL. So what really is the problem that causes the GOL consistently to give foreigners preference over Liberians in their own country? It seems the determined and unconscionable propensity (inclination) of this government to want to outsource EVERYTHING—why? Has the government lost confidence in its own people, and in itself?

We recently learned that the GOL has its eye on the privatization of education in this country—“Public-private partnerships” as they are called. Whose curriculum will these foreign-run schools be using? Will education be contextualized to our culture and environment or will our children see things they cannot relate to in their text books?

Today President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is scheduled to deliver her Annual Message to the Legislature. We suggest that one of the first things she should tell them is that GOL will airlift the rice produced by Lofa and other farmers around the country to Monrovia, have it milled and sold without delay so that none of this momentous (historic, extraordinary) harvest is lost and the patriotic initiative of these hardworking farmers does not go in vain. GOL cannot afford to let the Lofa farmers down and run the risk of totally discouraging farming in Liberia.

The President should also outline and activate every resource needed to implement a serious agenda for agricultural transformation in Liberia, focusing most especially on four crops: cocoa, coffee, rice and vegetables. Financing agriculture and good roads are the other legs of this important stool of our national economy.She cannot help but deliver to the Legislators a litany of economic woes. The agenda for the transformation of agriculture, focusing particularly on these four crops and speeding up road building and maintenance would spell the answer to the economic crisis.If the Sirleaf-led administration fails this country at a time such as this, if they sit back and watch the farmers drown with their hands extended for help, history will judge Ellen Johnson Sirleaf most harshly.

Taste Takes Center Stage at Cambodia Rice Festival

Khmer Times / Chea Vannak
 Sunday, 24 January 2016
 The third annual Cambodia Rice Festival is aiming to continue to raise the brand profile of Cambodia’s “white gold” by adding a cooked-rice competition this year that will allow visitors to taste the best rice the Kingdom has to offer as well as help select the top rice millers in the country, according to members of the Cambodia Rice Federation.  The festival began yesterday and runs until tomorrow at Sokha Hotel. Federation members said that although Cambodia fell far short of the government’s rice-export target of 1 million tons last year, exports surged by almost 40 percent to 538,396 tons, and have been rising steadily from the about 100,000 tons exported in 2010. The introduction of a cooked-rice competition is intended to give visitors to the festival the chance to taste dozens of varieties from dozens of millers, federation members said.
The festival draws producers, millers and exporters to identify solutions that will continue to reduce the bottlenecks and barriers preventing exports from rising, festival organizers say.Through the competition, visitors, both Cambodian and foreign nationals, will have a chance to test the cooked rice, federation president Sok Puthivuth said. “Our [members] clearly know what the best quality rice is,” he added. Mr. Puthivuth said that promoting the quality of Cambodian rice was one way of increasing its export.The competition will also aim to identify the rice millers who produce the highest quality rice, Mr. Puthivuth said.  Pov Bunnarith, director of marketing and promotion at the federation, told Khmer Times that 37 samples of rice had been submitted to the competition by millers and export firms, and these include romdul fragrant rice, which has been named the best rice in the world for three consecutive years.

The rice samples submitted have been divided into four groups, and one from each group will win top prize, Mr. Bunnarith said.  Despite being named the best rice in the world, exports of Cambodia’s romdul fragrant rice continue to be dwarfed by exports from other countries in the region, including Thailand and Vietnam, federation members say.  Te Taing Por, president of the Federation of Associations for Small and Medium Enterprises of Cambodia, said Cambodian rice is gradually gaining recognition globally. “We can see the amount of milled rice shipments has sharply increased annually over the last five year,” he said, noting that they rose more than fivefold from 2010 to last year.  

Many companies attending the festival are displaying agricultural products and machinery, signaling a shift from traditional to more advanced rice-growing techniques, federation members pointed out. Executives representing the entire value chain are networking to find partners and increase productivity, federation members said. The festival is a platform for the private sector to brainstorm on how to improve the sector, they said.

Kuwaiti farms yield rare produce for the first time in Mideast history
24/01/2016      |           LOC17:55
KUWAIT, Jan 24 (KUNA) -- Kuwait possesses diverse agricultural profits that are adequate to cover the country's nutritional needs, thanks in part to national farmers who have always sought to add variety to their produce.Farming in Kuwait had begun in earnest several years ago, only to morph into a pillar of the country's economy as a result of persistent government support and farmers' steadfast efforts, all to ensure nutrition security.Kuwaiti farmer Yousef Al-Kirabani has always aimed to diversify his produce, as he was able to cultivate rare produce made locally, for the first time in the history of the country.In comments to KUNA, Al-Kirabani said that the agricultural sector in Kuwait has experienced exponential growth over the last few years, having witnessed "unprecedented produce that has been introduced to the Middle East for the first time." Moreover, Al-Kirabani pinpointed Al-Wafra farms as hotbeds of rare produce such as black tomatoes, white strawberries, saffron and Basmati rice.
The cultivation of rare produce has become a cornerstone of the agricultural world, Al-Kirabani noted, pointing to the numerous nutritional benefits that such produce contain.Black tomatoes have been proven to be a rich source of antioxidants that help combat cancer and diabetes, he added."We aim to debunk common perception that Kuwaiti lands are not fertile through cultivating rare produce," Al-Kirbani said."We have proven to everybody that we are capable of producing special products on our own through experimenting with various methods, and are now able to cultivate staple products such as Basmati rice," he added.The Kuwaiti farmer also revealed plans to "maximize production and sell the produce locally to a number of firms including hotels and restaurants." "The unthinkable has become reality as Kuwait has proven that it is fully capable of yielding the most superior of products, eclipsing many countries in the Middle East." (end) tab.nam
Recipes from Mughlai and Awadhi kitchen
PublishedJan 22, 2016, 12:12 am IST
UpdatedJan 22, 2016, 12:09 pm IST
Explore the authentic flavours of Mughlai and Awadhi cuisine from the North-West Frontier with these delectable hand-picked recipes.
 Galouti kebab
Galouti kebab
500 gm mutton mince
100 gm raw papaya
10 gm salt
3 tsp red chilli and garam masala powder
1 tsp black pepper powder
100 gm fried onion
50 gm roasted channa powder
50 gm cashewnuts
50 ml kewda water
100 ml ghee
5 cloves
Clean the papaya, peel cut into cubes and make a fine paste, add salt.
Make a paste of fried onion & cashewnut, keep separate.
Mix all the spices & above paste with mutton mince.
Smoke the mixer with ghee and clove to infuse the aroma.
Make small round cakes & grill it on hot plate.
Cook both sides and serve hot.
Aloo ka bharta
500 gm diced potato
100 gm diced onion and tomato
5 gm chopped garlic, a little methi seeds
1 tsp each of salt, red chilli, turmeric, chat masala
50 gm freshly chopped coriander
1 tbs ghee
10 gms garlic leaf
Roast or boil the potato well.
Then, crush the potato in chunks and mix with all the masalas, raw onion and tomato.
Heat oil in a pan; temper whole methi seeds till brown. Add turmeric powder and potato mixture. Cook for five minutes.
Finish with ghee, garlic leaves and chopped coriander leaves.
Serve hot.
Aloo ka Bharta
Pineapple Ka Muzafar
1 kg (each) of pineapple, basmati rice and sugar
50 ml Kewda
1 gm saffron
15 green cardamoms
10 cloves
250 gm khoya
2 tsp food colour (orange)
250 ml ghee
20 gms pista
20 gm almond
Peel pineapple and cut into small strips.
Soak rice for 40 minutes
In a pan add a glass of water, sugar and make syrup. Later on add pineapple with dry fruit cook it for a  minute.
Take another container add 4 litres water with cloves, cardamom and food colour, boil it. Add rice into boiled water and cook it till 70 percent.
Strain the rice and cook the rest in sugar syrup till it gets reduced. Finish with khoya and ghee.

Pineapple Ka Muzafar
— Recipes courtesy Chef Anwar Ali Ansari in the guidance of Chef Satya Kedarnath (aka Chef Sunny), Terracotta’s kitchen,,Vivanta by Taj
Tags: foodlifestylemughlai
APEDA Rice Commodity News

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