Tuesday, May 10, 2016

10th may,2016 daily global regional and local rice news from Pakistan

Problems of rice exporters to be solved: Ebad

Monday, 09 May 2016 20:36
KARACHI: Governor Sindh Dr. Ishrat ul Ebad Khan has said exporters of various goods have played a vital role in economy of Pakistan and due to their efforts valuable addition is witnessed in national exchequer every year.
This he said while talking to a 9-members delegation of Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) at Governor House here on Monday. Principal Secretary to Governor Muhammad Hussain Syed was also present on the occasion.
Dr. Ebad said that agriculture was the back bone of Pakistan's economy as majority population is engaged with this sector.
Cotton, Rice, Sugar Cane, Mango, Citrus fruits and other crops have a pivotal contribution in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country as they employees millions of people, he observed
Governor Sindh that Rice is an important part of exports of Pakistan and basmati rice of Pakistan is renowned for its quality and taste worldwide. It also counts for sizeable amount of foreign exchange, he opined
On pointation of dormant state of Rice Research Institute (RRI) Dokri district Larkana, Governor Sindh assured that all concerned would be called soon to know the reasons behind its ineffectiveness.
RRI has a very important role in producing new varieties of Rice, which are not only cost effective but also have visible consumption due to their quality, he added.
On complaint of harassment from market committees, Governor Sindh asked Principal Secretary to examine the matter and resolve the same in consultation of all stake holders.
He said that after improvement of law and order situation in Karachi, business community was engaged in their economic activities without any fear. Exporters would be provided all possible help and assistance to continue their exports, he assured.
Governor Sindh commended the idea of holding a Biryani Festival and said that it would help in increasing rice exports.
The Chief Patron of REAP, Abdul Rahim Janoo, informed Governor Sindh that the Association has 1600 members from which 850 belong to Sindh. Pakistani rice is exported to 117 countries of the world including China, he said and added that Punjab produces Basmati while Sindh has Irri rice in abundance.
He lauded the efforts of Governor Sindh in maintaining law & order in Sindh and providing every possible facilities to business community.
The delegation members included Senior Vice Chairman REAP Nauman Ahmed Shaikh, members managing Committee Javed Jilani, Inder Lal, Hamid Qureshi, Latif Paracha, Wajid Paracha, Rauf Aziz and Secretary Altaf Hussain.

'FTA with Iran imperative for Pakistan'
ISLAMABAD: United International Group (UIG) Chairman Mian Shahid on Sunday said a free trade agreement (FTA) with Iran is in the interest of Pakistan.
Electricity and gas import from Iran would boost economic activities in Pakistan, therefore the government should consider importing 5,000 megawatts electricity from Tehran and launch diplomatic offensive to get sanctions lifted on pipeline, he said. Shahid lauded the government initiating serious efforts to boost trade with Iran, terming them satisfactory, saying that the two countries could become important trading partners for which a trade deal is imperative. He said that Pakistan should look into the option of enhancing electricity imports to 5,000 megawatts besides starting import of petroleum products to diversify it. He said that pipeline project is still under sanctions, therefore every option should be explored.
The veteran business leader said that bilateral trade, which was once $1 billion, has now come down to $128 million despite the agreement between both countries to boost trade to $5 billion. “Pakistani beef, rice, fruit, vegetable, sports goods and IT services are in great demand in the neighbouring nation, which needs a little push from authorities as well as the private sector,” he added. Shahid said Pakistan should not waste any time for opening of banking channels with Iran and improve transport infrastructure, adding that improved trade with Iran could also help bailout the textile sector, which is paying price for recession in China, cotton collapse and incompetency of some officials. He noted that Tehran’s inclination to take part in economic corridor project would gain momentum if FTA is signed, which would benefit both countries while Iranian companies would invest in Pakistan.
ISLAMABAD: United International Group (UIG) Chairman Mian Shahid on Sunday said a free trade agreement (FTA) with Iran is in the interest of Pakistan.
Electricity and gas import from Iran would boost economic activities in Pakistan, therefore the government should consider importing 5,000 megawatts electricity from Tehran and launch diplomatic offensive to get sanctions lifted on pipeline, he said. Shahid lauded the government initiating serious efforts to boost trade with Iran, terming them satisfactory, saying that the two countries could become important trading partners for which a trade deal is imperative. He said that Pakistan should look into the option of enhancing electricity imports to 5,000 megawatts besides starting import of petroleum products to diversify it. He said that pipeline project is still under sanctions, therefore every option should be explored.
The veteran business leader said that bilateral trade, which was once $1 billion, has now come down to $128 million despite the agreement between both countries to boost trade to $5 billion. “Pakistani beef, rice, fruit, vegetable, sports goods and IT services are in great demand in the neighbouring nation, which needs a little push from authorities as well as the private sector,” he added. Shahid said Pakistan should not waste any time for opening of banking channels with Iran and improve transport infrastructure, adding that improved trade with Iran could also help bailout the textile sector, which is paying price for recession in China, cotton collapse and incompetency of some officials. He noted that Tehran’s inclination to take part in economic corridor project would gain momentum if FTA is signed, which would benefit both countries while Iranian companies would invest in Pakistan.

USA Rice Welcomes New Meetings & Member Services Associate 

ARLINGTON, VA -- What you see at the many meetings, conventions, and conferences USA Rice hosts requires a lot of planning and coordination and that work just got easier with the addition of Jenni Bryant to our behind-the-scenes implementation team.

Jenni has wide ranging experience in meetings and membership administration having worked for a long list of organizations including the American College of Osteopathic Internists, the Oceans Conservancy, and the Association of Public Television Stations.

"I am excited about the experience and enthusiasm Jenni brings to our team," said Jeanette Davis, USA Rice meetings director.  "She is well versed in pre-convention preparation, including registration and onsite support.  Most importantly, she loves to run microphones at meetings!"

Jenni works three days a week out of the Arlington office and can be contacted via email at jbryant@usarice.com and via phone at (703) 236-1477.

Caution, EPA
OMB:  "New Source Performance Standards for Rice Dryers a 'Significant Regulatory Action'" 

WASHINGTON, DC -- In a setback for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) has classified the proposed amendments to the new source performance standards (NSPS) as a "significant regulatory action."  This position, long maintained by the U.S. rice industry, means OMB will now conduct a formal 90-day intra-agency review of the final version of the proposal and affords industry a more significant opportunity to comment on the proposed regulation.

The section of NSPS under review is a burdensome and unnecessary update to a regulation first introduced in the 1980s to deal, in part, with dust associated with rice drying.

"EPA took what was a non-issue and created a regulatory monster," said Steve Hensley, senior director of regulatory affairs for USA Rice.  "Any way you slice it, we don't need this rule - in its new form or the original - and we'll continue to make that case.  This latest action may indicate OMB-OIRA is listening and believes there are merits to the industry's case."

Hensley said USA Rice was part of a grain coalition opposing the expansion of the existing rule and that the group would continue to seek a common sense regulation from EPA.

EPA indicated they will deliver their final draft regulation to OMB-OIRA sometime this summer, and at that point the 90-day review clock begins

India's foodgrain production increases marginally to 252.23 million tonnes in 2015-16 crop year

By Madhvi Sally, ET Bureau | 9 May, 2016, 08.17PM IST

Production of rice, coarse cereals,pulses, oilseeds, sugarcane, cotton and jute was lower due to erratic rainfall during the 2015 monsoon season.NEW DELHI: India's foodgrain production increased marginally to 252.23 million tonnes in the 2015-16 crop year, as per the third advance estimates, despite setback due to deficient rainfall and shortage of water in reservoirs. Production of rice, coarse cereals,pulses, oilseeds, sugarcane ,cotton and jute was lower due to erratic rainfall during the 2015 monsoon season. "As per the 3 rd advance estimates for 2015-16 total foodgrains production in the country has been higher than that in the last year. Total foodgrains production during 2015-16, estimated at 252.23 million tonnes, has been higher by 0.21 million tonnes over the production of 252.02 million tonnes during 2014-15," the ministry said in a release.

Rice production during 2015-16 is estimated at 103.36 million tonnes, which is lower by 2.12 million tonnes than its production of 105.48 million tonnes during 2014-15.

Production of
wheat estimated at 94.04 million tonnes is higher by 7.51 million tonnes than the production of 86.53 million tonnes of wheat during 2014-15. Total production of coarse cereals is estimated at 37.78 million tonnes which is lower by 5.08 million tonnes as compared to their production of 42.86 million tonnes during 2014-15.

Output of pulses is estimated at 17.06 million tonnes during 2015-16, marginally lower than the previous year's production of 17.15 million tonnes.

With a decline of 1.6 million tonnes over the previous year's production's total
oilseeds production in the country during 2015-16 is estimated at 25.9 million tonnes.

Production of sugarcane estimated at 346.72 million tones, is lower by 15.61 million tonnes than its production during 2014-15.

Production of
Cotton estimated at 30.52 million bales (of 170 kg each) is also lower by 4.28 million bales than its production of 34.805 million bales during 2014-15.

Production of jute is estimated at 9.92 million bales (of 180 kg each) which is lower by 0.70 million bales than its production of 10.62 million bales during 2014-15.

05/09/2016 Farm Bureau Market Report


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Soybean Comment

Soybeans closed lower though well off of intraday lows. The market remains relatively cautious as we await tomorrows USDA report. There remains a lot of uncertainty surrounding soybeans as reflected in the stock projections which range from 748 million bu all the way down to 248 million bu. The average trade guess is for stocks to be 427 million bu and production to be 3.788 million bu. For stocks to remain this low the market is assuming demand will be almost 100 million bushels higher in 2016/17 compared to this year. This demand would likely need to come from the export market as crush continues to be flat despite improving product markets. The U.S. will need to compete with Brazil for market share particularly in China, the world’s top soybean importer. While the U.S. is enjoying a currency advantage at this time, Brazil will fix their internal politics and the value of the real will decline and improve their prospects in the global market. Soybeans need to see demand and keep stocks below 500 million bu as this would be bearish for prices given the already large global stockpile of soybeans.


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Wheat Comment

Wheat prices closed lower today as the market continues to face a bearish fundamental outlook. The wheat market seems to be coming more comfortable with the prospects of a billion bu plus carryover in the U.S. Wheat supplies remain burdensome as the market continues to need additional demand to help pull back near contract lows. Wheat prices are now within a few cents of contract lows and if tomorrow’s report is bearish we will likely see new contract lows tomorrow, especially if other markets weaken further.

Grain Sorghum

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Corn Comment

Corn prices closed lower today, as the market continued last week selloff. Corn prices have been supported in recent weeks by strong soybean prices and improving export demand, both of which could be about to end. Tomorrow’s USDA report will give us the first look at what the USDA expects 2016/17 to look like. The report will incorporate the March Planting Intentions acreage numbers with preliminary demand forecast for next year. There remains a lot of uncertainty surrounding the report as there is a wide gap between high and low end of trade estimates. Trade estimates for corn stocks in 2016/17 range from 2.547 billion bu to 1.641 billion bu. The average estimate is for production to be 14.151 billion bu and stocks to be 2.228 billion bu. This would put the market back above 2 billion bu in carryover and could lead to sharp selloff in corn to retest lows especially if the bean number comes in bearish. This report will set the tone for the market going forward and if the USDA comes in with larger than expected carryover, it will take the market months to determine the actual size at which point it will be too late for the producers.




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Cotton Comment

Cotton futures continued lower today. Weak trade data from China and expectations for strong planting pace in the weekly progress report added pressure. USDA says 26% of the crop is now in the ground. Arkansas farmers have planted 57% of intended acres. The International Cotton Advisory Committee revised its global output forecast to 22.96 million tons and lowered the global demand forecast to 23.77 million, leaving ending stocks of 19.59 million tons for the 16/17 season. Weekly exports were a disappointing 72,700 bales. Export bookings are down about 23% from last year, and currently sit at about 89% of the USDA forecast. 


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Rice Comment

Rice futures posted sharp losses in early dealings, but managed to close in the upper part of the day's trading range. July found support at $10.76 again today. Weekly exports were disappointing at 45,500 metric tons. The market will be watching crop progress closely. Currently, USDA says 82% of the crop is now in the ground and 67% is emerged. Arkansas farmers have 93% of the intended acres already planted, with 82% emerged. This large crop could limit the upside potential of the market, however, dry conditions in other rice growing regions of the world could provide support.


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Cattle Comment

Cattle prices closed higher today as prices closed at their highest levels in more than a month. Cattle prices improved today as the USDA reported stronger than expected cattle marketings last week, and continued strong premium for cash cattle. Both feeders and live cattle prices also found support in the weakening grain prices and improving beef prices.




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Hog Commen




Farmers’ welfare initiatives showing positive results’
| New Delhi | 09 May, 2016

Initiatives taken by the Union government for farmers’ welfare have started showing positive results, Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Radha Mohan Singh said.

"Agriculture scientists are working hard to improve the conditions of farming and farmers in the country,” Singh said while addressing a public meeting at Kandarpur, Cuttack, Odisha, on Monday.Countless people have been already been saved from starvation through the use of sophisticated agricultural techniques, Singh said.He said that scientists of the National Rice Research Institute (NRRI), Cuttack, have developed CR Paddy 310 for the first time in the world which contains 11 per cent protein while other species of rice generally contain protein only 6–7 per cent, according to a Agriculture Ministry statement.

The NRRI is carrying out researches on Doubled Haploid, the minister said, adding that they are developing a technique which after having been successful will lead the farmers not to purchase the seed of hybrid rice species from the market. Through this technique the properties of hybrid rice will be transferred to other rice species, he added.

The minister said that the NRRI is "continuously trying to make the rice farming beneficial and lasting". He then mentioned several schemes for the welfare of the farmers which is resulting in positive changes in the lives of farmers. The many welfare schemes include the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana, Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yoaja, Soil Health Card Scheme, Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna, National Agriculture Market (e-NAM), India emergence campaign through village emergence, My Village My Pride and the Achievements of National Rice Research Institute, Cuttack.

Union Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Dharmendra Pradhan and Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha) Bhartruhari Mahtab Ji were among the many dignitaries present at the occasion.



Dan Walters: Water rights will be next big California fight

Allocation of water depends on long-standing rights
Senior users get priority, for now
State board’s crackdown looms as test case
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A flock of ibis fly around a rice stomper in a field east of Marysville. Rice growers in the upper Sacramento Valley have some of the state’s most senior water rights, which protect them when drought hits from the water supply cuts farmers further south must endure. Randy Pench Sacramento Bee file
By Dan Walters
After years of drought, winter’s rain and snow storms generated close to a normal supply of water for California. As winter turned to spring, the Bureau of Reclamation announced allocations to farmers.
Rice growers and other farmers in the Sacramento Valley north of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta were pleased to learn that they would receive 100 percent of their contracted water supplies.
However, it was bad news for farmers south of the Delta, who were told they would get, at most, just 5 percent of contract water this year.
The disparity reflected, in part, environmental restrictions on pumping water from the Delta and sending it southward.
It also reflected one of the most vexing aspects of California’s perpetual conflict over water – a complex thicket of water rights dating back to the 19th century that’s fundamentally based on seniority.
As summarized by the Public Policy Institute of California, “Those who own land along a river or who staked early claims on that water have top priority. Those with rights established before the first state water administrative system was created in 1914 are subject to less direct oversight than those with more recent rights. In times of shortage, junior rights are curtailed and right-holders must either reduce their water use or rely on water from other sources.”
The farmers on the West Side of the San Joaquin Valley who see the greatest curtailment of deliveries lack the rights that earlier agricultural regions obtained.
The drought, coupled with fears about the effects of climate change on California’s future water supplies, has already compelled California to rethink aspects of its water situation long thought to be politically untouchable.
It’s led to the first system for regulating use of underground aquifers, which supply about a third of California’s water, and seems to be reducing opposition to creating more reservoirs to capture winter rains.
California’s next water policy frontier, it would seem, is revising its complex structure of water rights, either directly or indirectly.
The PPIC report on water policy reform, released last year, notes that California already has laws on the books, rarely invoked, that might allow regulators to abridge even the most senior water rights on grounds of public health or safety or environmental damage.
A case pending before the water board, however, indicates that the long-simmering water rights issue is beginning to boil.
The board accuses the Byron-Bethany Irrigation District, near Tracy, of continuing to take water from the Delta for 13 days after it and other districts with senior water rights had been told to curtail pumping.
“We are a test case,” Byron-Bethany’s manager, Rick Gilmore, told The Record in Stockton. “I think this has become a larger issue. I think the water board wants to use this as a precedent so they can start to gain more control over senior water right users.”
The case may be headed to the courts, and the outcome will, indeed, frame the state’s powers to crack the seemingly solid legal wall protecting long-standing water rights.
Dan Walters: 916-321-1195, dwalters@sacbee.com, @WaltersBee

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/dan-walters/article76119407.html#storylink=cpy


Author: Jarrod Hardke, Rice Extension Agronomist

When Rice is Ready to Flood, but Field and Levees Aren’t

The heavy rains that hit the state a week ago have left many well prepared fields in rough shape. Washed out levee gates and blown levees are all too common.
For many of these fields there’s plenty of time to get things patched up. But for some out there, the rice is reaching time to flood and that’s just not an option with the field situation. So what should we do?

I strongly recommend you run a DD50 report (http://dd50.uaex.edu) for a little guidance on application timings – based on research for specific cultivars.
Basically if you’re just getting to 4 leaf rice you have about 2 weeks until you hit the end of the recommended window for preflood nitrogen (N) application. Those in this situation have asked “should I go ahead and apply 100 lbs of urea or some ammonium sulfate ahead of these rains?” No, you shouldn’t – you have time, don’t go to Plan B before you’re done with Plan A. Again, you have time to wait to flood if you leave the rice alone, but as soon as you give it a kick with N that window closes fast and you increase the likelihood that you’ll have to keep putting out N that way.
In addition, every application made that is not well incorporated by a permanent flood is subject to major N losses. Since those losses are highly variable it makes N management very difficult for the rest of the season. When we’re forced to start guessing at N rates based on N loss it gets difficult to supply adequate N without going overboard and causing other problems.
On the other side, if we reach the end of the N application window and we still haven’t been able to get the field ready to flood, the game changes. At this point the plant needs to be supplied with some N. So 100 lbs of urea or ammonium sulfate ahead of a rain would work. From there it becomes a simple choice each week, either the field is ready to flood or more N needs to be applied. To fertilize rice all the way out like this will probably take at least 4 shots of urea at 100 lbs each. At least. Not cheap. Let’s hope that’s not the hand we’re dealt.
In situations other than normally applying N and flooding, you should always use small application rates such as 100 lbs of urea. Applying large amounts of N to young rice without incorporation by a deep flood leads to loss of most of the N before the plant ever has a chance to take it up.
So in review:
1. Run a DD50 report! (http://dd50.uaex.edu)
2. Wait until the end of the Preflood N window (Final Recommended Time to Apply Preflood N in DD50) for dry soil conditions & field ready to flood before applying any N.
3. At the end of the window, if still not ready to flood, begin spoonfeeding small N amounts ahead of rain to incorporate.
4. Continue applications weekly until field can be flooded – apply remaining N needed including offset for losses in previous applications and flood up.
Contact us if you have questions about specific situations
: http://www.arkansas-crops.com/2016/05/08/field-levees-arent/#sthash.TgIWMNSJ.dpuf

Despite heavy rain, Arkansas farmers blasting through planting

Posted: Saturday, May 7, 2016 8:00 am
Despite weekly waves of heavy rains, Arkansas farmers pushed across their fields, planting soybeans, rice, cotton and corn ahead of the five-year average pace, according to a recent report from the National Agricultural Statistics Service.
Recent rain dropped between 1 and 8 inches across Arkansas and set at least one daily rainfall record: 5.04 inches at North Little Rock. Extension agents and agronomists reported full drainage ditches, water standing on fields and some levee washouts in rice fields.

Rice on pace
Rice was 87 percent planted, ahead of last week’s 75 percent and well ahead of the 59 percent five-year average.“Rice progress looks right on,” said Jarrod Hardke, Extension rice agronomist for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. “I had it figured about 90 percent planted versus the 87 percent reported.”He said the remaining 10-plus percent is largely scattered around the southern half of the state with a few outliers in the north.“Rice planting completion is notoriously trickle-down where it takes a month to plant the final 10 percent of acreage, so we could easily still not be completed until late May or June depending on the weather,” Hardke said. “As always if it stays wet for too long some of that rice magically starts turning into soybeans.”
Rain may not be the only factor in the rice-to-soybean sleight-of-hand.
Scott Stiles, Extension economist for the Division of Agriculture, said soybean prices continued upward, with the November 2016 contract closing at its highest level of the year—$10.17 3/4—a $1.50-a-bushel gain since March 2.
“Considering the challenges in the southeast counties getting rice and corn planted this year, I think we’ll see final soybean acreage in the state higher than the 3.05 million indicated in the March 31 Prospective Plantings report,” he said. “And, simply the size of the soybean price rally may have shifted some acres from the competing crops regardless of planting delays. The $10 price is still attractive in the minds of growers and was a surprise to see a recovery to that level this year.”
November soybean futures settled 10 cents higher recently on talk that crop losses in Argentina may shift some additional soybean and soy meal demand to the U.S.
Hoping for a drier spring
The soybean crop was 32 percent planted. That compared with 17 percent at the same time last year and the 24 percent five-year average.
“We still have a ways to go with soybean planting,” said Jeremy Ross, Extension soybean agronomist for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.. “I was hoping we would have a drier spring than the last couple of years, since soybean producers are going to need all the help they can get this year. When we do get some drier conditions, it will not take long to plant the soybean crop with the large planter many soybean producers are currently using.”
Send sunshine
Cotton was 36 percent planted, up from the recent 3 percent, and ahead of the 19 percent five-year average.
“Planting progress much greater north of I-40 this spring,” said Bill Robertson, cotton agronomist for the Division of Agriculture. “There was very little planted in April last year. This year, for some—especially in far northeastern Arkansas like Clay County—the majority of their cotton was planted in April.”
Robertson said he expected statewide planting to be around 40 percent or more of the expected acreage at this point or better, “or about 5 greater than they reported. Not enough difference to get excited about.
“We just need sun to shine and low temps to climb above 60,” he said.
Sorghum was 43 percent planted, up from 30 percent the previous week, but lagging behind the 59 percent five-year average. Winter wheat was 84 percent headed, up from last year’s 58 percent and ahead of the 71 percent five-year average.
For more information on crop production, visit www.uaex.edu, http://arkansascrops.com or contact your county Extension office.

Pb farmers asked to sow only recommended paddy varieties

PTI | May 7, 2016, 08.47 PM IST
Chandigarh, May 7 () Punjab government has impressed upon farmers to cultivate only the recommended A grade verities of paddy.
Growers have also been dissuaded to cultivate the hybrid varieties of paddy as it is against the parameters set by FCI and not being procured by the procurement agencies, an official spokesman said.
"Farmers have been advised that this is the proper time for the transplantation of the saplings as the atmospheric conditions are conducive and they should start their field operations for the transplantation of saplings," he said.
They have been counseled to sow seeds only of the recommended A grade varieties of paddy because Food Corporation of India procure paddy of such recommended verities.
Farmers should procure the seeds of the verities like P.R 124, P.R 123, P.R 122, P.R 1241, P.R 114, P.R 115 and P.R 113, which have been recommended by universities, he said.
Farmers have been persuaded not to cultivate the hybrid varieties of paddy as these varieties are flouting the set parameters of FCI and the procurement agencies do not procure paddy of such spurious varieties.
They have been advised to desist from the cultivation of PUSA Basmati 1509 variety as the state might face big hurdles for its marketing because of its non procurement by the Union Government, he said.
It has been advised that paddy must not be cultivated on the dry sandy fields and on other place also before the cultivation the fields must adequately be leveled, he said.
Regarding the use of fertilizers farmers have been advised to first get the soil examination test done and then on the recommendation of the scientist adequate quantity of fertilizer be used. CHS MKJ
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(This story has not been edited by timesofindia.com and is auto–generated from a syndicated feed we subscribe to

Illegal rice imports still pouring across border

Mon, 9 May 2016
More than a A man unloads a bag of rice at an export warehouse in Phnom Penh last year. Vireak Mai

month has elapsed since the government vowed to strengthen its borders to halt illegal imports of rice, yet little has been done to stem the flow of illicit rice shipments flooding into Cambodia from its foreign neighbours and undermining the export efforts of local producers.
“We are still waiting to hear from the government on how it is taking measures on our issues, including rice imports from Vietnam,” Moul Sarith, acting secretary-general of the Cambodian Rice Federation (CRF), said yesterday.
“Until now, we did not receive any report from the government, though we’ve heard that the amount of imported rice has declined slightly.”
In March, the CRF called on the government to take urgent measures aimed at addressing two key challenges to the nation’s domestic rice industry, namely millers’ insufficient access to capital and the flood of illegal rice imports from neighbouring countries.
The request followed a separate initiative by the Cambodian Rice Industry Survival Implementation Strategy (CRISIS) group, which provided a nine-point action plan to address what it described as an industry on the brink of collapse.
On March 30, the government agreed to strengthen entry points along Cambodia’s borders to block illegal rice imports, while promising to dissolve any company’s certificate of origin that is caught mixing contraband rice for export.
Penn Sovicheat, director of the domestic trade department at the Ministry of Commerce, said that the government was still working to resolve the border control issue, but it was “impossible” to set a quota on imported rice due to Cambodia’s obligations to the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).
“It’s difficult to set a quota on rice imports as this contravenes AEC policy, but we can increase the tax on rice imports,” he said.
Sovicheat added that the government was also working toward implementing the other issues raised by rice millers and exporters.
On April 6, the government waived the value-added tax (VAT) on agricultural products in a bid to reduce the price that rice millers must pay for paddy in an effort to make locally milled rice more price-competitive
Thailand’s rice clearance sale poses challenges to Vietnam traders
Thanh Nien News
Vietnam exported more than two million tons of rice in the first four months this year. Photo: Diep Duc Minh
Thailand’s plan to sell off its rice stockpile within two months has sparked concerns for Vietnamese rice exporters, many of whom have been already hitting bumps.
They said Thailand’s clearance of 11.4 million tons, more than the country’s annual average export, in such a short period will push prices down significantly and hurt consumption of rice from Vietnam.
Several exporters said the business is hitting a standstill.
Nguyen Thanh Long, director of Viet Rice Company in Ho Chi Minh City, said many customers from China, the Philippines and Africa have suspended their negotiations.
“They said they want more time to calculate and observe the market,” Long said, as cited by Phap Luat Newspaper.
A source from the Ministry of Industry and Trade said the clearance in Thailand will put Vietnam in “harsh competition.”
According to industry insiders, purchase of Vietnamese rice was affected when Thailand sold off their stockpile in the past, but the impact will be much worse this time with the record high volume being offered.
Vietnamese rice is currently cheaper than Thai products by US$5-10 a ton.
Rice in Thailand’s government stockpiles is the direct competitor with Vietnamese low-cost rice, which currently accounts for a major part in Vietnam’s rice export.
The trade ministry of Vietnam has suggested the agriculture ministry to make plans to reach out to new rice export markets, especially in the quality sector.
Official figures showed Vietnam exported more than two million tons of rice worth US$916 million in the first four months, up 12 percent in volume and 14 percent in value from a year ago.
China continued to be the biggest buyer, importing 32 percent of the volume.

 Rice  Farmers to Get N1Bn from Ebonyi Govt

As part of efforts to   make Ebonyi the number one state in rice production in the country, Governor David Umahi has directed the disbursement of N1billion to commercial rice farmers in the state.
The sum, according to him, will not be given to them inform of cash but as seedlings, fertilizer, pesticides, etcetera.

Umahi, who made this known  during a special stakeholder’s forum on rice production in the state in Abakaliki on Wednesday, also ordered all council chairmen, development centre coordinators, management committee members and Liaison officers of the councils and DCs to acquire some hectares of land for rice production.
Under the latest arrangement, the council chairmen are to acquire 20 hectares of land; coordinators, 10 hectares; and management committee as well as Liaison officers, five hectares each.
Umahi told the political office holders that their survival on their jobs would be predicated on their performance in the task.

  Board members and heads of parastatals, according to the governor, should also own   one farm for agricultural production. He added that the state Executive Council would  manage the Ezillo Farm.
The governor stressed that his vision to make Ebonyi State the highest rice producing state in the country could only be achieved if   the ruling class showed interest in Agriculture.
                He disclosed that a new office to be headed by a Senior Special Assistant on Rice Production had been created to oversee the disbursement of the N1bn rice loan to commercial farmers  
                Governor Umahi said, “It is not going to be dash; it is going to be loan and when you produce, we will take over the rice and pay you the difference.  It is a loan. We borrowed it from the Federal Government, which they will deduct from our allocation every month. 
“So we should be able to recover this money and give it again.  It is going to be a revolving loan.”
                Responding to the appeal by the governor for the provision of land for the rice production, traditional rulers, who spoke at the summit, pledged their readiness to key into the  agricultural programme.
They however   requested that five per cent of the total proceeds from the lands should be given to the original land owners.
Local Government chairmen that attended the summit also assured the governor that they had already keyed into the programme, as each of them had met the governor’s directive to acquire at least 2,500 hectares of land in their councils.
Speaking at the occasion, the  Commissioner for Agriculture, Barrister Uchenna Orji, said that the summit was convened   to deliberate on how to revolutionize rice production in the state for greater yield.
Lectures were delivered at the occasion by the Provost, Federal College of Agriculture, Ishiagu, Prof. Justina Mgbada and the Dean Faculty of Agriculture, Ebonyi State University, Prof. Foluso David Abraham

8,000-year-old paddy discovered in China

A paddy dating back more than 8,000 years has been discovered by Chinese archaeologists who believe that it could be the earliest wet rice farming site in the world.
The field, covering less than 100 square metres, was discovered at the Neolithic ruins of Hanjing in Sihong County in east China’s Jiangsu province in November 2015, a spokesman with the archaeology institute of Nanjing Museum said.
At a seminar held in late April to discuss findings at the Hanjing ruins, more than 70 scholars from universities, archaeology institutes and museums across the country concluded that the wet rice field was the oldest ever discovered.
Researchers with the institute found that the paddy was divided into parts with different shapes, each covering less than 10 square metres.
They also found carbonised rice that was confirmed to have grown more than 8,000 years ago based on carbon dating, as well as evidence that the soil was repeatedly planted with rice.
Lin Liugen, head of the institute, said Chinese people started to cultivate rice about 10,000 years ago and carbonised rice of the age has been found, but paddy remnants are quite rare, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
Lin said the findings would be significant for research on the origin of rice farming in China.
(This article was published on May 6, 2016)


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East meets West, with flavour: New cookbook Sirocco explores vibrant, tasty Middle Eastern fare

Smoky and earthy, freekeh is primed to become a pantry staple. “Freekeh is wonderful,” London-based chef and author Sabrina Ghayour says of the roasted green wheat. “It’s totally delicious and it has loads of fibre in it. It’s very unique and the smoking gives it an almost grassy flavour, which I really, really love.” Freekeh cooks up in 20-25 minutes and is incredibly versatile: use it anywhere you would typically use a whole grain such as brown rice, or quinoa. It’s perfect in salads as Ghayour showcases it tossed with almonds, cranberries, pomegranate seeds and fresh herbs in her new cookbook, Sirocco (Appetite by Random House, 2016; recipe follows).
Laura BrehautSabrina Ghayour demonstrated how to make her Freekeh Salad in Toronto.
Tehran-born Ghayour, a specialist in Persian and Middle Eastern cuisine, refers to her Freekeh Salad as the ultimate “party trick.” It’s a showstopper and tastes delicious, making it perfect for potlucks. The sweetness of the fruit and tartness of pomegranate molasses complement the punchy herbs: fresh dill and cilantro. While demonstrating the recipe in Toronto, she presents the salad piled high on a white platter; ruby pomegranate seeds gleaming. “Nothing could be more Persian than pomegranate seeds,” she says. “In the Middle East, we tend to either serve everything in the shape of a mountain – it’s about abundance – or on a big, wide, flat plate. This is really my favourite way to serve things, in abundance. It always looks so generous and so inviting.”
Sirocco is Ghayour’s follow-up to her highly-acclaimed debut, Persiana (Interlink Books, 2014). Fans of the latter will delight in her further exploration of Middle Eastern flavours with vibrant dishes such as nigella seed-studded Spiced Beetroot Yogurt (recipe follows), a comforting Citrus and Za’atar Chicken, and a wonderfully sour Quince Tatin. The title of the book refers to a Mediterranean wind, “blowing from east to west – sometimes described as warm, spicy and sultry,” and describes her culinary influences. East in inspiration, West in implementation. These are non-traditional Middle Eastern recipes in Ghayour’s unique style: adaptable, bold, and uncomplicated.Haarala HamiltonLondon-based chef and author Sabrina Ghayour.e says it’s the simplicity of the cuisine that is often overlooked; and it’s this very characteristic that she treasures most. “We just love plain rice with good grilled meat, and there’s lots of citrus and herbs. It’s more about aromatics and perfuming food in a wonderful, natural way. Keep it simple… it works,” Ghayour says. “With Middle Eastern food, the most important thing to remember is that it’s home cooking. It’s somebody’s mama or somebody’s papa in a kitchen doing whatever they can to feed people. And because of that, it should really resonate with most cultures because we all eat that kind of homely (unpretentious) food.”
Ghayour designs her recipes to be both straightforward and flavourful, saying, “Most of us are exactly the same at home; we don’t want complexities.” She doesn’t expect home cooks to follow her recipes to the letter, so don’t panic if you’re missing an ingredient here or there. But becoming a more intuitive cook and straying from recipes means developing an understanding of your ingredients: their taste and function, and where they truly shine.
Appetite by Random HouseSirocco is Sabrina Ghayour's follow-up to her highly-acclaimed debut, Persiana (Interlink Books, 2014).
Knowing how and when to use pantry items will give you the confidence to improvise, and make substitutions or omissions when following recipes. An added bonus: utilizing your stores more fully means that spices and the like won’t languish in your cupboards, losing potency. Instead, they’ll be hard at work in your dishes and you’ll soon wonder what you did without them in the first place. “When people are trying a cuisine from another culture, they sometimes get lost in what it should be. And how there’s no room for flexibility or changing things up,” Ghayour says. “I want people to just feel totally comfortable with these ingredients once they’ve used my book a few times, and then decide, ‘Yeah, I think that has a place in my home; we like it,’ and then buying it again.”
To this end, Ghayour includes a helpful pantry section in Sirocco where she not only lists her “must-have” items, but more importantly, how to use them to their full advantage. For example, her Chicken and Apricot Stew with Preserved Lemon, Harissa and Eggs (recipe follows) calls for two teaspoons of harissa, the North African chile pepper paste. How are you going to use up the rest of that tin or tube? “You could stir it into soups or stews, or make a rice salad and use it in a dressing. Make compound butter with it and freeze it, bake it into breads, or stir it into arrabiata or clams. It’s so versatile. I’m addicted to it for a reason. I can’t not have it in my house. Hopefully people will feel even half as confident as I am with these ingredients. That would be a win-win for me,” she laughs.
Recipes from Sirocco Copyright © 2016 by Sabrina Ghayour. Reprinted by permission of Appetite by Random House, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Photography credit: Haarala Hamilton.

Spiced Beetroot Yogurt from Sirocco by Sabrina Ghayour

You can roast, steam or boil your beets for this dish, or buy them canned (but not pickled) or vacuum-packed. “You can add as much beetroot as you want to get your desired colour and texture,” Ghayour says. “You can also grate the beetroot if you want a different version.” For a vegan variation, use coconut or soy “yogurt” in place of the Greek yogurt.
450 g (1 lb) cooked beets (not in vinegar)
3 tbsp (45 ml) ground coriander
flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
15 g (½ oz) mint, leaves finely chopped
450 g (16 oz) Greek yogurt
1 tsp (5 ml) nigella seeds
olive oil, for drizzling

1. Drain the excess juice from the beets and blitz them in a bowl using a handheld blender until they are broken down into a coarse purée. Add the ground coriander, a generous seasoning of salt and pepper and the chopped mint (reserving a generous pinch of mint for garnish) and mix well. Now stir in the Greek yogurt until it is evenly incorporated.
2. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Serve with a sprinkling of nigella seeds, the chopped mint and a drizzle of olive oil.
serves 6
Haarala HamiltonFreekeh Salad from Sirocco by Sabrina Ghayour.
“This is one of those really easy, assembly job recipes,” Ghayour says. “You start off with a small amount of freekeh and then suddenly you add everything together and it becomes quite the big dish that feeds a lot of people. Those are my favourite kind of recipes.” She recommends rinsing the cooked freekeh in cold water, to get rid of the starch. “I think it just gives you a cleaner bite and flavour, and it’s probably a little bit better for working with other flavours. It’s delicious.”
2 cups (500 ml) freekeh (see Note)
1 small red onion, very finely diced
225 g (8 oz) dried cranberries
200 g (7 oz) blanched almonds
15 g (½ oz) dill, fronds and stems finely chopped
60 g (2 oz) cilantro, leaves and stem finely chopped
3 cups (750 ml) pomegranate seeds
½ cup (120 ml) pomegranate molasses
generous glug of olive oil

1. Bring a large saucepan filled with hot water from a kettle to a boil and cook freekeh according to the package instructions. Drain the freekeh, rinse thoroughly until cold and place it in a large mixing bowl.
2. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl with the freekeh and give everything a thoroughly good mix. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 1 hour before serving.
serves 6-8
Note: Freekeh is made from young, durum wheat, which is roasted while still soft and green. In the Middle East, the grain is sold both whole and cracked but in Canada you’re most likely to find it in its cracked form. Look for it in Middle Eastern markets, bulk stores (I get mine at Bulk Barn), or online.
with Preserved Lemon, Harissa and Eggs
Haarala HamiltonChicken and Apricot Stew with Preserved Lemon, Harissa and Eggs from Sirocco by Sabrina Ghayour.
“Whether it’s summer or winter, this is definitely a weekend comfort food to share with friends,” Ghayour writes. “And you won’t need to make a ton of side dishes, as it really has so much going for it already. My favourite accompaniment is basmati rice, flatbread, couscous or potatoes.”
vegetable oil, for frying
2 onions, sliced into ¼-inch half-moons
8 large bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed
2 tsp (10 ml) ground turmeric
2 tsp (10 ml) ground ginger
1 tsp (5 ml) ground cinnamon
2 tsp (10 ml) harissa
3 tbsp (45 ml) clear honey
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
¼ cup (60 ml) bread crumbs
8 preserved lemons, some halved, some sliced
16 dried apricots
4 large eggs
1 cup (250 ml) toasted chopped hazelnuts
15 g (½ oz) flat leaf parsley, leaves finely chopped

1. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat, drizzle in enough oil to coat the base of the pan and fry the onions for a few minutes until beginning to soften. Add the chicken thighs and combine with the onions, then add the dry spices, harissa and honey, stirring well. Season with the salt and some pepper, then add just enough boiling water from a kettle to barely cover the chicken thighs. Give everything a good stir, then cover a pan with a lid and cook for 1 ½ hours.
2. Toast the bread crumbs, either in a preheated oven, 350°F, for 8 minutes, or in a hot skillet until they are golden brown. Set aside.
After the cooking time has elapsed, add the preserved lemons and apricots to the stew, stir well and cook with the lid off for another 30 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover the pan with a lid and allow the stew to rest for 10 minutes before serving.
3. Meanwhile, heat a saucepan over medium heat, then pour in hot water from a kettle. When the water is boiling gently, carefully add the eggs and boil for 6 minutes. Drain and immediately plunge the eggs into ice water to cool them enough to allow you to shell them.
4. Half the eggs and lay them gently on top of the stew. Combine the toasted hazelnuts with the breadcrumbs and chopped parsley, sprinkle mixture on top and serve.
serves 4

Fit to freeze

Busy workdays, taking care of the family and staying healthy can take a toll on the kitchen front. So, whip up bigger portions and dish frozen leftovers with new flair

9 May 2016 | 10:53 am




Prep time 10 mins
Cooking time 30 mins
Makes 8
500g frozen hake fillets
3 white bread slices, crust removed
1 egg
1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
2 tbsp mayonnaise
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 spring onion, chopped
½ lemon, grated rind and juice of
A handful of chopped coriander
Flour, for dusting
2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Place the fillets on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, crumble the bread and mix with egg, sauce, mayonnaise, mustard, onion, lemon juice and coriander. Flake the fish and season, then cover your hands with flour and roll eight fishcakes.
Heat the olive oil in a pan on medium to high and fry the fishcakes for three minutes each side until golden brown.
Drain the oil on paper towels and serve hot with tartare sauce (or any dip of your choice), baby spinach and lime wedges.
Fishcakes make for the best freezer back-up for a quick snack or lunch. The recipe does not contain potatoes, which means that the fishcakes freeze well. Double the ingredients and freeze the other half for another time.

Spicy chicken curry

Prep time 10 mins
Cooking time 20 mins
Makes 6 portions
½ cup flour
4 tbsp spicy curry powder
1 kg chicken breasts, cut into strips
4 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
410g tinned, peeled whole tomatoes
125ml stock
125ml cream
A handful of coriander and lightly toasted almond flakes and coconut shavings, to garnish
Cooked basmati rice, to serve
In a bowl, mix the flour and curry powder and season to taste. Roll the chicken in it and shake off the excess.
Heat 2 tbsp oil over high in a pan and fry the chicken until golden on all sides. Set aside.
Heat the remaining oil in the same pan over medium. Sauté onions and garlic until soft, then add tomatoes and mash with a fork. Season to taste.
Add the chicken, simmer for five minutes, then reduce the heat and add stock and cream. Stir until the sauce is heated through.
Garnish with coriander, coconut and almonds and serve hot with rice.
Double the quantity of ingredients and freeze half the preparation to freeze and use later in tasty pies.

Quick pies

Prep time 5 mins
Cooking time 20 mins
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Roll out the salted dough on a floured work surface up to 5mm thick and cut into squares of 15cmx15cm.
Spoon 3 tbsp of spicy chicken curry or mushroom filling on one half of each square and fold over to make a triangle.
Brush the edges with egg glaze (1 egg beaten with a little water) and press with a fork to seal tightly. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden and cooked through.
Serve with chutney, fresh coriander and shaved coconut.

Baked fish pancakes

Prep time 5 mins
Cooking time 15 mins
Serves 4
Crumb six fish cakes and divide between six pancakes. Roll the pancakes and put in an oven dish.
Cover with 250ml of cheese sauce and sprinkle with grated cheese of your choice on top.
Bake for 15 minutes at 180°C or until the cheese melts and it’s heated through. Garnish with chopped parsley, et voilà! Dinner in a flash.
For variation, use the mushroom filling.

Moroccan lamb shanks

Prep time 10 mins
Cooking time about 3 hours
Makes 4 portions
2 tbsp olive oil
4 lamb shanks
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
800g tinned whole tomatoes, mashed
500ml beef stock
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 tbsp cumin powder
2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp fennel seeds
½ tsp cayenne pepper
1 lemon, zest of, finely grated
2 cinnamon sticks
1 cup dried apricots
Couscous and chickpeas, to serve
Heat oil in a pan over high. Brown the shanks and season to taste.
Add onion and garlic and sauté until golden. Combine the tomatoes with stock and add to the shanks. Lower the heat and add the rest of the ingredients. Simmer for 2½ hours or until the lamb is tender. Serve with couscous and chickpeas.
Make extra and freeze it to make Baked Tomato and Lamb.

Tomato soup

Prep time 10 mins
Cooking time 40 mins
Makes 4 portions
3 red peppers
1 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
800g tinned chopped tomatoes
500ml chicken stock
1 tsp smoked paprika
Parmesan shavings, ground black pepper and coriander, to garnish
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Roast the peppers for 10 minutes, then cut open, remove the membranes and seeds.
Heat oil in a saucepan over medium and sauté garlic until translucent. Add tomatoes and heat through, then add peppers, stock and paprika. Blitz with a stick blender and season.
Garnish with Parmesan, pepper and coriander and serve hot.
Frozen soup can be a lifesaver on busy days. The smoked paprika lends a distinctive flavour that remains even when frozen.

Baked tomato and lamb

Prep time 5 mins
Baking time 20 mins
Serves 4
180ml tomato soup
1 tbsp honey (optional; use if the soup is too sour)
400g canned kidney beans, drained
2 cups leftover lamb shanks, shredded
Chopped Italian parsley, to garnish
½ cup crumbled feta
250ml Greek yogurt
1 egg
Preheat the oven to 220°C.
Mix the soup and honey together in a bowl, and add kidney beans and lamb shanks. Mix well and divide between four ovenproof bowls.
Spoon the topping on top of each and bake for 20 minutes or until heated through and golden on top. Garnish with chopped Italian parsley and serve hot.

Freezer staples

Spicy cheese sauce
Prep time 5 mins
Cooking time 10 mins
Makes 1.6l
110g butter
5 tbsp flour
1 litre milk
A pinch of grated nutmeg
2 cups grated Cheddar
6 tbsp Dijon mustard
A handful of chopped Italian parsley
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and stir for a minute. Do not let it change colour.
Gradually pour milk and stir continuously until smooth and thick. Add nutmeg and season to taste. Simmer gently for three minutes.
Remove from the heat and mix in cheese, mustard and parsley.
Freeze 250ml portions in bags or trays and use it to make quick dinners like lasagne.
Prep time 40 mins
Cooking time 50 mins
Makes 24
8 eggs
1½ litre water
4 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
Oil, to fry
Beat eggs and water together in a bowl until foamy, then place a sieve over the bowl and sift in the flour, baking powder and salt. Beat into a smooth batter. Rest for 30 minutes.
Heat oil in a pan over medium-high. Ladle 4 tbsp batter into the pan and tilt it around to cover its base. Cook until lightly browned and the pancake begins to pull off the sides. Flip and cook for another a minute. Repeat until all the batter is exhausted.
Freeze the pancakes in stacks with parchment paper between each one to help separate them when defrosting.
Salted dough
Prep time 40 mins
250g cold butter, diced
250ml cold cream cheese
1 cup plain flour
Mix butter, cream cheese and flour lightly until smooth. Don’t overwork. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
From making biscuits to pie crusts, this is a versatile dough. Double the ingredients and freeze a portion to use in chicken pies later. Leave in the fridge to defrost before using.
Mushroom filling
Prep time 10 mins
Cooking time 20 mins
250g beef bacon, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, fine chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
250g portobellini mushrooms, finely chopped
100g shiitake/porcini mushrooms, finely chopped
A few sage leaves
A pinch of nutmeg
Bake the beef bacon until crisp. Fry onion and garlic in oil for a minute, then add mushrooms and sage. Fry for three minutes. Add nutmeg and seasoning, toss with the beef bacon and serve as topping or pie filling.
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Roll out the salted dough on a floured surface 5mm thick. Cut into 8cmx10cm pieces..
Put the biscuit pieces on a baking sheet and brush with egg glaze (1 egg beaten with a little water). Bake for 15 minutes until golden.
Top with your favourite topping like mushrooms to serve as a starter