Tuesday, May 17, 2016

16 May 2016 Daily Global,regional and local Rice E-Newsletter by Riceplus Magazine-Latest Rice News

Today Rice News Headlines...

·         REAP wins Iran rice export order but lack of banking channel still a hurdle
·         Legarda urges gov't to utilize IRRI programs to improve agriculture in PHL
·         Advancing rice varieties to feed burgeoning world
·         Taller, stronger rice plant
·         Dining Notes: Restaurant by day, also a club after dark
·         Recipe: Spiced pumpkin soup with brown rice, black beans and lime-whipped feta
·         Patent cases hit as IPAB goes headless
·         Boro production declines in country
·         N. Korea pushes for timely rice planting to boost output
·         Rice tasters evaluate varieties grain by grain
·         State’s

News Detail...
REAP wins Iran rice export order but lack of banking channel still a hurdle

LAHORE - Country’s rice exporters have booked new orders to export around 30,000 tonnes of rice to Iran after a gap of more than six years.
This was disclosed by Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan Chairman Ch Shafique after a 22-member exporters’ delegation, headed by him, returned to home after a week-long visit to Iran.“We had very fruitful meetings with Iranian buyers and most of REAP members have booked their orders of rice export for May-June, 2016.But there is still a problem of currency swap arrangements with Iranian banks,” he said.Iran is one of the biggest importers of Basmati Rice, he informed.
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Salman Abduhu
The delegation visited Tehran as well as the city of Mashhad where they had meetings with Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Mines and Mashhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry.The deliberations were aimed at increasing bilateral trade and investment between the two friendly countries.
He said the REAP discussed the issues related to the resumption of rice exports, which nosedived after sanctions, from Pakistan, implementation of currency swap agreement and the condition of good manufacturing practices (GMP) certification with Iranian authorities.
These dialogues between the leading businessmen and industrialists were meant to inspire the Iranian importers as well as investors to explore the healthy business opportunities in Pakistan, and foster new profitable ventures.
The REAP members also invited the Iranians to visit Pakistan, where Association could arrange fruitful B2B meetings with progressive business groups, to seek fresh collaborative ventures.
Pakistan exporters’ team also held meetings with Government Trading Corporation (GTC) of Iran, besides meeting with Health Ministry officials to raise the issue of GMP certification for Pakistani rice exporters, which presently has become a major hurdle in the way of rice export to Iran.
With a view to enhance liaison between the businessmen of two countries, the REAP members’ group held B2B meetings with Rice Importers Association of Iran.
The REAP chairman also called on the Pakistan commercial counsel in Mashhad.“I hope that the country would regain its share in the Iranian market, which can become the good destination for their basmati exports.”
Shafique Ch said that the restart of rice export to Iran remained ineffective, as no appropriate currency transfer arrangements have been made through State Bank of Pakistan so far.
“Although rice exporters have managed to book orders of around 30,000 tons rice export but we don’t seem to take advantage of this opportunity yet, because lack of proper banking channel still remains a major hurdle.” Though our Gulf rice market has squeezed yet we can compensate this loss by diverting our supply to Iran, he claimed.“Keeping in view of the current situation we request the Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Trade Development Authority of Pakistan and SBP to look into the matter and try to arrange currency channel for issuance of “E” Form from the commercial banks through Swift Bank in Euro or to open irrevocable letter of credit in favour of the exporters.
The REAP chairman also requested the government to approve new rice seed variety developed by the Kalashah Kaku Research Institute and National Institute for Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering to enhance our yield

Legarda urges gov't to utilize IRRI programs to improve agriculture in PHL

  • May 15, 2016
MANILA, May 15 - Senator Loren Legarda today said that the government must utilize the research programs of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) to improve agricultural systems in the country and to adapt to the changing climate.

Legarda visited the IRRI headquarters in Los Baños, Laguna on Thursday, May 12, and was briefed on the latest programs of the organization. The briefing was led by Dr. Bruce Tolentino, Deputy Director General for Communication and Partnerships, and Dr. Jackie Hughes, Deputy Director General for Research.

"Our government agencies, especially the Department of Agriculture (DA), should strengthen their collaboration with the IRRI. Many of IRRI's programs would help the government proactively address the drought caused by the El Niño, not only through drought-tolerant crops but also through water-saving technologies such as the alternate wetting and drying (AWD)," she explained.

Legarda, who chairs the Senate Committees on Finance and Climate Change, said that as PAGASA now warns of an impending La Niña, the government should have already prepared farming communities to adapt to the phenomenon.

IRRI has the SUB1 variety of rice that can withstand floods up to 17 days.

The Senator took note of several programs of IRRI that are already being done in other countries.

In India, women are being empowered and provided livelihood through community nursery services; while in the Mekong Delta, climate-smart villages have been established to improve the capability of rural communities to adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change.

"We must employ these programs here in the Philippines. The community nurseries will help further our initiatives to capacitate women to redefine rice farming. The climate-smart villages are much needed to improve resilience of farming communities to climate challenges. The DA, Climate Change Commission, and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources should also collaborate with IRRI in the conduct of capacity-building workshops for local government units (LGUs) from provincial down to the barangay level," Legarda explained.

The Senator also lauded IRRI for its partnership with the DA for the Heirloom Rice Project, which helps identify, preserve and propagate traditional rice varieties in the Philippines, particularly in the Cordillera Region and the Ifugao Rice Terraces, where most kinds of the heirloom rice are grown.

"We are fortunate that the IRRI headquarters is here in our country. We should take hold of that opportunity to improve our agricultural systems and farming communities, provide better livelihood opportunities for the rural population and indigenous communities, and preserve our heritage and cultural integrity," Legarda concluded.(SENATE)


Advancing rice varieties to feed burgeoning world

May 14, 2016 Lee Allen, Contributing Writer
  • Advancing rice varieties to feed burgeoning world
  • The Arizona Genomics Institute says plant breeders must develop the next generation of crops with less negative environmental impact and fewer input requirements.
  • Rice breeders are trying to develop higher yielding and more sustainable crops called ‘Next Generation Super Crops’ or ‘Green Super Rice.’
Rod Wing, director, Arizona Genomics Institute, Tucson, Ariz., spends many days per year with rice plantings throughout the world. Photo: Arizona Genomics Institute.
Related Media
It’s almost universally agreed that a perfect storm is developing and agriculture faces a gargantuan task - feeding the world’s population expected to approach the 10 billion mark by 2050.And if that’s doable, the challenge is how to accomplish this while wrestling with variables including less land, water, farmer numbers, plus the impact of climate change.
The Arizona Genomics Institute (AGI) reports, “With increasing competition for land, water, and other resources, breeders must develop the next generation of crops that have less negative environmental impact and fewer input requirements.”
The Institute, based in Tucson adds, “Crops will be needed that grow with less water, fertilizer, pesticides, on poorer soils, and with less labor - and still produce high-yielding and highly-nutritious foods.”
Sounds like an impossible task, yet AGI Director Rod Wing is optimistic.
“Science will be there in time to meet this goal,” Wing says. “This is a problem we’re going to solve in our lifetime. It’s going to happen.”
He adds, “I’m an optimist and my motivation every day involves thinking about how to solve the dilemma and the impact our research will make on the agricultural world.”
Genomic sequencing
To date, the science developed by AGI researchers has been impressive, including building maps of genomes - the crucial foundation in genomic sequencing. This allows researchers to locate and identify genes to improve crops and increase yield to avert or at least minimize the looming global food crisis.   
The AGI’s primary focus is on cereal crops, including rice, which comprise 60 percent of the human diet.
“Rice which already feeds half the world will play a huge role in this since the current rice-dependent population will double by 2050,” Wing says.
“Rice breeders are trying to develop new varieties that are higher yielding and more sustainable. We call these crops ‘Next Generation Super Crops’ or ‘Green Super Rice.’”
The AGI leader says rice is a good model system for studying other cereals since it has the smallest genome and is similar to wheat and maize.
In 2004, AGI scientists announced they had sequenced the African rice genome, the beginning of a much larger undertaking.


Taller, stronger rice plant

Bangladeshi scientists develop 2 modern, high-yielding varieties that can withstand tidal surge
Scientists have come up with a solution for southern farmers who have long been deprived of the benefits of high-yield modern rice varieties (MVs) that cannot grow on tidal wetlands.
After 12 years of arduous breeding process, they succeeded in developing two modern varieties suitable for cultivation in the tidal floodplain ecosystem of the southern delta region, with the promise of an additional yield of one million tonnes a year.
The varieties -- proposed as BRRI dhan77 and BRRI dhan78 -- are set to get regulatory approval anytime this month, said Director General of Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) Jiban Krishna Biswas.
Against 2.5 to 3 tonnes of rice per hectare, which farmers reap from traditional varieties, the new modern varieties will bring about 4 tonnes of crops a hectare during the Aman season in July-December, said Helal Uddin Ahmed, chief scientific officer at the research institute. 
While farmers elsewhere have already switched to MVs from low-yield traditional varieties, rice growers in over a million hectares of tidal wetlands have had to remain satisfied with homegrown varieties. 
So long indigenous varieties have performed better than modern varieties on tidal floodplains because seedlings of the former are taller than the latter. As the region is at the proximity of the sea and inland estuaries, shorter seedlings often fail to survive the water flowing in and out with high tide and low tide twice a day.
BRRI dhan77 and BRRI dhan78 are bred in a way that their seedlings would be tall in size and would survive the tidal wetland condition, said Helal, a BRRI plant breeder.
When farmers take 30/35-day-old seedlings from seedbeds for planting in the fields "our most productive MVs like BR11 are hardly 35cm tall and fail to withstand tidal water. But the seedlings of the two new breeding lines would be doubly tall [65 to 70cm] and would well withstand the tides," he explained.  
The newly developed breeding lines would meet southern farmers' aspiration for higher yields in the Aman season, said scientists at the BRRI. 
Nationwide modern varieties coverage in rice cultivation has increased from 25 percent in 1972 to over 80 percent now, but their penetration in the tidal regions of Barisal, Patuakhali, Jhalakathi, Pirojpur, Bhola, Bagerhat and Gopalganj has remained at 15 percent for all these years.  
Helal, who has been leading the breeding project since 2003 for developing rice varieties suitable for the tidal wetland condition, expressed the hope that the new MVs would be a breakthrough.
These will offer the southern farmers a good choice to shift from low-yield homegrown varieties like Sadamota, Lalmota, Moulata, and Dudhkalom. 
The new MVs have been developed by crossing homegrown varieties like Sadamota, Dudhkalom with high-yield modern varieties, said BRRI DG Jiban Krishna Biswas. That means BRRI dhan77 and BRRI dhan78 are customised in a way that southern farmers will find the “good-height seedling” characteristic of local varieties and “high-yield” characteristic of modern varieties in them, he explained. 
Thanks to the rapid replacements of low-yield traditional varieties with high-yield modern varieties, Bangladesh's production of the staple has tripled since independence.
But the production has not gone up on tidal floodplains that constitute an important agro-ecological zone covering an extensive area in the south central coastal region of Bangladesh.
 Once approved by the National Seed Board and popularised among farmers, cultivation of BRRI dhan77 and BRRI dhan78 would lead to the production of an additional one million tonnes of rice per year, scientists expect.
BRRI Director (Research) Ansar Ali told The Daily Star that apart from these varieties, two other new rice breeding lines -- BRRI dhan75 and BRRI dhan76 -- meant for high yields in the Aus and Aman seasons are in the pipeline for regulatory approval

Dining Notes: Restaurant by day, also a club after dark

By Dan Macdonald Sat, May 14, 2016 @ 3:41 pm | updated Sat, May 14, 2016 @ 4:25 pm

Chef Rosaria Anderson prepares a vegetarian dish for her "Farm Fresh Feast."
Element and Myth Nightclub is two establishments in one.During the day it’s a new eatery serving salads, wraps, paninis, small plates and entrees. At night, the restaurant will still be open, but in the back of the place is a huge, state-of-the-art nightclub.The restaurant, at 333 E. Bay St., across from the old City Hall, will be open every day from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., while the nightclub will be operate from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Wednesday through Sunday.
The restaurant seats around 40, including sidewalk dining.
The kitchen is run by John Rodriguez, a credentialed chef who earned his master’s degree from the Cordon Bleu in Las Vegas and locally has worked at Restaurant Medure and Three Forks. His quest is to provide healthful and fresh food.
“We’re going to do something different. There are no wings, no fries, no greasy foods on this menu,” Rodriguez said.
The salads include a Salmon Caesar ($14), Cobb Salad ($12.99) and an Asian Toss Salad ($14).
The four wraps cost $10.99 each and are Buffalo Chicken, Chicken Caesar, Cali Wrap and a BLT. There are six paninis priced at $9.99 each, including steak; ham and pear; Cuban; and the Islander (ham, pineapple, red pepper, red onion and Italian dressing).
There are 12 small plate offerings, ranging in price from $6.50 to $8.99. That menu consists of sliders, flatbread pizzas and sushi.
Finally, entrees include Chicken Rollatini ($16.99), Honey Glazed Salmon over Parmesan Couscous and house vegetables ($22) and the Skirt Steak (with goat cheese, potatoes, house vegetable and chimichurri sauce ($21).
If you are so inclined, there is a full menu of specialty cocktails ranging in price from $8 to $12.
Check out the full menu at elementjax.com.
Owner John Mroz has a DJ background and has brought many elements from around the world to his nightclub. Customers enter from a side gate and walk a long tunnel with overhead video. This leads to a garden area that takes you into the club itself with the latest in light and sound. He promises that the 45,000 watts of sound is for clarity, rather than volume.
 This chick can really, really cook
If you want to give your taste buds a kick in the pants, I found the place.
Located just down the street from the Hash House at 353 Sixth Ave. S. in Jacksonville Beach in what looks like a residential property, is This Chick’s Kitchen, which shows off the talents of Rosaria Anderson.
Owned by the chef and her husband, Craig, This Chick’s Kitchen serves some of the most flavorful food I’ve ever experienced in one sitting.
She recently did what she calls a “Farm Fresh Feast,” which was a nine-course meal made primarily of vegetarian and vegan dishes, but did include a serving of bone marrow and lamb chops. I’d give you the menu, but there really isn’t any purpose in that as she never serves the same full meal twice.
Her menus are totally dependent on the produce she receives from area farmers that day. Many of the vegetables we ate were less than 24 hours from being harvested.
She conducts this family-style spread twice a month on Sundays. It consists of five to seven courses, again depending upon available ingredients.
The next one is on Sunday, May 22, and costs $55. Get your reservation now because seats are limited and this is an introductory price. Future meals may cost $75 per person (she’s still working that out), but after what I ate, it is more than worth the price. Call (904) 778-5404 for reservations.
This restaurant, adjacent to the Shine Wellness Center health spa, is deceiving. It looks like a residence, but it definitely is a full restaurant. Inside is a long community table, where customers sit with strangers who will be friends by the end of the meal.
Behind that is her modest kitchen that produces the outrageous dishes. She apologized for cooking with an electric stove, but this chef could prepare gourmet food using just a Bunsen burner.
Behind the kitchen is a dining area facing a bar that looks into the kitchen. There, she conducts small cooking classes on Mondays. Her teaching technique is her own.
“I don’t just hand you a bunch of recipes,” she said. “My style is technique- and seasoning-based.” This means she shows you how to take a pile of ingredients and turn it into a delicious feast.
Out back is her garden, where she grows a variety of herbs and leafy vegetables that she uses in recipes and teas. Just taking some tiny clippings of various plants, rubbing them in your hands and cupping the outcome to your nose is a relaxing experience in itself. If you’ve ever run your hand through a rosemary bush, you know what I’m talking about.
A lot of restaurants talk about being farm to table, but This Chick’s Kitchen is the real thing. She buys from a variety of local producers. Her simple salad course featured fresh tomatoes, chrysanthemum leaves with goat cheese and micro basil. The taste of a real, freshly picked tomato nearly knocked me over.
Who knew there was actually a root beer plant? The broad leaf tastes just like sarsaparilla. She used it to make a burrito with barbecued jackfruit served with a collard slaw and a hearty Quan Yin potato salad (much like a German potato salad).
If it sounds like I am wowed by this place, it is because I am. I just returned from Manhattan where I ate some great food, but these dishes would turn the head of the most jaded New Yorker.
This Chick’s Kitchen is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
The restaurant is working on getting a beer and wine license, so for now if you want wine or beer it’s BYOB. I suggest a bright white like a dry Riesling, Pinot Gris, or Cabernet Sauvignon Blanc. You wouldn’t want anything overly oaked with this food.
Go there for lunch and get there early for the quiche that my dining partners were raving about. It goes quick.
Anderson spends the first part of the week preparing fresh packaged meals for about 30 lucky customers who discovered her early on.
“There are so many people who can’t go out to eat anymore because of allergies and food limitations,” she said of her private chef service.
This food is fresh, clean and satisfying.
This Chick’s Kitchen doesn’t want to turn a caveman into a vegan. Rather, Anderson wants to introduce customers to a variety of tastes that customers may have never experienced.

New menu
at Bistro Aix

Bistro Aix, 1440 San Marco Blvd., has introduced its spring menu and some happy hour changes.
Happy hour has been extended from its usual 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday to include Saturday from 5-7 p.m.
It also includes discounted food items during happy hour; among them are steamed mussels ($9), steak tartare ($11) and the X Burger ($12).
The menu changes are extensive and include appetizers, salads, sandwiches, entrees and desserts. To take in all of the changes, check the website at forkingamazingrestaurants.com.
Dinner items that caught my eye were Lobster Crepes ($30), “Spring” Scallops ($31), Basil Rubbed Lamb Loin ($32) and Duck Breast a l’Orange ($26).
 A timely time
for Cuban cuisine

Cuba has been in the news a lot lately, so there’s no better time than now to have an event featuring Cuban cuisine.
The Womens Food Alliance is presenting “Classic Cuba” from 5:30 to 8 p.m. on Monday, May 23, at the Gabriel House of Care, 4599 Worrall Way (near Mayo Clinic).
The event is being hosted by sisters Liz Joiner and Mariela Groshell who are sharing old family recipes from Cuba. The dinner is being prepared by Danny Groshell, owner/chef of Ocean 60 in Atlantic Beach.
The evening begins with champagne spritzers and rum cocktails. The Traditional Pig Roast Dinner features Cuban Salad with tomatoes, avocado, red wine vinaigrette and cilantro; Cuban-Style Roast Pork, Citrus Oregano Chicken, Chorizo Black Beans and Basmati Rice, Roast Yucca with Garlic Mojo, and Sweet Plantains with Spiced Rum Glaze.
Desserts will be provided by Sugar Snob Chocolates and include Chocolate Covered Strawberries, Gold Chocolate Crunch Pyramid, Customized Chocolate-Covered Oreos, and Chocolate Truffles.
The cost is $50 per person ($52 if using PayPal). The reservation deadline is Wednesday and can be made by calling (904) 806-3613, or by emailing leighcort@bellsouth.net.
 Do you have any restaurant news, notes or rumors? Drop me a line at tudiningnotes@gmail.com and I’ll check them out.

Recipe: Spiced pumpkin soup with brown rice, black beans and lime-whipped feta


Katrina Meynink
Spiced pumpkin soup with brown rice, black beans and lime whipped feta.
I am not built for cold weather. To me, chill is a fun killer. I know there is skiing and ice skating and pretty white landscapes and amazing coats and boots, but this all glosses over that very banal fact that being cold completely sucks. The main redeeming feature, other than the aforementioned, is it means long slow-cooking in the kitchen, the kind that has wafting, roasting smells escaping through your windows and floorboards.
And bowls of deliciousness like this spiced number that is part soup, part hearty soul-fortifying meal. It's basically as many comfort foods as you can find to fit in one bowl with a touch of flu-warding garlic and spice.
1/2 jap pumpkin, thickly sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 red onions, peeled, roughly chopped
2 sprigs marjoram
1 tsp coriander seeds, ground
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp ground turmeric
2 tbsp freshly grated ginger
1 cup coconut milk
100g adobo sauce
4 cups chicken stock
juice and zest of 2 limes
sea salt and pepper to taste
1 cup tinned black beans, rinsed
2 cups cooked brown basmati rice
Lime whipped feta
juice and zest of 1 lime
1 tbsp yoghurt
160g feta
micro coriander leaves, lime wedges and black sea salt flakes to serve

Preheat the oven to 180C. Toss the pumpkin slices, garlic and chopped onion with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a large baking tray and roast until lightly caramelised and tender, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before adding to a blender with the herbs and spices. Turn out into a saucepan and add the coconut milk and adobo sauce. Add the chicken stock gradually until your desired soup consistency is achieved. Simmer for 20 minutes to allow the flavours to develop, adding more chicken stock as it thickens. Season.
For the whipped feta, blend ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Set aside until ready to serve.
Scoop a 1/2 cup of brown rice into each bowl. Pour soup over the rice, then top with black beans, lime whipped feta, and fresh coriander

Patent cases hit as IPAB goes headless

A Subramani | TNN | May 14, 2016, 06.08 PM IST
CHENNAI: Patent and trademark disputes pending for years before the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) will suffer some more delay, as the national body has now been reduced to a headless and a one-member institution.

Its chairman Justice K N Basha attained superannuation on May 13, and the lone technical member (trademarks) has been designated as a temporary vice-chairman. "There are more than 50,000 trademark cases and 10,000-plus patent cases pending here. And, no case can be heard by a single-member bench as per rules," rue patent attorneys.

The full complement of IPAB is chairman, vice-chairman, technical member (patent), technical member (trademarks) and technical member (who could sit on patent or trademark bench). After Justice Basha's departure, technical member (trademarks) Sanjeev Kumar Chaswal has been appointed temporary vice-chairman.

Expressing concern over the unfilled vacancies which could have an adverse impact on intellectual property-related issues, the IPR Attorney Association (IPRAA) has written to the Union ministry of commerce and industry to expedite appointments. "It is very important that IPAB remains active at all times," said IPRAA president P Sanjai Gandhi.

Boro production declines in country

Iftekhar Mahmud and Rajib Ahmed | Update: 11:19, May 16, 2016
Boro rice cultivation has declined in the country, a bad signal for nation’s food security.
Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) revealed this in a survey report, titled, ‘Analysing causes of shrinking of rice cultivation land in context of self-sufficiency in food’.

The survey, conducted on Boro cultivation in 11 districts, also unfolded anomalies in government rice procurement drives.

According to a data of Department of Agriculture Marketing, published on 3 May, the market price of rice in eight districts was in between Tk 500 and Tk 580 per maund, excepting the price at Nandail of Tk 400-450. Whereas the rice production cost was Tk 828 in this season, according to a data of concerned ministries.

The BRRI survey report said Boro was cultivated in 48.46 lakh hectare land, producing a total of 1,93,43,000 tonnes of rice in last year. This year, about 7 lakh tonnes of less production of Boro is feared as 46.61 lakh hectare land was brought under Boro production.

Agriculture minister Matia Chowdhury said the government has decided to procure paddy more than finished rice so that farmers can get a fair price. The government has adopted different initiatives to facilitate carrying paddy to warehouses of food department, she added.

BRRI suggested taking the procurement drives to the doorsteps of the farmers and procuring paddy/rice direct from the farmers.

According to the Department of Agriculture Extension, rates of Boro production decline are 11.29 percent in Kushtia, 6,25pc in Patuakhali, 6.17pc in Naogaon, 5.5pc in Rangpur, 5.23pc in Jessore, 2.4pc in Bogra, 1.82pc in Satkhira, 1.19pc in Dinajpur, and 1.1pc in Barisa


N. Korea pushes for timely rice planting to boost output

North Korea is calling on its people to carry out timely rice planting in an effort to boost the country's grain production.The move comes as the country gears up for the spring planting season in the wake of the rare congress of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) that ended last Monday. In the key gathering, the first of its kind in 36 years, the North announced various economic projects aimed at improving the economic conditions of the impoverished country.

In an editorial on Monday, the North's main newspaper, the Rodong Sinmun, called for the people to concentrate all their effort on a rice-transplanting campaign to gain a breakthrough in grain production. The paper likened rice farming to a "battle" to increase the country's grain production.The Northeast country of more than 20 million has suffered from frequent food shortages as the output of rice, its main staple, has not met demand. A lack of fertilizer, power shortages and poor infrastructure have been cited as causes of the country's troubles.

The newspaper said a great victory in the agricultural frontline is a political struggle for the WPK.Despite the severe drought last year, the daily claimed, the country successfully achieved rice planting success and urged all sectors of North Korean society to help out with farming.

Then it proposed a term, "the Speed of Mallima," to prompt North Koreans to work harder to attain the country's economic goals as well as rice planting.

The term Mallima, which was coined by the North, means a horse that runs 10 times as fast as Chollima, an imaginary horse with wings that can travel at least 400 kilometers a day.

North Korea first launched the Chollima Movement in the late 1950s as an economic campaign to rebuild its economy after the 1950-53 Korean War. (Yonhap)

Rice tasters evaluate varieties grain by grain

2016-05-16 09:39China Daily Editor: Feng Shuang
Tasters prepare for a rice tasting session at the China National Rice Research Institute in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province.Provided To China Daily
Experts sample 900 batches each year to judge on appearance, smell and taste
Rice tasting is both an art and a science for Zhu Zhiwei and his team at the China National Rice Research Institute.
It's a complicated process, and the procedure for tasting a single sample of cooked rice takes about three hours. As the chief rice tasting analyst, Zhu scrutinizes about 900 samples of cooked rice each year.
"Three samples a day is the maximum amount with which you can maintain a high level of judgment," said Zhu, 41, who is also the deputy director of the Rice Quality Inspection and Supervision Testing Center at the Ministry of Agriculture.
Similar to wine tasting, assessing the quality of cooked rice involves judging its appearance, smell and taste. Appearance includes its shape and "whether the rice grains are pure white", Zhu said. The scent is scrutinized both before and after the rice is cooked.
Tasting requires the use of another variety of rice as a control sample. Thai fragrant rice and Japanese Koshihikari rice are most commonly used. The Thai rice is typically used as a control sample for long-grained Indica rice varieties, while the Koshihikari variety is used to assess Japonica rice varieties of short and medium oval grains.
Indica and Japonica are two major rice varieties cultivated in Asia, especially China, and account for more than 80 percent of the global rice trade.
The rice grains are assessed for tenderness, viscosity and elasticity.
"You take a very tiny bite to feel the viscosity and elasticity of the rice grains. Then you look for sweetness as you chew," Zhu said.
The rice tasters evaluate after each step. To optimize the process, they carefully measure the amount of water used to cook the rice. Indica varieties, for example, would lose their natural shape if boiled in too much water. "The ratio of rice to water during the cooking process is a crucial element in ensuring the quality of cooked rice," Zhu said.
The final analysis requires that the cooked rice be allowed to cool, after which the tasters determine whether the grains maintain their taste through the process.
China has not yet drafted a national standard on cooked rice tasting, but the institute's researchers carefully follow a set of procedures and standards to judge rice quality. Japan is the only country that has a national standard on the tasting of rice varieties.
It generally takes about three months to train a rice taster, as experience must be accumulated through the tasting of numerous samples. "The more samples you taste, the more sensitive you become. You also need to keep thinking during the tasting process," Zhu said.
Different people taste the same rice varieties differently, so using the right control sample is also important. "If the control sample is not good, then the tasting results will be poor for sure," he said.
After years of experience, tasters can identify the area where a rice grain has been cultivated from the first bite.Consumers looking to choose rice that suits their taste can follow some simple rules of thumb, Zhu said."First, take a look at the rice grains. If the grains are crystal clear, then the rice will not be good to eat. You always look for the grains that carry a light earth yellow color," he said. "Second, use a plastic bag to store the rice for five minutes. If the rice still smells fresh after five minutes, then that is an indicator that it is good to eat."

State’s aspirant ranks 26 at CSE

The results of Civil Services Examination (CSE) were announced Tuesday. Orissa-born Dibya Jyoti Parida ranks 26 among the 1,078 aspirants who have cleared the examination nationwide. Parida shared his thoughts with Pravash Pradhan of Orissa POST. Excerpts from the interview:
How did you prepare for the examination?
I had been preparing for CSE at Delhi from 2011 after completing masters in Botany from Delhi University. This was my third attempt. In the first attempt, I had cleared the written examination but could not do well in the interview. This time, I prepared well and got through.
What is the state you have opted for?
Orissa is my first preference and IAS the top choice of service. It was my dream to work for the people of the country and those of the state in particular. I hope to do that now.
A bit about your family and education…
My family hails from Balasore and I am the only child of my parents. My father is a retired agriculture engineer in the state government. My mother is the head of department of Crop Protection Division at National Rice Research Institute. I studied in Cuttack. I attended Stuart School and completed graduation from Revenshaw University. I completed postgraduation in botany from Delhi University.
Who inspired you to go for civil services?
My parents were my biggest inspiration. I was brought up in an environment that developed a taste for science in me. My mother was a researcher at National Rice Research Institute, Cuttack and I used to observe her work and learnt that it did not involve interactions with common people. But in an administrative position, you can have direct access to people and contribute to their well-being. Thus, I decided to attempt the civil services exam and prepared sincerely. I used to put in 14 to 15 hours a day on average while preparing for the exam.
What is your message to civil service aspirants?
The most important factor is determination. You have to believe in yourself and study sincerely and consistently. Success will definitely come to you. I wish more people from Orissa joined the civil services. Because, more the people from Orissa joining civil services, the more will they contribute in administrative matters of the country. And, we can serve our own state as well.