Saturday, October 15, 2016

15th October,2016 daily global,regional and local rice e-newsletter by riceplus magazine

China, Cambodia sign cooperation deal on rice trade

Martin Lowe
10-14-2016 10:15 BJT
Cooperation on rice trade is among the various deals signed between China and Cambodia during President Xi Jinping’s visit. China has also promised to help Cambodia improve its facilities to harvest and store rice.

One of most important things to come out of Xi’s visit to Cambodia has been confirmation of a new deal between the two countries over rice. China has agreed to double the amount of rice it buys from Cambodia each year to 200,000 tonnes.

This is especially welcome news for Cambodia, after a very poor year for rice production. Heavy rains have seen fields flooded and crops lost. And a glut on the world market has seen prices fall by as much as a third since August. This has meant a very low income for rice farmers here.

There have been talks between Chinese and Cambodian officials over possible further financial aid from China for the rice sector. In particular a loan of 300 million dollars to help Cambodia buy special machines to dry harvested rice and to build warehouses in which to store it.

Chinese aid would be a big help to farmers in Cambodia. But they have also been told by the World Bank that they need to improve the way they grow rice to develop consistent quality and lower their costs

Japan hoping to pressure U.S. to follow its lead on TPP

by Tomohiro Osaki
  • Oct 14, 2016

Undeterred by vigorous opposition in the U.S. to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Abe administration expressed determination Friday to swiftly ratify the free trade agreement and pressure Washington to follow in its footsteps.
As Diet deliberations on the multinational deal kicked off, members of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet reaffirmed their determination to pass a bill to ratify the pact before this legislative session ends Nov. 30.
“It is imperative Japan take the lead in approving the deal and create momentum within the U.S.,” Nobuteru Ishihara, minister in charge of economic revitalization, told a special Lower House committee on the TPP. “We need to steer America.”
Ishihara said the TPP will open Japan up to the possibility of new economic growth, billing it as a much-needed counterbalance to the nation’s rapidly graying domestic workforce.
The government estimates the deal will create 800,000 jobs and translate into a 2.5 percent annual rise in gross domestic product, or a whopping ¥14 trillion.
Noting that he is aware U.S. presidential nominees Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are both strongly opposed to the pact, Ishihara pre-empted any possible request for renegotiation, underlining Abe’s position that Japan has “absolutely no intention” of accepting such a reversal.
“The TPP is like a delicate set of building blocks that is based on thorough discussions between the 12 countries involved. Withdraw one piece, and the whole thing will collapse,” Ishihara said.
Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida likewise stressed his commitment to winning Diet approval.
Such a progressive step by Japan, he said, would provide ammunition to ongoing efforts by President Barack Obama — who Kishida said has repeatedly proclaimed his pro-TPP stance in recent high-level international meetings — to convince the U.S. Congress of the need to ratify it by the end of his final term in January.
“At the moment, Japan-U.S. relations are very stable,” Kishida said. “Based on such a relationship of mutual trust, we have confirmed with each other that the swift entry into force of the pact is important and that we will cooperate to this end.”
Despite the lofty pledges, however, the Abe administration expects a tumultuous ride as it seeks to overcome staunch resistance to the TPP by the opposition bloc.
The Democratic Party has repeatedly made a point that it has no intention of accepting the pact, citing the opposition of Clinton and Trump.
“With two of the U.S. presidential nominees pretty unequivocally opposed to the deal, I don’t think Japan should hasten its discussion,” Renho, president of the DP, told reporters last month.
Adding to this is the recent revelation that some rice importers and wholesalers participating in a government auction program have engaged in price-rigging, which critics say will undercut the government’s position that an increase in rice imports under the TPP won’t adversely affect domestic farmers.
In a recent agriculture ministry probe into the matter, about 30 percent of 139 rice importers and wholesalers involved in the auction admitted they had cheated by exchanging what are euphemistically called “adjustment fees” with each other.
Such a practice may have allowed wholesalers to sell rice at a lower price than officially designated, potentially discrediting the government’s assertion that domestic and foreign rice is traded at equal prices.
The agricultural ministry, however, concluded in the probe that such shady money exchanges are unlikely to affect domestic rice prices, citing the scant amount of rice imported under the auction program that is circulated for commercial purposes.
The DP says it doesn’t buy that explanation and questions the veracity of the investigation.
“We need a fuller explanation and demand that the ministry disclose more detailed information,” Renho told reporters Thursday

Customs PRO denies report on reverse of rice ban

Posted By: Okwy Iroegbu-Chikezieon: October 14, 2016
Bag of Rice
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has not reversed the ban on  rice.
Its Public Relations Officer (PRO), Mr. Wale Adeniyi, a Deputy-Comptroller, was reacting to a report which  indicated that the Customs had reversed the ban on rice import through land borders.
Adeniyi, in a statement in Abuja, denied the reports which allegedly emanated from him, saying he never issued such a statement.
He said the reports which were published last weekend were the ones he granted last October.
Adeniyi said the service suspected that some forces behind rice smuggling were at work, recycling old reports under a different circumstance to create confusion. “It is necessary to restate the true position in view of the confusion, which these publications may create in the industry. It is even more expedient to provide this clarification, given that the service has taken a firm position earlier in the week through a joint news conference with stakeholders.
“We like to reiterate the position that importation of rice remains banned through our land borders and we have the commitment of partner government agencies and stakeholders to enforce this restriction,” Adeniyi said.
He added that while the restriction is in force, rice imports through the ports are still allowed, subject to payment of extant charges.
“The service will, therefore, advocate a total ban on rice importation into Nigeria with effect from 2017.  It is our belief that continuous waste of scarce Foreign Exchange (forex) on a commodity that can be produced locally makes no economic sense, most especially at a period of recession,” Adeniyi stated.
Nigeria spends $2 billion yearly on riceimportation.President Muhammadu Buhari, who made this known recently in Abuja, said to achieve domestic self-sufficiency in rice and other staples by 2018, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had been mobilised to encourage local production of rice, maize, sorghum, millet and soya beans.
The president said farmers in 13 out of 36 states were receiving credit support through the CBN’s Anchor Borrowers Programme.
This must have encouraged Adeniyi to restate the confidence that customs had in the ability of Nigerian Rice Producers (NRP) to fill the sufficiency gaps in the supply of the product.
According to him, Customs had noted the ongoing rice revolution undertaken by many state governments and strategic interventions by Federal Government agencies.
He said the service was convinced that the bumper harvests expected from these efforts will address the supply gap next year, urging Nigerians to watch out for similar antics as the stand on rice smuggling would pitch their selfish interest against national interest.

International experts convene to continue the battle against bacterial blight of rice

on 13 October 2016.

MANILA, Philippines—The threatening nature of bacterial blight (BB) on rice production was recognized only when TN1 and IR8, the first generation of semidwarf, high-yielding rice varieties, were attacked by the disease. The ensuing BB epidemics in the 1960s prompted international research efforts to control it.
So, in this continuing effort, internationally renowned experts will be gathering in Manila, 17-19 October, to present the latest breakthroughs in reducing the incidence of this serious rice disease. About 100 participants from 19 countries are expected to attend the Fifth International Conference on Bacterial Blight of Rice (ICBB05). They will be welcomed by Philippine Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo. The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) is organizing and hosting the 3-day event.
BB, caused by the bacteria Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae or Xoo, can spread rapidly via water droplets. Infected plants often develop symptoms in a matter of days. As the disease progresses, the leaves of infected plants turn yellow and wilt, causing rice seedlings to dry up and die. The earlier BB occurs, the higher the resulting yield loss will be. In severe cases, farmers experience yield losses of up to 60%. The infection is also difficult to control with appropriate pesticides.
Historically, since the onset of the Green Revolution, BB has inflicted major economic damage in India, Bangladesh, China, Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Laos, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. The disease also occurs in Australia and Africa. This year in Bangladesh, about 13,000 hectares planted to paddy rice in Gazipur District were afflicted with a severe BB outbreak, according to the Dhaka Tribune.
Significant progress has been made in understanding BB through analysis of the interactions between Xoo and rice. Through recent advances in new tools and sequencing resources in both rice and Xoo, a tremendous amount of knowledge has been generated in a relatively short time. These new innovations will be highlighted during the ICBB05 as participants plan future management strategies.
Dr. Jan Leach, distinguished professor at Colorado State University; Dr. Adam Bogdanove of Cornell University; and Dr. Wolf Frommer from the Carnegie Institution for Science at Stanford will be keynote speakers. The status and global assessments of BB will be discussed by Dr. Tom Mew, former head of the Entomology and Plant Pathology Division at IRRI, and Dr. Casiana Vera Cruz, IRRI plant pathologist. Dr. Vera Cruz also chairs the local ICBB05 organizing committee.
Also during the conference, the online resource, Rice diseases: their biology and selected management practices, will be soft launched especially for the ICBB05. Featured, for now, are the Preface and Introduction (The Future Impact of Rice Diseases) and the full section on BB. The latest information on around 70 more rice diseases will be placed online as it becomes available from the technical editors.
This unique resource is being funded by the Global Rice Science Partnership and published with the assistance of a number of partners, especially IRRI, the Africa Rice Center, and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT).

Rice Prices

as on : 15-10-2016 01:58:15 PM
Arrivals in tonnes;prices in Rs/quintal in domestic market.
P.O. Uparhali Guwahati(ASM)
North Lakhimpur(ASM)
Buland Shahr(UP)

How scientists are taking on the global food crisis

Oct 14, 2016 |

When Amrita Hazra moved to the United States from India in 2005 to start graduate school, she noticed that grocery stores were packed with products based mostly on three grains: wheat, corn and rice.

In 2011, she came to UC Berkeley as a postdoctoral researcher in plant and microbial biology and saw that despite the drought, California farms still grew those same grains: wheat, corn and even rice.Hazra remembered eating a wide variety of grains in her homeland, including many types of millets — gluten-free cereal grains that are drought-tolerant and highly nutritious. That gave her an idea. She started the Millet Project to introduce more people in the U.S. to the benefits of millet to help deal with drought and diversify the food supply locally and globally.

“Diversifying our food and agriculture is extremely vital today,” Hazra said. “With climate change causing a rise in temperatures and unpredictable rain patterns and disrupting current crop patterns, the Millet Project allows us to bring alternate grain crops back into the food economy.”

From diversifying food to developing new varieties to adapting crops to a changing climate, the University of California and its Global Food Initiative are working to help improve food security this World Food Day. UC’s Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources alone has collaborators in more than 130 countries working to help solve agricultural problems.

Feed the Future labs
The push to end global hunger got a boost this summer when President Obama signed the Global Food Security Act, which builds on efforts such as the federal Feed the Future initiative.UC leads six Feed the Future Innovation Labs — five at UC Davis and one at UC Riverside. The labs work to develop climate-resilient crops such as chickpea, cowpea and millet, and also look to improve poultry, produce and increase food access.

Abundant in protein and energy-rich oils, cowpeas — also known as black-eyed peas — are central to the diets of millions of people across Africa and Asia. But according to UC Riverside’s Timothy Close and Philip Roberts, the legume crop is performing at only 20 percent of its genetic potential. So they’ve set out to breed new cowpea varieties that have both higher yield and quality, along with disease resistance, pest resistance and drought tolerance.

To accomplish this, they’re using a genetic tool called DNA marker-assisted breeding — in essence, a process that uses genetic analysis to find and select for specific desired traits, vastly speeding up the traditional hybridization process.“We are no longer confined to slower, less directed methods of plant breeding, nor must we base all hope on genetically modified organisms,” Close said. “With marker-assisted breeding we can, over just a few years, accomplish improvement in cowpea varieties that can enormously benefit farmers, markets and consumers.”

In its first four years, the UC Davis-led Feed the Future Horticulture Innovation Lab trained nearly 32,000 people in more than 30 countries, including more than 9,800 farmers who have improved their farming practices.
Building on those successes, an international team led by UC Davis is working to connect 9,000 rural households in Guatemala with improved water management and climate-smart agriculture strategies to increase food security and reduce poverty. Called MásRiego (“more irrigation”), the Feed the Future project aims to increase farmers’ incomes and their use of climate-smart strategies, including drip irrigation, rainwater harvesting, reduced tillage, mulch use and diverse crop rotation.

“We’re taking lessons learned from our previous research — in Guatemala, Honduras and Cambodia — and building a team to help more small-scale farmers apply our findings and successfully use these innovative practices,” said Beth Mitcham of UC Davis, who directs the Horticulture Innovation Lab.Students and recent graduates also are playing an important part in efforts to address food security on campus and globally. Several winners of the Global Food Initiative’s 30 Under 30 Awards are tackling hunger, such as UC Berkeley alum Komal Ahmad, a former Big Ideas @ Berkeley winner who founded Copia, a food recovery business that connects those with excess food to those in need of it.

In UC’s systemwide World Food Day Video Challenge for students, first place went to a UC Davis team working to improve postharvest produce storage in developing countries, enhancing food safety and quality.
In addition, UC is partnering with the U.S. Agency for International Development to expand the Research and Innovation Fellowship program, which addresses pressing agricultural development challenges around the globe. The program has grown to four UC campuses — Berkeley, Davis, Riverside and Santa Cruz — with the possibility of further expansion, co-sponsored by the UC Global Food Initiative.

The graduate student fellows spend two to six months helping partner organizations solve scientific, technological, organizational and business challenges. For example, UC-USAID fellow Sammi Wong of UC Davis traveled to Colombia to work on a project to help save bananas by seeking a biocontrol agent to combat a deadly fungus also known as “Panama disease.”
Sustaining staple crops

The banana is one of the world’s top 10 staple crops, but it could be wiped out in just five to 10 years by fast-advancing fungal diseases. UC Davis researchers have discovered how three other fungal diseases have evolved into a lethal threat to the world’s bananas. The discovery better equips researchers to develop hardier, disease-resistant banana plants and more effective disease-prevention treatments.

Rice is another staple food, but a considerable amount of the global rice crop is grown in regions where seasonal flooding is extreme and unpredictable, and can cause major crop losses. UC Davis plant pathology professor Pamela Ronald — working with colleagues from UC Riverside — developed flood-tolerant rice. Millions of subsistence farmers in South Asia have now grown Sub1A or “scuba rice.”

Roughly 1 in 9 people on Earth do not have enough food to eat. And climate change is only making it harder for farmers to meet the global demand for food. To this end, the new Center for Research On Plant Transporters at UC San Diego, funded by a $6 million grant from the National Science Foundation, aims to help develop the molecular tools necessary to grow the hardier crop varieties that farmers need now and will increasingly need in coming years — corn, wheat and rice that are more tolerant to heat, drought, salinity and other adverse conditions.

Increasing crop diversity
UC Berkeley’s Peggy Lemaux, a member of the Millet Project team, leads a $12.3 million project funded by the U.S. Department of Energy to examine the role of epigenetics — the study of how heredity affects gene expression — in allowing plants to survive in drought conditions. UC Berkeley researchers will partner with scientists at UC ANR, the Energy Department’s Joint Genome Institute and that agency’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory on the five-year project. Researchers will dissect mechanisms by which sorghum, a close relative of corn, is able to survive water deprivation.

Meanwhile, the African Orphan Crops Consortium, run by UC Davis, Mars Inc., and other global partners, is working to sequence, assemble and annotate the genomes of 101 African crop species to improve the nutrition of the African farm families who depend on them for sustenance.At the consortium’s Plant Breeding Academy, Africa’s top breeders learn how to incorporate genomic information, statistics and the latest breeding strategies into their programs. Daniel Adewale, plant breeder with the Ondo State University of Science and Technology in Nigeria, is using the skills he learned in the 2014 academy to improve the African yam bean, increasing its essential amino acid content and reducing its cooking time.“By helping breeders improve these forgotten crops, I believe the African Orphan Crops Consortium will cure malnutrition in Africa,” Adewale said.
Turning to the sea

The answers to the global food crisis may also come from the sea.If projections hold, the global demand for animal protein will double over the next four decades, rising along with pressure to find ecologically sustainable food production practices.

Could farmed fish save the day? Just maybe, says UC Santa Barbara’s Steve Gaines.
“There are some really bad ways to do aquaculture, but if you look at best practices, they are dramatically better than any production on land,” Gaines said.

Rediscovering millet
The Millet Project, which began by collaborating with farmers to conduct small-scale millet cultivation in different locations in Northern California, is going global.Hazra is now an assistant professor at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research in her hometown of Pune, where she finds a renewed need to promote millet as rice and wheat are overtaking India’s urban grocery stores. Hazra plans to start a millet patch on campus. She also is collaborating with educators to add farming to the curriculum of schools in Mumbai and with a brewer in Pune who wishes to use millet to brew beer.

“By being involved with the project, I wish to continue growing with it, and along with our team, bring food security and food and agricultural diversity to people around the world,” Hazra said.

Campaigns opposing genetically modified food are misguided

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 15 October, 2016, 12:17am
UPDATED : Saturday, 15 October, 2016, 12:17am
I refer to Alex Lo’s column (“The safety of genetically modified crops is backed by science”, September 18).
Despite the advancement of genetic engineering in recent decades with huge potential to solve a variety of problems facing the mankind, we cannot fully benefit from the technologies unless the public is well informed about the advantages of GM food.
In June 2016, 113 Nobel prize-winning scientists signed a letter opposing Greenpeace’s anti-GM campaign and asking governments to grant farmers around the world access to biotechnology for GM food. The scientists cited Golden Rice with vitamin A added through genetic modification.
Golden Rice could have benefited over 250 million people in the developing world suffering from diseases caused by vitamin A deficiency if Greenpeace did not oppose GM food. In fact, Golden Rice is just one example of how GM food can solve malnutrition problems in the developing world. Scientists have been working on improving the nutrient composition of other staple crops such as vitamin C and E in corn, iron in rice and protein quality in potato.
In addition to treating malnutrition, GM food can also solve other agricultural and environmental problems on a global scale. GM food can not only be grown faster and with larger yields , thereby alleviating food shortages in the developing world and reducing the carbon footprint of farming – it can also enhance farming in areas with frequent droughts and deficient soil and significantly improve the livelihood of people living in such areas. By growing GM variants of crops more resistant to pests and other diseases, farmers around the world could also reduce the use of pesticides and herbicides and take a step closer to more environmentally friendly agricultural practices.
Historically speaking, mankind has been genetically modifying crops for thousands of years since the advent of agriculture through breeding and crossbreeding different varieties to create plant species with faster growth, higher yields and sweeter fruits.
Modern genetic engineering merely continues such a tradition with more advanced technologies for manipulating genes more precisely.
Despite its valuable work in other areas for environment protection, Greenpeace is on the wrong side of history with regard to GM food. It should stop exploiting the irrational fear of the public and start playing more constructive roles in the development and regulation of GM food.
Simon Wang, Kowloon Tong

Black Rice of Suriname Came with Slave Ships

Gene analysis of the black rice of Suriname has shown that it is related to West African rice and unrelated to Asian rice.
13 October 2016 by  Viva Bolova, Eatglobe
Source: New York University, Wageningen University
A man and a boy till the soil before the sowing of rice, Casamance, Senegal, July 2008

The black rice grown by the Maroons, descendants of escaped African slaves who live in Suriname and other countries, is similar to a specific type of black rice from Cote d’Ivoire, new study revealed. The study is a combination of botanic, historic and genetic research and can help trace the unwritten migration history of people and crops.The research focused on the black rice Oryza glaberrima, which the Maroons grow although they rarely eat. The rice is typically used for rituals, such as spiritual herb baths, and while historical documents suggest that the black grains of the Maroons originated from African rice, it was not known precisely where they came from.
To find out, scientists collected African rice from a Maroon market in Paramaribo, Suriname, and cultivated the grains into fully grown plants in Amsterdam's garden Hortus Botanicus. Then they compared the DNA of these plants with genomes of 109 varieties of Oryza glaberrima from West Africa. The tests revealed that the Suriname sample has no connection to Asian rice and appears sister to a specific type of black rice derived from the fields of Mande-speaking farmers in western Cote d’Ivoire.
Although Dutch slave traders bought most of their African slaves from Ghana, Benin and Central Africa, the recently digitized log of the Zeeland vessel D'Eenigheid indicates that rice and slaves were also purchased along the Western coast of Africa, including Cote d’Ivoire.
The slave trade brought people and rice from West Africa to South America
Wageningen University
Slaves used leftover seeds from the ships to cultivate rice - and other crops - in their door yard gardens on the plantations and on forest fields. In this way, the African rice continued to be cultivated and was available for plantation by the Maroon communities. 
The Maroons are witness to the determination and skill of the slaves to fight for their freedom early on. In Jamaica, persistent attacks by Maroons on plantations forced the Dutch colonists in the course of the 18th century to conclude a series of peace treaties with them, which in effect recognised the sovereignty of Maroon settlements on the island. In Surinam, both slave revolts and a guerilla war by Maroons against the plantation owners similarly forced he Dutch to recognize Maroon settlements in the country in a number of peace treaties concluded in 1740-60.
Maroon village on the Suriname river, 1955
Viva is one of Eatglobe's editors and our resident marketing expert. 
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Scientist focuses on rice disease

Yeshi Wamishe 
Photo courtesy of University of Arkansas Rice Research Extension Service


Posted Oct 14, 2016 at 1:31 PM
By Dawn Teer / Stuttgart Daily Leader
Editor's Note: This is the fourth article in a question and answer series with local scientists and their work at the University of Arkansas Rice Research Extension Service (UARREC) in Stuttgart.
Name: Yeshi Wamishe
Education: PhD in plant pathology
Field of study or expertise: Currently focused on rice diseases
Hometown: Originally from Ethiopia, current Stuttgart resident
Family: Married and have three sons
When did you become interested in rice research?
When I did my postdoctoral research training under the University of Arkansas working for Dale Bumpers National Rice Research Center (DBNRRC) scientist Dr. Yulin Jia.
What courses did you take that steered you into the field that became your career?
Plant pathology courses back in Ethiopia and here at University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.
What do you do at UARREC?
I am 100 percent extension rice pathologist
What are you currently working on or developing? And why?
I am working on the major diseases of rice such as bacterial panicle blight, sheath blight, blast and autumn decline among others. My major responsibility is to help Arkansas rice producers. I conduct applied research that are related to major diseases that constraint rice production and also assist Arkansas producers on disease diagnosis and management option recommendations.
What research that you have done has been able to help the average rice farmer?
The Extension Rice Pathology Program at RREC in Stuttgart works closely with rice breeders assisting them in screening for disease resistance, evaluating preliminary and advanced breeding rice materials for disease resistance both under natural and also creating artificial disease conditions. We also do a lot of work testing products to manage rice diseases in collaboration with chemical industries. We work with scientists in different discipline since diseases are important components in rice production.
What are some of the research differences between what you do and the Dale Bumpers National Rice Research Center?
I am more focused more on the applied rice pathology and less on basic research.
What are some of the collaborations with DBNRRC?
I do collaborate with scientists in DBNRRCin the areas wherever basic research is needed to support my applied research.
What would people be surprised to learn about your job and what you do?
How much my program focuses and works hard on increasing crop productivity by decreasing crop disease pressures.
Do you have a support staff that assist you in your research? Who are they and what do they do?
Yes, I have four support staff. A program associate, Tibebu Gebremariam; a technician, Temesgen Mulaw; and two other technicians who are mostly working on evaluation of breeding rice material, Christy Kelsey and Scott Belmar. They are all involved in field, greenhouse and laboratory research activities as a team

RIFAN calls for proper distribution of locally produced rice

News Agency of Nigeria

The Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), on Friday called for proper distribution of locally produced rice to meet up the country’s need of the commodity.RIFAN’s South-West Zonal Coordinator, Mr Segun Atho, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that the development of the sub-sector was a primary step to meeting the rice need.

Atho spoke against the backdrop of the report that the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd), had on Oct. 6, ordered the immediate lifting of the ban on the importation of rice.He said that lifting the ban on rice would disrupt the Muhammadu Buhari administration’s diversification drive and the green alternative initiative of the agricultural sector.

The zonal coordinator said that farmers needed to be empowered for self-sufficiency and sustainability rather than consider importation of rice.“We expect the government to be proactive in terms of empowering domestic farmers to ensure they grow rice. Banning or no banning is a secondary issue.

“It is when we say that we have a shortfall that the government can import to augment, but then, what happens to the rice harvested in all the states of the nation.“I wonder why government should be talking about exportation when we are not self-sufficient; it is when we are sufficient that we can talk about sustainability and exportation.
“Government should look at ways to make home grown farmers to continue with production otherwise, a lot of farmers will back out,’’ he said.

The coordinator added that the production of local rice was progressing gradually across the country with Kebbi producing about 1.5 million metric tons of rice annually.“If Kebbi can produce 1.5 million metric tons and Zamfara, Niger and other states are making good production, then what is our problem, we need to put our acts together.’’

NAN reports that the customs Public Relations Officer, Mr Wale Adeniyi, had said that all rice imports through land borders would attract the current import duty of 10 per cent with 60 per cent levy.Adeniyi also said rice millers with valid quota allocation would also attract a duty rate of 10 per cent with 20 per cent levy on rice importation

$3 Billion Nigeria Bound Rice Stuck in Benin Republic
Posted on Oct 14, 2016 in Business
Eromosele Abiodun

Rice worth over $3 billion meant for the Nigerian markets are said to be stuck in various warehouses in Benin Republic due to the federal government’s policy banning importation of the commodity through land borders and fierce customs anti-smuggling drive, THISDAY investigation has revealed.THISDAY findings revealed that the annual routine of importing rice into the neighbouring countries from July to December to make massive sales in Nigeria during yuletide has hit a brickwall as the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) has insisted that his men tighten the borders.

Nigeria shares major borders with Benin Republic at Seme Border (Lagos), Idiroko (Ogun State), Shaki (Oyo State),Chikanda (Kwara State) and other smaller openings. Prominent among them is Seme where the highest volume of trade and largest smuggling opportunity exists because of its easier access to Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital city.Seme border, which hitherto was a major transit point for foreign rice importation and smuggling also became a no go area for the commodity as almost daily seizures of 50kg bags of it have taken a good portion of the government warehouse .

A competent source in Benin told THISDAY that most of the warehouses where the bagged rice are kept before shipment into the country are now battling for space.According to the source, who does not want his name in print, “some consignments of imported rice into the small West African country that had no space at the usual and popular stores were moved to makeshift storage areas and are exposed to rains, weevils and other unhygienic forms of storage.

The source said: “Popular warehouses no longer receive rice shipments as thousands of bags earlier delivered to them since July could not be evacuated into Nigeria as planned and as the usual case in previous years. Popular Cherika warehouse in Akpakpa near Cotonou with a capacity to hold 25,000 bags is fully loaded with Thailand rice with no hope of evacuating them into Nigeria except government relaxes its policy disallowing rice imports through border or customs softening their round the clock enforcement in Seme.

“Defezi warehouse close to the Cotonou Port with is filled with over 40,000 units of 50kg bags of Indian and Thailand rice. Defezi got occupied earlier due to its proximity to the port but was not evacuated as the owners could not risk entering Nigeria with it. Cica warehouse in Missebo area of the Cotonou outskirts that suffered lack of patronage in the past due to distance from Seme border and bad road presently have over 15,000 bags. Some are getting moulded, caked with their bags torn and quantity reduced while under storage in several odd arrangements endlessly awaiting shipment into Nigeria.”

THISDAY checks revealed that while hope of smuggling them into Nigeria gets dim by the day, there is a conscious efforts at attempting the smuggling of the commodity without using bags.The unwholesome methods, our findings revealed, require pouring grains of rice into various compartments of vehicles like the booths, bonnets, inner part of the doors, under the seats and other spaces meant for spare tyres and tools.

Sources disclosed that attempts to try bringing in some hundreds of bags failed as the smuggling bags ended up inside the customs warehouse in Seme and Idiroko as seizures.The seized rice, some of which are closed to expiring and unwholesome for human consumption have become bad and unqualified for donation to Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps as was done in the recent past.

Numbers made available by the NCS revealed that over 37,000 bags of rice have so far been seized in Seme and Idiroko between January and September 2016 with a recent clamp down on 13 vehicles at a go in the Ogun State area all laden with smuggled rice.Nigeria Customs had in an October 2016 press statement reiterated government’s ban on rice importation through the borders. The statement signed by customs spokesman, Wale Adeniyi, reinforced its resolve to protect government’s attempt to improve local rice capacity.

According to him, ”We like to reiterate the position that importation of Rice remains banned through our Land Borders, and we have the commitment of Partner Government Agencies and Stakeholders to enforce this restriction. While this restriction is in force, Rice imports through the Ports are still allowed subject to payment of extant charges.”

Food imports balloon as local output stalls


Oct 15, 2016- Imports of vegetables and other farm products through Nepalgunj Customs have soared as local production has fallen amid swelling demand, local stakeholders said.Banke’s fertile farmlands used to produce sufficient vegetables and other agriculture commodities to fulfill the requirement of the Mid-Western Region, but a drop in productivity has forced traders to resort to large-scale imports from India.

According to the District Agriculture Office Nepalgunj, shipments of vegetables and other food items through the border point amounted to Rs4.06 billion in the last fiscal year. Rice imports stood at Rs1.46 billion.
Similarly, corn and wheat imports totalled Rs970 million. As per office records, imports of potato and onion stood at Rs440 million and Rs101.5 million respectively.

Vegetable, potato and onion imports, in particular, surge during the festival season. According to the office, traders have been importing seven to eight truckloads of vegetables daily through the customs point.
“As the start of the planting season coincides with the festival season, demand for these farm products has surged recently,” said Krishna Bahadur Basnet, chief of the office. The imported vegetables are shipped mainly to the hill districts in the Mid-Western Region besides Kathmandu and Pokhara.

Hirminiya, Kamdi, Udharapur, Paraspur, Udayapur, Nauwasta and Bageshwori are the largest producers of vegetables in Banke district. However, soaring demand has outstripped output.As per the Plant Quarantine Office in Nepalgunj, imports of eggplant and beans amounted to Rs15.2 million in the last fiscal year. Similarly, fruit imports through the border point stood at Rs195.2 million.Meanwhile, goat imports for Dashain through the border point totalled Rs150 million. As per traders, the figure could double by the end of Tihar.Hari Lal Jaisi, an official at the Animal Quarantine Office in Nepalgunj, said traders had imported 22,622 goats till date. “The trend will continue till Tihar,” he said.
Last year, traders imported 163,000 goats through the customs point. “Low livestock production in the region has led to growing dependency on imports from India,” Jaisi said. According to him, traders import goats from Maharashtra, Kanpur, Lakhimpur, Gorakhpur and Lucknow in India

De Guzman Appointed Agriculture Research Fellow

October 14, 2016 | 
Dr. Christian De Guzman, graduate research assistant with the Louisiana State University (LSU) Department of Agronomy, has been named the new rice breeder with the Southeast Missouri State University Department of Agriculture and the Missouri Rice Research and Merchandising Council.De Guzman began his new role Oct. 10 and will be based at Southeast Missouri State University-Malden, 10 miles east of the Missouri Research Farm in Glennonville, Missouri.“Dr. DeGuzman is an experienced international rice breeder who will provide superior leadership towards rice breeding and rice improvement,” said Dr. Mike Aide, chair of the Department of Agriculture at Southeast. “Dr. eGuzman will also be collaborating with rice researchers from around the globe to bring their experience to promote Missouri rice production.”De Guzman will be responsible for conducting rice research that supports the Missouri rice industry, coordinating rice research activities involving other researchers with the Missouri Rice Research & Merchandising Council, and managing the rice laboratory at Southeast’s Malden campus. His work also will include grant writing and research reporting, and supervising staff.

“The farmers and staff at the Missouri Rice Research and Merchandising Council are very excited to have someone of Dr. De Guzman’s background and knowledge of rice breeding, and we welcome him and his family to Southeast Missouri,” said Greg Yielding, Missouri representative for the U.S. Rice Producers Association. “The Missouri Rice Council looks forward to continuing its more than 20-year cooperation with Southeast Missouri State University to develop new rice varieties and improve the agronomics of rice farming in Missouri and throughout the U.S.”
At LSU, De Guzman has been responsible for generating long and medium grain experimental two-line hybrids for the LSU rice hybrid breeding program. He has performed marker genotyping for grain quality traits in rice, developed molecular markers for early heading and wide compatibility and implemented disease screening and selection for sheath blight resistance.
He previously has served as a visiting research associate at the LSU Agcenter at Louisiana State University, the junior plat breeder of sweet corn with East-West Seed Company in the Philippines, research farm supervisor with the Linda Vista Research Farm, East-West Seed Company in the Philippines; research farm foreman with the Hortanova research Farm, East-West Seed Company in the Philippines; and technical assistant-poultry breeding with Tyson-Agro Ventures in the Philippines.
He brings to the position a wealth of expertise in field management and breeding, and molecular genetics. He holds a doctoral degree in agronomy, plant breeding and genetics from Louisiana State University, where his dissertation was on genetic analyses of male sterility and wide compatibility in U.S. hybrid rice breeding lines. He holds a Bachelor of Science in agriculture from the University of the Philippines at Los Banos, Laguna, Philippines.
He is a member of the Gamma Sigma Delta Honor Society in Agriculture (LSU Chapter), Crop Science Society of America, Agronomy Society of America and Soil Science Society of America

10/14/2016 Farm Bureau Market Report

Long Grain Cash Bids
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Nov '16
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Rice Comment

Rice futures were lower across the board. The monthly supply/demand report showed increased beginning stocks, and production resulting in a net increase in ending stocks for the 16/27 marketing year. Ending stocks are now forecast to be 120.7 million metric tons. Export sales were 43,100 tons for the week, down slightly from a week ago and certainly not enough to spark buying interest. November is hovering above support at $10, with resistance below $10.50

Chinese scientist plans mass production of sea-rice

Source: Xinhua   2016-10-15 14:32:29            
QINGDAO, Oct. 15 (Xinhua) -- China's "father of hybrid rice" is planning to expand its production of sea-rice at a newly founded research center in Qingdao, a port city in the eastern province of Shandong, local sources said Saturday.
Within three years, the sea-rice research and development center, headed by scientist Yuan Longping, is expected to expand the yield of sea-rice to 200 kilograms on each "mu," the Chinese unit equivalent to 666 square meters, according to local authorities in Qingdao's Licang District, where the new research body is located.
Wild sea-rice is sometimes found in saline-alkaline soil at the junctures where rivers join the sea. The plant is resistant to pests, diseases, salt and alkali and does not need fertilizer. But its unit output is only around 75 kg.
The Qingdao research center will use gene sequencing to cultivate new strains of sea-rice that will yield more rice and grow with saline water.
With start-up funding of 100 million yuan (14.86 million U.S. dollars), scientists will start their experiment on a 2-hectare saline-alkaline marsh land just north of the Jiaozhou Bay in April. The project will eventually draw an investment of 2 billion yuan.
Over the past decades, Chinese scientists, led by Yuan, have worked out new approaches to significantly increase the yield of rice, a staple food for 65 percent of the Chinese.

Concern over farmers losing interest in sugarcane

Issues confronting sugarcane cultivation was the focus of a two-day meeting of sugarcane research and development workers of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry which opened here on Friday.It was organised by ICAR-Sugarcane Breeding Institute, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, and Dhanalakshmi Srinivasan Sugars (VV Sugars) to discuss issues in sugarcane cultivation such as low productivity, wild boar and rodent menace, mechanisation, besides new cane varieties and seed nursery programme. An exhibition displaying recent and popular sugarcane varieties, farm machines, drip irrigation technologies and a bio-acoustic device to ward off wild boars was also organised, according to a release from Dhanalakshmi Srinivasan Sugars.

Inaugurating the meet, A. Ramamourti, Director of Agriculture, Puducherry, said farmers were losing interest in raising sugarcane owing to drought, shortage of labour, incidence of pest and diseases and high cost of cultivation. Research institutes, in collaboration with sugar factories, should identify reasons for low yield and declining sugar recovery in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. Introducing short-duration varieties, encouraging community farming and custom hiring of machineries, including harvesters, could improve and sustain sugarcane productivity, he said.
Bakshi Ram, Director of ICAR-SBI, said sugarcane yield and sugar production in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry remained low owing to adverse climatic conditions and water shortage. There had been a marginal improvement this season.
Chenthil Rajan, Managing Director, Dhanalakshmi Srinivasan Sugars, said sugarcane yield had not improved significantly in the past 40 years unlike rice and other crops.P. Chandran, Joint Director of Agriculture, S.Suresh, Tamil Nadu Rice Research Institute, and N. Chinnappan, Executive Director, Dhanalakshmi Srinivasan Sugars, spoke.

Texas Rice Festival Celebrates Harvest

By Katie Maher

WINNIE, TX -- There was something for everyone who attended the 47th annual Texas Rice Festival here late last month as the four-day event offers a myriad of activities including:  educational booths, carnival rides, parades, pageants, craft shows, cooking contests, music performances, local food, and much more.

 Visitors to the Rice Education Tent received recipe brochures, educational information, rice crispy treats, and colored pencils for kids, all provided by USA Rice.  Attendees also had the chance to spin the rice wheel to test their knowledge about U.S.-grown rice.

"My great-grandfather, grandfather, and father were all rice farmers, and my husband, Charlie, and our son, Will, are still farming rice today," said Karen Reneau, Texas Rice Festival volunteer stationed at the Rice Education Tent.  "I'm a retired teacher and elementary school principal, so education is a passion of mine, and the rice festival gives me the opportunity to teach people of all ages about the locally-grown rice - another passion of mine."  

Reneau adds that since her retirement as an educator, she's been helping out on the farm - driving tractors, working at the rice dryers, and in the crawfish fields.  "I guess I'm not retired after all, but I don't really look at the farming work as a job, because I get to work with my family each day."

The festival was created in 1969 to honor rice farming, a major economic contributor to the economy of southeast Texas

Asa Hutchinson to Promote Rice, Poultry on China Trip

by Lance Turner  on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016 11:54 am  
Asa Hutchinson, Mike Preston and Wes Ward. (Lance Turner)
Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Thursday said he will travel to China to meet with existing and prospective business contacts and with government officials about opening the country to Arkansas rice and poultry.
Mike Preston, executive director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, and Mark Hamer, AEDC director of business development for Asia, will accompany the governor on the six-day tour, which will include stops in Shanghai, Beijing, Yanzhou District, Jinan, Jining and Suzhou.
The group leaves Saturday and will return Oct. 21.
Hutchinson said China has barriers to rice and poultry from the U.S. and that he wants to meet directly with government officials about changing that. The country still an avian flu ban on poultry, and an agreement to allow U.S. rice into China has yet to be approved by its government.
Hutchinson's group plans to meet with China's vice minister of agriculture and its secretary general of foreign affairs.
"Not only will be calling on prospective businesses that we hope to recruit to Arkansas over time, but we'll also be meeting with Arkansas businesses there, and also taking the case for Arkansas to the Chinese government," he said.
Hutchinson said the group will meet with Shandong Sun Paper Industry JSC Ltd., which earlier this year announced plans to build a $1.3 billion paper mill that will employ 250 people in Clark County. They will also meet with Arkansas companies that do business in China, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of Bentonville, Tyson Foods Inc. of Springdale and Cobb-Vantress Inc. of Siloam Springs.
Preston said maintaining relationships with companies is important for recruitment and other economic development efforts.
"When you're doing economic development, relationships matter, and this governor has proven that — that building these relationships are imperative to us doing business here in the United States but obviously also overseas," Preston said. "What we learned last time with China is that we have to have a presence there — we continue to have our office in Shanghai — and it's important for myself and the governor to make sure that Arkansas is known over there."
Preston said the state aims to continue momentum generated by the Sun Paper agreement. He said AEDC has seen an uptick in calls from Chinese companies interested in the state, which is giving Arkansas more reason to go and share its story there.Preston said the Chinese are looking for new places to invest."They're looking for markets outside of China to invest in, and they look at the United States as the most stable market in the world in which to invest," he said. "So that tells us that Arkansas has an opportunity to be one of the first states there that can build those relationships to look for investments. So I think that's where you see a company like Sun Paper looking to invest in new markets and looking to the United States."
The trip will cost $45,000, according to the governor's office. It will be the governor's fifth international trade mission since taking office and his second to China. In July, Hutchinson and Preston led a contingent to Europe to explore opportunities in the aerospace and defense industries and open an AEDC office in Berlin. 
In November, the governor traveled to China and Japan. In 2015, he was the first governor to visit Cuba since the country re-established formal diplomatic relations with the United States. The Cuba missions also focused on promoting the state's rice and poultry industries


Sacramento Valley rice farmers push to harvest before fields become mud

Ranch dog "Butch" is ready to get busy during rice harvest at Gorrill Ranch in Nelson, Calif. Wed. Oct. 12, 2013. (Bill Husa -- Enterprise-Record)

PHOTOS: Rice Harvest at Gorrill Ranch 10-12-2016 A

bankout wagon can be seen coming up in the mirror as a combine gets ready to unload during rice harvest at Gorrill Ranch in Nelson on Wednesday. Bill Husa — Enterprise-Record

Nelson >> Rice growers at the Gorrill Ranch were pushing their crews to the limit this week, working into the twilight hours to harvest as much rice as possible before the wet weekend.Four drivers climbed into rice combines Wednesday morning, planning for a long day. The big machines can move faster than the rice will allow. By starting as soon as the morning dew evaporated, the men and their machines had the best chance of covering the most ground.
Ranch manager Daniel Robinson explained that rice is normally harvested at a certain level of moisture content. Because of the predicted rain, the decision was made to harvest the rice on the wet side. This will mean an increased cost for energy to dry the rice kernels. Yet, that’s better than spending the extra time to slog through muddy fields after the rain.“Having our own dryer helps,” with the decision, Robinson said.
Gorrill Ranch is just one farm of the many making the same decisions in the Central Valley.Carl Hoff, president of Butte County Rice Growers Association, BUCRA, said the cooperative has extended business hours to receive rice from members. This week they’ve been open from 8 a.m.-8 p.m., and 9 p.m. Wednesday.Some rice dryers could experience delays with more farmers ready to deposit a load than capacity to process the grain. However, BUCRA expanded recently and has not had to slow down the process, Hoff explained.Similar to the Gorrill Ranch, some farmers are choosing to cut the rice a little on the wet side, knowing it will be more costly to dry.
Most of the rice harvesters in the valley are being worked overtime this week, and Hoff had the numbers to prove it. Last week the cooperative received 120 million pounds of raw rice, he said.
If the rains arrive as predicted, rice fields will soon be a muddy mess. The harvesting machines are heavy to start. Add about 8,000 pounds of rice kernels, you’re really talking deep ruts in wet soil.
If a harvester gets stuck, hauling it back to a gravel road is no easy maneuver. The same goes for the tractors hauling the bankout wagons, where the rice is transferred before being taken to the mill for drying.
The other major setback after rain is rice that flops over. This is called lodging and it’s a big pain for farmers.
Even before the rains, some fields on the Gorrill Ranch included lodging. Ranch manager Robinson said the weather patterns that make rice tip over are an inexact science. Most people who live around open land have watched dust-devils off in the distance. Winds will whip up for no particular reason, and a mini twister of dust will skip across open land.
The invisible factors that make rice flop over are similarly mysterious.
Some might view the toppling of rice stalks as a good sign for a heavy yield.
What is known is that harvesting rice after it has lodged is more work for the farmer.
For starters, the header, at the front of the combine, can get clogged by a heavy stack of wet, matted rice.
On a normal day of rice harvest, when things are running smooth and easy, the rice combines can travel about three miles an hour. If the rice is lodged, the operator travels about 1 mph and probably needs to stop the operation to pull clogged rice straw from the rice header.
Nate Enos was one of half a dozen men ready for a long day at the Gorrill Ranch Wednesday.
The cab of the rice harvester has windows with a great view, almost like a tourist helicopter. The side windows help when it’s time to transfer the rice from the harvester to a bankout wagon, which is hauled by a tractor.
A giant pipe, called an auger, extends from the harvester and over the opening of the wagon. Meanwhile, both vehicles continue to travel across the rice field at the same pace.
When the wagon is full, the driver heads off for the dryer and the rice harvester continues to cut and gather the rice.
As Enos was clipping along, a window behind the driver’s seat showed how much grain had collected in the “hopper.”
For this part of the job, it seems like Enos could have been on autopilot. However, he needed to pay attention in case the rice straw starts to clump. Many times during harvest he’ll jump out and clear the cylindrical stripping mechanism until he is ready to roll again.
The harvesting equipment cuts the rice about five inches from the soil. The kernels are then stripped from the plants. Seed is funneled in one direction and the rice stra  ہے۔“w blows out the back and back into the field.

Later, the straw will be cut again, this time closer to the soil. The straw will be chopped and pressed into the soil before the land is flooded.
Invariably, rice spills onto the fields without being captured in the harvester. The grain, plus bugs in the soil, plus flooded fields, are a big treat for migratory and resident birds in the valley.
The Gorrill Ranch is one of the largest farms in the area, operated by a family board of directors, now in the fourth generation. Yet, even with its size there is not enough equipment to harvest all of the rice before the rain.
Robinson said he plans out the production carefully. Some fields, for example, are closer to the road. His plan includes harvesting this land later in the season. If the rains continue, and he needs to harvest when the soil is muddy, at least the transport trucks can park on solid ground, he said.
This week, many of the fields had already been harvested. Some were being processed before flooding. Others were already wet with water for rice straw decomposition.
Meanwhile, walnut harvest is still underway and pecan harvest will follow.The rain isn’t great for walnuts because the longer they are on the ground the more chances for mold and a darker color, Robinson explained.As for the pecans, these have a very hard shell and the nuts will not be damaged by wet weather. Harvest could be delayed as late as February, if there are weather delays.
For pecans, farmers may use two shakes, one that nets about 80 percent of the nuts earlier in the season, and another shake for the remaining 20 percent.
Contact reporter Heather Hacking at 896-7758.