Monday, October 24, 2016

24th October,2016 daily global,regional and local rice e-newsletter by ricpelus magazine

September rice exports down 29 percent YoY

October 22, 2016
losing rice market due to lack of research and non-availability of new seeds. These factors have resulted in a massive 29 percent decline in rice exports during September 2016. Rice export trade is the second largest foreign exchange earner, ie, some $2 billion annually. However, during last two years, rice export trade is facing severe crisis and exports falling down.

Exporters said current year will also be challenging and rice exports may further decline, if the government fails to take appropriate measures. According to exports statistics released by Rice Exports Association of Pakistan (REAP), Pakistan''s overall rice exports (in terms of quantity), posted a 29 percent decline in September 2016 compared to September 2015. The country exported some 181,350 tons of rice (Basmati and Non-Basmati) during September 2016 against 254,458 tons in September 2015, showing a decline of 72,108 tons. Non-basmati exports stood at 152,735 tons, down 25 percent in September 2016 compared to September 2015.

Commenting on lower exports, Mahmood Moulvi, Chairman of REAP said non-Basmati export''s decline is a matter of concern. "In my opinion a decrease in non-Basmati exports is due to China''s less import of non-Basmati rice due to higher domestic prices. Pakistan rice is costly due to high input cost, overvalued currency and excessive taxes," he added. He said non-Basmati sector might suffer this year on less import by China (Cambodia & Myanmar may emerge as main Chinese supplier). Although, Vietnam and Thailand may not be able to compete with Pakistan, however India is a major threat to Pakistan''s non-Basmati rice exports.

In addition, Basmati rice exports have been facing stiff competition from India. Lack of research and non-availability of new seeds has caused low yields, chairman REAP said. "High input costs have rendered Basmati rice totally uncompetitive against Indian variety. Along with this, Pakistan lost important and lucrative Basmati market of Iran as banks are not willing to accept documents for shipment to Iran," he maintained. India on the other hand kept supplying Basmati rice during the period of sanction against ''Oil for Food'' payments, he added.

Moulvi said REAP has made efforts to strike a barter deal with Iran against electricity funds lying with the government of Pakistan. He requested the State Bank to intervene and instruct commercial banks to accept documents allowing exporters to regain this lucrative and lost market. REAP has always raised its voice for all the stakeholders of rice and particularly for rice growers. Input cost of rice cultivation is very high as compared to our competitor countries. Other countries'' agriculture industries are heavily subsidised by their respective governments, he added.

The chairman REAP said lack of research and new seeds resulting in lower yields which is the main reason behind high input cost. The government should take immediate steps to increase the production of rice by providing farmers with new technologies/hybrid seeds, etc, he maintained.

Duterte wants to revive Marcos' agri, fishing programs

President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday announced that he would revive two of late President Ferdinand Marcos’s agriculture and fishery programs. PPD/King Rodriguez
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday announced that he would revive late President Ferdinand Marcos’ agriculture and fishery programs.Describing Marcos as one of the brightest Filipinos, Duterte said he would revive Masagana 99 and Biyayang Dagat which were implemented during the Marcos dictatorship.“Gusto ko lang kunin yung idea ni Marcos, malayo na ‘yun —  iyong Biyayang Dagat pati Masagana 99. Bright ‘yung tao, alam niya ‘yung [ga]gawin niya ibalik ko ‘yun dahan-dahan ‘pag natanggap kong makuha ko [na budget],” Duterte said during his speech in Tuguegarao City, Cagayan.
Masagana 99 was a program which promoted the planting of Green Revolution varieties of rice developed by the International Rice Research Institute. It increased the production of rice and the country was able to export “bountiful” 99 cavans of rice per hectare, according to previous reports.
On the other hand, Biyayang Dagat is a program for allowing fishermen to loan. Through this project, a study of the Department of Science and Technology revealed that fisherfolk were able to acquire fishing paraphernalia, diversified fishing activities and improved marketing mechanisms and marked capacity to pay for labor. 
Duterte lamented how the two projects were not continued by the previous administrations. He said he ought to revive it using his administration’s budget which prioritizes education, agriculture and health. Sayang lang, nanghinayang ako ‘yung kanyang Masagana 99 at Biyayang Dagat kung iyon dinala ng husto yun, OK na tayo,” Duterte said, explaining that tirades of succeeding administrations to Marcos stopped the programs.
The president  said he intends to revive the true function of the Landbank of the Philippines which was to provide financing for lands. He said it has become commercialized.
He also announced the turnover of millions of pesos worth of rice, free corn and vegetable seeds for Cagayan and its capital Tuguegarao in his speech on Sunday. He led the distribution of relief goods and emergency shelter assistance (ESA) to the families affected by the onslaught of Super Typhoon Lawin that devastated Cagayan last Oct. 19, 2016.
Last February, Duterte expressed admiration for Marcos' agriculture and fishery programs. He mentioned Masagana 99 and Biyayang Dagat as the projects which resulted in the halting of food importation in the country.

Speaking on food, key industry leaders

October 21, 2016, 1:45PM
Specialty Food & Ag Conference Nov. 8
John Grubb, Managing Director, Sterling-Rice Group
With a 30-year career — half of which has been spent in as a consultant and half as a senior marketing executive — Grubb has led the marketing and strategy functions in retail, manufacturing, and food processing companies. At the Sterling-Rice Group, the Yale graduate focuses primarily on identifying strategies clients can extend their brands.
Grant Lundberg, CEO, Lundberg Family Farms
The Sacramento area company can trace its roots back three generations to Albert and Frances Lundberg who pioneered rice growing in the region. That tradition was cared on by their children who in the 1960’s sold their own rice brand instead of combining their product with other suppliers. Today, under grandson Lundberg, the group keeps looking forward, tapping the ability to raise the increasingly popular quinoa locally.
Speaking on Sustainability:
Renaud des Rosiers, Sustainability Manager at Amy’s Kitchen Inc.
Rosiers has been in charge of making sure food production also supports the community and the environment since May. His focus will include how the local organic food pioneering arrying the value of sustainability throughout the company’s operations plus into its supply chain. Sonoma County residents Rachel and Andy Berliner started the natural foods company in 1987, the year their daughter Amy was born. Still independently owned, the company offers 250 different organic products.
Speaking about Preparing for Sale:
Jennifer Bice, Founder and Managing Director, Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery
Located in Sebastopol, Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery produces specialty dairy products under the Redwood Hill Farm goat milk dairy and Green Valley Organics, offering lactose-free cow milk dairy. In 2015, Redwood Hill was acquired by Swiss dairy cooperative Emmi.
Bice will address what has happened since the acquisition, how the company has maintained its culture while planning for succession in the business begun by her parents.
Speaking about Managing Growth:
Melanie Dulbecco, CEO Torani Syrups & Flavors
As the first outside CEO of a 90-year-old firm in more than 20 years, Dulbecco had lead the company to 20 percent growth on average per year. The company refers to itself as a “90-year-old startup.” She will describe the impact of the 2008 recession and “how we navigated to come through to the other side.”
Speaking about Food Safety:
Michelle Zimmerman, Alvarado Street Bakery
As Human Safety and Food Safety manager, she responsible for human and food safety and wellness programs at Alvarado Street Bakery in Petaluma. The Co-Op with 116 employees features certified organic breads which are also non-GMO. Alvarado has been in business for more than 35 years. Zimmerman has worked for the company for 29 years.

A food marketing executive with 30 years of experience at the Sterling-Rice Group plus a CEO whose family’s rice-growing company continues to develop markets for its products headline the North Coast Specialty Food & Ag Conference on Nov. 8 at the Hyatt Vineyard Creek Hotel & Spa in Santa Rosa.
Keynote speakers for the event, co-hosted by the North Bay Business Journal and Bank of America Merrill Lynch, are John Grubb, managing director of the Sterling-Rice Group and Grant Lundberg, CEO, Lundberg Family Farms, which pioneered rice growing in the Sacramento area.
Also speaking will be presenters on how to grow a specialty food business, how to keep it sustainable and meet food safety requirements, as well as how to navigate working with new corporate owners.
“This is a foundational industry to our area. It is a part of who we are,” said Business Journal Publisher Brad Bollinger.
Each speaker will offer their company’s story and their personal insights in a presentation format like that of the popular “Ted Talks.”
Underwriters for the event are BPM and Pisenti&Brinker with corporate sponsorship by Manzana Products.
Registration for the event is 7:30 a.m. The program takes place from 8 to 11:30 a.m. Tickets are $65 per person or $675 for table of 10. Information: or call 707-521-5264

CG serves 2 green colour rice varieties

Cherrupreet Kaur| TNN | Oct 23, 2016, 14:21 IST

RAIPUR: Scientists of Indira Gandhi Krishi Vishwavidyalaya (IGKV) of Raipur are in the process of officially registering unique Tilkasturi and Korma green varieties of rice, discovered by two farmers —Rohit Sahu and Prahlad Sahu — who are based in Durg andDhamtari districts, respectively. Since the rice varieties have been discovered by these farmers, the agricultural university will give them royalty after the varieties get notified and registered by New Delhi-based Protection of Plant Varieties And Farmers' Rights Authority.

As per IGKV scientists, the Tilkasturi and Korma varieties of green colour rice have been sent for testing to the Indian Institute of Rice Research in Hyderabad to test their nutritional content.

Talking to TOI, IGKV's Department of Genetics and Plant Breeding's principal scientist Dr Deepak Sharma said, "These green varieties of rice are rare of the rarest thing, which I have never come across in my entire career. IGKV is in the process of commercialising the products, a


Nigeria: Food Poisoning Looms - Expired Rice Flood Nigerian Markets

By Babalola Yusuf
There are strong indications that expired foreign rice smuggled into the country may have flooded Nigerian markets, LEADERSHIP can report.
The commodity, according to LEADERSHIP investigation are being imported from neighboring Benin Republic into Nigeria.
Nigeria shares major borders with Benin Republic at Seme Border (Lagos), Idiroko (Ogun State), Shaki (Oyo State) and Chikanda (Kwara State).
It was gathered that a larger percentage of rice imported into the Francophone country were meant for sale in Nigeria. The rice has been exposed to poor storage facilities, rain, weevils and other unhygienic forms of storage, thereby making the commodity toxic and not fit for human consumption anymore.
However, the unwholesome commodity is also smuggled into the country through methods that include pouring grains of rice into various crevices of vehicles.
The product are also believed to be conveyed in open wooden canoes across creeks and waterways with large quantity of unhygienic waters splashing on them.
The product are also believed to be conveyed in open wooden canoes across creeks and waterways with large quantity of unhygienic waters splashing on them.
It was gathered that despite the very obvious activities of the Federal Operation Unit (FOU) A, Ikeja to stem smuggling, border commands of Seme, Idiroko, Oyo/Oshun - have not been able to check smuggling of these toxic commodities from getting into Nigeria in large quantities. Recall that FOU A had seized over 29,750 bags of 50kg of smuggled rice with Duty Paid Value of N193m and arrested over 163 suspects from January to September 2016. The same cannot be said of Seme, Idiroko and Oyo/Oshun Command who had the primary responsibility of policing the borders.
LEADERSHIP investigation further showed that the business of rice smuggling is growing and appearing increasingly unabated at the land borders thereby putting Nigeria at risk of consuming the expired rice.
For instance, last week two trucks load of frozen chicken estimated to be over 2062 cartons valued at over N11million were intercepted at Ijebu-Ode enroute Sango, a suburb in Ogun by Comptroller General Compliance team, South West Zone after it had escaped Ogun border Command.
It was reported that articulated vehicles, cars and canoes loaded with rice crossed through the waters and creeks of Badagry and Agbara, Idiroko and Saki to land in Sango, Kuto, Iyana ipaja, Iddo, Badagry, Mile 2, Daleko markets.
Early morning visits to some of these markets showed vehicles in large quantities offloading their smuggled wares.
In the case of Sango market, opposite the Divisional Police Station, LEADERSHIP reporter saw smuggled vehicles used to move the commodities with the connivance of some security operatives, thereby Police causing early morning traffic as they take turns to discharge their smuggled consignments into the Sango market for onward distribution to other parts of Lagos


RICE IMPORTS | Agri org SINAG urges lifting of 'quantitative restrictions'


The online news portal of TV5
MANILA - It's time to lift the quantitative restrictions on the importation of rice, and  
significantly increase public spending in the rice sector toward assuring rice self-sufficiency, according to the Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (SINAG) chaired by Rosendo So.

"On paper," SINAG argues, "the country's rice industry is supposed to enjoy protection from wanton imports under the rice QRs – quantitative restriction. But this remains merely on paper. Our QRs did not curb rice imports; we have been importing more than the required QRs, even not counting smuggled rice, for the past 10 years."

"The QRs has given us, at best, a fabricated sense of protection from the government for the past 20 years," SINAG adds.
Under the QR regime, SINAG reveals, the livestock and poultry industries were also forced to bear the consequences of wholesale technical smuggling starting in 2006 with a reduced tariff, from 40% to 5%, on pork offal, pork fats and mechanically deboned meat (MDM) for chicken. 

As if on cue, smugglers and their cohorts in the bureaucracy found a novel way to smuggle pork meat by simply declaring their imports as pork offal or pork fats. 

"The imposition or non-imposition of QRs are just temporary relief; what we need, ultimately, is a comprehensive government program that would significantly increase public spending in the rice sector.

"Such government program should be anchored on the development of our capacity to produce our staple and food requirements.

"The Philippines has a higher productivity per hectare than Thailand – one of our main sources of rice imports. Yet, we don't export to Thailand – rather it is Thailand exporting to us," said Rosendo So of SINAG.

Thailand has a comparative advantage since it costs less to produce rice there, as the Thai government continues to provide agricultural assistance in the entire supply chain of their local rice industry – from the infrastructure, all the way to pre-production, production, post-production and marketing stage, adds So.

"All major rice exporting and rice self-sufficient countries, including Vietnam, India, South Korea, Japan and the US, continue to support their respective local rice industries. Globally, subsidies have actually increased over the last 20 years."

In South Korea, SINAG discloses, direct payment programs to rice farmers are still being implemented under the Rice Income Compensation Act. For last year alone, some US$ 1.4 billion was allocated by the Korean government under the direct payment programs (area payment and deficiency payment programs) to its rice farmers.

SINAG says a dramatic boost in public support that the Duterte government should provide the rice sector, can include, among others:
  • Supporting rice farmers in the production (price support to farm inputs, seeds, free irrigation, easy access and terms to credits and insurance coverage; post-production (dryers and storage facilities) and marketing stage; 
  • Raising the farmgate support price of palay and, increase procurement by NFA to at least 10 percent of the total palay production;
  • Incentivizing local rice millers to modernize their milling operations and storage facilities.
Contrary to lost perception, So reveals, "our rice production per hectare, at 4.08 tons/ha., is at par with the rest of the region; only Vietnam at 5.8 tons/ha. produces more yield. Thailand is producing only 2.81 tons/ha."

Our problem lies in the:
  • Higher cost of producing rice
  • Decreasing areas planted to rice, and
  • Post-harvest losses due to unavailability of dryers and antiquated rice mills
"The greatest tragedy of our times is the destruction of our capacity to produce our own staples," said So.


SINAG also advocates the following points:

Regulation of rice importation
There is also a need to strengthen and impose tougher measures in the regulation of rice imports – including the proliferation of smuggling and the weeding out of unscrupulous traders and importers who have used farmers' cooperatives as dummies under the private sector rice importation scheme to corner the bulk of rice imports

Though permits are supposedly allocated to farmer cooperatives, the reality is that these permits are being bought (and being recycled) by unscrupulous rice traders or financiers; similar to the schemes already exposed in the series of Senate hearings on the modus of Davidson Bangayan and other consolidators of rice import permits. 

Also, during previous Senate hearings, the majority of our senators and the heads of pertinent government agencies were one in the conclusion that it is more expedient, beneficial and advantageous for the country to have the NFA as the sole importer of rice. 

It is at the period when private traders were allowed to import that rice smuggling flourished (see table above, years 2011, 2012), and importation was more controlled when there were no/limited private sector importation (years 2013, 2014). 

More importantly, as the sole importer of rice; the NFA can also safeguard and guarantee that its mandate of having 15 days buffer stock of rice for the entire country and 17 days in critical areas can be met at any given time.

Global market situation
For a rice-consuming country with an increasing population like the Philippines; rice (food) self-sufficiency remains the only viable option. 

Any discussion on the prospect of the rice industry should look into the relatively thin world rice market and, recently the impacts of extreme weather situation; as major considerations.

Recent studies suggest that rice exports went down by an average -11.8% for exporting countries last year. The value of global rice exports also dipped by -18.4% from the $26 billion worth of exported rice in 2014.

Vietnam, our biggest source of imported rice (smuggled or otherwise) has reduced their exports by at least 100,000 tons. Rice production is not increasing significantly at the global level, and this year, the projection is a decline in global rice production.

Global rice production is pegged at 470 million tons; of these, only 39 million to 42 million tons are tradeable. This means that less than 10% of the rice produced globally is available in the world market.

Global rice trade is thin, compared to about 20% for wheat and 15-20% for corn. This relatively thin market means that rice supply (and rice prices) has tended to be more unstable in recent years.

In 2008, global rice prices soared from US$400/MT to about US$800 to US$ 948/MT when rice exporting countries imposed temporary export bans/restrictions and prompted panic buying of rice importing countries, including the Philippines.

The 2008 rice price crisis should already be a wake-up to us all on the vulnerability of the global rice market.

Extreme Weather Situations
According to the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), the vast majority of climate change impacts and the overall impact of climate change on rice production are likely to be negative.

One of the major impacts of climate change is rising-sea levels, making rice production in coastal and low-lying areas more vulnerable. More than half of Vietnam's rice production is in the Mekong River delta, a region which will be most affected by sea-level rise. Vietnam is our main source of imported rice.

Further studies suggest that about 20 million hectares of the world's rice-growing area is at risk of occasionally being flooded to submergence level, in particular in countries like India – another major source of our rice imports. The average yield reduction in drought-prone areas is ranging from 17% to 40%.

1. Promoting rice self-sufficiency and a significant increase in public spending is the only option viable of the local rice industry given the relatively thin global rice market and the onset of extreme weather situations as the new norm; 

2. Lift rice QRs, and impose the maximum possible tariff line to rice – at the current international price of rice, the tariff should be at least 50%; and re-impose to 40% the tariff on pork offal, pork fats and chicken MDMs; 

In 2014, South Korea decided to lift its QR on rice and; instead established a 513% tariff on all rice imports and further tightened its control over rice imports through its public trading enterprise (similar to NFA). South Korea imposed the tariff despite the protestations from the US, Australia, Vietnam, China and Thailand.

South Korea maintains that the 513% tariff line is justified given their calculation of the actual difference of domestic and import prices of rice for the years 1986 to 1988.

3. Lift rice QR and the revenue generated from rice import tariffs should exclusively be allocated in implementing  a comprehensive government program across the whole supply chain of the rice industry that will re-develop our capacity to produce our own staple and food requirements.

4. Lift rice QR, and fully implement recently passed laws that would strengthen anti-smuggling efforts and regulations governing our quarantine and food safety regulations/sanitary and phytosanitary measures (i.e. RA 10611 or the Food Safety Act of 2013 and RA 10845 or the Anti Agricultural Smuggling Act of 2016).

5. Lift rice QR and institute special safeguard (SSG) mechanisms that will protect the local rice industry against import dumping, import surges and global price discrimination.

The WTO has recognized the sovereign rights of governments to impose import bans and restrictions, including unilaterally imposing higher tariffs, in the face of economic and social crises caused by import surges or import dumping. 

a. Indonesia is imposing a complete ban on rice imports at certain periods of the year - before, during and after the main harvesting season. Last year, Indonesia also imposed a wide-ranging import restriction on apples, grapes, potatoes, beef and poultry. 

b. The near ten-fold increase in poultry imports from 2001 to 2002 moved the Cameroon government to increase tariffs on poultry from below 25 percent to 42 percent and subsequently imposed a quantitative restriction of 5,000 MT for poultry by 2005

c. As a result of the sugar import surge between 2000 to 2001, Kenya has raised the tariff for sugar at 125%, from the original 25% 

d. Chile has been supporting its agriculture with the use of price bands on selected commodities, namely wheat, vegetables oils and fats, and sugar, which occasionally exceed its WTO bound rates. 

6. Impose stringent measures in the accreditation, monitoring and issuance of import permits of rice importers; strengthen the regulatory function of the National Food Authority (NFA) as the sole importer of rice.

Agri group: Import cap on rice failed to protect Philippines’ farmers

Philippine Daily Inquirer / 01:44 AM October 24, 2016
Farmer groups and agribusiness operators are in favor of letting the import restriction on rice lapse by mid-2017, saying this has been useless in curbing the influx of grains from abroad anyway.
The Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (Sinag) said protection of the domestic rice industry remained only on paper as the Philippines has been importing more than the minimum volume the country had committed to under a World Trade Organization (WTO) mechanism.
Under the quantitative restriction (QR) mechanism of the WTO, a country is allowed to limit the volume of required imports instead of a total ban on importation.
Based on the current QR, the Philippines could limit importation to 805,200 tons yearly through private traders. However, this does not include government-to-government importation done through the National Food Authority (NFA).
For the Philippines, this option will lapse on June 30, 2017. The country was able to extend a waiver on the QR’s conclusion several times before, and government officials are at odds on whether to initiate negotiations for yet another waiver.
Two more years
Majority of the country’s economic managers want to allow free trade and thus let the QR lapse while the Department of Agriculture wants to try for an extension of at least two years more.
“Promoting rice self-sufficiency and a significant increase in public spending is the only option viable of the local rice industry given the relatively thin global rice market and the onset of extreme weather situations as the new norm,” Sinag chair Rosendo So said.
With the QR lifted, So said the government should impose the “maximum possible tariff” rate on imported rice.

South Korea experience
He said that at the current international price of rice, the tariff should be at least 50 percent.
“In 2014, South Korea decided to lift its QR on rice and instead established a 513-percent tariff on all rice imports and further tightened its control over rice imports through its public trading enterprise similar to NFA,” he said.
He added special safeguard (SSG) mechanisms also needed to be implemented against import dumping, import surges and global price discrimination.
“The government should impose stringent measures in the accreditation, monitoring and issuance of import permits of rice importers; and strengthen the regulatory function of the National Food Authority (NFA) as the sole importer of rice,” he said.

CG serves 2 green colour rice varieties

Sun,23 Oct 2016
RAIPUR: Scientists of Indira Gandhi Krishi Vishwavidyalaya (IGKV) of Raipur are in the process of officially registering unique Tilkasturi and Korma green varieties of rice, discovered by two farmers — Rohit Sahu and Prahlad Sahu — who are based in Durg and Dhamtari districts, respectively. Since the rice varieties have been discovered by these farmers, the agricultural university will give them royalty after the varieties get notified and registered by New Delhi-based Protection of Plant Varieties And Farmers' Rights Authority.As per IGKV scientists, the Tilkasturi and Korma varieties of green colour rice have been sent for testing to the Indian Institute of Rice Research in Hyderabad to test their nutritional content.Talking to TOI, IGKV's Department of Genetics and Plant Breeding's principal scientist Dr Deepak Sharma said, "These green varieties of rice are rare of the rarest thing, which I have never come across in my entire career. IGKV is in the process of commercialising the products, as it will bring fame to the farmers of Chhattisgarh . 

These rice varieties are soft in quality and highly aromatic while the husk is also very thin. After being cooked, the natural green colour and aroma will appeal to rice eaters."The farmer Prahlad, who has been growing this variety since 15 years, said, "Korma variety should be kept unpolished. Only then will it retain its natural colour.


CBN to fund rice milling plant for Coscharis farm

By Chijioke Nelson   |   24 October 2016   |   12:38 am

Maduka tasks govt on entrepreneurial challenges

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said it will fund the rice milling plant for the 2000-hectare Coscharis Farm located at Anaku, in Anambra State, to ensure that the product is made available to consumers.
Besides, the apex bank has reassured that it’s ready to support any entrepreneurial initiative aimed at liberating the country from the stronghold of endless importation of items that can be made locally.
CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, who made the remarks during the tour of the rice farm, expressed pleasure for switch to agriculture by a company he described as being in the business of machines, spare parts, and car importation for decades.

“We started this with him, about two years ago when we granted him a N2 billion Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme (CACS). With his own resources, he added to it and that is why he is where he is today.
“We have naira, and we would lend to people so that we can grow our food and feed our people. Forecast has it that by 2050, Nigeria would have the third largest population in the world. So, we need to begin to prepare for that day. Nobody is going to prepare for us and we must be able to feed our people,” the governor said.
He reiterated that there is no foreign exchange to import food, especially when we can produce those items in the country.
The Managing Director of the farm, Dr. Cosmas Maduka, however, urged government to urgently respond to entrepreneurial challenges besetting the development and growth of businesses in the country.
Maduka said that beside the foreign exchange challenges, many other issues relating to the growth of private initiatives are left unattended, even at ministry level.
He said that the farm will provide full time employment for about 3000 people, as well as drive ancillary industrial growth in the state when all the phases of the investment are complete.
He said the farm phase of the business currently employs over 250 people, adding that the rice mill and irrigation components of the investment for which the CBN has given approval in principle to finance, will significantly enhance the capacity of the business to create more jobs and boost economic activities.
The Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh, noted that the response of enterprising Nigerians towards food production is now inspiring great confidence in our country.
“I think Nigeria’s independence is just beginning to be established and unless a country feeds itself, every other dream can’t be fulfilled. This is amazing and I have seen similar things in Kebbi State. I am very proud of Coscharis and the effort the governor is making to support him.
“I am also proud of the role the CBN is playing because they are giving a lot of credit support, even allocating the scarce foreign exchange that we have to a critical sector like agriculture.
“The rice sector alone will take up to two million people before we began to satisfy our needs of eight million tonnes. This is heavily mechanised, the smaller farmers don’t have all these machinery but they contribute immensely.
“Millers are there. The marketers, the transporters, the distributors, all of them will be part of this business, just for rice. We have not even talked about cassava, maize, sorghum, millets, beans, yams so the future is huge, the jobs are there. So, the time is coming when Nigerians don’t need to cross the desert to go and suffer in Europe,” he said.

Climate change puts agriculture on the hot seat

by  - 
In Photo: Climate-smart agriculture in action in the Himalayas. N.Palmer/
AGRICULTURE is on the hot seat due to climate change, even as the agricultural development agenda undergo a major shift because of the significant reduction in food production and global food insecurity.
Agricultural scientists, economic experts, academics and civilized societies agree that “a dramatic increase in efforts and investment is required to transition from vulnerable nonsustainable systems to sustainable agriculture.”  In order to achieve food security, reduce poverty, safeguard and restore ecological systems, the all-embracing concept of climate-smart agriculture (CSA) may yet save the day for the projected 9 billion world population by 2050. By then, according to United Nations (UN) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates made in 2009, crop yields will need to increase by 70 percent.
UN defines CSA as “agriculture that sustainably increases productivity, enhances resilience [adaptation], reduces/removes greenhouse gases [mitigation], where possible, and enhances the achievement of national food security and development goals.”
“Based on this definition, the bottom line is how countries look at their national interest and operationalize CSA in their respective countries,” said Dr. Leo Sebastian, Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security-Southeast Asia (CCAFS-SEA) regional program leader of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).

Pros and cons abound in any science-based agricultural techniques, including CSA. For one, social movements across the globe blasted it as a mere a project of agro-industry that will actually worsen climate change by failing to address such issues as governance, land uses and agricultural research.
Critics also fear that CSA is a “Trojan horse” set to marginalize smallholder farmers, journalist-author Fred Pearce writes in When the Rivers Run Dry: “They [critics] believe the arrival of carbon markets, brokers and traders in the fields of Africa can do nothing but harm.”
By dictionary definition, carbon market is any market in which carbon-emission allowances trading takes place. For example, companies are given a certain quota or permit to pollute a certain amount of carbon dioxide. These companies can sell their spare permits to other companies who wish to pollute more than their allowable limit.
In fact, talks have started among Brussels, China, South Korea and California (where carbon markets are in various state of development) about possible collaboration, although this move sparked a rally in European Union against carbon permits.
On the other hand, other critics fear that the high cost of employing consultants to monitor carbon uptake of farm soils will make it impossible for small farmers to earn income from the sale of the carbon absorbed by their soils. Only large landowners are able to reduce carbon market-transaction costs resulting in a new phase of land-grabbing called “soil grabbing.”
Gina Castillo, agriculture program manager at Oxfam America and a steering committee member of the African CSA Alliance, fears that farmers may be left out of any climate-adaptation efforts. Thus, former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan warns: “These efforts must have at their heart smallholder farmers. Without their participation we will fail.”
Concerns were, likewise, aired about CSA prioritizing mitigation and carbon sequestration in soils over food security and adaptation to climate change. Devlin Kuyek, a researcher for Grain, a small international nonprofit organization that supports small farmers and social movements that struggle for community-controlled and biodiversity-based food systems in Africa, Asia and Latin America, called CSA a “meaningless label…meant to conceal the social, political and environmental implications of the different technology choices.”
“I do not want to be refuting other people’s analysis, opinions, perspectives, prejudices or biases on CSA. I think that’s for them to explain their position. For me, what matters most is what is really happening on the ground. What people are doing, not what they are arguing about,” Sebastian said.
“Climate change will impact on all of us. As such, inclusive and concerted efforts will be needed whether you are a big corporate entity or a small-holder farm. The big challenge is how we can bring everybody to start working and addressing the challenge.
“We cannot afford to make the issue of climate change an ideological debate. The sooner we can work together and start assuming responsibilities without antagonizing each other, the better it will be for our world. I think that the CSA approach and the Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture are big strides toward that,” he said.
Sebastian, a former executive director of the Philippine Rice Research Institute, pointed out: “In the case of the Philippines, are we going to focus on addressing the interest of our smallholder farmers or the big corporate farms? For countries, where CCAFS has been working, like in Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia and Lao PDR, the focus is very clear—CSA is for smallholder farmers, how we can improve their resilience to climate change, sustainably increase their productivity and contribute to green agriculture.”
Over at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in Los BaƱos, Laguna, scientists point out that “environmental stresses constrain rice production, affecting about 30 percent of the 700 million poor in Asia alone who live in rain-fed rice-growing areas. These stresses can be caused by extreme climatic changes, like drought, flooding or rising sea levels, while some can be inherent, like high-iron toxicity in the soil. Our breeding programs aim to develop rice types that can survive in these harsh environments.”
Dr. Bruce Tolentino, IRRI deputy director general for communication and partnerships, said: “When we at IRRI speak about CSA, we refer to the rice varieties developed that better tolerate drought, salinity, heat and flooding, and the tools that enable farmers to save water, reduce carbon emissions and plant on less-favorable soils.”
Surprisingly, funding for rice research comes mostly from western countries. As climate change threatens resource security and availability, IRRI scientists say, investment into research and development cannot be ignored.
IRRI Director General Matthew Morell revealed that over 95 percent of funding for rice research from 2010 to 2015 came from the West. Governments of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations “should seize the opportunity to drive the next Green Revolution and secure its own future food needs by increasing funding support for agriculture R&D [research and development],” Morell said.
On the whole, scientists from six research institutions—Wageningen University  Research University of California Davis, French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development, UN FAO, CGIAR CCAFS and Council for Scientific and Industrial Research— said “CSA is a way to achieve short- and long-term agricultural development priorities in the face of climate change and serve as an integrator to other development priorities.”
CSA needs support from countries in “securing the necessary policy, technical and financial conditions to enable them to sustainably increase agricultural productivity and incomes, build resilience and the capacity of agricultural and food systems to adapt to climate change and seek opportunities to reduce and remove greenhouse gases while meeting their national food security.”
At the same time, more knowledge is needed about CSA, while continuous interaction between science, policy-makers and farmers essential not only to align research and decision-makers, but also to improve the efficiency of investments to successfully confront climate change.