Friday, November 25, 2016

Gulf Coast deluge shortens 2017 hybrid rice seed supplies

Nov 22, 2016Forrest Laws | Delta Farm Press
You can add one more victim to the rains and flooding that caused deaths and hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage along the Gulf Coast in late August – 2017 supplies of hybrid rice seed.The storm cell that stalled over south Louisiana the weekend of Aug. 13-14 and dumped as much as 31 inches of rain in places like Livingston Parish destroyed or damaged thousands of acres of rice across the coastal region.
But the adverse weather conditions didn’t stop there. It continued to rain off-and-on for three weeks, resulting in increased disease and other yield-reducing problems for RiceTec Inc.’s hybrid rice seed production, which is concentrated in an area along the Gulf Coast east and west of Houston.
“We had two things – 1) problems with planting and tough conditions for the second half of our crop and 2) high minimum temperatures during pollination – that took the edge off our yields early on,” said Mike Gumina, RiceTec
“But the real hammer came during harvest. The first half of the crop we planted came out as we would have expected – good yields and right on target. Then we got hit with the big rainstorm pattern that inundated Baton Rouge, and we became stuck in a three-week period where we just could not get in and harvest.”

Two floods hit rice crop

The three weeks of rain took their toll on the later seed rice, which could have been ready for harvest if RiceTec had been able to plant it in a timely manner.
“The first half of our seed production for the 2017 season went into the ground fine and on schedule and established a good stand,” he said. “Then there was a rainy period. If you look at the weather reports in the places where we plant, which is the area around Houston, we had record rainfall in late April and early May.
“That forced us into a situation where we had to scramble to get the second half of our crop in the ground. We didn’t establish quite the vigorous stand we would like, and we went in under tougher conditions than we would have preferred. But we did manage to get the crop in.”
The high temperatures that occurred in much of the southern Rice Belt weren’t quite “as off the chart as the high-low temperatures,” said Gumina. “So that high low with the high minimum temperatures we think really influenced pollination year and took the edge off our yields.”
Gumina, who worked for DuPont Pioneer before joining RiceTec in 2014, said growing hybrid seed rice can be challenging in the best of circumstances.

Highly complex process

“I spent 34 years with Pioneer Hi-Bred International, and during that time I was responsible for global production,” he said. “I worked with all kinds of crops all over the world, including hybrid rice. But with all that experience with all those crops I would tell you production of hybrid rice is extremely complex.”
For openers, rice is a self-pollinating plant that scientists are trying to turn into a cross-pollinated plant to produce hybrid seed rice. The second complicating factor is that rice is an extremely adaptable species.
“When we deal with corn or sorghum in a cross-pollinated situation, normally we only think about heat and how the plant reacts to an accumulation of heat units,” he noted. “Rice does that as well, but on top of it rice responds to stress, to day-length; in other words, it’s photo-period sensitive, and to light intensity; that is to cloudy or sunny days.
“The plant will adjust its flowering schedule based off that whole complex of environments it’s up against so finding a way create a good cross-pollination with this species that is so fungible is not exactly easy.”
That’s what RiceTec’s scientists are up against when they try to make the crosses needed for hybrid rice. “But what I would tell you is I’m super-impressed with the people here at RiceTec,” he says. “They have developed the methodologies, the management practices and the knowledge base that allows them to be quite successful.

‘Hard thing to do’

“When I compare this to my knowledge of other companies that have tried to do the same thing, they’re really world class. So I just wanted to set up the conversation based off those realities. It’s a really hard thing to do, and we have good people trying to do it.”
Back on this year’s seed production, Gumina said the three weeks of rainy weather in August caused the worst of all worlds for a rice producer.
“The crop was ready to be harvested and what happened was we got a big bloom of disease and the stuff started to sprout in the panicle when it kept raining,” he said. “By the time we got into that part of our season we really suffered a major loss of viable seed coming out of that last half of our production.”
“All in all, we’re going to be well short of demand – there’s just no doubt about that,” he said.
RiceTec is now going “customer to customer” and talking to them about how much hybrid rice seed they can supply each of them in 2017. He declined to put an estimate on how much supplies will be down because it varies from hybrid to hybrid and from region to region.
“We also had a bit of a short crop in 2015,” he said. “While our mainstream products came out pretty good, we ended up a bit short on some of our new materials, such as XL760 and Gemini, and some of our old materials, such as XL723 and Clearfield XL729. So we started off with a little bit less inventory than what we had planned to produce in 2015 for 2016.

300,000 additional acres

“On top of that we had planned that total production in 2016 would be about 2.1 million acres of long grain rice,” Gumina noted, “And it ended up being closer to 2.4 million acres. So that put us in a sold-out position in 2016 and basically left us with no carryover supply to buffer this kind of shortfall. We came into the 2017 campaign with no inventory at all.”
Now that the 2016 harvest is complete, RiceTec is trying to deliver the highest germination seed possible to its customers. 
“We did install a new process this year that uses a unique technology that allows us to better set our equipment; to sort out the good seed from the damaged seed; and that’s really paying dividends for us this year,” Gumina said. (The technology allows inspectors to “see” inside the rice hull and determine if the seed is viable.)
“But I would say this is a situation where nobody is happy – our owners aren’t happy, our employees are not happy, our distribution channels are not happy and, most importantly, some of our customers are disappointed, and we take that quite seriously.”
RiceTec is already looking at ways to prevent a recurrence of the situation by expanding its seed production into the Louisiana coastal area. (RiceTec cannot produce hybrid rice in areas much further south or much further north than the Gulf Coast where most of its hybrid seed is grown.)
Company executives are also continuing efforts to broaden the available supplies by lowering the barriers to imported seed rice. That includes a pilot program involving hybrid rice being grown in South America.
“These restrictions have been in place for a number of years, and we know there are concerns about introducing diseases and other problems in seed rice,” says Gumina. “We’re working to show we can do this by addressing those concerns

Revealed, how carbs can help you fight off dementia and keep your brain healthy

It should come as no surprise that Japanese people live longer and are less likely to get dementia.But it may be down to the high levels of refined carbohydrates in their diet, according to ageing expert Professor Preston Estep, author of The Mindspan Diet. But here identifies what you should be eating to keep your brain as healthy as possible in a piece for Healthista.  
However, before you run to the supermarket in joy stacking your trolley with white bread and iced buns, there are some things to remember about the best carbs. 
Professor Preston Estep, author of The Mindspan Diet, identifies what carbs you should be eating to keep your brain as healthy as possible - but don't rush to buy white bread
One primary thing that separates 'good' carbs from 'bad' is the length of time between when the carb is eaten and when it reaches the peak level in the bloodstream. The faster this is, the more dramatic the effect (usually bad) this carb has on your body.
This is measured through the glycaemic index (GI) - a score of blood sugar level, and foods are ranked based on how they compare to a reference food. A food with high GI raises blood glucose levels more than a food with medium or low GI. 
Low iron and glycemic index (GI) refined carbs can delay the spike of glucose in the blood-stream that triggers insulin
Eating even moderate amounts of high GI food can have consequences of rapid spike of glucose in the blood-stream that triggers the release of the hormone insulin. Insulin unlocks and opens doorways into cells so they can absorb glucose. 


The Japanese, French, and Italians' traditional cuisine couldn't be more different. The Japanese love their green tea, the French their cheese, and the Italians their focaccia bread. 
But they share some diet trains too, such as:
·         Less red meat and added sugar
·         Less liquid milk
·         More beans and legumes
·         Varied fat consumption
·         Alcohol only with meals
·         A lot of refined carbs
In Japan refined white rice is the base of meals, and some brown rice. 
In other Mediterranean countries, they eat many kinds of breads and pastas with almost every meal – and most are made with refined wheat flour. 
Overall, the Mindspan Elite, says Professor Estep get over 50 per cent of their daily food energy from refined starches and oils, sources that are widely considered to be nearly 'empty' calories. 
However, their obesity levels are much lower, with just five per cent in Japan, compared to 40 per cent in the US.
When glucose is rapidly taken in by the cells, this leads to feeling famished and fatigued, and leave you craving sugar. 
When this frequently happens over time, your regulatory system can become exhausted and this can lead to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
A lot of common refined carbs have high GIs, so diet gurus often recommend whole grain foods, despite these having an even higher typical GI. 
All this confusion leads to people ending up tossing carbs aside all together, forgetting that pasta and common varieties of rice have lower GIs than whole grain foods.
In the US, about half of dietary iron is obtained through 'iron-fortified' grain products. Iron fortification began in the early 1940s, with the best of intentions, and its these countries where the largest studies of vegetarian diets have been.It has undermined the benefits of vegetarian diets in people who eat typical amounts of refined grain foods, and therefore has greatly perverted deductions about disease risk and mortality in vegetarians.
Grains have received a negative response, because most of the products in the US are iron-enriched fast carbs. American rice is not the same as the Japanese, Professor Estep explains.US pasta is not the same as the Riviera regions, and wheat is processed mostly into breads and breakfast cereals overloaded with iron. About 30 per cent of wheat flour worldwide is fortified.
A lot of people think carbs cause diabetes, but iron is a bigger risk factor for the development of the deadly condition
A lot of people think carbs cause diabetes, but iron is a bigger risk factor for the development of diabetes and triggers an even greater insulin release than high GI carbs, says Professor Estep. Insulin response – that's the rate that your blood sugar rises when you eat – for red meat is almost double that of fish and more than double that of pasta.So excess iron is the hidden risk for diabetes in your diet, not good carbs or gluten.
What's more, he explains, iron deficiency poses no clear health risk to adults.The problem isn't just with adults. Most infant formulas contain up to ten times more iron than found in breast milk, which explains why formula-fed babies have significantly higher body iron stores and suffer more sudden infant death syndrome.When buying rice, the typical range of iron in non-enriched rice is zero to two per cent of the daily value in 150 calories, compared to iron-enriched rice, which tends to have a value of six to eight per cent.
'Gluten free' is the current diet trend to avoid bloating, joint pain, weight gain, and even some people suggest Alzheimer's
Gluten is a serious problem for just one per cent of people who have ceoliac disease, which causes potentially life-threatening intestinal damage. 'Gluten free' is the current diet trend to avoid bloating, joint pain, weight gain, and even some people suggest Alzheimer's. But iron is a proven driver of gut inflammation, infection, and even cancer. 
If you're living in a country that enriches more wheat with iron, it's not surprising eliminating these products from your diet makes your gut feel better.But try eating wheat products free of enriched iron and you might feel better too, says Professor Estep.
The problem with those who think they have a gluten sensitivity, is they go to look for wheat alternatives, which often have GI scores far higher than standard semolina wheat pasta.
Many types of intact white rice have much lower GIs than foods made of whole grain flours, such as basmati rice
Leaders in mainstream nutrition credit longevity benefits of Mediterranean cuisines to whole grains, but until the past few years, many inhabitants there had rarely seen whole wheat pasta, and it is still rare. 
Similarly, most of the rice Japanese eat is white, and in Okinawa, they traded their sweet potato staple, which supposedly anchors their cuisine, over sixty years ago.
The primary difference between most whole grain foods and refined grain foods, is that whole grain foods retain more of the fibrous bran and germ, says Professor Estep. 
But most commercial whole grain foods are made of flours ground so small that most potential health benefits are lost, and the remainder are questionable. 
In contrast, a grain like white rice isn't a whole grain, as its outer bran and germ have been removed, and consist of the intact starchy 'endosperm', which remains dense. 
Many types of intact white rice have much lower GIs than foods made of whole grain flours, such as basmati rice.
Are whole grain foods better or worse for health than the refined grains? We don't know, but we do know the mindspan leaders of the world eat the latter.
This article originally appeared and has been reproduced with the permission of Healthista
Choose low-GI rice and pasta. Your choices depend on your level of activity and other foods in the meal, but a GI below 55 is best and above 75 is bad. The best choices of rice are parboiled long-grain rice, basmati white rice, parboiled medium-amylose rice (thai jasmine), long-grain brown rice, wheat pasta (semolina), and cous cous (semolina).Pasta should be al dente, and best cooked and refrigerated for the next few days. The cycles of heating and cooling promote the formation of digestion-resistant starch. Don't eat more than 200 grams of cooked pasta per person as a serving size.

Use semolina flour, whole wheat flour, or white, unbleached, non-enriched (with iron) flour as this is lowest GI.
Rustic, dense, and chewy sourdough breads. Cook breads from scratch if you can, such as a basic sourdough semolina bread, pumpkin semolina bread, or basic focaccia, all using flour that is not enriched with iron.
Refined barley is like white rice but has much more fibre. Barley has the lowest GI of grains, and takes about 40 minutes to cook.

Oats shouldn't be eaten more than three times a week, and should be mixed with a majority of rice, as oats have a high content of polyunsaturated fatty acids and iron. Even better, replace your oatmeal with pearled barley or a barley and rice mix.Sweet potatoes, beans, lentils, peas, chickpeas, and hummus are excellent sources of carbs so eat them often.

The Ebonyi Government is to enforce its ban on the sale of foreign rice in markets and other outlets in the State.

Gov. David Umahi made the disclosure when participants of the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Senior Course 39, Jaji, visited him in Abakaliki on Monday. Your health is very important, don't joke with it. Click here to stay up to date with health trends.

According to the governor, the order would soon be enforced to ensure that the residents patronised home-grown Ebonyi Rice.“I will personally lead a task-force, consisting of the State Executive Council members to various markets and enforce the order. Individuals who are selling the produce will provide certification of its quality because most of the rice brought into the state is not parboiled.“Any rice that is not parboiled after six months turns to chaff as most of them brought into the country stay for about 10 years before being imported.“The rice then becomes poisonous and we have banned cooking of non-Ebonyi rice inside the state’s Government House, hotels and public functions.

“The Ebonyi rice still presents its unique taste even when cooked without meat and we will give you some quantities for attestation,” he said.
The governor remarked that the state had three functional rice mills and would inaugurate mills in the 13 Local Government Areas of the state before the end of 2017.“When we conclude the inauguration, we will consult our stakeholders who show zeal and commitment but may not have money to purchase the mills.“We will then aggregate and sell the mills to them with government maintaining about 20 per cent minimum equity shares and the stakeholders-80 per cent.“This is the type of Public Private Partnership (PPP) we will be engaging, in line with the theme of your study-`tour of the state’,” he said.
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Rice traders turn to sea export after border conflict

The truck line in Muse. (Photo-Sai Nay Htun)
After trade at Muse halted due to ongoing armed conflicts between government forces and armed rebels, traders seek to export rice via sea, reports say.80 per cent of Myanmar’s rice is exported to China.Aung Myint, secretary of the Myanmar Rice Traders Association, said: “We have to use sea lanes to export new rice harvest.”Chinese authorities have confiscated the rice imported from Myanmar through the border due to government restrictions on Myanmar imports.The Chinese government allows imports up to a limit. Efforts are underway to get the quota increased to 400,000 tonnes.
China allowed Myanmar to export 100,000 tonnes of rice over a year ago, but the country managed to export only 70,000 tonnes.“We have been relying on sea exports for a while since Chinese authorities were seizing Myanmar rice on the border. The Muse trade was active briefly and the rice prices went up a bit until the recent confrontations there,” said Aung Myint.Between April and October 14, the country earned more than US$ 145 million on rice exports to 33 countries.

China agrees to import rice from 17 mills in India

BEIJING: In a major breakthrough that New Delhi had been waiting for, China has agreed to import rice, non-basmati and basmati varieties, from 17 registered mills in India, following efforts to ensure market access for Indian products in that country. India had repeatedly sought market access for items including non-basmati rice, pharmaceuticals and many fruits and vegetables among others, citing the country’s widening goods trade deficit with China. India’s goods trade deficit with China has ballooned from $1.1 billion in 2003-04 to $52.7 billion in 2015-16.
China is the world’s largest rice importer. However, Beijing had so far not granted market access to India’s non-basmati rice claiming that the item had failed to meet Chinese norms on quality, health and safety. Its apprehensions included the possibility of the Khapra beetle (or cabinet beetle) pest getting transported along with Indian non-basmati rice consignments to China.Official sources said after numerous requests from the Indian side, Chinese officials visited India in September to inspect 19 rice mills registered with the National Plant Protection Organization (NPPO). These mills are in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. To export to nations including China, it is mandatory that Indian rice exporters are registered with NPPO, the Indian government agency for inspecting the mills and granting certificates on plant health for export purposes. The NPPO assisted its Chinese counterpart AQSIQ during the inspection for pest-risk analysis and plant quarantine purposes to ensure that the non-basmati consignments from India will be pest-free, safe and of good quality.

The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) under the Indian Commerce Ministry was also involved in the process. India had earlier sent the information sought by AQSIQ regarding the quality protocol and standard operating procedures, the sources said. They said the Indian embassy in Beijing informed the Commerce Ministry that Chinese authorities, last week, cleared 17 of these 19 mills for rice exports to China. The Commerce Ministry has forwarded the list to APEDA and asked it to inform rice exporters to soon find customers in China.

Rice conditions in PH ‘favorable’

Philippine Daily Inquirer / 02:15 AM November 24, 2016
Viet Nam News PHOTO
A continual growth of Philippine agricultural output appears likely as the United Nations’ monitoring shows that conditions for growing rice remained favorable in the country.According to the Agricultural Market Information System (Amis), the forecast volume of global output for 2016 was pegged at 498 million tons or 6 million tons better than in the previous year.“Rice conditions for Southeast Asia are generally favorable, most notably in India, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand,” the UN-supervised Amis said.
The Amis also noted that “(i)n the Philippines, wet season rice planted in July-August (went through) favorable conditions due to average to above-average rainfall.”Also, rice prospects are bolstered as the threat of an occurrence of La Niña, which brings destructive amounts of rainfall in the Philippines, was expected to go away completely in early 2017.“Borderline-neutral La Niña conditions in the equatorial Pacific Ocean are expected to persist through the end of 2016 and into early 2017, thereafter transitioning to a fully neutral state,” the Amis said.
A neutral state refers to a climate situation where there is neither an occurrence of La Niña nor El Niño, which brings below-average rainfall to the Philippines.
Earlier this month, the Philippine Statistics Authority reported a 3-percent year-on-year increase in the volume of agricultural output in the country during the third quarter of the year.The third-quarter performance followed a 2.3-percent year-on-year decrease in the second quarter, which was blamed on the lingering effects of the recent El Niño.According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, global food import prices were expected to fall to a six-year low as prices of staple grains remain “low and stable.

Rice Prices

as on : 24-11-2016 02:09:44 PM
Arrivals in tonnes;prices in Rs/quintal in domestic market.
North Lakhimpur(ASM)
Bankura Sadar(WB)
Tamluk (Medinipur E)(WB)

Prevented Planting Update Good for Rice 

WASHINGTON, DC - Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Risk Management Agency (RMA) announced changes to the agency's prevented planting rules.  Among the changes, RMA included updated factors for prevented planting coverage for a number of crops, including rice.   Prevented planting coverage provides farmers with protection if they are unable to plant an insured crop due to adverse weather conditions.  Prevented planting coverage is a useful risk management tool for rice farmers due to the wide variability of precipitation and water availability in rice producing areas.  Prevented planting indemnities help growers by covering a portion of those pre-planting costs generally incurred in preparation for planting the crop. Such as fertilizer, actions taken to ready the field, pesticide, labor, and repairs. The prevented planting factor, which RMA updated, is a percentage of the individual insurance guarantee and varies by crop, and is based on an estimate of pre-planting costs.

Among the changes is a positive change from a rice farmer's perspective.  Currently, if rice acreage is prevented from planting the guarantee under insurance is equal to 45 percent of the normal indemnity to account for fewer input costs.  However, under yesterday's announcement, beginning with the 2017 crop year, the rice prevent planting guarantee will actually increase to 55 percent of the normal indemnity.  This change is to ensure that rice farmers are more properly indemnified for losses associated with a prevent planting situation.  

"We are still absorbing all of the changes but this particular change is positive for rice and worth highlighting," said Ben Mosely USA Rice vice president of government affairs.  Mosely said the updates were required to address the recommendations in an Office of the Inspector General's 2013 report: RMA Controls Over Prevented Planting.  That report led to RMA commissioning a third-party evaluation of prevented planting coverage, which provided recommendations for determining prevented planting factors. 

"USA Rice submitted comments on the recommendations last year supporting more accurately quantifying rice's coverage factors," Mosely said.  "We're pleased with the update."

TRT World Rice Conference - Report from Thailand 

CHIANG MAI, THAILAND -- More than 500 delegates attended the two-day World Rice Conference hosted by The Rice Trader (TRT) here last week that featured speakers representing the major rice exporting and consuming markets in the world.  

The conference highlighted the global rice situation and outlook.  In India, a currency crisis developed after the government very recently discontinued use of the two largest denomination currency notes, representing more than 80 percent of the value of currency in circulation, forcing citizens to exchange those notes for new lower denomination currency.  More than 90 percent of business transactions in India are conducted in cash so this is a major disruption to the economy.  Some conference attendees indicated there may be a delay of 50-60 days in Indian rice exports due to the crisis which may open opportunities for competing Asian origins of rice. 

The Thai rice industry is awaiting an announcement of the government's reaction to current low rice prices, especially to the producer, and the fact that the government is still holding 8.2 million tons of rice in stock.  Some expect the government to initiate a subsidy scheme to put a floor under the market.The 2016-2017 Brazilian crop may increase by more than 700,000 MT due to higher than projected yield (5.7 MT/Ha as opposed to 5.3 MT/Ha originally projected).  

From a global perspective, practically all the key non-fundamental technical indicators, such as strength of the dollar, technical price support, and prices relative to other commodities, point to a price rebound in the next 3-9 months

New Japanese internet ad features … the 10-second fried rice challenge



So, how fast do you think you can stir up a plate of fried rice? This ad tries to do it in 10 seconds!
Japanese food manufacturer Hamaotome, which specializes in condiments such as seaweed, sesame, and dried furikake (rice seasoning powder), recently released a unique web video advertising their line of “Mix and Cook Fried Rice-style Powder (Mazekomi Chahan-fu) products.

All you need to do is simply mix the powder with cooked white rice, and you get a fried rice-flavored dish without ever getting out a frying pan.
Okay, so technically, there isn’t any frying involved. But if you can get a dish that tastes like fried rice in a matter of seconds, then we have to say that’s quite impressive. But can it really be done in 10 seconds?
Yup, exactly 10 seconds!  They apparently wanted to emphasize how quick and easy it is to cook with the instant powder, and we think they’ve succeeded there.
▼  In the video, they start the 10-second countdown from when the rice is scooped from the cooker into the bowl. The man in the video, by the way,is not an actor, but a regular employee of the Hamaotome company.

▼ Here’s the end result, which looks pretty tasty, actually.

The instant fried rice powder comes in three flavors, chashu (barbecue pork), pork kimchi, and gomoku (various mixed ingredients), all priced at 130 yen (US$1.20) a package and available at supermarkets across Japan. It might not be the same as fried rice straight from the frying pan of a skilled Chinese chef, but hey, you can’t complain about a dish that you can whip up in 10 seconds, right?


Mashed potatoes or rice for Thanksgiving? Every Southerner knows the right answer

Provided photos via,
Just in time for Thanksgiving, here’s a thoroughly unscientific but perfectly seasonal test to determine just how deep your Southern roots run.
Answer A or B.
A. Mashed potatoes are a must for Thanksgiving Day dinner.
B. Rice and gravy is the only way to go.
(Notice there is not a C option. That could only mean a dish of macaroni and cheese and I am simply not going there lest my mother rises from her grave brandishing her rice steamer and an original edition of Charleston Receipts.)
Truly, I don’t mean to throw a monkey wrench into your Thanksgiving menu, but I provided this simple test because, frankly, something funny is going on down here below the Mason-Dixon Line. Something no more Southern than snow boots, maple syrup or Boston baked beans. Something that has infiltrated our sense of who we are and why we drive barefooted, consume boiled peanuts and call that thing you hook the hose up to a spigot.
I speak of answer A – mashed potatoes.

Something tells me a lot of folks around here are serving this food stuff because every grocery store advertising circular that I have seen thus far this Thanksgiving season promotes the sale of potatoes. “5 lb. Bag Russet Potatoes $2.99 per bag;” “White Potatoes 5 Lb. Bag HOT SALE 2 FOR $5;” “$3.48 Jumbo Russet Potatoes 8 lb. bag.”
Fuzzy pictures of holiday feasts that go along with these sales show bowls brimming with mashed potatoes. But no dishes of lovely, fluffy steaming rice. No discounts on bags of rice advertised either.
Furthermore, we’re seeing mounds of mushed-up taters on television morning shows where perky hosts are telling us all how to prepare our holiday feasts with no muss and no fuss.
And much like last year’s debate about dressing versus stuffing, brought on by the infamous Butterball map that showed South Carolina to be a stuffing state, rather than a dressing state … well, you get the gist. Sumpin’ just ain’t right.
Mashed potatoes are fine with meatloaf on a Sunday night, but on Turkey Day down South? Might as well say cotton doesn’t grow in Calhoun County. Might as well say big dogs don’t like to hang their heads out of car windows. Might as well say thank-you notes are not necessary.
So here we are. A or B. Every day spuds or something far more delicate – the seeds of Asian (Oryza sativa) and African (Oryza glaberimma) grasses.
To slice and dice this dilemma, I turned to an old friend whose Southern roots indeed run pretty darn deep. Columbia’s Cantey Holmes Wright. His mother was born and raised on Edisto Island. His grandfather was raised on the Battery in Charleston. His great-grandfather created South Carolina’s revered dog breed – the Boykin Spaniel.
Cantey is a retired chef – having cooked in Columbia, Edisto, Charleston, Aiken and Atlanta. He’s written a book called “Edisto, A Guide to Life on the Island.”
And here’s what he said about mashed potatoes versus rice and gravy when it comes to what goes on the Southern Thanksgiving Day dinner table.
“Mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving? Heresy! Count me as a dyed-in-the-wood proselyte of rice and gravy. There’s no other way than to steam it in a Charleston Rice Steamer by WearEver. Yes, Rice Steamer is capitalized, but only if it was made by WearEver and handed down from your mother or grandmother, since they haven’t been made by WearEver in decades. Somebody in Charleston, bereft at not being able to purchase a real one, actually commissioned someone to make a limited edition of them.
“As for the steaming of rice, all of us know that the lid is not to be opened, not even a peek, until the rice has cooked for 20 minutes and then rested for 5 minutes off the heat. The rice is then ‘disturbed’ with a fork. Not fluffed. Disturbed. And always with a fork. Never a spoon.
“Rice is served at Thanksgiving because rice is always served with hot meals such as ‘dinnuh’ (sometime after noon, preferably 1 p.m. or 2 p.m.) or ‘suppah’ (the evening meal). Rice serves many purposes. It sucks up the wonderful flavor of gravy and any other juicy foods. Collard pot likker on the plate will find its way to the rice, be absorbed by it, and in so doing, prevent the embarrassment of juice sloshing off your plate and onto your great-grandmother’s white linen tablecloth.
“Also, if you blanched butterbeans (baby limas if you are from away) in the summer, and have fixed ’em for Thanksgiving, they will go on the rice and nestle down in it quite nicely. And last but not least, there’s the matter of leftovers. There’s no such thing as Mashed Potato Pudding. But ahhh! Rice pudding … Doo-lawd!
“Mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving Day? Well, I nevuh!”
So nevuh-mind all the tater advertisements and television show hosts ’splaining how to mash ’em.
A or B?
Bless your heart if you answered A, ’cause the correct answer ’round here is about as big as day and about as fine as frog’s hair.
Salley McAden McInerney is a local writer whose novel, Journey Proud, is based upon growing up in Columbia in the early 1960s. She may be reached by emailing

Philippines Hopes to Limit Rice Imports to 500,000 T in 2017

Manila. The Philippines hopes to limit rice imports to 500,000 tonnes next year, its agriculture minister said on Tuesday (22/11), as the government of President Rodrigo Duterte aims to be self-sufficient in rice production by 2020.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Pinol said he hoped the Philippines, one of the world's biggest rice importers, would not have to buy more than 500,000 tons of the grain next year as the prospects for farm output, including rice and fisheries, looked favorable.
"We will strive for self sufficiency. We will work for it and we have the formula to do it," Pinol told a media briefing.
The Philippines' National Food Authority last month indicated it could buy 250,000 tons of rice to boost buffer stocks on top of the 250,000 tonnes it has purchased from Vietnam and Thailand earlier this year.
Agriculture output in the fourth quarter may increase by 3 percent from last year but would remain at the same level as the third quarter, Pinol said.
Barring strong typhoons and given greater demand for fish products from China, agriculture growth was also forecast to sustain its "robust" pace next year, Pinol added.
The Philippine economy grew 7.1 percent in the third quarter, its fastest pace in more than three years, helped in part by strong farm output growth.
Seoul. In the shadows of Samsung Electronics' Note 7 smartphone crisis, affiliate Samsung SDI is quietly reassuring anxious clients including Apple that its batteries are safe.
But potential new customers may prove harder to convince as Samsung's biggest in-house parts supplier grapples with the reputational fallout from the Note 7 debacle.
Created as a joint venture with Japan's NEC to make vacuum tubes in 1970, Samsung SDI's TV and smartphone screens and batteries were key to Samsung Electronics' rapid growth.

Agro-based industry fails to make breakthrough in global market
Yasir Wardad

 The country's agro-based industry, despite having a substantial growth for the two decades in domestic market, is yet to raise its share in the global arena, insiders said.They attributed inadequate marketing capacity, transportation obstacles and tough quarantine rules and regulation from abroad to the sector's such less-than-expected level of export earnings.Sustained economic growth, rising incomes and rapid urbanisation have fostered widespread changes in consumers' demand for food that attracted hundreds of investors to enter the agro-based industries raising its turnover to nearly Tk 1.3 trillion annually.

But despite a massive positive growth in domestic agro-based markets, export of the items is much lower---only worth Tk 47 billion.

This is only 1.88 per cent of the country's overall export, insiders said highlighting the need for bringing massive changes in export infrastructure.  

Entrance of a number of big conglomerates in the sector in last one decade has made the sector oversaturated making it tough for new players, said market leaders.

Market analysts said diversification of products, ensuring safe food and exploring export market could make agro-processing business profitable even for new investors.  

Apart from mainstream products' export, Bangladeshi organic products have a great potential in the global market where lack of proper branding and standardisation is the main obstacle, they said. 

According to the Agro-Processors' Association (BAPA), Bangladesh Fruits Vegetables and Allied Products Exporters Association (BFVAPEA), Bangladesh Auto Major Husking Mill Owners Association (BAMHMOA), Bangladesh Agro-based Product Producers & Merchants Association (BAPMA), Bangladesh Poultry Industries Association(BPIA) and other farm trade platforms, the industry's annual turnover reached nearly Tk 1.3 trillion in 2015 of which rice, flour, processed foods, poultry, edible oil and exportable items dominated.

Data of the Economic Review 2016, published by the Ministry of Finance said, the retail and wholesale trade contributes Tk 2.42 trillion (14.02 per cent) to the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Vice President of BAPA Md Anamul Hasan Khan said processed food sector maintained a 10-15 per cent growth for the last two decades.

Low-income people have also become habituated with industrial food. 

Apart from agro pioneers like Pran, other non-agricultural big industries began entering the food and beverage market from the 1990s, he said.

He said more than 1,250 companies have ventured into food processing, poultry, dairy, hatchery, frozen foods and beverage market in the last two decades attracted by 160 million domestic and 8.0 million expatriate customers.

Turnover of processed foods like snacks, cooking condiments, ready-to-cook food, confectionery items and beverage is nearly Tk 365 billion annually, he said.

"Reports from our 0.25 million distributors across the country say, every family in the country buys processed food items at least worth Tk 20 per day," he said.

Bangladesh Agro-based Product Producers' and Merchants' Association president Md Ruhul Amin said the processed food market has been saturated with conventional products.

He said against a demand of 10.0 million packets of potato chips and crackers a day, supply is more than 40.0 million.

Turnover of processed foods like snacks, cooking condiments, ready-to- cook food, confectionery items and beverage is nearly Tk 365 billion annually, he said.

Reports from our 0.25 million distributors across the country, every family in the country buy processed food items at least worth Tk 20 per day, he said.

Ms Fawzia Yasmeen, General Manager of Ispahani Agro Ltd, a sister concern of 196 year-old business entity 'Ispahani Group', said she sees the matter from a different point of view.

"Safe food and chemical-free food are now a slogan to protect human health. People's awareness has been rising following up-gradation of life standard," she said.

The future trade of agro inputs, processed foods and even wears lie in 'the slogan'. Chemical-free safer products will be sustained in the long run," she said.

However, she informed that her company has been now marketing Ispahani brand of rice and snacks while it opened Ispahani Biotech in 2009.

Ispahani Biotech has already started marketing bio pesticides, bio control agents, sex pheromones and bio fertiliser to ensure chemical-free natural crops, she said.

According to the two rice mill associations, 21,000 rice millers now market 40 per cent of domestic production worth nearly Tk 416 billion annually.

The country's total rice production is 34.7 million tonnes of which rice millers deal with 14.0 million tonnes of the staple cereal.

About 350 big millers in Kushtia, Naogaon, Jaypurhat, Rangpur, Kurigram, Dinajpur, Jessore and Dhaka regions market more than 11.0 million tonnes of branded rice, Md Abdur Rashid, President of BAMHMOA told the FE.

Entrance of big conglomerates like Pran, Square, ACI and Ispahani have made the market more competitive.

However, when local agro-based products achieved an outstanding growth rising by 10 times in last two decades, exports showed little progress, according to sector insiders.

According to the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), agro-based products like processed foods and raw agricultural produces fetched $ 597 million (Tk 47.0 billion) in FY'16 which was $ 250 million 20 years ago. Exports reached highest $615 million in FY'14 and then decreased to $586 million in FY'15.

Agro-export earning of Bangladesh is only 1.88 per cent of the total export worth Tk 2.496 trillion when it comprises 20 per cent of export earnings of Vietnam and 18 per cent of India, BFVAPEA President SM Jahangir Hossain said. 

He said agricultural product exports, especially of fruits and betel leaf, have been in a morbid condition for the last two years following restriction by key destination European Union (EU).

Local exporters are now following cent per cent government-set tough quarantine rules and regulations.

The government should go ahead diplomatically to open fruit and betel leaf market of the EU for Bangladesh, he said.

On the other hand, air shipment facilities are very limited for 300 export-oriented processors which should be increased massively for bringing ground-breaking change in export earnings.

Chief of the export division at Pran Md Mizanur Rahman said market for Bangladeshi processed foods and spices has been increasing in the EU, the Middle East, Africa, the US and South Asian markets. Apart from food crops, Bangladeshi food processors now export more than 220 items to 140 countries.

He said processed foods like chanachur, potato chips and crackers, biscuits, wafer, bread, frozen snacks, beverages and spices comprise 50 per cent of the export income of agro products.

President of Bangladesh Organic Products Manufacturers' Association (BOPMA) Abdus Salam told the FE organic food items of Bangladesh have a great demand but lack of proper branding and standardisation has been holding back the possibility.

Organic food including honey from the Sundarbans, fruit and jute product exports fetch only $ 8.0 to $ 10.0 million annually while global market has expanded to $ 140 billion.

He said local standardisation entities like Bangladesh Standard and Testing Institute (BSTI) and Bangladesh Accreditation Board (BAB) should tie up with global organisations like USDA,  Demeter International, Bio Suisse, KRAV  etc. Center for Policy Dialogue (CPD) Additional Research Director Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem said local traditional agro-based industries could not match with the rising demand of consumers whose choice and tastes are changing with increased income after 1990s.

The big industries take the lead as they ensure timely supply, quality of products and modern packaging facilities.

The entrance of large number of traders in the business has both helped consumers and farmers and also helped raise employment opportunities, he said.

Demonetisation : Farm sector hit hard


Farmers as well as farm labour in villages are facing hardships due to demonetisation and unless urgent steps are taken to improve cash flow the sector may suffer a huge blow.Kharif crops are being harvested in many parts of the State and the farmers have to prepare for the rabi season. Demonetisation could not have come at a worse time.
Gandhi, a farmer from Kalipatnam village near Narsapur town in West Godavari district, says the new ₹500 note should be released in large numbers.
“The new ₹2,000 note is not of much use. It is not easy to exchange it for twenty ₹100 notes,” he says.
According to Bh. Ramachandra Murthy, a farmer from Krishnapuram vilage in Thondangi mandal of East Godavari district, “the old notes are being accepted right now, as there is still time till the end of December to exchange them. But it is getting increasingly difficult and the problem is getting out of hand. It is not easy for farmers or farm workers to stand in queues to exchange notes.”
Rice millers, commission agents and merchants are unable to lift harvested paddy and other crops from villages, and they complain that the limits on daily withdrawal of money is hampering their activities.
“Farmers do not accept cheques, even if they have bank accounts, as they are so used to cash transactions. Old habits die hard,” says A Ramakrishna Reddy, a rice miller from East Godavari district.
Y Sivaji, former member of the Rajya Sabha, who has recently participated in the pre-Budget consultations in New Delhi, has welcomed demonetisation, but feels steps should be immediately taken to cushion the blow for on farmers and labour.
“We have suggested that the government allow purchase of farm inputs such as seeds, fertilisers, and pesticides with old notes for the coming rabi season and the government has responded positively. It is also high time that the NREGA scheme is linked with agriculture,” he said.
He also feels that the credit flow to the agricultural sector should be enhanced substantially after demonetisation.
“Moneylenders will be left cashless and therefore banks have to rescue farmers,” he added.

Asia Rice: Thai Prices Gain on Talks of Philippine Demandi
Hanoi. Thai rice export prices rose this week on talks of possible demand from private Philippine firms, while prices in Vietnam hit seven-week lows due to thin demand, traders said on Wednesday (23/11).
Rice sales by Thailand and Vietnam, the world's second- and third-largest exporters after India, have been slow in the past month, due in part to sufficient stocks in importing nations.
Thai benchmark 5-percent broken rice prices rose to $350-$359 a tonne on Wednesday, on free-on-board (FOB) basis, from $342-$345 a tonne a week ago

Nduom seeks to plug US$1.2bn rice import gap with Edwumawura Rice


23 NOVEMBER 2016

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Until recently, Edwumawura was only a nickname to business mogul and 2016 Presidential Candidate of the Progressive People's Party (PPP), Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom.
With 60 companies now under his holding company – the Groupe Nduom (GN) – and thousands of mouths depending on his vision and direction for a living, Edwumawura, which is the Akan translation for 'jobs provider,’ fits well into the lifestyle and objectives of Dr Nduom.
But after enjoying the accolade and popularising it for decades, Dr Nduom and his business empire are now seeking to raise the notches higher – capitalise on the mileage that the name has gotten to launch into the rice processing business.
Instead of just being the alias of the founder, Edwumawura will now be the brand name of the group's rice, which will be grown and processed locally.
Edwumawura Rice, as it will be called, will be milled at two of the company's rice milling factories at Worawora in the Volta Region and Assin Breku in the Central Region.
While the one in the Volta Region, a 72-tonne million plant, is an old factor that the group is seeking to refurbish and revive, the 100-tonne plant in Assin Breku is a new plant GN will construct from the scratch.
At peak performance, the group's founder and president said the factories' produce -- Edwumawura Rice -- will be an answer to the country's gapping rice production and consumption hole.
Every year, the country expends a total of US$1.2 billion on rice imports to supplement local production.
“Imagine the jobs and development we are giving to America and Thailand,” Dr Nduom said at the commissioning of the Worawora Rice Mill in the Kpando District.
“In four to five years, all the US$1.2 billion will stay in Ghana to help with the construction of roads, hospitals, schools and in the pockets of our farmers,” he added.
It will also serve as a good source of employment to rice farmers in the two communities by providing ready market for this produce.
This will inspire increased rice cultivation, which will translate into increased job creation and income generation for the farmers and their employees.

Worawora Mill

Prior to the refurbishment, the Worawora Rice Mill Factory was one of the things that exemplified failed industrisalition in the country.The rice factory was first established in 1973 as Oti Rice Mills Factory but later rebranded to Worawora Rice Mill Factory to help revive it.Although it was later refurbished by former President John Agyekum Kufuor in 2004, it failed to achieve its intended purpose, mainly as a result of fluctuating supplies of rice, inadequate finance and poor management.Notwithstanding efforts by indigenes of the town to take over the Worawora Rice Mill, rising cost of operation made it unsustainable for them.

As a result, the chiefs and people of the area agreed to offload majority of the company’s shares to the Growth Fund Company Limited (GGFCL), a subsidiary of GN.This made it possible for the group to inject fresh capital and management expertise into reviving the company.It also created the avenue for the new majority shareholder to leverage its group advantage reviving the factory, providing ready market for rice farmers and helping create jobs for the teeming youth.

Assin Breku

At the ground breaking ceremony for the construction of the rice mill at Assin Breku, Dr. Nduom said the factory was a response to several appeals by people in the area for him to intervene.He said business on the factor will commence in April, next year."After Easter, farmers will not pound rice again. Machines will do that. Rice farmers will be given training to be able to cultivate good and quality paddy rice,” he assured.

And should the business expand successfully, Dr Nduom said "combine harvesters will be brought in to replace manual harvesting by farmers. It is my hope to halt rice importation in 2020."Dr. Nduom told the people that the Worawora Rice Mill Factory was currently working, and assured them that same will happen in the area.He further thanked the chiefs for assisting GN with the land to be used for the factory and his staff members for their earnest work over the years.


The Managing Director of GGFC, Mr Kwame Ofori Asomaning, said the factory will provide employment and support for local farmers in the Volta Region and their counterparts in parts of the Northern Region.He, therefore, urged Ghanaians to patronise the ‘Edwumawura Rice, which he said will hit the Ghanaian market soon.“Ghana has 580,000 acres of land that can produce 1.7 million tonnes of rice to feed the entire country, so why import,” he asked.

Farmers response

The President of the Assin North Rice Farmers Association, Mr Mammoud Kwaku Oppong, said his outfit was optimistic that many more farmers will benefit from Dr. Nduom’s initiative.The Sanaahene of Assin Breko, Nana Asare Baffour, who spoke on behalf of all the chiefs said the chiefs and people of the area were impressed with the initiative and will work to ensure that it succeeds.At Worawora, a citizen and past president of the Association of Ghana, Nana Owusu Afari, said the community was happy to see the factory come back to live after years of less activity.Nana Afari of Afariwa Farms said the factory's history was tight to the heritage of the Worawora people, who spend a larger chuck of their lives farming. — GB

Demonetisation likely to rob sheen off Kannada Sahitya Sammelan


Demonetisation of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes is likely to affect 82nd Akhila Bharata Kannada Sahitya Sammelan scheduled to be held in the first week of December in Raichur in more than one way. As per well-placed sources closely associated with the organisation of the literary event, the target of mobilising Rs. 2 crore from local sources cannot be met as the potential donors - businessmen, rice mill owners, traders and alike – themselves are in financial trouble.“Businessmen usually donate in cash as they have huge unaccounted money which is normally in the form of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes. With the demonetisation of these high value notes, they are unable to make donations. They are not so generous to donate their accounted money through cheques and electronic transfer. The major source of fund mobilisation has thus dried up with the demonetisation,” an organiser associated with the Sammelana activities said.

Sasikanth S. Senthil, Deputy Commissioner of Raichur, who looks after financial matters, is confident of organising the literary event with the funds provided by the State government. He is of the opinion that Rs. 4 crore that the government has allocated for the event is a “decent amount” for neat conduct of the event. Considering the demonetisation and resultant crunch of fund mobilisation, he has approached the potential donors appealing to them to offer their contributions in the form of goods and services required for the event instead of cash donations.
“Hundreds of hotel rooms have been booked for providing accommodation to guests. In a normal condition, we would have collected donations and pay for the rooms. Now, upon our request in view of demonetisation, the hotel owners have agreed to provide rooms free of cost. Similarly, several other responsibilities and tasks that require money are being entrusted to many people,” Mr. Senthil told The Hindu.Vishnukanth Budadi of Shilpa Medicare Limited and Raichur Rice Millers Association have similarly agreed to provide food to guests and general public for three days, Mahantesh Maski, former district president of the Kannada Sahitya Parishat said.
In order to manage with limited financial resources, the organising committee is planning drop many proposals to cut costs. “We will have to use the funds judiciously. We will put money on unavoidable expenditure such as erecting stage and cultural teams. We may have to avoid providing jackets to mediapersons and other such expenditures,” Mr. Senthil said.

Using the surplus money after the Sammelana, a Kannada Bhavana is normally built for the parishat at the town where sahitya sammelan is organised. But this time, the organisers are not sure that they can save some money for purpose.

Don’t Fret The Weaker Rupee

 November 24, 2016, 12:57 pmNovember 24, 2016, 12:42 pm

The Indian rupee hit its all-time lows of 68.86 against the U.S. dollar in trade on Thursday. It’s possible that, in the coming days, the rupee will fall below those levels with some currency strategists suggesting that new lows between 69-70 against the U.S. dollar are very possible.A fall to new lows, however, should not be seen a negative. Unlike in 2013, the rupee’s weakness is largely being driven by global factors like the rise in U.S. bond yields and the surge in the U.S. dollar.
Both factors are weighing on emerging currencies across the board. In 2013, the Indian rupee, along with the currencies of fundamentally weak economies, had seen a steeper sell-off compared to many other currencies. This time, the rupee’s performance is better than many other emerging market peers.In fact, going by some indicators, like the real effective exchange rate (REER), a depreciation of the rupee is actually a good thing.


Rupee Is Overvalued

As the chart below shows, while the spot rupee rate may be close to levels seen in 2013, the 36-country trade weighted REER is actually far higher than in 2013. Over the last three years, a steady flow of foreign inflows has kept the rupee steady while currencies of trading partners have depreciated. This has led to an overvaluation of the currency. The 36-country REER is, in fact, at a historical high and a correction in this overvaluation would be beneficial for exporters. To be sure, importers will see an additional burden. However, with oil prices at moderate levels, the increase in the import bill would be manageable at a time when India’s current account deficit is comfortable. The country closed fiscal 2016 with a current account deficit of 1.1 percent of GDP.
A chart showing the comparison between the Real Effective Exchange Rate and the spot rupee

Rupee Weakness Doesn’t Stand Out

The second reason to be comfortable with a weaker rupee is the fact that other emerging market currencies have depreciated as much. In particular, the rupee has kept pace with peer-currencies like the Chinese yuan.
What’s leading all these currencies lower is the U.S. dollar. The Dollar Index hit 14-year highs overnight with markets factoring in the near-certainty of an interest rate hike from U.S. Federal Reserve.
Chart showing movement of Rupee and peer currencies like the Yuan and the Indonesian Rupiah


Enough Firepower In The Form Of Reserves

Another source of comfort for the currency markets comes from the level of foreign exchange reserves. India’s forex reserves are at a comfortable $367 billion, adequate to cover more than ten months of imports. Some decline in the reserves is likely by the end of this month as the redemption of foreign currency non-resident deposits is completed. About $20 billion in deposits are expected to be extinguished between September and November, with about $7-8 billion due for redemption in the last fortnight of November.
The forex reserves, however, are adequate to cover from the redemptions while also allowing the RBI to intervene through dollar sales if foreign outflows pick-up ahead of the Federal Reserve meeting in December.
A chart showing the increase in forex reserves in comparison to monthly merchandise imports


Caution On Declining Bond Yields

One point of caution, however, is the narrowing differential between U.S. and Indian bond yields. While U.S. bond yields have surged ahead of the expected rate hike from the Fed, Indian bond yields have plunged following the government’s decision to withdraw Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.Over the course of this year, the differential has narrowed from 6 percentage points in July to 4 percentage points now. A narrower differential in yields makes it less attractive for foreign investors to invest in Indian government bonds. This has reflected in the $1.8 billion in outflows from the Indian debt markets so far this month.
A chart showing the relative movement of US and Indian bond yields

Study Shows Rice Farming in India Much Older Than Thought

Thought to have arrived from China in 2000 BC, latest research shows domesticated rice agriculture in India and Pakistan existed centuries earlier.

Rice fields in south-west India. Credit: Peter Elman/Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Latest research on archaeological sites of the ancient Indus Civilisation, which stretched across what is now Pakistan and northwest India during the Bronze Age, has revealed that domesticated rice farming in South Asia began far earlier than previously believed, and may have developed in tandem with – rather than as a result of – rice domestication in China.
The research also confirms that Indus populations were the earliest people to use complex multi-cropping strategies across both seasons, growing foods during summer (rice, millets and beans) and winter (wheat, barley and pulses), which required different watering regimes. The findings suggest a network of regional farmers supplied assorted produce to the markets of the civilisation’s ancient cities.
Evidence for very early rice use has been known from the site of Lahuradewa in the central Ganges basin, but it has long been thought that domesticated rice agriculture didn’t reach South Asia until towards the end of the Indus era, when the wetland rice arrived from China around 2000 BC. Researchers found evidence of domesticated rice in South Asia as much as 430 years earlier.
The new research is published today in the journals Antiquity and Journal of Archaeological Science by researchers from the University of Cambridge’s division of archaeology, in collaboration with colleagues at Banaras Hindu University and the University of Oxford.
“We found evidence for an entirely separate domestication process in ancient South Asia, likely based around the wild species Oryza nivara. This led to the local development of a mix of ‘wetland’ and ‘dryland’ agriculture of local Oryza sativa indica rice agriculture before the truly ‘wetland’ Chinese rice, Oryza sativa japonica, arrived around 2000 BC,” says study co-author Jennifer Bates
“While wetland rice is more productive and took over to a large extent when introduced from China, our findings appear to show there was already a long-held and sustainable culture of rice production in India as a widespread summer addition to the winter cropping during the Indus civilisation.”

The expanse of the Indus Civilisation. Credit: University of Cambridge
Co-author Cameron Petrie says that the location of the Indus in a part of the world that received both summer and winter rains may have encouraged the development of seasonal crop rotation before other major civilisations of the time, such as ancient Egypt and China’s Shang dynasty.“Most contemporary civilisations initially utilised either winter crops, such as the Mesopotamian reliance on wheat and barley, or the summer crops of rice and millet in China – producing surplus with the aim of stockpiling,” says Petrie.“However, the area inhabited by the Indus is at a meteorological crossroads, and we found evidence of year-long farming that predates its appearance in the other ancient river valley civilisations.”The archaeologists sifted for traces of ancient grains in the remains of several Indus villages within a few kilometers of the site called Rakhigari: the most recently excavated of the Indus cities that may have maintained a population of some 40,000.
As well as the winter staples of wheat and barley and winter pulses like peas and vetches, they found evidence of summer crops: including domesticated rice, but also millet and the tropical beans urad and horsegram and used radiocarbon dating to provide the first absolute dates for Indus multi-cropping: 2890-2630 BC for millets and winter pulses, 2580-2460 BC for horsegram, and 2430-2140 BC for rice.
Millets are a group of small grain, now most commonly used in birdseed, which Petrie describes as “often being used as something to eat when there isn’t much else”. Urad beans, however, are a relative of the mung bean, often used in popular types of Indian dal today.
In contrast with evidence from elsewhere in the region, the village sites around Rakhigari reveal that summer crops appear to have been much more popular than the wheat of winter.
The researchers say this may have been down to the environmental variation in this part of the former civilisation: on the seasonally flooded Ghaggar-Hakra plains where different rainfall patterns and vegetation would have lent themselves to crop diversification – potentially creating local food cultures within individual areas.
This variety of crops may have been transported to the cities. Urban hubs may have served as melting pots for produce from regional growers, as well as meats and spices, and evidence for spices have been found elsewhere in the region.
Archaeologists at the site. Credit: University of Cambridge
While they don’t yet know what crops were being consumed at Rakhigarhi, Jennifer Bates points out, “It is certainly possible that a sustainable food economy across the Indus zone was achieved through growing a diverse range of crops, with choice being influenced by local conditions.
“It is also possible that there was trade and exchange in staple crops between populations living in different regions, though this is an idea that remains to be tested.”
“Such a diverse system was probably well suited to mitigating risk from shifts in climate,” adds Cameron Petrie. “It may be that some of today’s farming monocultures could learn from the local crop diversity of the Indus people 4,000 years ago.”
The findings are the latest from the Land, Water and Settlement Project, which has been conducting research on the ancient Indus Civilisation in northwest India since 2008


* Thai 5 pct broken rice prices rise to $350-$359/T
* Vietnamese prices at 7-week low on thin demand
* Ample supply to keep Asian prices weak - BMI Research
By Ho Binh Minh
HANOI, Nov 23 (Reuters) - Thai rice export prices rose this
week on talks of possible demand from private Philippine firms,
while prices in Vietnam hit seven-week lows due to thin demand,
traders said on Wednesday.
Rice sales by Thailand and Vietnam, the world's second- and
third-largest exporters after India, have been slow in the past
month, due in part to sufficient stocks in importing nations.
Thai benchmark 5-percent broken rice prices rose to
$350-$359 a tonne on Wednesday, free-on-board (FOB) basis, from
$342-$345 a tonne a week ago.
There were some market talks last week that private
Philippine firms would buy Thai rice, so prices went up, said a
Bangkok-based trader. "It's all talk but no action, so the
market has been quiet now," he added.
The Vietnamese market was subdued as buyers kept to the
sidelines even though exporters have lowered quotations, traders
The 5 percent broken rice <RI-VNBKN5-P1> eased to $340-$350
a tonne, FOB Saigon Port, from $347-$350 a week ago. At $340 a
tonne, the price was the lowest since Oct. 5, based on Thomson
Reuters data.
"Thailand has ample stocks and prices are competitive," said
a trader in Ho Chi Minh City.
Vietnam's rice exports between Jan. 1 and Nov. 15 fell 24.7
percent from a year earlier to an estimated 4.36 million tonnes,
Vietnam Customs said.
Asian rice prices will remain weak in early 2017 as
production in importing nations has been recovering, BMI
Research said.
"Import demand will decline in 2017 as some of the largest
traditional importers, including the Philippines and Indonesia,
will see their domestic supply pick up in 2016/17," it said in a
report on Nov. 18.
The Philippines hopes to limit rice imports to 500,000
tonnes next year, its agriculture minister said on Tuesday, as
the government of President Rodrigo Duterte aims to be
self-sufficient in rice production by 2020.
(Reporting Ho Binh Minh in HANOI; Additional reporting by
Pairat Temphairojana in BANGKOK; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu

Rice processing centers get new equipment

November 23, 2016

Easter Anne D. Doza

NEGROS OCCIDENTAL, Nov. 23 (PIA6) – Negrense farmers are set to get P15-million worth of modern farming equipment in order to optimize rice production in the province.The Provincial Government together with the National Irrigation Administration will be distributing these modern farm equipment and facilities for installation for the operation of rice processing centers on December 14 at the NIA Compound in Bago City, a release from NIA said.

The modern equipment up for distribution includes: 50 units hand tractor with engine (bao-bao type); 50 units of threshers with engine (Negros design); 50 units pumps and engine with suction for mobile irrigation; and 4 units of Rice Mill “de Kuno”;  10 units of motorized grass cutter; 10 units of knapsack sprayer; 5 units heavy duty push carts; 1 unit heavy duty rice cart trolly with 500 kilogram capacity; 1 unit heavy duty weighing scale; and one unit EMEI 195 engine.

Also included in the allotted budget is the installation of electrical and water system of the rice processing center provided by the Department of Agriculture to Federation of Irrigators’ Association Central Negros (FIACN) –Bago River Irrigation System (BRIS) at Barangay Bagroy in Bago City.Technical assistance with project and marketing management will also be facilitated by NIA, Local Government Unit (LGU) and the Provincial Government as capacity building for project beneficiaries.

Provincial consultant and president of the League of Government-Assisted Federation of Irrigators’ Associations in Negros Occidental (LeGAFIANO) Rosemary Caunca pioneered the proposal and facilitated the proposal for the purchase of these farm equipment and machineries for the operationalization of the rice processing center.
“Our government has a lot of programs for the people, we only need to strategize  our approach to earn what is due to us, the public,” Caunca said. *(JCM/EAD-PIA6 Negros Occidental)

Rice Seen Extending Drop Before Low Prices Spur Mid-Year Rally

Supunnabul Suwannakij
More stories by Supunnabul Suwannakij

Thai rice prices face further losses before a decline in supply and increasing demand boost prices by at least 30 percent.
Thai rice may decline to $310 a metric ton early next year as harvests in Thailand and Vietnam boost supply, according to Mamadou Ciss, president of Alliance Commodities (Suisse) SA, who has traded the grain since 1984. They may then rebound to more than $400 a ton around the middle of the year when supplies in Asia are seasonally low and sustained lower prices boost demand in Indonesia, the Philippines and the Middle East, he said.
Thai five-percent broken white rice, an Asian benchmark, has slumped 20 percent since the start of August to $356 a ton, while unmilled Hommali is at the lowest in about a decade. World milled rice output will climb to a record this year, topping demand for a 12th straight year, amid a bumper crop in India, the biggest exporter. Global rice trade may drop 6 percent this year on weaker imports by China, Indonesia, Iran and the Philippines before increasing 2 percent in 2017, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show.
“Prices may go down because buyers are holding back on purchases,” Ciss said. “Indonesia will come back and catch up with what they didn’t buy and China will buy more.”


China’s imports may increase 8.7 percent to 5 million tons in 2017, according to the USDA. Purchases by Indonesia may surge 14 percent to 1.25 million tons, and imports by the Philippines may jump 40 percent, the data show.Start your day with what’s moving markets.
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The slump in prices has prompted Thailand, the world’s second-biggest shipper, to provide subsidies to help stabilize the market. The government announced a series of packages worth 77.6 billion baht ($2.2 billion) including loans for farmers to stockpile rice, delay sales and to support production costs. Other measures include encouraging farmers to cut planting, switch to other crops and increasing product value.
The average price of unmilled Hommali rice in the first two weeks of November was 8,039 baht per kilogram, the lowest since December 2006, according to data from the Office of Agricultural Economics. The farm price of unmilled white rice was at 7,050 baht per kilogram, the lowest since January 2008, data shows.
“Prices being this low, it is a great opportunity for buying countries to stock up with rice,” Jeremy Zwinger, chief executive officer of The Rice Trader, a Durham, California-based researcher, said at its World Rice Conference in Chiang Mai, Thailand. “Producers are being greatly pressured globally to be profitable. This will lead to instability and in the end will lead to a decrease in global crop production growth.”