Monday, November 28, 2016

28th November ,2016 Daily global,regional and local rice e-newsletter by riceplus magazine


Indus Civilization Farmers Cultivated Rice Over 4,000 Years Ago, Archaeological Evidence Suggests

Nov 27, 2016 by News Staff / Source
New research on three archaeological sites of the famed Indus Valley civilization (3000-1500 BC) in north-west India 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.

A flood-prone rice field being plowed by a farmer using water buffaloes. Image credit: International Rice Research Institute / CC BY 2.0.
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.
A research team led by University of Cambridge archaeologists found evidence of domesticated rice in South Asia as much as 430 years earlier.The team’s findings, published in the Journal of Archaeological Science and the journal Antiquity, also confirm that Indus farmers were the earliest people to use 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 nature and timing of rice domestication and the development of rice cultivation in South Asia is much debated,” the authors said.
“In northern South Asia there is presently a significant gap (about 4,200 years) between earliest evidence for the exploitation of wild rice (Lahuradewa, 6000 BC) and earliest dated evidence for the utilization of fully domesticated rice (Mahagara, 1800 BC).”
“The Indus Valley civilization, also known as the Harappan civilization, developed and declined during the intervening period, and there has been debate about whether rice was adopted and exploited by Indus populations during this gap.”The researchers 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,” said co-lead author Dr. Jennifer Bates, from the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Cambridge.

“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 Valley civilization.”
The team sifted for traces of ancient grains in the remains of several Indus villages within a few miles 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, the archaeologists 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 the authors describe 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 dhal 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 wheats of winter.“This may have been down to the environmental variation in this part of the former civilization: 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,” the scientists explained.
“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.”“While we don’t yet know what crops were being consumed at Rakhigarhi, 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,” Dr. Bates said.
“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,” said co-lead author Dr. Cameron Petrie, also from the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Cambridge.“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.”
J. Bates et al. Approaching rice domestication in South Asia: new evidence from Indus settlements in northern India. Journal of Archaeological Science, published online November 21, 2016; doi: 10.1016/j.jas.2016.04.018
C.A. Petrie et al. Feeding ancient cities in South Asia: dating the adoption of rice, millet and tropical pulses in the Indus civilisation. Antiquity 90 (354): 1489-1504; doi: 10.15184/aqy.2016.210
This article is based on a press-release from the University of Cambridge.


Govt welcomes rice millers’ decision to call-off strike

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 28 Nov 2016 10:48:27

Staff Reporter,
Nov 27,
State Government has welcomed the calling-off of strike by Chhattisgarh Rice Millers’ Association. Extending her gratitude to the rice-millers, Richa Sharma, Secretary, Chhattisgarh Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Protection department, has hoped that the rice millers will cooperate with the state government in custom milling works so that sufficient availability of rice for public distribution system is maintained and poor continue to get rice supply through ration shops

C'garh govt blacklists 290 rice mill owners on strike

Press Trust of India  |  Raipur November 27, 2016 Last Updated at 13:32 IST
government has blacklisted atleast 290 rice millers who were on strike opposing the custom milling policy of the state since early this month. "The state government has initiated action against rice millers who are on strike. So far,290 rice millers were blacklisted for not cooperating in the custom milling," an official statement said here last night.
Chief Secretary in-charge N K Aswal and Secretary Food department Richa Sharma were informed about the action during a meeting yesterday here at Mantralaya. Both the officers through video-conferencing, interacted with district collectors wherein they reviewed the progress of ongoing paddy procurement and custom milling in each district. 
During the meeting, officials informed that paddy procurement is going on through 1,988 procurement centres of 1,333 cooperative societies in the state since November 15. 
Meanwhile, they also informed that the state government had assurd the rice millers (who are on strike) to think over their demands but some of them were not taking interest in custom milling, the release said. 

Finally taking a tough stand, the state government initiated action against the rice millers under the Essential Commodities Act-1955 and 
Chhattisgarh Custom Milling Procurement order 2016, officials said. 
"In this Kharif season, so far 27 rice mills were raided and then sealed. Besides, 290 rice millers were blacklisted from undertaking custom milling works," the release said. Notably the Rice Millers' Association, the biggest rice millers' business body in Chhattisgarh, is on an indefinitestrike since November 10 in support of their four-point demands, including higher rates for custom milling, rollback high price of gunny bags and lower the required quantity of custom milled rice from 67 kgper 100 kg of paddy to 56 kg.

Why rice imports couldn’t continue - Emefiele

By Hamisu Muhammad | Publish Date: Nov 28 2016 2:00AM

Why rice imports couldn’t continue - Emefiele

By Hamisu Muhammad | Publish Date: Nov 28 2016 2:00AM

Central Bank Governor, Godwin

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has said with the dwindling foreign reserve, the country cannot continue to import rice, hence President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive to focus on agriculture especially rice production.Speaking during a visit to Ebonyi State, Mr. Emefiele appreciated the state government for responding to the President’s call, saying despite lack of fund from the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, the state government used its own money to improve production.
Though the farmers were unable to access the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) support due to challenges in registering the farmers, the CBN governor, however reassured that with the dry season farming about to start, farmers in Ebonyi would access the facility. Mr. Emefiele said with the support and commitment of the Ministry of Agriculture, machines would be available to farmers for harvest in the coming year. He also assured the farmers that challenges such as irrigation funding would be addressed.The minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe, has described the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, as revolutionary in his economic management strategy.According to Chief Ogbe, the CBN governor has etched his name in the annals of Nigeria’s economic management history as revolutionary with the rice revolution he started across the country. The Ebonyi State governor, Engr. Dave Umahi, also commended the CBN governor for managing the economy of the nation in the face of global dwindling resources occasioned by plummeting oil prices


Arroyo wants info on rice, corn, sugar imports bared to public

By: Dona Z. Pazzibugan - Reporter / @dpazzibuganINQ
Philippine Daily Inquirer / 01:14 AM November 28, 2016
Former President and now Congresswoman Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. AP File Photo
MANILA — Former president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo wants the government to publish all information on imports of basic commodities like rice, corn and sugar to prevent supply manipulation.She said full disclosure of government contracts on basic commodities would “help prevent collusion and cartel, serve as a check against over-importation of basic commodities such as rice and corn, and aid in the collection of tariffs per metric ton.”
“The people have the right to know the factors that influence food supply and prices,” Arroyo, also one of the House deputy speakers, said in a bill she filed recently.
Her proposed House Bill 4141 orders the agriculture and trade departments and the National Food Authority to publish all information on importation permits granted for basic commodities such as rice, corn and sugar.The information should include the name and address of the importer, name and address of the supplier, country of origin of the import per shipment, date of contract of import, contracted price, and value or cost of import.Arroyo said “classified information” would be exempted from publication such as those deemed to be of national security interest, involved in law enforcement or crime investigation and those considered by the Department of Foreign Affairs to possibly jeopardize the country’s diplomatic relations.

Hybrid rice leads to bumper crop in Iloilo

posted November 26, 2016 at 10:01 pm by Manila Standard

Thanks to hybrid rice seeds, the rice harvest in Iloilo soared in this year’s wet season, with some farmers yielding over 10 metric tons per hectare, provincial agricultural officials said.With 10,000 hectares now “organically grown” on hybrid rice, the yield average of 12 farmers using SL-8H seeds rose to 10.71 metric tons per hectare, they added.Despite the severe El Niño drought, Iloilo remains a rice surplus province, especially as farmers ventured into SL-8H hybrid rice that sent their yield average to 4.09 MT per hectare.
This is an overall increase of nearly one MT (0.86) per hectare compared to the 2015 average of 3.23 per hectare, based on Philippine Statistics Authority data, for the entire Iloilo, according to Assistant Provincial Agriculturist Elias V. Sandig Jr.The trend to plant hybrid rice in Iloilo rose as a farmer registered a high yield last year.“In 2015, Marilyn Duco of Patlad, Dumangas obtained an average yield equivalent to 14.51 MT per hectare from SL-8H hybrid seeds at 14 percent moisture content,” said Sandig.
Iloilo farmers have also adopted what is realized now as a superior fertilization technique—Crop Stand Fertilizer Management.“An honest to goodness campaign was made to accept SL-8H with instruction to adopt Crop Stand Fertilizer Management.  A total of 10,000 hectares (of hybrid area) was realized,” said Sandig.Applying fertilizer based on crop stand means that fertilizer is applied in reduced amounts.  It is applied only when the color of rice plant is light yellow, signifying a need for fertilizer.“To date, the 12 top SL-8H farmers had an average production of 10.71 MT per hectare equivalent to 9.713 MT per hectare at 14 percent moisture content,“ said Sandig.
Iloilo farmer Teresita S. Setiar of Leganes reaped the highest yield equivalent 17.921 MT per hectare at 14 percent moisture content.  She used organic fertilizers with reduced artificial fertilizer, Sandig added.“Suffice to say that it is only in Iloilo where hybrid rice is grown organically,” he said.With the hybrid rice, those who were able to plant only once a year are now able to harvest twice as much. “Some areas are just rainfed, so farmers don’t plant during the dry season. But with their high yield—double from hybrid rice—it’s as good as they would have planted two times a year,” said Rich Recoter, SLAC hybrid rice specialist.From his rain-fed 6,000-square meter farm, Andres Corras Jr. got this last wet season an equivalent of an average of 9.68 MT per hectare.
Allan Tabefranca got a yield of 8.5 tons per hectare from 8,000 square meters.  He is in an irrigated area and even used direct seeding, which means he had lesser cost than if he transplanted seeds.“Our campaign is that using the same technology of rice planting, you just change the seed, but your expense is the same.  The seed is for free, so they get a higher income.  Because of this, they have been convinced to go into hybrid,” said Iloilo Provincial Agriculturist Ildefonso T. Toledo.With proper fertilization management, hybrid rice in irrigated areas in Iloilo as of October 2016 produced 4.77 MT per hectare.  This is higher by 1.28 MT compared to the July to September 2016 inbred average yield of 3.491 MT per hectare.
Farmers have traditionally avoided the use of hybrid rice in the wet season due to bacterial leaf blight infestation or BLB.  But fertilization based on crop stand has apparently eliminated this problem.“It’s the first time for many farmers to plant hybrid in the wet season,” said Geron E. Magbanua, also of the Iloilo provincial agriculture office.”And (impressively), there are farmers who harvested 10 tons (per hectare) as shown by the contest (Palayabangan introduced by the Philippine Rice Research Institute).”One Ilonggo farmer, Ramon Dagohoy Jr. got 13.95 MT per hectare from his irrigated, transplanted SL-8H.“From his 2.2-hectare area, he got a total of 615 cavans at 47 kilos per bag summing up to 279 bags (13.95MT) per hectare,” said Magbanua.Despite these increased yields, Iloilo’s rice production is expected to reach only 700,000 MT for 2016 owing to the impact of El Niño during the first semester of the year.
Without hybrid rice, production would have been even lower for Iloilo. Hybrid rice area in Iloilo in 2015 was just at 4,500 hectares.Based on the Philippine Statistics Authority, Iloilo produced 877,076 MT of rice in 2015 with an average of 3.23 MT per hectare. It ranks fifth in rice production, after Nueva Ecija (1.580,620 MT), Isabela (1,256,390 MT), Pangasinan (1,081,157 MT) and Cagayan (884,334 MT). 
The province has a total of 135,964 hectares of ricelands consisting of 48,860 hectares of irrigated ricelands, 85,779 hectares of rainfed ricelands and 1,325 uplands devoted to rice, tilled by 110,000 farmers.

The Rice Research and Extension Center: Making real-world challenges the focus

Posted: Saturday, November 26, 2016 4:00 pm

STUTTGART. — As the nation’s number-one rice producer, the economy of Arkansas places a premium on every aspect of the crop’s production, from the the availability of unique and hardy varieties, to the financial success of our producers in the field, to the impeccable quality of the finished product

Ancient rice

These grains of rice were dated to approximately 15,000 years ago after being excavated in south central South Korea about 20 years ago. A museum has been established to support research on the discovery.

Posted: Sunday, November 27, 2016 12:00 am
GOSHEN COUNTY, Wyo. נAncient bones and stone tools in Goshen County, Wyo., tend to draw inquiring minds from around the world. One of the most recent is Yung-jo Lee, President of the Institute of Korean Prehistory, professor emeritis of Chungbuk National University, and honorary director of Goyang Gawaji Prehistoric Rice Museum.The Prehistoric Rice Museum was established to ח- continue׭ research in a discovery made by Yung-jo Lee and Jong-yoon Woo, a fellow archaeologist, also associated with the IKP.

In 1997, archaeologists were working at a ׭ site, when a few grains of ancient rice were uncovered. ח- research has established two types of rice were identified, Proto Rice and Quasi Rice.Dates ranged from 12,500 BP to 17,300 BP. Further testing identified 109 grains of Quasi Rice, and 18 of Proto Rice. This indicates the Quasi Rice was one of the main food sources of that time.
They co-existed.

Another study on the Proto Rice identified traces of cut marks by external force, which has been interpreted as human activity. This would indicate the rice was a domesticated crop, and possibly by tools excavated at the site.
The rice has been named Cheongju Sorori Rice for the site where it was discovered.Data indicates the biostructure of the Sorori Rice does not correspond to conventional japonica, indica, or javanica. It is now called Oryza sativa, japonica(proto) and indica(proto).According to information provided by Yung-jo Lee, recent DNA analyses have revealed that the Cheonju Sorori Rice had evolved to rice found at the Gwaji Site, Goyang in the bronze Age through the Neolithic, which has dates of 5,020 and cs.3,00BP.

“Future research is highly expected to provide us with critical information on evolution and diffusion of protoe rice, asa well as on its orgin, especiallly through compartive research with caes in China.”Prior to the discovery of the Cheongju Sorori Rice, the oldest ח of rice were believed to have been found in China.
Chungbuk Province is southeast of Soeul, in central South Korea

Matia asks BADC to promote indigenous crop varieties

Agriculture Minister Begum Matia Chowdhury urged the Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation (BADC) and agricultural scientists of other local orgnisations to work together for promoting indigenous crop varieties, reports BSS. "There are many organisations like Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) and International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) to discover new varieties of rice, but the BADC should work to motivate farmers to promote indigenous verities which are more water and drought-tolerant," the minister said.

She was addressing a discussion at BADC Bhaban in the capital city on Thursday. The meeting was organised to celebrate the 55th founding anniversary of the BADC, a state-run organisation engaged in promoting agriculture.Praising the role of BADC in supporting farmers to grow more staple food-grain, the agriculture minister said BADC should move ahead with the policy introduced by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

She also suggested that the country develop three new high-yielding varieties from the African varieties by replicating those in the BADC's own seed multiplication farms.Criticising the move of winding up the BADC, the minister said the present government would strengthen further the BADC so it could play a significant role in attaining food security.Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture Ministry Mokbul Hossain and Agriculture Secretary Mainuddin Abdullah also spoke on the occasion.

Experts stress expansion of flood-tolerant paddy cultivation

DAE move to farm crop on 410 plots in Jamalpur

RANGPUR, Nov 25 (BSS): Agriculture experts at a farmers' field day have stressed expanded cultivation of flood-tolerant paddy to increase rice production in attaining sustainable food security amid adverse impacts of climate change.RDRS Bangladesh, an NGO, organised the event at research plots of flood-tolerant BRRI dhan51, BRRI dhan52, BINA dhan11 and BINA dhan12 rice and local 'Bozra' rice variety of four farmers in Noyagram village under Ulipur Upazila of Kurigram Thursday afternoon, said a press release.The NGO assisted 50 farmers of Chilmari and Ulipur upazilas in Kurigram to expand cultivation of these rice varieties this season with support of International Rice Research Institute under Stress Tolerant Rice for South Asia and Africa (IRRI-STRASA) project.

The main objective of arranging the event was to exhibit farming technologies for flood-tolerant rice farming to popularise cultivation of those suitable for flood-prone and low-lying areas.Deputy Director of the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) for Kurigram Mokbul Hossain attended the event as the chief guest with Project Coordinator of Climate Change Project of RDRS Bangladesh for Kurigram Shafiul Islam in the chair.Ulipur Upazila Agriculture Officer Ashok Kumar Roy, Members of local Buraburi Union Parisahd Rezia Khatun and Lal Mian and Sub-assistant Agriculture Officer Asharf Ali were present as special guests.Farmer Rezaul Karim posted a yield rate of 4.25 tonnes of paddy after harvesting BINA dhan11 in presence of the experts who also monitored the ripe paddy fields.Farmers Kajibar Rahman, Abu Bakar and Shajahan Ali shared their experience about cultivation of these flood-tolerant rice varieties having submergence tolerance capacities for over two weeks to get better yield than local 'Bozra' variety rice.

They also termed cultivation of BINA dhan11 and BRRI dhan52 rice varieties as more suitable as early harvest of the same would allow cultivating subsequent mustard, wheat and maize on the same land.The chief guest called upon the farmers to expand cultivation of flood-tolerant rice varieties to increase rice production by overcoming crop losses being caused by floods every year in the country.Another report adds from Jamalpur: Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) has taken a programme to bring 410 demonstration plots under cultivation of zinc-enriched boro paddy in the district this year.

According to the DAE, there will be 200 demonstration plots on three varieties of zinc-enriched boro paddy and 210 demonstration plots on one zinc-enriched variety of boro paddy.Under another demonstration programme, farmers will get seeds of BRRI Dhan-62, BRRI Dhan-64 and BRRI Dhan-74 free of cost and also will get other facilities.The office sources said, 50 plots of BRRI Dhan-62, 100 plots of BRRI Dhan-64 and 50 plots of BRRI Dhan-74 will come under the demonstration programme.On the other hand, farmers will get only BRRI Dhan-62 seed free of cost for cultivation on 210 demonstration plots.

The sources said each farmer will get 3.0 kilogrammes of seeds for cultivating on a plot.DAE sources said zinc is a vital nutrient for human health. In the absence of zinc 44 per cent females aged between 15 years and 19 years become short. Besides, zinc is essential for pregnant mothers for developing babies' merit and mental skill.Training officer of DAE, M Abu Hanif, said each of the plots would be of 50 decimals of land. Selection of farmers for the programme was continuing, he added

Chinese farmer sets new world records in hybrid rice output

by Dawood Rehman | Published on November 25, 2016 (Edited November 25, 2016) 🔗
HENGYANG, Hunan – A Chinese farmer has made a series of new world records in hybrid rice output, the central Hunan provincial government announced at a press conference yesterday. Yuan Longping, dubbed as “father of hybrid rice”, set a new world record in output of double-cropping rice in south China’s Guangdong, which achieved an annual yield of 1,537.78 kilograms of rice per mu (about 0.07 hectares) of farmland.
Yuan’s team have managed 42 hybrid rice test fields in 16 provincial regions across China, including Yunan, Sichuan, Shaanxi, Guangdong, Chongqing and Hunan since the beginning of the year, the Shanghai Daily reported.In two other projects in Hebei and Yunan, the crops have yielded as much as 1,082.1 kilograms per mu and 1,088 kilograms of rice per mu. Both have broken previous world records for the highest yield in high-latitude areas as well as output on 100 mu of farmland.Other projects in Shandong, Hubei and Guangxi all broke previous regional records in China.Hybrid rice, also known as super rice in China, is produced by crossbreeding different kinds of rice. About 65 percent of Chinese depend on rice as a staple food.Yuan, who developed the world’s first hybrid rice in 1974, had also set three world records in hybrid rice yield in 1999, 2005 and 2011.
“Super rice has a bright future in raising grain production. China has solved the problem of food shortages on our own, people in other countries are also benefiting. Super rice will play a larger role in food security and world peace in the future,” said Yuan, who added that his team is working on a new generation of hybrid rice, which is expected to breed rice of higher yields and better quality.

Rice millers exceed limits in Bargarh

November 26 2016

Bargarh: Massive irregularities during paddy procurement process in the district were suspected with the district administration issuing notices to primary agricultural cooperative societies (PACS) over the issue. The rice millers have managed to lift paddy beyond the target set by the district administration due to the negligence of PACS authorities, it was learnt. On behalf of the food supplies and consumer welfare department, district civil supplies officer (CSO) Vivekananda Korkara Thursday served a notice on the PACS which is in charge of Thuapali and Kalapani market yards of the district. He sought to know from concerned officials as to how rice millers like Sri Shyamji Agro Rice Mill and Siddheswar Rice Mill managed to get away with paddy beyond their permissive limit.Sri Shaymji Agro has already lifted 919.5 quintals of paddy against a target of 500 quintals from Thuapali market yard while Siddheswar Rice Mill collected 5,324.94 quintal of paddy in place of 5,000 quintals from Kalapani yard.

The PACS authorities turning a blind eye to the situation clearly indicates the unholy nexus between the officials and rice millers, some farmers alleged.Meanwhile, CSO Korkara asked the chief executive officer of Sambalpur district central cooperative (SDCC) bank and deputy and assistant registrar of cooperative societies to ensure that no rice millers collect paddy beyond their limits. Paddy procurement began in Bargarh November 15. In the first phase, 42 PACS were given a target to buy 8.71 lakh quintal of paddy from farmers. The rice millers of the district were asked to set their targets on custom milling basis and the PACS were informed over the matter.The millers managing to exceed their limits during paddy collection has raised questions over the transparency during procurement procedure.  PNN

Rice-millers threaten boycott of milling operations in Punjab

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Patiala
Updated: Nov 26, 2016 16:38 IST
After the opposition of rice millers, the agencies concerned suspended the work of weighing and went on an indefinite strike. (HT

The Punjab Rice Millers Association has threatened to boycott milling operations due to ‘harassment’ over weighing of rice being supplied to some government agencies under the supervision of agency officials.Members of the association, on Friday, claimed that the FCI had already issued directions to weigh all the rice on the bridge-scale, instead of checking only 10% bags manually.After the opposition of rice millers, the agencies concerned suspended the work of weighing and went on an indefinite strike.

Tarsem Saini, president of the union, said that the decision of the Punjab State Warehousing Corporation (PSWC) and the Origo, hired under the peg scheme, for the preservation of rice at the Food Corporation of India stores/hired complexes has increased the burden of rice-millers to weigh as every bag is to be weighed in front of the personnel of the agencies.He said, “If the stalemate continues, it would not be possible to accomplish the task of milling within the stipulated period as the paddy arrival is 25 to 30% more than the last year’s arrival. And, the state government will be responsible for the situation.”He added, “The staff of the agencies were creating obstacles for smooth conduct of milling operations with the motive of harassing the millers.”He appealed the state government to resolve the matter immediately so that milling is not delayed

Xmas:A Case For Nigerians To Buy Local Rice

— Nov 27, 2016 5:04 am

Against the backdrop of widespread concern of presence of expired foreign rice in the market, BABALOLA YUSUF writes that Christmas draws nearer; there is need for Nigerians to be wary of buying foreign rice.Nigeria is the Africa’s leading consumer of rice and one of the largest rice importers in the world. Statistics had shown that Nigeria imports about 3 million metric tons of rice annually.But, since the government restricted importation of rice from the border point to seaports, smuggling of rice into the country has increased astronomically with an estimated 1 million metric tons (20 million 50KG Bags of rice) suspected to enter the country illegally through its porous borders on an annual basis.

According to statistics, the three million metric tons of rice consumed yearly amounted to about 60 million 50kg bags of rice that are legally imported while over 800 million metric tons are smuggled into the country.Nigeria spent N630 billion, or about $3.8 billion, to import agricultural products in 2012. In 2011, Nigeria was the world’s second biggest importer of rice, bringing in about 2.5 million tons of rice.But, early 2013, in an effort to regain food self-sufficiency, the government increased the tax on imported rice from 50 to 110 percent, a 60 percent hike. The tax was meant to encourage locally produced and processed rice and wean the country off imported rice but it rather encouraged smuggling and loss of revenue to government as major rice exporters from South and Southeast Asia in other to evade huge tax began diverting shipments to Nigeria’s neighbouring countries—namely Benin Republic to the west and Cameroon to the east—whose governments suddenly began earning millions of dollars in duties.

Since it was practically nearly impossible for domestic rice producers to build the level of capacity required to mill and process enough rice in time to have a significant effect on the market, smuggling especially of rice that has passed its shelf life become order of the day for rice importers and vendors in the country.

Shelf life of polished Rice

Smuggled white rice isn’t believed to be good for consumption because it has a storage life of 8-10 years at a stable temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Sadly enough, most of the smuggled rice has used over 10 years in the silos of the developed countries before being shipped into Nigeria for consumption.

Customs raised the alarm on influx of Expired rice into Nigeria

The Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd), recently said 99 per cent of rice smuggled through the land borders are not fit for human consumption.He said samples of some of the rice seizures made over a period were referred to NAFDAC to ascertain their condition but were certified that rice smuggled through the borders was unfit for human consumption.Corroborating the Customs CG, the Customs Area Controller, Oyo/Oshun Command, Comptroller Tope Ogunkua warned that expired rice flood Nigeria markets.
He said the consuming public should be vigilant when they want to purchase rice in the market to ensure that they do not consume expired rice.

According to Ogunkua, the command has continued to discover so many bags of expired rice out of the many lorry loads of the commodity which it has  impounded  saying that it was an indication that the smugglers have continued in their attempts to bring  expired rice into Nigeria.He said “despite the policy banning importation of rice through the border, people still bring in the rice through the borders. In fact the number of importers trying to do so has increased now and that is why we have so many lorry loads of rice in our compound while there are still some in the Barracks. We are also battling them very well and that is why we are able to make all these seizures”.He explained that consumers need to continue to be extremely careful when they go to buy rice especially as we move into the festivity period; they must ensure they inspect the rice they want to purchase very well, whether they want to buy in bags or out of the ones that have been poured into the basins to be retailed.

Why Customs placed ban on polished rice through the land borders

The Customs had said it played ban on rice through the land borders in order to exercise control over what Nigeria consumed.According to a former Comptroller, Federal Operations Unit, FOU A of the Nigeria Customs Service, Mohammed Dahiru, rice was banned through the land borders by the Federal government in other to control what should be brought into the country.He said the FOU A has done enough to curb smuggling if rice through the land border.“I believe we have been able to achieve greater percentage of suppressing smuggling and if somebody is to be objective and be fair to customs FOU A, I believe it will be a pass mark because what is in the FOU A warehouse both open and other warehouse is good testimony that FOU is working. It is full to the brim for rice.

Ingenious ways polished rice is smuggled into Nigeria

Smugglers of rice are said to have device ingenious way of carrying out their illegal activities as according to a source, the smugglers often package the rice in a disguise form to make it look like other goods that were not outlawed.“We have seen rice conveyed in open wooden canoes across our creeks and water ways with generous amount of dirty waters splashing on them. We have seen some mixed with other grains bags to deceive customs; some are stuffed inside any available crevice and compartments of vehicles, including the engine area.“The concealed rice is thereafter re-bagged half cooked and presented in our markets for sale as imported rice. Bags of rice meant for Nigerians’ consumption is being conveyed in coffins inside make shift ambulance vehicles. Often time, importers in the borders have to wait for months for the green light from corrupt customs officials before they gamble their ways across the borders.

“Rice being a perishable product, lose valuable shelve life in non-conductive strong conditions. We have strong evidence linking some reputable importers to cases of re-bagging expired rice to prolong their shelve life,’’ he added

How to identify expired polished rice

Since rice has an indefinite shelf life if kept dry, it is hard to tell if it has gone bad. One thing to watch for is the presence of the rice weevil, a tiny reddish-brown bug. If you see these moving in your product, you should discard the entire container and disinfect the container and the surrounding shelves.Expired brown rice, on the other hand, is easier to spot. Brown rice may become oily and give off a rancid odour because of its essential fatty acids that go bad as they oxidize.

According to, an online site, rice may be described as expired if the bran oil has started to go rancid, the smell will be obvious – dank and musty, with a nose-crinkling sharpness. There are also visible signs of deterioration. The rice grains may look discoloured and oily. The grains may even start to stick together in clumps. Depending on the degree of moisture the rice has been exposed to, there may be visible mould.

But, a rice vendor at Sango Market, Chukwudi Nonso said the easiest way to identify expired rice is by firstly rubbing in between palms. He said if it successfully turns into dust then the cereal has expired.
He also noted that another way to identify a rice that has passed it’s shelve life is when it refused to sink when poured into water he said instead of the rise to sink inside the water, a substantial amount would be seen floating on the water.” Nonso said.

Implications of eating expired polished rice

Though some expiry dates relate to product taste, in some cases eating expired rice triggers food poisoning. Symptoms and health effects vary depending on the type of poisoning.However, common signs include cramping in the stomach area, frequent vomiting, fever, dizziness, dehydration and persistent diarrhoea. The symptoms may last a few hours, days or weeks depending on the severity of the condition. Rice stored past its use-by date in poor conditions can even become contaminated with the serious bacterial infections salmonella or listeria.

One obvious sign of rice well past its expiry date is the growth of mould. Mold includes several types of fungi. Their spores land on the food from the air and start to grow. Some moulds produce toxic substances as they develop. Mycotoxins can cause itchiness, nausea, dizziness and sometimes headaches.

Why Nigerians should patronize Local rice against polished rice

Now that an alarm over safety of foreign rice has been raised, it is high time Nigerians embraced local rice especially because of its health benefits.It was established that reason many people prefer the polished rice to the locally-made unpolished rice in Nigeria is the stress they go through in picking the latter before cooking it, compared to the polished rice which is very clean and ready for boiling and also can be cooked in less than 20 minutes compared to the unpolished rice.But then, local rice is self-preserving and one of the foods that add value to the lives of health conscious people including those who are diabetics.

According to an expert, Osaretin Albert, both the white and brown rice contain similar amounts of energy, carbohydrates and protein. Local rice however contains higher amounts of vitamins and minerals; the cellulose of local rice not only increases the fibre content but also contains a variety of colour pigments that is beneficial for health.Local rice variety contains higher proteins at raw cooked and soaked states as compared to imported rice. It was also found that local rice contains rough surface and more phosphorous and fibre which help in the reduction of the risk of bowel disorder, fight constipation among others.

Smuggled rice are substandard – NAFDAC

The National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) warned that rice smuggled into through the land borders are substandard.The Acting Director-General, NAFDAC,  Yetunde Oni said that records showed that rice imported through the seaports were registered as good quality as pronounced by satisfactory reports from NAFDAC laboratories while those smuggled through the land borders were unregistered and largely substandard.She said, “NAFDAC is poised to joining hands with Customs to increase surveillance and monitoring activities at all border posts to curb the menace of rice smuggling through the land borders.“


Farmers’ field day promotes edible landscaping

LIGAO CITY, ALBAY ― PhilRice’s branch station in Bicol featured edible landscaping (EL) as a mixture of agricultural “beauty and utility” during their farmers’ field day, November 9.

With the theme, AgriTurismo: Bukiring kay ganda, dagdag kita sa magsasaka, the event was attended by over 400 farmers, academicians, and local government officials from the provinces of Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, and Sorsogon.

EL is a small-scale crop production system that integrates food plants within an ornamental or decorative setting. Edible plants such as vegetables, fruits, and herbs substitute ornamental plants used in traditional landscaping. 

Some of the food plants that can be integrated with EL are medicinal plants, culinary herbs such as stevia, Italian oregano and basil, high value crops such as lettuce and cabbage, and those included in pinakbet, a traditional Filipino food.

In Bicol’s EL model, papaya trees were planted in the surroundings as wind breakers. It also used zinnia and marigold as aesthetics while bamboo poles were installed as trellises for ampalaya and upo.

“Other than aesthetics, edible landscaping allows farmers to reap healthy foods from their backyard and it may even be used to augment their livelihood,” said Gilbert Morente, science research assistant of PhilRice Bicol.

Morente added that EL can be done by farming families in the vicinity of their households with just about 200 square meters of lot.

“In EL, we do not necessarily mean that what we have are all edible plants. We can use flowering plants that can either attract beneficial insects or repel harmful organism,” Morente clarified.

EL is in line with the Intensified Rice-Based Agri-Bio Systems (IRBAS) program of PhilRice that promotes farm intensification, crop diversification, food security, and sustainability.

Glenn De Peralta, senior science research specialist, added that the EL project primarily aims to “establish an agritourism site that emphasizes educational and recreational components of field visit activities.”
The staging of this season’s Lakbay Palay also featured modern rice technologies such as the Minus-One Element Technique (MOET) and the Alternate Wetting and Drying (AWD). Rice varieties for different ecosystems and farm machines were also showcased to the participants.

Rice husks as sustainable energy resource
Agricultural wastes such as rice husks are now used as a source of energy that helps advance the agriculture industry, particularly on rice mechanization and post production operations.In a presentation given by Engr. Eden C. Gagelonia of PhilRice during the 9th ASEAN Plus Three (China, Japan, and Korea) Forum on Biomass Energy held in Chengdu, China, on November 8-11, it was reported that the Philippines produces an average of 2 million metric tons of rice husks annually. Rice husks are sold at P1.80/kg. Gagelonia said that in the past, these “wastes” were just being dumped at the back of rice mills or burned on road sides.  

“A kilo of rice husk basically contains about 3,000 kcal of heat energy and can provide sufficient amount of clean gaseous fuel when gasified,” Gagelonia explained.“Converting this available biomass waste into energy by gasification can provide about 25 PJ of energy which can be utilized for various heat and power applications, especially in rice farming and rural-based operations,” she added. Rice biomass also helps in the restoration of the soil and contributes to carbon sequestration for greenhouse gas mitigation.Gagelonia also revealed during the forum that PhilRice developed a rice husk gasifier engine system that converts biomass into different applications such as thermal (cooking, baking drying, and steam generation), mechanical (irrigation pump and rice mill), and electrical power (lighting and power supply infrastructures). Gasifiers also provide clean energy for domestic and cottage industry.

Furthermore, wastes produced by the gasifier can be used by farmers as soil conditioner and as element for organic fertilizer. To strengthen the application of decentralized system of biomass energy, Gagelonia suggested that the government must formulate supportive policies for the adoption and adaptation of the developed technologies in the locality.For more information on PhilRice machines that use biomass energy, click here or contact the PhilRice Text Center at 0920-9111398.
Young ‘techno-preneurs’ develop device to combat crop heat stress
What started as a thesis proposal is now a startup business for a group of young entrepreneurs who developed a device to help solve crop heat stress in the country.“Crop heat stress is a condition that greatly affects growth, survival and crop yields, and this is due to the intense heat coming from the sun that causes drought and the powerful light that affects the proper photosynthesis process of the crops,” explained Engr. Franch Maverick Lorilla, one of the developers of the device.    Lorilla along with Jan Rey Altivo, Rexon Lacaba, and Ket Villacensio from Davao City invented the Heat Stress Analyzer – a sensor connected to a mobile app that alerts farmers with heat stress presence and suggests measures to care for the crops.“This device provides an accurate method to assess the condition of the crop rather than the ‘feel method’, which is the traditional way farmers still use today,” Lorilla said. 
The device monitors the environment condition of the crop by measuring important parameters such as heat levels, light intensity, relative humidity, and soil moisture. It analyzes the data through the mobile app and warns farmers when their crops are being affected by too much heat stress. It also provides statistics, historical trends, and recommendations based on analytics to help users make smarter decisions. The analyzer is also equipped with pre-installed irrigation systems on the field and other automation components such as sprinklers, exhaust fans, and growing lights to automatically control crop heat stress.“As of now, we are still continuing the improvement of the analyzer’s technology with the funding provided by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). When the patent is granted, then we are ready for commercialization,” Lorilla revealed.
In 2015, Lorilla’s team established CloudFarm Innovations Inc. after winning a startup competition from a non-profit organization called IdeaSpace. Since then, the group has been testing their device in 6 farms including banana and cacao seedling farms in Davao and a lettuce farm in San Pablo, Laguna.“The device has the potential to help analyze heat stress of rice. At the moment, we are also testing some ICT tools through our FutureRice farm here at PhilRice,” said Nehemia Caballong, PhilRice ICT specialist. The Heat Stress Analyzer was presented by Lorilla during the 3rd Agrihackathon Symposium at PhilRice, November 15. The event aimed to equip future ICT practitioners with knowledge, experience, and motivation to develop ICT support for agriculture.