Monday, February 06, 2017

6th February,2017 daily global,regonal and local rice e-newsletter by riceplus magazine



Credit Guarantee Scheme facilitates 0.3m marginalised farmers’
Description: ‘Credit Guarantee Scheme facilitates 0.3m marginalised farmers’
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ISLAMABAD -  The Credit Guarantee Scheme for Small and Marginalised Farmers has facilitated around 0.3 million farmer families under which a loan size up to Rs100,000 was provided.
The scheme, launched two years back, covers farmers having up to five acres irrigated and 10 acres non-irrigated land. Sources at National Food Security and Research Division while giving details on Sunday about agricultural incentives announced during last three years, said during 2016-17 subsidy of Rs27.96 billion was announced for providing subsidised fertiliser to be equally shared by federal and provincial governments.
The sources said it included a subsidy of Rs17.16 billion for Urea and Rs10.8 billion for DAP and other Phosphatic fertilisers. The Ministry only monitors availability of fertilisers at subsidised rates, therefore, prices of DAP fertiliser has been reduced from Rs3,200 per bag to Rs2,350 per bag whereas Urea has been decreased from Rs1800 to Rs1350 per bag. The provincial governments have been requested to provide requisite information.
Similarly, the sources said during 2015-16, a historic ‘Kissan’ Package was announced by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif which included a lot of agricultural incentives including Rs20 billion as subsidy for Phosphatic fertilisers (DAP, SSP, NPK etc) with 50 percent share by federal and the provincial governments.
Ministry of National Food Security and Research has devised a mechanism for ensuring that the benefit of Phosphatic fertilisers subsidy reaches its intended beneficiaries. During 2014-15, the government also introduced the crop loan insurance scheme for farmers with land holdings of 12.5 acres in order to cover risk to various crops.
The other incentives were reduction in Sales Taxes on Tractors from 16-10 percent and credit to agriculture increased from a targeted Rs315 billion to Rs380 billion. The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) decided to enhance overall credit to Rs500 billion for year 2014-15.
The sources said the government also decided to provide 50 percent air freight subsidy for horticulture produce from Gilgit-Baltistan. Answering a question about steps taken to improve rice exports, the sources said long grain rice variety "PS-2" has been developed by Rice Research Institute (RRI) Kala Shah Kaku to attract international buyers while for general cultivation, Basmati rice varieties including Punjab Basmati, Kisan Basmati and Chenab Basmati have been released.
 The state of art quality analytical facilities at National Institute for Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering (NIBGE) were also provided. On directives of the Punjab chief minister, a Pakistani delegation visited Iran last year to finalise modalities for revival of rice exports to Iran
http://nation.com.pk/business/06-Feb-2017/credit-guarantee-scheme-facilitates-0-3m-marginalised-farmers

Chinese scientists develop disease and insect resistant rice

Sat, 4 Feb 2017-07:40pm , PTI
Chinese scientists have developed a new rice variety with genome-wide breeding chip technology which is likely to be the first disease and insect resistant high-yield rice in China.
The new rice variety will be cultivated in northeast Helongjiang Province in April, National Seed Group announced here today.
"The new variety is expected to be the first disease and insect resistant and high-yield rice in the country," the company said at the signing ceremony with Rongzhong Capital Investment Group in Wuhan city, central China's Hubei Province."The use of pesticides and chemical fertilisers have caused environmental and food safety problems," Zhang Qifa of Chinese Academy of Sciences said."But the genome-wide chip helps develop a new variety to cope with the problem," he was quoted as saying by state-run Xinhua news agency.
In May 2012, scientists from China National Seed Group, Peking University and Huazhong Agricultural University selected more than 40,000 useful gene markers in countless gene data and developed the first genome-wide breeding chip in the world."It helped to improve the diseases and insects resistance of the current rice variety," said Zhou Fasong, leading scientist at China National Seed Group."We have been identifying the genes in the past five years, and recently finally developed the new breed."
(This article has not been edited by DNA's editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed
http://www.dnaindia.com/scitech/report-chinese-scientists-develop-disease-and-insect-resistant-rice-2312173

Musings on the rice debate Description: Musings on the rice debate

The Rice debate in Nigeria is an intense and fierce one by different players who don’t understand the dynamics and only tend to put out emotional arguments not grounded on facts and logic but only aim to score cheap political points. They try to play to the fact that self-sufficiency is a walk in the park and merely requires sloganeering and mantra speak. I beg to disagree, we need to think through the issues and be pragmatic in our approach.
As a background and to further contextualize the issue, let us dimension our consumption and production and then find out the gap and thereafter look at factors militating against our quest to achieve self-sufficiency and what can be done to realize same.
Nigeria, depending on the data being presented and the one you believe, consumes between 5.5 -7.0million metric tons of rice per annum. For this article, I will use the figure and data provided by the highest echelons of government which for now is 7 million tons. About 2.7 million tons of that is produced locally but if we add the recent 2million tons of paddy (which translates to about 1.2 million tons of packaged rice – as about 22-23% is husk and 7-8% is bran while balance 10% is rejects) the government tells us has been generated by the farmers in Kebbi, Niger, Nasarawa, Kano, Jigawa, Ebonyi that will be 3.9 million tons meaning we technically have a gap of 3 million tons which can only be met by legitimate imports or smuggling.
Another dynamic we might not be aware of is that rice consumption in the country is almost entirely parboiled rice. In West Africa only Nigeria consumes parboiled rice. Other West African countries including all the neighboring countries Niger, Benin, Cameroon, Chad are not consumers of parboiled rice. In Africa, South Africa is probably the only other major country that consumes parboiled rice.
Whenever the tariff differential between the Nigeria rice tariff and the tariff in Benin Republic) and Togo is very wide the resultant effect is significant and massive levels of illegal cross border trade flows (smuggling). As per the industry sources, illegal smuggling of rice from Benin, Niger and Cameroon have been to the level of between 500,000mt to 2,000,000mt per annum over the past 6-7 years.
The markets in northern Nigeria like Kano are completely swamped with smuggled rice which enters the country through land borders with Niger Republic and Katsina state. Legitimate importers of rice in Nigeria have thus effectively been shut out of Kano and other northern markets for several years.
The shipments of parboiled rice from India and Thailand into Lome, Cotonou, and Douala ports is a very fair estimate of smuggled rice into Nigeria as none of these countries have internal consumption of parboiled rice. All the imports of parboiled rice into these countries finally find their way into Nigeria.
Often times the Ministry of Agriculture touts the drop in official import volumes into Nigeria as evidence of increase in local production whereas in actual fact the drop in official import volumes has been more than offset by increased arrivals of parboiled rice in Benin and Togo evidencing heightened smuggling activity which needs to be seriously curbed.
Almost all the rice that one can see in markets across the length and breadth of the country is imported rice. There is very little of locally produced or milled rice in the market whether it is in big markets like Lagos, Abuja, Kano or Onitsha or even the smaller markets like Makurdi, Ilorin, and Kaduna. To be fair to the current government and particularly the Central Bank of Nigeria, its intervention program tagged Anchor Borrowers Scheme to encourage local production by granting single digit loans to out growers is yielding results albeit in trickles but it is a good start. Conversely, paddy prices in Nigeria have hovered around 60,000 naira per metric ton from 2015 and has climbed to 140,000 in 2016 which is significantly higher than the prices in India and Thailand. This makes it challenging for rice millers in Nigeria to be competitive.
In addition, rice millers have found that it is quite challenging to procure large quantity of quality paddy in an efficient manner. As a result, most of the rice mills are operating below capacity. Although the federal ministry of agriculture claims that there are about 21 rice mills in the country one reckons that there are not more than 9-10 Mills that are active and in regular production.The average yield in Nigeria for paddy is around 2.25mt per hectare. This leads to a situation of high production cost for the farmer, high paddy prices for the rice miller, low level of surplus paddy available for sale by the farmer and also poor earnings for the rice farmer.
The number of jobs and improved livelihoods that can be created in rural areas by investment and improvement in paddy production is in several multiples coupled with rice milling and distribution as part of the entire value chain.
The process of developing a rice farm of meaningful scale (thousands of hectares) can take anywhere from 5-10 years. Experience shows that the rice farming part of the value chain requires 4-6 times the investment required in rice milling. Rice farming also has a multi-year gestation period as land has to be identified, purchased and title documents obtained, land cleared and levelled, irrigation and other infrastructures built and soil testing, seeds testing and multiplication and best practices developed for each site. Further rice farming investments by the corporate sector also entails engaging with the host communities and farmers on a deeper level which has enduring socio economic benefits for the communities far beyond added rice production.
Private sector investment in rice farming and cultivation is essential in ensuring a workable and enduring linkage between farm to factory in the rice value chain. A rice mill simplistically speaking is a piece of hardware which can be set up within 18-24 months. Rice milling technology is fairly standardized and readily available. But for a rice mill to function effectively it needs steady and reliable supply of good quality paddy at competitive prices which is not available today.The biggest bottleneck in the rice value chain is rice farming and not rice milling. It requires long gestation, bigger quantum of investments and a complexity of factors to manage.
Nigeria has suitable agro climatic conditions for cultivation of paddy. The current low yields are a function of poor seeds, no or low level of usage of inputs like fertilizer and pesticides, lack of irrigation, poor farming and post-harvest practices etc. These can be addressed in my view through engaging, supporting and training the farmers under the Farmer Outgrower Programs run by the investors in their areas of operation. If the investors are engaged in commercial farming they have ready access to knowledge, expertise and resources that are required to effect that change and government should simply enable through right policies and easing the land tenure process.

The way forward in order to assess the demand and supply situation on the one hand is for policy makers to work with right set of data and one that is accurate and complete. Ignoring the supply of imported parboiled rice into and from neighboring countries leads to false assumptions and consequently wrong policy formulation. On the other hand, the current Tariff of 70% for imports is not sustainable for trading and as such high tariffs cannot sustain imports into the country as cost of smuggled rice through land borders is far cheaper, moreover the Central Bank has placed a technical ban by not allowing Form-M and by extension allotting foreign exchange.
With regards to production, farmers should be encouraged with government declaring a minimum support price for rice farmers and buy the paddy from the farmers and aggregate the paddy in silos and storage facilities of the Ministry of Agriculture as a first step.This would help to provide clear and hard data about the actual production levels and availability of paddy in the country in addition to building a strategic reserve
Another part of the policy thrust should be to encourage investors/corporates in Rice business in Nigeria to invest in Rice farming. The policy should aim at getting the investor to have a Commercial Rice farming to cover at least 50% of their milling capacity and to rely on Farmer Outgrower programs for the rest of the paddy. This would kick-start the much needed investment and corporate participation in Ricefarming. Every investor in rice milling should be mandated to incorporate a rice farming component to assure a minimum 50% supply against stated capacity. If this is not done there is a real risk of investors who have only done the relatively small/minor investment in rice milling alone to compete unfairly against the investors who have invested in both rice milling and rice farming. They can do so by being able to bid up the paddy procurement price because they do not have the high capital investments and associated costs, from the catchment area of companies that have invested in integrated farming and milling projects.
In conclusion, we should not resort to banning Rice Imports overnight without adequate mechanisms put in place to ensure self- sufficiency. Rather a fiscal measure like a hike in duties and levies should be considered whilst we work hard to ramp up production with my aforementioned recommendations.
https://www.businessdayonline.com/musings-rice-debate/

Nigeria plans to replace rice importation

Description: Rice importation to be replaced by production
Rice is Nigeria’s staple food. In fact, Nigeria is one of the largest importers and consumers of rice in the continent.  It is striking that Africa’s most populous country, relies mostly on importation, instead of growing rice to satisfy needs.  So, if the problem is not the lack of lands or working forces, what is withholding Nigeria’s rice production?

Rice, the country’s staple food

Rice is largely served in Local restaurants across Nigeria. It is also the main ingredient of Jollof, the country’s most loved traditional rice. That is to say the least, of Nigerian appetite for rice-made dishes.
Over the past five years, Nigeria imported at least 17 million tonnes of rice, to satisfy local’s appetite.  Rice prices escalated remarkably in the country, due to duties for imported goods.
In 2016, rice importation exceeded 2.3 million tonnes in Nigeria, as stated by FAO, the Food and Agriculture Organization.

Government’s plan to replace rice importation

After rice shortages during the grain crisis, President Muhammadu Buhari planned to make rice plantation one the country’s top priority. In fact, the ministry of Agriculture, has announced several plans to boost rice crops in Nigeria by 2017.
According to Nigerian Minister of Agriculture, Rice importation has to be replaced by local production.
“We can’t afford $5m a day for rice shipments in this country. It’s gone on for 40 years. And I assure you that it’s our reckless policy of importation that’s brought Nigeria down to where she is now. Those who keep talking of imports either don’t mean Nigeria well or simply refuse to recognise the fact that we can’t afford the imports.”, he said.
Therefore, allocation provided to increase farmers’ capacity production, increased by 500 per cent, in comparison to 2016. The Nigerian government assigned 1.26 percent of it 2017 budget this sector, that is $ 302 million
Nigerian government, had already implement the value Chain development programme (VCDP) for this purpose. The VCPD is a six-year programme that aims at enhancing the country’s production of rice and Cassava value chain.
According Ben Odoemenam, the country Programme Officer, VCDP showed some noticeable improvements in some regions.
“In Benue and Taraba states, we have caused import substitution by about 10 %. That means that if we can increase it by 50 %, Nigeria can come out of recession.”
However, the government’s intervention is still modest compared to the growing demand on this aliment.

Rice farmers struggle in Nigeria

Rice sector has been neglected in Nigeria, since they relied for too long on importation to cover needs. Therefore, the sector shall be modernized, if Nigeria is willing to expand rice plantation. The government was highly criticised, after Agriculture Minster’s declaration about plans of self-sufficiency in a couple of years.
In fact, Local farmers in Nigeria, are still struggling for better farming methods in order to enhance their crops. Charges are so high for local farmers to bear. Not to mention, the lack of materials, that discourages farmers.
Richard Mbaram, AgroNigeria’s Manager, said that talks about self-sufficiency are a mere “pipe dream” at the moment being. He also, thinks that Nigeria is far behind from achieving such goal.
Mbaram also said that ” Rice production isn’t willed into existence. It is cultivated and systematically sown”.
“There is research, there is mechanisation, there is warehousing and storage. There is market opening and market access,” he added.
Important to say, that Nigeria holds a huge potential to expand rice production, if the government is to invest seriously in this sector.
http://www.afrika-news.com/nigeria-rice-importation/

New varieties dominate rice farming

Description: http://www.thedailystar.net/sites/default/files/styles/big_2/public/feature/images/high_yielding.jpg?itok=CqQyhHsC
Acreage of high yielding varieties of rice has increased in the last three decades, replacing hundreds of local varieties.HYVs and other modern rice varieties are now grown on 85 percent of land under gross cultivation area of rice a year, which was 32 percent in fiscal 1987-88 -- a transformation that has raised the country's rice output.
Modern rice varieties now account for 99 percent of boro areas, 73 percent of aman areas and 80 percent of aus areas.
Improved varieties including hybrids accounted for 92 percent share of the 3.47 crore tonnes of rice produced in fiscal 2015-16, up from 50 percent of total rice output nearly three decades ago, according to Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics.
But agronomists said HYVs and other modern varieties are unlikely to be grown exclusively because of various factors like submergence of land under water, salinity and farmers' interest in some local varieties.
So, modern rice, including hybrid, is not going to fully replace indigenous rice varieties in the near term, according to agronomists.
“It is very difficult to cover the rest 1 percent of boro area with HYVs,” said Md Ansar Ali, director for research at Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI).
This is because most of the areas are in the deepest part of the haor or ditches where mostly local boro or Habiganj boro is cultivated to escape flash floods, he added.
Scientists and agricultural workers said HYV coverage will rise further in the aman season, from 73 percent at present. But the share of the improved rice varieties in aman may not exceed 90 percent of the total area, they added. Wais Kabir, former executive chairman of Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council (BARC), said the rising acreage of HYVs was expected.
But HYVs cannot be grown in some parts of the south where tidal waters do not recede and the lands remain submerged, he added. “In those areas, there is no alternative to local varieties.”
However, the recently introduced varieties like BRRI Dhan-76 and 77 have given hope that these areas can be brought under HYV cultivation.
Agriculturists said a portion of land in the southern region is either low-lying or contains standing water. And HYVs, seedlings of which can grow fast by tolerating standing water, are needed for such areas during aman season.
But there is a dearth of HYVs that are suitable for cultivation on lands under water.
Khairul Bashar, a breeder and former director of BRRI, said 30 percent of area in the south is either low-lying or contains standing water. Long seedlings are needed for cultivation in the aman season in those areas. Currently, such HYVs are inadequate, he added.
Bashar, also the country manager of Harvest Plus, an NGO, said varieties that can tolerate multiple stresses -- salinity and submergence -- should be developed for the southern region.
BRRI's Ali said BRRI Dhan-76 and 77 have longer seedlings like local varieties such as Sadamota, Dudkolom, Khayamota and Kalomota, which are appropriate for the central southern region.
Md Hamidur Rahman, the immediate past director general of the Department of Agricultural Extension, said there are some preferred local varieties of aman among farmers in the south. “Those are very stress-tolerant.”
The newly developed HYVs -- BRRI Dhan-76, 77 and 78 -- which have the strength to withstand tidal water, submergence and salinity may make some breakthrough for expansion of HYV acreage during the aman season, he said. “Demonstration of these varieties will start this year. Performance of the varieties will be clear within the next couple of years.”
Salt-tolerant HYVs can be expanded during boro season in the southern area, where sweet water remains available until May, the month of Boro harvest, said Ali of BRRI.
More than 10 lakh hectares of land remains fallow during the boro season in the greater Barisal region, he added.
Ali said 139 polders exist across the coastal region. In each polder, there are many canals and dead rivers.
These can be used as sweet water reservoirs by harvesting rain water for the cultivation of boro or other winter crops, he said, adding that re-excavation of the canals and rivers might be required.
“Above all, policy support and political will are also required in order to avoid a conflict of interest,” Ali said.
Kabir said the expansion of boro cultivation will depend on water management, particularly in the southwest and south-central regions.
http://www.thedailystar.net/business/new-varieties-dominate-rice-farming-1356268


POSTED ON FEB - 3 - 2017
The National Seed Industry Council (NSIC) has recently approved 25 new varieties developed by the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), University of the Philippines Los BaƱos (UPLB), Philippine-Sino Center for Center for Agricultural Technology (PhilSCAT), Syngenta, and LongPing Philippines.
Dr. Oliver Manangkil, NSIC coordinator and head of the Plant Breeding and Biotechnology Division of PhilRice, said in this batch of newly NSIC-approved varieties, the IRRI-bred Rc480 stands out.
Popularly known as GSR (Green Super Rice) 8, Rc480 is resistant to multiple abiotic stresses, such as drought, salinity, alkalinity, and iron toxicity. It can also grow under saline and drought-prone environments. In addition, it has high and stable yields despite lesser input requirement. Not only that, the super rice can offer a maximum yield of 4.4 t/ha, matures in 107 days after sowing (DAS), and has intermediate resistance to pests, such as yellow stemborer (YSB) and brown plant-hoppers (BPH).
Manangkil said six of the newly released varieties are bred by PhilRice, namely: Rc440 (Tubigan 39), NSIC Rc438 (Tubigan 38), and hybrid Rc446H (Mestiso 73) for irrigated lowland; Rc472 (Sahod Ulan 22) for rainfed lowland; and Rc462 (Salinas 21) and Rc470 (Salinas 25) for saline environment.
“Yield-wise, Tubigan 39 can compete with hybrid rice varieties,” Manangkil stressed. “It can give a maximum yield of 10.8 t/ha. It is also given a national recommendation for exhibiting consistent resistance to pest and diseases and outstanding yield results across the country.” Moreover, it has an intermediate resistance to pests, such as white and yellow stemborers (WSB, YSB), BPH, and green leaf-hoppers (GLH). An early-maturing variety, it has 109 DAS maturity.
To view the complete list of the latest NSIC-released varieties and their characteristics, click here.
For more information about the newly-approved varieties, call or text the PhilRice Text Center at 0920 911 1398
http://www.philrice.gov.ph/super-rice-among-others-released-commercial-use/

Beloved Rice scientist dies in bicycle-light rail accident

By Mike Glenn, Houston Chronicle
February 3, 2017 Updated: February 4, 2017 8:14pm


Professor Marjorie Corcoran was the kind of scientist who probed for answers to the big questions like, "Why there is so much more matter in the universe than anti-matter."Corcoran, a professor at Rice University since 1980, was a nationally-recognized leader in the field of particle physics.
"These are the people who try to probe the basic building blocks of the universe," said Professor Doug Natelson, chairman of the physics and astronomy department at Rice. "She was a major player."
Now it will be up to other scientists to carry on her work.
Corcoran, 66, died Friday after she was struck by a Metro light rail train while riding her bicycle near Hermann Park. She was heading toward the campus about 8:15 a.m. when she crossed over the southbound tracks along the 6300 block of Fannin near Sunset. Corcoran was pronounced dead at the scene. Metro officials said the investigation is continuing but that the train had the right-of-way. They did not know if Corcoran was wearing earphones at the time of the accident.
Corcoran - then a graduate student at Indiana University - had begun important research work at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, better known as Fermilab, near Chicago. She earned her doctorate in 1977 and joined the Rice faculty three years later.
"Marjorie was a much-admired longtime professor of physics and astronomy, who worked tirelessly on behalf of her students, Rice and STEM education," Rice University president David W. Leebron and university provost Marie Lynn Miranda said in a joint statement.
One of her passions was working with high school science teachers during the summers to help them create programs for their students.
"Having teachers that are excited and engaged is really, really important. They learn things that they can bring back to the classroom," Natelson said.
She also worked to increase the number of women in the field of science and technology. Last month, Corcoran and a colleague hosted a conference for undergraduate women in physics.
"She was very concerned about what was best for the students - both our undergraduate students and our graduate students," Natelson said. "She always had an open door - both for her students and her colleagues."
In 2012, Corcoran received a grant that helped her introduce students to medical physics through a collaboration with the MD Anderson Cancer Center."The grant supported a summer internship program that allowed Rice students to gain hands-on experience in the rapidly growing field of medical physics, particularly in proton therapy for cancer patients," Leebron and Miranda stated in their letter.Corcoran was the first speaker of the school's faculty senate when it was composed in 2005 and had earlier done a tour as head of the university's astronomy and physics department."She was just a tremendous participant at the university," Natelson said. "She always went the extra mile."
Corcoran received her undergraduate degree in 1972 from the University of Dayton. She was married and had three children, including a son who received his degree at Rice."The most important thing is that our friend and longtime colleague is suddenly gone. That's terrible," Natelson said. "Our hearts go out to her family. It's just a shame."Natelson said he expects there will be a campus memorial for Corcoran at some point in the near future.
In July 2013, the campus community mourned a student hit while crossing Metro tracks on her bicycle. Vivian Ziwei Guan, 20, a Rice University architectural student, was killed in downtown Houston when she was struck by a southbound Metro train at Main and Walker
http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Beloved-Rice-scientist-dies-in-bicycle-accident-10907787.php

Iran may soon issue notification to resume Basmati rice import

By Kirtika Suneja, ET Bureau | Updated: Feb 04, 2017, 06.43 PM IST
Iran has been one of the largest importers of Indian basmati rice in recent years.
Description: Iran has been one of the largest importers of Indian basmati rice in recent years.NEW DELHI: Iran may soon issue notification to resume Basmati rice imports from India after a 20 member trade delegation visited the country last month. “Government of Iran may soon issue the notification about resumption of issuance of permits for import of rice,” commerce and industry ministry said in a release. The delegation met various departments in the Iranian government including Food and Drug Organisation, Governmental Trading Corporation and Trade Promotion Organisation. Meetings were also held with Iran Chamber of Commerce and Rice Importers Association.

“The deliberations helped to dispel the negative publicity which appeared in some part of Iran media causing doubts about the health and safety of rice from India,” the ministry said. To supplement domestic production of about 2 million MT, Iran imports about 1 million MT of rice every year out of which about 7 lakh MT is exported from India.

Iran has been one of the largest importers of Indian basmati rice in recent years. In 2015-16, however, basmati rice exports from India to Iran almost halved to $571 million from $1.1 billion in the previous financial year. In the first half of this fiscal, basmati rice exports from India to Iran amounted to $356 million.
Economic Times



            1-M worth of brown rice distributed to charities, thanks to social media
Description: D:\SPPasiona [July-Dec 2015]\Admin\Downloads\16177821_1046856295419560_3438302344426590337_o.jpg

A social media challenge called #BROWN4good initiated by the Department of Agriculture and the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) has received a massive hashtag support from the netizens, resulting in more than a million pesos worth of brown rice distributed to chosen charities nationwide.
Carried out from August 28 to December 5, 2016, the #BROWN4good Challenge enjoined the netizens to consume at least a cup of brown rice, take a picture of it, and then post it on Facebook with a caption (#brown4good and their #region of origin). Every hashtag posted on Facebook is equivalent to 1 cup of brown rice to be donated to any charity institution of the region where the publisher came from.
The turnover ceremony took place at the National Capital Region (NCR) where campaign ambassadors Kylie Padilla and Mikael Daez had distributed packs of brown rice to over 200 families in Payatas, Quezon City, January 19. They also helped serve brown rice arroz caldo to children in the said community in coordination with the local government of Payatas, Komunidad Kay Kristo (KKK-Payatas), and the ladies of Bayan Muna-Payatas.




The rest of the brown rice donations for NCR will be given by ABS-CBN Foundation to over 400 families in the communities along the Pasig river.
Meanwhile, regional donations have already started in the cities of Cebu, Davao, and Iloilo, among others. Beneficiaries include elders, indigenous peoples, street children, and drug rehabilitees at charitable institutions supported by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
The #BROWN4good Challenge was a way to inform the public of the four goodness of brown rice. First is personal goodness considering its health benefits. Second is goodness to the farmers given the added value that comes from producing and marketing brown rice. Third is goodness for the country as brown rice has 10% higher milling recovery, thus, adding 10% to the country’s rice volume. The fourth goodness is for others such as the beneficiaries of the chosen charities who will receive brown rice for their consumption.
“We’re happy that many were encouraged to eat brown rice because of the challenge. They had different motivations. We are glad they committed to eat brown rice regularly, with some even committing for life,” said Hazel V. Antonio, campaign director of the Be Riceponsible Campaign.
Description: D:\SPPasiona [January-June 2017]\Stories\Brown4Good\Brown4good.PNG



Twitter user Neon Arzaga (@chavsme25) posted his photo of a meal with brown rice and said, “I commit to help farmers! I am Riceponsible. Be Riceponsible!”
Brown rice is unpopular among low and middle-income classes despite its health benefits because of its high price. By commissioning farmers’ cooperatives to be suppliers of good quality brown rice and linking them to retailers and food establishments, DA-PhilRice was able to make it available in major cities at P37-45/kg.
“While it was made around 40% cheaper than in malls, farmers were still able to get income of as much as six times higher because of the project. Thus, consumers were able to afford it while also increasing the income of farmers,” Antonio added.
“The #BROWN4good challenge proved that Filipinos are just deterred by the high price of brown rice. Given more affordable and accessible supply, more would be willing to embrace it for good. Thus, the challenge that DA would continue to address,” Antonio concluded.
The #BROWN4good challenge is part of the bigger campaign dubbed as Be Riceponsible, a social mobilization initiative created to spread awareness on the value of every rice grain and to encourage the consumption of healthier rice options such as brown or unpolished white rice.
Courtesy:Phil Rice News