Friday, February 17, 2017

17th February 2017 daily global,regional and local rice e-newsletter by riceplus magazine

Rice Bran Oil Market by Manufacturers,Types,Regions and Applications Research Report Forecast to 2021

Thursday, February 16th, 2017 - WiseGuyReports
WiseGuyReports.Com Publish a New Market Research Report On – Rice Bran Oil Market by Manufacturers,Types,Regions and Applications Research Report Forecast to 2021”.
                                                                                                                       
The analysts forecast the global rice bran oil market to grow at a CAGR of 5.14% during the period 2017-2021.
Rice bran oil is an edible oil extracted from rice's outer brown layer, which is known as rice bran. It contains 15%-20% oil by weight.

For more information or any query mail at sales@wiseguyreports.com

Covered in this report 
The report covers the present scenario and the growth prospects of the global rice bran oil market for 2017-2021. To calculate the market size, the report considers the revenue generated from the sales of rice bran oil.
The market is divided into the following segments based on geography: 
• Americas
• APAC
• Europe
• MEA
The report, Global Rice Bran Oil Market 2017-2021, has been prepared based on an in-depth market analysis with inputs from industry experts. The report covers the market landscape and its growth prospects over the coming years. The report also includes a discussion of the key vendors operating in this market.
Key vendors 
• A.P. Refinery
• Ricela Health Foods
• Sethia Oils
• Thai Edible Oil 
Other prominent vendors 
• Adani Wilmar
• Advanced Chemical Industries
• Emami Agrotech
• GEF India
• Hansells
• InterNatural Foods
• Kamolkij Group of Companies
• Marico
• Mother Dairy Fruit & Vegetable
• Riceland Foods
• Ruchi Soya Industries
• Surin Bran Oil
• TARA HEALTH FOODS
• Vimal Oil & Foods 
Market driver 
• Health benefits of rice bran oil
• For a full, detailed list, view our report
Market challenge 
• Unestablished category
• For a full, detailed list, view our report


Market trend 
• New players entering rice bran oil category
• For a full, detailed list, view our report
Key questions answered in this report 
• What will the market size be in 2021 and what will the growth rate be?
• What are the key market trends?
• What is driving this market?
• What are the challenges to market growth?
• Who are the key vendors in this market space?
• What are the market opportunities and threats faced by the key vendors?
• What are the strengths and weaknesses of the key vendors?

Table Of Contents – Major Key Points
 
PART 01: Executive summary 
PART 02: Scope of the report 
PART 03: Research Methodology 
PART 04: Introduction 
• Key market highlights 
PART 05: Market landscape 
• Global edible oil market
• Global rice bran oil
• Five forces analysis 
PART 06: Market segmentation by distribution channel 
• Hypermarkets and supermarkets
• Convenience stores
• Food and drink specialty stores
• Others 
PART 07: Market segmentation by type 
• Segmentation by type
• Organic rice bran oil
• Non-organic rice bran oil 
PART 08: Geographical segmentation 
• Segmentation by geography
• APAC
• Americas
• Europe
• MEA 
PART 09: Key leading countries 
• Japan
• China
• India 
PART 10: Market drivers 
• Health benefits of rice bran oil
• High smoke point and balance of fatty acids make rice bran oil a desirable choice for consumers
• Competitive prices and longer shelf life in comparison to other oils
• Usage of rice bran oil for horses 
PART 11: Impact of drivers 
PART 12: Market challenges 
• Unestablished category
• Perception barriers of consumers regarding rice bran oil color
• Technical constraints 
………..CONTINUED

http://www.newsmaker.com.au/news/251206/rice-bran-oil-market-by-manufacturerstypesregions-and-applications-research-report-forecast-to-2021#.WKbgVdJ956oYou Have Been Cooking Rice Wrong Your Entire Life – Scientist Reveals

Description: http://timeofgist.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/You-Have-Been-Cooking-Rice-Wrong-Your-Entire-Life-Scientist-Reveals.jpg


According to a scientist, we have been cooking rice wrong, claiming that the traditional method might pose dangers to our health.
Generally, rice is a healthy food containing nourishment inside tiny little grains. However aside from nourishment and vitamins, rice may also contain arsenic due to the pesticide used in growing it.
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Scientists believe that there is only a certain arsenic level that can be deemed safe for one’s health. According to The Telegraph, longtime exposure to the toxin may be a factor to various health problems such as heart diseases, diabetes and even cancer.
During the BBC program ‘Trust Me, I’m a Doctor’, reseacher Andy Meharg of Queens University in Belfast demonstrated three different methods of cooking rice. In the demo, Meharg proved that the way rice is cooked affects the arsenic level of the rice.
The first method Meharg used is the traditional method wherein one part of rice is cooked with three parts of water.
On the second method, the researcher used a different ratio of 1 is to five for the rice and water respectively. She later poured off excess water. The second method was able to reduce the arsenic levels by about 50 percent.
Her final method however was able to cut the arsenic levels by about 80 percent. Meharg soaked the rice overnight before washing it the next day.
The recipe proposed by researcher Meharg is believed to be a better and safer method.
Check out Meharg’s suggestion below:
-Soak the amount of rice you’d like to cook overnight.
-Rinse well the next day and make sure the water is clean.
-Once fully drained, cook one part rice to five parts of water and add a pinch of salt in the sauce pan.
-Allow it to boil before lowering the heat for about 10-15 minutes.
-Cover while cooking
-Use a fork to test if the rice is cooked.
Try this technique and tell us how it goes!http://timeofgist.com/cooking-rice-wrong-entire-life-scientist-reveals/

Sri Lanka to set higher controlled prices for domestic rice

Feb 16, 2017 16:44 PM

ECONOMYNEXT - Sri Lanka's will mandate separate prices for domestic and imported rice following a decision by President Maithripala Sirisena, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake told reporters in the latest twist in the island's price control saga.
Sri Lanka's Consumer Affairs Authority mandated prices of Rs80 for a kilogram of Samba rice, Rs72 for Nadu (a parboiled rice) and Rs70 for Kekulu (raw rice).
Sri Lanka's rice millers had refused to sell rice at the ceiling set by Sri Lanka's price control authority and sought a meeting with President Sirisena, whose brother is also a top rice miller.
The decision was made at a meeting where Minister P Harison and Rishard Bathiudeen was also present Karunanayake said.
Karunanayake said the President had practical knowledge in such matters, and if problems crop, such as selling imported rice at prices set for domestic rice as alleged by some, they could be dealt with.
Some rice millers have built brands and it would be possible for branded millers to sell rice at higher than he basic commodity price, economic analysts say.Sri Lanka's rice prices rose after a drought hit crop in the current growing season, but Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake had already cut import taxes to Rs5 a kilo, which would ensure the free flow of rice, and eventually reduce prices.
Rice is still being sold at higher-than-controlled prices as foreign supplies keep coming in.Higher prices would incentivise importers and make people eat close substitutes such as wheat flour, automatically clearing the market and eliminating shortages.If controlled prices are strictly enforced, black markets and shortages will occur as elementary economic students know
http://www.economynext.com/Sri_Lanka_to_set_higher_controlled_prices_for_domestic_rice-3-7355.html

Few takers for emergency rice loans

Fri, 17 February 2017
Description: A rice farmer in Battambang province during last year’s harvest season.

A rice farmer in Battambang province during last year’s harvest season. Heng Chivoan
With the Kingdom’s main rice harvesting season wrapping up, just a fraction of a government emergency loan package that aimed at giving millers the liquidity they needed to purchase rice paddy during the harvest cycle has been disbursed, leaving the government and private sector divided on why.
Kao Thach, chief executive of the Rural Development Bank (RDB), the government-owned bank that was entrusted last September with disbursing $27 million in low-interest loans to millers, said only five loans were issued due to a lack of demand. He said that despite rice millers claiming to be suffering financial difficulties, few seemed genuinely interested in obtaining the bank’s low-interest credit lines.
“We are looking at how to best use the loans to help Cambodian rice millers survive, but so far only 12 percent of the loans have been disbursed, which is not rational given millers’ claims of money shortages,” he said yesterday. “We don’t know what is really happening with their activity and why the borrowing has been so slow.”
The government made sure the loans were easy and convenient to access for millers, Thach said, requiring only rice paddy stock as collateral, while imposing a low annual interest rate of 7 percent. The criteria were much less complicated than those of banks or MFIs, he added.
“Our terms and conditions are convenient and we make sure to disburse the loans in only one or two days after checking rice stocks for collateral,” he said. “I suspect that the rice millers are not really facing money shortages.”
In June, the unused funds will be returned to the government, Thach said. It is unclear if a similar package will be approved again for the next harvest seasons starting in September, he noted.
Hun Lak, president of the Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF), said the loans given to the millers, though small, were helpful to those who requested them. He added that it will be necessary to have similar packages available every harvesting season if Cambodia is to reach its target of exporting 1 million tonnes of rice annually.
The problem, he declared, was that the loans arrived too late in the season for millers to fully utilise them.
“The emergency loan was not made available at the right time to be best used by the whole rice sector as currently millers face low prices and smaller demand,” Lak said. “If millers cannot find buyers, they will not be able to borrow the money, which requires interest payments.”
He added that loans would become useful in the future once millers sign contracts with purchasers guaranteeing sales for rice as they will no longer need to worry about the market risks
http://www.phnompenhpost.com/business/few-takers-emergency-rice-loans

Debts, middlemen and cheap imports bring Ahero rice scheme to its knees

Description: Women harvest rice in Ahero. Farmers have been incurring huge losses as arrears paid to them end up in the pockets of unscrupulous brokers. PHOTO | FILE
Women harvest rice in Ahero. Farmers have been incurring huge losses as arrears paid to them end up in the pockets of unscrupulous brokers. PHOTO | FILE 
By SILAS APOLLO

Posted  Thursday, February 16   2017 at  21:50
Debts running into millions of shillings, exploitation and import of cheap produce have brought the once vibrant Ahero Irrigation Scheme in Kisumu County to its knees.
The rice irrigation scheme, one of the largest in the country, is now a pale shadow of its former self due to alleged looting of farmers’ millions of shillings by middle men, poor farming methods and falling prices.
In the past two years, farmers have been running into huge losses as arrears paid to them end up in the pockets of unscrupulous brokers. Most of the farms have been turned into grazing fields as farmers abandon rice for other crops like tomatoes and sorghum.
Area MP Fred Outa yesterday said the scheme ran into trouble in early 2000 when local leaders began politicising the project.
Mr Outa, the Nyando MP, said matters have been worsened by the accumulation of loans advanced to farmers, an amount which runs into hundreds of millions of shillings.
“I have been a rice farmer for some time now and what I can attest to is that the scheme needs an urgent and swift recovery plan. Since I became an MP I have tried but a lot still needs to be done,” he said . Bernard Ogallo, a farmer at the scheme, said the crop had become “a bitter pill” following the entry of cheaper imports which edged out locals from the market. As a result, falling and unpredictable prices now threaten the multi-million shillings scheme which has been a source of livelihood for households in western Kenya and beyond.
“Farming rice is no longer lucrative. We spent a lot of money and resources on farming with little or no returns at all,” he said.
So dire is the situation, he said, that the farmers wrote a memorandum to Kisumu governor Jack Ranguma indicating that they were unable to account for about Sh70 million paid to the scheme.
Negotiating a bailout
“We are surprised that money paid to the scheme cannot be reflected in our audited reports,” they say in the June 2015 letter signed by Mr Alphonce Oruko, one of the scheme directors.
Mr Ranguma said he has been  negotiating a bailout with the national government. The governor, who yesterday launched tractors to be used in ploughing farms, also blamed ‘‘local politics’’ for stalling efforts by the county government to revive the scheme.
“Agriculture, according to the Constitution, is a devolved function and as a count we are working around the clock to revive the scheme,” said the governor. “We have already developed a better marketing framework with the help of the Nairobi Securities Exchange, among other initiatives.

http://www.businessdailyafrica.com/Corporate-News/-Debts-Ahero-rice-scheme--knees/539550-3816368-jogy9p/

Description: Rice market pressure easing as imports start arriving at retailersRice market pressure easing as imports start arriving at retailers

 As imported rice volumes began feeding into domestic retail and wholesale channels, Minister of Industry and Commerce began making surprise visits to learn about the market status first-hand on the eve of 15 February.

“There is no shortage of rice in the market as speculated” said Minister of Industry and Commerce RishadBathiudeen on the eve of 16 February. Minister Bathiudeen accompanied by officials of the Consumer Affairs Authority, was addressing the media and camera crews that joined his visit to a privately owned rice warehouse at Fifth Cross Street, Colombo city, on the eve of 15th.

“Imported rice is now distributed and rice shortage is now ending. There is no shortage of rice in the market as speculated” said Minister Bathiudeen, and added: “I visited many shops and rice wholesalers around here in Colombo and all of them are selling rice at given Maximum Retail Prices (MRPs), and certain places are selling competitively at even lower prices! For example, at this sales shop at Colombo 5, Ponni Samba is sold at Rs 64 when the MRP for it is Rs 80. Consumers are requested to call our hotline 1977 to complain of any errant rice sales anywhere from Sri Lanka. 250 officers of CAA are raiding shops across the island today. I ask individuals to refrain from spreading false information and rumours about this. The rice I am talking about today is not the domestically milled rice but imported rice on which we reduced the import tax to a mere Rs 5.”
 The wholesale rice distribution warehouse that was inspected by Minister Bathiudeen was not chosen by Minister Bathiudeen or his CAA but only by the accompanying media and news camera teams by themselves.

By order No 41 issued by CAA under Consumer Affairs Authority Act No 9 of 2003’s section 20(5) MRPs for three rice varieties -Nadu, Raw Rice and Samba- was set at Rs 72 for a kilo of Nadu, Rs 70 for a kilo of Raw and Rs for a kilo of Samba (excluding Keeri Samba and Suduru Samba).

USA Rice Stormed the Hill
By Michael Klein

WASHINGTON, DC -- More than 140 rice farmers, merchants, and millers participated in USA Rice's annual Government Affairs Conference here this week to share policy positions and priorities with Members of Congress, their staffs, and Trump Administration officials.

There were 54 meetings with individual Congressional offices and key committees including at the House Ways & Means and Senate Finance Committees.

"We had a very strong showing from all segments of the industry and all the major rice states, and our messages were well-received in all of the offices we visited," said Blake Gerard, a Missouri rice farmer and chairman of USA Rice Farmers.

"It's important to thank our Members for their past help and express our concerns about the future," said Gerard's fellow Missourian Rance Daniels.  "What I find most encouraging is when we express those concerns to our home state Member and they are able to share with us the work they've already started on the issue."

Trade dominated many of the conversations.

"Given the Trump Administration's focus on trade, it was important for us to be here to let Members know that maintaining and expanding export markets is vital for us - from Japan and Iraq, to our top market of Mexico, and what was once our top market, Cuba," explained Robert Trahan of Falcon Rice Mill in Crowley, Louisiana and chairman of the USA Rice Millers' Association.
Description: https://ci4.googleusercontent.com/proxy/PwY8zeozY2N-IcCD2_ylKeRnWztoJgQEUzy1x6UO5C_9NWN4oAhHKJ3ziNyVXtXzsh48LD_Qj7IQWN4G7uMz3tQ4Q4L_qdkUhbASv83bqT-i=s0-d-e1-ft#https://imgssl.constantcontact.com/letters/images/sys/S.gif
Chance meeting with 
Sonny Perdue
Description: https://ci4.googleusercontent.com/proxy/PwY8zeozY2N-IcCD2_ylKeRnWztoJgQEUzy1x6UO5C_9NWN4oAhHKJ3ziNyVXtXzsh48LD_Qj7IQWN4G7uMz3tQ4Q4L_qdkUhbASv83bqT-i=s0-d-e1-ft#https://imgssl.constantcontact.com/letters/images/sys/S.gif
The looming Farm Bill and pending nomination of Governor Sonny Perdue to be Secretary of Agriculture were also central to discussions.

"[House Agriculture Committee] Chairman Conaway is pretty determined to get the new Farm Bill in place by the time the current bill expires in 2018," said Linda Raun, a Texas rice farmer who was instrumental for the rice industry in the development of the 2014 Farm Bill.  "They've already had more than 80 hearings which is good, but as the Chairman told us, there are some things that work really well in the current bill, particularly for rice, but there are also some things that need fixing, so it is going to be interesting."

"One of the things we told Members we met with is that we feel very good about Governor Perdue because he understands commodity agriculture, the importance of trade, and the plight of farmers today," said Joe Mencer, an Arkansas rice farmer.  "We only heard back positive things about the Governor and expect he'll be confirmed, which is good because there are a lot of important positions within USDA that the new Secretary needs to fill."

One of the highlights of the USA Rice conference is the unity that is on display.

"The fact that we come here together - farmers, millers, merchants, and end users - to talk to our government with one voice is really important," said Mississippi rice farmer Kirk Satterfield.  "Of course there's strength in numbers, but the way the country and Congress seem divided now, I think us coming here and showing our leaders that we unite for our common good is encouraging, and frankly, I hope sets a good example."

Flooding and mandatory evacuations at home colored the experience for many of the California participants.
Description: https://ci4.googleusercontent.com/proxy/PwY8zeozY2N-IcCD2_ylKeRnWztoJgQEUzy1x6UO5C_9NWN4oAhHKJ3ziNyVXtXzsh48LD_Qj7IQWN4G7uMz3tQ4Q4L_qdkUhbASv83bqT-i=s0-d-e1-ft#https://imgssl.constantcontact.com/letters/images/sys/S.gif
Description: https://ci4.googleusercontent.com/proxy/PwY8zeozY2N-IcCD2_ylKeRnWztoJgQEUzy1x6UO5C_9NWN4oAhHKJ3ziNyVXtXzsh48LD_Qj7IQWN4G7uMz3tQ4Q4L_qdkUhbASv83bqT-i=s0-d-e1-ft#https://imgssl.constantcontact.com/letters/images/sys/S.gif
California contingent
"Almost all of our Hill meetings began with Oroville Dam situation," said Nicole Van Vleck, a rice farmer from Yuba City, California.  "But frankly, that provided us with the opportunity to drive home the point to the Members we met that water fixes are extremely important in California, especially additional surface storage, Sites Reservoir, and the need for regulatory agencies to take a serious look at our Salmon Recovery Plan as a way to save salmon and still allow farmers to farm."

Tomorrow in USA Rice Daily:  Participants' meetings with the Trump Administration.

Description: https://ci4.googleusercontent.com/proxy/PwY8zeozY2N-IcCD2_ylKeRnWztoJgQEUzy1x6UO5C_9NWN4oAhHKJ3ziNyVXtXzsh48LD_Qj7IQWN4G7uMz3tQ4Q4L_qdkUhbASv83bqT-i=s0-d-e1-ft#https://imgssl.constantcontact.com/letters/images/sys/S.gif

What's Good for Rice is Good for Ducks and It's All Good to Eat 

WASHINGTON, DC -- The annual Ducks Unlimited-USA Rice Congressional Luncheon took place here yesterday, with more than 200 USA Rice Government Affairs Conference attendees and Congressional staff and Members mixing and talking rice and politics.

The menu consisted of several U.S.-grown rice and duck dishes including sushi, arancini, and spicy duck and andouille sausage gumbo served over rice.

"We've been hustling from meeting to meeting, on the Hill and off the Hill, for a day and a half now.  It's nice to have a slightly more casual setting to visit with Congressional staff and grab a bite that really lets us naturally talk about the great conservation story rice has thanks to the unique relationship between rice and ducks," explained California rice farmer and Chairman of the USA Rice Conservation Committee Leo LeGrande.

"It's great to bring everyone together to showcase our Rice Stewardship Partnership here in Washington," said Kellis Moss, DU's director of public policy, who worked closely with USA Rice to coordinate the event.  "The folks in the field see the benefits rice provides for ducks everyday but it's even better to have growers in town to help us tell our story and hopefully they'll later act as our advocates when we need help with policy and legislation."

The break didn't last long.  Soon after the luncheon, the USA Rice Hill teams were back on schedule with a host of meetings that took them right into the dinner hour.

USA Rice Stormed the Hill 


WASHINGTON, DC -- More than 140 rice farmers, merchants, and millers participated in USA Rice's annual Government Affairs Conference here this week to share policy positions and priorities with Members of Congress, their staffs, and Trump Administration officials.

There were 54 meetings with individual Congressional offices and key committees including at the House Ways & Means and Senate Finance Committees.

"We had a very strong showing from all segments of the industry and all the major rice states, and our messages were well-received in all of the offices we visited," said Blake Gerard, a Missouri rice farmer and chairman of USA Rice Farmers.

"It's important to thank our Members for their past help and express our concerns about the future," said Gerard's fellow Missourian Rance Daniels.  "What I find most encouraging is when we express those concerns to our home state Member and they are able to share with us the work they've already started on the issue."

Trade dominated many of the conversations.

"Given the Trump Administration's focus on trade, it was important for us to be here to let Members know that maintaining and expanding export markets is vital for us - from Japan and Iraq, to our top market of Mexico, and what was once our top market, Cuba," explained Robert Trahan of Falcon Rice Mill in Crowley, Louisiana and chairman of the USA Rice Millers' Association.
Description: https://ci4.googleusercontent.com/proxy/PwY8zeozY2N-IcCD2_ylKeRnWztoJgQEUzy1x6UO5C_9NWN4oAhHKJ3ziNyVXtXzsh48LD_Qj7IQWN4G7uMz3tQ4Q4L_qdkUhbASv83bqT-i=s0-d-e1-ft#https://imgssl.constantcontact.com/letters/images/sys/S.gif
Chance meeting with 
Sonny Perdue
Description: https://ci4.googleusercontent.com/proxy/PwY8zeozY2N-IcCD2_ylKeRnWztoJgQEUzy1x6UO5C_9NWN4oAhHKJ3ziNyVXtXzsh48LD_Qj7IQWN4G7uMz3tQ4Q4L_qdkUhbASv83bqT-i=s0-d-e1-ft#https://imgssl.constantcontact.com/letters/images/sys/S.gif
The looming Farm Bill and pending nomination of Governor Sonny Perdue to be Secretary of Agriculture were also central to discussions.

"[House Agriculture Committee] Chairman Conaway is pretty determined to get the new Farm Bill in place by the time the current bill expires in 2018," said Linda Raun, a Texas rice farmer who was instrumental for the rice industry in the development of the 2014 Farm Bill.  "They've already had more than 80 hearings which is good, but as the Chairman told us, there are some things that work really well in the current bill, particularly for rice, but there are also some things that need fixing, so it is going to be interesting."

"One of the things we told Members we met with is that we feel very good about Governor Perdue because he understands commodity agriculture, the importance of trade, and the plight of farmers today," said Joe Mencer, an Arkansas rice farmer.  "We only heard back positive things about the Governor and expect he'll be confirmed, which is good because there are a lot of important positions within USDA that the new Secretary needs to fill."

One of the highlights of the USA Rice conference is the unity that is on display.

"The fact that we come here together - farmers, millers, merchants, and end users - to talk to our government with one voice is really important," said Mississippi rice farmer Kirk Satterfield.  "Of course there's strength in numbers, but the way the country and Congress seem divided now, I think us coming here and showing our leaders that we unite for our common good is encouraging, and frankly, I hope sets a good example."

Flooding and mandatory evacuations at home colored the experience for many of the California participants.
Description: https://ci4.googleusercontent.com/proxy/PwY8zeozY2N-IcCD2_ylKeRnWztoJgQEUzy1x6UO5C_9NWN4oAhHKJ3ziNyVXtXzsh48LD_Qj7IQWN4G7uMz3tQ4Q4L_qdkUhbASv83bqT-i=s0-d-e1-ft#https://imgssl.constantcontact.com/letters/images/sys/S.gif
Description: https://ci4.googleusercontent.com/proxy/PwY8zeozY2N-IcCD2_ylKeRnWztoJgQEUzy1x6UO5C_9NWN4oAhHKJ3ziNyVXtXzsh48LD_Qj7IQWN4G7uMz3tQ4Q4L_qdkUhbASv83bqT-i=s0-d-e1-ft#https://imgssl.constantcontact.com/letters/images/sys/S.gif
California contingent
"Almost all of our Hill meetings began with Oroville Dam situation," said Nicole Van Vleck, a rice farmer from Yuba City, California.  "But frankly, that provided us with the opportunity to drive home the point to the Members we met that water fixes are extremely important in California, especially additional surface storage, Sites Reservoir, and the need for regulatory agencies to take a serious look at our Salmon Recovery Plan as a way to save salmon and still allow farmers to farm."

Tomorrow in USA Rice Daily:  Participants' meetings with the Trump Administration.

Description: https://ci4.googleusercontent.com/proxy/PwY8zeozY2N-IcCD2_ylKeRnWztoJgQEUzy1x6UO5C_9NWN4oAhHKJ3ziNyVXtXzsh48LD_Qj7IQWN4G7uMz3tQ4Q4L_qdkUhbASv83bqT-i=s0-d-e1-ft#https://imgssl.constantcontact.com/letters/images/sys/S.gif

What's Good for Rice is Good for Ducks and It's All Good to Eat 
 WASHINGTON, DC -- The annual Ducks Unlimited-USA Rice Congressional Luncheon took place here yesterday, with more than 200 USA Rice Government Affairs Conference attendees and Congressional staff and Members mixing and talking rice and politics.

The menu consisted of several U.S.-grown rice and duck dishes including sushi, arancini, and spicy duck and andouille sausage gumbo served over rice.

"We've been hustling from meeting to meeting, on the Hill and off the Hill, for a day and a half now.  It's nice to have a slightly more casual setting to visit with Congressional staff and grab a bite that really lets us naturally talk about the great conservation story rice has thanks to the unique relationship between rice and ducks," explained California rice farmer and Chairman of the USA Rice Conservation Committee Leo LeGrande.

"It's great to bring everyone together to showcase our Rice Stewardship Partnership here in Washington," said Kellis Moss, DU's director of public policy, who worked closely with USA Rice to coordinate the event.  "The folks in the field see the benefits rice provides for ducks everyday but it's even better to have growers in town to help us tell our story and hopefully they'll later act as our advocates when we need help with policy and legislation."

The break didn't last long.  Soon after the luncheon, the USA Rice Hill teams were back on schedule with a host of meetings that took them right into the dinner hour
 Food minister: Price of coarse variety rice will not further increase
Published at 08:48 PM February 15, 2017
Last updated at 08:48 PM February 15, 2017
Description: Food minister: Price of coarse variety rice will not further increase
A Bangladesh rice vendor waits for customers at a market in Dhaka on April 30, 2008. Bangladesh's finance minister has urged company owners to spend some of their profits in subsidising food for workers to defuse mounting tensions over soaring rice and other commodity pricesAFP

Food Minister Advocate Quamrul Islam said that the price of coarse variety rice would not further rise during this current Aman season.

The minister made the statement after a meeting with the Rice Mill Owners’ Association leaders at his ministry conference room on Wednesday.
However, the rice import this year was not as high compared to 2016, he added. He said only 37,000 tonnes of rice was imported from India this year.
“A section of unscrupulous traders are trying to make a ploy to increase the coarse variety rice prices …but they will not succeed,” said the minister.
Even the government rate of coarse variety rice is Tk33 and the market price of has increased by Tk1-1.5 per kg, said the food minister.The current market price of coarse rice is tk36-tk44.


He also said that the price of coarse variety rice is now affordable for common people.
Moreover, around 2.5lakh to 3lakh tonnes of coarse variety rice had been imported last year from India without imposing any duty on rice, he said.The minister said the government will never remove the duty on rice import as a section of unscrupulous rice traders are continuously pressurising the government through making the rice market unstable, reports BSS.“We will never allow this as the dishonest businessmen can exploit this opportunity,” Quamrul added

http://www.dhakatribune.com/feature/food/2017/02/15/coarse-variety-rice-rise/


INDIA’S ‘RICE BOWL’ MISSING IN CENTRE’S PADDY PROCUREMENT LIST

Thursday, 16 February 2017 | Staff Reporter | Raipur | in Raipur
Considered the ‘rice bowl of India’, Chhattisgarh found no mention in the estimate for paddy procurement in terms of rice during winter/summer crop of Kharif Marketing Season (KMS) 2016-17 in the list of Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution released on Wednesday.
The list comprises paddy procurement in 8 states mainly-- Andhra Pradesh ,13 lakh metric tonnes (MT), Telangana (15 lakh MT),  Odisha (7 lakh MT),  Tamil Nadu (5 lakh MT), Kerala (one lakh MT), West Bengal ( 8 lakh MT), Assam (0.25 lakh MT) and Maharashtra (0.75 lakh MT).
Notably, in the conference of the Food Secretaries of the States held in New Delhi on Wednesday held under the Chairpersonship of Preeti Sudan, Secretary, Department of Food & Public Distribution, Government of India , the prospects of production of wheat and procurement estimate for Rabi Marketing Season (RMS) 2017-18 were discussed.
In consultation with the States, it was decided to procure 330.00 lakh MT of wheat during Rabi Marketing Season 2017-18, which is considerably more in comparison with the last season’s actual procurement of 229.61 lakh MT.
In the Conference, the estimate for procurement of paddy grown in Rabi/ Winter/ Summer crop of Kharif Marketing Season 2016-17 for various States were also done in terms of rice.
The estimate is 50 lakh MT. This estimate is over and above the estimate of 330 lakh MT set for Kharif crop of paddy for KMS 2016-17, for which the procurement operations are going on and the paddy procurement in KMS 2016-17 in terms of rice has already reached to the level of 292.31 lakh MT as reported on February 15, 2017, which is nearly 28 lakh MT higher than the procurement of 264.53 lakh MT by the corresponding date in previous year, i.e., KMS 2015-16.
It may be recalled that the Chhattisgarh State Cooperative Marketing Federation (MARKFED) has released Rs 1,301 crore to district cooperative central banks for taking up paddy procurement exercise, the State Government had informed on November 30 last year in a  press release.
 “The money would be transferred online in the bank accounts of farmers selling their paddy on support price,” President of MARKFED Radhakrishna Gupta had stated. 
He further informed that procurement centers of cooperative societies is seeing heavy arrival of paddy and about 9.06 lakh metric tonnes of paddy has already been purchased at these centers.
Out of the total paddy procured so far, delivery order (DO) for shifting of 36,951 metric tonnes of paddy has also been released, he said while adding that rice millers have lifted 3,942 tonnes of paddy directly from the procurement centers for custom milling.
The State government decided to purchase 65 lakh metric tonnes of paddy during the Kharif Marketing Season for year 2016-17.
The  procurement season that had started on November 15 ended on January 31, 2017.Chhattisgarh stood second in the country in Kharif season 2015-16 among a list of 18 states with targeted procurement of 36 lakh metric tonnes of paddy crop during 2015-16 as per information made available by the Central Government in that year.
Punjab was ranked first in the country in 2015-16 Kharif season among 18 states in the country with paddy procurement target of 82 lakh metric tonnes , according to the data of 18 states released by the Centre.
In a meeting of State Food Secretaries held in New Delhi in 2015-16, the procurement target for Kharif Marketing Season (KMS) 2015-16 was finalised at a total of 300 lakh metric tonnes in the rice growing states.
States have been asked to identify immediately areas with maximum paddy production and to open adequate purchase centers and deploy sufficient manpower. They have also been advised to make arrangements for publicizing MSP fixed, procurement centers opened through print and audio-visual media as well as through pamphlets in local languages, officials had stated.
The Governments have also been asked to prepare details of storage plan for the ensuing Kharif Marketing Season and have an action plan to meet the deficit in storage requirements, if required, they had stated.
Regarding Packaging material, Food Secretaries were requested to place indents for purchase of jute bags in time to avoid last minute shortage of packaging material.
 The States were also requested to furnish, on daily basis, the revenue district-wise procurement details of previous day for Online Procurement Monitoring System (OPMS). 
The FCI was directed to constitute joint teams with the State Governments to oversee the conduct of procurement operations and to attend specific complaints, problems etc, officials stated. 


Farm machines to replace labor

 KhmerTHURSDAY, 16 FEBRUARY 2017
Agricultural production, especially in the rice sector, is becoming increasingly mechanized due to a shortage of labor caused by a sharp migration of youth to the cities and the rise in prices of commodities, said a Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) official yesterday.“The use of machinery and equipment has increased in farms due to the growth of the economy that is causing many able-bodied young men to move out of the rural areas to work in factories in the urban areas,” said Ty Sokun, secretary of state at MAFF.
 
“Right now, especially in the rice farms, there is a 70 percent capacity in terms of labor. But in the next few years, the workforce could dwindle to less than 50 percent,” said Mr. Sokun.“Because of that, farmers would have no choice but to mechanize their operations – if they want to survive.”

Mr. Sokun also said the price of agricultral commodities is rising and so is the demand for food. Because of this, he said, farmers could use machines to “expand their food production by intensification.”“For example some regions used to produce one crop a year, now they can grow two or three crops a year on their land or expand their growing areas.”

Song Saran, CEO of Amru Rice (Cambodia), who works closely with 3,000 farmers in Cambodia, said there is an increasing trend among the country’s rice farmers to use machinery such as four-wheeled tractors and walk-behind tractors.
 
While Mr. Saran said this was a positive development in the agriculture sector, he, however, pointed out that there were no credit schemes offered by the government for farmers to purchase machinery and equipment.

“To buy new machines and equipment, farmers have to use either their own savings or borrow money from banks or microfinance institutions,” he said.
 
Mr. Saran urged the government to do more by providing fuel subsidies to farmers using tractors on their farms.“The government should support a strategy for agricultural mechanization and not just pay lip-service to it,” he said.Machinery alone will not provide much productivity if farmers invest a lot of money in it. There are still the high production costs, to contend with.”

 Ngorn Saing, CEO of RMA Cambodia – the official distributor of American agricultural machinery manufacturer John Deere – said the use of tractors in Cambodia has risen but tractor imports fell last year.Mr. Saing said that RMA saw the import of agricultural machinery drop last year to about 200 units from 300 units in 2015.
A MAFF report released last month showed that the use of agriculture machinery rose to about 91 percent in 2016, compared with 83 percent in 2015, while the use of cattle in farming was 8.8 percent last year.
According to MAFF, in 2016, farming by agricultural machinery covered about 2.73 million hectares in the rainy season out of the total of about three million hectares. In the dry season, machinery helped farm 356,705 hectares out of 369,304 hectares
http://www.khmertimeskh.com/news/35502/farm-machines-to-replace-labor/

Stress-resistant Green Super Rice developed at IRRI

posted February 16, 2017 at 12:01 am by Ferdie G. Domingo

SCIENCE CITY OF MUÑOZ, Nueva Ecija—Researchers at the International Rice Research Institute have developed a rice variety found resistant to drought, salinity, alkalinity, iron toxicity and other multiple stresses.Rc480, also known as GSR of Green Super Rice, was one of 25 new varieties approved recently by the National Seed Industry Council. 
The other 24 were developed by the Philippine Rice Research Institute or PhilRice, University of the Philippines Los Baños, Philippine-Sino Center for Center for Agricultural Technology or PhilSCAT, Syngenta, and LongPing Philippines.
Dr. Oliver Manangkil, NSIC coordinator and head of the Plant Breeding and Biotechnology Division of PhilRice, said GSR stands out among these varieties for its unique qualities. He said this variety can grow under saline and drought-prone environments, and has high and stable yields despite lesser input requirements.
The super rice, Manangkil said, offers a maximum yield of 4.4 tons per hectare, matures in 107 days after sowing or DAS, and has intermediate resistance to pests, such as yellow stem borer and brown plant-hoppers.
“The Super Rice is super in every sense of the word. It is super-resistant to all types of threats,” he stressed.
Manangkil added that of the 25 varieties, six are bred by PhilRice: Rc440 (Tubigan 39), NSIC Rc438 (Tubigan 38), and hybrid Rc446H (Mestiso 73) for irrigated lowlands, Rc472 (Sahod Ulan 22) for rainfed lowlands, and Rc462 (Salinas 21) and Rc470 (Salinas 25) for saline environments.
http://www.thestandard.com.ph/sunday-lgu-section-pdf/luzon/229432/stress-resistant-green-super-rice-developed-at-irri.html

Dr. Ranjitsinh Mane appointed assistant professor of agricultural and consumer economics for UAPB

Will Hehemann School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences

Dr. Ranjitsinh Mane has been appointed assistant professor of agricultural and consumer economics for the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Department of Agriculture. In this position, he will teach graduate and undergraduate courses on topics including principles of agricultural economics, agricultural finance, consumer economics and agricultural cooperatives.
In addition to teaching students quantitative skills in statistics, econometrics and micro and macroeconomics, he will also be responsible for developing and maintaining an active research program, which will include securing grants and contributing to publications related to agricultural and consumer economics.
“We are delighted to welcome Dr. Mane to our department,” Dr. Obadiah Njue, chair of the Department of Agriculture, said. “His training and experience will add to the high quality teaching, research and Extension services our department provides to UAPB’s clientele.”
Dr. Mane has a doctorate degree in public policy with a specialization in agricultural and food policy and a master’s degree in agricultural economics from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. He earned a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from the College of Agriculture in Pune, India. Prior to this position, Dr. Mane was a research program associate at the University of Arkansas Rice Research and Extension Center in Stuttgart, Arkansas. His responsibilities included analyzing the farm-level impact of crop insurance programs for Arkansas rice farmers, assisting rice farmers make choices related to their crop insurance and developing crop enterprise budgets for the Rice Research Verification Program.From 2004 to 2011, he worked as a senior research assistant for the University of Arkansas Department of Agriculture Economics and Agribusiness. In this role, he conducted a number of analytical research projects that ranged from assessing the role of community gardens in addressing food security in Arkansas to investigating the profitability and policy reforms in biodiesel production throughout the state and nation.
Dr. Mane’s professional memberships include the Mid-Continent Regional Science Association, the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association and Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS). From 2011 to 2013, he served as president of the MANRRS chapter at the University of Arkansas.
He has authored and co-authored a number of journal articles and working papers, as well as a book chapter. He has served as a panelist and presented research at agricultural and research conferences both nationally and internationally.
https://uapbnews.wordpress.com/2017/02/16/dr-ranjitsinh-mane-appointed-assistant-professor-of-agricultural-and-consumer-economics-for-uapb/

Ag Safety Day coming to Rice Lake region

Feb 15, 2017

Learn skills and important safety information specific to agriculture at Ag Safety Day. This new seminar will be Wednesday, March 1, from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the WITC-Rice Lake Conference Center.
This fast-paced event provides attendees with valuable safety information, current OSHA regulations and networking opportunities to promote a safe working environment for those working in the agriculture industry.
Topics to be covered include:
-OSHA’s impact on the agricultural industry by Mary Bauer, Eau Claire OSHA
-Manure hazards: handling and storage by Clifton Nesseth, NTH, Inc.
-Grain safety stand down by Bauer
-Skid steer safety 101 by Will Petska, Tractor Central
-Equipment safety by Joel Baribeau and Patrick Norton, Baribeau Implement
The seminar is for anyone in an agriculture-related industry who owns, operates, supervises or works on a farm.
Registration is $20 ($6.96 for those 62 and better), and lunch is included. For more information and a complete agenda, go to www.witc.edu/continuing-education/featured or call 800.243.9482, extension 5045.
Ag Safety Day was developed as part of the alliance between WITC and OSHA to provide information, guidance and access to training resources to employers and workers within the WITC district. The seminar is sponsored by the AgStar, US Bank and Cumberland Federal Bank.

How to make the perfect vegetable biryani
This Indian classic stands or falls on the quality of the rice. Once you’ve got that, there’s a wealth of options for your vegetables, spices, cooking method and even garnish. But can you really have a biryani without meat?

 Perfect vegetable biryani. Photograph: Felicity Cloake for the Guardian
Description: Felicity Cloake
Description: Perfect vegetable biryani.Biryani, the Indian rice dish, is, like so many classics, disputed territory. Traditionally credited to the Mughal court that ruled over much of modern-day India from the 16th century until the British Raj, its popularity in the southern states has given some credence to the idea that it was brought there by Arab traders. Whatever the truth, the dish is now popular nationwide, and the two most famous iterations come from Lucknow, in the north-west, often said to be more delicate, and Hyderabad, further south, which trades in spicier fare. Neither, it must be admitted, specialise in vegetable biryani; mutton is the most common variety, although chicken is also popular – Rajyasree Sen, writing in the Wall Street Journal, cautions visitors not to be “fooled by people who pass off vegetable pulao as biryani. There’s no such thing. It’s as much an oxymoron as chicken steak.” Yet vegetable biryani certainly is a thing among India’s 500 million vegetarians – and if Madhur Jaffrey says it’s a thing, it’s a thing, OK? But … how do you make it?


 Soaked rice in Meera Sodha’s biryani. Photograph: Felicity Cloake for the Guardian

The rice

Description: Soaked rice in Meera Sodha’s biryani.Whether veg or non-veg, a biryani is first and foremost a rice dish that stands or falls on the fluffiness of its rice: every grain should be separate and perfectly cooked. Shabnam Minwalla recommends a simple quality control procedure: “When you’re confronted with a plateful of biryani, toss some on the floor and examine the grains. If even two grains stick together, your biryani has failed the test.”Soaking, as recommended by Meera Sodha’s Fresh India, and Monir Mohammed and Martin Gray’s Mother India, as well as Dishoom, helps to soften the rice, which means water can penetrate it more easily during cooking, while rinsing it washes off some of the sticky surface starch.
The rice requires some cooking before the biryani is assembled, although cook it completely, as the recipe in Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Vegrecommends, and it will be overdone in the finished dish. Leaving it al dente, as Sodha and Dishoom suggest, is a far better idea. In general, I favour theabsorption method for the fluffiest rice, but in this case simple boiling is fine as long as you drain it well, as it will fluff up in the oven.
Frying the rice with a masala paste, as Kaushy Patel does in her book Prashad, leaves it a little oily for the panel’s liking, and testers fail to pick up the flavour of the spice-infused water that Mohammed’s rice has been simmered in. Simply popping in a couple of aromatics, such as bay and my own favourite, cardamom pods, will impart a subtle fragrance with less effort.


 Mother India suggests cooking the rice in a yoghurt sauce. Photograph: Felicity Cloake for The Guardian

The vegetables

Description: Mother India suggests cooking the rice in a yoghurt sauce.The choice of vegetables is largely up to you and what you have available. I try recipes using potatoes, sweet potatoes, beetroot (highly recommended: Sodha’s recipe is a visual knock-out), carrot, cauliflower, peppers, peas, tomatoes and mushrooms, but although I would recommend aiming for a good mix of texture and flavour, they all work. My testers find the potatoes a bit bland, and complain that the long cooking time has left the peas looking a bit like they have come out of a tin (fusspots), so I’ve chosen cauliflower for textural interest, squash for sweetness and green beans for crunch and colour. Feel free to make substitutions according to season and taste.
Dishoom offers a more exotic possibility in the form of jackfruit, widely used in Indian cooking, and increasingly used in vegetarian dishes over here for its meaty texture. It can be found fresh in Oriental and Asian grocers (make sure you get the green, unripe type), or bought tinned online, and makes a great addition to the biryani if you would like it to be more substantial. I haven’t included it in the recipe below simply because it’s less easy to get hold of in this country than, say, a cauliflower, but if you do find it, I would highly recommend giving it a try.
Sodha bakes her vegetables before adding them to the biryani, which concentrates the flavour beautifully, and Prashad deep-fries them all (yes, even the peppers) but testers prefer those, such as the Mother India and Dishoom versions, that are cooked in a yoghurt sauce, giving them a more curry-like consistency. According to Lizzie Collingham’s (fascinating) book Curry: A Biography, marinating meat in yoghurt is a Persian technique that came to India with the Mughals, and, although vegetables have no need of its tenderising properties, they can still benefit from its tangy flavour and richness. (If you would prefer a vegan biryani, Sodha’s recipe includes a coconut milk and coriander sauce that makes an excellent replacement for the yoghurt.)


Description: Overcooked rice in Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s recipe. Overcooked rice in Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s recipe. Photograph: Felicity Cloake for The Guardian
Sodha and Fearnley-Whittingstall both use caramelised onions, which add a lovely sweetness to their dishes, but no one can resist the crispy fried onions served with the Mother India recipe, both for their intense flavour and the textural contrast they offer to the soft vegetables and fluffy rice.

Pulses and paneer

Anything with a pulse floats my boat (insert jokes below the line). Sodha’s chickpeas are great, but the chewiness of Prashad’s masoor dal is even better, although I have used chana dal because that’s what I keep for everyday use. As before, use what you have to hand, although I would steer clear of red lentils or anything else with a tendency to dissolve into mush in the pan.
Description: Dishoom uses butter, cream and saffron.Sodha puts paneer in her biryani. Cheese is always welcome, even post-fondue, and this makes an great optional extra if, as with the jackfruit, you would like to bulk the dish out a bit.


 Dishoom uses butter, cream and saffron. Photograph: Felicity Cloake for The Guardian

Spices and aromatics

Garlic, ginger and green chillies are the holy trinity here, forming the base of every biryani I try (with the exception of the River Cottage one, which uses red chillies for reasons best known to itself). Sodha also sticks in a great big bunch of fresh coriander, which I love, both for its gorgeously aromatic flavour and the wonderfully green colour it lends her dish. If you are less enamoured, feel free to leave it out – I suspect it’s probably not traditional in any case, although I’m sure someone will be able to confirm or deny this.
Spicewise, biryani tends to be a fairly delicate dish: sweet garam masala is common, along with a little turmeric for colour, cumin and a bit of chilli powder. Fearnley-Whittinstall adds ground coriander and cinnamon, but I’m going to keep it fairly simple. However, I do like the saffron used in both his and the Dishoom recipe, which makes the dish feel gratifyingly regal, as well as taste wonderful. Dishoom infuses butter and cream with it and then pours it over the top of the rice before cooking, which adds an extra touch of decadence, although I think in a non-restaurant context, milk will do the same job just fine.
Sodha, Dishoom and Fearnley-Whittingstall all season their curries with citrus juice, which, in Dishoom’s case, accentuates the tangy flavour of the yoghurt in a very pleasing manner.
 Kaushy Patel deep-fries all her vegetables. Photograph: Felicity Cloake for The Guardian

Baking and serving

Description: Kaushy Patel deep-fries all her vegetables.Although it’s perfectly possible to make a great biryani on the stove, as the Prashad recipe proves, it’s easier for the amateur to get good results in the oven, where the heat will be distributed more evenly, reducing the risk of the base layer sticking. The cooking vessel should be tightly sealed to prevent the escape of the steam that’s essential for fluffing up the rice in the proper fashion. Some recipes do this by wrapping the dish in foil, but it’s just as easy to seal it with pastry, as Dishoom recommends, and it looks somewhat more dramatic when cracked open at the table. (You could also go down the Sodha route and add a pastry top, especially if you don’t happen to have a lidded dish of the correct size.)
Once open, I like to scatter the biryani with flaked almonds and sultanas, as the River Cottage recipe suggests, in a nod to its Mughal heritage as well as to the fact that, with the vegetables lurking beneath, it can look a little underwhelming without a garnish. Leave them off if you have traumatic memories of sultana-studded curries of yore, but do include a few sprigs of fresh coriander or mint for colour. Serve with raita and salad.
 The perfect vegetable biryani. Photograph: Felicity Cloake for The Guardian
Serves 6
500g basmati rice
100g chana or masoor dal
2 tbsp grated ginger
4 cloves of garlic, mashed to a paste with a little salt
2 green chillies, finely sliced
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp turmeric
1 tsp chilli powder
200g whole-milk yoghurt
2 tbsp lime or lemon juice
50g fresh coriander, finely chopped (optional)
300g cauliflower, separated into florets
2 carrots, cut into 2cm chunks
300g squash, cut into small cubes
10 green beans, cut into 2cm lengths
25g butter, melted
2 tbsp milk, warmed
Generous pinch of saffron
2 cardamom pods, crushed
1 bay leaf
200g wholemeal flour
2 onions, finely sliced and dried in kitchen paper
vegetable oil, to fry
2 tbsp flaked almonds, to serve
1 tbsp sultanas, to serve
Few sprigs of coriander or mint, to serve

Description: The perfect vegetable biryani.Soak the rice in water for 45 minutes, then drain and rinse until the water runs clear. Meanwhile, put the dal in a large pan of water and bring to the boil, skim and then turn down the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes or until just tender, then drain. While the lentils are cooking, mix the ginger, garlic, chillies and dry spices together with the yoghurt, lemon juice and chopped coriander and season well. Whizz with a hand blender or in a food processor if you have one, then toss with the vegetables. Leave to marinate. Mix together the melted butter, milk and saffron.
Drain the rice and cook in a pan of boiling, salted water with the cardamom and bay leaf for 6-8 minutes until al dente, then drain well and mix with the dal. Heat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6.
Put a lidded casserole dish over a medium-low heat and cook the vegetables and their marinade (if your yoghurt is very thick, add a splash of water to make a sauce) for 5-7 minutes until starting to soften. Check the seasoning. Gently pile the rice on top and pour over the saffron-infused milk.
Mix together the flour with just enough cold water to make a dough. Line the rim of the casserole dish with it and then put the lid on top to make an airtight seal. Bake for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat a deep pan a third full of oil until bubbles form around a chopstick or similar dipped in, then fry the onion in batches until golden and crisp. Drain on kitchen paper.
Serve the biryani with the crispy onions, flaked almonds, sultanas and coriander or mint scattered on top.
Biryani: the world’s greatest rice dish? Is a biryani without meat still worthy of the name? And for those of us who do eat it on occasion, which meaty recipes do you recommend trying?
https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2017/feb/16/how-to-make-the-perfect-vegetable-biryani

Will cheap rice prices permanently shrink the U.S. industry?

Water issues on the horizon for Indian rice growers
Milo Hamilton | Feb 15, 2017
Description: Rice headsWe are convinced the rice industry is a great opportunity for us all. It may not seem so to you right now as some back out of growing rice or even farming. The United States is in the right place at the right time and in the right commodity, which as I have pointed out is not just rice but water itself. Water is the ultimate commodity of this century and, like crude oil in the 1960s, is still ludicrously underpriced. “This too shall pass,” I tell people with great confidence.
Over the long-term there is a primary bull rice market that is snorting at us somewhere over the market’s horizon. It will pivot off water shortages, even though Asian governments now continue to fight that bull market tooth and nail with billions of dollars of nearly free agricultural subsidies. Those subsidies may come under review with the new Trump administration, which takes a dim view of all the folks that have sold U.S. agriculture down the river in trade negotiations for many decades.
President Trump knows who voted for him and who vetoed him. The SEC states voted for him and farmers first grew rice in the Carolinas. Not too surprisingly, new Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue is from an SEC state, Georgia. SEC states grow cotton, peanuts and rice. Iowa is too far north to grow any of these southern crops. Rice is a southern latitude crop.
On one hand, some have gotten bullish on rice because of my long-term view on China, India and water. Unfortunately, you cannot make money on your current crop trading long-term trends. On the other hand, you can make money owning irrigated Delta and Gulf Coast rice land if the cost of water is going to go up significantly. It is the only practical way to go “long” the price of water. Water is locally controlled with over 10,000 water districts in the United States alone. There is no Chicago clearing market yet for water.
Warren Buffet once said, “The best investment is farmland.” He also said you should only buy a stock if you are comfortable if the stock price does not trade for the next 10 years. The long-term is for land owners, the short term is for those of us renting the farmland. Some of my customers are bit of both, land owners and tenants. They have their feet in both markets, land and rice. They are losing their shirts on the rice price now but rice land has not been a bad investment play.
Others have said China is about to buy rice from Arkansas. I say, not now. What they are doing in rice works well for them and it does not include South or North American rice sourcing -- not yet anyway. Unlike corn, beans or wheat, China can buy rice from its Asian neighbors and is cultivating South Asia. In the past, China has cultivated sourcing from the Americas, Australia, the EU and the FSU in other grains. Our time will come someday.
No one can count all China’s rice imports, which are closer to 7-8 million MT rather than the 4 million MT of “official” imports. Why? In many cases, they come across land borders rather than the open sea. Grain companies and grain analysts find it hard to count cross border flows in Asia. China dislikes transparency in what it does. After all, transparency is a good thing for the other fellow but not me. Is that not the case? Can you blame them?
The price of water will determine the relative value of rice in the years ahead because it takes twice the water to grow conventional rice versus wheat. Labor costs are much higher for growing rice as well. In vast areas of Asia, rice is more gardened than farmed on tiny patches of ground. Not only is the amount of land fixed but available water on that land is diminishing in many densely populated areas. If arable land has no water, what is it worth then? More and more water is mined like a mineral under the land by uncountable tube wells, particularly in India.
If wheat trades at $4 per bushel, then rice should trade at $8 per bushel. But in India rice is trading at $3 per bushel and in China at $8.10 per bushel. Wheat does not trade like that in Asia, just rice. What the devil is going on here with a grain that feeds three billion people?
The fact is that India has not owned up to the bull market in water, yet. China is preparing for it. That is why China is spending tens of billions of dollars not just funding farmers and farms but also creating modern logistical lines to its poor, interior provinces to allow food to flow from South Asia where the water is. China is building a north-south pipeline for water that may cost $85 billion. It is building a $100 billion-plus roadway from Chengdu to Lhasa, Tibet. It is easier for an autocratic regime to come to terms with water shortages than a democratic one. Democracies are more about vote-getting, not resource allocating.
Over the years, I have harped on China importing more and more rice. It has done that. Also for years I have been saying that the price of rice is way too cheap compared to wheat. So, that makes a rice producer bullish, right? It should not make us bullish or bearish this year or next but optimistic in the long-term. The big “if” is whether we can survive the short term of 2017. A lot of rice acreage will disappear in 2017, most likely. We will know more about that in March.
Do not let your optimism make you always be bullish when it comes to markets. You need to sell all your crop each year. You need optimism to be in business and to own irrigated land but optimism does not make you any money in the market. The market feeds on your hope. Optimism or pessimism in grains has a lot to do with your outlook for exports from the US and your trust in your business survival skills during this time.
WTO trade agreements have eviscerated potential demand for imported grain into Asia. Governments there have spent untold billions ramping up production and barring grain imports. Agricultural debt is soaring in India and China. This trend could go on for a while yet as the US rice industry becomes insolvent and acreage shrinks.
Governments can do the wrong thing longer than you and I can remain solvent -- sad but true.
I gave the keynote address at the Jan. 25 Arkansas Soil and Water Education Conference in Jonesboro. I spoke there because I think water is the key to rice, more so than any other grain. I speak at rice meetings all over the world but this my first invitation to speak at a water meeting. I jumped at the chance. If you would like a copy of my speech and the slides I gave, just e-mail me at milo@firstgrain.com. That speech covers one of three things we need to market our rice each year:
·        Understanding the long-term trends for rice and water and trade from and to Asia.
·        Understanding the short-term outlook for rice price and trade in the Americas, our backyard.
·        Understanding the local cash price against futures to maximize your local return on the basis (cash-futures.)
In my opinion, if you do not pay attention to all three, you’ll not understand what drives the rice market. You may end up allowing your bearishness to turn into business pessimism and bad decisions. You can hold bullish or bearish sentiments on the rice price and still be an optimist.
Business pessimism is a permanently crippling attitude towards a temporary problem. About 80 percent of businesses fail because the entrepreneur never expects to succeed. If your crop price is insolvent or your wage too low, go elsewhere and start again. We are blessed in this country with the right to choose where we live and what we do. Facing down the insanities of the market requires patient gratitude, which is saying thanks to the market by selling some rice now and then. The key to business stamina is ingrained gratitude, shaped by your values and character.
I am speaking also at the 2017 Mid-South Farm and Gin Show in Memphis on Saturday, March 4. I am doing something new there, covering all three parts of your rice market that day. Hopefully my talk will help you understand how the world of rice works.
I am not in the rice business or even the water business. That is your business. I just help you consider the rice market differently than you have in the past. I’m in the training and communicating business located in the rice market space. That’s why we have all those videos and white papers for your education and ours on our website. You can also check us out any day by signing up for a rice trial on www.firstgrain.com. Stop by our Firstgrain booth and visit us there in Memphis at the Cook Convention Center or in the digital space

The best Indian buffet? This Citrus Heights restaurant makes us think we’ve found it

Description: The bar area at India Oven in Citrus Heights
Description: A few of the many items at the India Oven buffet, served daily
Description: The bar area at India Oven in Citrus Heights
A few of the many items at the India Oven buffet, served daily Allen Pierleoni apierleoni@sacbee.com
BY ALLEN PIERLEONI

We were expecting a mom-and-pop operation in a little strip mall in Citrus Heights, so we were floored when we pulled up in front of India Oven in Citrus Heights. It’s a Taj Mahal of a restaurant looming on a rise all by itself, the scent of curry wafting in the air.
Inside is a beautiful 3,500-square-foot dining room, with comfy banquette seating, wall art, a handsome full bar, track lighting and chandeliers. Around back are a loading dock and an industrial-sized kitchen, which service not only the restaurant but also the 11,400-square-foot White Lotus banquet hall, which accommodates crowds of 900 and fills up just about every weekend for wedding receptions and pre-wedding events.
“My father was a chef in New York City 20 years ago,” said owner Rummy Cheema, whose background is in computer technology. “In 2004 my parents opened a restaurant in Grass Valley, and from there I stepped into (the business).” Now there are four India Oven restaurants, with a fifth to open in Elk Grove within six months. A stand-alone banquet hall, the 350-capacity White Orchid, is due to open soon on Date Avenue in Sacramento, near Madison Avenue and Interstate 80.
Two lunch pals and I were at India Oven for the buffet, a staple of Indian restaurants that, in our experience, range from mundane to very good. This one was the best we’ve encountered, a spread of fresh meats and vegetables in sublime sauces, all of it fragrant with spices and layers of flavors. The punchline: It’s just $11.
Where to start? For round one, we spooned excellent mint and tamarind chutneys onto one part of a plate, and added bhature (puffy fried bread), saag masala (creamy spinach redolent with spices), channa masala (chickpeas, onions and tomatoes in a silken sauce) and fish pakora (pieces of deep-fried fish).
We preferred the background heat in the mint chutney to the sweet taste of the tamarind chutney, and thought the thin, slightly garlicky naan (bread cooked in a tandoor oven) delivered to the table at the start was better than the bhature. The deeply flavored spinach puree was an ideal textural complement to the chickpea “stew.” We found the fish pakora over-battered and a little dry.
“This place is a home run for vegetarians,” said one lunch pal, surveying his plate of corn masala (spiced corn kernels), vegetable biryani (soft-crunchy basmati rice with carrot, peas, corn, green beans, cashews and raisins) and vegetable jal frozi (veggies marinated in ginger and garlic, cooked with “natural herbs”).
“The vegetable dishes are excellent, yes,” said a second lunch pal, forking into masala aloo (spiced potatoes), “but so are the cheese cubes in tomato sauce (shahi paneer) and the chicken tandoori (yogurt-and-spices-marinated chicken cooked in a tandoor oven).
Note: The traditional, ancient tandoor oven – a cylindrical appliance made of clay and brick and commonly used in India and Pakistan – is heated to high temperatures by a direct-heat fire. Meat cooked in the tandoor is usually skewered; the dough for the accompanying bread – naan – is slapped on the inside of the oven, where it bakes in seconds. The gas-fueled, stainless-steel version in restaurant kitchens works on the same principle, only quicker. The tandoor’s intense heat sears the juices inside meats and fowl and gives some crisp to the outside.
We came out scooping in round two, loading plates with delicious vegetable pakora (deep-fried veggies in spicy batter), raita (cucumber in house-made yogurt) and flavor-filled lamb and chicken curries (meltingly tender, again in excellent sauces). Goat curry was pleasantly mild and a bit chewier than the lamb. The chunks of tender breast meat in the chicken tikka masala swam in a golden sauce with multiple layers of spicing.
There was more we didn’t sample – veggie-stuffed potato patties, a noodle dish, several desserts and an assortment of fresh fruits – but we had to call it quits or summon an ambulance.
“What’s so surprising is I liked every single item,” said one lunch pal, a discerning diner.
“The corn was my surprise treat, but the others were really excellent,” said the other.
I wondered what it would look like if we ordered the buffet “to go.” Would a truck be involved?
Where: 6105 Sunrise Vista Drive, Citrus Heights. Other locations: 3511 Truxel Road, Sacramento, 916-249-0205; 845 Twelve Bridges Drive, Lincoln, 916-409-2600; 722 Freemason Lane, Grass Valley, 916-249-0207
Hours: The buffet is available 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. daily at all four locations, or order from a lunch menu. Dinner is 5-10 p.m. daily from a dinner menu.
Food: ☆☆☆☆
Ambiance: ☆☆☆☆
How much: $ (for the buffet)
Information: 916-249-0204, www.indiaoven.com

http://www.sacbee.com/food-drink/restaurants/allen-pierleoni/article132708034.html


What are Arkansas rice producers considering for 2017 season? Description: rice combine harvest

Some common threads
David Bennett | Feb 15, 2017
What might Mid-South rice acres look like in 2017?
From an Arkansas perspective, “as long as soybean prices remain as strong as they currently are — and rice prices stay as low as they currently are — we’re probably looking at around 1.2 million rice acres,” says Jarrod Hardke, University of Arkansas Extension rice specialist. “That’s close to a 20 percent decrease from 2016 when we were at about 1.5 million acres.
 “I’m a rice guy and want that crop planted,” says Hardke. “But with soybean prices where they are, I’ve been strongly encouraging growers to book some. We don’t have to book a lot and want to leave some options open. But I’d book some soybeans now to cover the cost of production. Lock that good price down while you can.”
The past few years, the state’s rice acreage “has 
really been see-sawing. In 2016, we were up around 18 percent over 2015 acreage, which was down 13 percent compared to 2014.
“We’ll probably be close to 50 percent of our 2017 rice being hybrid. That isn’t a big jump — recently, we’ve been in the 40s.
“Last year, we were somewhere in the neighborhood of 8 percent planted to medium-grain. That’s likely to rise in 2017 because of the yield stability last year and some market demand which should increase acreage to around 15 percent.”
That leaves 35 percent of Arkansas’ rice acreage split among Clearfield and conventional varieties.
Common threads
Asked about current questions and concerns from rice producers during winter meetings, Hardke says, “There are definitely some common threads. As belts tighten, growers want increasingly more specific guidance on their options.
“Individual growers have very different mindsets entering 2017. That’s because things were so ‘all over the board’ in 2016, mostly in a bad way. You hear everything from ‘we did fine’ to ‘the environment for rice wasn’t so good’ to ‘my crop was horrible.’
“More or less, though, the hybrids and medium-grain rice were off up to 20 bushels below expectations. The varieties were more like 40 bushels off.”
Hardke says it isn’t likely the same environmental conditions will happen again. “But people are moving to a defensive crouch, and rightly so. That means they want more hybrid rice, but there isn’t more to be had. There were all sorts of difficulties on the Gulf Coast — RiceTec had as much trouble as many of our growers did with seed production.
“Some will grow whatever hybrid seed they can get and plant nothing else. Some have been asking me about filling in with medium-grains even if they aren’t traditional medium-grain growers.”
The biggest question: after hybrids and medium-grains, what do I plant? What varieties will work?
Conventionals
“We have a few recommended conventionals and a few Clearfields. There won’t be a large acreage of a lot of any newer, first-time-commercially-available varieties this year.”
On the conventional front, “Diamond is our most recommended. Since it’s the first year out, plant it with caution. Look at history and there are plenty of examples where, despite rigorous testing, true field conditions expose weaknesses. We really work at it, but it’s impossible to expose varieties to everything, every environment in the state, during testing. Always use caution when planting any new cultivar for the first time. Put a toe in the water, don’t do a cannonball.”
There will likely be around 75,000 to 100,000 acres of Diamond. “That’s a pretty big jump for a new release.”
More producers will be familiar with LaKast, because it has been out for several years. “It was released into the teeth of 2015 and 2016, so there were wide result variations from individual growers. Some guys loved it, some had no luck with it. However, compared head to head, it was the most stable variety in the face of the tough environmental conditions.
“I think growers will shift away from Roy J after what happened in 2016. The rains came in late and caused some pretty bad blast on it. In some cases with a lack of blast disease being found, fungicide applications weren’t made or were minimized and the disease came back to bite us late.”
Taggart, meanwhile, “has very limited availability with most phasing it out. It’s still one our more dependable varieties, though.”
Clearfield considerations
On the Clearfield side, “the new CL153 looks like it has high-end yield potential. It’s similar to CL151, which has been a staple for us over the years. However, CL153 brings a much-improved disease package over CL151 including increased resistance to blast and bacterial panicle blight. It has a lot of positives and, with any luck, it’ll be a big player. I’m guessing there may be enough seed to plant around 50,000 acres this year.”
Another new Clearfield, CL172, “will likely also have limited acreage — maybe another 50,000. This variety can sometimes reach the same yield heights as the other Clearfields. Typically, though, it places between CL151 and CL111.
“Like CL153, CL172 has a great disease package. The yield just lags a bit although the grain quality is phenomenal.”
Medium-grains
Regarding medium-grains, “Jupiter has been our staple since about 2010. It’s been fantastic with high yields but has some blast and lodging concerns. Growers are looking for some improvements and Titan is a new release that looks to be competitive with Jupiter.”
Hardke is waiting on some market approvals before recommending Titan over Jupiter. “Those approvals may come in the next month or two. Assuming that happens, I’d tentatively make that recommendation because the data says it yields more than Jupiter on average, has an equal-to-slightly-better disease package, stands up better, and heads five to seven days earlier.

Asia Rice-Thai prices up on China deal; slow in India, Vietnam


* Thai prices up following govt-to-govt deal with China
* Prices flat in India as demand stalls
* Slow market in Vietnam cuts prices
By Patpicha Tanakasempipat and Rajendra Jadhav
BANGKOK/MUMBAI, Feb 16 Rice prices in Thailand advanced this week following a deal with the Chinese government, while markets slowed in India and Vietnam, traders said on Thursday.
In Thailand, the world's second biggest rice exporter, benchmark 5-percent broken rice RI-THBKN5-P1 edged up to $357-$360 a tonne, free-on-board (FOB) Bangkok, from $355-$360 last week.
"Prices went up on news of a government to government deal between Thailand and China," a trader in Bangkok said, adding there was no other demand from foreign buyers at the moment.
COFCO, China's state-owned food processing holding company, will buy 100,000 tonnes of Thai rice, local media reported on Monday.
A rising Thai baht against the dollar also contributed to higher prices, another trader said, adding this could lead to an increase in demand in the coming days.
"Some buyers might be afraid of prices going up higher," he said.
Thailand was able to export 1.6 million tonnes of rice this year up until Feb. 14, a 9.9 percent increase from the same period last year, according to data from the commerce ministry, with the exports worth 23.87 billion baht ($682.39 million).
Prices of 5-percent broken parboiled rice at top exporter India were steady this week at $376-$381 per tonne on thin demand.
"Demand has been falling due to higher prices. The gap between Indian and Thai prices is very big right now," said an exporter based out of Kakinada in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.
Along with exporters, government agencies are actively buying paddy for the public distribution system, pushing up prices above the minimum purchase price, exporters said.
The country's rice production in 2016/17 is likely to rise by 4.3 percent to a record high 108.86 million tonnes, the country's farm ministry said on Wednesday.
Vietnam's 5 percent broken rice RI-VNBKN5-P1 prices dropped to $345-$350 a tonne, FOB Saigon, from $352-$355 last week.
Traders were waiting for prices to fall further due to the harvest season later this month or early next month.
"Market won't be really vivid until mid-March when it enters harvest season and traders know more about the grain quality," said a Ho Chi Minh-based trader.
Rice exports in Vietnam, the world's third biggest exporter of the grain, declined 13.5 percent from a year earlier to 337,200 tonnes in January, customs data showed.
($1 = 34.98 baht) (Additional reporting by My Pham in HANOI; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)

Palawan pledges additional 100,000 ha for rice program

February 17, 2017
The Department of Agriculture (DA) said the local government of Palawan has pledged to expand by 100,000 hectares are planted to rice under  the country’s rice production program.

 Emmanuel Piñol, DA secretary, said   this will add to the current 59,000 hectares of rice farms that enabled the region to achieve 110 percent rice self-sufficiency.

The commitment for the  expansion was made by Palawan Gov. Jose Alvarez during Piñol’ss visit to the province recently.

The DA secretary said as traditional rice farming areas are now affected by climate change, the “availability of new rice farming areas in Palawan offers a relief to the problem besetting the country’s rice production.”

Palawan’s strategic location which is  outside the typhoon path in the Western part of the country  could be developed into a major food-production area, the DA said.The DA said Alvarez  sought assistance the agency’s assistance in addressing Palawan’s highly acidic soil that has kept rice production relatively low.Piñol has asked the Philippine Rice Research Institute to  form a team along with the Bureau of Soils and Water Management to conduct an extensive soil analysis in Palawan.
He added that instead of building water-impounding dams, the DA would introduce to Palawan the solar powered irrigation systems which will draw water from the rivers that it is promoting.
The DA chief also instructed for the procurement of more tractors, power tillers, harvesters, dryers and rice processing facilities for the region aside from encouraging local farmers to use hybrid seeds by providing them fertilizers as incentives.

 It can be recalled that the agency is currently aggressive in its plans to consider planting food crops on various non-traditional locations in order to adapt with the effects of climate change.
One of these areas is Palawan

Rice clearing pulls in 66 traders 

February 16, 2017 18:11 
By PETCHANET PRATRUANGKRAI
THE NATION

Description: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/img/news/2017/02/16/30306523/3aba1c90010e90fa2c79d26a812161bc-sld.jpegSIXTY-SIX traders participated in the government’s auction of 2.86 million tonnes of rice on Thursday, showing high market demand for the last lot of rice suitable for consumption from the government’s stocks.

Description: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/img/news/2017/02/16/30306523/868f933acf0f68143084e9fc1f3564eb-sld.jpegDuangporn Rodphaya, director-general of the Commerce Ministry’s Foreign Trade Department, said traders had shown strong interest in buying rice from the government’s stockpile after the end of harvest season this month.“The auction should be able to release a large amount of rice from the stockpiles, while the remaining rice suitable for feedmeal and non-food industries such as energy will be opened for bidding in March,” she said.
http://www.nationmultimedia.com/news/breakingnews/30306523

THAILAND: Rice Production Rebounds Following El Nino

Published on 15 Feb 2017
Thailand recovered in 2016 from a severe two-year El Niño-related drought, which had substantially reduced irrigation supplies and rice acreage in the country. Bountiful rainfall during the recent wet season replenished important reservoirs which supply the agricultural sector and enabled the government to lift restrictions on irrigated rice acreage during the 2016-17 dry season (November through May). Farmers responded by increasing rice acreage by an estimated 975,000 hectares compared to last year. Thailand’s 2016/17 harvested rice area is estimated at 10.1 million hectares, unchanged from last month but up 7 percent from last year. Production is currently forecast by USDA at 18.6 million metric tons (milled basis), up 18 percent from last year. Rough rice yield is estimated slightly above average at 2.80 tons per hectare.
Thailand has two annual rice-growing periods, the wet-season and the dry-season. The wet- season rice harvest is the larger of two annual crops, normally accounting for roughly 70 percent of total annual production. Wet-season rice acreage has averaged about 8.8 million hectares since 2007. Wet-season rice is heavily dependent on monsoonal weather systems, with 70 percent of the crop being totally rainfed. The remaining 30 percent lies primarily in the western Chao Phraya river basin and is irrigated from water stored in mountain reservoirs.
Dry-season rice area averages 2.0 million hectares, is approximately 80 percent irrigated, and accounts for roughly 30 percent of total annual rice production. Dry-season rice yield is nearly double the yields of the primarily rainfed wet-season crop. Dry-season rice cultivation is heavily focused on irrigated farmland in the Lower North and Central Plains regions. With the majority of the irrigation infrastructure and agricultural mechanization, these areas are essentially the nation’s rice heartland. The country’s annual exportable rice surplus is produced here, typically flowing from the dry season harvest itself. There are two major reservoirs which account for 80 to 90 percent of the irrigation supply for rice cultivation, Bhumipol and Sirikit, which are located in the northern headwaters of the Chao Phraya river basin. According to a report from the U.S. agricultural counselor in Bangkok, total reservoir supplies in the country were nearly 150 percent above those recorded this same time last year.
The key driver for the rebound in Thailand’s 2016/17 rice production was above-normal rainfall during the 2016 wet season (May through October). As can be seen in the maps above, abundant rainfall blanketed the core northern and northeast watersheds which feed the mountain reservoirs important to rice cultivation. The regional rainfall pattern significantly improved relative to 2015 all across Southeast Asia as the strong El Niño event waned in the Pacific. Given the replenishment of key reservoirs and irrigation supply in northern Thailand, the Thai government lifted restrictions on winter dry-season rice cultivation in October 2016 and allowed the Royal Irrigation Department (RID) to supply farmers with all the water they required. The RID reported in early February that farmers had more than doubled rice acreage compared to last year and that plantings would continue through February.
Recent MODIS satellite imagery data confirmed the government projection, showing a remarkable recovery in crop acreage and vegetative vigor compared to last year in the heart of the primary dry-season growing regions (Lower North and Central Plains). The normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) shows that current crop development in February 2017 is better than average in most dry-season rice producing regions. By comparison, in February 2016 rice acreage had shrunk to a 20-year low, with NDVI data clearly indicating extremely low crop vegetation relative to the long-term norm for that time of year. The lack of irrigation supply had reduced dry-season rice acreage in February 2016 to an estimated 735,000 hectares. Given the substantial improvement in irrigation supply, 2016/17 dry-season rice acreage will likely increase approximately 133 percent compared to last year. As a result, dry-season rice production is forecast near the 5-year average.
This report has been published by the Office of Global Analysis (OGA), International Production Assessment Division (IPAD). Current USDA area and production estimates for grains and other agricultural commodities are available on IPAD's Agricultural Production page or at PSD Online.
For more information contact Michael Shean | michael.shean@fas.usda.gov | (202) 720-7366 USDA-FAS, Office of Global Analysis
http://reliefweb.int/report/thailand/thailand-rice-production-rebounds-following-el-nino
Rice diversity could be central to more productive crops
By RJ Whitehead RJ Whitehead , 16-Feb-20172017-02-16T00:00:00Z
© iStock
Scientists have found that they can improve rice productivity by selecting varieties that are better at capturing sunlight to produce grains, instead of reflecting it as heat. In a study published in Plant Physiology , a team of Australian researchers decided to combine old and new ways to produce more efficient plants. They focused on rice’s natural diversity by using traditional breeding techniques to select cultivars that are better at converting sunlight into food. 
We studied hundreds of plants from five rice cultivars and found that there is variation between these varieties in relation to the quantity of light they use for growth or dissipate as heat. Some of them are capable of converting more sunlight into chemical energy, producing greater leaf area over time,” said lead researcher Katherine Meacham, an Australian Research Council translational photosynthesis specialist.
When leaves intercept sunlight, it is either absorbed by the leaf for growth, dissipated as heat in an strategy to protect the plant from sun damage, or re-emitted as fluorescent light. 
In this latest study, the researchers measured fluorescence to infer the quantity of energy that is either converted into food or dissipated as heat. 
Recently scientists in the US found that they can produce transgenic plants that are better at catching sunlight without getting sun damage. Our work shows that this is also achievable by taking advantage of the natural variation of rice plants,” said Robert Furbank, director at the ARC’s translational photosynthesis centre, and an author of the study. 
 “What is new about our research is that scientists had previously thought there was not much variation in how efficiently leaves could absorb and use light, and the reason for this is that they were not considering the full picture and measuring the plants throughout the entire day under natural illumination
We have found that there are considerable differences between the five rice cultivars under moderate light, and that means that there is room for selecting the most efficient plants.”
Dr Meacham added: “There is room for improvement in some cultivars that can result in more photosynthesis without risking the plant’s protection strategies against sunlight damage.” 
The scientists measured fluorescence by clipping light receptors on leaves throughout a whole day to get a full picture of how the plant uses sunlight. 
Traditional breeding for photosynthetic traits has not been a common strategy in any major cereal crop, in part due to the difficulty in measuring photosynthesis in thousands of plants. However, rapid screening tools are now available to study the interaction between the genes and the way they interact with the environment. 
Our next step is to find varieties with superior photo-protection we can directly use these for breeding and find the genes responsible, and we have the capacity to screen many thousands of rice varieties for which we have gene sequence through the International Rice Research Institute”, she said. 
http://www.foodnavigator-asia.com/Policy/Rice-diversity-could-be-central-to-more-productive-crops