Monday, March 06, 2017

6th March,2017 daily global,regional and local rice e-newsletter by riceplus magazine


Rice Bran Oil and Economic Diplomacy in South Asia

Description: The rice bran oil plant that has recently started production outside Lahore, Pakistan with technological cooperation from India. Photo by Saleem H. Ali
A view of part of the rice bran oil plant that has recently started production outside Lahore, Pakistan with technological cooperation from India. Photo by Saleem H. Ali
For most households across South Asia, rice is life. It is the stable source of carbohydrates for the more than 1.7 billion citizens of the region who consume it morning, noon and night; and a vital source of income for the 50 million or so farmers who cultivate it across India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. However, the rice plant has now more to offer than just the grain. Across super markets worldwide, a new product is showing up rather unobtrusively called “rice bran oil” (RBO). For the healthy shopper, the labeling on the product will usually reveal its health benefits in terms high omega fatty acids which promote cardiovascular stability. The origins of this new product can be traced back to Asia as well but not any particular traditional diet but to a salubrious confluence of resource economics and chemical engineering. The diminutive rice grain has multiple layers. The outer layer is referred to as the hull and is often discarded for animal feed. There is also an inner layer of bran, which is only 8% of the weight of the grain capsule but contains over 75% of the oil content. Over the past three decades, Indian and Chinese scientists have developed complex chemical engineering processes to extract this oil in edible form.
India can claim ascendancy in developing rice bran oil as a commercially viable alternative to other high temperature oils from soybeans, cottonseeds and peanuts.  The country is now the world’s largest producer and the Indian rice bran oil market size was valued over $600 million in 2014. This market is likely to continue growth as the country has 1.4 million tons of RBO production potential of which only around 900 kilotons is currently produced. In 2015, Government of India lifted ban on RBO exports, thus opening the way for major international competition for world markets.
Regionalizing Rice Bran Technology: The Power of Entrepreneurship
The rice bran industry in India has added considerable value to the most ubiquitous of agricultural products but the other major rice producer of South Asia – Pakistan (the world’s fourth largest producer of rice) – has not been a beneficiary of this new growth opportunity. Enter, Abid Butt, a self-made serial entrepreneur from Karachi and a World Economic Forum “Young Global Leader.” When Abid saw the rise of RBO products on his grocery store shelves, he saw an opportunity for growth in this sector for Pakistan. Moving from his usual comfort zone of logistics supply chain commerce, he took the plunge in developing Pakistan’s first rice bran oil extraction plant.
Soon, Abid was on a steep learning curve in complex solvent extraction technologies and industrial catalysts that are needed to extract the precious oil from the thin layer of rice bran that coats the kernel of the grain. The complexity of the process was daunting but the nearest supplier of the equipment was of course in neighboring India. The only challenge was that the lack of trust between India and Pakistan at the political level made technology transfer between the two countries highly contentious. Yet, Abid was not deterred by the saber-rattling that warrior hawks from both countries frequently display. He managed to work through a business visa process to get Indian engineers to Lahore over a period of several months to literally build the RBO plant in Pakistan on a fair contract for the Indian suppliers.
Earlier this year, I had a chance to visit the facility an hour’s drive from Lahore, near Muridke, which is in the heart of northern Punjab’s rice growing district. The facility stands as a beacon of hope for economic diplomacy between these two acrimonious nuclear powers. If commercializable chemical engineering technology can be shared and developed between the two countries, there are clearly many other opportunities for knowledge-sharing that can bring mutual benefit. All we need is a willingness to see creative synergies of cooperation rather than constant fear-mongering of competition and discord.
Agricultural and environmental research, more broadly for ecosystem conservation, is another win-win area for cooperation between both countries, since both countries share watersheds, airsheds and cannot avoid transboundary pollution no matter how many fences and missiles they may build. Indeed, even within the context of the rice bran oil plant, there are opportunities for collaborative research on some potential pitfalls, that can be faced by such technologies.
Managing Health  and Environment Concerns through Cooperative Research
Despite its demonstrable health benefits as a heart-healthy oil, there have been some concerns raised about the bioaccumulation of arsenic  in the rice bran which deserves greater attention and monitoring. In addition rice grains are susceptible to attack by fungi that can produce the potent aflatoxin and need to be monitored for its presence. Polyarmomatic hydrocarbon solvents used in the extraction of the oil also need careful management and monitoring. These are all areas where research cooperation between rice bran producers could be mutually beneficial for planetary health and consumer safety assurance of the product itself.
The Pakistani plant is also aspiring to follow industrial ecology principles by using rice husk and other waste materials to generate energy. There is also potential to use the RBO for biodiesel production, which would potentially add another product stream that has more environmental and health value. Growth in sun-protection cosmetics is also likely to favor RBO market growth over the forecast period. The Oryzol component in RBO protects against the UV light and can be used as sunscreen agent. Here too research collaboration can be helpful in expanding the market for this product. The RBO market is still in its infancy stage, globally, but particularly in Pakistan and much remains to be seen about its ultimate success.
Yet despite these cautionary elements, RBO is an example of an innovative value-added product which has the potential for augmenting livelihoods for millions of rice farmers and producers in South Asia. Technological cooperation and coordination of environmental health and safety research has much potential for furthering gains in this area for even the most acrimonious of national players in the region!


Iran may soon permit rice imports from India


Publish Date: Fri, 03 Mar 2017 18:45:33 GMT
Service: Iran


Description: Iran may soon permit rice imports from India

Iran may soon issue permission for importing rice from India, India's Commerce Ministry said in a statement.

The ministry said the move come following a visit to Iran by a 20-member trade delegation led by chairman of Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) from January 28-30, reported.
The delegation met officials from various departments in the government of Iran including Food and Drug Organization, Governmental Trading Corporation and Trade Promotion Organization.
Meetings were also held with Iran Chamber of Commerce and Rice Importers Association.
The deliberations helped to dispel the negative publicity which appeared in a section of the media in Iran causing doubts about the health and safety of rice from India.
The main purpose of the visit was to promote the export of rice since Iran is one of the largest importers of Basmati rice from India.
To supplement domestic production of about two million tons, Iran imports about one million tons of rice each year out of which about 700,000 tons are exported from India.

‘Tariffs from rice imports to help farmers cut cost, boost income’

By Cai U. Ordinario & Jovee Marie N. dela Cruz
The Duterte administration vowed to allocate all the tariffs collected from rice imports for programs aimed at helping farmers cut production cost, according to the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017-2022.
The country’s economic blueprint said the amendment of the Agricultural Tariffication Act of 1996, or Republic Act (RA) 8178, is included on the priority legislative agenda of the Duterte administration.
“Replace quantitative restrictions [QR] on rice with tariffs. The tariff proceeds from rice imports will be plowed back to the rice sector,” the PDP read.
While the PDP is cognizant of the adverse impact of the scrapping of the rice QR on small farmers, the government said the tariff collected from imports will be used to help them recoup their losses.
The Duterte administration said it has decided to allow the QR on rice to expire because of its potential impact on rice prices nationwide.
Rice, the government noted, accounts for 30.6 percent of the total food expenditure of the poorest 20 percent of households based on the 2012 Family Income and Expenditure Survey (FIES).It can help lower the price of rice, and this will benefit the general public, including farmers who are net consumers of rice,” the PDP stated.
Philippine Institute for Development Study (PIDS) senior research fellow Roehlano M. Briones said in a recent forum that the government’s rice self-sufficiency policy was responsible for increasing rice prices.
The rice self-sufficiency policy was supported by the granting of a second extension of the QR on rice in 2012.
Briones recommended repealing RA 8178, which exempted rice from tarrification; repealing the National Food Authority’s (NFA) import monopoly; and opening rice importation to the private sector.
The PIDS senior research fellow also underscored the important role of the Executive branch in defining an “informed tariff policy”.
In the first semester of 2014, poverty incidence rate rose to 25.8 percent. Former Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan blamed this on the retention of the QR on rice.
Rice prices posted a double-digit growth of 11.9 percent in the first semester of 2014, from only 1.7 percent in the same period in 2013, on the back of a tight supply given lean harvests, coupled with less imports.
Amending RA 8178
Leaders of the House of Representatives have filed two separate bills seeking to place safety nets for Filipino rice producers by imposing tariffs in lieu of QR on rice imports and to amend RA 8178.
House Bill (HB) 5023, filed by Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of Pampanga, and HB 4904, filed by House Committee on Economic Affairs Chairman Arthur C. Yap of Bohol, called for using tariff collections from rice imports for projects and programs that would enhance rice productivity and increase farmers’ incomes.
Arroyo said her proposed Rice Safety Net Act of 2017 seeks to abolish the sole power of the NFA to import rice.
She said the proposed legislation adopts the use of tariffs in lieu of nontariff-import restrictions to protect local paddy producers in “a direct and transparent manner” and, at the same time, generate revenues required to provide the infrastructure and finance the programs that improve farmers’ productivity.
Revenues will go to a Rice Farmers Development Fund to provide the necessary support services, such as  irrigation, farm-to-market roads, postharvest equipment and facilities, credit, research and development, extension services, other market infrastructure and market information.
The bill seeks to repeal Sections 5 and 6 of Presidential Decree 4 (National Grains Authority Act of 1972), as amended by RA 8178.
Arroyo’s bill seeks to establish rules and regulations governing the importation of rice and to impose and collect fees and charges to ensure that imports won’t affect the price of locally produced rice.
In lieu of QR restriction, the measures indicated the tariff rate of 100 percent will be imposed on rice imports beginning January 1, 2018, to provide protection for producers.
It added that any subsequent reduction of the tariff rate should be based on the implementation of a comprehensive Rice Farmers Development Program to improve the sector’s competitiveness.
Yap’s bill is proposing to impose a tariff rate of 100 percent on rice imports for a period of three years.
Under HB 4904, the NFA may be authorized to import rice tariff-free upon recommendation of the NFA council and the Department of Agriculture (DA) secretary, and the approval of the President.
“In the event that the NFA imports rice at zero tariff, half of the net income earned from the said importation shall be used to augment the Rice Industry Development Fund. For this purpose, the NFA must have a separate accounting for its tariff-free rice imports,” the bill read. Yap said the Rice Industry Development Fund should be established and used to support the implementation of the Rice Industry Competitive Enhancement Program of the government.
Upon the enactment of the bill, the DA, together with relevant agencies would be given a maximum of 180 days to finalize the rice road map to restructure the government’s delivery of support services for the sector.
As part of this road map, Yap said a five-year rice program will be implemented to provide alternative livelihood for those who will be affected by the shift in the import policy

NFA Council clarifies rice import schedule

Philippine Daily Inquirer / 12:02 AM March 06, 2017
The Duterte administration’s way of dishing out contradicting information showed yet again, this time through National Food Authority’s governing body, which makes crucial decisions that help ensure stable food supply.
In a statement issued through the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the NFA Council clarified that all milled rice imports procured through the private sector should arrive in the Philippines by March 31, a month later than the original deadline.
While the NFA imports rice through government-to-government transactions, private importers are also allowed to do so by way of the minimum access volume (MAV) mechanism of the World Trade Organization.
The council had to make the clarification on the deadline after the NFA itself announced last Friday that the deadline remained set at Feb. 28.
The Cabinet Secretary sits as chair of the NFA Council, while the NFA administrator serves as vice chair. The BSP Governor is a member of the council, along with the secretaries of finance, trade and economic planning, as well as the chair of Development Bank of the Philippines, president of Land Bank of the Philippines and a representative of farmers.
The guidelines for this latest batch of imports done through the MAV was spelled out in NFA Council Resolution No. 825-2016-F, dated June 15, 2016.
“One of the provisions of [the resolution] gives discretionary power to the NFA administrator to approve individual requests for extension [of] the arrival of the rice importation,” the council’s statement said.
“This is a specific power delegated to the NFA administrator by the NFA Council for efficiency purposes but in no way to be interpreted to mean that the NFA Council stripped itself of its power to amend the 2016 MAV guidelines,” the council added.
Last Friday, NFA administrator Jason Laureano Y. Aquino —who assumed office last January—said in a statement that there was no change in the deadline.
“There’s no need to extend the deadline because there were others, including farmer cooperatives, that participated in the MAV and have complied with the deadline,” Aquino said.
“If these co-ops (cooperatives) can do it, why can’t the others?” he said, referring to farmers cooperative that import milled rice through the MAV.
Aquino said imports should arrive early so as not to dampen prices of home-grown grains, considering that local harvest season starts this month.
Before this, in a memo signed Feb. 10, Aquino said the deadline for arrival of shipments was moved to March 31, but for supplies coming from India and Pakistan only.
In another memo dated Feb. 20, Aquino invoked the 2016 MAV guidelines to say that the deadline was set on Feb. 28.
According to the NFA, a total of 211 farmer cooperatives and private businessmen applied for the importation of a combined 692,340 metric tons of rice through the MAV.
For this batch of imports, supplies coming from Vietnam, Thailand, India and Pakistan were given quota allocations.
NFA data show that 433,699.35 tons or 63 percent of the approved MAV volume have arrived as of Feb. 27

Customs command burns expired rice, gadgets, other

Mar 4 2017 - 12:16am

Description: Hameed Ibrahim Ali, Customs boss
The Kano/Jigawa Customs Area Command on Friday in Kano destroyed expired items worth millions of Naira. This is contained in a statement signed by the Commands Public Relations officer, Mr Danbaba Isah and made available to newsmen in Kano.According to the statement, the burnt items include expired foreign rice, computer scraps and expired bubble gum.Others were harmful and expired drugs including Dizapam, Heragra, Tranadol tablets and 250 cartons of expired liquid Indo food.
According to the statement, the Command’s Area Controller, Mr Abutu Onaja led in the destruction of the expired items which took place in the premises of the command’s warehouse.
“The destruction of the expired materials was approved and directed by the Comptroller General of Customes, Retired Col Hameed Ali.
“The exercise was witnessed by relevant government agencies operating in Kano state,” he said

Under the Radar: Sri Lanka's drought threatens credit downgrade 

Sri Lanka’s ongoing drought is not only a humanitarian crisis, but also an economic one, as the country’s economy suffers on multiple fronts. Description: Under the Radar: Sri Lanka’s drought threatens credit downgrade
Sri Lanka has been experiencing rainfall shortages since last October, resulting in the worst drought in 40 years. With the country’s economy under severe stress, there is little relief in sight until the June / July monsoon season. Some districts have seen a 60-70% reduction in rainfall, resulting in widespread land degradation. This has led to the lowest amount of cultivated acreage in 30 years, with the World Food Program noting that only 35% of the country’s rice paddies had been cultivated by November 2016.
Concerns over food production are common during droughts, yet the situation in Sri Lanka highlights the convergence of multiple risk factors. The lack of rain has not only damaged rain-dependent crops, but has also led to a shortage of irrigation water necessary for the country’s water-intensive staple crop – rice. Agriculture accounts for 9% of Sri Lankan GDP and employs 28% of the country’s workforce. In response to the drought, the government announced the implementation of relief payments to the approximately 900,000 people affected by the drought.
Specifically, the government will provide Rs. 10,000 ($66) for every acre of blighted land per family per month for four months. With around half of national rice paddy acreage affected (1.5 million acres), the cost of this effort will account for between 0.1 and 0.2% of GDP; this does not include relief efforts for other crops.

Entire agricultural supply chain in turmoil

The agriculture sector is not expected to make a full recovery in 2017, even if sufficient rain falls during the rest of the year. In order to combat food shortages, the government has accepted food and water aid from India, Indonesia, Pakistan and Thailand as well as increased food imports. To encourage imports Sri Lanka has cut import taxes on rice from 15 to 5 rupees per kilo. While this may aid imports, the measure also adds additional fiscal pressure on a government whose foreign reserves are dwindling.
Description: Untitled

Another issue are the government price controls on rice which, while fixing prices between Rs 70 and Rs 80 per kilo of various types of rice, risks unrest. The government is attempting to prevent inflation and price-gouging from further exasperating the food crisis, but not everyone is happy. While the move benefits (especially low income) citizens, rice millers are complaining about losses. Having purchased rice at higher wholesale prices prior to pricing limits, millers are now being forced to sell at a loss. On February 13th, some 120 leading millers refused to sell at government prices, calling for between Rs 80 to Rs 90 per kilo, and demanding to meet with President Maithripala Sirisena.
On February 21st, Sri Lanka’s price control agency conducted cross-country raids on 52 stores, arresting the owners for selling rice above government prices. Unlike small business owners, major millers have significant political clout, with one of the largest being Dudley Sirisena, the president’s brother. The government must walk a careful line in order to ensure cooperation from millers and protect food security. President Sirisena finds himself in a difficult position, especially since he championed his outsider status during the 2015 elections to win the presidency; touting his hardworking attitude, degree in agriculture and origin from Sri Lanka’s north-central rice bowl. If the populace thinks Sirisena is not doing enough to combat the drought, or is bending to pressure from business, the likelihood of unrest will increase.

More than food production affected

Concerns about the balance between business and public interest goes beyond rice milling, with MP Douglas Devananda warning against plans to relocate Coca Cola’s largest South Asian plant from India to Sri Lanka. Devananda has cited water-related complaints against Coca Cola’s 57 Indian bottling operations, including the fact that the company has been banned from drawing from the Thamirabaran river.
“With such [drought] conditions prevailing in Sri Lanka, Coca Cola wants to use our water resources to meet the demands of their largest consumer market in the region: India. How can this be allowed?” Devananda complained in parliament on February 24th.
The drought has also led to an energy crisis in Sri Lanka, as reservoirs are only at 29% capacity. As a result hydro-electricity generating rates are only 30% of installed capacity, a major problem for a country that relies on hydro-power for around 40% of total production. This forced state-owned utilities to purchase $50 million worth of electricity from the private sector in January and increase fuel imports: oil imports doubled in January alone. Increased fuel imports have further widened the trade deficit which has grown to $957 million (December 2016) up from $827 million in 2015. This is yet another financial drain on Sri Lanka and contributes to the rupee’s continuing devaluation. The rupee has already lost 1% in 2017, following a 3.9% drop in 2016 and 10% fall in 2015.
The rupee’s devaluation combined with increased imports and other drought effects saw consumer price inflation hit a record high of 6.8% in February compared to the same period in 2016. Dwindling foreign reserves threaten balance-of-payments pressure from foreign outflows at a time when Sri Lanka is negotiating up to $2.5 billion in foreign financing.

Drought threatens Sri Lanka’s IMF loan goals

Overall the effects of the drought have already lowered the 2017 GDP growth forecast from 6% to 5%. Direct government actions against the drought could cost $264 million, with state minister for finance Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena stating that the government may need around $1.5 billion for drought contingencies. By way of comparison the entire national budget for 2016 was $5.5 billion. The effects of the drought have derailed Sri Lanka’s efforts to tackle systemic overspending, with the government projecting a 17% increase in spending, versus a 0.6% increase in 2016.
Description: sri-lanka-government-budget

With a budget deficit of 7.4% of GDP in 2015, Sri Lanka was already facing serious fiscal headwinds, as the country’s inability to rein in government spending undermines its financial stability. As a result the drought is hampering Sri Lanka’s efforts to reduce the budget deficit to 4.6% – a key goal of the country’s $1.5 billion IMF loan. With fiscal deficit calculated at 5.2% for 2017, Sri Lanka faces a credit downgrade if it fails to meet its loan conditions.
In response, finance minister Ravi Karunanayake countered that “we have drafted the budget factoring in these uncertainties […] The budget deficit doesn’t need to swell up just because of one abnormal condition.” The minister went on state he expects 6% growth despite the drought and that the government is not considering a waiver on the IMF’s deficit target. International observers are less optimistic, with Moody’s warning of the “negative credit effect of the drought” and assigning Sri Lanka a B1 credit rating with negative outlook.
Under the Radar uncovers political risk events around the world overlooked by mainstream media. By detecting hidden risks, we keep you ahead of the pack and ready for new opportunities.

Extra rice, please!

Tweaking the rice recipes for Davao, Sous Chef Bang Flores with one of her rice dishes. (Contributed Photo) THIS is the time to forget the no-carb diet. Or you can try, but resistance will be futile. Misto at Seda Abreeza’s March food promotion will be the Achilles’ heel of your strict diet. The International Rice Bowls made a successful run in Seda BGC, but for Davao, Chef Bang Flores and her culinary team will tweak the recipes to make it their own.
Misto’s six reasons to cheat the diet are Hong Kong XO Fried Rice with Scallops and Asparagus, Saffron and Pimiento Basmati Rice (Spanish-Indian fusion), Brown Rice Stir-fry Vegetables, Creole Shrimp Rice (South American-inspired), Thai Spicy Basil Chicken Fried Rice, and Smoked Fish, Salted Egg Fried Rice. The danger lies on the style of serving—buffet style! This just means you can have your fill of all six rice bowl varieties and as much as you can take. Though each of the bowls is a meal in itself, all-time Pinoy favorites will be served alongside the stars as the perfect match. Start with the Mixed Salad with Malagos Blue Pepato Cheese, Glazed Pili Nuts, Calamansi-Honey Vinaigrette, or skip it and scoop the rice offerings and servings of seafoods like the grilled squid, shrimp, tuna belly, and the Baked Tahong in ala Pobre Sauce. Go for a second serving with the boneless lechon this time or perhaps the Chicken BBQ Pinoy Style. Repeat if necessary.
No one around you will judge your appetite for the good food because everybody is on the same boat, so to speak. To end the meal, there are the classic Filipino desserts to sugar coat your palate, head to the Halo-halo station. I call this dessert the great Pinoy chiller- perfect summer cooler and one fine saccharine fix. Make room for the Coffee Leche Flan, Mango Sansrival, Almond Roca Chocolate Finger, Ube Crinkles and Ube Cheesecake as well. Consider Friday as your official cheat day this March and April.
Workout those muscles and burn the calories five days a week and work out your appetite Friday night buffet at Misto. (P980 net) If you want to hold off on the temptation, Misto will gladly have you pick on the set menus (P1,680 net, good for four, and P980 net, good for two), and ala carte menu (P580 net) for lunch and dinner. Bon apetit! (The promotion is made as part of the “Flavors of the Philippines” project initiated by Department of Tourism and Tourism Promotions Board.) Email me at For more lifestyle & travel stories, visit &

Dry Zone farmers struggle to switch to new rice varieties

An aerial view of paddy fields in a town in central Myanmar. (Photo Credit: Myanmar Now)

By Htet Khaung Linn / Myanmar Now
BYINKAT VILLAGE, Mandalay Region - Kyaw Win is one of the millions of farmers who have long struggled to make ends meet in the harsh environment of central Myanmar’s Dry Zone.
But last year he began cultivating high-quality rice seeds at his farm in Byinkat Village and closely followed the growing instructions for the drought-resistant variety, which was supplied by international NGO AVSI.
Since then, his harvest has significantly increased. “I can now produce 100 paddy baskets per acre by using the methods of AVIS. Some farmers have imitated me and asked about my farming practices,” Kyaw Win said, adding that his harvest had increased with about 40 percent.
In the Dry Zone, some 10 million farmers rely on rainy season rice, oil seeds and pulses. Many languish in poverty and debt, and a lack of enough food is common. The region’s drought is compounded by the poor quality groundwater and by climate change, which has caused increasingly erratic rainfall in the past decade.
The introduction of more productive and resilient rice seeds, government officials and aid workers said, is a key strategy for helping the vulnerable communities.
“Climatic change in the Dry Zone is affecting the incomes of farmers through unseasonal rainfall or drought,” said Aung Soe Win, project manager of AVIS in Yamethin Township, Mandalay Region.
His organisation has been freely supplying four villages in the area with 13 varieties of high-quality paddy seeds since 2014. Aung Soe Win said AVIS teaches farmers how to grow the paddy and it provides them with farming machinery, while collecting feedback from farmers on which varieties perform best.
AVIS is working together with the Livelihoods and Food Security Trust Fund (LIFT), a poverty reduction donor fund supported by 12 governments, and the International Rice Research Institute, which has developed rice seeds that are more resistant to drought and the saline groundwater found in the area.
LIFT’s Dry Zone Programme brings together nine NGOs and UN agencies to improve livelihoods, food security and child nutrition among vulnerable families.
The AVSI project supports the wider efforts of the Agricultural Department to promote the use and proper cultivation of more productive rice seeds.
Kyaw Myin Zaw, an officer at Mandalay Region’s Agricultural Department, said it provides 90,000 baskets of high-quality paddy seeds each year to farmers at subsidised prices, which is enough to plant some 1.3 million hectares of paddy.
The department grows the seeds at specific farms and sends some of its surplus seeds to Magwe and Sagaing, two other Dry Zone regions, he added.
Thet Naing Win, an officer at Yamethin Township’s Agriculture Department, said, however, that his department was too short-staffed to help farmers switch to better seeds and to teach them how to properly grow such varieties.
“We have 16 staff members to reach farmers from 64 village tracts. This means that each staffer is working in nearly 30 villages in six village tracts,” he said. “We need more staff members and other facilities to work effectively in each village.”
Aung Soe Win, of AVSI, said improving farm methods to ensure new varieties thrive is a major challenge not only because of a lack government resources, but also because farmers are not always committed to innovation.
“If more farmers would be careful about growing methods and techniques they would produce more rice, but many farmers don’t care enough,” he said.
Kyaw Naing Oo, secretary of the Agriculture and Livestock Committee at Mandalay Region parliament, said poor farmers often also fail to properly store high-quality seeds from their harvest so they can plant them again next season.
“Farmers sell off all paddy after the harvest as they need money, so they cannot keep the seeds for next crop,” he said, adding that farmers need financial support, as well education, to raise production.
“The government should conduct more education campaigns so farmers understand how to grow high-quality paddy through model farming,” said Kyaw Naing Oo, a National League for Democracy (NLD) MP from Singu Township.
Myint Swe, another Mandalay Region NLD MP, said government agencies had long failed to connect with farmers and supply them with the right seeds and knowledge.
Tint Wai Tun, a marketing manager at a private fertiliser company, said farmers were now increasingly turning to chemical fertilisers rather than high-quality seeds to increase production. “But poor quality seeds will generate only lower quantity harvest,” he said.
(Edited by Paul Vrieze)

NFA’s rice importation order deplored as ‘biased’

Published March 4, 2017, 10:01 PM
By Chito A. Chavez

President Duterte was asked by a group of farmer-importers to intercede in their behalf after the National Food Authority (NFA) extended until Mar. 31, 2017 the importation of rice, but only from India and Pakistan and not from other rice-exporting countries like Vietnam and Thailand.
In a press briefing in Quezon City, Edwin Paraluman, chairman of the Philippine Farmers Advisory Board (PFAB), branded as unfair the decision of NFA Administrator Jason Aquino to bar the importation of rice from countries such as Vietnam and Thailand.
He noted that members of his group who are mostly lowly farmers have incurred huge losses as a result of Aquino’s decision.
However, Paraluman remained mum on Aquino’s decision to grant the extension of rice importation only to India and Pakistan, citing that the administrator’s decision was a clear proof of double standard as his group was prevented from importing rice from India and Pakistan after February 28.
Gerry Magisa another leader of the farmer importer group in Agusan said he already paid for including the required tariff for his rice import from Thailand and Vietnam but the delivery was snagged due to the NFA’s decision.
“Rice imported from Thaildand and Vietnam cannot be delivered in the Philippines since Customs can seize it without the March 31 rice importation extension since it will them be considered smuggled goods.

Forest, poultry, rice pros inducted to hall

Posted: March 5, 2017 at 1:53 a.m.
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Description: Allen Bedell of Hot Springs
Credit: Special to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette 
Allen Bedell of Hot Springs
Untimely deaths in the family, a sudden illness, and a good intuition for the future of Arkansas agriculture played roles in the lives of the five newest members of the Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame.
Description: Cassady of Nashville
Description: Sebree of Stuttgart
Description: Simmons of Siloam Springs
Description: late Bobby R. Wells of Fayetteville
Inducted Friday during a luncheon at Embassy Suites in Little Rock, the five are:
 Allen Bedell of Hot Springs, a forester.
 Neely Cassady of Nashville, a poultry operator and former state senator.
 Gary Sebree of Stuttgart, a rice farmer and longtime director of a rice growers' cooperative.
 Mark Simmons of Siloam Springs, a poultry executive.
 the late Bobby R. Wells of Fayetteville, a rice scientist.
The hall of fame now has 158 members since its establishment in 1987 to acknowledge those who have helped make agriculture a $16-billion-a-year industry in the state.
A man among trees
Allen Bedell blushed, folded his hands into his lap and gazed downward when a fellow member on the Arkansas Agricultural Board noted Bedell's latest honor. Bedell wasn't as bashful in 2009 when he testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry.
"For too long the timber industry has been a stepchild in the agricultural field," Bedell said in advocating for an industry ravaged by a slow economy.
Now retired from logging, Bedell continues his support of the logging and forestry industries through his membership since 2001 on the Arkansas Forestry Commission. He was its chairman from 2008 to 2013. He also helped found the Arkansas Timber Producers Association 25 years ago.
Bedell was an engineering major at Louisiana State University in 1958 when he abruptly switched to forestry, largely because of working with his grandfather, a Missouri logger, the previous summer. "My mother said, 'Oh, son, don't do that, you're throwing your life away,''' he said recently.
Bedell was a forester for Georgia-Pacific Corp. in Fordyce and also owned two whole-tree chipping operations. He also started the Log a Load for Kids program, which has raised about $8 million for patients at Arkansas Children's Hospital.
"I guess I've gone full circle," he said. "Logging led me to forestry, and then forestry led me back to logging."
Bedell said he knows the three other loggers who preceded him into the hall of fame. "To be mentioned in the same breath as those guys is just breathtaking," he said. "I still think they got the wrong envelope."
A poultry pioneer
Neely Cassady was serious whenever he told people that he grew up in a chicken house, Cassady's son, Mark, said recently.
"During the winter months, he and an older brother really would sleep in a chicken house," stoking a small fire to keep the chickens -- and themselves -- warm, Mark Cassady said. The two had one blanket between them. "Whoever woke up without the blanket would know it was time to restart the fire," Mark said.
Lankston Cassady, his father, had a hatchery business near Nashville in Howard County, but died at 58. Neely was just 18, but he took over the business, never attending college as he had planned. The youngest of seven children, he was the only one to continue in the poultry business.
He built two poultry companies that are now part of Pilgrim Industries and Tyson Foods. He served part of southwest Arkansas as a state senator from 1983 to 1997. He was president of the Arkansas Poultry Federation for a year and a Tyson board member from 1974-2001.
Neely Cassady, 88, has Alzheimer's, Mark said. "I know he's honored, but he also thinks the true recognition belongs to his father, who really started the poultry industry in southwest Arkansas," he said. Mark Cassady represented his father at the induction ceremony.
An accidental farmer?
Gary Sebree's induction was largely for his leadership of Producers Rice Mill, a farmer-owned cooperative. But Sebree credited an early bout with tuberculosis for his success in business and in life.
Sebree was 18 and majoring in science at Hendrix College in 1959 when the diagnosis abruptly changed his plans. He'd grown up on farmland near Stuttgart established by his grandfather. "My father took over for him, and he had a couple of brothers, so it looked like there wasn't enough farmland to go around," he said. "I actually never intended to farm. It was a strange deal."
Going home to recuperate "gave me a chance to do some things on the farm that I hadn't been able to do before,'' Sebree said. After recovering, he returned to Hendrix for a short time.
"For some reason, it just wasn't the same," he said. "I came back home. Now I tell everybody that getting TB was the best thing that happened to me. I have two wonderful kids and four great-grandkids, and probably wouldn't have married the woman that I did." He and Phyllis Sebree have been married for 54 years.
Sebree was chairman of Producers Rice Mill for 24 years and a board member for 19 years. Owned by farmers, the co-op's membership grew from 956 members in 1971, Sebree's first year on the board, to 2,637 in 2013. Members' sales grew from $17 million to $568 million during the same period. Arkansas is the nation's top rice producer.
"It's all a great honor," Sebree said. "I told someone the other day, it [the Hall of Fame] wasn't really on my bucket list. I was just trying to help the industry, but I had a lot of good people around me who helped."
Friday was a big day for Sebree. He also turned 76. And, later that night, a friend from college, Jim Rasco, was inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame.
A family business
Like Cassady, Mark C. Simmons took over the family business after his father's long illness and death but had enough time, over the span of several years, to learn from him.
"I took over in 1973, when he was in the hospital," Simmons, 70, said recently. "I was 26. It was a shock ... but I'd had several years of working closely with him. So, while I wasn't necessarily running the company, I was highly involved and had some experience."
He was 4 years old in 1949 when his father moved the family of four from Nebraska to Decatur in Benton County. "He leased a plant but quickly outgrew it, so he built a new one in Siloam Springs that opened in 1952," Simmons said.
Simmons worked with his father throughout high school and while attending the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.
As president of Simmons Foods since 1973 and chairman since 1987, he has watched his privately held company grow from a single processing plant in Siloam Springs with about $20 million in sales and 350 employees to $1.4 billion in sales and 6,000 employees at more than 20 facilities across North America.
"There have been bright spots no question about it," he said. "But the poultry industry for decades has been extremely cyclical, where you make pretty good money one year, do OK another year, and lose money the next. But through the years, we were able to expand when others were contracting."
Simmons said he recently perused previous classes of the Arkansas Agricultural Hall of Fame and realized he knew, or had known, some 30 percent to 40 percent of the inductees.
"While this is an honor that is being given to me, it is really deserved by the people of Simmons who've made our organization a great place to work. My family, my wife, our employees -- all of them deserve this honor more than I do," he said.
A brilliant mind
The late Bobby R. Wells was only about 5 feet 9 inches tall, but was a giant in Arkansas agriculture research, especially in rice, said Richard Norman, a longtime colleague and friend of Wells at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, where both men taught agronomy and soil science.
"He was a humble man and a wonderful mentor to students and young scientists," said Norman, who nominated Wells. "He was innovative. He wasn't one of those who, as they get older, would say, 'oh, we've already done that, or there's no better way to do that.' He was always pushing students to keep experimenting."
Wells died Dec. 22, 1996, at age 62, of complications from abdominal surgery.
Wells came from Kentucky to Arkansas in 1966 to be an assistant professor at UA's rice research station in Stuttgart. After 16 years there, he moved to Fayetteville to teach and, eventually, became chairman of the Department of Agronomy.
Wells developed what is still believed to be the nation's only college course in rice production, Norman said.
After Wells moved to Fayetteville, Norman filled the vacancy at the rice research center but was eventually brought to Fayetteville to fill a faculty position in what is now the Department of Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences. Norman is a professor there.
"Filling out the [Hall of Fame] paperwork was an honor, and it also made me miss him all over again," Norman said.
Wells' wife, Marcia, lives in Arizona. Their only child, Teresa, who followed her father in becoming a scientist, died in September.
SundayMonday Business on 03/05/2017

NFA’s rice importation order deplored as ‘biased’

Sat 04 March 2017 05:59 GMT | 10:59 Local Time
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Iran may soon issue permission for importing rice from India, India's Commerce Ministry said in a statement.
The ministry said the move come following a visit to Iran by a 20-member trade delegation led by chairman of Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) from January 28-30, reported, according to Iran Daily.
The delegation met officials from various departments in the government of Iran including Food and Drug Organization, Governmental Trading Corporation and Trade Promotion Organization.
Meetings were also held with Iran Chamber of Commerce and Rice Importers Association.
The deliberations helped to dispel the negative publicity which appeared in a section of the media in Iran causing doubts about the health and safety of rice from India.
The main purpose of the visit was to promote the export of rice since Iran is one of the largest importers of Basmati rice from India.
To supplement domestic production of about two million tons, Iran imports about one million tons of rice each year out of which about 700,000 tons are exported from India

New report: Growth estimates of United States baby rice flour market research for 2017

 Published: 06 March 2017
Submitted by Pawan Kumar WhaTech Max

This report studies sales (consumption) of Baby Rice Flour in United States market, focuses on the top players, with sales, price, revenue and market share for each player, covering Research Beam added a report “United States Baby Rice Flour Market Report 2017”
United States Baby Rice Flour Market Report 2017:
The United States Baby Rice Flour MarketIndustry Research Report is a comprehensive study of the recent market trends and consumption analysis in the global industry. The report provides an in-depth analysis for the historic period, 2011–2016 and the forecast period, 2017–2022.
Market overview is offered on the basis of product overview and scope of United States Baby Rice Flour Market Research Report 2017in the Food and Beverage. Furthermore, the study covers a detailed segmentation in terms of types, applications, and regions.
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Regional analysis for the United States Baby Rice Flour Market Research Report 2017 in the Food and Beverage Sector Research Report 2017 market is provided based on revenue, sales, and growth rate. In addition, sales and market share for each segment are included for each region.
Following regions are analyzed:
•           North America
•           Global
•           China
•           Japan
•           Southeast Asia
•           India
Major manufacturers are analyzed in the report in terms of basic information, manufacturing base, product specifications, and business overview. Furthermore, comprehensive analysis of sales, revenue, price, and gross margin of each manufacturer is covered.
Following manufacturers are analyzed:
•    Heinz •    Gerber •    Hipp •    Nestle•    Beingmate •    Engnice •    Eastwes•    Weicky •    FangGuang 
Manufacturing cost analysis is offered based on raw material analysis and cost structure along with manufacturing process analysis. The research offers industry chain analysis in terms of upstream raw material sourcing and downstream buyers.
Moreover, an extensive analysis of production, consumption, and revenue for each segment is offered for the forecast period.
Data & statistics are provided with the help of tables and figures to help manufacturers, investors, and shareholders gain comprehensive understanding. Research conclusions are offered at the end of the report.
TOC Includes:
•           Market Overview
•           Segment by Application
•           Global Market Competition by Manufacturers
•           Production, Revenue (Value) by Region (2012-2017)
•           Supply (Production), Consumption, Export, Import by Regions (2012-2017)
•           Market Analysis by Application
•           Manufacturing Cost Analysis
•           Market Forecast (2017-2022)
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Mahindra & Mahindra expands overseas tractors and farm machinery business

Mahindra & Mahindra is expanding the international play for its tractors and farm machinery business, targeting to earn 50 per cent of the revenues from the overseas market in the next two years.
The world’s top tractor maker by volumes is also open to more acquisitions to expand its reach and product capabilities.
“We would like to see ourselves move from being a domestic tractor maker to a global farm machinery company beyond tractors,” said Rajesh Jejurikar, President and Chief Executive, Farm Equipment & Two-Wheelers.
Managing Director Pawan Goenka said the company was looking at acquisition opportunities as a part of its overall game plan for the business.
“If something fits like a puzzle piece, we will go for it,” he said.
The global farm equipment market is estimated at $156 billion of which tractors is only $60 billion.
“There is a large global opportunity outside tractors and we would like to take advantage of it,” he added.
Currently, tractors bring in about 85 per cent of the sales for the business, while the rest is from farm machinery. The company’s target is to bring down the share of tractors to 79 per cent by FY-19.
“We can’t globalise by being everywhere. We have identified a few top markets where we would like to be present through manufacturing or sales and distribution set up. These markets are North and South America, China, Japan and Turkey, where we already have on-ground presence.”
Globalisation initiative
Jejurikar said the company’s recent acquisitions will aid its globalisation initiative. Japan’s Mitsubishi Agriculture Machinery, with its range of rice transplanters and harvesters will help M&M address the requirements of the global rice value chain. The others are Finland’s Sampo Rosenlew and Turkey’s Hisarlal, with strength in the soil preparation area. “We would like Sampo to be the base for harvester product development and centre of excellence,” Jejurikar said.
Turkey is a large market for tractor and farm machinery, pegged at around $3 billion. Hisarlal, said Jejurikar, will provide a good reach to M&M. “It creates a base for us to introduce our tractors using the good distribution structure that Hisarlal brings to us. It will allow us to access markets in CIS and parts of the Middle East,” he added.
The company is also building base organically in Brazil and Mexico. In Brazil, M&M has set up a factory in Porto Alegre from where it plans to launch new portfolio of tractors. It is already sourcing about 60 per cent of the parts locally.
“We will focus on product development around the world. But we will localise our offerings as per the requirements of different countries,” Jejurikar added