Friday, March 17, 2017

17th March,2017 daily globa,regional and local rice e-newsletter by riceplus magazine

Ag Groups Request Additional Funding for 2018 Farm Bill 
 WASHINGTON DC -- USA Rice joined 16 other agriculture groups in a letter to Chairmen and Ranking Members of the Committees on Budget and Appropriations yesterday to express their concerns over budget cuts to the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the need for more resources to help farmers throughout America. 

The letter explains how many farmers across the country - young farmers in particular - are feeling the pains and anxieties brought on by low prices and high costs of production.  Net farm incomes are down 50 percent from where they were four years ago, leaving producers no choice but to dip into capital reserves.  This poses a major obstacle for young farmers who have not had the luxury of time to build sustainable reserves.  On top of domestic issues, a strong U.S. dollar and discouraging trade rhetoric has decreased export potential, making hard times even harder. 

"The average age of the American farmer, currently 58 years old, should be of major concern to this Administration, equal to concern over the country's aging infrastructure," said Blake Gerard, Missouri rice farmer and chairman of both USA Rice Farmers and the USA Rice Government Affairs Committee.  "Without needed funding during difficult times, the future of the next generation of farmers is uncertain." 

The letter was sent to Congress hours before the administration released their "skinny" budget proposal which calls for steep cuts to discretionary spending at USDA.  President Trump is proposing a 21 percent cut to USDA, primarily in the form of reduced staffing in USDA's local service centers.  Also concerning is the call to eliminate the McGovern-Dole Food for Education Program, which often sources U.S. rice to be used for international food aid efforts. 
Since FY 2016, the share of U.S.-grown rice shipped through international food aid programs has increased substantially.  The budget proposal threatens to reduce many years of progress and investment in developing a highly nutritious fortified rice, recently approved for use in food aid.  

"The letter we sent urges those on the Budget and Appropriations Committees to consider the 2018 Farm Bill as an opportunity to respond to the troubling condition of the current agricultural economy by providing safety nets to ensure a sustainable future for agriculture in America," said Ben Mosely, vice president of government affairs for USA Rice.  "However, this cannot be done without providing additional funding to current Farm Bill resources."

Mexico Imports Thai Rice

Thursday, 16 March 2017 14:49
BANGKOK -- Mexico will import 150,000 tonnes of Thai long grain rice with a tariff-free import deal, Thai News Agency (TNA) reported.Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn said Wednesday that Thai rice exporters would be granted the tariff-free export to Mexico until Dec 31 this year.

Exporters can each ship 10,000 tonnes of rice to Mexico under the agreement without having to pay 20 per cent tariff.Earlier this year, COSTCO-MEXICO superstore imported 112 tonnes of Thai rice for distribution to its 32 branches in 18 Mexican states.It is a part of coordination between the Thai Trade Centre in Mexico and Otis McAllister Co Ltd – a US-based importer of Thai rice – to promote the product.

According to Apiradi, Costco is also willing to join the Thai Trade Centre to organise marketing campaigns for Thai rice to expand its market share in Mexico.
The ministry had positioned Mexico as the base to distribute Thai rice in Central America, especially Panama and Cuba.


The 10 Best Houston Restaurants for Vegetarians

THURSDAY, MARCH 16, 2017 AT 6 A.M.

Being a vegetarian doesn't just mean eating salad all the time—but when you do at Local Foods, it's always exciting.
Photo by Erika Kwee
Certainly no one would ever dub Houston the vegetarian capital of the U.S., yet there is a surprising number of ways to eat creative, meatless meals thanks to the diverse restaurant options in Houston. The following restaurants not only offer quality vegan and vegetarian options, but they often offer dishes that capture the spirit of the cuisine without making anyone feel deprived by a lack of meat. Description: Vegan taco meat made from quinoa tops one of the inventive salads at Local Foods.

Vegan taco meat made from quinoa tops one of the inventive salads at Local Foods.
Photo by Erika Kwee
Local Foods: The fact that Local Foods is a hotspot for healthy salads, sandwiches and veg-happy sides may be old news, but don't let that discount the fact that the four (yes, four) locations in Houston offer some of the most inventive vegan and vegetarian sandwiches and salads in town. Try the veggie bacon sandwich at the Tanglewood location, dressed with marinated tempeh, vegan aioli and avocado on wheat bread, the vegan power bowl (available at most locations), stuffed with kidney beans, kale, curried tofu, quinoa and almonds or the vegan "meat" ball sandwich—with meatballs composed of mushrooms and pecans—at the Kirby location. The nut-based vegan Caesar salad sprinkled with crispy sweet potato bits, crunchy pecans and cheesy-tasting nutritional yeast at the Kirby location is the best vegan imitation of cheese you'll find this side of Westheimer. Description: The buffet at Govinda's is entirely vegan on Sundays.
The buffet at Govinda's is entirely vegan on Sundays.
Photo by Erika Kwee
Govinda's: This all-vegetarian haven is tucked away just off 610 in the Greater Heights next to the gorgeous Hare Krishna Temple & Cultural Center temple. Serving a wide and varied buffet daily, Govinda's offers rotating Indian classics in its daily buffet like saag paneer, mixed vegetable curry, aromatic basmati rice, papadum, samosas and roti alongside an extensive salad bar and the occasional off-the-beaten-path protein-forward item like hearty BBQ tofu. The chefs avoid using onions, garlic, mushrooms, eggs, or chocolate in the dishes and the buffet is entirely vegan on Sundays. The lunch buffet is served from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and dinner buffet is served from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. dailyDescription: The vegetable queso, available off the vegetarian menu at Caraol, is a bronzed wonderland of stretchy cheese over caramelized vegetables.
The vegetable queso, available off the vegetarian menu at Caraol, is a bronzed wonderland of stretchy cheese over caramelized vegetables.
Photo by Erika Kwee
Caracol: While Caracol is known for its excellent seafood dishes, ask for the vegetarian menu and you'll gain access to a long list of intriguing-sounding starters, hot plates and sides. Starters vary from the mushroom, pepper and caramelized onion-studded white queso served with tortillas to a large masa pancake topped with beans, mushrooms and cheese, to a salad with a pumpkin seed Caesar dressing. For your entree, try a rare version of vegetarian mole (composed of a yellow mole over wild mushrooms and roasted cauliflower), vegetable enchiladas, fried avocado tostadas, or a rice dish studded with baby carrots, butternut squash, asparagus, cherry tomatoes and corn. For a similar option closer to Montrose, Hugo's also offers a slightly more abbreviated vegetarian menuDescription: The Avila arepa at Gusto Gourmet is packed with a generous filling of scrambled eggs, tomato, onions and white cheese.
The Avila arepa at Gusto Gourmet is packed with a generous filling of scrambled eggs, tomato, onions and white cheese.
Photo by Erika Kwee

Gusto Gourmet: While it's not the best option for cheese-shunning vegans, this compact Venezuelan shop is actually great for vegetarians. The menu is heavy on a variety of Venezuelan cheeses, plantains and beans. Pretty much anywhere you might otherwise eat meat, you can often sub black beans—try the breakfast combo of scrambled eggs with sauteed onions, tomato, black beans, Venezuelan white cheese and 3 arepas for $8.50. For lunch or dinner, you can start with a variety of cheese sticks, yucca fritters, a sweet and savory mandoca (cornmeal mixed with mashed plantains, sugar and cheese), grilled white cheese or an eggplant antipasto. Then move onto one of the many gluten-free arepas, which is like a thick corn-based tortilla stuffed with fillings—sample the Gusto (white cheese with eggplant antipasto tomato and balsamic glaze) to the Domino (black beans and salty white cheese) to the vegan (eggplant antipasto, avocado, tomato and balsamic glaze). Falafel, eggplant lasagna, or a Mediterranean veggie burger are also on offer. Description: San San Tofu imitates crab in the traditional bun rieu soup with puffy clumps of tofu in an aromatic broth.
San San Tofu imitates crab in the traditional bun rieu soup with puffy clumps of tofu in an aromatic broth.
Photo by Erika Kwee
San San Tofu: This vegetarian spot in Chinatown serves up house made tofu that's silky and uber-fresh. Come here for the extremely cheap combo lunches (three items, noodles and soup for $6) or for a variety of hot vegan and vegetarian dim sum dishes available daily between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. You won't find MSG, garlic, leeks or eggs in any of the vegetarian dishes and both iced and hot tea are available for free (though you should shell out a couple bucks to try the smooth, freshly made soy milk). Try the bun rieu, which is a traditional Vietnamese vermicelli soup typically topped with crab—but San San uses cloud-shaped clumps of tofu instead. Customers can also buy the bulky fried blocks of housemade tofu in larger packages to cook at home (throwing strips of the tofu in homemade pad thai is highly recommended).
Description: Fajitas a Go Go offers menu items for everyone, including an exotic mix of vegetables for vegetarians searching for a good fajita.
Fajitas a Go Go offers menu items for everyone, including an exotic mix of vegetables for vegetarians searching for a good fajita.
Photo by Erika Kwee

Fajitas A Go Go: Fajitas A Go Go stands out for its inventive mixes of seasonal grilled vegetables that you'll find in the vegetable fajita meals. You might find oyster mushrooms, asparagus, seasonal squash or scallions alongside the expected onions and peppers. The delicious vegetable mix can also be found tucked into a quesadilla made with hand-made flour tortillas, or you can give the grilled vegetable taco salad or cheese enchiladas a try. The green crack salsa and guacamole are solid vegetarian options that you can definitely indulge in.
Description: Saag paneer on pizza at Bombay Pizza: what more could you ask for?