Tuesday, March 28, 2017

28th March,2017 daily global,regional and local rice e-newsletter by riceplus magazine


The Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (UNISAME) welcomed and appreciated the remedial steps taken by the government to spend Rs. 20 billion on development of export sector over next three years under Strategic Trade Policy Framework (STPF) and urged the government to release the export refunds of the SMEs first promptly to begin with relief for the SME export units.

Unisame president Zulfikar Thaver said the SMEs are the most affected by the decline in exports and low commodity prices due to recession. The positive steps taken by the government will go a long way in supporting the sector. 
Thaver appreciated the incentive for technology up-gradation in shape of investment support of 20 % and mark-up support of 50 % upto a maximum of Rs. 1 (one) million per annum per company for import of new plant and machinery.
He also thanked the Prime Minister (PM) Nawaz Sharif for the Trade Enhancement Package (TEP) of Rs. 180 billion to restore competitiveness and boost exports.

He said the zero rating of machinery imports, withdrawal of duty and sales tax on cotton import, and promise to release  pending sales tax refunds is very encouraging but needs to be released promptly to save the industry.

The other initiatives which include matching grant up to a maximum of Rs. 5 (five) million for specified plant and machinery or specified items to improve product design and encourage innovation in SMEs and export sectors of leather, pharmaceutical and fisheries are also very supportive he said.

The SMEs are pleased to learn from the  reporting  in the print and electronic media about the grants to facilitate branding certification for faster growth of SMEs and export sector in Pakistan’s economy through Intellectual Property Registration (IPO) including trade and service marks, certification and accreditation. Draw-back for local taxes and levies is being given to exporters on free on board (FOB) values of their enhanced exports if increased by 10 % and beyond over last year’s exports at the rate of 4 % on increased exports.

Unisame emphasized the need for prompt payment of duty draw backs and refunds otherwise it will remain a vain effort as the past refunds are long overdue and funds of SMEs are blocked since years.

Thaver urged for inclusion of rice in the sales tax zero-rating regime for export oriented sectors namely. textile, leather, carpets, surgical and sports goods. He urged the government to include the rice sector which has suffered due to fall in commodity prices and high cost of production.
Media Invitation to cover PRISM Annual Executive Meeting

WHAT:        PRISM Annual Executive Meeting 2017
March 29, 2017; 8:00 AM
WHERE:        Bureau of Soils and Water Management Convention Hall, Quezon City 

to Anselmo, Beth, Bonnie, Carlos, Elvie, ent, Estrella, George, Glenn, Ilocos, inquirermindan., Jaypee, Jennifer, Joan, Joy, jun, Lailanie, Lester, lyn, Madel, manny, Melody, Melpha, Milagros, MJ

The Philippine Rice Information System (PRISM) would like to invite your reporter and photographer to the project’s 2nd Annual Executive Meeting. This will serve as an ideal venue to present and discuss the institutionalization of PRISM within the Philippine Department of Agriculture.

Joining the event are the Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, DA Undersecretary Ariel Cayanan, DA-BAR Director Nicomedes Eleazar, DA-Bureau of Plant Industry Director Vivencio Mamaril, DA-Bureau of Soils and Water Management OIC-Director Angel Enriquez, Philippine Rice Research Institute Executive Director (PhilRice) Sailila Abdula, PhilRice Deputy Executive Director for Research Eduardo Jimmy Quilang, International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) Deputy Director General for Research Jacqueline Hughes, IRRI Deputy Director General for Communication and Partnership V. Bruce Tolentino, DA officials, regional executive directors, and staff; and officials from other government agencies and international institutions.


The development phase of the PRISM project is closing and will be handed over to the DA by the end of 2017. A strong support from the DA is crucial to the sustainability and transition of PRISM, a rice monitoring technology developed by the DA, in partnership with PhilRice, IRRI, sarmap, and the DA-Regional Field Offices with funding support from the DA’s National Rice Program through DA-BAR. The last year of the PRISM Project marks the preparation for the turnover of its operations at PhilRice.
PRISM has so far produced detailed maps of rice area, start of season and yield by semester, and unbiased damage assessments in times of typhoon, flood caused by typhoon, and drought. A quick view of available rice statistics, publicly available and downloadable national to provincial reports, and easy access to more detailed information down to municipal level and analytics tool for partners and registered users are now available at PRISM website, 
www.riceinfo.ph. PRISM has also developed standardized and efficient protocols for data collection using smartphones that helped generate accurate information on production situation (physical and biological factors affecting rice production) and pest injuries. Through training and workshops, PRISM has improved the capacity of national and regional DA staff and local partners in identifying and assessing rice pest injuries and characterizing the production situation in farmers’ fields. With these, PRISM has created a sustainable platform for the DA.

Media support

Kindly confirm your attendance to Ms. Janica Gan through this email 
jm.gan@philrice.gov.ph/janicagan@gmail.com or text +63 920 683 5843 by March 27, 2017.
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Louisiana Farm Broadcaster Receives Lifetime Achievement Award 

BATON ROUGE, LA -- Long-time Louisiana farm radio and television broadcaster Don Molino received the Radio Lifetime Achievement award from the Louisiana Association of Broadcasters (LAB) Tuesday.Molino has been a staple on radio stations across Louisiana for 35 years with the Louisiana Radio Network.  He also co-hosted the weekly television show "This Week in Louisiana Agriculture" for nearly 10 years.

His voice is instantly recognizable and has been a trusted source of information for farmers across the state.

"Don Molino is national quality, and he's been been part of the culture and the fabric of our state for almost four decades," said Jim Engster, owner and president of the Louisiana Radio Network. 

Engster is quick to point out that Molino's career started in the major market of Dallas - Ft. Worth, but he instead chose to settle down in Louisiana.

"We hear him, we know him and we love him, but we don't often appreciate the fact that Don could have gone in any number of ways in his career," Engster said.  "He chose to go in our direction, and we have benefited immensely from the fact that he made that choice."

Molino is also known to the rice industry beyond Louisiana for his work as one of the emcees at the annual USA Rice Outlook Conference, the largest rice specific conference in North America.

"Don is not just a silky smooth voice to us," said Michael Klein, USA Rice vice president of marketing & communications.  "His knowledge of the industry and deep understanding of what growers are facing makes him a valued part of the programming at our conference each year." 

The award was presented during LAB's annual Prestige Awards ceremony at the L'Auberge Casino Hotel in Baton Rouge.

New rice strain could help farmers predetermine harvest time

Flowering time manipulated with common agrochemicals

Date:March 27, 2017
Source:University of Tokyo
A new strain of rice that flowers within a certain period of time after being sprayed with commercial chemicals commonly used to protect rice from fungal diseases is now available, say scientists. This new strain could one day allow rice farmers to dictate the timing of their harvest regardless of weather, temperature and other conditions that currently affect cultivation.

A new rice strain flowers only when administered Routine or Oryzemate, a common agrochemical developed to fight fungal disease. Unsprayed plants, on left, did not flower, while the ones administered the chemicals, on right, flowered 35 days after they were sprayed.
Credit: 2017 Takeshi Izawa
Description: https://images.sciencedaily.com/2017/03/170327131204_1_540x360.jpgA new strain of rice that flowers within a certain period of time after being sprayed with commercial chemicals commonly used to protect rice from fungal diseases is now available, say Japanese scientists. This new strain could one day allow rice farmers to dictate the timing of their harvest regardless of weather, temperature and other conditions that currently affect cultivation.Temperature, day length and other environmental cues determine when plants flower, making it difficult for farmers to control when to harvest their crops. While scientists have been able to artificially manipulate the flowering of small flowering plants like Arabidopsis thaliana, they had so far not been successful in such influence over cereal crops.A group of Japanese scientists led by Professor Takeshi Izawa at the University of Tokyo's Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences developed a new rice strain that flowers 40 to 45 days after being administered a common agrochemical, commercially known as Routine or Oryzemate, that prevents rice from being infected by a damaging disease called rice blast.The scientists first created a non-flowering strain by overexpressing a gene (Grain number, plant height and heading date 7, Ghd7) that suppresses flowering genes (florigen genes) which induce flowering at the tip of plants under short-day conditions. Then Izawa and his colleagues modified the florigen gene Heading date 3a (Hd3a) in the non-flowering rice strain so that it would be activated in response to certain agrochemicals. When they tested the rice strain in laboratory conditions and in pots under natural field conditions in Tsukuba, a city 70 km north of Tokyo, in Ibaraki Prefecture, the researchers observed that the new strain flowered in about 45 days after administering the chemicals. In the experiment spanning over two years, they repeatedly observed flowering only after spraying.
Izawa, who has been working on molecular mechanisms behind plant flowering for more than 20 years, thought that there would be a handful of promoters -- genetic regions that switch on the gene -- that will make the Hd3a respond to certain agrochemicals. "We identified 12 candidate promoters using a technique called 'field transcriptome analysis' that reveals which genes are activated in response to Routine or Oryzemate under natural cultivation conditions. We tested the efficacy of all the promoters and found that only one could be used to fulfill our purposes, instead of several as we had hoped."Izawa continues, "I'd like to understand the science behind our new strain, because we've only been successful in manipulating the flowering of plants that are hemizygous, that is, plants that have only one copy of a gene instead of two."The next challenge for the researchers is to see if the new strain flowers in rice paddies and various other field conditions, so that farmers will one day be able to decide when to harvest their rice grains.

Story Source:
Materials provided by University of Tokyo. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:
Ryo Okada, Yasue Nemoto, Naokuni Endo-Higashi, Takeshi Izawa. Synthetic control of flowering in rice independent of the cultivation environment. Nature Plants, 2017; 3 (4): 17039 DOI: 10.1038/nplants.2017.39

Morbidly obese to personal trainer: Man transforms his body and life with 10 stone weightloss

"I’m finally confident in myself"

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Most people will agree that losing weight is not easy.But one man has proven that anything is possible when it comes to transforming your body and getting in shape.Mark Ludlow used to be morbidly obese and was bullied at school. Now, however, he has not only lost ten stone but become a personal trainer and life coach.Seven years ago, Ludlow lost his job, his girlfriend, and weighed 23 stone. He was struggling with his mental health too, admitting that he had a “deep undercurrent of sadness” during that phase of his life.“I wouldn’t be able to hold a conversation with people I didn’t know,” Ludlow told The Sun.
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The five minute trick that could make you lose weight without trying

“I’d look down at the floor and not make eye contact.
“I’d always doubt whether people liked me and thought I was unattractive and that girls wouldn’t like me.He suffered from anxiety, depression, social paranoia and even felt suicidal at times.
Now 35 years old, the North Londoner weighs 13 stone and says he is a “completely different person.”Fed-up of fad diets, Ludlow transformed his body and both physical and mental health by exercising, eating less and battling his psychological demons.
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Mark Ludlow's transformation
A typical day’s diet now would be a 10-egg white omelette followed by porridge with blueberries and protein powder later on. Lunch might be chicken breast with basmati rice and vegetables. As an afternoon meal, Ludlow eats tuna with sweet potato and more vegetables, and for dinner, he has white fish or salmon with even more veg. He doesn’t eat carbs after 5pm.
“I did, and still do, lots of weight training and my diet is high in protein, like white fish and chicken, topped up with complex carbs like rice,” he explains.“I ate unhealthy foods for decades but Kate Moss’s expression about ‘nothing tasting as good as skinny feels’ is how I feel now.“I never felt good enough for jobs or girls but I feel like I was born to be a personal trainer.
“I’m finally confident in myself. My personality is almost as unrecognisable as my appearance compared to before.”And of course it's how you feel about yourself that's the most important thing.
The 20 best Nigella Lawson recipes: part 1
This may well be – indeed is – the smell, the taste, the dish that says “family” to me and my siblings, and brings our long-absent mother back to the kitchen and the table with us. But the fact that I’ve cooked it more often and over more years than I’ve cooked anything else doesn’t make writing a recipe for it any easier. If anything, it makes it harder, much harder.
Relax: obviously, it’s not the reliability from a practical perspective that’s in question; rather, I cook this so often I know that one written-down version of it can’t take into account or begin to convey all its possible permutations. For example, you could toss in some pancetta cubes before you add the chicken and maybe use cider as your flavour-giving alcoholic beverage of choice; or you could add some ginger, freshly grated or sliced, along with the oil and use Chinese cooking wine or sake in place of the white wine or vermouth and put coriander stalks in, along with the parsley or instead, and add fresh, de-seeded red chilli, cut into fine almost-rings, as well as chopped coriander, at the end. At all times, you can play with the vegetables. And very often, when all is heaped into the pan at the beginning, just before it is left to cook itself into aromatic succulence, I grate in the zest of 1 lemon, then squeeze in the juice and maybe add a sprinkling of dried mint, too. I could go on and on ...
By its very nature, this symbolises the very free-style form of cooking that a recipe seems to argue against. So, let me reassure you that really all you need to know is that you simply brown the chicken before adding vegetables and just enough liquid to cover, and cook them slowly before eating on top of rice. I like brown basmati here, and work on 75-100g per head before cooking, depending on the ages and appetites of the eaters. On the whole, I tend to go for the higher rather than lower number – no huge surprise, I’m sure – not because I think it’s all needed, but because one of my favourite uses of leftover meat is a variation of a salad I make with leftover turkey at Christmas: chunks or shreds of cold chicken stirred into cold brown basmati rice, with pomegranate seeds, sunflower seeds or any mixture of similar seeds, fresh dill, lemon juice, salt and 1-2 drops of gorgeously flavoured oil (a rich, mustardy yellow cold-pressed rapeseed being my favourite).
Obviously, if you want, you can ditch the rice and think of serving steamed potatoes, instead. And if you can steam them above the chicken, so much the better. But rice it has to be in our house. And, as I am presenting this in its role as a family favourite, my kitchen perennial, in fact, I feel I can allow myself to be bossier than normal, even telling you how you should eat it: by this I mean the Lawsonian familial practice of adding fresh fronds of dill and some English mustard – just a pinprick or great, sinus-clearing teaspoonfuls – as we greedily, gratefully eat.
Serves 4-8 (cooked this way it seems to go much further than roast chicken, so you can feed more first time or have plenty for the rest of the week)
chicken 1 large, preferably organic
garlic oil 2 tsp
white wine or dry white vermouth 100ml
leeks 2-3, cleaned, trimmed and cut into approx 7cm logs
carrots 2-3, peeled and cut into batons
celery 1-2 sticks , sliced
cold water approx 2 litres
bouquet garni 1, or 1 tsp dried herbs
fresh parsley stalks or few sprigs, tied or banded together
sea salt flakes 2 tsp, or 1 tsp pouring salt
red peppercorns 2 tsp, or good grinding pepper

To serve
chopped parsley leaves from stalks above
chopped fresh dill
English mustard

Get out a large, flame-safe cooking pot (with a lid) in which the chicken can fit snugly: mine is about 28cm wide x 10cm deep.
On a washable board, un-truss the chicken, put it breast-side down and press down until you hear the breastbone crack. (As you may imagine, I like this.) Then press down again, so that the chicken is flattened slightly. Now cut off the ankle joints below the drumstick (but keep them); I find kitchen scissors up to the task.
Put the oil in the pan to heat, then brown the chicken for a few minutes breast-side down, and turn up the heat and turn over the chicken, tossing in the feet as you do so. Still over a vigorous heat add the wine or vermouth to the pan and let it bubble down a little before adding the leeks, carrots and celery.
Pour in enough cold water to cover the chicken, though the very top of it may poke out, then pop in the bouquet garni or your herbs of choice, and the parsley stalks (if I have a bunch, I cut the stalks off to use here, but leave them tied in the rubber band) or parsley sprigs along with the salt and red peppercorns (I just love these beautiful red berries) or a good grinding of regular pepper.
The chicken should be almost completely submerged by now and if not, do add some more cold water. You want it just about covered.
Bring to a bubble, clamp on the lid, turn the heat to very low and leave to cook for 1½–2 hours. I tend to give it 1½ hours, or 1 hour 40 minutes, then leave it to stand with the heat off, but the lid still on, for the remaining 20-30 minutes.
Serve the chicken and accompanying vegetables with brown basmati rice, adding a ladleful or two of liquid over each shallow bowl, as you go, and putting fresh dill and mustard on the table for the eaters to add as they wish.
From Nigella Kitchen (Chatto & Windus, £20). To order a copy for £17, go to bookshop.theguardian.com or call 0330 333 6846. Free UK p&p over £10, online orders only. Phone orders min. p&p of £1.99

Coca-Cola braised and glazed ham

Description: Coca-Cola braised and glazed ham.

 Coca-Cola braised and glazed ham. Photograph: Romas Foord for the Observer
I love ham, or rather gammon (though it doesn’t seem to be called that any more), poached in water or cider and then its rind stripped off, the glutinous fatty wrapping underneath pressed with mustard and sugar, scored with a sharp knife and studded with cloves and then glazed in a hot oven. That was my mother’s way.
I am much taken with the American way of cooking a ham in Coca-Cola. In an age which solemnly tells you that cooking can produce food only as good as the ingredients that are provided (that’s the whole history of French cuisine dispatched then), there is something robustly cheering about this dish.
I cannot urge you to try this strongly enough. The first time I tried it, it was out of amused interest. I’d heard, and read, about this culinary tradition from the deep South, but wasn’t expecting it, in all honesty, to be good. It is: I’m converted. I have to make myself cook gammon otherwise now; though often I don’t bother with the glaze but just leave it for longer in the bubbling Coca-Cola instead. But, if you think about it, it’s not surprising it should work: the sweet, spiky drink just infuses it with spirit of barbecue. Don’t even think of using Diet Coke.
Serves 6
mild-cure gammon 2kg
onion 1, peeled and cut in half
Coca-Cola 2 litres, minus 2 x 15ml tbsp (see below)
breadcrumbs 100g, freshly made from 4-5 pieces of bread
dark muscovado sugar 100g
mustard powder 1 x 15ml tbsp
dijon mustard 2 x 15ml tbsp
Coca-Cola 2 x 15ml tbsp

I find now, as I’ve said elsewhere, that mild-cure gammon doesn’t need soaking. I don’t soak my gammon: I just cover it with cold water, bring it to the boil, throw all the water out and put the gammon back in the pot and proceed. That gets rid of excessive saltiness, and probably doesn’t add more than 40 minutes on to the cooking time. (But do ask the butcher: many gammons now need no soaking or precooking at all.) Otherwise, put the gammon in a pan, skin side down if it fits like that, add the onion, then pour over the Coca-Cola. Bring to the boil, reduce to a good simmer, put the lid on, though not tightly, and cook for just under 2½ hours. (Or, of course, work out timing based on weight of your joint, remembering that it’s going to get a quick blast in the oven later. But do take into account that if the gammon’s been in the fridge right up to the moment you cook it, you will have to give a good 15 or so minutes’ extra cooking time so that the interior is properly cooked.)
Meanwhile preheat the oven to 210C/gas mark 7.
When the ham’s had its time (and ham it is now it’s cooked, though it’s true Americans call it ham from its uncooked state) take it out of the pan and let cool a little for ease of handling. (Indeed, you can let it cool completely then finish off the cooking at some later stage if you want.) Remove skin, leaving a thin layer of fat. Mix breadcrumbs, sugar and the mustards to a thick, stiff paste with the 2 tablespoons of Coca-Cola. Add a drop at a time because the one thing you don’t want is a runny mixture. Slap the glaze on the ham, and put it, glaze-side up, on a roasting tray and cook in the hot oven for 10–15 minutes until the glaze is just set.
Or if you want to do the braising stage in advance and then let the ham cool, give it 30–40 minutes, from room temperature, in a 180C/gas mark 4 oven.
With this I’d have a large bowl of floury, large-chunked boiled potatoes, leafily covered with fresh chopped parsley, and I mean covered not sprinkled. But mashed potatoes are wonderful with this, too, truly. Any other vegetable just needs to be green and sprightly and have some crunch to it.
This ham, not surprisingly, is sensational cold.
From How to Eat (Chatto & Windus, £20). To order a copy for £15.19, go to bookshop.theguardian.com or call 0330 333 6846. Free UK p&p over £10, online orders only. Phone orders min. p&p of £1.99

Sweet potato macaroni cheese

Description: Sweet potato macaroni cheese.

 Sweet potato macaroni cheese. Photograph: Romas Foord for the Observer
I’m just going to say it: this is the best macaroni cheese I’ve ever eaten – better than the macaroni cheese I ate as a child; better than the macaroni cheese I brought my own children up on when they were little (they don’t agree); better than any fancy restaurant macaroni cheese with white truffle or lobster; better than any macaroni cheese I have loved in my life thus far, and there have been many.
I don’t feel it’s boastful to say as much, as the greatness lies not in any brilliance on my part, but in the simple tastes of the ingredients as they fuse in the heat. That’s home cooking for you.
Serves 4
sweet potatoes 500g
pennette 300g, or other small short pasta
soft unsalted butter 4 x 15ml tbsp (60g)
plain flour 3 x 15ml tbsp
full-fat milk 500ml
English mustard 1 tsp
paprika ¼ tsp , plus ¼ tsp to sprinkle on top
feta cheese 75g
mature cheddar 125g, grated, plus 25g to sprinkle on top
fresh sage leaves 4
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6. Put on a large-ish pan of water to boil, with the lid on to make it come to the boil faster.
Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them roughly into 2-3cm pieces. When the water’s boiling, add salt to taste, and then the sweet potato pieces, and cook them for about 10 minutes or until they are soft. Scoop them out of the water into a bowl – using a “spider” or slotted spoon – and lightly mash with a fork, without turning them into a purée. Don’t get rid of this water, as you will need it to cook your pasta in later.
In another saucepan, gently melt the butter and add the flour, whisking to form a roux, then take the pan off the heat, slowly whisk in the milk and, when it’s all combined and smooth, put back on the heat. Exchange your whisk for a wooden spoon, and continue to stir until your gently bubbling sauce has lost any floury taste and has thickened. Add the mustard and the ¼ teaspoon of paprika. Season to taste, but do remember that you will be adding cheddar and salty feta later, so underdo it for now.
Cook the pennette in the sweet-potato water, starting to check 2 minutes earlier than packet instructions dictate, as you want to make sure it doesn’t lose its bite entirely. Drain (reserving some of the pasta cooking water first) and then add the pennette to the mashed sweet potato, and fold in to combine; the heat of the pasta will make the mash easier to mix in.
Add the feta cheese to the sweet potato and pasta mixture, crumbling it in so that it is easier to disperse evenly, then fold in the white sauce, adding the 125g grated cheddar as you go. Add some of the pasta cooking water, should you feel it needs loosening up at all.
Check for seasoning again, then, when you’re happy, spoon the brightly sauced macaroni cheese into 4 small ovenproof dishes of approx 375-425ml capacity (or 1 large rectangular dish measuring approx 30 x 20 x 5cm deep and 1.6 litre capacity). Sprinkle the remaining cheddar over each one, dust with the remaining ¼ teaspoon of paprika, then shred the sage leaves and scatter the skinny green ribbons over the top, too.
Put the pots on a baking tray, pop into the oven and bake for 20 minutes (or, if you’re making this in a larger dish, bake for 30-35 minutes), by which time they will be piping hot and bubbling, and begging you to eat them.
From Simply Nigella (Chatto & Windus, £26). To order a copy for £20, go to bookshop.theguardian.com or call 0330 333 6846. Free UK p&p over £10, online orders only. Phone orders min. p&p of £1.99

Corsican omelette

Description: Corsican omelette.

Corsican omelette. Photograph: Romas Foord for the Observer
Bear with me – as telephonists like to say – while I gush for a bit. This has to be the world’s best omelette. I call it Corsican not because it stems from any in-depth research into the food of Corsica but because it is the adaptation, from memory, of the best thing I ate there on a holiday now nearly 17 years ago. Also, to be fair, the key ingredient is itself Corsican, brocciu, a soft goat’s whey cheese that’s left to drain and shape in woven baskets; think ricotta with an edge. Here, I just use that goat’s cheese – chèvre – that comes in a log and which is incredibly easy to come by. Cut away the soft-kid skin and crumble the white sharp cheese into the eggs in the pan: the salty sharpness contrasts exquisitely with the rich fattiness of the eggs; against which, too, the fresh hit of mint is positively exhilarating, though to tell the truth, I make this just as often (just because it’s easier to keep both chèvre and eggs in the fridge on constant standby) without it.
Think of this more as a lunch or supper dish, although I wouldn’t turn it down at any time of day.
Serves 1
eggs 3
salt and pepper
fresh mint leaves from 3-4 good-sized sprigs, shredded
chèvre log approx 100g thick slice

Beat the eggs and season with salt and pepper. Melt the butter in a frying pan approximately 25cm in diameter.
When the butter has melted and is bubbling, throw in most of the shredded mint, saving some for sprinkling on top at the end. When it has sizzled in the butter and become vibrantly green, pour in the beaten eggs and tip the egg around the pan. Crumble the cheese over the omelette and cook, lifting the sides and swilling the pan around to let any runny egg cook in the heat underneath.
When the top of the omelette looks nearly set but still gooey, fold into three lengthways – in other words, fold in two sides, leaving a strip of white-blobbed omelette facing up in a strip in the middle – and slide on to a plate. Sprinkle with the reserved mint and eat.
From Nigella Summer (Chatto & Windus, £20). To order a copy for £17, go to bookshop.theguardian.com or call 0330 333 6846. Free UK p&p over £10, online orders only. Phone orders min. p&p of £1.99

Chicken Cosima

Description: Chicken Cosima.

 Chicken Cosima. Photograph: Romas Foord for the Observer
I am smiling as I’m writing this, as it is what I cooked for my daughter to celebrate her 21st birthday. Actually, I cooked huge vats of it, in a pan so big that both the children could fit into it together when they were little – and have the lid put on, too. Not that I was in the habit of squeezing them into saucepans.
I wanted to create something that had all my daughter’s favourite ingredients in it, that would be easy to make, and amenable once made. It sits comfortably on a low heat or in a low oven if you need to wait before serving, and it doesn’t require anything more than to be ladled out into shallow bowls.
Serves 6
plain flour 2½-3 x 15ml tbsp
ground coriander 1 tsp
ground cumin 1 tsp
ground turmeric ½ tsp
paprika ½ tsp
sea salt flakes ½ tsp
chicken thighs 6 large, skinless and boneless, cut into bite-sized chunks
cold-pressed coconut oil or regular olive oil 1 x 15ml tbsp
onion 1, peeled and chopped
sweet potatoes 500g, peeled and cut into 2-3cm chunks
hot chicken stock 500ml
chickpeas 500g cooked (from dried), or 1 x 660g jar or 2 x 400g cans, drained
fresh coriander chopped, to serve

Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6.
Measure the flour, spices and salt into a freezer bag and then tip in the chicken. Shake the bag around to coat the chicken with the floury spice.
Heat the oil in a wide casserole or pan (with a lid), and then fry the onion until softened but not really coloured.
Add the chicken and all the contents of the bag to the pan, and stir around for a minute or so, then add the peeled and chopped sweet potatoes and stir again.
Pour in the hot stock, then bring the pan to the boil and tip in the chickpeas. Give it another good stir, then clamp on the lid and put in the oven for 25 minutes.
Check that the chicken is cooked through and the sweet potatoes are tender, then take out of the oven and leave with the lid on to stand for about 10 minutes. Ladle into bowls, sprinkling each with chopped coriander.
From Simply Nigella (Chatto & Windus, £26). To order a copy for £20, go to bookshop.theguardian.com or call 0330 333 6846. Free UK p&p over £10, online orders only. Phone orders min. p&p of £1.99

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Bulog told to absorb more unhusked rice from farmers
Jakarta | Mon, March 27, 2017 | 02:45 pm
Description: Bulog told to absorb more unhusked rice from farmersRice for all: President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo (right), Agriculture Minister Amran Sulaiman (center) and Villages, Disadvantaged Regions and Transmigration Minister Eko Putro Sandjojo converse during a visit to a farmland in Boyolali, Central Java, on Oct. 29, 2016. (Antara/Aloysius Jarot)
The government expects State Logistics Agency (Bulog) to continue boosting the absorption of unhusked rice from local farmers to pave the way for the government’s target to achieve rice self-sufficiency. 
"Last month [February], we could only absorb 2,000 tons of unhusked rice daily. This month, as of Friday [Mar. 24], the figure increased to between 19,000 to 20,000 tons daily," Agriculture Minister Amran Sulaiman said Monday on the sidelines of a meeting to discuss the acceleration of the government’s unhusked rice absorption program, as quoted by kontan.co.id.
Amran said Bulog currently stored around 1.9 million tons of rice in its warehouses, enough to last for more than a year.
Should Bulog be able to absorb 30,000 tons daily for the next three months, it will add up another 2.5 to 3 million tons of stock, enough to meet domestic needs until 2019, he claimed.

Bulog has allocated around Rp 30 trillion (US$2.25 billion) to buy unhusked rice from local farmers this year. Bulog procurement director Tri Wahyudi said that should the budget not be enough, Bulog would borrow from banks.
In the first 11 weeks of this year, Bulog has absorbed over 300,000 tons of unhusked rice, most of which has come from East Java, South Sulawesi, Central Java and West Java. (rbk/hwa)

Việt Nam rice exports drop in Q1
Update: March, 27/2017 - 17:00
Description: http://image.vietnamnews.vn/uploadvnnews/Article/2017/3/27/6_XQCF44342247PM.jpg

Việt Nam exported an estimated 1.28 million tonnes of rice in the first three months, earning $570 million, down 18 per cent in volume and 17.3 per cent in value compared to the same period last year. — Photo tienphong.vn
HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam exported an estimated 1.28 million tonnes of rice in the first three months of the year, earning US$570 million. But the exports were 18 per cent lower in volume and 17.3 per cent lower in value compared to the same period last year. This was reported last week by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
China remains Việt Nam’s largest rice importer, with a market share of 36 per cent, followed by the Philippines with nearly 25 per cent market share.
The export drops were strongest in Ghana, Hong Kong and Malaysia.
Currently, the price of Việt Nam’s 5-per-cent broken rice ranges from $350 to $355 per tonne, down $5 against last week (according to FOB prices at Sài Gòn Port). This decreasing price is due to a larger winter-spring crop.
At the beginning of this year, the Ministry of Industry and Trade repealed regulations limiting rice exporters because they were considered detrimental to the growth of the rice export sector.
The ministry expects to create a healthy market for enterprises investing in rice production and trade, and to ease farmers’ difficulties by boosting high-quality rice exports. — VNS

capital market | Mumbai | March 27, 2017 16:28 IST

The Thai government is expected to sell the remaining 2.9 million tonnes of food-quality rice stocks, which will help maintain export volumes.Thailands rice production is expected to return to historical levels in 2017-18, reaching 19.5 million tonnes, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Agricultures Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS).
That total is 5% higher than production in 2016-17, which was hindered by critically low reservoir levels. Planted acreage is likely to increase 3%, especially in irrigated areas. Unlike in 2016, it is unlikely that irrigation supplies will be restricted in May, the month when farmers begin planting main-crop rice.Water supplies for irrigation during the dry season and early rainy season in 2017 totaled 9.7 cubic meters, a significant increase from a record low of 4.2 billion cubic meters in 2016.The Thai government is expected to sell the remaining 2.9 million tonnes of food-quality rice stocks, which will help maintain export volumes. Rice exports in 2016-17 and 2017-18 are forecast to increase to around 10 million tonnes, up slightly from around 9.9 million tonnes in 2015-16. Government stocks are expected to decline to 1 million to 2 million tonnes by the end of 2017-18.
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Description: http://assets.nst.com.my/images/articles/paddy_field_1490426229.jpgBy EMBUN MAJID - 
ALOR STAR: The Muda Agriculture Development Authority (Mada) Paddy Farmers Action Body is hoping that the authorities will reconsider deploying drones for aerial spraying of pesticides in paddy fields under Mada.Its chairman Che Ani Mat Zain said although Mada had said that the usage of drones will not have adverse effects, the farmers feel that it could negatively impact the paddy farming industries in the long run.
He added that the use of drones will force farmers to fork out additional money for the purchase of these drones.“They said the drone will use minimal amount of pesticide but can it really destroy the pest?
“The drone is a machine that lacks the human touch thus I am not sure if it can bring much benefit to the paddy industry,” he told reporters at a press conference here today.Che Ani said based on the drone test conducted by Mada, the target area on which the pesticide was sprayed was confined but even so, the pesticide can still be carried by wind to other places, negatively impacting the environment.
One the same note, Che Ani said the action body together with 14 other non-governmental organisations plan to hold a peaceful gathering on May 1 to raise awareness on several issues affecting the nation’s paddy industries.This includes paddy prices and problems faced by the Malay Rice Millers’ Association
House call for paddy price hike
Subhashish Mohanty
 File picture of farmers working in a field in Odisha Description: https://www.telegraphindia.com/1170326/images/Farmers.jpg
Bhubaneswar, March 25: The Assembly today passed a unanimous resolution to demand enhancement in the minimum support price (MSP) of paddy from the Centre. The state will now ask the Centre to increase the minimum support price of paddy to Rs 2,930 a quintal.
Serious debates on the issue had been going on in the Assembly during the past few days.Agriculture minister Pradeep Maharathy today said: "A House committee will be formed under the chairmanship of the Speaker taking MLAs of all the parties as its members. The committee will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and demand the increase in the minimum support price."
The Centre fixes the minimum support price for agricultural products.The issue came to limelight when leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra had submitted a notice to Speaker Niranjan Pujari planning to move a resolution urging the central government to revise the minimum support price from the existing Rs 1,450 as the cost of production of paddy has increased over the years.
Later, Maharathy had read out a statement in the House stating that the state government had recommended the Centre to hike the minimum support price to Rs 2,500 a quintal.To put pressure on the government to pass a resolution, Mishra had also resigned from the business advisory committee of the Assembly accusing the government not to take up farmer's issues.As the issue snowballed into a major controversy, it was also debated several times in the Assembly. Cutting across party lines, the MLAs said there was a need to increase the minimum support price of paddy.
The House witnessed a debate for three hours on this issue.BJP MLA Pradeep Purohit said: "We support the move of the leader of Opposition. Earlier, the state had failed to pass a resolution on the issue of Mahanadi water dispute. Now, the time has come to be united for the farmers' cause."Congress chief whip Tara Prasad Bahinipati said: "Leader of Opposition Mishra had earlier moved an amendment on this issue demanding that the minimum support price of paddy should be fixed at Rs 3,516 per quintal. The move of the Assembly to pass a unanimous resolution is a welcome step."
As all the parties have reached a consensus, government chief whip Ananta Das moved a resolution in the House demanding that the minimum support price of paddy be increased to Rs 2,930 per quintal.The motion was welcomed by everyone in the Assembly.