Saturday, April 01, 2017

1st April,2017 daily global,regional and local rice e-newsletter by riceplus magazine



 Pakistan dispatches relief consignments of rice to mitigate drought situation in Sri Lanka

Fri, Mar 31, 2017, 05:55 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.
Mar 31, Colombo: In order to express solidarity and compassion with the brotherly people of Sri Lanka, the Government of Pakistan is dispatching three relief ships containing 3000 Metric Tons (03 million kgs) of rice, to alleviate the effects of severe drought in Sri Lanka, the High Commission of Pakistan said in a release.This relief tranche is a part of total 10,000 Metric Tons (10 million kgs) of rice approved by the Prime Minister of Pakistan Muhammad Nawaz Sharif for drought affected in Sri Lanka. The remaining 7000 Metric Tons rice will also reach Colombo within April 2017.
Earlier, in February 2017, the Government of Pakistan had already sent a relief flight to Colombo containing 25 Metric Tons of rice for drought affected people.
The High Commissioner of Pakistan in Sri Lanka Maj. Gen. (R) Syed Shakeel Hussain will hand over the relief consignments to Sri Lankan authorities at Colombo Port in first week of April.
The first shipment of the rice departed from Pakistan Thursday and is expected to reach Sri Lanka on Monday, 3rd April.Sri Lanka is facing a shortage of rice, the main staple food in the country, as the Maha season rice crop in 2017 is significantly impaired by the severe drought.
"Both friendly countries have been assisting each other in challenging times especially in view of the catastrophic situations," the High Commission said

Drought in Sri Lanka

 PRIME Minister Nawaz Sharif has done well by giving directions to authorities concerned to provide all necessary assistance to Government and people of Sri Lanka in the wake of severe drought in that country. To begin with, Pakistan has announced to dispatch ten thousand metric tonnes of rice to the friendly country as a gesture of solidarity at this time of trial and tribulation.
Sri Lanka is witnessing worst drought conditions in forty years and the calamity that started last year is assuming serious proportions with the passage of time.
According to latest figures from Colombo, the drought is seriously affecting 18 districts of the country with shortages of drinking water and impact on agricultural activities. The rice harvest is less than half the normal production. Water levels are at approximately 20% in the main reservoirs and with limited seed availability, prospects of yields for next planting season in April are poor. At present, an estimated 1.2 million people are seriously impacted and there are concerns regarding deterioration of household food security and nutrition.
The Government and people of Sri Lanka are braving the situation but it is surely the duty of friendly countries like Pakistan to help it overcome this difficult period. As Sri Lanka has worst rice plantation in 30 years due to shortage of irrigation water and there are scant chances of rainfall before monsoon in June and July, the situation would turn worse for affected people. In this backdrop, supply of rice, which is staple food of Sri Lanka, would surely mitigate sufferings of the people to some extent. We hope that in view of close cooperation between the two countries and track record of Sri Lanka in expressing solidarity with Pakistan in natural disasters, government and people of Pakistan should mobilise more resources to help meaningfully alleviate miseries of affected people.
http://pakobserver.net/drought-in-sri-lanka/

UN agriculture agency takes step to help rice farmers bolster production

Harvesting rice in Viet Nam. Global rice consumption trends are rising. Photo: FAO/Hoang Dinh Nam
30 March 2017 – Concerned about global rice production and eradicating hunger around the world, the United Nations agricultural agency today announced that it has teamed up with an international research institute to enhance rice farming and make it more adaptable to climate change.
“With over three billion people across the globe eating rice every day, rice is critical to global food security,” said Maria Helena Semedo, Deputy Director-General of Climate and Natural Resources at the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).
The UN agency announced that it will work with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) to support sustainable rice production in developing countries to improve food security and livelihoods, while also safeguarding natural resources.
According to FAO, the two organizations will work together to assist rice producing countries to “adopt improved and adapted rice varieties, enhance availability of certified seeds and also the transfer of knowledge,” including to control pests and through farmer field schools.
FAO and IRRI will also work to help women farmers participate in “viable, safe and dignified” entrepreneurial opportunities in the rice value chain, the UN agency said.
Meanwhile, FAO has developed the Regional Rice Initiative for Asia and Pacific which promotes enhanced crop resilience while increasing efficiency and farmers' income. In Africa and in Latin America the UN agency is engaged in scientific and technical cooperation including the sharing of technologies and best practices to increase production and productivity, including reduction of post-harvest losses and improved grain quality.
For its part, IRRI is engaged in strengthening capacities of all rice sector actors through its capacity development activities, including IRRI Education and the Sustainable Rice Platform, a global alliance to promote resource efficiency and sustainability in trade flows, production and consumption operations, and supply chains in the global rice sector

Indonesia's rice self-sufficiency to be achieved by 2020

Stefani Ribka
The Jakarta Post
Jakarta | Fri, March 31, 2017 | 10:31 am
Farmers carry paddy grains at a milling factory in Ngawi, East Java. (Antara/Ari Bowo Sucipto)
Bank Indonesia (BI) projects the country will achieve rice self-sufficiency by 2020 if paddy conversion stops and the government is consistent in its efforts to increase the size of paddy and develop irrigation infrastructure.
“Agriculture infrastructure projects are ongoing. It will take three to five years for us to reap the results. Indonesia can be a rice self-sufficient country by 2020,” Dody Budi Waluyo, assistant to the BI governor for monetary and economic policy, told a media briefing on Thursday.
The central bank predicts rice production will reach more than 50 million tons in 2020, while consumption will reach fewer than 43 million tons.
One Indonesian is assumed to consume 144-kilograms of rice per year, while the population is expected to reach 300 million people in 2020. Rice is used for direct consumption, animal feed and industrial use.
In 2015, rice production reached 43.9 million tons coming from 75.4 million tons of paddy. The government aims to produce 80 million tons of paddy this year.
The Agriculture Ministry aims to open another 80,000 hectares of new paddy and 500 water deposits after opening 128,441 ha and 1,714 water deposits last year.
Dody emphasizes that land conversion should also stop to realize the projection. Each year, up to 110,000 ha of agricultural land is converted for other use, mainly residential areas. (bbn)

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2017/03/31/indonesias-rice-self-sufficiency-to-be-achieved-by-2020.html

 

Rice farmers across Nigeria witness bumper harvest amidst distribution, milling challenges

Rice Farmers

States in the north-eastern part of the country still struggling to recover from the devastating effects of Boko Haram insurgency, are recording bumper harvests in rice cultivation.
In a recent survey by News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, rice farmers, millers and dealers attributed the development to the pragmatic agricultural policies put in place by the Federal Government.
They also ascribed the development to the positive lessons learnt from harrowing situation brought about by the economic recession in the country.
They observed that apart from the enhanced patronage of local rice, which had boosted the economic status of rice farmers, the price of the produce had stabilised and might even fall drastically due to massive production.
Baba Kaye, Chairman Rice Dealers Association in Gombe State, noted that the intervention of the Federal Government had stabilised the price of rice for some time now.
“The price has remained stable without fluctuating; we are grateful to the Federal Government for encouraging dry season farming and this has impacted positively on us,” he said.
Tasiu Kuri, a rice farmer in Kuri village of Gombe State, attributed the increase in rice production to the decision of Federal Government to ban the importation of foreign rice through the country’s land borders.
Yahaya Yusuf, Chairman, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, RIFAN, in Bauchi State, projected that the state alone would cultivate about one million tonnes of rice in 2017, as against the 600,000 tonnes it cultivated in 2016. Musa Takari, a rice farmer in Gashua, Yobe, said that the ban on importation of rice had also provoked an increase in the consumption of local rice, thereby triggering massive production.
“Before now, the market has been very bad and discouraging but the increased patronage has made us to produce more rice,” he said.
The story has been similar in other parts of the country, as there has been dramatic increase in quantity of rice produced by rice farmers across the country.
In Abakaliki, for instance, the state government said that it had met the target of producing 350,000 tonnes of rice, which it set for the 2016 farming season.
The Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Uchenna Orji, told NAN in Abakaliki, that the state was able to achieve that feat because the state government invested massively in rice production in 2016.
He stressed that the government’s determination to revolutionalise rice production in Ebonyi was due to its comparative advantage over other states in the area of rice farming.
Mr. Orji said that efforts were underway to ensure that Ebonyi reclaimed its position as the highest rice producing state in West Africa.
In spite of the claims on massive production of rice across the country, NAN observed that the rice milling capacities of the states differed and this, coupled with the different distribution patterns, could explain the scarcity of local rice in the markets.
In Sokoto State, the rice millers, however, said that they were producing below capacity.
Nura Attajiri, the Chairman, Small and Medium Enterprises, SME, Rice Millers Association in the state, said that the rice millers produced only about 150 tonnes per annum.
“Although there are 255 millers, with machines having installed capacity of producing about 350 tonnes of milled rice per annum, in the state, their output is just about 150 tonnes per annum.
“This shortfall is caused by the various challenges facing the millers; these include poor electricity supply and inadequate funds to procure paddy for processing, among others.
“As such, we have been campaigning and looking into how the state government and other relevant agencies can boost the rice production capacity of millers through various intervention programmes.
“Moreover, the Federal Government’s Anchor Borrowers Programme, launched in Kebbi State, did not include SME millers but only integrated millers, while Sokoto State has no integrated millers.
“Although the state government is putting in more efforts to assist us to improve production, we need more government intervention, particularly in the area of rice processing.”
However, the zonal chapter of RIFAN in Daura, Katsina State, said that the absence of rice milling plants in Daura had been a major limitation to efforts to produce rice.
Nura Baure, the zonal chairman of the association, said that although there were rice milling plants in Batagarawa and Funtua, “those areas are very far from our farmers and the transportation cost is a burden to our farmers.

“I don’t even know the capacity of those rice milling plants,” he added.
Mr. Baure, nonetheless, said that there was a subsisting agreement between the association and an off-taker company, ZIL Nigeria Ltd. that rice produced in the Daura and its environs would be milled by the company.
In Port Harcourt, Awotien George of Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Environment, Rivers State University of Science and Technology, RSUST, Port Harcourt, said that the few rice mills in the state were non-functional.
He recalled that the dearth of functional rice mills in the state compelled Port Harcourt Glorious Cooperative Society to transport the rice, which was produced during 2016 planting season, to Ebonyi for milling.
He, therefore, urged the state government to be actively involved in agricultural production.
Also, plans are underway by the Adamawa Government to establish three giant rice milling centres in the state, according to Umar Bindir, Chairman, State Project Management Team of Anchor Borrowers Programme.
He said that the state government, through its agency, Agricultural Development and Investment Ltd., had concluded arrangements to establish the rice milling centres.

Bindir, who is also the Secretary to Adamawa Government, said that the centres would also serve as marketing boards, which would purchase paddy directly from farmers before processing it and selling it to consumers across the country.
Nevertheless, Abbo Jiddere, the state AFAN Chairman, said that the association was consulting with other stakeholders on how to establish rice mills in the state.
The situation is somewhat different in Kebbi, a major rice producing state in the country, as the state is home to large rice mills such as WACOT Rice Mill and Labana Rice Mill.
Abdullahi Zuru, the General Manager of Labana Rice Mill, said that the mill, which was established at the cost of N5 billion, had the capacity to process and package 16 tonnes of rice within an hour.
He said that the mill, which had 2,000 employees, had three different means of obtaining paddy.
Mr. Zuru said that the mill acquired paddy from 6,000 rice farmers and 3,000 farmers who were registered with the CBN Anchor Borrowers Programme, as well as paddy merchants from other states and countries like Benin Republic, Niger Republic and Burkina Faso.
“Labana Rice Mill has a well-established distribution chain, from the factory to major towns in the state like Birnin Kebbi, Zuru, Yauri, Argungu, and towns in other states such as Kano, Jos, Kaduna, Sokoto, Gusau, Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Aba,’’ he said.
Mr. Zuru said that Labana Rice Mill had played a prominent role in the success of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) existing between Lagos and Kebbi States with regard to the processing and packaging of “Lake Rice.’’
“Labana Rice Mill has processed and packaged over 2,000 tonnes of `Lake Rice’, which had been supplied to Lagos State, as part of the MoU,” he said.
As regards “Lake Rice’’ – the product of the joint venture between Lagos and Kebbi states, some residents of Lagos State, however, complained about its scarcity in the market.
For instance, Temitope Ajayi, a resident of the Abule-Egba area of the state, said that she had not heard of the rice sales or anybody buying the commodity since early January.
She said that the rice was not in the market, adding that those, who were able to buy “Lake Rice’’ in December, however, admitted that its quality was good.
However, Sanni Okanlawan, Special Adviser on Food Security to Governor Akinwumi Ambode, told NAN that Lagos State Government still had enough consignment of “Lake Rice’’ for distribution to interested members of the public, out of the stock that was produced last December.
He said that more distribution centres would be opened so as to ensure that the commodity was available to more Lagos residents.
The special adviser said that part of the rice, which was delivered to Lagos State in December, was still stocked at the Imota Mill Plant.
Mr. Okanlawon said that at intervals, the rice would be distributed to centres across the state’s local government areas where people could buy it at the price of N12,000 per 50kg. bag and N6,000 per 25kg. bag.
He said: “`Lake Rice’ is still available at our 2.5-metric-ton rice milling plant in Imota, from the December consignment from our partner state, Kebbi.’’
All the same, Manu Sandamu, an agricultural extension officer in Daura, Katsina State, bemoaned the absence of regulated channels of rice distribution between farmers, millers, marketers and consumers across the country.
“Definitely, there is increasing patronage for our local rice but that, in essence, means that the rice distribution chain should no longer rely on patchwork methods,” he added
http://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/227605-rice-farmers-across-nigeria-witness-bumper-harvest-amidst-distribution-milling-challenges.html

http://worldstagegroup.com/index.php?active=news&newscid=34925&catid=2 Proposed tariff on rice imports seen as safety net for farmers

 (The Philippine Star) | 
 1  3 googleplus0  0 
Revenues from the proposed imposition of a 35 percent tariff on rice imports upon expiration of the quantitative restriction (QR) – seen to reach between P27 billion and P28 billion within the current administration – is sufficient to provide for safety net measures for farmers who would be affected by increased importation, said state-run think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS). File photo
MANILA, Philippines -  Revenues from the proposed imposition of a 35 percent tariff on rice imports upon expiration of the quantitative restriction (QR) – seen to reach between P27 billion and P28 billion within the current administration – is sufficient to provide for safety net measures for farmers who would be affected by increased importation, said state-run think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS).
In its latest policy note on the impending expiration of the special tax treatment on rice in June, PIDS said replacing the QR with a 35 percent tariff would double annual imports from the current 2.2 million tons to around 4.4. million tons on the average from 2017 to 2022.
Farmgate and retail prices, meanwhile, are projected to decrease by P4.56 per kilogram and P6.97 per kilogram respectively as a result of the unrestricted volume of importation.
PIDS said the tariff revenues would be sufficient to cover the cost of compensatory transfers to farmers under a post-QR regime at P17 billion to P18 billion annually until the end of the Duterte administration.
“The remaining amount can be used for other programs also directed to assist farmers,” said PIDS.
At a total of four million hectares of rice cultivation areas eligible for computation in the provision of transfers, the government can afford to pay a farmer with two hectares P19,000 annually.
Business ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1
The transfers are proposed to be provided over and above the existing production support provided by pertinent government agencies to enable them to transition to a more open trade environment.
“The purpose of the payments is to compensate farmers from income loss. It does not intend to displace ongoing productivity enhancement measures nor does it aim to increase the competitiveness of farmers.
At the most, it eases the pain of transition to other crops and even other livelihood,” PIDS said.
The Philippines is actually entitled to impose a higher tariff on rice imports according to the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Agriculture.
PIDS said that as prescribed under the agreement, QR measures are converted to tariffs by taking the difference of international and domestic prices from 1986
to 1988. Following the formula, the estimated tariff equivalent for imported rice is 38.5 percent.
Considering, however, that almost all rice imported by the Philippines come from Vietnam and Thailand, it would be more appropriate to use the tariff rate of 35 percent for ASEAN.
“A 35-percent tariff rate seems appropriate as a tariff equivalent. A safety net for rice farmers can be as much as P 20 billion annually and can be financed entirely by earmarking funds from the tariff revenue. In short, tarif cation with safety nets will bring down the price of rice and ease the dislocation of rice farmers,” PIDS said.
The extended QR, which would lapse in June 2017, is meant to protect the livelihood of Filipino rice farmers while they are strengthening their production capability. This extension was came after two years of negotiation with the WTO and various member countries under the Aquino administration.
Through the QR, the Philippines imposes a high tariff of 35 percent on imported rice, the volume of which has been restricted to 805, 200 metric tons (MT). Importing outside the QR is even more expensive as inbound shipments would be levied a duty of 40 to 50 percent.
To fill the supply gap, the National Food Authority (NFA) imports rice through tenders and intervenes in the market by selling the staple at a cheaper price۔

Nigeria; FG presents 2017 Seasonal Rainfall Prediction
 By Biodun Folarin
March 14, 2017 18:12:07pm GMT      |      Views: 366
WorldStage Newsonline-- The Federal Government has officially presented the 2017 Seasonal Rainfall Prediction (SRP) by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet), which is aimed at providing accurate and timely weather to Nigerians for 2017.
Minister of State for Aviation Senator Hadi Sirika, while unveiling the 2017 SRP, on Tuesday in Abuja, said with the official release and projection of rain fall and temperature outlook, the projection by Nigeria Metrological Agency, Nimet was  fulfillment  of the mandate of the agencies contained the Act establishing the agency.
NiMet core activities and mandate include observation, analysis and reporting accurately the weather and climate condition of the country. NiMet is the only government agency by law responsible for the projection and interpretation of government policy in the field of metrology.
He said, “Nimet is going beyond its mandate to advice countries within the entire continent of West Africa, and I believe if we continue in this direction we will be able to advice the whole of Africa and probably the world.
“It is pertinent to emphasis that the aim of the Seasonal Rainfall Prediction (SRP) is to provide accurately and timely weather and climate information and advices to government and the public for planning towards weather and climate projection to improve social economic development.
“In the frequent year the intensity of climate condition continues to pose serious challenges to social economic development in the country, NiMet will strive to produce true weather and climate information to assist in planning activates in all round sector of the economy.”
While giving an overview of the 2017 SRP, Professor Sani Abubakar Mashi, incoming Director General NiMet, said NiMet predicted the earliest onset date to be February 25th over the coastal region of the Niger delta (Brass Bayelsa).
He added, that the onset dates follow the northward movement of the Inter-Tropical Discontinuity, with areas in and around Sokoto, Kastsina and Yobe States predicted onset to be from June 15th.
He said, In 2017 Kastina is expected to experience the earlier cessation date around October 4th 2017.
Early cessation of rainfall is predicted in many parts of the North and inland of the southeast. Extended rains (3-8days) are forecast for areas in green background (Adamawa, Ogun, Edo, the Niger Delta and low-laying areas such as Lagos).
On the 2017 Predicted rainfall, he explained that 2017 is expected to be a unique year as the country is likely to experience a wetter start and a drier end session. The annual rainfall amount predicted over the country in 2017 is expected to range from 400mm in the far north Yobe state to about 3100mm in the coastal areas of the Niger Delta.
On expected heat stress, he said most Nigerians are likely to experience above danger heat stress, begin hot for too long can cause heat stress which may lead to several illnesses collectively called hyperthermia, he added that Mosquito population risk and malaria incidence will be on the increase in 2017.
According to him, Benin City is likely to experience high to extreme mosquito population throughout the year.
Dr. Anthony Anuforom, the outgoing Director General of NiMet, said NiMet had achieved over 80% accuracy in its Rainfall Predictions in recent years. “The level of accuracy is significantly higher than the acceptable World Metrological Oganizations minimum acceptable threshold of 60%.
He said, the SRP now include dates when it’s safe to sow crops, how long the season will last, and quality of the season in terms of dry spells during the cropping season. This type of forecast has practically minimized guess work about when to plant and reduced chances of crop failure.
NiMet has been producing daily weather forecast for Liberia and Sierra Leone, while some other countries in the sub-region have indicated interest for such services to be extended to them.
In January, we sign an MoU with Kastina State government for the provision of climate information to assist their rural farmers in managing weather and climate risks in agriculture, and increase crop yield.           

Proposed tariff on rice imports seen as safety net for farmers

 (The Philippine Star) | 

Revenues from the proposed imposition of a 35 percent tariff on rice imports upon expiration of the quantitative restriction (QR) – seen to reach between P27 billion and P28 billion within the current administration – is sufficient to provide for safety net measures for farmers who would be affected by increased importation, said state-run think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS). File photo
MANILA, Philippines -  Revenues from the proposed imposition of a 35 percent tariff on rice imports upon expiration of the quantitative restriction (QR) – seen to reach between P27 billion and P28 billion within the current administration – is sufficient to provide for safety net measures for farmers who would be affected by increased importation, said state-run think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS).
In its latest policy note on the impending expiration of the special tax treatment on rice in June, PIDS said replacing the QR with a 35 percent tariff would double annual imports from the current 2.2 million tons to around 4.4. million tons on the average from 2017 to 2022.
Farmgate and retail prices, meanwhile, are projected to decrease by P4.56 per kilogram and P6.97 per kilogram respectively as a result of the unrestricted volume of importation.
PIDS said the tariff revenues would be sufficient to cover the cost of compensatory transfers to farmers under a post-QR regime at P17 billion to P18 billion annually until the end of the Duterte administration.
“The remaining amount can be used for other programs also directed to assist farmers,” said PIDS.
At a total of four million hectares of rice cultivation areas eligible for computation in the provision of transfers, the government can afford to pay a farmer with two hectares P19,000 annually.
Business ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1
The transfers are proposed to be provided over and above the existing production support provided by pertinent government agencies to enable them to transition to a more open trade environment.
“The purpose of the payments is to compensate farmers from income loss. It does not intend to displace ongoing productivity enhancement measures nor does it aim to increase the competitiveness of farmers.
At the most, it eases the pain of transition to other crops and even other livelihood,” PIDS said.
The Philippines is actually entitled to impose a higher tariff on rice imports according to the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Agriculture.
PIDS said that as prescribed under the agreement, QR measures are converted to tariffs by taking the difference of international and domestic prices from 1986
to 1988. Following the formula, the estimated tariff equivalent for imported rice is 38.5 percent.
Considering, however, that almost all rice imported by the Philippines come from Vietnam and Thailand, it would be more appropriate to use the tariff rate of 35 percent for ASEAN.
“A 35-percent tariff rate seems appropriate as a tariff equivalent. A safety net for rice farmers can be as much as P 20 billion annually and can be financed entirely by earmarking funds from the tariff revenue. In short, tarif cation with safety nets will bring down the price of rice and ease the dislocation of rice farmers,” PIDS said.
The extended QR, which would lapse in June 2017, is meant to protect the livelihood of Filipino rice farmers while they are strengthening their production capability. This extension was came after two years of negotiation with the WTO and various member countries under the Aquino administration.
Through the QR, the Philippines imposes a high tariff of 35 percent on imported rice, the volume of which has been restricted to 805, 200 metric tons (MT). Importing outside the QR is even more expensive as inbound shipments would be levied a duty of 40 to 50 percent.
To fill the supply gap, the National Food Authority (NFA) imports rice through tenders and intervenes in the market by selling the staple at a cheaper price

http://www.philstar.com/business/2017/03/31/1686107/proposed-tariff-rice-imports-seen-safety-net-farmers

Watching water, rice growers get annual review, worry list

POSTED: 03/30/17, 7:45 PM PDT | UPDATED: 17 HRS AGO
A drought, followed by a flood, damage at Oroville Dam — it’s been a topsy-turvy few years for farmers in the Sacramento Valley. Water leaders told growers to stay tuned for more twists and turns, particularly from statewide plans for surface water flows.
About 100 landowners who receive water from Richvale Irrigation District and Western Canal Water District gathered in Richvale Thursday to hear what to expect in the near future.
At the top of the watch list is plans to increase river flows to help the Bay-Delta ecosystem.
Farm and water management groups continue to oppose plans by the State Water Resources Control Board, see Water Board PowerPoint at http://tinyurl.com/lk9zw29
This week, the Association of California Water Agencies urged individual water districts to send letters offering other alternatives for improving fish habitat. The ACWA’s policy report can be found at http://tinyurl.com/lpdfx32.
Dustin Cooper didn’t detail the proposal, but he outlined how much water could be lost to growers in the district if river flow requirements are put into place.
The plans that would impact the Sacramento Valley are still in their early phases, Cooper said, but right now the call is for 35-75 percent of flows that “would have existed in nature,” before water diversion. Right now, the state Water Board is leaning toward a 50 percent flow, Cooper explained, which is the minimum believed to have a benefit for fish.
For comparison, Cooper explained that the average annual flow in the Feather river is now at 38 percent of unimpaired flow. An increase to 50 percent would mean decreases in water supply, even to those who have the highest priority water rights in the valley.
He estimated that in August, a flow of 50 percent could mean zero water supply to those most senior water rights holders, and a decrease of 93 percent in July. The amount of water lost is estimated at 620,000 acre feet, Cooper said, which is more water than is used by Richvale and Western Canal water districts combined.
Providing flow at this level would also draw down Lake Oroville to the point where it would be difficult to pull water out of the reservoir, he said.
Last month, boards of supervisors from nine counties, including Butte, co-signed a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown stating that increasing flows would decrease water storage and water supplies and undermine efforts for groundwater sustainability. The talk of the times is the damage to the Oroville spillway. Will the damage impact water supply this year? Cooper said he wasn’t sure. The immediate focus is on public safety, he said. In the fall, growers will know whether they see cutbacks to winter water supply, which is used for winter rice straw decomposition.
There could be issues in 2018, he said, but more will be learned as the situation progresses.
CHANGING TACTICS
David Guy, president of Northern California Water Association, (NCWA) agreed that the plans for unimpaired flow is “outdated.” He said “folks aren’t getting credit,” for the projects completed and underway to protect fish.Water flows to the delta have increased over the past decade but there have not been improvements in fish numbers, he said. Instead, water districts should continue to work with partners including The Nature Conservancy and American Rivers for projects known to benefit fish.
In some projects, “small, select flows” have shown promise, including flooding in the Yolo Bypass which creates seasonal wetlands where juvenile salmon can feed and increase in size. More projects that have impact can be designed, Guy urged.In 2011, NCWA worked with fishery scientist Dave Vogel to created a list of projects to improve fish habitat, Guy noted, some that are underway.
20 YEARS AGO
Butte Creek is a good example of projects that have made an impact on fish populations, said Ted Trimble, manager of Western Canal. Twenty years ago the district worked with government and private partners to remove four dams along the creek and other projects for water flow for fish. Many other improvements along the creek have added to these efforts, and the fish population along this waterway have improved dramatically.
If this can be done “on a small watershed,” it can be done on the “Yuba River, the American River, the Bear River and the Sacramento River,” Trimble said.
The key point, Trimble said, is that “nobody gave up water,” for the improvements along Butte Creek.
Contact reporter Heather Hacking at 896-7758.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Heather Hacking is reporter who focuses on water and agriculture. She has been writing for the Enterprise-Record since 1992. Reach the author at hhacking@chicoer.com o

Palace order needed to put up tariff system for rice

Philippine Daily Inquirer / 12:38 AM March 31, 2017
Following the Duterte economic team’s decision to lift import curbs on milled rice come June 30, MalacaƱang is readying an executive order that will help the domestic rice market transition to a tariff system for inbound grains, according to an official of the National Economic and Development Authority.
The Philippines was able to secure three times quantitative restriction (QR) on rice imports, a mechanism of the World Trade Organization that suspended the implementation of tariffs on rice for countries where trade of the staple grain is socially sensitive.
The latest extension is set to expire by mid-year and the Philippines did not take steps toward a possible renegotiation for a fourth extension.
Mercedita A. Sombilla, director of Neda’s agriculture, natural resources and environment staff, told reporters a new law was needed to define a tariff system for rice imports, but there appeared to be not more time to have this before June 30.
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“We still don’t have defined tariffs on rice and we can’t do that without a new law or an amendment (to existing laws),” Sombilla said. “The countries which agreed to give us the concession (to implement the QR) will be complaining.”She said the most practical way was to come out with an executive order that would define the transition to a tariff system, which should be done before June 30.
As late as last February, the Department of Agriculture continued to push for an extension of the QR for at least two more years.
Rice farmers across Nigeria witness bumper harvest amidst distribution, milling challenges
Rice FarmersStates in the north-eastern part of the country still struggling to recover from the devastating effects of Boko Haram insurgency, are recording bumper harvests in rice cultivation.
In a recent survey by News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, rice farmers, millers and dealers attributed the development to the pragmatic agricultural policies put in place by the Federal Government.
They also ascribed the development to the positive lessons learnt from harrowing situation brought about by the economic recession in the country.
They observed that apart from the enhanced patronage of local rice, which had boosted the economic status of rice farmers, the price of the produce had stabilised and might even fall drastically due to massive production.
Baba Kaye, Chairman Rice Dealers Association in Gombe State, noted that the intervention of the Federal Government had stabilised the price of rice for some time now.
“The price has remained stable without fluctuating; we are grateful to the Federal Government for encouraging dry season farming and this has impacted positively on us,” he said.
Tasiu Kuri, a rice farmer in Kuri village of Gombe State, attributed the increase in rice production to the decision of Federal Government to ban the importation of foreign rice through the country’s land borders.
Yahaya Yusuf, Chairman, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, RIFAN, in Bauchi State, projected that the state alone would cultivate about one million tonnes of rice in 2017, as against the 600,000 tonnes it cultivated in 2016.

Musa Takari, a rice farmer in Gashua, Yobe, said that the ban on importation of rice had also provoked an increase in the consumption of local rice, thereby triggering massive production.
“Before now, the market has been very bad and discouraging but the increased patronage has made us to produce more rice,” he said.
The story has been similar in other parts of the country, as there has been dramatic increase in quantity of rice produced by rice farmers across the country.
In Abakaliki, for instance, the state government said that it had met the target of producing 350,000 tonnes of rice, which it set for the 2016 farming season.
The Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Uchenna Orji, told NAN in Abakaliki, that the state was able to achieve that feat because the state government invested massively in rice production in 2016.
He stressed that the government’s determination to revolutionalise rice production in Ebonyi was due to its comparative advantage over other states in the area of rice farming.
Mr. Orji said that efforts were underway to ensure that Ebonyi reclaimed its position as the highest rice producing state in West Africa.
In spite of the claims on massive production of rice across the country, NAN observed that the rice milling capacities of the states differed and this, coupled with the different distribution patterns, could explain the scarcity of local rice in the markets.
In Sokoto State, the rice millers, however, said that they were producing below capacity.
Nura Attajiri, the Chairman, Small and Medium Enterprises, SME, Rice Millers Association in the state, said that the rice millers produced only about 150 tonnes per annum.
“Although there are 255 millers, with machines having installed capacity of producing about 350 tonnes of milled rice per annum, in the state, their output is just about 150 tonnes per annum.
“This shortfall is caused by the various challenges facing the millers; these include poor electricity supply and inadequate funds to procure paddy for processing, among others.
“As such, we have been campaigning and looking into how the state government and other relevant agencies can boost the rice production capacity of millers through various intervention programmes.
“Moreover, the Federal Government’s Anchor Borrowers Programme, launched in Kebbi State, did not include SME millers but only integrated millers, while Sokoto State has no integrated millers.
“Although the state government is putting in more efforts to assist us to improve production, we need more government intervention, particularly in the area of rice processing.”
However, the zonal chapter of RIFAN in Daura, Katsina State, said that the absence of rice milling plants in Daura had been a major limitation to efforts to produce rice.
Nura Baure, the zonal chairman of the association, said that although there were rice milling plants in Batagarawa and Funtua, “those areas are very far from our farmers and the transportation cost is a burden to our farmers.

“I don’t even know the capacity of those rice milling plants,” he added.
Mr. Baure, nonetheless, said that there was a subsisting agreement between the association and an off-taker company, ZIL Nigeria Ltd. that rice produced in the Daura and its environs would be milled by the company.
In Port Harcourt, Awotien George of Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Environment, Rivers State University of Science and Technology, RSUST, Port Harcourt, said that the few rice mills in the state were non-functional.
He recalled that the dearth of functional rice mills in the state compelled Port Harcourt Glorious Cooperative Society to transport the rice, which was produced during 2016 planting season, to Ebonyi for milling.
He, therefore, urged the state government to be actively involved in agricultural production.
Also, plans are underway by the Adamawa Government to establish three giant rice milling centres in the state, according to Umar Bindir, Chairman, State Project Management Team of Anchor Borrowers Programme.
He said that the state government, through its agency, Agricultural Development and Investment Ltd., had concluded arrangements to establish the rice milling centres.

Bindir, who is also the Secretary to Adamawa Government, said that the centres would also serve as marketing boards, which would purchase paddy directly from farmers before processing it and selling it to consumers across the country.
Nevertheless, Abbo Jiddere, the state AFAN Chairman, said that the association was consulting with other stakeholders on how to establish rice mills in the state.
The situation is somewhat different in Kebbi, a major rice producing state in the country, as the state is home to large rice mills such as WACOT Rice Mill and Labana Rice Mill.
Abdullahi Zuru, the General Manager of Labana Rice Mill, said that the mill, which was established at the cost of N5 billion, had the capacity to process and package 16 tonnes of rice within an hour.
He said that the mill, which had 2,000 employees, had three different means of obtaining paddy.
Mr. Zuru said that the mill acquired paddy from 6,000 rice farmers and 3,000 farmers who were registered with the CBN Anchor Borrowers Programme, as well as paddy merchants from other states and countries like Benin Republic, Niger Republic and Burkina Faso.
“Labana Rice Mill has a well-established distribution chain, from the factory to major towns in the state like Birnin Kebbi, Zuru, Yauri, Argungu, and towns in other states such as Kano, Jos, Kaduna, Sokoto, Gusau, Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Aba,’’ he said.
Mr. Zuru said that Labana Rice Mill had played a prominent role in the success of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) existing between Lagos and Kebbi States with regard to the processing and packaging of “Lake Rice.’’
“Labana Rice Mill has processed and packaged over 2,000 tonnes of `Lake Rice’, which had been supplied to Lagos State, as part of the MoU,” he said.
As regards “Lake Rice’’ – the product of the joint venture between Lagos and Kebbi states, some residents of Lagos State, however, complained about its scarcity in the market.
For instance, Temitope Ajayi, a resident of the Abule-Egba area of the state, said that she had not heard of the rice sales or anybody buying the commodity since early January.
She said that the rice was not in the market, adding that those, who were able to buy “Lake Rice’’ in December, however, admitted that its quality was good.
However, Sanni Okanlawan, Special Adviser on Food Security to Governor Akinwumi Ambode, told NAN that Lagos State Government still had enough consignment of “Lake Rice’’ for distribution to interested members of the public, out of the stock that was produced last December.
He said that more distribution centres would be opened so as to ensure that the commodity was available to more Lagos residents.
The special adviser said that part of the rice, which was delivered to Lagos State in December, was still stocked at the Imota Mill Plant.
Mr. Okanlawon said that at intervals, the rice would be distributed to centres across the state’s local government areas where people could buy it at the price of N12,000 per 50kg. bag and N6,000 per 25kg. bag.
He said: “`Lake Rice’ is still available at our 2.5-metric-ton rice milling plant in Imota, from the December consignment from our partner state, Kebbi.’’
All the same, Manu Sandamu, an agricultural extension officer in Daura, Katsina State, bemoaned the absence of regulated channels of rice distribution between farmers, millers, marketers and consumers across the country.
“Definitely, there is increasing patronage for our local rice but that, in essence, means that the rice distribution chain should no longer rely on patchwork methods,” he added
Vietnam’s Q1 rice exports down but Chinese appetite set to grow

China has a major impact on Vietnam’s rice exports because when China starts making inquiries, prices rise and other buyers turn away from Vietnam.’
Vietnam’s first-quarter rice exports have fallen to a two-year low, but the outlook remains positive as shipments to China, its biggest buyer, are forecast to grow this year, traders and industry reports said. “The land border gates are now officially closed to Vietnamese rice, so export prices have dropped,” a trader at a foreign company in Ho Chi Minh City said, explaining that more fresh winter-spring grain arriving from the Mekong Delta has contributed to the lower prices.
China has been the biggest consumer of Vietnamese rice since 2012, when it overtook Indonesia. Last year, Beijing and Hanoi signed an agreement to boost the rice trade via official channels. China has named 22 Vietnamese export firms that it deems qualified to deal with.
He said the Chinese government prefers official trade as it cannot tax rice imported via land. China officially imports around 2 million tons of Vietnamese rice a year, while another 1-1.5 million tons enters China via land, and that volume is not included in Vietnam’s official statistics.
This week, Vietnam’s 5-percent broken rice prices fell to $347-$350 a ton, free-on-board Saigon Port, from around $360 a ton in late February. At $347, the price is the lowest since February 16.
Vietnamese rice is now cheaper than Thai rice of a similar grade, which stood this week at $374 a ton, according to the Thai Rice Exporters Association.
Exports fall
Shipments from Vietnam, the world’s third-biggest rice exporter after India and Thailand, in the January-March period dropped 24 percent from a year ago to an estimated 1.2 million tons, a two-year low, the government said on Wednesday.
The estimate is the lowest since the first quarter of 2015, when Vietnam shipped 1.13 million tons.
Overall weak demand is the reason for the drop, with potential buyers, including the Philippines and Mexico, still absent, traders said.
Earlier this month, Mexico approved for 150,000 tons of rice to be imported at a zero percent tariff to meet domestic demand and diversify its supply sources. Traders said the demand would cut the market share currently held by the United States and open the door to Vietnamese rice. However, Mexico has yet to act on the decision.China imported 331,300 tons of Vietnamese rice from January-February, up 41 percent from a year ago, based on data from Vietnam’s agriculture ministry. In February alone, it bought 36 percent of Vietnam’s total rice exports, more than doubling the market share it held a year ago.

China’s imports
China’s rice imports in the 2016/2017 market year ending this June are forecast to rise 4 percent to 5 million tons, with Vietnam and Thailand remaining its key suppliers, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a report released on March 21.It said China’s rice imports would continue to be profitable if import prices stay below China’s floor price of $389 a ton, while the average CIF (cost-insurance-freight) rice price from Southeast Asia to China is $350/ton.
“China has a major impact on Vietnam’s rice exports because when China starts making inquiries, prices rise and other buyers turn away from Vietnam, so overall the volume does not rise significantly,” a second trader said.

He noted that more paddy is coming from the Mekong Delta, which supplies 90 percent of Vietnam’s rice exports.Mekong Delta farmers have finished harvesting around half of the 1.53 million hectares (3.78 million acres) planted for the crop, the Vietnam Food Association said.
Output down

Harvesting of the crop, the biggest among the delta’s three crops a year, ends in April. Paddy output is forecast to ease to 10 million tons, down 1.3 percent from last year, which is the third drop in a row, the agriculture ministry said, blaming unseasonal rain during the heading stage in November-December 2016.In the long term, Vietnam’s rice acreage and output will further fall as the country seeks to restructure its cash crops, officials said.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc suggested related agencies to switch from low-yield rice to medicinal plants if the latter has higher benefits, a government statement said, as part of efforts to boost Vietnam’s pharmaceutical sector.But the government also regards rice as essential to national food security, a status that gives rice businesses access to credit and adequate support.Phuc told a conference on March 15 to look for solutions for sustainable production in the Mekong Delta.

The premier has urged the trade ministry to strip the food association’s right to set floor prices and to allocate shipments to key markets, factors that exporters said have been hindering overseas sales.The association has projected Vietnam’s rice exports this year will reach around 5 million tons.Shipments fell to 4.8 million tons in 2016, the lowest since 2008, due in part to thinner demand and growing regional competition.
Source: VNExpress

Vietnam tries to keep its head above water as scientists warn of sinking Mekong Delta

By Ho Binh Minh   March 31, 2017 | 06:30 pm GMT+7

By 2100, half of the Mekong Delta could be swamped by rising sea levels.

Vietnam will look into human and natural factors as it seeks to fight the problems threatening to sink the country's Mekong Delta food basket, according to Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.
The Mekong Delta, fed by alluvial soil from the Mekong River, supplies around 90 percent of Vietnam's annual rice shipments, and the country stands only behind India and Thailand in terms of global rice exports. The nation is also the world's third biggest shrimp producer after China and Indonesia, and one of the top five exporters.
The future of the delta, home to around 20 million people, is threatened by urbanization and dozens of dams, with more in the pipeline. Flooding and droughts that have led to salination, along with rising sea levels, should also be considered for the region's development, a World Bank report said.
Upstream nations, including China, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia, plan to build more hydro-power plants. These dams reduce the flow of water and alluvial soil, and prevent fish movement, scientists have warned. 
"Fertile soil coming from upstream in Laos has fallen by about 50 percent,"  Duong Van Ni from Can Tho University was quoted by Thanh Nien newspaper as saying earlier this month.
"If more dams are built, the alluvial soil arriving in Vietnam will drop to an estimated 5 percent of the current volume," he said. 
A farmer burns his dried-up paddy field stricken by drought in the Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang in a file photo. Photo by Reuters
Responding to the warning, Prime Minister Phuc has asked the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and the Vietnam National Mekong Committee to look into the dangers facing the Mekong Delta and report back to him, said a statement posted on the government website on Thursday. 
The alluvial soil and sediment delivered to the coastal areas in Vietnam's Mekong Delta, where the Mekong River enters the East Sea (internationally known as the South China Sea), fell to 75 million tons in 2014 from 160 million tons in 1994, Thanh Nien cited Vietnam's National Mekong Committee as saying.
To add to this, the WWF said that higher sea levels may inundate half of the delta by the end of the century.
Underground water and sand exploitation, which have been weakening the foundations of the delta, are adding to the problem and must be stopped, scientists said at a March 23 conference in Can Tho City. 
Many rural areas are sinking 10-20mm a year, while the subsidence rate in urban and industrial areas is 25mm, based on findings from the Rise and Fall Project conducted by Can Tho University and the Netherlands' Utrecht University.
Last year, an El Nino-induced drought reduced water levels in the delta to their lowest in 90 years, allowing sea water to travel as far as 90 kilometers (56 miles) inland, damaging shrimp farms and reducing rice yields. 
A weak return of El Nino, which features a warming of ocean surface temperatures in the Pacific that typically occurs every few years, is expected again this summer, with powerful typhoons, drought and saltwater intrusion forecast during the next dry season, a senior state meteorologist said earlier this month.
From late 2014 to 2016, El Nino brought drought and saltwater intrusion to central and southern provinces, affecting the lives of two million people and ruining coffee, rice and sugarcane plantations. Damage caused by the phenomenon is estimated at VND 15 trillion ($660 million), the agriculture ministry said.
El Nino put a brake on growth in Vietnam's agricultural sector in 2016, slowing the country's annual economic expansion to 6.21 percent, the first slowdown in four years.

Rice farmers across Nigeria witness bumper harvest amidst distribution, milling challenges

March 31, 2017Agency Report

Rice Farmers
Photo Credit: Agro Nigeria
States in the north-eastern part of the country still struggling to recover from the devastating effects of Boko Haram insurgency, are recording bumper harvests in rice cultivation.
In a recent survey by News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, rice farmers, millers and dealers attributed the development to the pragmatic agricultural policies put in place by the Federal Government.
They also ascribed the development to the positive lessons learnt from harrowing situation brought about by the economic recession in the country.
They observed that apart from the enhanced patronage of local rice, which had boosted the economic status of rice farmers, the price of the produce had stabilised and might even fall drastically due to massive production.
Baba Kaye, Chairman Rice Dealers Association in Gombe State, noted that the intervention of the Federal Government had stabilised the price of rice for some time now.
“The price has remained stable without fluctuating; we are grateful to the Federal Government for encouraging dry season farming and this has impacted positively on us,” he said.
Tasiu Kuri, a rice farmer in Kuri village of Gombe State, attributed the increase in rice production to the decision of Federal Government to ban the importation of foreign rice through the country’s land borders.
Yahaya Yusuf, Chairman, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, RIFAN, in Bauchi State, projected that the state alone would cultivate about one million tonnes of rice in 2017, as against the 600,000 tonnes it cultivated in 2016.

Musa Takari, a rice farmer in Gashua, Yobe, said that the ban on importation of rice had also provoked an increase in the consumption of local rice, thereby triggering massive production.
“Before now, the market has been very bad and discouraging but the increased patronage has made us to produce more rice,” he said.
The story has been similar in other parts of the country, as there has been dramatic increase in quantity of rice produced by rice farmers across the country.
In Abakaliki, for instance, the state government said that it had met the target of producing 350,000 tonnes of rice, which it set for the 2016 farming season.
The Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Uchenna Orji, told NAN in Abakaliki, that the state was able to achieve that feat because the state government invested massively in rice production in 2016.
He stressed that the government’s determination to revolutionalise rice production in Ebonyi was due to its comparative advantage over other states in the area of rice farming.
Mr. Orji said that efforts were underway to ensure that Ebonyi reclaimed its position as the highest rice producing state in West Africa.
In spite of the claims on massive production of rice across the country, NAN observed that the rice milling capacities of the states differed and this, coupled with the different distribution patterns, could explain the scarcity of local rice in the markets.
In Sokoto State, the rice millers, however, said that they were producing below capacity.
Nura Attajiri, the Chairman, Small and Medium Enterprises, SME, Rice Millers Association in the state, said that the rice millers produced only about 150 tonnes per annum.
“Although there are 255 millers, with machines having installed capacity of producing about 350 tonnes of milled rice per annum, in the state, their output is just about 150 tonnes per annum.
“This shortfall is caused by the various challenges facing the millers; these include poor electricity supply and inadequate funds to procure paddy for processing, among others.
“As such, we have been campaigning and looking into how the state government and other relevant agencies can boost the rice production capacity of millers through various intervention programmes.
“Moreover, the Federal Government’s Anchor Borrowers Programme, launched in Kebbi State, did not include SME millers but only integrated millers, while Sokoto State has no integrated millers.
“Although the state government is putting in more efforts to assist us to improve production, we need more government intervention, particularly in the area of rice processing.”
However, the zonal chapter of RIFAN in Daura, Katsina State, said that the absence of rice milling plants in Daura had been a major limitation to efforts to produce rice.
Nura Baure, the zonal chairman of the association, said that although there were rice milling plants in Batagarawa and Funtua, “those areas are very far from our farmers and the transportation cost is a burden to our farmers.

“I don’t even know the capacity of those rice milling plants,” he added.
Mr. Baure, nonetheless, said that there was a subsisting agreement between the association and an off-taker company, ZIL Nigeria Ltd. that rice produced in the Daura and its environs would be milled by the company.
In Port Harcourt, Awotien George of Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Environment, Rivers State University of Science and Technology, RSUST, Port Harcourt, said that the few rice mills in the state were non-functional.
He recalled that the dearth of functional rice mills in the state compelled Port Harcourt Glorious Cooperative Society to transport the rice, which was produced during 2016 planting season, to Ebonyi for milling.
He, therefore, urged the state government to be actively involved in agricultural production.
Also, plans are underway by the Adamawa Government to establish three giant rice milling centres in the state, according to Umar Bindir, Chairman, State Project Management Team of Anchor Borrowers Programme.
He said that the state government, through its agency, Agricultural Development and Investment Ltd., had concluded arrangements to establish the rice milling centres.

Bindir, who is also the Secretary to Adamawa Government, said that the centres would also serve as marketing boards, which would purchase paddy directly from farmers before processing it and selling it to consumers across the country.
Nevertheless, Abbo Jiddere, the state AFAN Chairman, said that the association was consulting with other stakeholders on how to establish rice mills in the state.
The situation is somewhat different in Kebbi, a major rice producing state in the country, as the state is home to large rice mills such as WACOT Rice Mill and Labana Rice Mill.
Abdullahi Zuru, the General Manager of Labana Rice Mill, said that the mill, which was established at the cost of N5 billion, had the capacity to process and package 16 tonnes of rice within an hour.
He said that the mill, which had 2,000 employees, had three different means of obtaining paddy.
Mr. Zuru said that the mill acquired paddy from 6,000 rice farmers and 3,000 farmers who were registered with the CBN Anchor Borrowers Programme, as well as paddy merchants from other states and countries like Benin Republic, Niger Republic and Burkina Faso.
“Labana Rice Mill has a well-established distribution chain, from the factory to major towns in the state like Birnin Kebbi, Zuru, Yauri, Argungu, and towns in other states such as Kano, Jos, Kaduna, Sokoto, Gusau, Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Aba,’’ he said.
Mr. Zuru said that Labana Rice Mill had played a prominent role in the success of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) existing between Lagos and Kebbi States with regard to the processing and packaging of “Lake Rice.’’
“Labana Rice Mill has processed and packaged over 2,000 tonnes of `Lake Rice’, which had been supplied to Lagos State, as part of the MoU,” he said.
As regards “Lake Rice’’ – the product of the joint venture between Lagos and Kebbi states, some residents of Lagos State, however, complained about its scarcity in the market.
For instance, Temitope Ajayi, a resident of the Abule-Egba area of the state, said that she had not heard of the rice sales or anybody buying the commodity since early January.
She said that the rice was not in the market, adding that those, who were able to buy “Lake Rice’’ in December, however, admitted that its quality was good.
However, Sanni Okanlawan, Special Adviser on Food Security to Governor Akinwumi Ambode, told NAN that Lagos State Government still had enough consignment of “Lake Rice’’ for distribution to interested members of the public, out of the stock that was produced last December.
He said that more distribution centres would be opened so as to ensure that the commodity was available to more Lagos residents.
The special adviser said that part of the rice, which was delivered to Lagos State in December, was still stocked at the Imota Mill Plant.
Mr. Okanlawon said that at intervals, the rice would be distributed to centres across the state’s local government areas where people could buy it at the price of N12,000 per 50kg. bag and N6,000 per 25kg. bag.
He said: “`Lake Rice’ is still available at our 2.5-metric-ton rice milling plant in Imota, from the December consignment from our partner state, Kebbi.’’
All the same, Manu Sandamu, an agricultural extension officer in Daura, Katsina State, bemoaned the absence of regulated channels of rice distribution between farmers, millers, marketers and consumers across the country.
“Definitely, there is increasing patronage for our local rice but that, in essence, means that the rice distribution chain should no longer rely on patchwork methods,” he added.



Liquor, cigarette manufacturing machinery found in rice mill

TNN | Updated: Apr 1, 2017, 10.17 AM IST
AHMEDABAD: During a search operation for a suspected Indian made foreign liquor (IMFL) stash at a rice mill located near Malavada crossroads in Limbasi village, cops found a 'bottling plant' for the IMFL and illegal cigarette manufacturing unit.

State Monitoring Cell (SMC) officials lodged a non-cognizable offence with Limbasi police station of Kheda district late on Thursday night as there was no IMFL seized from the spot.
Following a tip-off, the SMC team raided Ganesh Rice Mill at Limbasi on Thursday night and found packaging material for an IMFL brand including bottles, boxes, seal, inner packaging and stickers. The team also found distilled water from the spot. In total, the stock worth Rs 65,295 was seized.
"It's known from the earlier instances that the spurious liquor makers add flavour and alcohol with water to fill the IMFL bottles and sell them at premium prices. As the bottles are sealed and the packaging genuine, it's difficult to tell the duplicate from the genuine unless it is tested, " said an SMC official.
During the search at the same premises, the team found an illegal cigarette-making unit with three machines worth Rs 18 lakh and 18 boxes containing 100 packets of cigarettes each. Investigators said that the accused could have sold the cheaper stock to the shops as cigarettes attract 40% taxes and is thus expensive.
Jyoti Patel, DSP, SMC, said that they have identified Subhash Borkar, a resident of Vadodara, as the owner of the premises. "Manhunt for him has been launched and the further probe will be conducted by the local police station," she said.

UN agri agency to help rice farmers bolster production

   United Nations
The United Nations agricultural agency Friday announced that it has teamed up with an international research institute to enhance rice farming and make it more adaptable to climate change.
“With over three billion people across the globe eating rice every day, rice is critical to global food security,” Maria Helena Semedo, Deputy Director-General of Climate and Natural Resources at the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), said.
The UN agency announced that it will work with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) to support sustainable rice production in developing countries to improve food security and livelihoods, while also safeguarding natural resources.
According to FAO, the two organizations will work together to assist rice producing countries to adopt improved and adapted rice varieties, enhance availability of certified seeds and also the transfer of knowledge, including to control pests and through farmer field schools.
FAO and IRRI will also work to help women farmers participate in viable, safe and dignified entrepreneurial opportunities in the rice value chain, the UN agency said.
Meanwhile, FAO has developed the Regional Rice Initiative for Asia and Pacific which promotes enhanced crop resilience while increasing efficiency and farmers’ income. In Africa and in Latin America the UN agency is engaged in scientific and technical cooperation including the sharing of technologies and best practices to increase production and productivity, including reduction of post-harvest losses and improved grain quality.
For its part, IRRI is engaged in strengthening capacities of all rice sector actors through its capacity development activities, including IRRI Education and the Sustainable Rice Platform, a global alliance to promote resource efficiency and sustainability in trade flows, production and consumption operations, and supply chains in the global rice sector.—APP
USA Rice's Ward Sees EPA's Pruitt as a Partner, Not an Opponent

By Deborah Willenborg
 WASHINGTON, DC - USA Rice President and CEO Betsy Ward met yesterday with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt and thanked him for his early decisive action on the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule and for his back to basics approach to science-based regulation.
 
The Pruitt meeting occurred during a multi-day planning session of the CEO Agriculture Council that brings together leaders from all major agricultural organizations to coordinate alignment on core issues.  The group, that makes its members available to the government's ag policymakers, also met with U.S. Department of Agriculture transition officials and with leaders from other major associations up and down the food supply chain.
Administrator Pruitt told the group he sees his agency as pro-growth, pro-jobs and pro-environment, and that he is firmly committed to work across agencies to solve complex problems.
 "All the CEO's around the table enthusiastically welcomed Administrator Pruitt to the leadership of EPA," Ward said.  "It was refreshing to be told we can work together to tackle important issues facing our industries and our nation as opposed to having an adversarial relationship from the get go.  The first few actions of the Trump Administration signal a real shift in process with outreach already happening between EPA and USDA which is something USA Rice has been encouraging for some time.  Administrator Pruitt's approach to regulatory reform as a means to economic growth is certainly welcome by the rice industry."
           
 USDA Estimates Rice Acreage Down 17 Percent
By Michael Klein
  WASHINGTON, DC - Area planted for rice in 2017 is expected to total 2.62 million acres, 524,000 less than in 2016, and back at the level planted in 2015, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service's Prospective Plantings report released today.  Planted acreage is forecast significantly lower for four of the six major rice-producing states with California almost unchanged at 539,000 acres and Louisiana down just eight percent to 400,000 acres.  Mississippi, which saw the largest percentage increase in 2016 (47 percent), will see the largest percentage decrease this year, down 38 percent to 120,000 acres.

Long-grain, representing 73 percent of the total rice acreage, is expected to be 533,000 acres less than last year, with 360,000 of those acres being lost in Arkansas, the top rice producing state.  Medium-grain, now 25 percent of the total rice acreage, is projected to be up 1,000 acres to 666,000 - 72 percent of which is in California.  Area planted for all short-grain varieties, representing just two percent of production, is anticipated to be up 19 percent from last year's total.

USA Rice Farmers Chairman and Missouri farmer Blake Gerard said, "With weak prices and uncertainty in our overseas markets, this dip in planting intentions is not very surprising. Here in Missouri, planting intentions are still somewhat in flux, but very soon the market and weather conditions are going to help solidify our decisions for the coming year."

The USDA report is based on information supplied to USDA by growers, and though generally accurate within 5 percent, actual planted acres could vary.  The Rice Acreage Report, based on actual planted acres, will be published at the end of June.

Basmati rice shares in focus; LT Foods, KRBL hit new highs

SI Reporter  |  Mumbai March 31, 2017 Last Updated at 10:09 IST

Shares of basmati rice producers rallied by up to 9%, extending their previous day gains on hopes that the coming financial year is expected to witness better revenue growth for the industry supported by a rise in average realizations.LT Foods, the company engaged in the manufacture and sale of rice under the brand DAAWAT, has rallied 9% to Rs 67.50, also its record high on the BSE.Kohinoor Foods (up 5% to Rs 86.50), Chaman Lal Setia Exports (3% at Rs 105) and KRBL (up 2% at Rs 432) were up in the range of 2% to 5%, as compared to 0.02% rise in the S&P BSE Sensex.Basmati rice exports is likely to grow to Rs 22,000-22,500 crore and volume to around 4.09 million tonne mainly supported by an increase in average realisations, rating agency ICRA said in a report.“Going forward, the coming financial year is expected to witness better revenue growth supported by a rise in average realisations, as paddy prices firm up during the current procurement season. Moreover, resumption of imports by Iran will also be crucial for driving industry growth in the next fiscal," said ICRA Assistant Vice President Deepak Jotwani.

Most of these stocks outperformed the market by surging up to 200% in FY17 against 17% rise in the benchmark index.Meanwhile, these four rice companies had posted an average 44% year-on-year growth in net profit for the first nine months (April to December) of FY17. The aggregate net profit of these companies increased to Rs 419 crore in FY17 from Rs 291 crore in FY16.

 





Price in Rs

Net proft/loss (Rs cr)
Company
31/03/2016
Latest
% chg
9MFY16
9MFY17
L T Foods
22.59
67.50
198.8
66.6
83.7
Kohinoor Foods
42.80
87.00
103.3
-5.6
15.6
KRBL
222.60
432.00
94.1
199.8
289.6
Chamanlal Setia
55.55
103.90
87.0
30.7
30.1

Iraq staggers commodities payments amid financial constraints

Reuters | Mar 30, 2017, 10.40 PM IST
BAGHDAD, March 30 (Reuters) - Major rice and wheat buyer Iraq has told suppliers it will pay for their goods in instalments, according to a tender document and traders, a move that has reduced the number of participants in its purchase tenders.
Trader said officials from Iraq's Grain Board had informed them in a recent meeting that they had taken the step because low oil prices and other financial factors were forcing Iraq to stagger payments.
According to the tender document issued this week and seen by Reuters, Iraq's Ministry of Trade will pay 80 percent of the value of each shipment when the required documents are presented at the loading port.
The remaining 20 percent will be released after the cargo has arrived and the buyer has issued a certificate confirming the goods are fit for human consumption, the document said.
An official from the trade ministry's legal department confirmed the tender process had changed to ensure shipments were of a high quality and that payments had been staggered due to financial constraints.
"The bottom line is we need to make sure 1000 percent the shipment is fit and fine before we pay one dollar. New regulations, including the paying process, are part of our attempts to crackdown on corrupt, secret deals," the official told Reuters.
"We as a trade ministry do not have enough allocations as before due to budget cuts and that also means we have to check every dollar before we pay," the official said.
Dissatisfaction with the new tender payment process and inspection terms has left multinational trading houses unwilling to participate, traders said.
"The risk is too great for most trading houses which is why there were very low levels of participation in recent wheat tenders," said one European trader.
An Iraqi trader complained the new rules had complicated the tendering process and interest from suppliers had waned.
"Before, a wheat tender could easily lure 10 companies to participate. But now less than half that show interest and above all the tender ends undecided. That happened with the last wheat tender," he said. (Writing by Michael Georgy; editing by Maha El Dahan and David Clarke)

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