Saturday, July 01, 2017

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

Farmers in Pakistan benefits from new rice-wheat planters
Thursday, 29 June 2017 06:49
Pakistani farmers have expressed that locally manufactured rice planters are helping them by supporting conservation agriculture, with costs savings and soil and water conservation benefits, in rice-wheat farming rotation that covers more than 2.2mn ha in Pakistan
 The new farming implements aim to reform the agricultural output in Pakistan. (Image source: Leon Brocard/Flickr)
The farmers expressed their opinion at a meeting, held in May 2017, at the Rice Research Institute in Kala Shah Kaku in Pakistan.
They said that the performance of nearly 200 locally produced farming implements, which they received to test during 2016-2017, allowed to sow the seeds of rice, wheat and other crops directly into the unploughed grounds, including the stubble and other residues from preceding crops.
The new rice-wheat farming technology has been provided by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT) and the United States Agency for Development (USAID), aiming to support an improved agricultural productivity in Pakistan.
In 2014, the CIMMYT, supported by USAID, imported a multi-crop zero tillage planter for rice and several zero tillage ‘Happy Seeders’ to Pakistan, to test on the farmers’ fields in five districts of Punjab, through CIMMYT’s agricultural innovation program (AIP).
After successful completion of the tests, CIMMYT started working with local machinery manufactures to produce the first locally-modified versions of the seeding implements.
CIMMYT collaborated with Greenland Engineering Daska, a leading zero tillage drill manufacturer in Pakistan, to adapt the rice planter’s inclined plate seeding system, with an aim to provide an increased planting density with 10 per cent higher rice yields than before.
Irfan Iqbal, representative of Greenland Engineering, said that the company had produced and marketed 185 rice planters to farmers during 2016-17.
Sharif Engineering, a zero tillage seed drill manufacturer, helped in modifying the Happy Seeder to enable the farmers sowing wheat directly into heavy rice residue field.
Mirza Ghazanfar, country representative, said that Sharif manufactured 13 Happy Seeders with AIP support.
Muhammad Akhter, director of Pakistan’s Rice Research Institute, welcomed the initiative by USAID and CIMMYT to spread an environment-friendly rice-wheat farming technologies to the farmers in Pakistan
‘New technology will help farmers sow rice without water’
Published: July 1, 2017

MULTAN: Scientists have successfully developed a new technology that will help farmers sow rice without water. The recent development would be helpful for the farming community facing water crisis.
These views were expressed by Provincial Agriculture Secretary Muhammad Mahmud on Friday.
The minister said the new technology would bring revolution in agriculture sector and will prove vital in reducing costs of sowing crops to a great extent.
He added, “Our scientists are among the world’s best and they have achieved a milestone in a short span of time.” He maintained the new development gave a new life to the agriculture sector.
Earlier, in view of water scarcity in some areas, farmers adopted drip irrigation system to sow crops. This system is suitable for crop cultivation when irrigation water or rainwater is not enough for conventional farming. This technology, so far, has been adopted by many farmers across Punjab owing to acute shortage of river water and limited rains.
Keeping in view its high efficacy in conserving water, increasing per acre yield and reducing cost of cultivation, there is a need to create awareness among farmers about the drip irrigation system. With this technology, the farmers could save 60% electricity and diesel costs augmenting per acre yield by 100%.
However, the farmers are unable to adopt this water-saving technology due to its high installation cost. The government is helping farmers adopt this system by providing drip irrigation equipment at subsidised rates.
Meanwhile, the agriculture department decided to launch an annual management programme worth Rs227.610 million to control fruit fly attack on mango, guava and citrus orchards.
A spokesperson of agriculture department said the project would cover 50,000-acre of orchards in Punjab, including 20,000 acres of mango orchards, 26,500 acre of citrus orchards and 3,500 acre guava orchards.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 1st, 2017
Rice traders launch campaign to educate farmers on pesticides
Following the European Union’s recent decision to impose a stringent maximum residue limit (MRL) for Tricyclazole, a fungicide used by farmers against a disease from December 31, 2017, rice exporters in the country have launched an extensive campaign to educate the farmers.
By: Sandip Das | Published: June 28, 2017 4:02 AM

The focus of the campaign, which is being carried out in collaboration with agricultural scientists, has been to educate the farmers about using the fungicide. (Image: Reuters)
Following the European Union’s recent decision to impose a stringent maximum residue limit (MRL) for Tricyclazole, a fungicide used by farmers against a disease from December 31, 2017, rice exporters in the country have launched an extensive campaign to educate the farmers in key growing states of Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh on the judicious use of pesticides. According to Vijay Setia, president, All India Rice Exporters Association (AIREA), the focus of the campaign, which is being carried out in collaboration with agricultural scientists, has been to educate the farmers about using the fungicide within 70 days of commencement of kharif sowing and not to use it at the flowering stage.
“Many a times rice exports consignments were rejected because of detection of pesticides residues and our focus would be educate the farmers against use of excessive pesticides which would lead to higher price realisation,” Setia told FE. EU has brought down the MRL level for Tricyclazole to virtually zero or 0.01 milligram (mg) per kg from next year. Similarly, USA does not permit the presence of residues of pesticides like Isoprothiolane and Buprofezin beyond 0.01 mg per kg. EU and the US markets are high value markets for rice exporters although major chunk of rice is shipped to mostly Gulf and African countries.
According to a commerce ministry official, “Only those pesticides should be used by farmers which are recommended by the state agriculture universities for application on paddy crop. In addition, the correct dose of the recommended pesticide.” The official said the country is largest exporter of rice in the world since last five years. “However, export of rice has faced problems in last few years in different markets like USA, EU and Iran due to detection of residues of pesticides exceeding prescribed MRL,” he noted.
AIREA will be holding a series of meetings with farmers across key basmati growing areas of Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh as farmers are preparing nurseries for kharif paddy plantation. India has an around 85% share in global basmati exports while the rest is contributed by Pakistan

Sitting all day in office can cause cancer. These 5 study findings will shock you
From sitting at your office desk all day to heavy drinking… various factors can cause cancer. Take a look at the latest research on the deadly disease.
FITNESS Updated: Jul 01, 2017 10:51 IST

HT correspondent
Hindustan Times

It’s dangerous to go seven hours without much physical activity.(Shutterstock)
Cancer is one of those fatal diseases which scientists are still finding a cure for. While some types of cancers are treatable, some are not. Oftentimes, cancer is not even detected until the final stage. Arm yourself against the disease with the newest findings on the subject.
1) Heavy drinking may cause cancer
Keep away from the bottle. Researchers Naruhisa Yamaki and team from the Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine, Japan, found that drinking too much causes cells to age faster. This makes drinkers susceptible to cancer, among other health problems.
Read the full story here.

Avoid alcohol if you want to prevent cancer. (Shutterstock)
2) A new type of rice can reduce cancer risk
In the recent past, there have been many attempts to produce genetically modified purple rice. Now, scientists from China have developed GM purple rice that can lower the risk of certain cancers, and also cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Read the full story here.
3) Your body’s sound waves can aid in detecting cancer
Apart from conventional methods, researchers are trying to develop new technologies to detect cancer. One such method is Elastography, or seismology of the human body. New research suggests that seismic or sound waves from the body can help in cancer detection in organs deep in the body.
Read the full story here.

USA Rice Meets with China's Largest Rice Importer at HOFEX 2017
By Jim Guinn

HONG KONG -- As USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue makes a high profile trip to China this week heralding resumption of U.S. beef exports there, USA Rice continues to strengthen trade ties in the region by participating in events like HOFEX, Asia's leading food and hospitality tradeshow.  At the show in May, USA Rice met with China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corporation (COFCO), a state-owned enterprise that is the largest food company in China, and consequently the largest importer of rice.  

At the meeting, the COFCO delegation confirmed that the rice phytosanitary protocol was being discussed by the Chinese government.  Secretary Perdue has acknowledged to USA Rice that access for U.S. rice is high on his priority list and, as reported in today's Wall Street Journal, U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad has noted that Secretary Perdue "was eager to work out a deal with China over rice imports."
"We've spent years working on relationships in the trade in China in preparation for the day that we can ship high quality U.S. rice to China's consumers," said USA Rice Chairman Brian King.  "The U.S. industry has fulfilled all the technical requirements needed to open up this market and while we wait for the political players to iron out the agreement, we continue to demonstrate our interest and intent with attendance at events like HOFEX."

U.S. rice exporters from ADM Rice, Farmers Rice Cooperative, Riviana, and Sun Valley Rice also attended the show and arranged meetings at the USA Rice booth with current and prospective customers from companies such as GoFresh, a Taiwan-based sushi chain; Golden Resources Ltd., a rice importer; and ARH Company.

"HOFEX has more than 2,500 exhibitors and attracts buyers and decision makers from more than 75 countries," said Steve Vargas with Sun Valley Rice.  "It's grown quite a bit since USA Rice last exhibited here in 2011 and our attendance is helping broaden outreach in this part of the world.  As we talk to buyers and suppliers, it's obvious that our challenge is educating the Chinese consumer that, yes, rice is grown in the U.S. and we have an ample supply of high quality product readily available for this market."

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U.S. long grain rice prices remain bullish going into acreage report
USDA’s June 30, 2017 acreage report will relieve some of the U.S. long grain rice market uncertainty.
Bobby Coats | Jun 29, 2017
I remain bullish on U.S. long grain rice prices. USDA’s June 30, 2017 acreage report will relieve some of the U.S. long grain rice market uncertainty.
The dynamics and complexity of the U.S. long grain rice market is being driven by a collection of UNCERTAINTIES ASSOCIATED WITH:
Nagging domestic and global growth, raises food security concerns, which, in turn, tends to raise protectionist barriers;
Lagging fiscal, trade and regulatory policy response, causes deflationary forces to regain lost momentum and place downward pressure on many commodity markets.
Bidirectional domestic and global monetary policy verbal guidance, creates confusion among market participants and enhances market risk.
Domestic and global rice and grain fundamentals; related to 2017 acreage, yield, production and quality.
Currency dynamics; hedging against currency risks becoming increasing challenge.
Intensifying global geopolitical uncertainties – means global exporters, especially rice exporters, find themselves facing a historically, post-World War II, unpredictable global business environment, due to economic, social, and political change.
 2017/18 World Rice Supply and Demand
World Rice-Cliff Note Version
World rice acreage at 161.8 million hectares is the highest on record
World rice yield at 4.4 metric tons per hectare is consistent with previous 4 periods
World rice rough production at 717.4 million metric tons is the 2nd highest on record
World rice milled production at 481 million metric tons is the 2nd highest on record
World trade at 42.3 million metric tons is 3rd highest on record and in-part reflects global uncertainties
World rice total use at 479.1 million metric tons is the highest on record
World rice ending stocks at 120.5 million metric tons is the highest since 2001/02
2017/18 world rice production (481.3 million tons) is forecasts to exceed 2017/18 total use (480.1 million tons) by 1.2 million tons
Long Grain Rice Supply and Demand -- Cliff Note Version:
USDA’s June 30, 2017 Acreage Report will provide an estimate that more nearly reflects current weather and flooding impacts.
The 2017/18 long grain rice season-average farm price range is $10.50 - $11.50 per cwt or $4.73 - $5.18 per bus
2017 long grain rice planted acres estimated at 1,909,000 acres 22% below 2016
5 year average 2,044,400 acres
10 year average 2,150,600 acres
15 year average 2,229,267 acres
2017/18 long grain rice beginning stocks at 27.7 million cwt.
Previous 5 year average was 22 million cwt.
Previous 10 year average was 24 million cwt.
2017/18 long grain rice production is estimated at 142 million cwt.
15% below 2016/17
5 year average 148 million cwt.
10 year average 149 million cwt.
2017/18 long grain rice total supply is estimated at 190.7 million cwt.
9-percent below 2016/17
5 year average 190 million cwt.
10 year average 191 million cwt.
2017/18 long grain rice domestic and residual use is estimated at 95 million cwt,
6th largest on record
5 year average 95 million cwt.
10 year average 94.5 million cwt.
2017/18 long grain rice total exports is estimated at 77 million cwt,
3 million cwt. below last year
5 year average 72
10 year average 73
2017/18 long grain rice total use is estimated at 172 million cwt.
10 million cwt below 2016/17
5 year average 167 million cwt.
10 year average 167 million cwt.
2017/18 long grain rice ending stocks are estimated at 18.7 million cwt.
32-percent below 2016/17
5 year average 23 million cwt.
10 year average 24 million cwt.
NASS Prospective Planting
1. S. - Cliff Note Version
As previously stated USDA’s June 30, 2017 Acreage Report will provide an estimate that more nearly reflects current weather and flooding impacts.
2017 Arkansas long grain rice planted acres estimated at 1,050,000 acres 25.5% below 2016, five year average 1,150,000, 10 year average 1,202,000, 15 year average 1,250,000 acres
2017 California long grain rice planted acres estimated at 9,000 acres the same as 2016, 5 year average 7,000, 10 year average 6,800, 15 year average 7,067 acres
2017 Louisiana long grain rice planted acres estimated at 375,000 acres 9.2% below 2016, 5 year average 387,000, 10 year average 405,500, 15 year average 415,467 acres
2017 Mississippi long grain rice planted acres estimated at 375,000 acres 9.2% below 2016, 5 year average 156,000, 10 year average 185,000, 15 year average 197,667 acres
2017 Missouri long grain rice planted acres estimated at 200,000 acres 13% below 2016, 5 year average 194,400, 10 year average 193,200, 15 year average 197,667 acres
2017 Texas long grain rice planted acres estimated at 155,000 acres 16.2% below 2016, 5 year average 150,000, 10 year average 158100, 15 year average 165,000 acres
2017 United States long grain rice planted acres estimated at 1,909,000 acres 21% below 2016, 5 year average 2,044,400, 10 year average 2,150,600, 15 year average 2,229,267 acres
Please view accompanying Rice Slide Show by clicking on the download button below..
1. Bobby Coats is a professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness, Division of Agriculture, University of Arkansas System. E-mail:

Rice straw MDF plant moving ahead in Willows
 A heron stands amongst the straw left in a Nelson rice field after it was harvested in October 2013. Construction is expected to start in September on a factory near Willows that would turn rice straw into medium-density fiberboard Bill Husa — Enterprise-Record file photo
By Laura Urseny, Chico Enterprise-Record
POSTED: 06/28/17, 8:45 PM PDT |
 Aerial photo taken Saturday by Oroville pilot Gonzalo (Peewee) Coriel shows the vastness of the rice fields around Richvale, which is why backers of a factory that will turn rice straw into medium-density fiberboard think they’ll be able to find enough raw materials. Submitted photo by Gonzalo (Peewee) Coriel
Willows >> A first-of-its-kind building materials plant that’s been discussed for years in Glenn County looks like it’s moving forward.
CalAg LLC and a group of stakeholders have arranged the finances to build a plant west of Willow that makes medium-density fiberboard using rice straw as its main component.
Medium-density fiberboard — called MDF — is generally made of wood chips, and used for non-visible construction in building and furniture industries.
Construction is expected to get started in September on the $198 million plant, with the first round of production in early 2019, according to CalPlant lead attorney Irv Hepner of Morrison & Foerster of Los Angeles.
Proponents say the plant will tap a practically useless by-product of rice — the straw — as well as provide a more environmentally friendly process and product. There is no formaldehyde in the product. Additionally, the product is said to be less expensive than wood-based MDF.
Currently rice growers generally plow under their straw after harvest, flooding the fields to help decomposition. That uses water — billions of gallons annually, according to the company — and can lead to fungus issues and release methane gas.
In addition to the outdoor environmental benefits, the indoor air would benefit, according to documents, because formaldehyde is not used in production.
The plant is expected to be built on 273 acres off Highway 162, west of Willows.
The project was approved in October 2000 by the Glenn County Planning Commission, and the next step would be applying for a building permit, according to associate planner Andy Popper.
The project is on three parcels south of Highway 162 and between County Roads FF and D, but not the parcel immediately south of the highway.
Beyond the environmental boons, there are 87 jobs associated with the plant, along with payroll dollars and $2,085,400 in sales and property taxes.
Parties finalized a combination of debt and equity financing deal of $315 million earlier this month, according to Hepner, including the California Pollution Control Financing Authority, which is issuing bonds for the project. The extra funding goes to interest and reserve on the bonds, taxes among other costs.
The concept popped up in the ’90s, when founder Jerry Uhland started talking about the process that could use rice straw. But there were challenges that kept the idea from becoming reality, Hepner said, including proof the technology would work, as well as CalAg’s lack of a track record. That left financing in question.
But Hepner pointed out the process of making rice straw MDF has been tested with Uhland’s patented technology; the product has been tested and meets industry standards; and the environmental benefits gives room to try new ideas.
“CalAg just didn’t have the gap financing to build it.”
Hepner noted that rice straw MDF is also less expensive to purchase because it uses less binder.
CalPlant 1 LLC, which owns the site, has Uhland as the CEO, Christopher Motley as CFO and Les Younie as vice president of manufacturing and engineering. CalAg’s attorney Hepner said all initial pre-operation permits have been completed by the company.
Surrounded by thousands of acres of rice land, the plant shouldn’t have problems gaining materials, said Hepner. Glenn, Colusa, Butte, Yuba and Sutter are leading rice counties in the state. According to the California Department of Food and Ag, 95 percent of rice produced in California comes from Colusa, Sutter, Yuba, Butte and Glenn counties
“This is at the north end of the largest rice growing area in the U.S. Don’t think there are any guarantees that the farmers will sell rice straw, but we think they will. The economic incentives are high. It’s hard to imagine a farmer wanting to plow under a rice field.”
According to financial documents, the company expects the plant to dispose of 275,000 tons of rice straw annually, and the site will have room to store thousands of rice straw bales.
It also noted, “Lower air emissions from transportation of rice straw feedstock to the plant, compared to wood, as all of the plant’s needs will be met within a 25-mile radius.”
This newspaper was unable to contact Uhland or for immediate comments or rice growers.
Colleen Cecil, Butte County Farm Bureau executive director, suggested that rice growers would look at the cost of cutting, baling and transporting the rice straw versus plowing it under and flooding the fields.
Contact reporter Laura Urseny at 896-7756

Rice Prices on the Rise as Inventory Shrinks
Thailand has sold much of its ample stocks of rice, heralding a shift for the regional market: The grain is now trading in response to short-term shifts in supply and demand, which are driving prices higher.
By Lucy Craymer
June 28, 2017 11:16 a.m. ET
Thailand has sold much of its ample stocks of rice, heralding a shift for the regional market: The grain is now trading in response to short-term shifts in supply and demand, which are driving prices higher.
Perdue presses China on poultry, rice and biotech approvals
06/30/17 5:00 PM By Bill Tomson
WASHINGTON, June 30, 2017 – USDA chief Sonny Perdue is in China primarily to celebrate the resumption of beef trade, but he’s also using the occasion to press officials there on the country’s need to reform its biotech approval process and to lift its bans on U.S. rice and poultry.
While beef has grabbed most of the spotlight – Perdue, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Craig Uden, and Luan Richeng, representing state-owned Chinese importer COFCO, made a show of carving up imported U.S. beef – the USDA secretary has been holding multiple meetings with the Chinese in Beijing and Shanghai. Han Changfu, China’s agriculture minister, Li Yuanping, the vice minister of China’s Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), and Vice Premier Wang Yang were just some of the high-ranking Chinese officials Perdue has been meeting during his trip.
“The secretary had wide-ranging discussions with the Chinese, using the success of getting U.S. beef back in the market as a springboard,” said a USDA official traveling with Perdue. “He raised the issue of market access for American products such as poultry and rice. And he also urged China to address systemic issues with approval of biotech products, which we know are safe. The secretary made clear what American desires are, and pointed to beef as proof that progress is possible.”
U.S. companies lincluding Tyson and Greater Omaha Packing are already exporting beef to China, and poultry farmers are hoping it won’t be long before chicken will be shipped too. China has maintained a blanket ban on U.S. poultry since 2014 because of bird flu outbreaks.
“We are pleased to know that Secretary Perdue and his staff are fully engaged in our number-one issue of reopening the China market for US poultry,” Jim Sumner, president of the U.S. Poultry and Egg Export Council (USAPEEC), told Agri-Pulse.
The trickiest issue may turn out to be getting China to reform its biotech approval process. Unlike most countries, China will not start its approval process until after another country – like the U.S. – finishes its review. That can add years to approval for companies hoping to sell their seeds. The Obama administration tried unsuccessfully for years to get China to make changes.
But Michel Demaré, vice chairman of Syngenta, told Agri-Pulse in a recent interview that the company is optimistic that China will make reforms now that it has been acquired by ChemChina.
“We are certainly encouraging that,” Demaré said. “We think that makes sense for the global system. Having invested a significant amount of money in Syngenta, I think they now have skin in the game that they didn’t have before to improve their regulatory process for all. And we hope that happens.”
China said that it would approve eight outstanding biotech seed traits in the so-called “100-day plan” that the U.S. and China agreed to after President Donald Trump and Chinese Premier Xi Jinping met in April. So far China has approved two.
The U.S. biotech industry is pushing for China to approved the remaining six, one industry representative said, but the long-term and most important goal is a reform of how it conducts the approvals.
As to rice, the U.S. and Chinese finished working out all of the sanitary and phytosanitary issues that would allow the U.S. to export to China about a year ago, and both sides signed off on a deal, but the Chinese held back on ratifying it.
China imports millions of tons of rice a year and purchases are increasing. The latest USDA forecast shows China importing 5 million tons in the 2016-17 marketing year, up from 4.4 million tons in 2015-16. The country agreed to take in at least 2.7 million tons of U.S. rice each year as part of the deal it struck when it joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, but there has been no trade because of China’s refusal to approve protocols.
CBI probe sought into Rs 2000 crore fraud
Sagar Kumar Mutha| TNN | Jun 30, 2017, 09.27 PM IST

HYDERABAD: Former president Mohammad Mehmood of Bar Association of Bodhan in Nizamabad district on Friday filed a Public Interest Litigation seeking a CBI probe into the alleged commercial tax evasion scam worth Rs. 2000 crore that was said to have been perpetrated in the Bodhan commercial tax office.

According to the petitioner, the modus of the scam was through forging and manipulating documents and by filing fake challans. One Sivaraj, his son and some rice millers in connivance with some of the officials of Bodhan commercial tax circle used forged and fake challans showing them as genuine receipts of value added tax (VAT). The con men invented this method in 2001-2002 and have been perpetrating this fraud, the petitioner said in his plea. The total loss the exchequer suffered till now is Rs 2000 crore, he added. The local police at Bodhan took up investigation on the complaint of Bhodan commercial tax officer and later it was handed over to the CID.

The petitioner in his plea contended that the CID is not making any headway in the investigation into this scam owing to various reasons and is confining its investigation to the assessment years 2012 to 2014 but it is not examining the records from 2001-2002 despite knowing that the scam's origin lies there. The CID's DSP who was investigating this case was also suspended from service for gross negligence, corruption, improper investigation etc, Mehmood said. The tax evasion took place in 13 circles and 91 divisions of the Telangana state as well as AP state. The investigators issued notices to 119 traders and rice millers asking them to furnish their assessment returns, challans, tax details. No efforts have been made by the CID to attach the properties of the culprits who amassed huge wealth by defrauding the exchequer, he said. The report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (Revenue Sector) for the year ending March 2015 stated that an amount of Rs. 2,293 crore was involved in respect of taxes on sales, trade etc., and files, returns, refunds and registers pertaining to such trade were not made available for inspection to the CAG.

The petitioner expressed an apprehension that as the quantum of money involved is huge and there is all probability of involvement of big politicians, rice millers, officials from commercial tax department and others, on whose pressure, the CID is presumably not able to make any progress in the scam and urged the court to hand over the case to CBI

Chinese scientists genetically engineer purple rice rich in antioxidants
 Michael Irving  June 28, 2017

Chinese scientists have genetically engineered purple rice, which is rich in antioxidants(Credit: Qinlong Zhu/South China Agricultural University)
Plain white rice is pretty nutritionally empty, so if you want something a little healthier, it's probably worth sticking to other varieties like black or red rice. But there may soon be another option after Chinese scientists genetically engineered purple rice that is rich in antioxidants and may reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease.
The added health benefits of the new rice are thanks to the increased levels of anthocyanins. Not only do these compounds boost antioxidant activity, which is linked to reduced risks of cancer, heart disease and diabetes, they also give foods like blueberries and red grapes their eye-catching coloration. As a result, the new rice breed has a rich purple pigment.
This isn't the first time scientists have tried to engineer rice with higher anthocyanin levels, but efforts hadn't borne fruit due to the complicated biosynthesis pathways involved. To get around that road block, researchers from the South China Agricultural University first examined which genes are linked to anthocyanin production in different species of rice.
Japonica and indica rices don't produce anthocyanin, and the team was able to isolate the defective genes and replace them with more useful alternatives. They created a transgene stacking system that can express eight different anthocyanin genes in the grain, giving the rice higher levels of the compound and staining it a pleasant purple in the process.
"We have developed a highly efficient, easy-to-use transgene stacking system called TransGene Stacking II that enables the assembly of a large number of genes in single vectors for plant transformation," says Yao-Guang Liu, senior author of the study. "This is the first demonstration of engineering such a complex metabolic pathway in plants."
The next steps for the team involve studying how safe the new purple rice is to eat, and whether the technique can be applied to other cereals. Eventually, the researchers say the technique could be used to increase the levels of other nutrients and chemicals in plants.
The research was published in the journal Molecular Plant.
Source: South China Agricultural University via Science Daily
Scientific finding paves way for rice genetic engineering to develop efficient water storage
By Diego Mora, News5 | InterAksyon

Published: June 29, 2017, 6:58 PM  ( Updated: June 29, 2017, 9:24 PM )

 Illustration of the role of chloroblasts on activation of stomata on a leaf structure.
Researchers at the Australian National University (ANU) have found a way to survive drought conditions 50 percent longer by leveraging chloroplasts to initiate the conservation of water by causing plant pores or stoma to close as temperatures rise.
The plant pumps water into the leaves, which, in turn, absorb carbon dioxide. Chlorophyll, water, carbon dioxide, and other food producing substances are available inside the chloroplast, and the entire process of photosynthesis takes place in the chloroplast.
Scientists observed that chloroplasts can sense drought stress and always activate a chemical that closes the plant’s pores or stomata to conserve water.
A rice variety efficient in storing water, similar to the Submarino series developed by the Philippine Rice Research Institute, could help boost Philippine rice production, which is hobbled annually by an estimated deficit ranging from 8.5 percent to 10 percent.
This finding was revealed in the article written by lead author Dr. Wannarat Pornsiriwong and others entitled “A chloroplast retrograde signal, 3′-phosphoadenosine5′-phosphate, acts as a secondary messenger in abscisic acid signaling in stomatal closure and germination,” in the peer-reviewed journal eLife on March 21, 2017.
The research team, led by Dr. Wannarat Pornsiriwong, Dr. Gonzalo Estavillo, Dr. Kai Chan and Dr. Barry Pogson from the Australian National University (ANU) Research School of Biology, found that chloroplasts, better known for their role in photosynthesis, play a role in regulating plant response during heat stress.
“Chloroplasts are actually capable of sensing drought stress and telling the leaves to shut up and prevent water from being lost during drought stress,” Dr. Pogson added.
“So the chloroplasts are actually helping the plants to prevent losing too much water. We know how the drought alarm actually calls for help and we know how help comes in the form of closing pores on the leaves,” he stressed.
“Boosting the levels of this chloroplast signal also restores tolerance in drought-sensitive plants and extended their drought survival by about 50 per cent,” Dr. Chan added.
By increasing the activity of the chloroplasts or stimulating this chemical signal in another way, plants could store water for a longer period and survive despite higher temperatures.
Through this specific function of chloroplasts, plant geneticists may employ genetic modification (GM) to develop plants with more spores or crops that have roots and stems big enough to store water the way pineapple, watermelon and turnips do.
This finding is significant as climatologists have predicted more intense global warming that could reduce rice yields.
The finding would also boost efforts by biotechnologists and plant breeders to coax rice varieties to use their chloroplasts efficiently to help the plants store water and thus support a bigger volume of rice grains in a panicle.
“This basic scientific research has the potential to improve farming productivity … in countries that suffer from drought stress,” Dr. Pogson said.
“If we can even alleviate drought stress a little, it would have a significant impact on our farmers and the economy,” he added
2017 Rice Area Numbers Down Almost 20 Percent from 2016, Harvested Area in Arkansas Takes a Hit
By Bob Cummings

WASHINGTON, DC -- In the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) first survey-based estimate of grain acreage for the 2017 crop, all rice planted acres is set at 2.56 million, 19 percent less than the 2016 figure, and two percent less than reported in the March Prospective Plantings.

"Today's report on the surface is better than we expected - area is down from last year, which we knew, and the numbers are only two percent less than the March Prospective Plantings.  But this is not the whole or most important story," said Keith Glover of Producers Rice Mill and chair of the USA Rice World Market Price Subcommittee.  "We need to focus on the estimate of harvested rice area in Arkansas this year.  Normally, the spread between planted and harvested area for the state is 5,000 to 6,000 acres.  For 2017, the gap is 60,000 acres.  This reflects the negative impact of this spring's flooding, and the harvested number is a more accurate measure of the crop in Arkansas right now."  The estimate for harvested area in Arkansas is down 27 percent from the 2016 level.

Rice area in all states fell from what was reported in Prospective Plantings except for area in Texas.  Area in California, the state with the second largest rice area, fell eight percent to 499,000 acres because of a wet spring.

This year's planted rice area is the lowest since 2013, with the bulk of the reduction occurring in long grain area, which is expected to fall 23 percent to 1.88 million acres.  Reduced Arkansas long grain area led the decline, and area dropped in each state.  Medium grain area, at 637,000 acres, was off as well, but only by four percent because an increase in area in Arkansas offset a nearly 10-percent drop in California.

"Our producers and marketers are facing a tough beginning as we look towards the 2017/18 year.  Prices are weak and overseas demand is not as strong we need, so we have our work cut out for us," concluded Glover.

USDA will use today's area numbers in publishing the first 2017/18 supply and demand estimate for U.S. rice in the World Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimate published on July 12.
The Internet of Rice: Conservation Through Tech
Arkansas rice farmer Jim Whitaker of McGehee is making huge strides in water conservation with a little help from the internet. In fact, Whitaker is one of seven rice farmers who made history recently when Microsoft purchased the first carbon credits generated using a method called Alternate Wetting and Drying. Watch to learn more.
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LT Foods : to set up a rice processing plant in Europe

06/28/2017 | 01:40pm EDT
LT Foods, a global Indian foods brand with presence in more than 65 countries today commenced operations its first rice processing plant in Europe at Rotterdam, Netherlands. LT Foods, a global Indian foods brand with presence in more than 65 countries today commenced operations its first rice processing plant in Europe at Rotterdam, Netherlands. LT Foods has made an investment of USD 15 million in the plant with initial capacity of 60,000 tonnes and scope for further expansion in the future. The company plans to make its most popular ‘Daawat’ brand a household name in Europe using raw material from India. The move will benefit 5000 farmer families in India with brown rice supply increasing from India.
LT Foods plant is the first rice processing plant by any Indian foods brand in Europe. LT Foods plans to expand its geographical footprint in important markets of Europe and UK through this plant by increasing its sales from the current 5,000 tonnes to 60,000 tonnes over the next 3 years.
The company would be manufacturing a wide range of rice including popular varieties like Basmati, Thai, Jasmine and American rice from the new plant. Rotterdam, which is popularly known as the gateway to Europe will be a critical geographical location as it will give the company easy access to the whole of Europe and UK for its expansion plans
LT Foods expands its global footprint further with a new rice processing plant in Europe at Rotterdam, Netherlands
2017-06-28 19:40:32
LT Foods, a global Indian foods brand with presence in more than 65 countries today commenced operations its first rice processing plant in Europe at Rotterdam, Netherlands. LT Foods has made an investment of USD 15 million in the plant with initial capacity of 60,000 tonnes and scope for further expansion in the future. The Company plans to make its most popular ''Daawat'' brand a household name in Europe using raw material from India. The move will benefit 5000 farmer families in India with brown rice supply increasing from India.
LT Foods plant is the first rice processing plant by any Indian foods brand in Europe. LT Foods plans to expand its geographical footprint in important markets of Europe and UK through this plant by increasing its sales from the current 5,000 tonnes to 60,000 tonnes over the next 3 years. The Company would be manufacturing a wide range of rice including popular varieties like Basmati, Thai, Jasmine and American rice from the new plant. Rotterdam, which is popularly known as the gateway to Europe will be a critical geographical location as it will give the Company easy access to the whole of Europe and UK for its expansion plans.
Inaugurating the plant, Mr. Mr. Ahmed Aboutaleb, Mayor, Rotterdam, Netherlands, said, "We are extremely happy to welcome such a reputed Indian Company to make Netherlands its base for manufacturing for the whole of Europe. Our endeavour has been to make our country one of the most business friendly places globally. We would like to welcome more Indian companies to set up operations in our country to leverage our strategic geographic location, skilled manpower and advanced infrastructure to expand their footprint across Europe and UK".
Commenting on the development, Mr. Vijay Kumar Arora, Chairman & Managing Director, LT Foods said, "This would be our first plant in Europe and we are very excited about the opportunity. We are extremely thankful to the Netherlands government which has been supportive and business friendly for our initiative. The plant would generate new job opportunities in the country and help us expand our geographical footprint across Europe and UK".
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Ashwani Arora, CEO and Managing Director, LT Foods said, "Europe and UK are critical markets for LT Foods for our future growth and we intend to make deep inroads in these markets by making our most popular rice brand ''Daawat'' a household name. The location of the plant was also critical for us as Rotterdam will provide us easy access to whole of Europe and UK. We want to exponentially increase our geographical reach and product portfolio in these markets by offering our globally acknowledged best-in-class food products to every consumer".
LT Foods has collaborated with Rotterdam Partners, The Port of Rotterdam Authority and Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA) for this initiative. LT Foods which is already a leading food brand in India and the number one speciality food brand in the US is aggressively expanding its geographical footprint to new territories globally. The Company has already launched ''Daawat'' brand in 6 new countries in 2017 and plans to expand its product offerings and portfolio globally.
Shares of LT FOODS LTD. was last trading in BSE at Rs.67.05 as compared to the previous close of Rs. 68.35. The total number of shares traded during the day was 67450 in over 889 trades.The stock hit an intraday high of Rs. 68.6 and intraday low of 66.55. The net turnover during the day was Rs. 4561473
Provisia rice variety measuring up in Louisiana demonstration
Louisiana producer optimistic about new Provisia rice weed control and quality; price remains question mark
Forrest Laws | Jun 30, 2017
When Christian Richard was offered seed of the new PVL01 Provisia rice variety for a 30-acre demonstration plot in 2017 he jumped at the chance.
Like many south Louisiana producers, he’s been battling weedy rice and other problem grasses in his rice fields. Richard had also seen Provisia in test plots on his farm near Kaplan in south Louisiana in 2016.
Two applications of the Provisia herbicide, which has the active ingredient in the old Assure herbicide, at 15 ounces each gave him a much cleaner rice field than he’s been seeing. The active ingredient, quizalofop, has not been used much in rice before.
He also likes what he’s hearing about PVL01’s quality, but, like other producers, he’s wondering how the pricing of the new higher quality line will play out in the seasons ahead. “We need some balance in the cost of the input and the price farmers are receiving for a higher quality, premium rice,” he says.
To read more about Provisia rice, visit
Minister holds local rice millers responsible for supply shortages of rice in the market
Thu, Jun 29, 2017, 06:18 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.
June 29, Colombo: Sri Lanka's Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen says the government has sought to immediately purchase a rice tranche of 100,000 MT from abroad to respond to the supply shortage in the market.
Addressing a press briefing today at Ministry of Industry and Commerce on the forthcoming International Coop Day event to be held in Kurunegala on Saturday July 1, the Minister said the Cost of Living Committee gave an order for the Ministry to import 100,000 MT through state sector.
�We imported 300,000 MT rice so far through private sector and the government did not go for importing until now. There is a rice shortage due to rains at present. And the paddy buffer stock has also fallen to 50,000 MT and rice buffer stock needs to be built," he said.
The Minister said local rice millers are also identified as being responsible for the supply shortages in the market after the government gazetted Maximum Retail Prices (MRPs).
"Also after we gazetted the Maximum Retail Prices (MRPs), some local rice millers, seeing the low prices bought large stocks and stored them so that they can sell at a higher rate later, adding to the current rice shortage."
The Minister said he held discussions with diplomats of Indonesia, Thailand and Pakistan and also with Vietnam and Bangladesh for the purchase of 100,000 MT rice stock.
Minister Bathiudeen, on the directive of President Maithripala Sirisena opened talks with Ambassadors and representatives from Thailand, Indonesia and Pakistan to procure the rice tranche to stabilize the domestic market.
�We are looking for par-boiled (Nadu) and Samba categories� he said and added: "We will bring down 100,000 MT from one them after selections."
The Cooperative Wholesale Establishment (CWE) under Minister Bathiudeen has commenced the process of securing rice samples from these countries.
Speaking about the recent plastic rice controversy, the Minister said the plastic rice conspiracy was promoted by an anti-Muslim lobby trying to link him as a Muslim to Pakistan. He added that the imported rice is also subjected to lab tests for quality.
As for coconuts, even though coconut prices are high now there is no decision to import as of now and a decision will be made at next Tuesday's Cabinet meeting, he said.

NFA to probe fake rice claim
June 29, 2017 | Filed under: Regional | Posted by: Tempo Online
By: Mars W. Mosqueda, Jr.
CEBU CITY – Reports on alleged fake rice continues to circulate in Cebu even as the National Food Authority (NFA) 7 assured the public that Central Visayas remains free from fake rice.

The NFA 7 yesterday said it will check on another report of the alleged fake rice that was said to be brought from a rice store in Lapu-Lapu City.
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Delia Alegado, a resident of barangay Basak, Lapu-Lapu City, went to a local radio station in Cebu to complain that she has brought a sack of rice that she believed was fake.
She paid R1,780 for the 50-kilo rice, whose sack had the marking “Made in Pakistan”.
Alegado said the rice became more like styrofoam when she used it to cook pooridge. She said she refrigerated the cooked arroz caldo but was shocked when the pooridge allegedly became more like styrofoam

National Rice Day marked
National Rice Day marked
Published: June 30, 2017 4:56 am On: Kathmandu
Rastriya Samachar Samiti

Locals planting rice saplings on a muddy road on the occasion of National Rice Day to protest against the sorry condition of the road, in Thamel, Kathmandu, on Thursday, June 29, 2017. Photo: THT
Kathmandu, June 29
The Ministry of Agriculture Development today marked the 14th National Rice Day throughout the country, including at Jhaukhel of Changunarayan Municipality, Bhaktapur.
On the occasion, District Agriculture Development Office, Bhaktapur, organised paddy plantation programme in the locality. Paddy plantation usually starts after the onset of monsoon and continues for almost one-and-a half months.
Nepal has been observing the day since 2005. Fourteen years ago, as many as 43 UN-member states had requested the UN General Assembly to announce the Year of Rice. Nepal, however, is the only country among the UN members to mark the day as a national day since the UN General Assembly announced the year as the Year of Rice.
According to Co-spokesperson at the ministry Shankar Sapkota, rice is cultivated in 1.5 million hectares of land in the country. It is the staple among the major six grains cultivated and consumed in the country,
Farmers gathered in their fields to plant paddy during today’s paddy plantation programme and relished curd and beaten rice delicacy. They splashed mud at each other and sang folk songs that glorified agriculture.
As many as 81 species of rice developed by Nepal Agriculture Research Council are grown in the southern plains, hills and upper hills across 73 districts of the country. Manang and Mustang districts have very hostile climate for rice.
While agriculture contributes 33 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product in Nepal, rice production alone contributes 20 to 21 per cent to the GDP, said Sapkota.

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#InspireCourage: UP grad from Marawi dreams of building PH biotech industry
'You have to have many scientists – Filipino scientists – who are passionate about the country and those who do not forget their country,' says Arman Ali Ghodsinia

Voltaire Tupaz
Published 12:34 PM, June 30, 2017
Updated 12:38 PM, June 30, 2017

On Rappler Talk on Thursday, 3:30 pm, June 29, UP honors students Arman Ali Ghodsinia and his sister, Farah, talk about the plight and aspirations of their fellow Maranaos as the fight rages in their hometown
MANILA, Philippines – Fresh from his much-applauded valedictory speech at the graduation ceremony of the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Arman Ali Ghodsinia shared what he intends to do after college and his big dreams for the country.
Ghodsinia, a Maranao from Marawi who just graduated summa cum laude in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology at the UP College of Science, said he wants to help build the biotechnology industry in the Philippines.
"I believe (that) in the future, there will be a biotechnology industry here in the Philippines. And I have a lot of brilliant batchmates who I see will contribute well to the science in the Philippines. And together, we will be able to raise the science in the Philippines to the extent that people from other countries will come here to study science,” Ghodsinia said on Rappler Talk on Thursday, June 29.
Such industry does not exist yet in the country, though there are brilliant scientists and students studying the field, Ghodsinia said, citing a UP professor teaching biotechnology enterprises.
Biotechnology, according to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, is “any technological application that uses biological systems, living organisms, or derivatives thereof, to make or modify products or processes for specific use."
In the Philippines, the field of biotechnology should benefit the agriculture sector, Ghodsinia said, noting that the country hosts world-renowned research centers like the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC).
“If we are to focus on something, I’d say that could be one of our priorities – improving our agriculture, because it’s one of our strong points,” the young scientist said.
Giving back to Marawi
The fresh graduate, who got a general weighted average of 1.173, worked on a thesis that tackled “genetic aberrations” that cause cancer and how these affect health outcomes like a patient’s reaction to medicines.
Ghodsinia plans to pursue graduate studies abroad but vowed to return to the country and open his own laboratory.
“And (through) this laboratory, I want to open opportunities for my kababayans (townmates) from Mindanao, from Marawi, and people who come from poor backgrounds to learn stuff in molecular biology as well. In doing so, together, we are able to raise (the level) of science in the Philippines,” he said.
He encouraged other Filipino scientists to do the same and help further develop science and technology in the country.
“You have to have many scientists – Filipino scientists – who are passionate about the country, and those who do not forget their country and are willing to sacrifice amidst all the opportunities abroad,” Ghodsinia said in a mix of Filipino and English.
Ghodsinia called on the government to provide more funds for science education in the country. “This means that you have to have more students who are interested in science,” he said.
'Children of Mindanao'
In the meantime, Ghodsinia is supporting his sister Farah's initiative, "Children of Mindanao,” which helps Muslim children access good education.
"We want to raise the awareness that there are certain groups in the Philippines, not only the Maranaos, who are being left behind. We, as scholars of the nation, or anyone in the Philippines, should also look [after] them,” he said.
Ghodsinia's viral valedictory speech called for peace and compassion as fighting rages in his hometown. (READ: Maranao UP graduate: 'Magmalasakit sa mga naaapi')
"Here I am standing in front of you today, as proof that members of minorities like us Maranaos can also do well; and contribute effectively to societal growth if given the same opportunities and rights like many other Filipinos," he said in his speech.
Ghodsinia's sister, who also graduated with honors in UP Diliman before taking up law in the same university, is pushing for inclusive education and development in the country.
"It’s difficult to have that if the war consistently persists. You see these individuals actually crying and suffering – they don’t deserve it," Farah said on Rappler Talk.
According to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), more than 83,500 families or 385,000 people from Marawi City have so far been displaced by the month-long clashes between government troops and local terrorists

Rice Husk Ash Market Research, Size, Share Analysis by Manufacturers, Regions, Type and Application to 2022
 Mangesh Kanase
June 29, 2017

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The report Rice Husk Ash Market Research highlights key dynamics of North America Rice Husk Ash Industry sector. The potential of the Industry has been investigated along with the key challenges. The current Rice Husk Ash Market scenario and future prospects of the sector has also been studied.
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Abrasive roll rice polishing machine Market 2017 Research Report: Economic Impact on Global and Chinese Abrasive roll rice polishing machine Industry

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Dalex disburses GH¢5 million credit to rice farmers
 30 JUNE 2017

Mr Kenneth Thompson, Chief Executive Officer, DALEX Finance and Leasing Company
Dalex Finance and Leasing Company has disbursed GH¢5 million credit to over 10,000 rice farmers in Brong Ahafo and the three regions of the north.
The funds will be used to provide farming inputs, including fertilisers, improved seeds, tractor and combined harvester services for the farmers who mostly cultivate brown rice, considered a healthier alternative.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of DALEX Finance and Leasing Company, Mr Kenneth Kwamina Thompson, who announced this at a press conference in Accra yesterday, said the intervention was in collaboration with the Shinkaafa Buni Rice Farmers Association.
Mr Thompson was upbeat that DALEX had found a profitable and sustainable model for funding smallholder farmers who, he stressed, were the bedrock of the country’s agricultural sector.
Financial sector
The CEO called on financial institutions to invest in agriculture to support farmers in order to increase local rice production in the country, saying: “We want to encourage other financial institutions to go into agriculture. Agriculture is the sector in the country which is competitive. So if you want to do business in Ghana, start with agriculture,” he said.
Army worms
The accountant and business executive called on the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to expedite action to avert the looming disaster posed by army worm invasion.
He stated that the invasion had been reported in the Eastern, Brong Ahafo, Ashanti and Western regions and had destroyed more than 5,870 hectares of maize, cowpea and cocoa since last year.
“The effects of these pests could be worse than the biblical plague of locust if unchecked,” he added.
The Dalex rice farmer credit programme delivers credit to farmers over the institution’s mobile financial technology (FinTech) platform, called DALEX SWIFT. The SWIFT platform gives subscribers access to investment and savings services.
Farmers receive their payments through mobile money with which they make deposits into their investment accounts. It also gives them real-time access to their account balances, with a call centre support.
The Chairman of Shinkaafa Buni and Northern Regional Head of Avnash Industries, Mr Akshay Sharma, decried the high interest on agricultural loans in the country and called on the government to intervene for farmers to access loans at cheaper costs.
He observed that marketing brown rice in Ghana was challenging, since Ghanaians patronised imported polished rice.
“To market brown rice in a white rice market is a challenge so government can open up state institutions such as school feeding programme, schools and colleges, prisons, hospitals and the military to keep reference to the local rice rather than eating the white rice which is imported,” he said.
According to him, another challenge is the milled local paddy, which is more expensive as compared to the imported ones on the market.
“The yields per acre achieved by the farmers in Ghana generally is as low as 800 kilogrammes per acre compared to a minimum of 2.4 tonnes per acre internationally. This means the price of local rice is as a result uncompetitive, in comparison with imported rice,” he added.
Shinkaafa Buni
The Executive Director of Shinkaafa Buni Rice Farmers Association, Mr Samuel Sarpong, said the association was formed to bring together farmers and help them to increase production.
“We believe that rice has so much worth as compared to other commodities. We eat a lot of rice here in Ghana and we have a big mill in Tamale and for five years, they have been struggling to get paddy, which is also of good quality to process,” he said.
He added that the partnership with DALEX was part of its mission to develop sustainable models of finance to assist the smallholder farmer, adding: “It has been good so far.

Building Value’ at rice conference

JUNE 30, 2017
The 2017 Ricegrowers’ Association of Australia (RGA) Annual Conference will be held in Leeton on August 3 and 4 at the Leeton Soldiers Club.RGA president Jeremy Morton said this year’s conference theme — ‘Building Value – Rice and Beyond’ — celebrates not only rice, but the people, growers, systems and processes that play a vital role in rice production along the entire value chain.
‘‘The rice industry is a unique industry, with rice being an important crop within our growers’ irrigation systems,’’ Mr Morton said.
‘‘This conference is an opportunity to celebrate our people, growers, systems and processor, and to challenge our industry to harness opportunities and be adaptable to remain competitive.’’
The conference theme will be interpreted through a range of interesting topics on the day including addresses from guest speakers like Foodbank Australia Ltd CEO Brianna Casey, National Carp Control Plan coordinator for Fisheries Research and Development Centre Matt Barwick, Murray Darling Basin Authority chief executive Phillip Glyde. There will also be a ‘Panel Session’ about water trade.
The annual gala dinner will be held on the evening of August 3 at the MIA Function Centre, and will include an address from Rob Cook, a fourth generation cattle farmer.
A post conference tour will be held on Friday afternoon, taking visitors to Tim Commins’ property at Whitton.
The ongoing commitment and generosity of the RGA’s conference sponsors, including platinum sponsor New Holland, has ensured that conference registration was kept to $50 for financial members of the RGA and their partners.
Non-members and non-financial members are welcome to attend at a cost of $100 per person.
The closing date for registrations is Friday, July 21.
For more information visit or call (02)69530433.

NDDC to revive rice mills in Rivers, Akwa Ibom
By Victor Edozie, Port Harcourt | Publish Date: Jun 29 2017 9:41AM

The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has said it will revive its rice processing plants with a combined capacity of 210 metric tonnes per day at Elele Alimini in Rivers State and Mbiabet-Ikpe in Akwa Ibom State.
The NDDC Managing Director, Mr. Nsima Ekere, stated this after inspecting the 180 tonnes per day facility at Elele Alimini recently.
Ekere expressed displeasure over the non-utilisation of the rice mill which was completed in 2008. He lamented that the firm engaged to run the facility allowed it to lie idle for 10 years, an action he described as ‘unconscionable’, noting that the situation would be redressed urgently.
“What is important is to get this facility up and running and stop the huge waste of government resources. We will negotiate with private investors and set the process rolling in the next couple of weeks,” he said.
Ekere further stated that the resuscitation of the two rice mills would encourage the local communities to grow more rice and expand the agricultural value chain.
“You can’t put the kind of resources that NDDC committed to this project and then allow it to just waste.
“Nigeria as a country is still importing a lot of rice and we spend billions of dollars importing food, yet we have a facility here that can actually help to reduce the amount we spend on food imports but we just leave it idle. We want to see that this mill is functional, so that we can begin to employ people,” he concluded

APEDA refutes rumours about plastic rice
, ET BUREAU | UPDATED: JUN 28, 2017, 06.38 PM IST
"These videos and press reports are misleading since several types of rice have such natural property," APEDA stated.PUNE: Agricultural and Processed Foods Export Development Agency (APEDA) has refuted rumours about plastic rice, attributing the videos on social media showing bouncing rice balls to a natural property of rice. India is a major exporter of rice and the country's basmati rice exports stood at Rs 21,604.5 crore in 2016-17, according to data with the APEDA.
"Information is being circulated on social media and in the media, giving an impression that plastic rice is being supplied from India both in international and domestic markets. In some of the videos, rice balls are being shown bouncing on the tables. These videos and press reports are misleading since several types of rice have such natural property," APEDA stated.

The trade body has claimed that the buoyancy of rice balls dropping on a hard surface is its natural property and it depends on the amylose content. "Rice starch consists of two main components -- amylose and amylopectine -- generally in a proportion of 25:75. However, there exists a lot of variation in germ plasm with respect to proportion of amylose and amylopectine. If, amylose is low .
Kapampangan farmers get P63-M farm equipment, livestock
by: Philippine News Agency | 30/06/2017
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, June 29 — The Pampanga Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA), in partnership with the Department of Agriculture (DA), has distributed PHP63 million worth of farm machinery and livestock to Kapampangan farm associations and irrigators.
OPA chief Ed Salenga said the beneficiaries received 10 rice combined harvesters, 19 mini tractors, 20 irrigation pump sets, five rice threshers, 45 carabaos and five cows.
Salenga said the distribution of the farm implements is part of the farm mechanization program of the DA that aims to advance the rice and corn production of the province.
The farm equipment are beneficial to the farmers as they are useful during planting and harvesting season, he said.
Vice Governor Dennis Pineda, for his part, reminded the farmers to maintain the agricultural machinery for the common use of all the farmer-beneficiaries.
“These are all given to you at no cost at all so your responsibility is to take care of these machineries so that you can use these for many years,” Pineda said.
The farmers, meanwhile, lauded the provincial government for their utmost support to the agricultural sector.
In July 2016, the provincial capitol gave seven mini-tractors, 12 hand tractors, four rice transplanters, six rice reapers, a combine harvester and 51 shallow tube wells to 87 cooperatives

GST: Small, medium traders fear supply chain break
PublishedJun 30, 2017, 7:43 am IST
UpdatedJun 30, 2017, 7:43 am IST
The Kerala Rice Miller’s Association, drugs and pharmacists and many others have expressed apprehensions over the impact of the GST.

 Rice millers are mainly worried about 5 per cent GST for the branded and packed rice. (Representational image)
KOCHI: The small and medium retail traders and merchants are likely to bear the brunt of the initial technical and logistical problems associated with the implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) Saturday. Problems in adopting the required software, confusion over the carryover stocks and supply chain logistics are some of the key issues worrying the small and medium traders.
“I feel that many of the small and medium retailers are unlikely to open shops on Saturday,” said K.M. John, secretary of Kerala Merchants Chamber of Commerce and vice-president of All Kerala Distributors Association. According to him, most retailers have opted for a policy of minimum inventory for the past few days to avoid complications connected with the carryover stocks.
The Kerala Rice Miller’s Association, drugs and pharmacists and many others have expressed apprehensions over the impact of the GST. Rice millers are mainly worried about 5 per cent GST for the branded and packed rice.  “The cost of a 10-kg pack is likely to be up by Rs 25,” it said. It has requested the state government to prevail upon the Union government to drop the idea given the specificities of Kerala.
All Kerala Chemists and Druggists Association has warned of a shortage of medicines in the state due to the GST rollout. The drug retailers are worried about the rates coming under the 12 per cent slab. According to A.N. Mohanan, president of AKCDA, the wholesale traders will suffer a loss of 8 per cent and retailers 10 percent due to the GST while selling carryover stocks after June 30.
“The carryover stocks bought with 5 per cent VAT at the first stage of the sale will now attract a 12 per cent GST,” he said. He says there was no move on the part of the manufacturers and the government to resolve this issue so far.  In such a situation the wholesalers and retailers have no option other than returning the carryover stocks to producers and get fresh stocks as per the new rates. “A delay in this transaction can lead to an acute shortage of medicines in the state,” Mr Mohanan said.
According to Mr John, although the rollout of GST from July 1 was talked about in the official circles, the seriousness of the matter was realised by the traders only ten days ago. “VAT was introduced in 2005 after 2-year long preparations from 2003. So the transition was without problems. But the same cannot be expected now,” he said

Villar’s misguided suggestion
Philippine Daily Inquirer / 12:10 AM June 30, 2017
Gideon Lasco’s column titled “Unlimited rice, empty stomachs” (Opinion, 6/22/17) noted that Sen. Cynthia Villar’s suggestion that fast-food chains be prohibited from offering “unlimited rice” drew much resentment and ridicule. It concluded that in the age of “unli rice,” no Filipino should have to live with empty stomachs.
In my letter titled “Right dev’t path to make PH more than self-sufficient in rice” (Opinion, 5/24/17), I wrote that the majority of our elected officials do not see much benefits to be derived from agricultural development. So they prefer more investments in infrastructure projects.
Senator Villar’s family is heavily invested, and entrenched, in the real estate business—an enterprise that has caused massive conversion of rice lands. It is understandable that she does not want to highlight the perennial deficiency in rice production as a rice crisis. Moreover, her son, elected Las Piñas Rep. Mark Villar is now the secretary of the Department of Public Works and Highways, the government agency that will implement the massive public investment in infrastructure.
In order to understand the rice crisis, there is a need to analyze two key variables—the size of irrigated lands and the size of the population.
Based on data presented in the CIA World Factbook, China has 50 hectares of irrigated land per 1,000 persons; Vietnam has 49 hectares; Indonesia has 25 hectares, and the Philippines has only 16 hectares. The figures indicate that China and Vietnam, relative to their respective populations, have irrigated lands three times more than those of the Philippines; therefore, they have the highest index of rice abundance which allows them to export rice.
Indonesia has almost twice more irrigated rice lands per 1,000 people than the Philippines, which makes it self-sufficient in rice, and possibly enables it to export rice.
The above data clearly explain why the Philippines is far from being self-sufficient in rice, which shows in its perennial practice of importing rice.
The Duterte administration must implement a Philippine Development Plan that, while driven by the service sector, gives priority to the fledgling farming sector. There is an urgent need to provide more arable lands with irrigation systems—only 30 percent of arable lands have irrigation, as compared to Vietnam’s 70 percent.
In other words, the Philippines has a chance to catch up with its neighboring countries in terms of becoming self-sufficient in rice and reducing extreme poverty, hunger and malnutrition.

USA Rice monitors chaos in Venezuela
By Sarah Moran / USA Rice Federation
Jun 29, 2017 at 3:40 PM
Regardless of its dire finances and rampant food shortages, Venezuela is a large importer of U.S. rice. Last year, they brought in nearly 300,000 MT of U.S. rice and likely even more, as several other countries import U.S. rice and re-export it to Venezuela.
Venezuela, one of the world’s most oil-rich countries has become one of the poorest and most dysfunctional over the last few years. It is a nation in crisis. Over 90 percent of their export earnings are derived from petrochemicals, the price of which has plummeted over the last several years. The low price of oil brings into question how much longer the Petrocaribe Agreement, an oil alliance between Venezuela and several Caribbean states, can last and with it, Venezuela’s influence in the Caribbean and Latin America.
Regardless of its dire finances and rampant food shortages, Venezuela is a large importer of U.S. rice. Last year, they brought in nearly 300,000 MT of U.S. rice and likely even more, as several other countries import U.S. rice and re-export it to Venezuela.
“A collapse of the state in Venezuela is worrisome not only from a humanitarian stance but also for the rice industry, as nearly 10 percent of our exports end up there,” Brian King, USA Rice chairman and chairman of the USA Rice Western Hemisphere promotion subcommittee, said. “This week, President Maduro called for an assembly to rewrite Venezuela’s constitution; things could spiral out of control quickly.”
While USA Rice does not conduct activities in Venezuela, it’s an important market that we monitor. USA Rice works closely with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service posted in Caracas, discussing ideas such as the potential for eventual food aid shipments
Bernas denies announcing new prices for rice
30 June 2017 - 08:23pm
Last updated on 1 July 2017 - 02:08pm

KOTA KINABALU: Padiberas Nasional Berhad (Bernas) today denied having announced to Sabah rice wholesalers new prices of rice, as alleged in a viral message on social media.Sabah Bernas general manager Jasnih Daya said that any change in the prices would be conveyed by the Bernas headquarters in Kuala Lumpur to the Sabah Bernas office.
“So far, there has been no directive on the matter,” he said in a statement over WhatsApp.Jasnih said Sabah Bernas also received a directive from the Bernas managing director to sue the individual who had issued such a statement.
The viral message had quoted the Berasabah chairman as having said that the price of the 10kg bag had gone up by RM1 and the 5kg bag by 50 sen. — Bernama
June 30, 2017 01:00
By The Nation
Rice exports are expected to exceed their target of 10 million tonnes and hit a new high of 11 |million tonnes this year.
The old record of 10.97 million tonnes was set in 2014.
From January 1 to June 27, the volume of rice exports climbed 20 per cent to 5.9 million tonnes, while their value jumped 14 per cent to Bt87.79 billion, thanks partly to higher prices, the Commerce Ministry said.

100,000 MT of rice to import
Published inPolitical & Current Affairs
The rice tranche immediately sought by Sri Lanka from abroad is 100,000 MT. Meanwhile, local rice millers are also identified as being responsible for the supply shortages in the market.
“The Cost of Living Committee gave an order for us to import 100,000 MT through state sector” said the Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen on 29th June. Minister Bathiudeen was addressing media at his ministry on the forthcoming International Coop Day event to be held in Kurunegala on Saturday, 1st July.

“The recent plastic rice conspiracy was promoted by an anti-Muslim lobby trying to link me as a Muslim to Pakistan. We have lodged a complaint” said Minister Bathiudeen and added: “We imported 300,000 MT rice so far through private sector and the government did not go for importing until now. There is a rice shortage due to rains at present. And the paddy buffer stock has also fallen to 50,000 MT and rice buffer stock needs to be built. Also after we Gazetted the Maximum Retail Prices (MRPs), some local rice millers, seeing the low prices bought large stocks and stored them so that they can sell at a higher rate later, adding to the current rice shortage.  The Cost of Living Committee gave an order for us to import 100,000 MT through state sector as a result. I discussed with diplomats of Indonesia, Thailand and Pakistan –also with Vietnam and Bangladesh for this 100,000 MT rice. We will bring down 100,000 MT from one them after selections.  Our imported rice too are subjected to lab tests for quality. As for coconuts, even though coconut prices are high now there is no decision to import as of now and a decision will be made at next Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting on this.”  

On 22nd June, Minister Bathiudeen, on the directive of President Maithripala Sirisena and in a Government to Government call, opened talks with Ambassadors/reps from Thailand, Indonesia and Pakistan to procure the rice tranche to stabilize the domestic market. “We are looking for par-boiled (Nadu) and Samba categories” he said and added: “After one of your countries are picked as the supplier of this volume, based on a transparent international procurement process, our expert team consisting of my officials, food technologists, and rice experts will arrive in your country to inspect and certify the entire stock before it would be shipped to Colombo. Even if Sri Lanka would choose one of you as the supplier in this case and leave the others, we are still eagerly looking forward to enhance bilateral trade with all of you-in many other ways.”
 The Cooperative Wholesale Establishment (CWE) under Minister Bathiudeen has commenced the process of securing rice samples from these countries.
170,782 hectares of land under Aus paddy farming in Sylhet division

A partial view of an Aus field in Golapganj upazila of Sylhet district. — FE Photo

Our Correspondent

SYLHET, June 29: Farmers of Sylhet division have cultivated Aus paddy on a total of 170,782 hectares against the government's revised target of 176,919 hectares, an official informed this afternoon.The plantation season is almost ended, said Dr Mamun Ur Rashid, deputy director of DAE's Sylhet divisional office. Harvest would be started in late Bhadra.The total farming area includes 64,825 hectares of land against the target of 67,509 hectares in Sylhet, 48,337 hectares in Moulvibazar, 45,120 hectares in Habiganj and 12,500 hectares in Sunamganj districts, he added.
In the last year's Kharif-1 season Aus paddy was cultivated on 134,024 hectares of land in four districts of the division.Additional Director of the DAE, Sylhet divisional office Md Altabur Rahman told this correspondent, the DAE had revised the division's target from 133,028 hectares to 176,919 hectares for the season in a bid to recoup the loss of Boro paddy due the repeated and early floods this year.
The farmers already achieved much to the revised target, he added.This year, under the incentive distribution programme for 28,800 poor and marginal farmers against the last year's 25,700 in 28 upazilas of four districts had been completed. Each of the farmers is getting the assistance for one bigha land. It would help farming on 28,800 bighas of land. Each of the farmers was given seeds and fertilisers free of cost.
The incentive programme cost was Tk 35.9 million, the official added.  Of the total, 9300 listed marginal farmers are in Sylhet, 8800 in Moulvibazar and 10,700 are in the district of Habiganj. Upazila level committees, headed by the UNOs distributed the incentives.With required rains, the farmers in almost all the areas in the division are expecting a good yield this year, the senior official said, adding, "We are hopeful of getting 2.25 tonnes of rice from a hectare of land.",782-hectares-of-land-under-Aus-paddy-farming-in-Sylhet-division

State asks Centre to raise rice quota
By Express News Service  |   Published: 30th June 2017 03:09 AM  |
Last Updated: 30th June 2017 09:17 AM  |  

Image for representational purpose only.
BHUBANESWAR: THE State Government on Thursday reiterated its demand for more rice for additional 17 lakh people under National Food Security Act (NFSA). The issue of Central contribution to the revolving fund created to support market interventions for price stabilisation of perishable agricultural commodities was raised during the meeting of Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Minister SN Patro with Union Minister for Consumer Affairs Ram Vilas Paswan in New Delhi.
The Centre has been allocating food grains to Odisha based on the 2011 Census. Meanwhile, population of the State has grown by four to five per cent during the last six years as is evident from the trends of decadal growth rate in Odisha from the Census report.
“I requested the Union Minister to increase the upper ceiling of Odisha by 15 lakh individuals for coverage of left out eligible population into NFSA fold keeping in view the projected population growth from 2011 to 2017 and more importantly, the backwardness of the State with higher density of Scheduled category people,” Patro told this paper after the meeting.
The State has been allotted rice for 3,26,41,800 out of State’s total population of 4,19,74,218 under NFSA in priority household, Annapurna Anna Yojana and Antyodaya Anna Yojana, Patro said.
The upper ceiling for the State has been determined at 82.17 per cent of rural population and 55.77 per cent of urban population with reference to the NSS household consumption survey data for 2011-12 available with Planning Commission.
Projecting the population figure of the State at 436.50 lakh, Patro urged the Union Minister to fix the upper ceiling for the State at Rs 340.49 lakh against Rs 326.41 lakh fixed by the Centre.
Since there is no provision of auto inclusion under NFSA, Paswan said his Ministry is planning to bring an amendment in the Act in next session of the Parliament.
Patro further requested Paswan to release the Central share of Rs 50 crore to the State’s revolving fund created for market intervention to save farmers from distress sale of perishable agri-horticultural commodities, like potato and onion.
The State has created a corpus of Rs 100 crore under Price Stabilisation Fund (PSF) scheme of the Centre for the purpose. Though Odisha has provided its share of `50 crore, the Centre is yet to release its matching share.

Another bumper harvest predicted
14th national paddy day

A tourist takes a photograph of farmers transplanting paddy at Armala in Pokhara on Thursday. Asar 15th (June 29) is marked as the National Paddy Day.POST PHOTO: BHIM GHIMIRE
Jun 30, 2017-
Weathermen have forecast a normal monsoon, bringing hope for another good year for paddy production after recording an all-time high harvest this fiscal year.
With this hope, the 14th National Paddy Day was observed across the country on Thursday which marks the beginning of the summer paddy planting season.
As of Tuesday, paddy had been transplanted on 9 percent of the 1.5 million hectares of rice fields, and transplanting is progressing at a good speed, government officials said.
The paddy planting event organized at Jhokhel, Bhaktapur this year is not only a celebration, said Shankar Sapkota, deputy spokesperson for the Ministry of Agricultural Development. “It is a platform for policymakers, planners, farmers and experts who gathered there to engage in a healthy debate,” he said.
“Obviously, this year’s paddy harvest has encouraged farmers and policymakers and boosted the economy, and we want to continue the trend in the next fiscal year too.”
The government has targeted to increase paddy output to 5.4 million tonnes in the next fiscal year from this year’s record 5.23 million tonnes.
This target is attainable because a number of programmes and projects have been launched to boost paddy production, said Sapkota.
In 2016, the government launched the first paddy mission aimed at boosting output and productivity to feed the country’s swelling population.
The three-year mission has set a target to become self-reliant in rice and be in a position to export paddy by the end of the scheme. The mission covers 35 districts.
Likewise, another project was launched two years ago to produce fine and aroma varieties of paddy amid growing demand.
This fiscal year, the government has implemented the Rs130-billion Prime Minister Agriculture Modernisation Project, which envisages adopting modern farm techniques to boost productivity, and making the country self-reliant in food.
Jhapa has been named a super zone for paddy under the scheme. “All these projects are making big impacts,” said Sapkota. To ensure timely availability of chemical fertilisers, the government has procured the highest amount of the soil enrichers this fiscal year. According to the ministry, the government has bought a record 332,000 tonnes of fertilisers, of which 220,000 tonnes have been sold.
“Fertiliser prices have dropped significantly in the international market, enabling the government to buy more,” said Sapkota. “There will be no shortage of fertilisers this year.”
He added that the government had accorded priority to small irrigation systems under the 10-year farm modernization project.
“Obviously, the monsoon is the single biggest factor to boost productivity, and given a near normal forecast, we can make an early estimate that the paddy acreage will increase to 1.52 million hectares this season,” said Sapkota, adding that if the monsoon was good as projected, Nepal would see another bumper harvest.
The major constraint, however, is low productivity. Nepal is well behind major paddy producing countries in Asia in terms of productivity with a meagre 3.4 tonnes per hectare. India’s paddy productivity is 3.9 tonnes per hectare, Bangladesh (4.5 tonnes), China (9.5 tonnes), Thailand (6.5 tonnes) and Vietnam (7.5 tonnes).
“However, from an optimistic angle, we have opportunities to grow,” said Sapkota. “If our productivity increases to even 4 tonnes per hectare, we can graduate to a rice exporting country.” He said that the government had been studying various factors to boost productivity.
Thanks to a good monsoon, Nepal’s farm sector is expected to register a nine-year high growth rate of 5.32 percent this fiscal year ending mid-July after hitting rock bottom last fiscal year, the Economic Survey 2016-17 shows.
The survey said that bumper paddy harvests and a growth in the production of other key food grains helped the sector to make a recovery. Nepal’s farm sector saw a negative growth of 0.19 percent for the first time last fiscal year due to summer and winter droughts.
The average rainfall from June 10 to August 15 in the last fiscal year was 74.2 percent of the average rainfall recorded in the past 30 years.
The farm sector is expected to make a contribution of Rs691.2 billion to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). This is 28.89 percent of the GDP, down from 31.1 percent recorded in the last fiscal

Odisha Farmers Yet To Get Payment For Paddy Sale
 Odishatv Bureau Last updated Jun 29, 2017

Bhubaneswar: At a time when the ruling and opposition political parties in state are at loggerheads with each other over poor Minimum Support Price (MSP) hike, a government notification revealed that payment worth crores is yet to be disbursed to hundreds of farmers.
A letter from Bijay Kumar Prusty, Joint Secretary of State Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Department to all Civil Supply Officers (CSO)s quoted that many districts have not yet completed the reprocessing of rejected or error accounts for transfer of paddy cost to the accounts of farmers in respect of last Kharif.
As many as 431 farmers of seven districts including Bhadrak, Keonjhar, Puri, Bolangir, Ganjam, Nayagarh and Cuttack are yet to get their dues worth about Rs 3.72 crores even after months of selling their produce.
“We are yet to get our payment from banks even after selling paddy at mandis months before. So when it is time for farming we have nowhere to go but seek financial assistance from money lenders,” Srinibas Nayak, a farmer lamented.
The last date for procuring Kharif paddy was April 30 but with the government not able to identify the beneficiaries, the dues are yet to be disbursed. Amid such a scenario, the department has sent four officials to visit four districts namely Bhadrak, Keonjahr, Puri and Ganjam where maximum such cases have been noted and directed them to sort out the issues by June 30.
“We are proactively pursuing the issue and have directed the CSOs to coordinate with the officials and district administration to identify the farmers and make their accounts KYC compliant so that the money can be transferred as soon as possible,” BK Prusty said.
Meanwhile, the issue has spiraled into a spat between the opposition BJP and ruling BJD.
The BJP has called for a high level enquiry into the issue saying that it is conspiracy by the government to misappropriate crores of rupees. In reality the ones who were mentioned in the report are all ghost farmers since a farmer never sits idle but always runs to claim his dues after selling produce, Pradeep Purohit, BJP MLA said.
The BJD however lambasted the BJP saying that the allegations made are to hide their own mistakes. Since the Prime Minister is unable to implement his decision to double the paddy MSP which he proudly declared during his Bargarh visit, the saffron party is trying to divert attention from its own failures.
“The government is closely monitoring the issue and ensuring that all steps are taken to disburse the dues of farmers” Samir Das, BJD Spokesperson said.

Nagpur Foodgrain Prices Open- JUN 30, 2017
Reuters | Jun 30, 2017, 01.25 PM IST
Nagpur Foodgrain Prices - APMC/Open Market-June 30 Nagpur, June 30 (Reuters) - Gram and Tuar prices reported higher in Nagpur Agriculture Produce and Marketing Committee (APMC) auction on increased demand from local millers amid thin supply from producing regions. Fresh hike in Madhya Pradesh gram prices and enquiries from South-based millers also jacked up prices. About 1,600 of gram and 900 bags of tuar were available for auctions, according to sources. FOODGRAINS & PULSES GRAM * Gram varieties ruled steady in open market here but demand was poor. TUAR * Tuar gavarani showed weak tendency in open market on lack of demand from local traders amid good supply from producing regions. * Wheat mill quality recovered in open market here on good buying support from local traders amid weak supply from producing regions. * In Akola, Tuar New - 3,900-4,100, Tuar dal (clean) - 5,700-5,800, Udid Mogar (clean) - 8,200-9,200, Moong Mogar (clean) 6,800-7,200, Gram - 5,600-5,800, Gram Super best - 7,800-8,500 * Other varieties of wheat, rice and other commodities moved in a narrow range in scattered deals and settled at last levels in thin trading activity. Nagpur foodgrains APMC auction/open-market prices in rupees for 100 kg FOODGRAINS Available prices Previous close Gram Auction 4,500-4,970 4,470-4,940 Gram Pink Auctionn.a. 2,100-2,600 Tuar Auction 3,500-3,985 3,500-3,940 Moong Auction n.a. 3,900-4,200 Udid Auction n.a. 4,300-4,500 Masoor Auction n.a. 2,600-2,800 Wheat Mill quality Auction 1,500-1,640 1,500-1,630 Gram Super Best Bold 7,000-8,000 7,000-8,000 Gram Super Best n.a. n.a. Gram Medium Best 6,500-6,800 6,500-6,800 Gram Dal Medium n.a. n.a Gram Mill Quality 5,200-5,300 5,200-5,300 Desi gram Raw 5,350-5,450 5,350-5,450 Gram Yellow 7,000-8,000 7,000-8,000 Gram Kabuli12,300-13,400 12,300-13,400 Tuar Fataka Best-New 5,800-6,000 5,800-6,000 Tuar Fataka Medium-New 5,400-5,600 5,400-5,600 Tuar Dal Best Phod-New 5,200-5,400 5,200-5,400 Tuar Dal Medium phod-New 4,700-5,000 4,700-5,000 Tuar Gavarani New 3,400-3,600 3,450-3,650 Tuar Karnataka 3,800-4,000 3,800-4,000 Masoor dal best 5,200-5,500 5,200-5,500 Masoor dal medium 4,700-4,900 4,700-4,900 Masoor n.a. n.a. Moong Mogar bold (New) 7,000-7,500 7,000-7,500 Moong Mogar Medium 6,300-6,600 6,300-6,600 Moong dal Chilka 5,100-6,300 5,100-6,300 Moong Mill quality n.a. n.a. Moong Chamki best 7,000-7,500 7,000-7,500 Udid Mogar best (100 INR/KG) (New) 8,000-9,000 8,000-9,000 Udid Mogar Medium (100 INR/KG) 7,000-7,500 7,000-7,500 Udid Dal Black (100 INR/KG) 4,900-5,200 4,900-5,200 Batri dal (100 INR/KG) 5,100-5,500 5,100-5,500 Lakhodi dal (100 INR/kg) 2,950-3,150 2,950-3,150 Watana Dal (100 INR/KG) 2,900-3,000 2,900-3,000 Watana White (100 INR/KG) 3,500-3,700 3,500-3,700 Watana Green Best (100 INR/KG) 4,100-4,600 4,100-4,600 Wheat 308 (100 INR/KG) 1,950-2,050 1,950-2,050 Wheat Mill quality (100 INR/KG) 1,850-1,950 1,800-1,900 Wheat Filter (100 INR/KG) 2,150-2,350 2,150-2,350 Wheat Lokwan new (100 INR/KG) 1,800-2,000 1,800-2,000 Wheat Lokwan best (100 INR/KG) 2,100-2,300 2,100-2,300 Wheat Lokwan medium (100 INR/KG) 1,800-2,000 1,800-2,000 Lokwan Hath Binar (100 INR/KG) n.a. n.a. MP Sharbati Best (100 INR/KG) 3,000-3,500 3,100-3,500 MP Sharbati Medium (100 INR/KG) 2,200-2,800 2,300-2,800 Rice BPT new (100 INR/KG) 2,800-3,200 2,800-3,200 Rice BPT best (100 INR/KG) 3,500-4,000 3,500-4,000 Rice BPT medium (100 INR/KG) 3,000-3,200 3,000-3,200 Rice Luchai (100 INR/KG) 2,500-2,800 2,500-2,800 Rice Swarna new (100 INR/KG) 2,200-2,400 2,200-2,400 Rice Swarna best (100 INR/KG) 2,600-2,800 2,600-2,800 Rice Swarna medium (100 INR/KG) 2,400-2,500 2,400-2,500 Rice HMT New (100 INR/KG) 3,600-4,000 3,600-4,000 Rice HMT best (100 INR/KG) 4,500-5,000 4,500-5,000 Rice HMT medium (100 INR/KG) 4,100-4,300 4,100-4,300 Rice Shriram New(100 INR/KG) 4,800-5,200 4,800-5,200 Rice Shriram best 100 INR/KG) 6,500-6,800 6,500-6,800 Rice Shriram med (100 INR/KG) 5,800-6,200 5,800-6,200 Rice Basmati best (100 INR/KG) 10,000-14,000 10,000-14,000 Rice Basmati Medium (100 INR/KG) 6,000-8,000 6,000-8,000 Rice Chinnor New(100 INR/KG) 4,600-4,800 4,600-4,800 Rice Chinnor best 100 INR/KG) 5,800-6,000 5,800-6,000 Rice Chinnor medium (100 INR/KG) 5,400-5,600 5,400-5,600 Jowar Gavarani (100 INR/KG) 1,900-2,200 1,900-2,200 Jowar CH-5 (100 INR/KG) 1,800-1,900 1,800-1,900 WEATHER (NAGPUR) Maximum temp. 31.8 degree Celsius, minimum temp. 24.2 degree Celsius Rainfall : 8.4 mm FORECAST: Generally cloudy sky with One or two spells of rains or thunder-showers likely. Maximum and minimum temperature would be around and 35 and 25 degree Celsius respectively. Note: n.a.--not available (For oils, transport costs are excluded from plant delivery prices, but included in market prices)

Agriculture 4.0: Obstacles and how to break through
30 Jun 2017 at 04:20 1,636 viewed0 comments
NEWSPAPER SECTION: NEWS | WRITER: NIPON POAPONGSAKORN & PHUNJASIT CHOKESOMRITPOL A farmer uses a combine harvester at a rice farm in Suphan Buri. Farm mechanisation in Thailand has reached a point where further increases in productivity are becoming difficult without an influx of technology. (Photo by Thanarak Khunton)
Thailand 4.0 is the Thai government's new economic model aimed at pulling the country out of the middle-income trap. For agriculture, it means a seven-fold increase in average annual income of farmers from 56,450 baht to 390,000 baht within the next 20 years -- an extremely difficult, if not impossible objective to be achieved -- a task that would require a drastic shift in strategy to encourage adaptation and adoption of modern technologies.
In the past, Thai farmers have been receptive to technologies and innovations. By the late 20th century, Thailand had progressed from subsistence agriculture to agribusiness, and then to an industrialising economy. Manned by surplus labour and abundant land in rural regions, industrial agriculture took a turn and employed new crop varieties, non-organic fertilisers, and machinery to increase farm productivity and yields.
One of the key traits leading past success was Thai ingenuity. Farmers actively improved the qualities of fruit varieties in response to consumer demand. Local firms were able to adapt imported machinery to match local farm conditions and further export the modified versions to other low-income countries. Hired services and rental markets, particularly for combined harvesters, emerged and have since developed into a full-fledged practice that allows farmers to share the costs.
Today, more than 90% of agricultural households in Thailand use machinery. Rice production has been mechanised throughout the entire process. Farm mechanisation in Thailand has reached saturation point where further increases in productivity become difficult. Introducing technological change also faces difficulties as research spending on agriculture dropped significantly from 0.9% of agriculture GDP in 1994 to only 0.2% today.
Governments for the past decade have turned their backs on technological advances in favour of populist policies that gained votes. Agriculture 4.0 has to change this direction entirely and focus on technological developments and their commercialisation -- particularly with precision agriculture (PA), agricultural robotics, and biotechnology.
PA -- the so-called "internet of plants and fields" -- is a farming management concept that collects and processes bio-physical, weather, and farm data to optimise productivity. Through computer-based algorithms, precision agriculture represents the digital version of a farm that virtually replicates variability in crop response. This "cyber-twin" can precisely identify the problems and notify farmers while presenting them with solutions and the likely outcomes at computer speed.
Around the world, precision agriculture has developed at a varying pace. The first versions of PA were introduced in the early 1980s, in the form of input recommendation maps for fertiliser and pH corrections. This was largely accomplished through manual labour to vary farm inputs and monitor changes. Today, precision agriculture covers over million hectares around the world, thanks to the advent of GPS and satellite imageries.
In Thailand, precision agriculture is already gaining traction among larger farms. The Mitr Phol Group, a large sugar and bio-energy producer, already uses surveillance drones and satellite imagery to monitor sugarcane productivity. The farms' mono-cropping pattern is split into rows no larger than 1.85 metres to accommodate a fleet of harvesters that use onboard GPS receivers and real-time kinematics to optimise the harvest.
In Betagro's chicken farms, temperature, moisture, and lighting are precisely controlled in a closed environment in conjunction with an automatic feeding system. Similarly, CPF's prawn farms have applied precision to the water circulation systems to save energy and meet food safety standards. Precision control also serves as a countermeasure against the early mortality syndrome (EMS) that was plaguing the prawn industry.
Currently, Rangsit University is testing a PA solution for Hom Pathum Rice in Kanchanaburi province. Two years after implementation, the results are impressive. Local farmers are able to increase their yields by 27% from 878kg per rai to 1,118kg per rai. This looks very promising for an important crop that constitutes nearly 50% of all cultivated area in Thailand.
Unfortunately, PA technologies are not at a stage to make a disruptive impact in Thailand. The cost of technology is still too high to justify additional productivity gains of small farms. This is highly problematic since the majority of Thai farms are small-scale -- 43% of them are smaller than 10 rai, and another 25% are between 10-20 rai. Though the costs of measuring equipment such as sensors and drones have come down significantly, the costs of transmitting the data and that of developing mobile apps to aid farmers' decision is still too expensive for smallholders.
To address this scale-to-cost effectiveness, the cost of technology must be significantly lowered, or farmers must group up to create larger farms. The choice between these two has to reflect technical limitations and the economic considerations that vary from crop to crop, and farm to farm.
The path toward agriculture 4.0 requires funding from the government to monitor emerging technologies and best practices around the world -- to determine the feasibility of applying those technologies in Thailand and how best to modify them to match local applications. This should be a continuous and systematic process that is open to the public to showcase opportunities for private investments in agricultural technologies.
Private involvement is key to modernising small farms. Aside from selling technologies and providing services to farmers, there is also the potential for exporting innovations and know-how. The government should not compete in this space, but rather move to a supporting role that provides Board of Investment incentives, develops new work forces, and facilitation via knowledge transfer and data sharing.
Good quality, relevant and timely data enables businesses to extend targeted services into communities and allow PA to thrive. Fortunately, the Electronic Government Agency is on its way to revolutionising public data, but more effort will be needed to bolster the agricultural dataset -- such as real-time weather information and irrigation schedules, agricultural trade intelligence, environmental data, and satellite-based productivity monitoring. Opening up this data to the public is a necessary policy that will stimulate private firms and start-ups to quickly exploit it for more business ventures, providing information services to farmers at competitive prices.
Ultimately, Thai agriculture will need a catalyst for change, in the form of a multi-stakeholder partnership platform that brings together companies, the government, universities, non-governmental organisations, and farmers to drive the technological transformation -- providing and sharing access to information, technology, markets and finance. This kind of platform is vital to foster competition that can bring down costs and prevent unfair treatment of poor farmers. Moreover, it will give stakeholders more bargaining power to correct the government's policies, and speed up much-needed progress.
Ministry to keep rice prices steady

30 Jun 2017 at 06:11

A farmer in Sakon Nakhon province speeds up his rice planting efforts after sufficient rain fell in the area. PRATHUAN KAJORNWUDHINAN
The Commerce Ministry is brainstorming policies to stabilise paddy prices ahead of the harvesting season in the third quarter of the year, when 24-26 million tonnes of paddy are due to flood the market and depress prices.Commerce Ministry Apiradi Tantraporn said the ministry has sent local officials to observe production of the coming 2017/18 main crop as well as to conduct a survey to gauge the need for more price subsidy schemes.
But there will be no more populist schemes as employed by previous governments -- including buying rice from farmers at higher than market prices and keeping it in state inventories -- which later resulted in massive stockpiling costs and added pressure on prices.
"All price stabilising projects are due to be compiled and proposed to the Rice Management and Policy Committee shortly," said Mrs Apiradi, adding that the first lot of rice from the main crop for 2017/18 is due to be reaped in August.Tentatively, the government plans to use the existing price supporting scheme, for which the state-owned bank offered soft loans with a 3% interest rate to millers and local traders to encourage them to stock up on paddy during the harvesting season, both helping farmers while preventing the crop from flooding the market.
She said most of the relevant parties in Thai industry agreed that the current soft loan project is an appropriate one that will neither create a huge budgetary burden for the government nor result in huge state rice stocks that will put pressure on prices as in the past.
During the previous crop year, the government paid up to 186 billion baht through 19 price supporting measures, in order to prevent prices from falling after refusing to re-employ old-style rice buying schemes.
Mrs Apiradi said the government is unlikely to spend a large amount to support rice prices, with the price already rising and demand expected to be strong. Furthermore, as a major rice exporting country, Thailand now has a very small state rice stock, she said.Mrs Apiradi said rice demand for domestic consumption and export is forecast at 26.4 million tonnes this year, while supply is expected to reach 29.5 million tonnes.

Call to limit imports, use of chemicals in agriculture

30 Jun 2017

Imports of farming chemicals should be restricted to ensure food safety for the public, a social forum in Bangkok featuring government ministers proposed this week.The National Health Commission of Thailand (NHCT) organised the Social Forum on Driving Policy and Cooperation on Social Issues for Sustainable Development.
A majority of participants said that if a separate act to control the import of such chemicals was implemented it would boost consumers' confidence.The forum was attended by representatives from the Ministry of Public Health, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Industry, the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives and the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security.
Such imports are currently controlled under the Hazardous Chemicals Act 1982.Thailand is one of the world's largest importers of farming chemicals, which impedes the government's efforts to lower their usage and promote organic agriculture.Anuthai Chaisanechomphu, a representative from the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, said a master plan on organic plantation for the period 2017-2021 has been prepared.
It aims to increase organic crops by 600,000 rai and organic rice by 1 million rai by 2021, he said.The government hopes to see Thailand emerge as a hub for organic food products within Asean, he added.According to the ministry, organic produce each year generates 4 billion baht, 60% of which is exported.In a related development, state agencies vowed to speed up the implementation of their master plans for food safety and waste management due to growing public concern over health issues and the environment.
Poldej Pinprateep, secretary-general of the NHCT, said it was time to push for better food safety and waste management as these are matters of public concern.
He said the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment have already prepared their master plans on organic plantation promotion and waste management.Now other agencies can use these as guidelines, he added.The environment ministry has prepared a five-year master plan for waste management starting this year.The country produces 27 million tonnes of garbage a year, less than half of which is recycled or used for any meaningful purpose.The ministry recently announced an increase in its household waste management fee from 20 baht to 60 baht.
Yingluck's rice probe petition gets shot down

Court says warehouse search not timely
30 Jun 2017
Ex-premier Yingluck Shinawatra had plenty of supporters at the Supreme Court on Thursday, but the judges weren't so friendly. (Photo by Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)
The Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions has dropped a petition lodged by former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who wanted it to check 16 rice storage facilities she claims will clear her name in the rice pledging scheme scandal.Ms Yingluck had asked the Supreme Court to examine warehouses in Ang Thong, which stored pledged rice during her administration.
The former premier, who arrived at court for the 14th day of her defence in the matter, said the Commerce Ministry had affirmed that no irregularities were found at that facility. Commerce officials assigned to inspect all 16 rice storage facilities had further found no damage or evidence of graft.
Ms Yingluck said this new evidence would help prove her government's rice scheme was not rife with corruption or warehouses stacked with deteriorating rice, as has been alleged.The National Anti-Corruption Commission was given this information but did not take it into account, the former premier said.Earlier report: Yingluck asks for warehouse inspection
But the court said the examination of the warehouses is not necessary as the case has already run for two years, during which time the rice "could have deteriorated naturally". This could raise doubts over the information provided by the officials inspecting the facilities.A group of nine judges on Thursday continued the trial in which three defence witnesses were scheduled to testify in court.
One of them was Adul Yuwawittayapanich, a former commerce ministry official who earlier sat on the panel probing allegedly bogus government-to-government rice sales under the Yingluck administration.
He told the court he had earlier tried to contact rice trading tycoon Apichart "Sia Piang" Chansakulporn, who is implicated in the government-to-government rice deal scandal, but his secretary said he was not in Thailand.
Mr Apichart, executive of rice miller Siam Indica Co, is among 21 defendants accused of colluding to help two Chinese firms not authorised by the Chinese government to undertake government-to-government deals with the Thai government to buy the stockpiled rice.The Anti-Money Laundering Office has seized more than 687 million baht worth of assets from entities connected with Mr Apichart. The confiscated assets include two condominium rooms owned by his son.
The other two witnesses who testified were relatives of rice farmers who committed suicide during the Yingluck administration. They attested that their relatives had taken their own lives due to personal problems, not because of the sputtering payouts from the rice scheme.
Ms Yingluck said she still has 20 witnesses to present and wanted the court to extend the time frame for the hearing.
On Thursday, the court set the date of July 7 to continue hearing from defence witnesses.The hearing is scheduled to conclude on July 21.The rice pledging scheme, the Pheu Thai Party's major populist policy, allowed officials to buy paddy at guaranteed prices, which were 40% and 50% higher than global market prices, but was criticised for causing massive losses to the government.Ms Yingluck was accused of dereliction of duty that led to damages estimated at 178 billion baht.
A panel formed to determine the compensation ruled the former premier must pay 35.7 billion baht, about 20% of the total, for her role in the affair.A process to identify Ms Yingluck's assets for potential confiscation has got underway and will last for ten years, said Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam.When the assets are found, "officials can seize or freeze them" during this period, he said.
SPI consumes 3 Saha firms

1 Jul 2017
The Mama instant noodle brand set up a booth at the Saha Group fair. Instant noodles is the mainstay product of the group.SET-listed Saha Pathana Inter-Holding (SPI), the investment holding firm of Saha Group, the country's leading consumer product conglomerate, is set to become one of the largest food companies based on market capitalisation after its acquisition of three food companies under the Saha Group.
Vichai Kulsomphop, SPI's chief financial officer and executive director, said that once the acquisitions are completed, SPI's food market capitalisation is estimated to reach 76 billion baht, up from 20.4 billion now.The three food companies are Thai President Food (TF), the Mama instant noodle maker; President Bakery Plc (PB), the Farmhouse bread bakery; and President Rice Products Plc (PR).
Charoen Pokphand Foods Plc, the SET-listed subsidiary of agribusiness giant Charoen Pokphand Group, is the largest firm by market capitalisation in the food sector, worth 193 billion baht, followed by Minor International Plc, worth 177 billion, and Thai Union Group Plc, worth 100 billion. Carabao Group Plc is worth 6.85 billion baht, MK Restaurant Group 5.7 billion and TF 3.7 billion.
SPI's investment portfolio in food businesses will double to 40% of its total investment, with textiles dipping to 30% from 40% last year.Mr Vichai said SPI's investment restructuring is in line with the new business strategy of Saha Group's chairman, Boonsithi Chokwatana, focusing on food and service businesses because of growth potential. Cosmetics, textiles and fashion are forecast for a slower pace of growth going forward because of fierce competition from newcomers entering the market.
The company bought stakes in the three companies because they have recorded robust double-digit growth the past five years.The return on equity for TF, PB and PR grew by 14.4%, 24.1% and 16.4%, respectively, during that five-year period.Mr Vichai said that as part of the investment restructuring, President Rice Product Plc will be merged with Thai President Food. The newly merged firm is expected to list on the Stock Exchange of Thailand, he said.
Saha Group has sales of over 300 billion baht.Pun Paniengvait, managing director of President Rice Products, said becoming a unit of Thai President Food will enable the producer of instant rice noodles and vermicelli products to expand its business."President Rice has not made big investments the past three to four years because it did not have money, but Thai President Food has cash flow of 7-8 billion baht now," he said.
After the merger, President Rice plans to spend 100-200 million baht to install machinery to produce Mama instant rice for the domestic and international markets, particularly Japan and China, to offset the decline in demand for instant rice vermicelli, Mr Pun said.Poj Paniengvait, vice-president of Thai President Food, said the company plans to grow its revenue to 30 billion baht the next eight years, up from 13.15 billion in 2016. Of the 30 billion baht, 10 billion will come from overseas business, 10 billion from the domestic market and 10 billion from President Bakery business.
"The merger will create sustainable growth for the group, and President Rice is destined to become the base for expanding our business in the foreseeable future," Mr Poj said.