Thursday, July 06, 2017

Today Rice News Updates-6th July,2017 daily global,regional local rice e-news by riceplus magazine


Rice basmati strengthens on increased buying

05 JULY 2017  Last Updated at 2:44 PM

Basmati rice (Lal Quila) Rs 10,700, Shri Lal Mahal Rs 11,300, Super Basmati Rice Rs 9,800, Basmati common new Rs 6,600-6,900, Rice Pusa (1121) Rs 5,600-5,700, Permal raw Rs 2,225-2,250, Permal wand Rs 2,275-2,300, Sela Rs 2,500-2,600 and Rice IR-8 Rs 1,850-1,900, Bajra Rs 1,100-1,110, Jowar yellow Rs 1,450-1,500, white Rs 2,900-3,100, Maize Rs 1,285-1,295, Barley Rs 1,400-1,420

New Delhi, Jul 5 Rice basmati prices strengthened by Rs 100 per quintal the wholesale grains market today on persistent buying by stockists on the back of rising demand.
However, other grains remained steady in thin trade.
Traders said increased buying by stockists following rising demand from retailers and stockists, mainly kept rice basmati prices higher.
In the national capital, rice basmati common and Pusa-1121 variety advanced by Rs 100 each to Rs 6,600-6,900 and Rs 5,600-5,700 per quintal, respectively.
Following are today's quotations (in Rs per quintal):
Wheat MP (desi) Rs 2,100-2,345, Wheat dara (for mills) Rs 1,725-1,730, Chakki atta (delivery) Rs 1,730-1,735, Atta Rajdhani (10 kg) Rs 255-290, Shakti Bhog (10 kg) Rs 255-290, Roller flour mill Rs 950-960 (50 kg), Maida Rs 960-970 (50 kg) and Sooji Rs 1,020-1,030 (50 kg).
Basmati rice (Lal Quila) Rs 10,700, Shri Lal Mahal Rs 11,300, Super Basmati Rice Rs 9,800, Basmati common new Rs 6,600-6,900, Rice Pusa (1121) Rs 5,600-5,700, Permal raw Rs 2,225-2,250, Permal wand Rs 2,275-2,300, Sela Rs 2,500-2,600 and Rice IR-8 Rs 1,850-1,900, Bajra Rs 1,100-1,110, Jowar yellow Rs 1,450-1,500, white Rs 2,900-3,100, Maize Rs 1,285-1,295, Barley Rs 1,400-1,420



Tough EU norms on India's basmati rice to shift trade to Pakistan

By PTI | Updated: Jul 05, 2017, 03.42 PM IST
India, the world's top rice exporter, shipped 3.5 lakh tonnes valuing Rs 1,744 crore of basmati rice to the EU in 2016-17.
NEW DELHI: Ahead of the visit of an Indian delegation to the EU to resolve the basmati rice issue, grain exporters body AIREA today said tough norms by the European Commission will hit the exports badly as the trade worth over Rs 1,700 crore could shift to Pakistan.

The European Commission has recently brought down in basmati rice the maximum residue limit (MRL) level for Tricyclazole, a fungicide used by farmers against a disease, to 0.01 mg per kg from the next year. This was done for all countries.

"The EU has virtually imposed ban on import of Indian basmati rice by reducing 100-fold the import tolerance level of 'Tricyclazole'. It is not possible to bring down the pesticide level all of a sudden to nearly zero," AIREA President Vijay Sethia told reporters here.

The Indian government team is scheduled to visit Brussels, Belgium, on July 12 to discuss the matter.

Two aromatic basmati rice varieties -- PB1 and 1401 -- are maximum exported to the EU. The shipments of these varieties with Tricyclazole MRL at 0.03 mg per kg were accepted so far from India.

At least, two crop cycles are required to effect the desired change. Moreover, there is no scientific evidence that it is harmful on human health, he said, adding that meanwhile farmers are being educated to use the fungicide in a judicious manner. If the government does not take up the issue with the EU, basmati rice exporter Kohinoor Foods Joint Managing Director Gurnam Arora said: "Our business worth over Rs 1,700 crore will shift to Pakistan, which also exports aromatic rice to the EU. The new EU norms are unjust and one sided and not in the interest of farmers."

Pakistan exports 'Super' variety of aromatic rice and it does not use Tricyclazole on its crop and is looking at the opportunity to ship more from January 2018, he added. India, the world's top rice exporter, shipped 3.5 lakh tonnes valuing Rs 1,744 crore of basmati rice to the EU in 2016-17. The country's basmati rice exports to the EU comprise 10 per cent of the total 40 lakh tonnes undertaken annually, as per the industry data. Even Spain and Italy use Tricyclazole on their paddy crop. The new norm has also affected them, Arora added.

The association has made representation to commerce and agriculture ministries and sought intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the matter.


Dalex Finance empowers 10,000 rice farmers

OVER 10,000 rice farmers in the Northern region of Ghana are to benefit from credit facilities to grow their farms and improve their livelihoods, thanks to the support of non-bank financial institution, Dalex Finance and Leasing Company Limited.This was the result of a partnership between Dalex and the Shinkaafa Buni Rice Farmers Association (SHINKAAFA BUNI) in Northern Ghana.
The funds will be used to provide farming inputs such as fertiliser, improved seeds as well as combined harvesters to ensure prompt and efficient harvesting of the rice.

Speaking at a press briefing in Accra last Thursday to throw light on the initiative, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of DALEX, Mr Kenneth Kwamina Thompson, described how his outfit had set in search of a profitable and sustainable model for funding small-holder farmers “who are the bedrock of Ghana’s agricultural sector”.

He called on other financial institutions to follow the lead of DALEX and fund the Agric sector.
“It can be done. Shinkaafa Buni is a for-profit organisation. We are mining the value chain by also engaging Avnash Rice Mill, who guarantees to purchase the rice from the farmers”.Nbanty Dagbanja, a rice farmer from Dagbanjado, and beneficiary of the credit programme, commended Shinkaafa and Dalex for providing the seeds that had improved their yields, for the chemicals and fertilisers, and for the harvesting services which has improved the prosperity of his fellow farmers.

Chairperson of Shinkaafa Buni and Head, Northern region Avnash Industries, Akshay Sharma, spoke about the challenges of milling rice in Ghana saying “prices of the local paddy rice are too expensive, as the yields per acre achieved by the farmers generally in Ghana is as low as 800 Kg/ acre compared to minimum of 2.4 MT/acre internationally in Thailand, Vietnam, India, USA, Pakistan.

The local rice price is as a result noncompetitive in comparison with imported rice.
Akshay Sharma supported the ‘One Village, One Dam’ proposal because of the potential of irrigation in raising even higher the yields of the local rice farmer.

The Executive Director of Shinkaafa, Mr Samuel Sarpong, spoke about how Shinkaafa had strengthened the rice sector through its engagement with farmers at community level. He said the partnership with Dalex was part of their mission to develop sustainable finance models to assist the small-holder farmer.The Dalex Rice farmer credit programme delivers credit to farmers over the innovative Dalex SWIFT mobile platform (*721#).

The SWIFT platform gives subscribers access to investment/savings services. Farmers receive their payments through mobile money and then can make deposits into their investment accounts. They have real-time access to their account balances while SWIFT provides call center support in Dagbani.

CEO of DALEX, Mr Kenneth Kwamina Thompson


Water Scarcity: Global Shortages Drive Innovation Even As Crisis Continues


Over 2.7 billion people, or 40 percent of the world’s population, don’t have enough of it, and there are dire predictions that looming shortages and dwindling supply will lead to another war at the global scale. And while water covers 70 percent of Earth’s surface, precious little of it is fresh water that we consume for drinking, and use for bathing and irrigating crops.
According to estimates by the World Wildlife Fund, given the current consumption rate of fresh water, about two-thirds of the global population could face water shortages by 2025. As things stand, less than 3 percent of the world’s total water is fresh water, of which only a third is available for use, the rest being frozen in glaciers and such. And even as the population grows, the amount of fresh water dwindles further all the time.
study from March, titled “Salting our freshwater lakes,” by researchers from the United States, Canada and Argentina found that many fresh water lakes in the U.S. are at risk of becoming saltier than the threshold for aquatic life in the next 50 years. Most of it is due to runoff of road salt into water bodies, but other human activity too can exacerbate the problem. The Water Project, a New Hampshire-based nonprofit, predicts Lake Mead in Arizona could be dry by 2021, and that the “crisis may soon spread into other areas of the U.S. when local waterways can no longer replenish their resources to meet our growing demand.”
A farmer stands with her ox beside a dry canal in Nakhonsawan province, north of Bangkok, Jan. 23, 2016. Photo: Reuters/Chaiwat Subprasom
Since salty water is in over-abundance on the planet, a lot of research has gone into converting sea water into potable water. And while the process is simple and inexpensive at a small scale, it has not been a practical solution to solve the acute shortages that affect some places on Earth. Kevin Wattier, a former manager of the water department in Long Beach, California, told Voice of America in October 2015: “It would cost at least twice or three times as much to desalinate seawater as it would cost to buy imported water. You will increase your global carbon footprint when you go to seawater [desalination].”
However, technology has come some way since. Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology built a device, using a special material produced at the University of California, Berkeley, earlier this year that uses solar energy to draw water out of air, even when the air is dry. And on June 19, researchers from Rice University in Houston, Texas, and Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, announced they had created a membrane that uses solar energy and a nanoparticle-membrane to turn salt water into fresh water.
In a paper published in the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers describe the “desalination system, which uses a combination of membrane distillation technology and light-harvesting nanophotonics.” The resulting device is a compact unit that can be used in off-grid locations, and can be scaled up to provide water for large communities as well.
In conventional membrane distillation (top), hot saltwater is flowed across one side of a porous membrane and cold freshwater is flowed across the other. Water vapor is naturally drawn through the membrane from the hot to the cold side. In NEWT’s “nanotechnology-enabled solar membrane distillation,” or NESMD (bottom), a porous layer of sunlight-activated carbon black nanoparticles acts as the heating element for the process. Photo: Pratiksha Dongare/Rice University
“Direct solar desalination could be a game changer for some of the estimated 1 billion people who lack access to clean drinking water. This off-grid technology is capable of providing sufficient clean water for family use in a compact footprint, and it can be scaled up to provide water for larger communities,” Rice scientist and water treatment expert Qilin Li, a corresponding author on the study, said in a statement.
While scientific research makes progress, private enterprise is also pitching in. IDE Americas, a Carlsbad, California, company that manufactures and operates desalination and industrial water treatment plants, is behind the world’s largest desalination plant in Sorek, Israel. Miriam Faigon, vice president and chief technology officer of assets at the company, explained in a statement to International Business Times how IDE Americas keeps the costs down when operating a plant based on thermal desalination.
“The thermal desalination process uses energy to evaporate water and subsequently condense it again. When there is waste heat or sufficient electricity available, as is often the case with refineries and power plants, thermal desalination is an efficient and viable solution,” she said.
The company’s technology is suitable for extracting pure water from various types of salty water, including seawater, brine and brackish water.
A view shows the Baikal Lake with the Zamogoy Island from the Olkhon Island, Eastern Siberia, Russia, Sept. 9, 2016.Photo: Reuters/Ilya Naymushin
Of all the fresh water on Earth, over 60 percent is locked up in the ice sheets of Antarctica. When they calve — one of the effects of a warming planet — precious fresh water mixes into the surrounding sea. Much of the rest of the fresh water is underground or moisture in soil, with only about 3 percent available as surface water. Lake Baikal in Russia is the single largest surface fresh water body in the world, accounting for 22 percent of the total. About 29 percent is found in the African Great Lakes and another 21 percent in the North American Great Lakes

Basmati rice exporters cry foul over EU regulations on chemical residues

India’s exports of the Basmati rice to the European Union might come to a halt due to new regulations on chemical residues
Currently, the US and Japan allow Basmati imports with residues of up to 3 ppm and 10 ppm, respectively. Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint
New Delhi: India’s exports of the aromatic Basmati rice to the European Union might come to a halt due to new regulations on chemical residues, the All India Rice Exporters Association said on Wednesday.
The bone of contention is a fungicide named Tricyclazole developed by Dow Agri Sciences which farmers use to prevent leaf and neck blast in Basmati paddy varieties. While the European Union (EU) has so far allowed a maximum residue limit (MRL) of 1 ppm (parts per million), after 31 December 2017 it has mandated that imports having an MRL above 0.01 ppm will not be allowed.“This will not only impact our businesses but also affect price realisation of about 1.5 million farmers growing Basmati in India,” the association’s president Vijay Setia said.
Currently, the US and Japan allow Basmati imports with residues of up to 3 ppm and 10 ppm, respectively. The fungicide Tricyclazole is commonly used by farmers in India to prevent blast in Basmati varieties like PB1 and Pusa 1410.
“While there is a problem that farmers do not judiciously use the chemical, changing practices requires as much as two years,” Setia said, adding, “if the new rules are not withdrawn we will lose our business to Pakistan.”
Basmati varieties grown in Pakistan do not require use of the fungicide and stand to gain from the de-facto ban on Indian exports.
India exports over 4 million tonnes of Basmati rice every year valued at over Rs22,000 crore. Exports to the EU currently are at 350,000 tonnes per year, valued at over Rs1,700 crore.
The rice exporters association has written to the Prime Minister to intervene and engaged with the commerce and agriculture ministries on the issue.
“Pakistan being the other Basmati rice exporter to the EU would gain all the business that India would lose... the effect of this virtual ban would thus be ruinous,” the statement added.
According to a Press Trust of India report, an Indian government delegation is scheduled to visit Brussels in Belgium on 12 July to discuss the new regulations

Duterte fires undersecretary over rice imports row

Posted at Apr 05 2017 06:51 PM | Updated as of Apr 10 2017 01:24 PM
MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte has fired another official on Wednesday for purportedly defying the National Food Authority's (NFA) decision to put rice importation activities on hold, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said Wednesday. 
On the sidelines of a harvest festival in Nueva Ecija, Piñol confirmed to reporters that the President has sacked Undersecretary Maia Chiara Halmen Reina Valdez for overruling NFA Administrator Jason Aquino's decision to suspend rice importation as it is still harvest season in the Philippines. 
Valdez served as a deputy for Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco. 
Agri Sec Manny Piñol confirms that USec Halmen Valdez of the Office of Cabinet Secretary was sacked by Pres Duterte this PM@DZMMTeleRadyo
The confirmation followed the President's speech at the Nueva Ecija event led by a private agriculture company, where he announced that he would be firing a female undersecretary currently on a “holdover” capacity from the previous administration.
He said the Undersecretary was among three government officials he would fire this week, as he continues to let go of personnel at the “first whiff” of irregularities. 
“He has ordered the dismissal of Undersecretary Halmen Valdez…I think this was the result of the controversy at the National Food Authority (NFA), because the report that I received it was Usec. Halmen Valdez who dealt with the NFA on the issue of rice importation,” Piñol told reporters.
According to Duterte, he was “appalled” by the undersecretary who reviewed the NFA Administrator's decision regarding importation.
“Why would we allow importation to compete with the local product? Ano ang ginawa nilang rason? Of course hindi natuloy kasi binara ko. Sinabi ko, stop. Ngayon (Now), there is a free trade agreement (What was their reason? Of course it did not push through because I blocked it. I said stop,” Duterte said in his speech.
Piñol told the media that Duterte saw things differently from Valdez, who opposed Aquino’s position against importation.
Aquino had required all planned importation to be done through government-to-government transactions. But Valdez, who had been tasked to revise the NFA’s importation plan, wanted sway importation guidelines to favor private importers, said Piñol.
The NFA, which oversees the country’s rice importation deals, declined to comment when ABS-CBN News asked about the issue. 
“Sabi ko kanina, tawagan mo Malacañang, sabihin mo she's fired. May dalawa pang undersecretary. Mamaya, may mga lima na...’di ako magdadalawang isip, maski kaibigan kita (I said call Malacañang and tell her she's fired. There are two other Undersecretary (to be sacked). Later, that might become five. I will not have second thoughts, even if you are friend),” Duterte said.
The removal of Valdez came in the wake of Duterte's decision to fire Interior Secretary Ismael Sueno this week, and the resignation of Irrigation Administrator Peter Laviña in March on allegations of corruption. The President had said he asked Laviña, his former campaign spokesperson, to resign his post. 
–with reports from Jorge Carino and Dexter Ganibe, ABS-CBN News

Gov't to tap private suppliers for rice imports

Posted at Jun 13 2017 07:19 PM | Updated as of Jun 13 2017 07:43 PM
MANILA - The government will tap private suppliers for rice imports, instead of entering into government-to-government agreements, in a bid to increase competitiveness and transparency.
Cabinet Secretary Jun Evasco said the National Food Authority Council has agreed to shift from government-to-government agreements to a government-to-private procurement scheme for importing 250,000 tons of rice. 

"While the council recognizes there is an immediate need to augment the NFA's buffer stock by activating NFA's 250,000 metric ton standby authority to import, it has decided to shift from a government-to-government scheme to a tender scheme a.k.a government to private scheme," Evasco said. 
Evasco, who chairs the NFA Council, earlier accused some NFA officials of "making a cash cow out of government-led rice importations." The NFA management has denied any wrongdoing.
Evasco added that under the government-to-private scheme the NFA Council will divide 250,000 metric tons into 8-10 tranches with a 25,000 to 5000 MT cap per lot to ensure competition and fairness.
"In order to avoid oversupply and in anticipation of harvest season, the council has decided to let private sector importation arrive in tranches," he said.
Delivery will also arrive in tranches, from July 31 until the last week of September. The rice imports will no longer arrive at the Subic Freeport Zone, but will be diverted to Zamboanga City instead.
"Only the total cost is required for the bidders to bid out. Other expenses such as cost of freight, logistics and insurance will no longer be revealed since these details are considered trade secret. Revealing such information will give unscrupulous traders and government officials idea on which costs to pad or adjust," Evasco said.
Payment terms will also be reduced to 15 days from the previous 365 days. 
The NFA Council will select and approve the members of the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC), with DBP and farmer representatives designated as observers in the BAC meetings.
"With these changes being in place, the Council is confident that it is being faithful to its foremost duty, that amid the lean season, it is able to secure fair pricing and affordable yet quality rice for every Filipino household," Evasco said. -- with a report from Pia Gutierrez

Whole-genome sequenced rice mutant resource for the study of biofuel feedstocks

Researchers create open-access web portal to accelerate functional genetic research in plants

July 5, 2017
DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
The first whole-genome sequence of a mutant population of Kitaake, a model variety of rice, has now been reported by researchers. Their high-density, high-resolution catalog of mutations facilitates the discovery of novel genes and functional elements that control diverse biological pathways.
Genome-wide distribution of fast-neutron-induced mutations in the Kitaake rice mutant population (green). The genome-wide distribution of mutations indicates a non-biased saturation of the genome. Colored lines (center) represent translocations of DNA fragments from one chromosome to another.
Credit: Guotian Li and Rashmi Jain/Berkeley Lab
Rice is a staple food for over half of the world's population and a model for studies of candidate bioenergy grasses such as sorghum, switchgrass, and Miscanthus. To optimize crops for biofuel production, scientists are seeking to identify genes that control key traits such as yield, resistance to disease, and water use efficiency.
Populations of mutant plants, each one having one or more genes altered, are an important tool for elucidating gene function. With whole-genome sequencing at the single nucleotide level, researchers can infer the functions of the genes by observing the gain or loss of particular traits. But the utility of existing rice mutant collections has been limited by several factors, including the cultivars' relatively long six-month life cycle and the lack of sequence information for most of the mutant lines.
In a paper published in The Plant Cell, a team led by Pamela Ronald, a professor in the Genome Center and the Department of Plant Pathology at UC Davis and director of Grass Genetics at the Department of Energy's (DOE's) Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI), with collaborators from UC Davis and the DOE Joint Genome Institute (JGI), reported the first whole-genome-sequenced, fast-neutron-induced mutant population of Kitaake, a model rice variety with a short life cycle.
Kitaake (Oryza sativa L. ssp. japonica) completes its life cycle in just nine weeks and is not sensitive to photoperiod changes. This novel collection will accelerate functional genetic research in rice and other monocots, a type of flowering plant species that includes grasses.
"Some of the most popular rice varieties people use right now only have two generations per year. Kitaake has up to four, which really speeds up functional genomics work," said Guotian Li, a project scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and deputy director of Grass Genetics at JBEI.
In a previously published pilot study, Li, Mawsheng Chern, and Rashmi Jain, co-first authors on The Plant Cell paper, demonstrated that fast-neutron irradiation produced abundant and diverse mutations in Kitaake, including single base substitutions, deletions, insertions, inversions, translocations, and duplications. Other techniques that have been used to generate rice mutant populations, such as the insertion of gene and chromosome segments and the use of gene editing tools like CRISPR-Cas9, generally produce a single type of mutation, Li noted.
"Fast-neutron irradiation causes different types of mutations and gives different alleles of genes so we really can get something that's not achievable from other collections," he said.
Whole-genome sequencing of this mutant population -- 1,504 lines in total with 45-fold coverage -- allowed the researchers to pinpoint each mutation at a single-nucleotide resolution. They identified 91,513 mutations affecting 32,307 genes, 58 percent of all genes in the roughly 389-megabase rice genome. A high proportion of these were loss-of-function mutations.
Using this mutant collection, the Grass Genetics group identified an inversion affecting a single gene as the causative mutation for the short-grain phenotype in one mutant line with a population containing just 50 plants. In contrast, researchers needed more than 16,000 plants to identify the same gene using the conventional approach.
"This comparison clearly demonstrates the power of the sequenced mutant population for rapid genetic analysis," said Ronald.
This high-density, high-resolution catalog of mutations provides researchers opportunities to discover novel genes and functional elements controlling diverse biological pathways. To facilitate open access to this resource, the Grass Genetics group has established a web portal called KitBase, which allows users to find information related to the mutant collection, including sequence, mutation and phenotypic data for each rice line.

Story Source:
Materials provided by DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National LaboratoryNote: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:
1.      Guotian Li, Rashmi Jain, Mawsheng Chern, Nikki T Pham, Joel A. Martin, Tong Wei, Wendy S. Schackwitz, Anna M. Lipzen, Phat Q Duong, Kyle C Jones, Liangrong Jiang, Deling Ruan, Diane Bauer, Yi Peng, Kerrie W. Barry, Jeremy Schmutz, Pamela C. Ronald. The Sequences of 1,504 Mutants in the Model Rice Variety Kitaake Facilitate Rapid Functional Genomic StudiesThe Plant Cell, 2017; tpc.00154.2017 DOI: 10.1105/tpc.17.00154

Thailand’s government approves rice insurance scheme


Bangkok (VNA) – Thailand’s rice insurance scheme for this year’s first crop began on July 3 after it was approved by the cabinet last week.
The programme, worth 2 billion THB (around 58.84 million USD), will be run by the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC).
It is expected to be applied on 25-30 million rai (40.000- 48.000 square kilometres) of rice farmland and cover insurance for natural disasters, including floods, droughts, storms, cold, hail and fires.
Farmers will receive compensation of 1,260 THB (37.07 USD) a rai (equivalent to 1,600 square metres) this year, up from 1,111 THB (32.69 USD) per rai offered in 2016, in case of crops damage by natural disasters and 630 THB (18.53 USD) a rai in the event of pests and diseases, up from last year’s 555 THB (16.33 USD).
This year’s insurance premium is scheduled at 97.37 THB (2.86 USD) per rai, down from 107.42 THB (3.16 USD) per rai last year for farmers with less than 25 million rai and 108.07 THB (3.18 USD) per rai for those with more than 25 million rai. The government is expected to pay 61.37 THB (1.81 USD) a rai in compensation this year.
The insurance scheme is planned to run from June to August 31 for farmers living in different parts of the country, except for the southern provinces, where it will last until December 15.
Data released by the Office of Agricultural Economics shows Thailand has 58.7 million rai (93.920 square kilometers) of rice fields in total. The Ministry of Finance is studying whether to expand the insurance programme to cover off-season rice and corn.-VNA