Thursday, September 14, 2017

14 september 2017 rice news

Rice basmati edges up on scattered demand

New Delhi, Aug 31 Rice basmati prices rallied up to Rs 150 per quintal at the wholesale grains market today on mild demand in restricted activity.
However, other grains traded in a tight range in limited deals and pegged at the last levels.Traders attributed the rise in rice basmati prices to some demand from stockists and retailers.
In the national capital, rice basmati common and Pusa- 1121 variety settled higher at Rs 6,400-6,600 and Rs 5,100-5,200 from previous levels of Rs 6,300-6,500 and Rs 5,000-5,050 per quintal, respectively.
Following are today's quotations (in Rs per quintal):
Wheat MP (desi) Rs 2,100-2,350, Wheat dara (for mills) Rs 1,755-1,760, Chakki atta (delivery) Rs 1,760-1,765, Atta Rajdhani (10 kg) Rs 260-300, Shakti Bhog (10 kg) Rs 255-290, Roller flour mill Rs 950-960 (50 kg), Maida Rs 990-1,000 (50 kg)and Sooji Rs 1,030-1,040 (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 6,400-6,600, Rice Pusa (1121) Rs 5,100-5,200, Permal raw Rs 2,150-2,175, Permal wand Rs 2,200-2,225, Sela Rs 2,300-2,400 and Rice IR-8 Rs 1,825-1,850, Bajra Rs 1,205-1,210, Jowar yellow Rs 1,425-1,475, white Rs 2,800-2,900, Maize Rs 1,320-1,325, Barley Rs 1,460-1,470 14, 2017 / 12:38 PM / UPDATED 3 HOURS AGO
Nagpur Foodgrain Prices Open- Septmember 14, 2017
Reuters Staff

Nagpur Foodgrain Prices – APMC/Open Market-September 14

Nagpur, Sept 14 (Reuters) – Gram and tuar prices firmed up again in Nagpur Agriculture Produce
and Marketing Committee (APMC) here on good buying support from local millers amid weak supply
from producing regions. Fresh rise on NCDEX, upward trend in Madhya Pradesh pulses and enquiries
from South-based millers also jacked up prices.
About 500 of gram and 150 bags of tuar were available for auctions, according to sources.

   * Desi gram recovered in open market on goo seasonal demand from local traders.
   * Tuar varieties ruled steady in open market here matching the demand and supply

   * Jowar varieties reported weak in open market on lack of demand from local traders
     amid good supply from producing belts.
   * In Akola, Tuar New – 4,100-4,300, Tuar dal (clean) – 6,100-6,300, Udid Mogar (clean)
    – 8,300-9,000, Moong Mogar (clean) 6,800-7,100, Gram – 5,700-5,900, Gram Super best
    – 8,300-8,700

   * Wheat, rice and other foodgrain items 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                  5,000-5,765         4,800-5,765
     Gram Pink Auction            n.a.           2,100-2,600
     Tuar Auction                3,600-4,120         3,500-4,100
     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        1,600-1,682        1,572-1,614
     Gram Super Best Bold            8,500-9,000        8,500-9,000
     Gram Super Best            n.a.            n.a.
     Gram Medium Best            7,600-8,000        7,600-8,000
     Gram Dal Medium            n.a.            n.a
     Gram Mill Quality            5,900-6,000        5,900-6,000
     Desi gram Raw                6,050-6,200         6,000-6,150
     Gram Kabuli                12,000-13,000        12,000-13,000
     Tuar Fataka Best-New             6,500-6,800        6,500-6,800
     Tuar Fataka Medium-New        6,100-6,400        6,100-6,400
     Tuar Dal Best Phod-New        5,800-6,000        5,800-6,000
     Tuar Dal Medium phod-New        5,400-5,700        5,400-5,700
     Tuar Gavarani New             4,350-4,450        4,350-4,450
     Tuar Karnataka             4,700-4,900        4,800-5,000
     Masoor dal best            5,200-5,500        5,200-5,500
     Masoor dal medium            4,800-5,000        4,800-5,000
     Masoor                    n.a.            n.a.
     Moong Mogar bold (New)        7,000-7,500         7,000-7,500
     Moong Mogar Medium            6,500-6,800        6,500-6,800
     Moong dal Chilka            5,500-6,200        5,500-6,200
     Moong Mill quality            n.a.            n.a.
     Moong Chamki best            7,000-8,000        7,000-8,000
     Udid Mogar best (100 INR/KG) (New) 8,500-9,500       8,500-9,500
     Udid Mogar Medium (100 INR/KG)    6,500-7,500        6,500-7,500   
     Udid Dal Black (100 INR/KG)        6,000-7,000        6,000-7,000    
     Batri dal (100 INR/KG)        5,100-5,600        5,100-5,600
     Lakhodi dal (100 INR/kg)          2,900-3,100         3,000-3,200
     Watana Dal (100 INR/KG)            2,900-3,100        2,900-3,100
     Watana Green Best (100 INR/KG)    3,800-4,400        3,800-4,400  
     Wheat 308 (100 INR/KG)        1,900-2,000        1,900-2,000
     Wheat Mill quality (100 INR/KG)    1,750-1,850        1,750-1,850  
     Wheat Filter (100 INR/KG)         2,100-2,300           2,100-2,300        
     Wheat Lokwan best (100 INR/KG)    2,200-2,400        2,200-2,400   
     Wheat Lokwan medium (100 INR/KG)   1,900-2,100        1,900-2,100
     Lokwan Hath Binar (100 INR/KG)    n.a.            n.a.
     MP Sharbati Best (100 INR/KG)    3,300-3,800        3,300-3,800   
     MP Sharbati Medium (100 INR/KG)    2,200-2,800        2,200-2,800          
     Rice BPT best (100 INR/KG)        3,300-3,400        3,300-3,400   
     Rice BPT medium (100 INR/KG)        2,800-3,200        2,800-3,200   
     Rice Luchai (100 INR/KG)         2,600-2,900        2,600-2,900     
     Rice Swarna best (100 INR/KG)      2,500-2,600        2,500-2,600  
     Rice Swarna medium (100 INR/KG)      2,300-2,400        2,300-2,400  
     Rice HMT best (100 INR/KG)        3,800-4,000        3,800-4,000    
     Rice HMT medium (100 INR/KG)        3,500-3,800        3,500-3,800   
     Rice Shriram best(100 INR/KG)      4,800-5,200        4,800-5,200
     Rice Shriram med (100 INR/KG)    4,500-4,700        4,500-4,700  
     Rice Basmati best (100 INR/KG)    9,500-13,500        9,500-13,500    
     Rice Basmati Medium (100 INR/KG)    5,000-7,500        5,000-7,500   
     Rice Chinnor best 100 INR/KG)    4,800-5,000        4,800-5,000   
     Rice Chinnor medium (100 INR/KG)    4,300-4,500        4,300-4,500  
     Jowar Gavarani (100 INR/KG)        2,000-2,100        2,000-2,200   
     Jowar CH-5 (100 INR/KG)         1,700-2,000        1,800-2,000

Maximum temp. 31.7 degree Celsius, minimum temp. 23.5 degree Celsius
Rainfall : 5.2 mm
FORECAST: Generally cloudy sky with one or two spells of rains or thunder-showers. Maximum and
minimum temperature would be around and 31 and 23 degree Celsius respectively.

Note: n.a.--not available
(For oils, transport costs are excluded from plant delivery prices.

Rice price spirals out of control

Rozina Islam | Update: 16:04, Sep 13, 2017 | 
Rice prices have spiralled out of control, following a drastic fall in the country’s food reserves.
Traders fear prices will go up further.In the last one month, the price of fine rice increased by Tk6 per kg while the price of medium and coarse rice rose between Tk 3 and Tk 4.
The price of fine rice exceeded Tk 60 per kg which was normally below Tk 50 the corresponding period in previous years.
BR-28, a medium quality rice, is being sold between Tk 52 and Tk 54 while coarse rice is being sold between Tk 46 and Tk 48.
In comparison to the corresponding period of last year, this year the price of fine rice increased by Tk 10 per kg while coarse rice by Tk 13.
The warehouse of the Food Directorate is supposed to contain at least 600,000 tonnes of rice, but it contains only 325,000 tonnes.
The government failed to increase the stock even after signing agreements with rice mill owners and different countries.
The government formulated a law in 2013 to coordinate the rice reserves with rice mill owners and traders. According to the law, the ministry should keep a monthly stock of rice, but it could not do so in the last four years.
Speaking to Prothom Alo, the food minister and the secretary said they did not know the stock.
In view of rising rice prices every week, the food ministry and the commerce ministry are blaming each other. Denying its own responsibility, the food ministry is blaming the commerce ministry, claiming that the rice price increased due to lack of monitoring by the commerce ministry.
Commerce secretary Shubhashish Bose said there is no reason of this price hike. The commerce ministry is regularly monitoring the market, he added.
"Letters were sent to deputy commissioners to control the price of rice," the commerce secretary said.
Owner of Agro Food Abdur Rashid said, "The rice mill owners have suggested that the government imports large quantities of rice to reduce the prices."
According to economists and civic organisations, the traders generally raise the price of rice when the government stock falls.
Speaking to Prothom Alo, Consumer Association of Bangladesh (CAB) president Ghulam Rahman said the traders took advantage of the government’s incompetence.
He said the traders raised the price as the stock in the government warehouse has fallen.
Ghulam Rahman also said the traders will raise prices until the stock is between 1m and 1.2 million tonnes.
Food minister Quamrul Islam said there is no reason of hiking prices as rice is available in the market. It is the responsibility of the commerce ministry to monitor the market, he added.
"I personally asked the divisional commissioners to strengthen the monitoring," the food minister said.
According to the food ministry, 363,000 tonnes of rice were imported till 26 August.
Before Eid, the government reduced duty on rice import to 2 per cent from 28 per cent. But this has had no impact on the market.
Director general of Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) KAS Murshid said the blame game between the food ministry and the commerce ministry will not resolve the crisis.
He said the operations of the mobile court may have a negative impact.
The government has to increase stock while the open market sale (OMS) programmes have to be expanded, he suggested.
Meanwhile, the government is facing a crisis with its social safety net programmes. The food ministry has delayed the pro-poor programme of selling rice for Tk 10 per kg by one month

Rice inventory declined to 2.02 MMT in August

THE country’s rice inventory as of August 1 declined by 3.38 percent to 2.028 million metric tons (MMT), from 2.098 MMT recorded a year ago, according to the latest report of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
Despite the decline, the PSA said total rice inventory during the period would be enough to supply the rice-consumption requirement of Filipinos for 60 days.
“Stocks in the households would be enough for 22 days, those in commercial warehouses for 34 days and those in NFA depositories for three days,” the PSA said in its monthly report, titled “Rice and Corn Stocks Inventory August 2017”, published on September 11.
Of the rice inventory as of August 1, the PSA said 36.9 percent were with the households, 57.74 percent were in commercial warehouses and 5.36 percent were in NFA depositories. About 69 percent of NFA stocks consisted of imported rice.
PSA data showed that NFA stocks during the period reached 108,690 MT, while commercial warehouses accounted for 1.170 MMT. Households accounted for 748,340 MT.
“Compared with the previous year, rice stocks in households and in commercial warehouses grew by 8.56 and 88.38 percent, respectively,” the report read.
“However, stocks in the NFA depositories dropped by 86.21 percent,” it added.
On a monthly basis, rice stocks across all sectors were lower compared to the July record.
The PSA said stocks in the households went down by 24.78 percent, while stocks held by commercial warehouses declined 2.26 percent. Rice stocks in NFA depositories fell by nearly 30 percent month-on-month.
PSA data showed that the NFA’s rice stockpile of 108,690 MT was the lowest held by the food agency since February 1996, when inventory reached 140,600 MT.
Data from the government statistical agency also showed that the 2.028-MMT inventory was the lowest since October 2016, when national stockpile hit 2.286 MMT.
The government periodically monitors rice inventory to determine whether it would need to import the staple to boost local stocks.
PSA data also showed that total corn-stock inventory more than doubled to 696,460 MT, from last year’s record of 40,140 MT. However, the corn-stock inventory as of August 1 was 1.88 percent lower than the 683,620 MT recorded in July.
The PSA said the bulk of corn-stock inventory in August, or 87.29 percent, was in commercial warehouses, while households accounted for 11.99 percent. NFA depositories accounted for only 0.72 percent.
Corn stocks in commercial warehouses amounted to 607,960 MT, 83,480 MT in households and 5,540 MT in NFA warehouses.
“Corn stocks in all sectors increased compared with their levels the previous year. Stocks in the households grew by 107.99 percent, in commercial warehouses by 118.81 percent, and in NFA depositories by 4,638.68 percent,” the report read.
“Month-on-month, corn stocks in the households increased by 28.80 percent. On the other hand, commercial warehouses and in NFA depositories decreased by 0.87 percent, and 9.36 percent, respectively,” it added

RDB extends deadline for rice-storage bidding

Wed, 13 September 2017
The government-run Rural Development Bank (RDB) has extended the deadline to receive proposals from registered Cambodian agricultural firms to develop rice storage and drying facilities after receiving a tepid response to its finance offer, a bank official said yesterday.
Kao Thach, chief executive of RDB, said firms would be given until September 22 to submit their proposals, adding that only four companies had submitted bids by the initial September 8 deadline.
“We did not receive enough proposals for the bidding process so we need to extend the deadline . . . in order to give millers or investors more opportunities to submit their applications,” he said.
RDB announced last month that it would provide up to $15 million in low-interest loans for companies with strong track records in rice milling and storage to build and operate rice storage warehouses and rice-drying facilities.
The proposed facilities would be constructed in Kampong Thom, Prey Veng and Takeo provinces, each with the capacity to store 50,000 tonnes of paddy rice and dry approximately 1,500 tonnes of rice daily.
The project’s warehouses and drying facilities are intended to be operational in time for the next rice harvest in January.
RDB received proposals from four companies, it said in a press release. The bank indicated that two companies – Amru Rice and Anduriz Cambodge Seal & Monita Trading Import Export – applied to build and operate facilities in Kampong Thom province, while Khmer Food Group applied to develop facilities in Prey Veng province. No valid applications were received for Takeo province.
Earlier this year RDB awarded a $15 million low-interest loan to Thanakea Srov (Kampuchea) Plc, the operator of the Cambodian Rice Bank, to expand its rice storage warehouse in Battambang province and develop the first privately-owned centralised storage facility. The new facility will have capacity to store 200,000 tonnes of wet paddy rice and to process 3,000 tonnes of paddy rice daily.
Contact author: Cheng Sokhorng

Growth in food grain production likely to be lower this year: Report


Growth in food grain production is expected to be much lower this year in the country as less progress has been made in the sowing of summer (kharif) crops than last year, says a Nomura report.According to the Japanese financial services major, the land area sown has fallen across all other crops: rice, pulses, coarse cereals, oilseeds and jute.
“Overall, with less than three weeks left in the monsoon season (June-September), the current crop sowing progress suggests growth in food grain production will be much lower this year,” Nomura said.
The report noted that slow progress on crop sowing means that there could be downside risks to its agriculture GVA growth forecast.
“While there could be offsets such as higher horticulture output, higher yields or higher winter crop output, current evidence suggests there are downside risks to our agriculture GVA growth projection of 3.3 per cent in 2017-18 (year-end March 2018),” Nomura said.
According to the report, the drop in the sowing of summer crops is a result of two factors — decline in prices and weather conditions.
In the case of pulses, oilseeds and jute, the decline in crop sowing was a response to low prices, it said, adding WPI inflation in pulses, oilseeds and raw jute declined to (—) 33 per cent, (—) 14 per cent and (—) 35 per cent year-on-year respectively, in July 2017.
“Thus there is little incentive for farmers to plant these crops as realisations are expected to be low — a typical cobweb cycle response,” the report said.
The other major reason for decline in crop sown area is weather related.
“The spatial distribution of rains has been uneven with the NorthWest and Southern regions receiving below normal rains, while floods have hurt standing crops in many other states,” the report said

Pakistan. Fruits worth US$19.493mn, vegetables US$10.330mn exported

| UkrAgroConsult
About 24,393 metric tons of fresh fruits worth US$ 19.483 million was exported during the first month of current financial year as compared the exports of the corresponding period of last year.According the data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, during month of July, 2017 about 32,702 metric tons of vegetables valuing US$ 10.330 million exported.
During the period under review fruit exports decreased by 16.10 percent, where as vegetables exports increased by 26.80 percent respectively, it added.Meanwhile, wheat exports from the country also grew by 100 percent as 353 metric tons of the commodity worth US$ 730,000 exported as compared the same month of last year.
The country exported 58,555 metric tons of sugar valuing US$ 27.584 million in first month of current financial year as against the same month of last year.During first month of financial year 2017, rice export grew by 28.49 percent as about 200,995 metric tons of rice valuing US$ 107.896 million exported.

In month of July exports of basmati rice increased by 18.96 percent as about 30,951 metric tons of basmati rice worth US$ 32.990 million exported.It may be recalled that food group exports witnessed 34.74 percent growth in first month of current financial year and stood at US$ 250.860 million as compared the same month of last year.

There is much more in ‘Research’ than meets the eye!

Islamabad :Let me start with the ‘unconditional apology’ first, which I extend to the ‘Non-Governmental Organisations’ (NGOs) operating in the country. Be those the ‘National’ or the ‘International’ ones. I have no biases against these organisations. In fact I actively take part in activities of some of these organisations.
But in the past Pakistan’s economy has been hit hard when the ‘international donors’ funded some local Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), to specifically target country’s major export-based industries.
The over enthusiastic employees of those selected NGOs launched an offensive, first against the football industry and then switched to hand-knotted carpet industry of Sialkot in Pakistan. The issue raised was employment of child labour in both these industries.
As a result both the industries suffered when a large number of international importers not only banned import of these items from Pakistan, especially footballs, but there were reports that many orders in the pipeline were cancelled too.
Similar situation sprung up a decade or so ago when some reports emerged in international media regarding high level of contamination in the sea waters within Pakistan’s limits. As a result the fisheries industries suffered a great blow and the best quality fish and prawn were found being sold at throw away prices throughout the country, mainly in Karachi, because the international orders were cancelled.
I would avoid mentioning the use of ‘Polio Campaign’ to find elusive terrorists! However, this time a report submitted by a Pakistani researcher, funded by a French Professor, published in the ‘Science Advances’ Journal is likely to lend a serious blow to the agricultural exports from Pakistan, especially rice!
And now as if our own government’s ‘cruelties’ towards the farmers were not enough to destroy the agricultural sector, which once had been the backbone of national economy, this scientist has come up with a research article in this international magazine, raising concerns regarding presence of arsenic in water way above the acceptable levels set by the WHO.
If substantiated further and exploited by those who are always looking for a flaw to hit our interests, this offers an excellent opportunity to exploit as by using this report they can hit Pakistan’s agricultural and fruit exports, especially rice, which obviously needs a lot of water.
But there are some shocking aspects in this research, published by Syed Ali Musstjab Ali Akbar Shah Eqani. He drew his conclusions and put some 6 million people all over the country at ‘high risk’ on the basis of only 1,148 water samples collected and tested from all over Pakistan!
As against it, there is another similar survey underway, being conducted by Dr Abida Farooqi, the Assistant Professor with the Department of Environmental Sciences of the Quaid-e-Azam University (QAU).
The focus of this survey by Dr Abida Farooqi is the province of the Punjab alone. And her team has collected 16,000 samples from selected districts, declared vulnerable, so far. The results of her survey, so far, show that 80 per cent of samples are safe while 20 per cent have shown presence of arsenic in those.
She says that out of these 20 per cent, in which arsenic is found, 10 per cent carry 10 micro grams of arsenic, which is declared safe in accordance with the standards laid down by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
She also claimed that the level of contamination up to 50 micro grams is considered safe in the developing and underdeveloped countries. She is sceptical as to why this Pakistani researcher has published such a research paper in an international magazine which will raise serious concerns about water contamination in Pakistan.
“The research paper published by him will not help the people of Pakistan but will definitely reflect adversely on Pakistan’s agri exports,” Dr Abida was of the opinion. Just like most of the young children, who were working in the football and carpet industry, learning skills and earning at the same time, were kicked out of the factories and were left to beg in the streets and roads or get engaged in some other industry as unskilled labourers!
We heard that the Senate of Pakistan has already taken up the matter and has rejected the findings of the research report published in the ‘Science Advances’ journal. But the matter is of far serious concern for the whole country and needs much more than just a rejection of the Upper House of the Parliament.
How about setting up an inquiry committee to investigate the matter, not only to confirm the authenticity of the ‘Research’ and the methods used for the purpose as well as the motives behind carrying out such a research in such a hasty manner?

Fragrant basmati rice adds floral component to eastern dishes

FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT | September 12, 2017, 12:27PM

Basmati rice, grown primarily in India and Pakistan, is one of the world’s most fragrant rices, a quality that blossoms during a year of post-harvest aging.
Oliver’s Markets carries a brand of this rice from India, called Himalayan Pride. It comes in a 5-pound reusable cloth bag. This long-grained rice cooks up perfectly fluffy, is delightfully fragrant and is delicious on its own, in congee, and as a foundation for some of the world’s best rice dishes, such as India’s biryani.
There is a perception that brown rice is always preferable — especially nutritionally — to white rice, but not everyone agrees. Brown rice is harder to digest than white and has a pronounced nutlike flavor that is delicious but not suited to all dishes, which is to say that it is not a good idea to simply substitute brown rice when white rice is called for, no matter how many web recipes tell you it’s just fine. It’s not.
Brown rice, which requires much longer cooking than white rice, should be appreciated for its own qualities and seasonings and other additions should support these characteristics. It is not quite the blank canvas that white rice can be.
Tune in next week for an exploration of brown rice, red rice and black rice.
Although there are a lot of ingredients in this dish, it is not difficult or particularly time-consuming to make, especially if you are not in a rush.
It’s not the sort of dish you want to throw together on a busy weeknight — but if you like to cook on Sundays, you can enjoy it on Monday and maybe even Tuesday if you’re not feeding more than a couple of people. It keeps well.
If you are feeding a larger group, this makes an excellent contribution to a potluck, especially one where there will be a lot of vegetarians.
Vegetable Biryani
Serves 6 to 8
1 cup small cauliflower florets
1 cup small broccoli florets
1 small sweet potato, peeled and cut into thin half rounds
2 medium carrots, preferably white or pale yellow, peeled and cut into thin half rounds
5 tablespoons clarified butter
— Kosher salt
1 teaspoon white mustard seeds
1 large onion, peeled, trimmed and grated on the large blade of a box grater
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
½ to 1 teaspoon ground cayenne or other ground hot chili, to taste
1 tablespoon coriander seeds, crushed
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
— Black pepper in a mill
1 14-ounce can coconut milk, to taste
5 cups cooked basmati rice (from about 11/2 cups raw rice), cooled
½ cup raisins
¼ cup diced dried apricots
½ cup roasted and salted cashews
4 tablespoons fresh mint, very thinly sliced
4 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, minced
— Several saffron threads
½ cup vegetable stock, preferably homemade
1 cup plain whole milk yogurt or raita (see Note below)
— Homemade or commercial chutney of choice
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Put the cauliflower, broccoli, sweet potato and carrots into an ovenproof pan, drizzle with about 2 tablespoons of the clarified butter, toss, season with salt and set in the oven. Roast until the vegetables are just tender when pierced with a fork or bamboo skewer, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Meanwhile, put the remaining clarified butter into a heavy skillet set over medium heat, add the mustard seeds to the skillet, cook 2 minutes, add the onion, reduce the heat and cook until soft and fragrant, about 10 minutes.
Add the garlic and sauté 2 minutes more. Season lightly with salt, stir in the ginger, turmeric, cayenne, coriander, cardamom and several generous turns of black pepper.
Stir in the coconut milk, cover the pan and simmer 15 minutes, until the coconut milk has thickened.
Fold in the roasted vegetables.
If the coconut milk has not thickened, simmer uncovered over high heat for 3 to 5 minutes.
Put the rice in a large bowl and use a fork to fluff it. Add the raisins, dried apricots and cashews and toss gently but thoroughly. Add half the mint and half the cilantro leaves and toss again.
Put the saffron into a small bowl and pour the stock over it; set aside briefly.
Spread the rice over the bottom of a baking dish, spoon the vegetables on top and drizzle stock over everything. Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake until it is sizzling hot, about 20 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let rest, covered, for about 10 minutes.
To serve, divide among individual plates and garnish with the remaining mint and cilantro. Serve immediately, with yogurt or raita and chutney alongside.
Note: Raita is a common condiment in India and is very easy to make at home. It can be as simple as minced cucumbers, salt, pepper and plain yogurt. For raita recipes, visit “Eat This Now” at
This dish, a long time favorite, is inspired by a Turkish dish I came across many years ago in a tiny basement restaurant on the Upper East Side of New York City.
It was so delicious that I returned to the restaurant the night after my first visit to enjoy it again and to attempt to deconstruct it. This version comes quite close.
Minted Rice with Lamb & Chickpeas
Serves 4 to 6
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1½ pounds lamb meat, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
— Kosher salt
— Black pepper in a mill
2 cups meat stock, boiling hot
1½ cups basmati rice
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup boiling water
1 cup cooked chickpeas
— Zest of 1 lemon
3/4 cup fresh spearmint leaves, cut into very thin strips
¼ cup minced fresh Italian parsley leaves
¼ cup minced fresh cilantro leaves
1 lemon, in wedges

1 cup plain, whole milk yogurt
Heat the olive oil in a large heavy sauté pan set over medium-low heat, add the onion and sauté until soft and fragrant, about 15 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté 2 minutes more. Transfer the onion mixture to a small bowl, increase the heat to medium and brown the lamb evenly on all sides.
Season with salt and pepper, add the meat stock, reduce the heat to low and simmer the lamb very gently until it is tender, about 40 minutes.
Stir in the cooked onions and garlic, the rice, the red pepper flakes, and the boiling water, cover the pan, and simmer until the rice is almost tender and nearly all of the liquid has been absorbed, about 10 minutes.
Stir in the chickpeas and the lemon zest, cover the pan and continue to cook until the liquid is completely absorbed and the rice is fully tender.
Remove from the heat and let sit, covered and undisturbed, for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork, stir in the spearmint, parsley and cilantro, taste, adjust the seasonings and transfer to a serving platter.
Garnish with lemon wedges and enjoy right away, with yogurt alongside.
Michele Anna Jordan hosts “Mouthful, Smart Talk About Food, Wine & Farming” on KRCB FM on Sunday evenings at 6 p.m. Email her at

Hybrid rice scientists from China arrive to train local scientists
ISLAMABAD (APP): A group of Chinese agriculture experts, comprising 12 hybrid rice scientists, arrived here Tuesday to train local scientists and farmers on hybrid rice cultivation technologies to improve per acre crop productivity. The Chinese scientists are scheduled to train 30 Pakistani agriculture scientists, selected from all the four provinces. Besides, they will also impart training to the members of the provincial field extension departments on hybrid rice cultivation. They would also organize road-shows and field visits across the rice-growing areas to address the issues and challenges in promotion of hybrid rice seed. In this regard, a ceremony was held at National Agriculture Research Center, which was attended by the Special Assistant to Prime Minister, Nasir Iqbal Bosal, Agriculture and Economic Councilor of Chinese Embassy Dr Wang and Chief Executive Officer of Yaun Longping Hi-tech Company limited China.
The Ministry of Commerce Peoples Republic of China is the main sponsor of the initiative, where as Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC) and Agriculture Innovation Programme are also collaborating in promoting the hybrid seed technologies.
Addressing the event, Chinese Agriculture and Economic Councilor said that it was the first bilateral initiative, aiming to enhance per acre rice yield by promoting hybrid rice techniques in Pakistan.
Under the programme, he said that private sector companies of both the countries would cooperate to promote the hybrid rice production that would almost double the per acre crop yield.
He further said that hybrid rice technologies would help to enhance per acre crop output, besides increasing farm income and reduce the poverty.
The hybrid rice technology would also bring revolution in Pakistani Basmati rice production, which was famous all over the world for it taste and aroma.
Addressing the event CEO of Yaun longping High-Tech Agriculture Company Limited China said that the training course was designed in accordance with the requirements of local farmers. She said that the training course would include lectures and field visits for active participation of local farming community for the better results.
Speaking on the occasion, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on National Food Security said that government was determined to promote agri sector of the country. He informed that rice crop was cultivated over 2.7 million hectares and was the second major staple food crop of the country, adding that the Chinese expertise would help to enhance the local crop output significantly.
He hoped that the bilateral cooperation in agri-sector would bring the positive results and further enhance the crop output by minimizing the inputs.
Chairman PARC stressed the need for bringing innovation and introducing mechanized farming to make the local produces more competitive in international markets.
Meanwhile, Member Plant Sciences Dr Anjum Ali informed that the aim of the training course on hybrid rice was to educate the local farming community about the hybrid technology and seed selection for achieving maximum per acre yield

Sushi-making robots a sweet success

A machine dispenses sushi at the Suzumo Machinery Co factory in Kawashima, Saitama prefecture, Japan.

SEP 13, 2017, 5:00 AM SGT
TOKYO • Mr Kisaku Suzuki, creator of the world's first sushi robot, once ran a company that made candy- wrapping machines. And he was angry.
Why had the Japanese government embarked on a policy to limit rice production, effectively paying some farmers to keep their paddy fields idle? For Mr Suzuki, rice was the sacred heart of the country's economy. He started to think about how to make the staple food more popular so that Japan had no reason to restrict the crop.
And that was when it came to him: He would use his firm's knowledge of candy-packaging machines to develop the robot. The idea, while off-the-wall in the mid-1970s, had a simple premise.
If he could lower the cost of making sushi by mechanising parts of the process and reducing the need for highly paid chefs, he could bring the previously elite Japanese dish to the masses and, in doing so, increase the demand for rice.
Four decades later, Suzumo Machinery Co's robots are used by about 70,000 customers around the world, ranging from sushi chains to factories, and account for about 70 per cent of the market for the equipment at restaurants, according to Suzumo's estimates.
Kaiten sushi, also known as conveyor-belt sushi, has become a US$6-billion (S$8-billion) industry in Japan alone, partly thanks to Mr Suzuki's invention.
Cheap sushi "couldn't have happened without our machines", says Mr Ikuya Oneda, who succeeded Mr Suzuki as Suzumo president in 2004, a year before the founder died.
When Mr Suzuki started to create his robot, he met resistance. In 1976, sushi was still largely a food for special occasions. It was mostly sold through a legion of small restaurants, where artisan chefs dispensed morsels with no price tags and charged what they saw fit.
Not surprisingly, those chefs were up in arms when they heard about Suzumo's plan. In their view, it took 10 years to train someone to make sushi. No machine could possibly do the job.
Suzumo asked some of the people it was trying to depose to give their opinions on the prototype. "They said, 'This is no good, this is terrible, I don't know what this is,'" said Mr Oneda, 73, who became chairman of the company this year.
After three years, Suzumo was nowhere near its goal and running out of cash. Company officials feared "the company would go down the tubes", Mr Oneda said. "We thought about quitting."
Suzumo stuck with the task and, two years later, the sushi chefs said the machine was usable. In 1981, the company completed its first robot, which formed sushi rice into balls called nigiri. These days, it offers 28 different sushi machines.
"What they've done is allow kaiten restaurants to democratise and make good Japanese food affordable and accessible," says Mr Robin Rowland, chairman and chief executive officer of Yo, a British sushi chain with almost 100 restaurants globally. "We serve seven million guests a year. You're talking about 500 to 600 dishes on our belts in Britain. It's a lot of food. You need to automate some of that."
But so many years later, the machine debate still rages on. For purists, if you use robots, it just is not the same."It's an entirely different genre," says chef Yoshikazu Ono, son and heir of Jiro Ono, the chef featured in the 2011 documentary Jiro Dreams Of Sushi.
"Sushi isn't just balls of rice. The process is the most important thing. It requires relentless practice to make just one piece of sushi rice - things like how you select, prepare and cook the rice. You can't get that from a robot."
Already, about three-quarters of Japanese say when they eat sushi, it is from a conveyor belt, according to a survey published by fishery company Maruha Nichiro Corp in March. Almost half of them choose which restaurant to go to based on price.
Michael Booth, a food writer whose latest book, The Meaning Of Rice, is set for publication next month, sees room for both types.
"I want everyone to get a chance to taste what amazing sushi from Jiro is like because it's a different experience," Booth says. "But then again, cheap, mass-produced sushi is like the entry drug into the sushi world and that can be a good thing too."People are exposed and may become curious as to what great sushi tastes like.

REI Agro goes in for liquidation
REI Agro claims to have 22 per cent share in the world's basmati rice market
REI Agro, a firm that claims to have 22 per cent share in the world’s basmati rice market, has gone in for liquidation after the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) ordered it to do so. The company, which sells Rain Drops basmati rice, said in a BSE filing that insolvency professional Anil Goel is the official liquidator of the company.  
It said the board and key managers have lost their powers and all employees have been discharged of their duties. REI Agro’s insolvency case had been admitted by the Kolkata bench of the NCLT in March. The NCLT can order liquidation if a firm fails to bring to the table a resolution plan within six months of admission of the case.
 The company ended FY16 with losses of Rs 1,076.13 crore. Its standalone turnover for that year was Rs 521.79 crore. According to the annual report, it owed 22 banks an amount of Rs 4,745.24 cr. It has also not provided interest on loans availed from banks and financial institutions. The firm’s slowdown started when it began facing liquidity crunch. Due to the shortage of working capital funds, processing units were running with marginal capacity and production was suspended in many plants during the year under review.
 The annual report also showed that it attempted to restructure itself. However, banks rejected the plan proposed by the company. It also said several banks had initiated action against the company under the SARFAESI Act.In 2015, it became a sick company after it filed an application with the Board of Industrial and Financial Restructuring.
International Rice Leadership Class Announced; Heading South
 STUTTGART, ARKANSAS -- The Rice Leadership Development Program recently selected the 2017 International Rice Leadership class.  To be eligible for the international class, applicants must have completed the traditional two-year Rice Leadership Program and be active members of the rice industry.  "One very important factor in the selection process is how the Leadership Development alumni have put their leadership training to use in serving the rice industry since graduating," said Charley Mathews, an alumnus of the program and the current chairman of The Rice Foundation, the organization overseeing the Leadership Development Program.  "The number and quality of applicants this year was great and shows the graduates' engagement and commitment to the industry."
 "This year's international session will be held in November in Nicaragua and Colombia, the first is a once large market for us that we would like to see return, and the second a thriving market that is an excellent example of what happens when effective trade policy and promotion converge," said Mathews.

Class members are: Jonathan Hobbs from Jefferson, LA; Mike Martin from Bernie, MO; Christian Richard from Kaplan, LA; Dr. Tim Walker from Memphis, TN; and Fred Zaunbrecher from Duson, LA.
 The Rice Leadership Development Program is sponsored by John Deere Company, RiceTec, Inc, and American Commodity Company through The Rice Foundation and is managed by the USA Rice Federation.
Indonesian rice miller dreams of better days

 “Ahok has nothing to do with us Medan Chinese. Our city has always been safe and harmonious. Even in 1998, yes, we had some incidents, but nothing like Jakarta. We all live peacefully here.” Pak Darwin, a Chinese Indonesian, is a 48-year old rice miller in Sunggal, a suburb of the North Sumatran capital.
Speaking in Bahasa Indonesia with a spattering of Hokkien, the Teochew businessman is unsentimental when referring to the controversial, jailed former Governor of Jakarta, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (“Ahok”).
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I point out the incredible progress made in cities like Jakarta under Ahok and Surabaya in East Java under its dynamic mayor Tri Rismaharini but Pak Darwin responds blandly: “The Javanese are easier to manage. Here in Medan, you have Bataks, Melayus, Javanese, Chinese, Indians. How are you supposed to handle them all?” With more than 2 million residents, Medan is Indonesia’s fourth-largest city and the most populous outside of Java. It is also one of the most diverse places in the Republic, with a 34% Batak (most of them Christian), 33% Javanese, 10.65% Chinese, 8.6% Minangkabau, and 6.59% Malay ethnic breakdown. This diversity has meant that uniting Medan’s different communities can be a daunting task.
Indeed, despite its substantial population, North Sumatra lacks the political weight of similarly-sized Javanese provinces (Banteng and Jakarta). With its fractured populace, the region’s leaders have often found it difficult to lobby for development funds. These challenges are glaringly evident in the city’s terrible roads and infrastructure issues.
 Pak Darwin’s family has been milling rice in Medan for three generations. Their operation may not last for a fourth. “My grandfather came from China and bought this land for a rice mill. My father continued the business and then passed to me. This land is my family’s heritage.” Pak Darwin is a man of few words. With his signature lime-green hat and towel around his neck, Pak Darwin (or “Ah Kheng” as he is called by his friends) walks me through the rice production process. “You start by buying paddy from the ‘tengkulak’ (agent), who collects it from farmers all over. We buy it at IDR4200 a kilo.”
“Then you dry the rice in this machine for 10 hours. If the dryer is full, we leave the paddy out in the sun to dry”, he explains, gesturing towards a hulking machine two storeys tall. “The dried paddy is then sent to another machine, which removes the husks. Then, a sifter separates the rice and husks into different containers. We keep the husks to give to farmers as fertilizer.” “Finally, we take the rice and package it into sacks of 5,10,15, or 30 kg each, then sell it to distributors at IDR9000 a kilo.
 Vendors sell it at the market at IDR9500 a kilo.” Walking around the factory, I am struck by the cacophony of sounds. There is the constant hum of whirring machinery, bags of rice slamming against the hard floor, shuffling as the rice gets sifted, and Pak Darwin’s occasional shouts to his 15 workers. It’s a bustling place and more than once I had to swerve to avoid a rushing worker pushing a wheelbarrow of rice.
 Producing 30 tons of rice a day, working from 8:00am to 5:00pm, the end product is delivered to markets all around Medan and within a 150km radius of the city. It all seems very impressive, but Pak Darwin still feels increasingly left behind. “I can’t compete with the big players. They have so much capital and they can hold huge stocks of rice and wait out the market. People are also buying a lot more imported rice from Thailand and Vietnam nowadays. Their rice tastes better and is cheaper”, he says matter-of-factly. 
 A father of two daughters, Pak Darwin has begun to think about the future. He has 4 sisters and a 30-year-old younger brother who helps him with the business. I ask him what hopes he has for his children. “It’s up to them. But not this. There is so much ash and dust in the factory. It’s hot, stuffy, and hard labour.” “It’s important for me to give them education. I send my two daughters to private school so they can learn English and Mandarin every day. These two languages are equally important, so they can have a future outside of this mill.” What happens then to the mill, to their family heritage?
“I would rather give my daughters money than pass them the business. Let them do what they want, not work in a mill. It’s been in my family three generations now, but…” His words trail off and he doesn’t finish his sentence. I get a sense however, that if he could, Pak Darwin would stay with the familiar. Pak Darwin doesn’t dream of traveling to far-off lands or escaping the factory life. He tells me that he’s happy here, like his father and grandfather before him. But the world around him is changing rapidly.
His sanguine outlook is perhaps reflected North Sumatra’s relatively slow progress over the years. Traveling to the rice mill in Sunggal from my hotel, I was struck by the city’s backwardness. While Medan has a toll road from the main Kualanamu airport all the way to Tebingtinggi, it’s easy to forget all that as I navigate the bumpy congested roads. As multimillion dollar projects like renovations to the Medan port and a refurbished airport in nearby Silangit dominate the news, it’s important to remember people like Pak Darwin in Sunggal, who still struggle with basic infrastructure woes.
A local journalist explains: “There is a serious lack of public transport. If the situation continues, in 10 years Medan will have worse traffic than Jakarta. The capital's transport system is improving every day with many new projects, while in Medan, the government hasn’t paid much attention to basic infrastructure and facilities." With gubernatorial elections looming next year, can Medan and by extension North Sumatra shake off its political funk? As the infrastructure improves significantly in Java, this once-thriving corner of the Republic could fall behind forever unless things change.

The Cranberry Marketing Committee and USA Rice Announce the Next Great Cranberry-Rice School Foodservice Recipe

Leadership is an overused word, and is often misused. We like this definition.
Director of Nutrition for Jackson County, GA Wins $500 National Recipe Concept Contest
Wareham, MA (PRWEB) September 13, 2017
The Cranberry Marketing Committee (CMC) and USA Rice collaborated at the 2017 School Nutrition Association Annual Nutrition Conference in Atlanta to seek out the next great cranberry-rice foodservice recipe. After receiving numerous unique and trendy recipe ideas, the CMC and USA Rice are excited to announce that Debra Morris, director of nutrition of Jackson County Schools in Jefferson, GA, has won the $500 recipe contest grand prize for her black bean, cranberry and rice shaker salad recipe.
Representing two American food staples, the CMC and USA Rice challenged foodservice professionals at the conference to think outside the box and share their most creative recipe concepts combining these two versatile ingredients.
“We were thrilled to see the diverse and imaginative entries we received this year,” said CMC Executive Director Michelle Hogan. “Cranberries are America’s Original Superfruit® and are a healthful addition to school menus year-round. With cranberries and rice being on the USDA’s Foods Available List, both are easily accessible by foodservice professionals to incorporate in their school menus.”
Morris has been working in foodservice for five years and loves the joy that comes from knowing that she played a pivotal role in promoting lifelong healthy eating habits for children and their families. “Rice and cranberries have always been a staple in our household and both add delicious taste and texture,” said Morris. “The tangy, yet sweet taste of cranberries is a perfect complement for rice.”
Morris will also serve as a consultant in developing her concept into a tested, creditable school foodservice recipe.
“We were excited to partner with the Cranberry Marketing Committee because cranberries and rice make a perfect combination that isn’t always top-of-mind,” said USA Rice Director of Domestic Promotion Katie Maher. “From savory pilafs to sweet rice puddings, the possibilities of combining rice and cranberries are endless and who better to hear from than those on the front lines of planning and preparing school lunches.”
Morris said shaker salads are a way to appeal to children and stay up with current food trends. “Shaker salads are very popular in the retail food circuit and on the home front with the popularity of mason jars,” she said. “In school nutrition, we are constantly looking for ways to offer trendy and familiar items on school menus.”
Hogan added, “We couldn’t be more excited to work with foodservice professionals directly and are excited to add this new delicious recipe to our dedicated foodservice website for schools across the nation to use on their menus.”
The full creditable recipe will be available on later this year.
About the Cranberry Marketing Committee (CMC)

The CMC was established as a Federal Marketing Order in 1962 to ensure a stable, orderly supply of good quality product. Authority for its actions are provided under Chapter IX, Title 7, Code of Federal Regulations, referred to as the Federal Cranberry Marketing Order, which is part of the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937, as amended. This Act specifies cranberries as a commodity that may be covered, regulations that may be issued, guidelines for administering the programs, and privileges and limitations granted by Congress. For more information about the CMC, visit Follow @USCranberries on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.
About USA Rice

As the global advocate for all segments of the U.S. rice industry, USA Rice’s mission is to ensure the health and vitality of a unified U.S. rice industry by advocating on behalf of farmers, millers, merchants, and allied businesses. USA Rice conducts programs here and around the world to educate lawmakers, policymakers, consumers, and foodservice professionals about sustainably-grown U.S. rice. Each year, U.S. rice farmers produce approximately 18 billion pounds of short, medium, and long grain rice, as well as organic and specialty varieties including jasmine, basmati, and Arborio among others.
For the original version on PRWeb visit:
Modern Trukai rice mill nears completion


BY: Carolyn Ure
09:58, September 14, 2017

Trukai Industries’ long-term plans for a sustainable commercial rice industry in PNG have taken a leap forward as a new state-of-the-art paddy rice mill in Lae nears completion.
With the Trukai Industries rice mill maintenance team working alongside Vietnamese industrial & agricultural machinery company, Bui Van Ngo, installation of the Paddy Rice Mill is now in full swing, with expected completion before the end of September.
In recent months, the rice mill maintenance team has been preparing the area for construction, including upgrading services, installing infeed equipment, ensuring good manufacturing practice standards, organising the fumigation area and refurbishing office space for the new rice mill.
The mill has a maximum production capacity of an incredible 240 ton per week, though output will be limited by how much rice can be grown at this stage.
Trukai has laid down their blueprint to grow the local rice farming industry exponentially over the next decade and beyond.
Trukai Industries general manager for agriculture, Jarrod Pirie, said the new rice mill was another foundation being laid to establish a genuine local rice industry.
“The mill is being developed to be future-ready for when local farmers are producing rice at a greater rate than at present, which will happen,” he said.
“Year-on-year that growth is being displayed on the ground through the industry’s investment in technology and training with local farmers,” Pirie added.

Food ‘Moonshot’ Steers Future of Research

Wed, 09/13/2017 - 8:37am
by Lauren Scrudato - Managing Editor - @LabEquipment
Lee-Ann Jaykus, professor in the department of food, bioprocessing and nutrition sciences at North Carolina State University, speaks with former Ph.D. student Hari Dwivedi. Photo: NCSU Communications
The climate is changing. Crops are becoming more vulnerable to diseases and pests. Natural resources like soil and water are diminishing. Obesity rates are rising.
These are just some of the most pressing food and agriculture-related issues the world is currently facing, and will continue to battle in the coming decades. As these issues continue to afflict more people, the need for transformative, inter-disciplinary solutions also becomes even more crucial.
As a result, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine have called on a diverse group of scientists to accomplish an ambitious and complex task: identify the greatest scientific opportunities that will help revolutionize the way food is grown and consumed.
The initiative, called “Science Breakthroughs 2030: A Strategy for Food and Agricultural Research,” resembles a “moonshot” of sorts—it includes a similar concept and methodology as former Vice President Joe Biden’s “Cancer Moonshot,” which aims to accelerate cancer research, develop new therapies and find ways to prevent cases of cancer all together. The basis of both of these moonshots is large collaborations among a variety of experts to ensure specific challenges are being analyzed from every possible perspective.
“The goal is to develop a compelling scientific strategy for food and agricultural research for the next decade and beyond that would stimulate transformational change in the food and agricultural system by catalyzing new research directions and partnerships, attracting new research talent, stimulating entrepreneurial activities, increasing funding opportunities, and ultimately opening new paths to a safe, healthful, and sustainable supply of food and fiber,” wrote the National Academies.
If successful, the Breakthroughs 2030 initiative could act as a catalyst for a Green Revolution 2.0—bringing new, innovative techniques and tools to food production.
An interdisciplinary approach
The initiative is co-chaired by John Floros, dean of the College of Agriculture and director of research and extension at Kansas State University, and Susan Wessler, professor of genetics at UC Riverside and home secretary for the National Academy of Sciences. In addition to Wessler and Floros, the study committee is made up of members and study staff that represent about 15 different fields—ranging from economics to nutrition sciences.
The committee has been tasked with addressing four main questions:
1. What are the greatest challenges that food and agriculture are likely to face in the coming decades?
2. What are the greatest foreseeable opportunities for advances in food and agriculture science?
3. What fundamental knowledge gaps exist that limit the ability of scientists to respond to these challenges as well as take advantage of the opportunities?
4. What general areas of research should be advanced and supported to fill these knowledge gaps?
To help accomplish this, the group has encouraged the public and other researchers around the country to submit their input, ideas, tools and expertise to a platform called IdeaBuzz. The committee also has a timeline of meetings set throughout the rest of the year to discuss the IdeaBuzz submissions, as well as other tasks.
The first committee meeting was held on June 14, followed by a “town hall” and second committee meeting on August 8. Both meetings were open to the public. The August meeting discussed some of the ideas and white pages submitted to the IdeaBuzz discussion platform.
The next event is scheduled for early October, which is being referred to as a week-long “jamboree.” About 70 nominated scientists will be invited to elaborate on their ideas and techniques that could potentially be applied to help solve the identified food and agriculture challenges.
Following the “jamboree,” there will be two more study committee meetings, which will be closed sessions.
Once the committee has answered the four questions, they will produce a consensus report that outlines their recommendations for future research directions. They will highlight their recommendations in the context of how these ideas will lead to a sustainable food supply, improved public health, strengthened natural resource base, and creation of new jobs. It will be anonymously peer-reviewed before being released to its sponsors and the public.
The final report is expected to be released in the spring 2018.
‘Realistic, but ambitious’
The $1.2 million initiative is funded by the SoAR Foundation and the Foundation for Food and Agriculture (FFAR), with the support of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture of the USDA, as well as nearly 20 other organizations.
Lee-Ann Jaykus, professor in the department of food, bioprocessing and nutrition sciences at North Carolina State University, and scientific director of the USDA-NIFA Food Virology Collaborative (NoroCORE), identified some of the reasons why this initiative is needed now.
She noted that the funding climate nationally for science is changing, and researchers are facing less funds and more competition for science in general, not just agriculture.
“This is timely in terms of promoting the fact that research is necessary for many aspects of our lives, but in this case for the sustainability of agriculture and a healthy, safe food supply,” Jaykus told Laboratory Equipment.
According to Robert Easter, SoAR Board Member, USDA research funding has declined 18 percent since 2003.
Jaykus also reiterated a similar message as what is stated in the mission of Breakthroughs 2030—the emergence of new issues in food and agriculture is multi-faceted, and will likely only get worse over time.
“If you’re going to address a multi-faceted problem, you need to do it in an interdisciplinary manner,” Jaykus noted. “There are a lot of tools that are emerging in different disciplines that have not necessarily been embraced by agriculture, but they have both relevance and potential for high-impact,” Jaykus said.  “Part of our charge is to investigate these new tools—whether they be genomics, big data, next-generation sequencing—because they could have a really significant impact in solving these major problems.”
Scientists from Queensland University of Technology developed a biofortified banana (top) with orange flesh high in pro-vitamin A. Photo: QUT
Gene editing
Genomics is one field that has been applied to food production for decades now, but progress has been slow, and consumers have been hesitant to accept modified products.
Golden rice, for example, has been touted as a promising way to nourish populations in low-income nations—particularly in Africa and Asia—where families are not getting enough iron, zinc, vitamin A and other much-needed nutrients on a daily basis to stay healthy.
Efforts to grow a sustainable and nutritious crop in these much-needed areas have been disappointing so far. But in August, researchers from ETH Zurich announced a breakthrough that could be a game-changer for nearly half of the world’s population who rely on rice to meet their daily caloric needs.
Until now, all previous golden rice varieties had only one micronutrient. But the ETH Zurich team was able to create a line that has a combination of several micronutrients in one plant. The plant holds sufficient levels of iron and zinc, plus higher levels of beta-carotene in the endosperm of the grain compared to normal varieties.
Scientifically, the success was the engineering of a gene cassette containing four genes for the micronutrient improvement that could be inserted into the rice genome as a single genetic locus.
“This has the advantage that iron, zinc and beta-carotene levels can be simultaneously increased by genetic crosses in rice varieties of various countries. Otherwise it would be necessary to cross rice lines with the individual micronutrients to reach the improved micronutrient content in rice grains,” the researchers explained in a university press release.
The lines are still in testing phases, but they will continue to improve and potentially be tested in a field as early as next year.
Another recent success in editing foods was reported by Queensland University of Technology researchers in July. A group, led by James Dale, professor at the Institute for Future Environments, took a gene from a banana that originated in Papua New Guinea, which is naturally very high in pro-vitamin A, and inserted it into a Cavendish banana.
Over the course of a decade, the researchers tested hundreds of different genetic variations in the lab and in field trials in Queensland, Australia until they achieved optimal results.
The focus of the project, which received $10 million in funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, was to boost the nutritional content of bananas specifically grown in Uganda, where the fruit is a major dietary staple.
Dale said 650,000 to 700,000 children worldwide die from pro-vitamin A deficiency each year, with another several hundred thousand going blind. By creating the biofortified banana, the plant could drastically reduce these statistics.
The “super genes” have been sent to Uganda in test tubes where they have been inserted into native Ugandan bananas to see how they handle field trials there.
These types of successes are encouraging, but typically take decades-worth of trial and error until the optimal strain is developed. Utilizing new techniques that come out of the Breakthroughs initiative may expedite the process.
Developing a strategy
The term “transformative” quickly became a resonating theme during discussions at the first public committee meeting in June. The committee also emphasized that their system-based approach needs to keep in mind the consumer-behavior aspect when considering potential solutions to challenges. Scientists may have an innovative approach, but if consumers aren’t willing to adopt it, the effort will prove unsuccessful.
“People have been calling for a 10-year vision, or a compelling set of research directions that Congress, the public and the scientific community could get behind and unify around,” said Robin Schoen, Director of the Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources at National Academy of Sciences.
According to Schoen, the study is not designed to give a review of any research programs, make any organization or policy recommendations, or even promote more allocated funding—it is devoted specifically to the science.
“There’s a lot of pressure on the system at a time when it is expected to produce more,” Schoen told Laboratory Equipment. “And there’s a thinking that we—as an agriculture research enterprise—may need to open itself up to the tools that exist in disciplines that are not traditionally associated with food and agriculture.”
One field Schoen believes may hold some promise lies within the power of big computing and data science, which she said will one day be helpful on many different fronts—particularly for analyzing both natural systems and synthetic ones.
As an example, Schoen explained that big data could be used to screen soil samples from across the country to understand how they are changing over time. This could allow researchers to potentially manipulate the soil to make it better equipped to withstand threats or toxins. Big data could also help narrow down what types of methods or compounds would be the most efficient at preventing diseases in cattle and other animals.
“You have to be thoughtful about radical change,” said Schoen.
Precision agriculture
Many of these intriguing research avenues can be integrated into a broader concept referred to as “precision agriculture.”
This customized approach allows farmers to be more thoughtful about how they plant crops. It also allows farmers to make educated decisions in preparation for, or in response to, variables that may affect the growth of their crops, like weather or disease threats.
The main objective of precision agriculture is to maximize crop yields while minimizing the environmental impact, and reducing costs. This is done through real-time data collection that enables better decision-making in regards to when to plant, fertilize and harvest.
For example, sensors can be placed throughout fields to measure temperature, humidity and other factors of the soil and air. Additionally, drones and satellite images can show how an area has changed over time, or how it responds to certain scenarios. There are so many variables and unpredictable situations that come into play when planting and harvesting, and precision agriculture can help farmers be more proactive in handling these uncertainties.
Agriculture-specific drones, which have just started to emerge in the last year or two, come equipped with flight planning software that enables a farmer to outline a specific route the drone should cover, making the process easy, automated and much more efficient than ground surveys. Some drones can not only survey crop fields to help spot problems, but they can also spray fertilizers and pesticides.
Drones can spray with more accuracy than traditional tractors, and they eliminate the potential hazards of exposing workers who spray the chemicals manually.
According to Global Market Insights, the agricultural drone market will exceed $1 billion by 2024.
Some big players in agriculture are starting to adopt new technologies like drones to boost crop yields, but there’s still room to improve. And smaller-scaled operations may not necessarily have the funds to do the same. For example, one of the “elite” drones on the market is senseFly eBee SQ, which can cost more than $10,000—but boasts the ability to capture 500 acres of footage in a single flight.
If applied on a larger scale, big data and data science, robotics and drones and other fields could greatly improve efficiency in the agriculture field.
“(Breakthroughs 2030) is a tremendous opportunity to put some excellent scientists together to look at the system as a whole and use that perspective to come up with creative ways to address some the most pressing issues that food and agriculture are facing in the next 10 to 20 years,” said Jaykus.
Agriculture-specific drones allow farmers to conduct precision agriculture, a customized approach to maximize crop yields while minimizing environmental impact.

Somewhat Positive News Coverage Somewhat Unlikely to Affect Amira Nature Foods (ANFI) Share Price

News headlines about Amira Nature Foods (NYSE:ANFI) have been trending somewhat positive on Wednesday, Accern Sentiment Analysis reports. The research group identifies negative and positive news coverage by reviewing more than twenty million news and blog sources in real time. Accern ranks coverage of publicly-traded companies on a scale of negative one to positive one, with scores closest to one being the most favorable. Amira Nature Foods earned a media sentiment score of 0.14 on Accern’s scale. Accern also gave news articles about the company an impact score of 46.2635064980095 out of 100, meaning that recent news coverage is somewhat unlikely to have an effect on the stock’s share price in the next few days.
Here are some of the news articles that may have effected Accern’s rankings:

Amira Nature Foods (NYSE ANFI) opened at 5.62 on Wednesday. The firm has a market cap of $206.97 million, a price-to-earnings ratio of 6.69 and a beta of -0.16. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $5.54 and its 200-day moving average is $5.31. Amira Nature Foods has a 12 month low of $4.50 and a 12 month high of $8.60.
Amira Nature Foods Company Profile
Amira Nature Foods Ltd is primarily engaged in the business of processing and selling packaged Indian specialty rice, primarily basmati rice and other food products. The Company sells Basmati rice and other specialty rice, under its Amira brand, as well as under other third-party brands. It also sells non-basmati rice.