Wednesday, September 27, 2017

27th September,2017 daily global regional local rice e-newsletter

Fatima Fertilizer holds rice seminar
LAHORE (PR): Recently, Fatima Fertilizer, in association with government of Punjab and Rice Research Institute Kala Shah Kaku, orgranised ‘Dhaan (rice) Seminar’ in Gujranwala. The seminar brought together more than 3000 farmers. Chief guests included Secretary Agriculture, DG Agriculture, DG Agriculture Extension, DG Agriculture Research, President Kissan Ittehad, MNA Zafarwall, Hafizabad and Gujranwala.
The seminar focused on latest rice production technology, pest control and balanced use of Sarsabz Nitrate Fertilizers. Secretary agriculture asked farmers to start incorporating latest technology as that was the only way their prosperity could be guaranteed. For this purpose, the government of Punjab is setting up 72 Hi-Tech Mechanization Service Centers in partnership with Fatima Fertilizers all over Punjab. Latest agri farm machinery and services will be rented out to farmers through these centers. At the end of the program, Fatima Fertilizer distributed 4 Umra tickets, 1 tractor, 2 motorcycles and other gifts among farmers through lucky draws.

Rice exporters heavily reliant on Chinese market
Last update 07:38 | 26/09/2017

China is now Vietnam’s largest rice importer and the local rice export sector will continue depending on the neighboring market in the coming years.

Farmers harvest paddy (unhusked rice) on a Mekong Delta farm in this file photo. China is now Vietnam’s largest rice importer

According to statistics of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Vietnam exported 1.38 million tons of rice worth US$623 million to China in January-July, up 33% and 31% compared to the same period last year respectively. 
The rice shipments to the northern neighbor accounted for 41% of the country’s total.
Vietnam also sells rice to other ASEAN markets. Malaysia was the second biggest rice importer in the first seven months of 2017, accounting for 7.3% of Vietnam’s total export volume. 
Malaysia spent US$111 million purchasing 288,700 tons of rice from Vietnam, surging twofold in volume and 78% in value from a year earlier.
Ghana is a key African market for Vietnamese rice. However, this market is showing signs of slowdown.
Last year, Ghana was the second largest buyer of Vietnamese rice, making up 11.5% of Vietnam’s total shipments, as it imported 504,000 tons valued at US$249 million, up 39% in volume and 34.5% in value against 2015. 
However, Vietnam’s rice exports to Ghana in the first seven months of this year dipped 29% over the year-ago period.
In January-August, Vietnam exported a total of 3.96 million tons of rice worth US$1.75 billion, up nearly 20% in volume and 17.5% in value year-on-year. 
However, the contracted export volume was 5.1 million tons, so nearly 1.2 million tons of rice was not shipped to customers.
Therefore, the Vietnam Food Association (VFA) has revised the 2017 rice export target from 5.2 million to 6.5 million tons for the second time this year. 
In July, the rice export volume was adjusted up to 5.7 million tons due to favorable market conditions.

Jump in Rice Imports – says Iran
More than 1 million tons of rice worth $963 million were imported into Iran during the five months to August 22, registering a 79% and 102.5% growth in weight and value respectively compared with the corresponding period of last year. With more than 696,000 tons, India was the main exporter followed by Pakistan, the UAE, Thailand, Turkey and Iraq, ISNA reported. Imports are taking place while every year and during the rice harvest season, the government bans rice imports in support of local farmers and domestic production.
“The ongoing seasonal ban on rice imports will be in effect until Nov. 21,” Deputy Agriculture Minister Yazdan Seif recently said, noting that the ban went into effect in August. Traders who have already registered orders can import their cargos after the deadline. During the ban period, no imports will take place, Mehr News Agency quoted Seif as saying. Abbas Keshavarz, also a deputy agriculture minister, said nearly 2.3 million tons of rice have been produced in the country in the current Iranian year (started March 21). Iranians consume 3 million tons of rice a year. The two northern provinces of Gilan and Mazandaran are home to a majority of Iran’s paddy fields.

RDB closes bidding on rice storage facilities

Tue, 26 September 2017

Tue, 26 September 2017
Employees use a forklift to stack pallets of rice at a storage and processing plant on the outskirts of Phnom Penh in 2015. Heng Chivoan
The state-run Rural Development Bank (RDB) received a total of 10 proposals from Cambodian agricultural firms expressing interest in developing rice storage and drying facilities across three provinces using government-backed low-interest loans, a bank official said yesterday.
Kao Thach, chief executive of RDB, said six more companies submitted proposals for the $15 million finance package after the bank extended the application deadline from September 8 to September 22 due to a low response. Only four companies submitted proposals during the initial three-week call for submissions.
“Now that we have received enough proposals for selection, we will finalise the agreements and announce the [awarded] companies in October, as well as the location of the facilities,” Thach said, adding that the loans would be disbursed to only three companies.
The three proposed facilities are set to be constructed in the provinces of Kampong Thom, Prey Veng and Takeo, each with the capacity to store 50,000 tonnes of paddy rice and dry approximately 1,500 tonnes of rice daily.
The storage facilities are intended to alleviate the stress on farmers and millers when rice stockpiles begin to stack up and are expected to be operational by the start of the next harvest season in January.
Song Saran, CEO of Amru Rice, said his firm submitted a proposal to build and operate a $5 million facility in Kampong Thom province on 25,000 square metres of land that would include four different warehouses.
“My proposal shows a five-year and 10-year plan that would insure the capacity of storage and stabilise the market for farmers,” he said.
Saran added that the construction of adequate storage and drying facilities was imperative if Cambodia’s rice sector hopes to compete internationally on price when dealing with government-to-government bids.
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.
The warehouse is set to be the first privately owned centralised storage facility with a capacity to store 200,000 tonnes of wet paddy rice and to process 3,000 tonnes of paddy rice daily.
Contact author: Cheng Sokhorng and industry-related professionals who meet the eligibility requirements are encouraged to complete the application process for the 2018 Rice Leadership Development program soon. Deadline for applying is Oct. 7.
Members of the next class of rice producers and industry members will be announced during an awards luncheon at the 2017 USA Rice Outlook Conference, which will be held in San Antonio in December. 
 “The Rice Leadership Development Program gives young men and women a comprehensive understanding of the U.S. rice industry with an emphasis on personal development and communication skills training,” says Chuck Wilson, who has directed the program for the USA Rice Federation.
During a two-year period, class members attend four one-week sessions that are designed to strengthen their leadership skills.“Board rooms across the country, as well as leadership positions all around the rice industry are populated with alumni of the program,” says Wilson. “Every graduate agrees, time spent in this program is well worth it, resulting in a better, more complete understanding of the industry, and it opens participants’ eyes to practices and customs going on beyond their farm gate or company, but that are supremely relevant to their development as an industry leader.”
The class is comprised of five rice producers and two industry-related professionals chosen by a committee of agribusiness leaders evaluating their applications, reviewing letters of recommendation and conducting personal interviews with the finalists.
Candidates must be 25-45 at the time of application and derive their primary livelihood from some aspect of the rice industry.
The program is sponsored by John Deere Company, RiceTec, Inc., and American Commodity Company through The Rice Foundation and managed by the USA Rice Federation. For more information on the program and an application form, visit and click on the Leadership Program icon.

Rice production at 72% of self-sufficiency level: Ahmad Shabery

Posted on 26 September 2017 - 09:54pm

KUALA LUMPUR: Rice production in the country has reached 72% of the self-sufficiency level, still eight percent short of the 80% target.
Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek said the 80% target sufficed as about 20% of consumers did not opt for locally produced rice.
"It is quite normal for 10 to 15% of consumers in countries where rice is the staple not opting for locally produced rice. Depending on their tastes, they might prefer Siamese rice, fragrant rice and others.
"So if the self-sufficiency level is 100%, where are we going to send the excess stocks? If we want to export to other countries, is our rice competitive enough to compete in the international market?," he told reporters after opening the National Padi Conference 2017 here today.
As such, he said that productivity in rice production must increase to meet the 80% target, noting that production increased from 1.9 million tonnes in 1990 to 3.5 million tonnes last year.
Ahmad Shabery said Malaysia should also stress on products based on high-quality rice, like beauty creams which held huge export potential.
The three-day conference aims to discuss ways to boost the padi and rice industry in the country.
At the event, Ahmad Shabery also launched a book on Standard Operating Procedures to reduce wastage of rice after harvest, especially during transportation, drying, milling, and storing.
On a separate matter, he said that his ministry was assessing losses suffered by padi farmers in Kedah due to the latest round of flooding in the state.
"About 700ha of padi fields were affected. We will find a way to help the affected farmers based on an existing formula," he said. — Bernama

Cambodia, Bangladesh to strengthen trade

Chea Vannak / Khmer Times Share:    
Cambodia and Bangladesh are seeking to strengthen cooperation on trade and enhance and expand trade and business partnerships via a deal which will be signed in October.
The Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) and its Bangladesh counterpart will sign a memorandum of understanding on trade in October during an official visit by Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to Phnom Penh, according to the CCC.
CCC director general Ngoun Meng Tech said yesterday that the relevant parties from each country have discussed and prepared documents related to the trade deal which will pave the way for the two parties from each county to explore opportunities for investment.
“Under the deal, we will work together to seek investment opportunities, particularly to boost the trade activities of each other,” Mr Meng Tech said. “Trade leaders will come and meet to discuss what sectors they are interested in for investment.
“Our trade leaders also can start seeking investment opportunities in Bangladesh.”
Cambodia’s stable economic growth is one of the main factors why Bangladesh wishes to reach a trade deal with Cambodia, Mr Meng Tech said.
Soeng Sophary, a spokesperson at the Ministry of Commerce, said that although the two-way trade between the countries is flat, the MoU on trade cooperation will help increase trade flows.
“The amount of bilateral trade is still flat, but when we have new ties, the amount of trade will increase. We call that a win-win approach,” Ms. Sophary said.
“Bangladesh and Cambodia have the same status of LDCs [less developed countries], we need each other although we are competitors in the garments sector, but in other sectors we need Bangladesh to help us, like the rice deal we reached recently.”
Cambodia and Bangladesh recently reached a deal to import one million tonnes of milled rice from Cambodia over five years starting from 2017. Each year Cambodia will export 250,000 tonnes of milled rice – 200,000 tons of white rice and 50,000 tons of parboiled rice per year.
“While our export markets are the same in the EU, in terms of basic trade, however, such as agriculture products, we need each other,” Ms Sophary said.
The rice deal between Cambodia and Bangladesh is only the start of the growing trade volume, Ms Sophary added, saying she hoped more will be coming.
An agreement on trade and investment between Cambodia and Bangladesh was signed in 2004, but two-way trade volume is still limited. According to figures from the Bangladesh embassy, total trade between the two countries was valued at $6 million in 2015.

Deadline for Rice Leadership applications approaching

Growers, industry members should submit their information by Oct. 7.
Sep 21, 2017

Rice producers and industry-related professionals who meet the eligibility requirements are encouraged to complete the application process for the 2018 Rice Leadership Development program soon. Deadline for applying is Oct. 7.
Members of the next class of rice producers and industry members will be announced during an awards luncheon at the 2017 USA Rice Outlook Conference, which will be held in San Antonio in December. 
“The Rice Leadership Development Program gives young men and women a comprehensive understanding of the U.S. rice industry with an emphasis on personal development and communication skills training,” says Chuck Wilson, who has directed the program for the USA Rice Federation.
During a two-year period, class members attend four one-week sessions that are designed to strengthen their leadership skills.
“Board rooms across the country, as well as leadership positions all around the rice industry are populated with alumni of the program,” says Wilson. “Every graduate agrees, time spent in this program is well worth it, resulting in a better, more complete understanding of the industry, and it opens participants’ eyes to practices and customs going on beyond their farm gate or company, but that are supremely relevant to their development as an industry leader.”
The class is comprised of five rice producers and two industry-related professionals chosen by a committee of agribusiness leaders evaluating their applications, reviewing letters of recommendation and conducting personal interviews with the finalists.
Candidates must be 25-45 at the time of application and derive their primary livelihood from some aspect of the rice industry.
The program is sponsored by John Deere Company, RiceTec, Inc., and American Commodity Company through The Rice Foundation and managed by the USA Rice Federation. For more information on the program and an application form, visit and click on the Leadership Program icon.

6 grants awarded to support development of biobased products

Grants are from USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
Sep 27, 2017
USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced six grants totaling nearly $21.1 million to support the development of new jet fuel, biobased products and biomaterials from renewable sources on Sept. 22. Funding is made through NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. 
“Our nation has made great strides in promoting the bioeconomy,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. “Today’s investments will help speed the development of regional systems for sustainable bioenergy, bioproducts, and biomaterials production, and create a strong workforce needed to support the bioeconomy.”
The Agriculture and Food Research Initiative is America’s flagship competitive grants program for foundational and translational research, education, and extension projects in the food and agricultural sciences. These grants are awarded through the Sustainable Bioenergy and Bioproducts Challenge Area, which supports integrated public/private partnerships that lead to industrial production of biobased materials, products and fuels to create jobs, stimulate rural economic vitality, improve existing agricultural systems and contribute to our nation’s energy security. 
Grants being announced today, by state, include:
·         University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, $7,026,000
·         University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, $7,026,000
·         University of Missouri, Rolla, Missouri, $32,000
·         North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, $2,750,000
·         The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, $2,750,000
·         Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma, $1,500,000
·         Project details can be found at the NIFA website.
Among the grants, the University of Florida project will identify and deploy regionally adapted carinata (an oilseed member of the mustard family) as the basis of a biofuel and bioproduct supply chain that will produce biobased jet fuel for civil and military aviation, industrial chemicals, and animal feed. The work will result in sustainable commercialization of carinata in the Southeast as well as training a workforce to support it.
The University of Arizona project supports the further development of a domestic source for natural rubber from a desert shrub guayule (pronounced why-oo-lee) which can be grown on marginal lands and in addition to rubber latex can produce sugars that may be made into biobased jet fuel, and a resin that can be made into valuable industrial chemicals. Bridgestone USA a major tire manufacturer is a key partner on the project.
A North Carolina State University project will use online courses to prepare students and teachers from underrepresented and rural areas to meet the workforce demands and advance the future of bioenergy and bioproducts in America's bioeconomy.
The University of Florida and University of Arizona projects are consortia-based Coordinated Agricultural Projects, and each is anticipated to receive up to $15 million over the duration of their five-year projects. 
Since 2010, NIFA, has awarded more than $164 million through the Sustainable Bioenergy and Bioproducts Challenge Area. 
NIFA’s mission is to invest in and advance agricultural research, education, and extension to solve societal challenges. 

Pakistan seeks greater share in Iranian rice market


Tehran, Sep 26, IRNA - Pakistan produces favorable-quality rice and looks to boost export to the Iranian market, said president of Quetta Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Talking to Iran Daily in Quetta of Baluchistan Province, Abdul Wadood Achakzai said Pakistani rice is of better quality than the Indian product adding that Pakistani rice can have a bigger share in the Iranian market.


The official also called for facilitating exports from Pakistan to Iran and hoped the 30-percent reduction in tariffs rate would be implemented soon.


He pointed to preferential trade agreement (PTA) between Iran and Pakistan and said talks are underway with officials to include Pakistani rice in the list of PTA items.The official said both countries are working on free trade agreement (FTA) which can help the private sector.


Achakzai further said mango, rice and textile products are the main exports to Iran while the main imports from Iran include petrochemical products, electricity and liquefied natural gas.He said that his office is working with its Iranian provincial counterpart at Zahedan Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture to extend border markets.“I had meetings with Abdolhakim Rigi, the head of Zahedan chamber in Quetta and Zahedan on development of border markets,” Achakzai said.A participant in the Quetta Chamber Of Commerce and Industry meeting, Ajmal Khan Achakzai from the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority affiliated to Ministry of Industries and Production of Pakistan said his country needs more Iranian oil and gas products to develop its industry.

He hoped to import Iranian oil and gas products at reduced rates by lowering transit prices.The official said that Iran-Pakistan trade currently stands at $1.2 billion of which about $400 million pertains to Pakistan’s exports to Iran.

He said that both countries have planned to increase the annual trade turnover to $5 billion.Last week, Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in a meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session in New York discussed strengthening of relations between the two countries.

The premier said while pursuing a policy of good neighborliness, Pakistan is committed to strengthening relations with Iran.

Reaffirming Iran’s commitment to strengthen ties with Pakistan, Rouhani underlined that both countries should work closely in the areas of border management, trade and investment.The Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Quetta, Baluchistan was established in 1972.

There are 42 pioneering members who initially took part in the process. The chamber was registered with Directorate of Trade Organization, Government of Pakistan, Islamabad under Section 3 of the Trade Organization Ordinance, 1961 on March 12, 1973 with their Memorandum and Article of Association published and registered.


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Feature: Good quality rice seeds - Key to achieve high yields

Rice has become one of the most staple crops in Ghana. The local production is not able to meet the increasing demands. As a result, the country imports annually 600,000 metric tonnes of milled rice on average.This is notwithstanding the fact that a number of farmers engage in rice production especially in the northern part of the country.

It has been identified that most of the rice farmers fail to adopt good farming practices in terms of proper land preparation techniques and the use of quality seeds for improved yields.Failure to plant high quality rice seeds does not only result in poor yields but also affects the quality of rice produced thus resulting in red-rice, rice with different shapes, which is difficult to mill and cook well amongst others.

Many of the rice farmers have been sensitized on the need to undertake good land preparation techniques and plant quality seeds of improved varieties such as AGRA Rice and Jasmine, which guarantee high yields. However, majority of them are yet to embrace these modern techniques of rice farming.This is why some of the development partners in the rice sector in the country including AfricaRice, have singled out Abanga Farms for praise for adhering to good farming practices as well as planting quality seeds to ensure high yields.

Abanga Farms, located in the Northern Region, has cultivated a 1,200-acre rice farm at Guo in the North Gonja District as part of efforts to increase domestic rice production as well as ensure food security in the country.AGRA Rice, which is being promoted by AfricaRice under the Rice Seed Scaling project, is the variety planted on the field, and it is already at booting stage.

Abanga Farms employed modern mechanized techniques as well as good agronomic practices to ensure high yields.

The Rice Seed Scaling project, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), is aimed at improving seed planning and connecting actors along the rice seed value chain, as well as strengthening capacity of rice seed value chain actors to stimulate the development of a sustainable rice seed system in the northern part of the country.

Mr Boubakary Cissé, Seed Expert and Country Coordinator of the Rice Seed Scaling project underscored the importance of commercial rice farming to the viability and sustainability of the rice seed system advising farmers to embrace the right methods of land preparation to ensure high yields.

He, therefore, advised rice farmers to emulate Abanga Farms by ensuring the planting of quality rice seeds as well as adopting good agricultural practices for high yields.

Mr William Boakye-Acheampong, Northern Regional Director of Department of Agriculture commended Abanga Farms for adhering to good practices in undertaking its commercial rice farm.

Mr Boakye-Acheampong advises rice farmers to create blocks on their fields to allow for easy irrigation or maintaining moisture level on rice fields to support the growth of the crop.

It is the hope of all that rice farmers will embrace the right methods of land preparation as well as planting quality seeds to guarantee high yields. This will ultimately make the country self-sufficient in rice production to reduce rice importation into the country. This will also ensure improved income for farmers, lead to job creation and food security in the country.

Basmati rice to remain costlier this year on lower output estimates

The price increase might hurt exports of this aromatic rice which remained a favourable choice for consumers in Iran, Saudi Arabia and European countries.

Dilip Kumar Jha  |  Mumbai Last Updated at September 26, 2017 13:13 IST

Basmati sowing likely to go up 25% in FY18 on high demand, normal monsoonGST impact: 5% rate to squeeze margins of basmati rice exportersBasmati overtakes buffalo meat as top export commodityBasmati rice shares in focus; LT Foods, KRBL hit new highsREI Agro goes in for liquidation
The prices of basmati paddy and rice are likely to remain firm this year due to estimates of lower output following erratic monsoon rainfalls in its major growing regions.

Data compiled by the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) showed India’s cumulative rainfalls this season was 5 per cent lower than the long period average (LPA) with the northwest India recorded a massive 11 per cent less rainfalls this year til September 20. According to industry sources, major basmati paddy growing area received much lower than needed rainfalls this season which not only hit overall sowing area but also plants in the field.

The price increase might hurt exports of this aromatic rice which remained a favourable choice for consumers in Iran, Saudi Arabia and European countries.

“During the current season, there has been rainfall deficit in the key basmati rice producing states of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana over the previous year’s monsoon season till mid-September 2017 as well as lower water reservoir levels in Uttar Pradesh. These factors can translate into lower paddy production in the current crop season, and thus the paddy prices are likely to open firm in the oncoming procurement season,” said Deepak Jotwani, Assistant Vice President, Icra.

Meanwhile, India’s basmati rice exports have witnessed a rebound in the current fiscal with Q1 FY18 registering a 32 per cent growth in exports contributed by 25 per cent increase in realisations and 7 per cent increase in volumes. This comes after a three year consecutive decline in basmati exports till FY2017 (Rs 21,605 crore). In the past, despite the volumes holding firm, the exports have been adversely impacted by pressure on realisations (from peak of Rs 77,988 a tonne in FY2014 to Rs 54,011 a tonne in FY2017), driven by lower demand in the global market as well as lower paddy prices over the procurement seasons of FY2015 and FY2016.

Gurnam Arora, Joint Managing Director, Kohinoor Foods Ltd, said, “Basmati rice is likely to remain firm this year on lower output estimates.”

An Icra report said that basmati rice exports in the current fiscal have been encouraging, especially driven by demand from Iran. The Middle Eastern countries are the biggest importers; and also a source of volatility in demand. Demand from Iran, the second largest importer has been fairly volatile, primarily on account of import bans imposed from time to time. In Q1FY2018, Iran has been the primary contributor to growth in industry exports – contributing around 40 per cent to the total. However, from August 2017, Iran has again discontinued importing Basmati rice from India.

Resumption of imports by Iran, which is anticipated around the procurement season, would be critical for the overall demand for Basmati rice. Any delay in the same could dampen the paddy procurement in the upcoming season as well as subdue the exports outlook for H2FY2018 and FY2019. This is especially material in the light of decline in volume sales from other key market - Saudi Arabia (13 per cent of total exports in Q1FY2018 as against 20 per cent in FY2017).

On the supply side, during the last procurement season of October-December 2016, basmati paddy prices had firmed up by 20-25 per cent across varieties, on the back of relatively lower production.

Meanwhile, the demand concerns in the form of Iran import ban and sluggishness from other key geographies would be overcome and export volumes in FY2018 to be around 4.1 million tonnes (4 per cent higher than FY2017). In addition, higher paddy prices in the last procurement season and likelihood of firm prices in the upcoming procurement season are expected to push up the average realisations in FY2018. As a result, export value is expected to grow to around Rs 26,000 crores in FY2018, a jump of 21 per cent over FY2017.

Meanwhile, India’s basmati rice output is estimated to have declined by over 18 per cent to eight million tonnes (mt) for 2016-17, compared to 9.8 mt the previous year

26 SEPTEMBER 2017  Last Updated at 2:57 PM

Rice basmati remains up on increased offtake

New Delhi, Sep 26 Rice basmati prices advanced by Rs 100 per quintal at the wholesale grains market today on increased offtake by stockists to meet rising demand from stockists and rice mills against tight supplies.
However, other grains remained steady in thin trade.
Traders said increased buying by stockists, driven by rising demand from stockists and rice mills against tight stocks position on fall supplies from producing belts mainly kept rice basmati prices higher.
In the national capital, rice basmati common and Pusa 1121 variety rose further by Rs 100 each to Rs 7,000-7,100 and Rs 5,750-5,800 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 1,760-1,765, Chakki atta (delivery) Rs 1,765-1,770, 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 7,000-7,100, Rice Pusa (1121) Rs 5,750-5,800, Permal raw Rs 2,200-2,225, Permal wand Rs 2,250-2,275, Sela Rs 2,300-2,400 and Rice IR-8 Rs 1,850-1,875, Bajra Rs 1,180-1,185, Jowar yellow Rs 1,400-1,450, white Rs 2,800-2,900, Maize Rs 1,280-1,285, Barley Rs 1,430-1,440.

USA Rice Annual Awards Luncheon Packs a Punch
September 26, 2017
By Michael Klein
2016 Award Winners (from left): Steve Linscombe, Gary Sebree, and Richard Fontenot

ARLINGTON, VA -- The annual USA Rice Outlook Conference is the largest rice gathering in North America, and while innovative programming and exciting speakers always fill the two-day event, a highlight for many is the inspiring annual Rice Awards Luncheon, set this year for Monday, December 11, at noon.
"When many people in the rice industry are still trying to contend with disasters created by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, it's really uplifting to be able to present the Rice Awards," said Vicky Boyd, Editor of Rice Farming magazine.  "These annual recognitions highlight some of the most positive achievements associated with our industry."
Every year at the luncheon Rice Farming bestows three awards: Rice Farmer of the Year, the Rice Industry Award, and the Rice Lifetime Achievement Award, and choosing the honorees is never easy.
"This year, as in years' past, we had a strong group of nominations submitted," Boyd explained.  "Although it makes judging really tough because each person is worthy in his or her own right, it also reflects positively on the industry that there are so many accomplished leaders."
Boyd said the three recipients also will be featured in a special section included in the December issue of Rice Farming magazine and she thanked Horizon Ag and USA Rice for their continued support of the Rice Awards.
The luncheon is also the time the new Rice Leadership Development Program class is announced."It's always exciting when we read the names of the new class members in a room packed with alumni, lifetime achievement award winners, and others who have dedicated their lives to the rice industry," said California rice farmer Charley Matthews, Jr., chairman of The Rice Foundation that oversees the Leadership Development Program.  "The application process for the program is grueling but it's worth it, and we always start things off by warmly welcoming these young men and women into the family."
USA Rice is also slated to present a brand new award this year, the USA Rice Sustainability Award that will be presented to the individual or entity with a history of promoting and advancing sustainability through innovative practices and demonstrated leadership in the sustainability community.  (Nominations are still being accepted and the form can be found here.)
The Annual Rice Awards Luncheon is included for all registered Outlook Conference attendees and guests.  Meeting materials can be found here.

Quote of the Day

"Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go."
                                                                           - T.S. Eliot

Waste disposal in Rice Canal deprives Larkana residents of potable water

Published: September 26, 2017
Water in the Rice Canal that runs through Larkana city is no longer potable owing to the disposal of waste in it over the years. PHOTO: COURTESY JAMAL DAWOODPOTO
LARKANA: Around 5,000 years ago, the people of Mohen Jo Daro had an underground sewerage system with proper disposal of solid waste but today we deal with waste by flinging it out into a sweet water canal.
This was stated by Prof Ameer Ali, a teacher of agriculture at Dokri College, who was pointing his finger at Rice Canal, which flows through Larkana city, the hometown of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, whose party has been ruling the province for the last nine years.
For many historical and geographical reasons, Larkana is a privileged city. It is located near Mohen Jo Daro, which was the home of the ancient Indus Valley civilisation. The city stands out for its archaeological sites, political history, rich culture and booming agriculture. Among such praise-worthy attributes, there was a stream of sweet drinking water running through the city, called Rice Canal. However, today, water in the canal is no longer potable owing to the disposal of waste in it over the years. People throwing garbage into the canal and buffaloes swimming in it is a frequent sight these days.
“Now, the water [available to the residents] is not fit for human consumption. One of the reasons for this is this contaminated canal whose water also penetrates underground and makes underground water impure. It is causing harmful impact on our health and we all are victims of it,” Prof Ali bemoaned.

Unending waste disposal
Despite spending of billions of rupees under the Larkana package, no solution has been reached to stop waste disposal in the Rice Canal.  According to an estimate, around 22 million gallons per day (MGD) of waste of the city is being disposed in the canal.
Local journalist Hanif Suhaq said not only human waste, but hospital and animal waste is also being released into it. “Whenever we raise this issue before PPP ministers, they blame General (retd) Musharraf’s tenure for the start of this practice. No one tries to stop it,” he said.
Abdul Rasool Abro, a government teacher, has bored around five hand pumps in various locations in Sacchal Colony in order to get freshwater, but all in vain.
People throwing garbage into the canal and buffaloes swimming in it is a frequent sight these days. PHOTO: COURTESY JAMAL DAWOODPOTO
“The water that poured out of the hand pumps in the summer was not only fresh but also cold. Whether you believe or not, on scorching hot days we were not able to take baths because of its coldness. Now, the water smells whenever we push the hand pump,” Abro said, recalling his childhood days.
“There are 28 pumping stations in the city that release their waste into this canal. Apart from this, the waste of Chandka Teaching Hospital is also being released into the canal without any treatment,” local councillor Khan Muhammad Panhwar said, adding that the Supreme Court’s judicial commission was also informed about the situation and it expressed dismay over it but no tangible result has been seen so far.
Lahori Mahallah, Peoples Colony, Shaikh Zaid Colony and Sacchal Colony are the worst-affected areas in terms of the polluted underground water.

Accusations and clarifications
In a petition, a resident of Larkana, Bashir Ahmed, has alleged that the PPP government spent around Rs90 billion from 2008 but most of the funds were bungled. “There was a provision to divert the city’s waste somewhere else where the government had to install treatment plants [so that the water could be treated] before its release for agriculture, but the funds were misappropriated,” he claimed, adding that four oxidation plants in the city were set up in late 1990s but all of them are either non-functional or occupied by influential people.
While defending his government, Larkana Municipal Corporation Mayor Mohammad Aslam Shaikh said the waste of 24 pumping stations has been diverted to other stations located outside the city where artificial methods are being used to filter sewage water. “We have set up a few ponds near Aqil, Pir Shah Road, Mahar Wada and Mashori Sharif where using traditional procedure, physical particles are separated and then the water is released for agriculture,” the mayor said, adding that since there was no industrial waste, there was no need for treatment plants.
Deputy Commissioner Kashif Ali Tipu refuted the reports that Rs90 billion was spent in Larkana. “People have exaggerated the figures. The government has hardly spent Rs23 billion in the last nine years,” he said, adding that the entire drainage system of Larkana is being revamped and most of the sewage water is not being released into the Rice Canal.

Canada’s GSP, NAFTA pushes up Pak trade deficit

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has been cultivating trade deficits in its bilateral trade relationship with Canada for several years as the North American nation doesn’t treat its exports and imports under tariff preferential schemes, officials said on Monday.  
Annual trade between the two countries staggers below one billion dollars – a little over one percent of Pakistan’s total trade volume of around $74 billion. Officials said Pakistani authorities told their Canadian counterparts that the lower exports to Canada were due to its preferential trade with US and Mexico under the North America Free Trade agreement (NAFTA) as well as generalized system of preferences (GSP), granted only to the World Bank-designated least developing countries, including Bangladesh – Pakistan’s arch rival in foreign textile markets. 
Trade data, available with The News, showed that Pakistan’s share in Canadian global imports of $471 billion is negligible.  Total bilateral trade between Pakistan and Canada stood at $857.89 million in 2011/12 as the former’s exports fetched $211.229 million, while imports stood at $646.59 million, indicating that the trade balance was in favour of the latter.
Bilateral trade significantly dropped to $355.8 million in 2012/13 as exports stood at $215.81 million and imports $139.9 million, depicting a trade surplus for Pakistan. In 2013/14, the bilateral trade recovered to $431.8 million mainly in favour of Pakistan. In the subsequent years, trade balance, however, remained in favour of Canada. Bilateral trade stood at $657.7 million in fiscal 2014/15 mainly in favour of Canada to the tune of $201 million. It amounted to $856 million in 2015/16 and $911.6 million in 2016/17, benefiting Canada of $423 million and $462 million, respectively.
Officials said the balance of trade has been tilting towards Canada since fiscal 2006/07 owing mostly to imports of oil seeds and machinery.  There was a brief relief in 2012/13 and 2013/14 after decline in imports of oil seeds, aircraft equipment and parts, machinery, vegetables and vegetable preparations, medical/surgical instruments, road vehicles and parts, coal, and chemical materials. 
“Yet again, we are facing trade deficits,” an official of the commerce ministry said.  Pakistan’s major items of exports to Canada include rice, textile made-ups, apparel and cloth (knitted and crocheted), hosiery, cotton yarn, carpets, synthetic fabrics, medical/surgical instruments, sports goods, jewellery, iron and steel, fruit and fruit preparations, spices, and chemicals. 
The country’s imports from Canada are wheat, vegetables and vegetable preparations, including pulse, machinery and its parts, oil seeds, crude minerals, chemicals, pharmaceutical products, pulp and paper waste, old clothing and rags, coal, coke and briquettes and iron and steel products.  Officials said Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) identified Canada as a potential export market as exports to the country have been rising since 2009.   
TDAP is also organising businessmen participation in an annual SIAL Food Show in Montreal scheduled in May next year. SIAL Canada is the leading name in the agri-food industry, with more than 850 national and international exhibitors from 50 countries hosting over 15,000 buyers from Canada, the United States, and 60 other countries.
“Pakistan may request the Canadian side to work in coordination with TDAP for promotion of select products, particularly agro-processed food, seafood, apparel, gems and jewelry in the Canadian market,” the ministry’s official said. 
“As a follow-up to the meeting of the Canadian High Commissioner with the Minister for Commerce, we are preparing a plan in consultation with the relevant stakeholders, for which technical assistance will be sought from the Canadian side.

Food exports surge over 30pc to $512.321mln in two months
The food exports from Pakistan have surged by 30.06 percent during the first two months of the current fiscal year compared to the corresponding period of last year.
The country earned $512.321 million by exporting various food commodities during July-August (2-17-18) compared to the exports of $393.926 million in July-August (2016-17), showing growth of 30.06 percent, according to the data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS).
The food products that contributed in positive growth in trade included Rice, exports of which grew by 40.36 percent from $159.543 million last year to $223.937 million current year.
Among the rice products, the exports of basmati rice increased by 10.35 percent, from $$56.857 million to $62.741 million while the exports of other rice commodities increased by 56.98 percent, from $102.686 million to $161.196 million.
The exports of fish and fish preparations increased from $29.486 million to $35.273 million, showing growth of 19.63 percent while the exports of vegetables went up from $18.888 percent to $20.538 percent, an increase of 8.74 percent.
Tobacco exports expanded by 27.29 percent from $0.700 million to 0.891 million while the exports of wheat witnessed cent percent growth as its exports were recorded at $0.323 million during the first two months of current year compared to zero exports of last year.
Pakistan export oil seeds, nuts and kernals worth $0.5.410 million during the first two months of current year compared to $3.468 million, showing an increase of 56 percent, while the sugar exports witness hundred percent growth as Pakistan exported the commodity worth $32.313 million against zero exports of last year.
Meanwhile, the food products that witnessed negative growth trade during the period under review included fruits, the exports of which decreased by 18.24 percent, from $60.981 million to $49,861 million. 
The exports of spices decreased by 21.28 percent from $9.753 million to $7.678 million while the exports of meat and meat preparations decreased by 3.46 percent, from $31.625 million to $30.530 million.
It is pertinent to mention here that overall merchandise exports from the country witnessed positive trend for the second consecutive month and grew by 11.80 percent during the first two months of the current fiscal year compared to the corresponding period of the last year.
The exports from the country during July-August (2017-18) were recorded at $3.497 billion against the exports of $3.128 billion during July-August (2016-17), showing growth of 11.8 percent.
The imports into the country also increased by 24.85 percent by going up from $7.839 during the first two months of last fiscal year to $9.787 billion during the current year.
Based on the figures, the trade deficit during the first two months of the current fiscal year was recorded at $6.290 billion which indicated an increase of 33.52 percent when compared to the deficit of $4.711 billion during the same period of last year

Food aid, face masks dispatched to Bali as 57,000 flee volcano

KARANGASEM, INDONESIA: Vehicles laden with food, masks and bedding have been dispatched to help more than 57,000 people who have fled a volcano on the tourist island of Bali, as rising magma and increased tremors fuel fears of an imminent eruption.Mount Agung, about 75 kilometres (47 miles) from the Indonesian tourist hub of Kuta, has been rumbling since August, threatening to erupt for the first time since 1963.
“The chance that an eruption will happen is quite big. But it cannot be predicted when it will happen,” Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for the disaster mitigation agency, said.
The increased frequency of tremors shows the magma continuing to move towards the surface, with the mountain entering a “critical phase”, the spokesman said.
The Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation said there has been an increase in volcanic tremors, with a total of 564 recorded Monday.
Evacuees have packed into temporary shelters or moved in with relatives. Some 2,000 cows have also been evacuated from the flanks of the volcano.
Balinese residents, international NGOs and the government have begun organising aid.
Vehicles filled with noodles, mineral water and blankets have been sent to the evacuation centres, while residents around the island have been collecting donations for those affected.
Bali’s “sister village” programme and tradition of communal assistance means evacuees have been able to stay in villages outside the danger zone.
Around 62,000 people lived in the danger zone prior to the evacuations, according to the disaster mitigation agency.
I Ketut Subandi, head of logistics at the village of Tana Ampo, said basic food items like rice, instant noodles, cooking oil and water were most needed.
“This morning we were worried because we had limited rice supply, but now we have received more rice stocks from donors,” Subandi said.
Indonesia’s national disaster agency has dispatched 640,000 face masks, 12,500 mattresses, 8,400 blankets, 50 tents, and has a budget of $75,000 for assistance.
The central government has set aside a relief fund of nearly $150 million in case of an eruption.
Officials announced the highest possible alert level on Friday due to the increasing volcanic activity, and told people to stay at least nine kilometres away from the crater.
“Our preparedness will be the key for the mitigations of volcanic risks,” Devy Kamil, a senior official at Indonesia’s Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, told media agencies.
Trekking tours on the mountain have been cancelled by operators but officials have otherwise been at pains to assure tourists the island is safe.
The airport in Bali’s capital Denpasar, through which millions of foreign tourists pass every year, has not been affected, but several countries including Australia and Singapore have put out a travel advisory.
Mount Agung is one of more than 120 active volcanoes extending the length of Indonesia, which straddles the Pacific Ring of Fire.
It last erupted in 1963, killing nearly 1,600 people and sending ash as far as the capital Jakarta.

Not importing tomatoes from India ‘good decision’

September 26, 2017
LCCI says move will encourage local farmers to grow more, help save foreign exchange. PHOTO: REUTERS
LAHORE: The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) hailed the announcement made by Minister for National Food Security and Research Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan of not importing tomatoes from India, saying that the move would help local farmers and save foreign exchange for Pakistan.
Currently, Pakistan is faced with a shortage of tomatoes in the domestic market. While imports from India fill the gap each year, the move to bar containers from entering the country from across the border have created a bigger demand-supply gap. Local vendors are currently waiting for Sindh’s produce to reach the market.
However, the decision, which has led to a massive surge in tomato prices in the domestic market with per-kilo rates hovering around Rs200 in Karachi’s urban areas, was, deemed the “right one” by LCCI President Abdul Basit who said that the country has the resources to feed the population.
“Therefore, local growers should be facilitated to the maximum and their issues should be resolved on a priority basis,” Basit said in a statement issued on Monday. “The government needs to increase the cropped area to avoid any crisis-like situation.
“We cannot afford to stay where we are today in terms of cropped area and per hectare yield because we are already running short of per capita food availability.”
The LCCI said that though almost 43% labour force is dependent upon agriculture, the yield gap in the four major crops of Pakistan is three times compared to the best producers in the world such as China and Egypt.
“Low yield has contributed to poverty in rural areas besides forcing the country to import agriculture produce to feed its population.”
The LCCI president argued that the fact that China produces two times more cotton and wheat per hectare and Egypt produces around three times more rice and sugarcane per hectare than Pakistan does should be an eye-opener.
“Large-scale introduction of hybrid seeds and mechanised farming, high efficiency irrigation systems such as drip irrigation and reduction in wastage of crop through introduction of privately owned storage facilities and cold storage facilities are recommended to improve the yield,” the LCCI president added.
Referring to the changing dynamic, Basit said this was the age of bio technology and Pakistan has tremendous potential to emerge as a leader in this field. However, the government, private sector and researchers would have to work together to achieve this goal, he added.
He lamented that owing to insufficient utilisation of biotechnology, Pakistan is losing out.
“There are 400 research institutions in the country but their performance is not up to the mark,” the LCCI office-bearers concluded.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 26th, 2017.

U.S. Could Export Rice to China for First Time, But Is It a Done Deal?

By Tyne Morgan September 25, 2017 | 9:35 am EDT
As U.S. rice farmers bring in a new crop, rough rice prices have rallied a dollar since June. While U.S. prices vary, farmers rely heavily on consistent consumption at home each year.“The biggest market is the domestic U.S. market overall,” said Johnny Sullivan, Producers Rice Mill, located in Stuttgart, Ark. “That's where I'd say about 60 percent of the rice grown in the U.S. stays in the U.S.”
September is National Rice Month, celebrating the various uses of rice. The grain is gluten free, and also features whole grain qualities. It’s those traits that mills say are helping the crop grow in popularity domestically.
“Many ingredients that are made from rice are also gluten free for additives, for nutritional bars and different things such as that,” said Sullivan.
Once the American made rice leaves the field, it’s processed in the mill and turned into popular products like beer. Sullivan says consumers of Budweiser or Bud Light are already a big supporter of home-grown rice.
“Anheuser-Busch is virtually the largest buyer of rice in the world,” said Sullivan.
From brews to puppy food, milled U.S. rice is growing in use.
“Even puppy rations use a large amount of rice now because they found that it's very soothing to the puppy's tummies,” said Bill Reed of Riceland Foods, the world’s largest rice miller.  
What doesn’t get consumed domestically needs a home, and today, there are a few countries that top the export list.
“Most of our rice is marketed into the export markets in the Western hemisphere - many of the Caribbean Islands, as well as Central America are big rice eaters,” said Reed.
“Most of that rice in California is consumed domestically, and then about 25 percent is shipped to Japan,” said Chris Crutchfield, CEO of American Commodity Company, based in Williams, Calif.
The rice industry says they’re lockstep with the rest of agriculture on current trade deals like NAFTA, urging the administration to do no harm in agriculture’s slice of current trade pacts. 
“Mexico is our largest market,” said Crutchield. “Almost of its rough rice market or raw material market, and then Canada’s is our third largest.
Another scrutinized deal that Crutchfield fears could potentially pose fallout for rice is South Korea.
“That’s a deal that rice was excluded from,” said Crutchield. “While we don't necessarily have a say in the technical aspect of the agreement, we do export a lot rice to South Korea every year, and if we get into some sort of a trade, that could have a negative effect on the overall trade aspect.”
Crutchield says rice producers want to protect current markets already in place, but as some key buyers wane, it’s encouraging the industry to find new markets.
“Iraq is still purchasing U.S. rice, but four years ago [the country] was buying several hundred thousand tons of rice a year - this past year they bought 30,000 tons,” said Crutchfield. “With the loss of those markets, you either need a resumption of trade or you need to pick up new markets.”
In Sullivan’s eyes, Cuba is one market that could come back on board, ideally positioned to take on more exports from the rice belt in the Southeast.
“Cuba buys somewhere between 500,000 and 600,000 tons per year,” he said. “They import that much rice U.S. rice crop, and the U.S. proximity to Cuba is the closest that there is which takes out the logistic issues.”
An even bigger potential buyer would be the world’s most populous country – China.
“China is a monster of a market,” said Sullivan. “The facts are based on the consumption rates of rice in China that in a 14-day period they could eat the entire U.S. crop. So, it's an unreal market.”
“There's no doubt that China needs rice,” said Crutchfield. “Over the last 10 years they’ve gone from being a competitor of the U.S. and others on the export stage, to being the world's largest importer of rice”
The Trump administration paved the path for trade to China this year when leaders signed a deal in July, agreeing to start exporting rice to China for the first time ever. It was a deal more than a decade in the works and happened after both U.S. and China agreed on “phytosanitary protocol,” which helps put more parameters around terms of sanitary conditions for U.S. milled rice.
“One of the things that was unique about this phytosanitary agreement was this is first time the United States government has ever allowed a foreign government to send inspectors to the United Sates to review and inspect potential facilities or individual companies,” said Crutchield.
The U.S. calling the deal a major win, but the reality is little progress has been made since that initial step with the signing in July.
“Taking 11 years to get the first step behind us and being able to see how many steps we have in front of us is a little disconcerting,” Crutchfield said.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue recently set an aggressive timeline, saying the first shipment of U.S. rice could hit within the next three months. Crutchield is hopeful that’s the case.
“If they move forward in any kind of a timely fashion, we can see that happen,” he said. “My most realistic estimate would be to say that I’m confident we'll see some rice from the 2017 crop be exported from the United States to China.
Once the first shipment breaks through, Crutchfield thinks the demand growth is huge, possibly turning into a 6 figure market in the future

RICE FARMING: A green way to cut cost

12:00 AM, September 26, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:18 AM, September 26, 2017


Bangladeshi scientists have developed the perfect blend of decomposable waste, biochar, friendly bacteria and rock phosphate to make two most-used chemical fertilisers in the country's paddy fields largely unnecessary.
A group of soil scientists at the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) yesterday said use of the newly developed bio-organic fertiliser would eventually eliminate 100 percent usage of triple super phosphate (TSP) and reduce urea usage for rice production by 30 percent.
Not only would this help reduce the use of chemical fertiliser, it would significantly cut the government's yearly fertiliser subsidy of Tk 9,000 crore.
It would also help keep the environment clean and green as it would use kitchen waste and cut down carbon emission.
The Soil Science Division of BRRI successfully field-tested the efficacy of this bio-organic fertiliser on paddy in all three rice-growing seasons -- Boro, Aus and Aman.
The tests were done over the last one year at BRRI's compound and the fertiliser is now on trial at farmers' fields in Barisal, Patuakhali, Rajshahi and Kishoreganj. 
Umme Aminun Naher, a BRRI principal scientific officer (PSO) and mastermind behind the bio-organic fertiliser, told The Daily Star yesterday that the blend has 10 beneficial bacteria.
About 15 percent of it is biochar (charcoal used as a soil amendment) and five percent rock phosphate, she said, adding that the rest was decomposable household vegetable waste. 
She said their trials had shown that the use of bio-organic fertiliser did not have any impact on rice yields and was at par with production level achieved through chemical fertiliser usage. 
Naher pointed out that the fertiliser would help reduce carbon emissions. Greenhouse gasses are emitted during chemical fertiliser production and its use, she said.
Research revealed that the production of one kg of urea and TSP fertiliser emits about six kg of CO2 in the air, said the Unesco-ISTIC (International Science, Technology and Innovation Centre for South-South Cooperation) award-winning scientist.
She said, "We are using the same rock phosphate, which is a key ingredient in TSP, but in our process the beneficial bacteria make the rock phosphate soluble. Other bacteria that we are using help compost waste, fix nitrogen from the air and help the paddy plant grow."
The biochar is produced by burning rice husk, she added.
Neither Naher nor Jatish Chandra Biswas, the head of the BRRI Soil Science Division, could give a clear idea on the cost of the fertiliser.
They, however, said the cost of production should be much lower than chemical fertilisers as "we are using household wastes, cheap biochar and bacteria and little amount of rock phosphate, which is available in the market for Tk 5 per kg".
They said the fertiliser would add organic matter and beneficial microbes to maintain soil health. Soil quality would increase with direct application of carbon via biochar.
Research findings indicate that application of chemical fertilisers for a long time decreases the populations of free-living nitrogen fixing bacteria, organisms that solubilise phosphate as well as other beneficial bacteria.
Md Imran Ullah Sarkar and Afsana Jahan are the two other soil scientists of the BRRI team that developed the fertiliser after several years of research, lab tests and field trials.
Jatish told The Daily Star that to move forward with the product, BRRI would first make a patent application. Once they had the patent, they would provide interested enterprises with the technology so that the fertiliser reached all farmers in the country.
The decomposing process of the waste, bacteria, biochar and phosphate would generate a considerable amount of biogas and people would be able to tap into it, once it is produced commercially on a large scale, he said.
BRRI Director General Md Shahjahan Kabir told The Daily Star yesterday that as a first step, BRRI would soon approach the Gazipur City Corporation to go for bio-organic fertiliser production.
"We are (BRRI headquarters) located in Gazipur and we will approach the local city authorities to make the best use of the decomposable waste collected each day. That will have a demonstrative effect on other places in the country," said Kabir.
Rice worth US$ 223.937mn exported in two months

ISLAMABAD: Rice worth US$ 223.937 million has been exported during the first two months of current financial year.  During the period from July-August, 2017 rice exports from the country grew by 40.36 percent as compared to the exports of the same period of last year, according the data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.  In last two months around 428,993 metric tons of rice worth US$ 223.937 million was exported as compared to the exports of 380,861 metric tons valuing US$ 159.543 million, it added.
  Meanwhile, the exports of basmati rice grew by 10.35 percent and about 59,433 metric tons of basmati rice worth US$ 62.741 million was exported as compared to the exports of 59,192 metric tons valuing US$ 56.857 million of same period last year.  The exports of rice other than basmati also witnessed an increase of 58.98 percent, around 369.580 metric tons of rice costing US$ 161.198 million was exported as compared to the exports of 251,669 metric tons worth US$ 102.888 million of last year.  On month on month basis, rice exports from the country grew by 53 percent in August, 2017 as compared to the same month of last year, the data reveled. 
About 227,998 metric tons of rice worth US$ 116.041 million exported in August as compared  to the exports of 146,769 metric tons valuing US$ 75.569 million of same period last year.
 Meanwhile, basmati rice worth US$ 86.290 million was exported last month, which grew by 2.15 percent as compared to the same month of last year.  Exports of basmati rice was recorded at 28,482 metric tons in the month of August as compared to the exports 30,446 metric tons of same period last year.  During the period from July-August 2017, food group exports of the country increased by 30.6 percent as compared to the exports of the same period of last year.  Country earned US$ 512.321 million by exporting different food commodities during first two-months of current financial year as compared to the earnings of the corresponding period of last year.

In the Philippines, a Chinese hybrid rice program highlights the 'win-win' policy


Three hours from traffic-choked Manila is the Science City of Muñoz in the province of Nueva Ecija, a land of lush greenery and known as the center of agricultural research and innovation in the Philippines.

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Among the city’s structures is the Philippine-Sino Center for Agricultural Training (PhilSCAT), launched in 2003 and a result of technical cooperation between China and the Philippines. The program’s aim is to explore the potential of Chinese hybrid rice varieties in the country, as well as introduce China’s modernized farming technologies to local farmers. The center is a 10-hectare property composed of buildings that serve as a workshop, lodging for Chinese experts and office space for PhilSCAT staff members. Part of the property is an experimental land area for hybrid seed varieties.

While other Chinese aid-funded projects here have come under fire for alleged corruption, PhilSCAT’s work has avoided such accusations. The center is a rare development program between China and the Philippines. In its office lobby is a wall-to-ceiling painting showing two white birds and a shower of rice grains on Philippine farmers. On the adjacent wall hangs a plaque that says, in Filipino, that the artwork serves as a symbol of friendship between the two nations.
PhilSCAT through the decade

The need to rapidly grow more food in the Philippines is dire. With more than 100 million people to feed, the country ranks 13th in the world in terms of population. Prime agricultural land is increasingly being converted to highways, residential areas and commercial centers. In order to address this, the government placed a two-year moratorium on the conversion of 4.7 million hectares agricultural land in 2016. The Department of Agriculture, meanwhile, is eyeing 1 million hectares for hybrid rice production by 2018.

The government believes hybridization is a key element in reaching the Philippines’ rice self-sufficiency goals. Many agronomists and industry players believe hybrid rice varieties produce higher yields than inbred ones, whose yield performance, they said, had plateaued over the years. Some hybrid varieties produce twice as much rice per hectare, making them an attractive option for a heavy rice-consuming country such as the Philippines. The country’s population growth and dwindling space for agriculture due to industrialization have created an imbalance between rice demand and supply and PhilSCAT fits perfectly into the country’s push for seed hybridization.

The PhilSCAT center was built with a $5 million grant from China’s Ministry of Agriculture, and an estimated $2.9 million of counterpart funding from the Philippine government. It is one of the few known Chinese-aid funded projects in the Philippines that come in grant form and whose establishment is far from the showy economic and infrastructure projects China is often known for in countries where it has an aid presence. The project has been renewed twice and is set to continue into its third phase after China’s Ministry of Commerce approved a new $10 million grant to expand its operations.

“We will build a laboratory to develop super hybrid rice, which we will test for quality, resistance to pests and diseases, and yield,” said Dr. Carlos Abon, Jr., head of technology and product development at the center.

There are also plans to “recreate” PhilSCAT or set up a satellite branch in Davao Oriental in the island of Mindanao.
Photo by: Jenny Ravelo / Devex

In over a decade of operations, PhilSCAT has made a number of breakthroughs. The center was able to identify Chinese hybrid rice lines that can be adapted in the Philippines and were eventually certified by the country’s National Seed Industry Council as seed varieties. It was also able to produce hybrid seed varieties using local seeds.

The center distributed farm machinery from China to cooperatives in the provinces of Nueva Ecija and Isabela, all in grant form. Its staff members conduct regular technological training and demonstrations for farmers, sometimes in collaboration with experts from the the Central Luzon State University and the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), a government research and development entity that creates high-yielding rice varieties, but at a lower cost. Over the years, hundreds of farmers have received training on everything from hybrid rice seed production to modernized ways of rice farming, including the repair and maintenance of farm machinery that was provided by the Philippines’ Department of Agriculture. Mechanized agriculture is a priority of the President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration.

Due to its modest budget and set mandate, PhilSCAT’s contributions to the Philippines’ goal of rice self-sufficiency has been limited. The center has developed a number of hybrid rice varieties that have received approval from the NSIC, but because of its mandate as a research facility, it has a smaller land area for production.PhilSCAT has turned to the private sector for assistance in expanding production. For its Mestizo 38 hybrid rice variety, for example, PhilSCAT entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with two seed entities, Prasad Seeds Philippines Inc. and the Davao Oriental Seed Producers Cooperative, to produce and commercialize the said variety.

Private sector involvement in hybrid rice production is common in the Philippines, and is often welcomed by the government given the private sector’s resources and capacities to produce at a much larger scale. Private sector companies are seen by the government as partners in the push for rice self-sufficiency. Industry watchdogs, however, warn of downsides to over-reliance on the private sector. It allows for wider corporate control over the food system.

“Seeds are a political commodity. If you own them, you’re very powerful,” Jean Lugasip, program manager for Visayas and Mindanao at NGO Rice Watch and Action Network (R1), told Devex. R1 advocates more government support for grassroots-led innovation on the research and development of high-yielding, high-quality rice seed varieties.

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The transfer of Chinese technology in agriculture is not new. In Africa, training centers have been operational for decades. Since the turn of the century, China has regularly launched or incorporated hybrid rice programs in technical cooperation.

This technology transfer, however, has been criticized by civil society organizations and perceived as openings for Chinese business interests, even though China has often labeled such programs as assistance for countries trying to reach rice self-sufficiency.

Genetic Resources Action International,  a small international nonprofit that analyzes trends in food systems, captured the business aspect of China’s hybridization promotion in an article published in 2010.

“It is often not realized that China’s international hybrid rice activities are almost always led by private Chinese seed companies, and mostly often by one company — LPHT,” according to the article. “Over the years, with the support and blessing of the government, this state-owned company has grown into a major multinational corporation, with 26 subsidiaries, and a listing on the Shenzhen stock exchange, with a large stake now owned by the world’s fourth-largest seed company, Vilmorin Limagrain of France.”

The article identifies the different Asian countries — such as Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Myanmar — that import most of the seeds for their hybrid rice programs from China.

PhilSCAT’s case is no different. The parental lines the center has been using to develop hybrid rice varieties come from China’s Yuan Longping High-Tech Agriculture Co. Ltd.

As hybrid seeds lose their vigor when replanted — they won’t be able to produce the same number of yields — PhilSCAT will require imports of the Chinese hybrid rice lines to continue producing the same hybrid rice varieties. Not only will this create reliance on imports, it is also in contrast to the government’s goal of rice self-sufficiency, one that is not measured by the ability to meet the country’s rice demands alone.

“Self-sufficiency is about ensuring food being served is safe and that farmers are earning enough for producing them,” R1’s Lugasip said.Patricia Bernal, information officer for knowledge management at PhilSCAT said, however, that not all of their varieties were produced using Chinese hybrid rice lines. Mestizo 38, she noted, is produced using local hybrid parental rice lines — and that is done with help from modern technologies and knowledge shared by Chinese experts.

“We were able to see and develop local hybrid rice varieties for our own purposes,” she said.

Of the 79 hybrid rice varieties currently available in the Philippines and approved by the NSIC, however, it is unclear how many were developed using local versus imported hybrid parental rice lines. Breeders of these varieties — public or private — often don’t disclose parental lines to the public, said Joanne Caguiat, senior science research specialist and head of the three-line hybrid rice breeding project at PhilRice.

PhilRice and the International Rice Research Institute continue to develop the genetic diversity of local hybrid parental lines. Most of the seven hybrid rice varieties PhilRice was able to develop from 2011 onwards were mostly produced using local hybrid parental lines, said Caguiat.

“The Philippines can produce and develop its own hybrids using local parental lines,” Caguiat told Devex. “It’s just that China’s seed lines can produce higher yields. In addition, China has a long and vast research and experience when it comes to hybrid rice production compared with the Philippines.”

Locally bred hybrid rice varieties produce 6 tons per hectare on average while those from China can produce as much as 14 tons per hectare, she said.
Bernal stressed that under the terms of their agreement with seed companies, hybrid rice varieties developed by the center will need to be sold at a low price given that the variety is cultivated by a public entity.

This means the Indian company, Prasad Seeds, and the Davao Oriental Seed Producers Cooperative will have exclusive rights to market Mestizo 38, but they will have to do so at a rate of 3,800 Philippine pesos ($75) for 18 kilograms of hybrid seeds — good for one hectare. By comparison, private companies usually sell hybrid varieties at PhP4,800 to PhP5,000 (roughly $100) for the same amount of seeds, Bernal said.

This is clearly not the case for other of their cultivated hybrid rice varieties.During PhilSCAT’s first five years, staff members and experts tested more than 50 Chinese hybrid rice lines on different farms across the country. The goal was to find varieties that could adapt well to local conditions. At the end of this period, scientists were able to select three Chinese hybrid rice lines that would become Mestizo 12, Mestizo 13 and Mestizo 14 rice varieties in the Philippines.

But for all its efforts, PhilSCAT did not get to keep any of the three hybrid rice varieties. Yuan Longping High-Tech, which supplied the Chinese hybrid rice seeds PhilsCAT tested, sold them to the private sector, said PhilSCAT’s Abon. Mestizo 12 was procured by vegetable seed producer Allied Botanical Corp. Mestizo 13 was sold to Pioneer, a U.S.-owned hybrid rice seed company.
Abon said he doesn’t know what happened to Mestizo 14 or what the terms for selling the two other hybrid rice varieties. He said PhilSCAT didn’t get any royalties from both sales.

“I don’t know why. They said there was no Memorandum of Agreement [barring Longping from selling the varieties],” he told Devex in Filipino.
Bernal agreed.
“We can’t run after it since there weren’t any signed MOAs,” she told Devex. She did say the negotiations were under the guidance and supervision of PhilSCAT’s Chinese co-director, Cheng Liangji.

Mestizo 14, it turns out, is also now with Longping-Allied Hybrid Research and Development Inc., a merger between Yuan Longping High-Tech and Allied Botanical. It has exclusive distribution rights for Mestizo 14 in the Philippines.

Bernal said Yuan Longping High-Tech has also ventured into seed production in the Philippines as they now know the areas and networks where PhilSCAT conducted technology demonstrations and adaptability trials for hybrid seed varieties.
Different project, same rhetoric

Activities at PhilSCAT underscore a familiar perception often associated with Chinese assistance: mixing aid with commercial interests.

China is known to use development assistance for diplomacy, as well as business. It is not uncommon for Chinese-funded projects to be contracted to Chinese companies or state-owned enterprises. Materials used for infrastructure projects come from China, and the government often insists on hiring its own experts on any of these projects and programs.

In PhilSCAT’s case, materials for the buildings in the 10-hectare property came from China, as did the hybrid seed varieties they tested, the machinery they use for farming, and the experts who conduct hybrid testing and machinery training.

Dennis Trinidad, professor of international relations at De La Salle University in Manila, explains the logic behind China’s strategy:

“The main concern [of China] is to simply look for opportunities for its state-owned enterprises. So, if there’s a state-owned enterprise that would want to get the contract, the Chinese government is willing to finance. And this is because the nature of the project is tied. It’s always tied. And the projects are always awarded to a Chinese company,” he told Devex. “It’s primarily business. Chinese state-owned enterprises get contracts because of Chinese assistance, so imagine, that’s a huge [sum of] money.”

Trinidad said it is “always beneficial” for the Philippines to have a wide variety of financing sources given its immense development needs. But given the corruption often linked to Chinese aid programs, he emphasized the importance due diligence in recipients’ contracts and engagements with the nontraditional donor.

“It’s up to the recipient country. [If they don’t provide due diligence], then, basically, China will just implement. Then after implementing, they will run. After they get the money, they will run,” he said.

The Philippines’ due diligence practices will be tested as several Chinese-funded projects are set to be implemented in the country in the next few years. President Duterte secured a multibillion aid package and several investment projects during his visit to Beijing in 2016. Some of these ventures are in the area of agriculture — hybrid rice production even — but many of them are huge infrastructure projects worth billions of dollars.

PhilSCAT’s case, however, exemplifies China’s win-win approach to development.

“The assistance provided was tied to Chinese agricultural equipment. It was also an opportunity to promote Chinese technology in agriculture,” Trinidad said.

He noted that very few donor countries under the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Development Assistance Committee provide technical assistance on agriculture because many of them have little or no experience in rice cultivation. China has a vast resources in this area.

“It's a win win for the Philippines obviously because there is a need to increase our agricultural productivity and self-sufficiency,” he added.

PhilSCAT’s Abon agrees. The center comes with strings attached, such as its right to sell the hybrid rice varieties Mestizo 12, 13 and 14, whose profits could have been in the range of millions of dollars. But he insists that the Philippines has benefited massively, though not always in monetary terms. Chinese assistance was key in training researchers and farmers on modernized hybrid rice production and farming technologies.

“When it comes to rice, they are helpful,” he said. But of course some of their deals, he noted, “involve large sums of money.”

The grassroots organizations Devex reached out to — those working with and for the benefit of farmers — remain wary.

Cris Panerio, national coordinator for Magsasaka at Siyentipiko para sa Pag-unlad ng Agrikultura, a farmer-led network composed of people’s organizations, NGOs and scientists “working towards the sustainable use and management of biodiversity through farmers’ control of genetic and biological resources, agricultural production and associated knowledge,” admit they are not familiar with PhilSCAT and its work, but they are against the generally aggressive push for hybridization in the country.

“The common argument with hybrids is that they produce higher yields and are necessary for rice self-sufficiency,” he said. “But hunger in rural areas is not a function of production, but a function of distribution.”

The approach to the Philippines’ agricultural problem should be holistic and not entirely just about technologies. Until then, the impact of such development projects will remain minimal, Paneiro said. But with the Philippine government’s continued push for hybridization and mechanized farming, programs such as China’s agricultural assistance is likely to continue and expand. Jang Epaper

ACC to look into govt officials' 'link'

Says its chairman

Iqbal Mahmood
Staff Correspondent
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) will initiate inquiry into alleged involvement of food department officials in hoarding rice illegally in connivance with traders.
In recent months, price of rice went up as some traders hoarded rice illegally.
“We've received the allegation. Today [Tuesday], we've decided to inquire into the allegation,” said ACC Chairman Iqbal Mahmood.
He said this while addressing a discussion titled “Corruption Free Government Service: Nature of Corruption Allegation” at Rangamati Deputy Commissioner's office, according to a press release.
ACC will conduct the inquiry in light with the Essential Articles (Price Control and Anti-Hoarding) Act.
Those who will be found involved in hoarding food illegally will be brought under the law.
“Bribing some government officials, some businessmen are hoarding essential foods and increasing its price,” said Iqbal.
He said, “Through increasing price, they are looting public money. Anti-Corruption Commission will take exemplary legal action against them.”
As rice prices have gone up further in the last four days, the government said there are conspiracies afoot to destabilise the rice market.
Food Minister Qamrul Islam said a section of unscrupulous businessmen and rice millers started using tricks to hike rice prices. The government would take steps to stabilise the rice market, he said

Rice worth US$ 223.937 million exported in two-months

 27 September,2017 09:45 am
Rice exports from the country grew by 40.36 percent during July and August this year.
ISLAMABAD (APP) - Rice worth US$ 223.937 million has been exported during the first two months of current financial year.During the period from July-August, 2017 rice exports from the country grew by 40.36 percent as compared the exports of the same period of last year, according the data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.
In last two months around 428,993 metric tons of rice worth US$ 223.937 million exported as compared the exports of 380,861 metric tons valuing US$ 159.543 million, it added.
Meanwhile, the exports of basmati rice grew by 10.35 percent and about 59,433 metric tons of basmati rice worth US$ 62.741 million exported as compared the exports of 59,192 metric tons valuing US$ 56.857 million of same period last year.
The exports of rice other then basmati also witnessed an increase of 58.98 percent, around 369.580 metric tons of rice costing US$ 161.198 million exported as compared to the exports of 251,669 metric tons worth US$ 102.888 million of last year.
On month on month basis, rice exports from the country grew by 53 percent in August, 2017 as compared the same month of last year, the data reveled.
About 227,998 metric tons of rice worth US$ 116.041 million exported in August as compared the exports of 146,769 metric tons valuing US$ 75.569 million of same period last year. Meanwhile, basmati rice worth US$ 86.290 million exported in last month, which grew by 2.15 percent as compared the same months of last year.
Exports of basmati rice was recorded at 28,482 metric tons in month of August as compared the exports 30,446 metric tons of same period last year.
During the period from July-August 2017, food group exports from the country increased by 30.6 percent as compared the exports of the same period of last year.
Country earned US$ 512.321 million by exporting different food commodities during first two-months of current financial year as compared the earnings of the corresponding period of last year
·$-223.937-million-exported-in-two-months UMP

Golden rice – a miracle tarnished by irresponsible activism

“Their eyes tell their sad stories as ghostly white irises give way to vacant stares. We can look at them but they can’t look back at us. They’ve gone blind because of malnutrition.,” V. Ravichandran, a farmer in Tamil Nadu, India, describing children suffering from vitamin A deficiency
This is a dual tragedy — first, because more than two-thirds of the children referred to in Ravichandran’s commentary will be dead within a year — blindness from vitamin A deficiency (VAD) is an early sign of life-threatening debilitation — and second, because VAD could be prevented with an accessible, modern agricultural technology.
The most elegant and practical approach to preventing VAD is a group of genetically engineered rice varieties known as Golden Rice because of its color, which is imparted by the presence of beta-carotene, the precursor of vitamin A.

Rice is a food staple for hundreds of millions, especially in Asia. Although it is an excellent source of calories, it lacks certain micronutrients necessary for a complete diet. In developing countries, 200 — 300 million children of preschool age are at risk of vitamin A deficiency, which increases their susceptibility to infections such as measles and diarrheal diseases. Every year, about half a million children become blind as a result of VAD and 70 percent of them die within a year of losing their sight.
In the 1980s and 1990s, German scientists Ingo Potrykus and Peter Beyer developed the “Golden Rice” varieties that are biofortified, or enriched, by the introduction of genes that enable the edible endosperm of rice to produce beta-carotene, the precursor of vitamin A. Rice plants produce beta carotene in the leaves but not in the grains, so Potrykus and Beyer inserted two genes – one from a bacterium, the other from corn — that causes beta-carotene to be synthesized in the edible part of the plant as well.
Given its ability to prevent the scourge of VAD, Golden Rice could make contributions to human health on a par with the Salk polio vaccine but irrational, self-interested, relentless opposition to the testing and widespread availability of Golden Rice has been high on the agenda of activists like Greenpeace, which makes millions per year behemoth with offices in more than 40 countries, whose PR machine is focused on denying millions of children in the poorest nations the essential food nutrients they need to stave off blindness and death.
They have intimidated government officials by fomenting grassroots opposition to regulatory approvals of Golden Rice and other genetically engineered crop varieties; and too often, regulators have dragged their feet or capitulated.
Greenpeace has fiercely opposed genetic engineering applied to agriculture from the early days of molecular genetic engineering — recombinant DNA technology, or “gene-splicing,” to produce so-called GMOs. In 1995, the organization announced that it had “intercepted a package containing rice seed genetically manipulated to produce a toxic insecticide, as it was being exported . . . [and] swapped the genetically manipulated seed with normal rice.” [I. Meister, “Uncontrolled Trade in Genetically Manipulated Products,” press release, April 7, 1995].
The rice seeds stolen by Greenpeace had been genetically improved for insect resistance and were en route to the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. The modified seeds were to be tested to confirm that they would grow and produce high yields of rice with far lower applications of chemical pesticides.
Greenpeace has ignored the scientific consensus about the safety of genetically engineered crops, the result of hundreds of risk-assessment experiments and extensive real-world experience. In the United States alone, more than 90 percent of all corn, soy and sugar beets are genetically engineered, and in two decades of consumption of trillions of servings of food from genetically engineered plants around the world, not a single health or environmental problem has been documented.
Greenpeace has variously alleged that the levels of beta-carotene in Golden Rice are too low to be effective or so high that they would be toxic. But feeding trials have shown the rice to be highly effective in preventing VAD, and toxicity is virtually impossible because conversion of beta-carotene to vitamin A ceases when vitamin A levels in the blood rise above normal.
With no rational basis for its antagonism, the organization has been forced to adopt a “fake news” strategy of trying to scare off the developing nations that are considering adopting the lifesaving products.
In a 2012 screed, Greenpeace claimed, “If introduced on a large scale, golden rice can exacerbate malnutrition and ultimately undermine food security.” Psychiatrists call this projection: The real threat to the poor and vulnerable is not genetic engineering; it’s Greenpeace and its ilk. In 2014, economists Justus Wesseler and David Zilberman calculated the impact of the delays in the regulatory approval of Golden Rice.
They found that the absence of Golden Rice in the prior decade caused the loss of at least 1,424,680 life-years in India alone. If Greenpeace’s actions were perpetrated by government officials, they would be called crimes against humanity.
Henry I. Miller, a physician and molecular biologist, is the Robert Wesson Fellow in Scientific Philosophy and Public Policy at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution; he was the founding director of the FDA’s Office of Biotechnology.

Aerobic rice cultivation to save water

Mandya (Karnataka) [India], Sept 27 (-NewsVoir): This kharif season, due to monsoon deficit in Karnataka, the government had recommended farmers to not go for Paddy cultivation.
Renowned agriculture scientist Dr. H. E Shashidhar, has developed Aerobic Rice variety and farming practice that doesn't require nursery, transplantation, puddling or standing water for Paddy cultivation. Aerobic Rice variety ARB6 was released while he was at UAS-GKVK and has shown excellent results.
Dr. Shashidhar is an agriculture scientist of international repute with decades of field and academic experience. A graduate from the UAS (University of Agriculture Sciences, Bangalore), he earned his Post-Doctoral Research scroll from Texas Tech University, USA and also served as Director of Research at Barwale Foundation, Hyderabad. His research work has covered lesser water consumption and development of exclusive variety of rice with an Intellectual Property tag, endorsed by NBPGR.
Dr. Shashidhar has several awards and citations to his credit and these include Best Rice Worker, Gold medal conferred by the Rotary Club of Bangalore South, Certificate of Merit from Rockefeller Foundation, USA and one more from DBT, New Delhi for Securing Funding. He has organised as well as participated in scores of conferences and symposia both at home and abroad, and presented highly informative papers.
Keeping in view the aspects of good seedling vigour, responsive to high input and toleration of flooding, the Manila-based International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and also the National Rice Research Institute (NRRI) (formerly Central Rice Research Institute) located at Cuttack in India have endorsed the aerobic rice cultivation systems.
Dr. Shashidhar's work on Aerobic Rice development has heralded a farmer-friendly technology to produce high yields of paddy with better grain quality, and grain yields per unit land area and time, with 50 percent less consumption of water besides 70 percent less of nitrogen inputs with the Aerobic Rice cultivation practices. These techniques are being relayed from the lab to farm after extensive field trials.
Based on lab and field trials, following prominent features of direct seeded, Aerobic Rice has been observed:
•Good Quality of Paddy (Rice and Fodder)
•Over 50 percent reduction in water usage
•70-85 percent reduction in fertilizer and pesticides because no runoff due to excess water
•Reduction in cultivation cost because no nursery, no transplantation, no need to pump too much water
•Less water helps reduce incidence of pests and diseases
•Massive reduction in greenhouse gas emissions
In a recently concluded event on September 23, 2017 at H. Kodihalli in Mandya, Dr. H E Shashidhar educated farmers and relevant stakeholders on aspects pertaining to Aerobic farming. He is currently touring farms in Mandya and Hassan districts to continue his endeavor. (-NewsVoir)