Tuesday, October 17, 2017

17th October,2017 daily global regional local rice e-newsletter by riceplus magazine


The Golden Rice Project in the Philippines Tuesday, October 17, 2017 By ROBERT L. DOMOGUEN MOUNTAIN LIGHT “GIVING ownership and control of the Golden Rice (GR) to those who truly need it,” conclusion of a three-part series article ***** In science, it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again.
They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan ***** The two previous articles in this series preceding this one tried to highlight the efforts of scientists in developing and promoting golden rice as an alternative solution to vitamin A deficiency in the Third World. In both articles, we also showed that there are individuals and groups who are opposed to GR as a food crop and its uses.

Unfortunately, the debate on the GR project may have unnecessarily or unfortunately labeled the crop and this technology as both wicked, which is rather subjective and irresponsible. In writing about GR and engaging the discussion, I intend to find an objective and correct awareness on the crop, how it can reach the market and how the technology can be managed, owned or controlled by the farmers and communities who needed it most.

I am happy to find voices in the scientific community who advance this outlook – for the needy farmers to own and have control of GR and its technology. Most of these scientists are actually engaged in promoting GR as an alternative natural solution to existing strategies of addressing VAD, especially in areas where the distribution of vitamin A supplements are not effective or where poverty prevents people from eating a “variety of diets.” People who simply oppose GR because it comes in the form of a genetically modified organism (GMO) are not helpful in this quest GMO crops have long been in existence already. In science, it is absurd opposing practical and beneficial discoveries to human survival, at a time when these are critically needed like the green revolution technologies did several decades past. When viewed through a biased ideological lens, GR as a crop, its uses and benefits can be entirely negated or accepted. Sometimes, the methods of opposition employed and/or their acceptance and enforcement in the hands of ideologues can be destructive and unreasonable, where the end justifies the means.

The destruction of the GR experiment station and the GR crops grown in Pili, Camarines Sur, to the dismay of local residents and rice farmers, will continue to tarnish and highlight the unreasonable action taken by opposing groups in advancing their seemingly “crusading moral” cause. Meanwhile, experts have already affirmed this reality to be true. A Patents’ for Humanity Award recipient, there is a need for what GR can deliver: vitamin A. To put this into context and right perspective, the World Health Organization estimated around 250,000 to 500,000 vitamin A-deficient children become blind every year, half of them dying within 12 months of losing their sight.

 Some aggressive commercial interest may have put a dent into this great pursuit. Its success may yet add fuel to the biotech industry’s cause. I am largely interested in the potential of GR for real good, especially in this part of the globe. When it succeeds, I join the scientists and advocates who want the GR seeds given to farmers free to use in their rice fields. Ads by Kiosked Published in the SunStar Baguio newspaper on October 17, 2017. Latest issues of SunStar Baguio also available on your mobile phones, laptops, and tablets. Subscribe to our digital editions at epaper.sunstar.com.ph and get a free seven-day trial

The many facets of Pak-China trade

Description: https://www.brecorder.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/PKCH-00-300x183.jpgPakistan’s current and potential trade agreements have been severely criticized time and again by this column. Ranging from accusations of being ill-prepared and accepting concessions on items that already have 0 percent tariff to the potential of imports damaging local economy, negotiators of trade agreements have a lot to answer for.
However, imagine as in an ideal situation where Pakistan’s negotiators were masters of this art and went into meetings well-prepared. Would Pakistan still be facing a substantial trade deficit? The answer is, yes.
Pakistan’s competitive advantage in China has eroded away completely in recent years (read “Pakistan-China FTA farce, published by BR Research on September, 22). For example, Pakistan’s top export cotton and its derivatives face extremely tough competition from Vietnam which is covered under the China-ASEAN trade agreement. However, if Pakistan was given preferential market access for all its major exports, would its trade deficit with China turn into a trade surplus?
Obviously, as long as Pakistan imports high value-added goods from China and exports resource-based goods, trade deficit will persist. But this in no way implies that it is acceptable for negotiators to give away market access without receiving significant concessions in return which has been the case time and time again.
In itself, trade deficit is not all-evil as it is painted to be. A fast-growing economy, which is what Pakistan hopes it is and will be courtesy CPEC, pulls in more imports as its expands. Pakistan’s imports of capital goods are for the betterment of Pakistan’s long term economy. The larger issue is the decline in exports which Pakistan’s trade agreement negotiators are culpable for, at least in part.
Along with the myriad of issues faced by the manufacturing community is the lack of access to markets of Pakistan’s trading partners. From lack of R&D, availability of finance, energy related issues to the lack of capacity to enjoy economies of scale, Pakistan’s industry faces a lot of challenges. But if these challenges were to be done away with, Pakistan’s exports would still be hampered by its ineffective trade agreements. For example, even if Pakistan’s rice is superior to Vietnam’s, Pakistan faces 65 percent tariff compared to ASEAN’s 33.7 percent. It would not make economic sense for Chinese importers to opt for Pakistan’s rice when the alternative costs significantly less.
A stronger and more competitive manufacturing industry goes hand in hand with better market access. Rather than raising a hullabaloo about rising imports, policies conducive to facilitating and improving the quality and range of Pakistan’s exports are required as well as trade agreements that allow Pakistan’s products better market access.

Iran’s Food Exports Booming

Monday, October 16, 2017
The share of food and processing industries’ exports in Iran’s total non-oil exports in terms of value in H1 increased by 7% YOY
With around $118 million worth of exports, chocolate products were the main item shipped from Iran to overseas destinations during the six months
Description: Iran’s nominal food production capacity stands at 100 million tons per year, while only 40 million tons are utilized annually at present.Iran’s exports in food and processing industries witnessed a 9.3% and 23.4% rise in value and volume respectively.These exports rose to 923,000 tons worth $1.4 billion during the six months to Sept. 22 from 748,000 tons worth $1.28 billion in the corresponding period of last year, IRNA reported.“With around $118 million worth of exports, chocolate products were the main item shipped from Iran to overseas destinations during the six months. Other major exports include dairy products, tomato paste, juice and concentrate,” Kaveh Zargaran, secretary-general of the Federation of Iranian Food Associations, announced.
The official noted that the increase in exports by food and processing industries came, as Iran’s agro product exports saw a 2.5% decline in value and volume during the period under review year-on-year.According to Zargaran, the fall in agro exports owes mainly to decline in the exports of pistachio and apple.
Although pistachio exports decreased considerably by 43% and 48% in value and weight respectively during the period, the delicacy still tops Iran’s agro exports. A total of $63 million worth of pistachio was exported in H1 from Iran.The share of food and processing industries’ exports in Iran’s total non-oil exports in terms of value during the period increased by 7% YOY. This is while the value of total non-oil exports witnessed a 3% YOY decrease during the period.
 Dairy Exports Earn $500m
Dairy exports earned close to $500 million during the six months. According to Zargaran, government support in the form of subsidy has played a major role in boosting dairy exports.
“If the current trend of dairy exports continues and nothing comes on the way, a one-billion-dollar record by the yearend is likely,” he added.According to the official, dairy exports earned $773 million in the last fiscal year to March 2017.
Among the exported products, yogurt topped the list with $218 million, followed by cheese with $187 million, infant formula with $129 million and cream and ice cream with $120 million.
 Rise in Agro Imports
Zargaran said the country imported about 9 million tons of agro products worth $5.90 billion during the six-month period, registering a 13% and 26% rise in weight and value respectively year-over-year.Rice, corn, soybean, unprocessed vegetable oil and veal were major agricultural products imported into the country during the period.
Rice imports, with a 37% share (around $996 million) in total imports, registered a staggering 108% year-on-year jump in value.Close to 3.5 million tons of corn worth $813 million were imported, marking a rise of 40% and 29% in tonnage and value respectively. Soybean imports rose by 11% in value, registering 1.18 million tons worth $620 million.
Unprocessed vegetable oil imports stood at around $600 million, indicating an 85% hike.Veal imports worth $231 million had a 26% YOY increase in value.Iran’s nominal food production capacity stands at 100 million tons per year. However, currently, only 40 million tons are produced annually in the country, which indicate a large gap.
“There is a noticeable production deficiency in the country’s food industry while food exports generate the highest amount of value added,” Mehdi Sadeqi-Niaraki, an official with the Ministry of Industries, Mining and Trade, has been quoted as saying by IRNA.“Last year (March 2016-17), Iran exported $2.958 billion worth of food products,” he said.Sadeqi-Niaraki noted that Iran is targeting the export of $6.5 billion worth of food products annually by the fiscal 2025-26

USA Rice Exhibits at the Anuga Food and Beverage Trade Show

COLOGNE, GERMANY - Earlier this month, USA Rice exhibited at the Anuga 2017 "Taste the Future" trade show here.  With more than 7,400 exhibitors and 160,000 visitors, 90 percent of whom are involved in their companies' purchasing decisions, Anuga is the world's largest and most important trade fair for food and beverages, and USA Rice has exhibited there for the past nineteen years. 
Several USA Rice member companies attended Anuga, including American Commodity Company, Sun Valley Rice Company, and Farmers' Rice Cooperative, all from California.  The show provided their representatives the opportunity to meet with partners, foodservice specialists, press, and U.S. Department of Agriculture personnel from the region. 

"Anuga is a great place to meet current and potential trade contacts from all over Europe, Asia, and the Middle East," said Derek Alarcon, Farmers' Rice Cooperative Director of Export Sales, who attended the show.  "There was great interest in U.S. rice and this year there was no discussion of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in rice like we've typically heard in the past.  Buyers over here understand U.S. rice is free of GMOs but they say convincing consumers of that is the challenge."

Participants noted that there was considerable traffic at the USA Rice booth and many quality leads were developed.  The European market expects high quality food products and therefore the market commands a premium and provides a higher value for U.S. rice.

"Interest really centered around medium grain with the most common point of discussion on lower production and higher prices," said Chris Crutchfield, President and CEO of American Commodity Company, who attended the show.  "With carry over stocks down  considerably and planted acreage and yield both off, prices have strengthened and customers are seeking less expensive alternatives.  It looks like global supply will remain tight pending the Australian harvest in the spring of 2018 and any lifting of the current Egyptian export ban."

The USA Rice booth was stocked with informational brochures and various U.S. rice samples for viewing by visitors.  

Vietnam braces for typhoon Khanun after floods kill 72

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HANOI: Vietnam braced for typhoon Khanun on Monday after destructive floods battered the country’s north and centre last week, killing 72 people, the disaster prevention agency said.
Last week’s floods were the worst in years, the government and state-run Vietnam Television said, with thousands of homes submerged. Another 200 houses collapsed and several towns remain cut off by the floodwater.
The floods also damaged more than 22,000 hectares (54,300 acres) of rice.
Vietnam is the world’s third-largest exporter of rice and the second-biggest producer of coffee, although the floods have not affected the Southeast Asian nation’s coffee belt.
Eighteen people from the hardest-hit province of Hoa Binh in the north were buried by a landslide, but only thirteen bodies have been found, Vietnam’s disaster agency said.
The government has said it is fixing dykes, dams and roads damaged by last week’s flood and is preparing for typhoon Khanun, which is expected to cause heavy rain in northern and central Vietnam from Monday.
It has also warned ships and boats to avoid the approaching typhoon.
Vietnam is prone to destructive storms and flooding due to its long coastline. A typhoon wreaked havoc across central provinces last month.
Floods have also affected nine out of 77 provinces in Thailand, Vietnam’s neighbour to the west. Three people had been killed in flooding since last Tuesday, Thailand’s disaster agency said on Monday.
The Thai capital, Bangkok, was hit by heavy rain at the weekend, with gridlocked traffic bringing parts of the city to a standstill. Bangkok has often been described as the “Venice of the East” because of its many waterways.
However, the floods prompted criticism of Bangkok’s city government, with some social media users accusing authorities of not managing water levels in canals properly.
The city government defended itself, saying it was working closely with the irrigation department. Thailand suffered its worst flood in five decades in 2011, with hundreds of people killed, industrial estates engulfed and key industries crippled

International students graduate from 'super rice' program

2017-10-16 14:06chinadaily.com.CN
A group of international students graduated Friday from an agricultural training program sponsored by the Ministry of Commerce and received graduation certificates from Yuan Longping, China's renowned rice scientist, Xinhua reports.The 45-day program, hosted by Yuan Longping High-Tech Agriculture Company, taught advanced breeding and cultivating techniques of "super rice" to 21 students from countries including Thailand, Indian, Pakistan and Ethiopia. The program also brought them to hybrid rice test fields in Huaihua and Zhangjiajie in Central China's Hunan province.
Yuan, dubbed as China's "father of hybrid rice", awarded certificates to the international students and congratulated them by speaking English at a ceremony held in Changsha, the capital city of Hunan.
"I am not a qualified teacher," Yuan said, joking that he can only spared time for those international students to share his thoughts and experience with them.
The students were impressed by the training and inspired by what they have learnt.
Huang Dahui, the deputy director of Longping High-Tech International Training Institute, said the faculty has held more than 100 such training programs since 2000, and more than 6,000 foreign students have benefited from the programs.
"The programs have introduced our advanced technology to the whole world and also deepened friendships between China and different countries," Huang said.

President emphasises need for achieving food security

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ISLAMABAD: President Mamnoon Hussain has emphasised the need for adoption of a multidimensional approach for investing in food security and uplifting the rural livelihoods to control the migration patterns in the rural areas.
“I am confident that food security will continue to be one of the priority areas for our future public and private investments to achieve self-sufficiency and rural development,” the president said in a message on the occasion of World Food Day being observed on Monday.
He was pleased to learn that the Ministry of National Food Security and Research (NFS&R) and Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in collaboration with other UN agencies and partner organisations are celebrating the day to highlight the significance of achieving self-sufficiency in food grains.
Mamnoon said that it is heartening to note that Pakistan has made significant progress in food production over the last seventy years as it has witnessed a considerable increase in the production of wheat and rice. The present government is also focusing on the sustainable development of agriculture sector and in this regard has taken a number of measures for the welfare of the farming community, he added.
“Pakistan is now not only self-sufficient in both these food grains, but it has also become an exporter of these commodities,” he said.
The president stressed that the food security, in the context of population growth, is a major concern and millions of humans around the globe are in constant need of food and shelter. This is particularly true for Pakistan as it has been working in close coordination with UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in managing the Afghan refugees, he emphasised.
He also said that Pakistan is committed to achieving food security and alleviate poverty in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Organic Rice is a Family Affair at Lundberg Family Farms

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