Saturday, October 21, 2017

21st October,2017 daily global regional local rice e-newsletter by riceplus magazine

In the Field in California 

SACRAMENTO, CA -- Earlier this week, Sarah Moran, USA Rice vice president international, met with the California Rice Commission (CRC) and USA Rice members here to discuss international priorities in the upcoming year.  

A visit to the American Commodity Company mill led to discussions about the success of U.S. rice in the Japan SBS tenders where the U.S. captured 70 percent of the share on last month's tender.  Moran also met with representatives from Sun Valley Rice, Farmers' Rice Cooperative, Tamaki Rice, California Family Foods, PGP International, and Associate Rice Marketing Cooperative.  Charley Mathews, a farmer from Marysville who chairs The Rice Foundation, invited Moran out to his farm to see the ongoing harvest and talk about this year's crop.  

"The recent fires that have ravaged Napa and Sonoma counties did not directly affect our rice crop but high winds that followed the fires, some as much as 40 mph, meant that much of the rice in the area was knocked down," said Mathews.  "We call this "lodging" and, while it hasn't affected the quality of the rice, it has made harvest a bit more challenging which can be hard on equipment."
"Visiting USA Rice members on their home turf gives me the opportunity to have frank discussions about what's happening in the fields and what USA Rice can do to help promote our rice overseas," said Moran.  "We have strong marketing programs in Asia, where most California rice is shipped and that accounts for 15-20 percent of U.S. rice exports, and we work hard on the policy side to push for improved market access."

National Rice Month Scholarship Deadline in Ten Days 
Attention graduating seniors from major rice producing states (Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, or Texas):  Create a video, three minutes or less, telling the story of U.S. grown rice to win a scholarship prize sponsored by Dow AgroSciences. The grand-prize winner will receive a $4,000 scholarship and a trip with a chaperone this December to the awards ceremony at the 2017 USA Rice Outlook Conference in San Antonio, Texas.  The second-place winner will receive a $3,000 scholarship, and third-place $1,500.
Entries are due October 31, and winners will be notified by November 20.
For more information and to submit an entry, visit the 
NRM scholarship webpage

Trial of BINA’s short-duration rice variety succesful

Published at 11:06 PM October 20, 2017
Description: Trial of BINA’s short-duration rice variety succesful

'The grains are smaller in size and the cooked rice tastes good'

Given the erratic pattern of rainfall and flooding in recent times, development of short-duration crops holds one of the keys to future food security in Bangladesh.Scientists of Bangladesh Institute of Nuclear Agriculture (BINA) have done a commendable job in this respect as their new invention, BINA Dhan 16 – a short-duration rice variety developed using nuclear technology – has passed a successful trial in two low-lying sourthern districts this Aman season.
The variety can be harvested in just 100 days after the planting.In contrast, it takes about 130 days and above to harvest the conventional high yielding varieties.The variety was put to the trial in 75 plots in Gopalganj and Faridpur districts.

Farmers who took part in the trial with their land and labour had exceptionally high average yield – 5.97 tons a hectare, according to officials of BINA’s Gopalganj sub-station.Monjur Hossain Sheikh, a farmer from Shamspur village of Kashiani upazila, told the Dhaka Tribune that it was the first time the variety was put to the test in his area and the plants gave higher yield compared to the conventional varieties.“The grains are smaller in size and the cooked rice tastes good,” said Monjur.The officials also noted that cultivation of BINA Dhan 16 saves time and leaves scope for the farmer to cultivate three crops round-the-year, if the climatic conditions are well

#China super hybrid rice output sets new world record

EU Reporter Correspondent | October 21, 2017 0 Comments
Description: new type of Chinese super hybrid rice – Xiangliangyou 900 – has reached average yields of 1,149 kilograms per mu (about 0.07 hectares) on trial fields in Handan, north China’s Hebei province on October 15, setting a new world record, writes Zhao Cheng from People’s Daily.
The Xiangliangyou 900 type produces more and bigger grains than other varieties and, combined with the use of water-soluble organic silicon fertilizer will guarantee a rate of 90 percent.The fertilizer can help strengthen roots and stems of the plants, increase resilience, improve the yellowing process, and bolster disease and pest resistance to ensure higher yields.Xiangliangyou 900 was cultivated by a team of scientists led by Yuan Longping, known as the “father of hybrid rice” whose dream is to spread his hybrid rice worldwide.
Yuan has estimated that the world now has 150 million hectares of rice fields, with less than 10 percent planted in hybrid rice. If that figure can go up to 50 percent, the added rice production will feed another 400 to 500 million people.China has the second largest paddy coverage and the largest rice production in the world.

The Perfect PairingRice and Duck

Leon Thompson, Vt. Correspondent

Photo by Jennifer Williams Thompson Boundbrook Farm buys — and eventually processes for meat — about 600 ducks a year to use in their rice fields.

Photo by Jennifer Williams Thompson Shown is the dry stubble of harvested rice paddies at Boundbrook Farm. The Andruses farm 5-1/2 acres of rice and want to grow to 10 acres.

Photo by Jennifer Williams Thompson Erik Andrus is the co-owner of Boundbrook Farm, a rice-duck farm in Vergennes, Vermont.

Photo by Jennifer Williams Thompson Rice that is ready for polishing at the farm.
Photo by Jennifer Williams Thompson Khaki Campbell ducks, such as the one seen here with Erik Andrus, are used as a form of weed and pest control in Japanese rice-duck farming.
VERGENNES, Vt. — After Erik Andrus’ wheat project failed, neighboring dairy farmers who had also struggled with the same heavy soils started a joke: “We shouldn’t plant corn out here. We should plant rice.”“I kept saying, ‘Yes! You should’” Andrus said last week, at his farm in Vergennes. “They laughed and said, ‘Yeah. Who’s gonna do that?’”
It was Andrus. He and his wife, Erica, co-own and operate Boundbrook Farm, a 110-acre farm that utilizes ancient Japanese methods to raise rice —right in the middle of cow country.
Boundbrook Farm is part of a small but growing movement of North American rice-duck farmers. Vermont has one other small-scale rice-duck farm, while others exist regionally in Maryland, Maine and central New York.
“This is an incredibly fascinating domain,” Andrus said, “with many moving parts.”
Rice seeds should not be dry while they are germinating, Andrus explained, so farming rice with ducks in the mix is a technical, intense process that requires persistence and patience. The Andruses are in year seven of rice-duck farming, and this is their first year of breaking even, Erik said. His business, however, is growing and expanding.
Currently, the Andruses have 5-1/2 acres of rice paddies on their 110-acre farm. Eventually, Erik would like to grow rice on 10 acres.“I feel that’s a sane size for this to be what I want it to be,” he said.The season begins in April, when seeds are planted in a rice nursery, which looks like a small garden of rice paddies in the Andruses’ front yard. Water flows underneath through a series of flats. Low hoop tunnels protect the nursery from frost and other elements.
In June, the rice is transplanted from the nursery to the rice fields behind the duck barn. Boundbrook Farm uses a mechanical transplanter during this part of the process, because transplanting must be done quickly. The goal is an acre a day, and to be done transplanting in a week, because the fields must remain level for a good yield and quality crop.
Seasonal workers help the farm with the transplanting labor. They are usually college students who are intrigued by the concept.
Then come the ducks, which are purchased as hatchlings from Fifth Day Farms in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The ducks are used as an organic, chemical-free form of weed and pest control.
Rice grows slowly and faces competition from fast-growing weeds, so the ducks play an important role.
After a week of the transplanted rice rooting itself in the water-filled paddies, the ducks are let out into the planted areas. The whole process requires 80 to 100 ducks per acre, so Boundbrook Farm buys 600 ducks a year.
The young rice plants and the young animals grow together, Erik Andrus said. Small ducks do not damage the small seeds.
He said the Khaki Campbell duck breed is used in rice-duck farming, because the ducks are small, agile and good at finding their own food.
The ducks come out of the rice fields in August, when they are fully grown, and before they start eating the rice grains. Then, the fields are drained. The ducks are processed at Boundbrook Farm and sold there. The Andruses also sell live ducks on Craigslist.
The rice harvest is in the fall; it’s also when Boundbrook Farm starts taking orders from wholesale customers inside and outside Vermont. Retail sales happen at the farm. Customers can also order rice on the website. Orders are filled by Christmas.The Andruses also polish, package and store their brown and white rice varieties at Boundbrook Farm. The farm uses imported equipment, all from Japan. Erik Andrus still chuckles when he describes the shipping container that arrived with 17 pieces in it, including a combine. The total cost was $28,000.
Andrus is currently at a third of his production goal: 3,500 pounds of rice annually.“Even with some technical problems here and there, which every farmer expects and faces, I am at the point where I’m breaking even, because I get a premium price per pound for this rice,” he said.
Both in their 40s, the Andruses do have other jobs. Erica is a religious studies professor, and Erik is a wintertime carpenter. They have two sons, Robin, 12, and Julien, 10, who sometimes help with the rice-duck farm, too.Neither of the Andruses grew up on a farm — Erica is from Massachusetts, and Erik is from Binghamton, New York, but he spent lots of time on a relative’s beef farm while he was growing up. He has wanted a farm since he was 17, but he spent his previous professional life as a general contractor.
From 1999-2000, Erik Andrus lived in Miyagi, a Japanese prefecture north of Tokyo. The climate was like New York’s, with cold winters. People grow rice in Miyagi — and lots of it, Andrus said. He toured rice farms. The methodology fascinated him. By 2008, he was wondering how to do it on his own farm.
After the Andruses wed in 2004, they pooled their resources and bought their 110 acres on Burroughs Road in Vergennes. The property’s former dairy farm was a junkyard. Old tires, junked tires and mangled farm equipment lay scattered around the property. So, the Andruses recycled it.
“That farm was thrown away like trash,” Erik Andrus said.The first plan was to grow wheat, to make flour and operate an on-farm bakery. The bakery is still on the farm, but heavy, clay soils ended the wheat project quickly.“It wasn’t something that the land wanted to do,” he said.Andrus conducted extensive research and spent time with a couple in southern Vermont that was growing rice on a small-scale. Andrus, however, wanted to grow more acreage, and he has.
He and his father, Richard, attended a rice-duck farmers’ conference in Japan in 2005 and toured farms there, to learn more about the process and methodology.Erik Andrus is constantly researching rice-duck farming, trying to hone his process, and he learns along the way. He is still trying to amend his 5-1/2 acres to perfection, while growing to 10 acres, and he understands that riding a bike while fixing it is a farmer’s life.
“This is all taking longer than I thought,” Andrus said, but he’s taking it in stride for another reason, one that’s key. He feels like he is putting a pure, wholesome source of food out on the market, where it’s needed.
“The thing about farming is there’s always next year,” Andrus said. “You learn as you go along and do things differently. I could certainly be doing other things with my time, but this is how I love spending time right now.”Leon Thompson is a freelance writer in Vermont. He can be reached at

Nigeria Has Over 50million Hectares Of Land, Yet Imports Rice – Ogbeh

Channels Television 
Updated October 20, 2017

The Minister of Agriculture Audu Ogbeh has lamented over the rate at which agricultural products are imported into the country saying that the Nigeria has a huge expanse of arable land.
Speaking at a convocation lecture organised by the University of  Agriculture Abeokuta (UNAAB) as part of its convocation ceremonies, Ogbeh said Nigeria largely depend on food imports which account for about $22 billion per annum.

“We have over 50 million hectares of land, we can’t grow our own rice, we can’t produce our sugar, we can’t produce our milk, we import apples, honey, fish and frozen chicken, the list is endless.” Ogbeh said this huge range of import will only contribute to poverty and unemployment rate in Nigeria.“What we are doing is importing products, exporting dollars. Alongside the food that we are importing, we are importing unemployment and poverty into our country.”
He said for this situation not to get worse, universities of agriculture across the country must rise up to the challenges of providing the necessary impute in the areas of research and development  and to address the  shortcomings in food production
He also said the federal government is committed to providing the necessary environment to attract younger farmers to the system through modern ways of farming and agricultural businesses.

Rice prices up in India, Vietnam as rains dampen crop supply


India's 5 percent broken parboiled rice prices edged up by $4 to $404-$407 per tonne as heavy rainfall in key growing regions is expected to delay harvesting.Rice prices in India and Vietnam rose this week as prolonged periods of rainfall threatened supply in the two major exporters of the grain.

India's 5 percent broken parboiled rice prices edged up by $4 to $404-$407 per tonne as heavy rainfall in key growing regions is expected to delay harvesting."Key producing regions in southern and eastern India received rains in last few days. This has delayed harvesting of the summer rice crop," said an exporter based in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh."In some districts crop was damaged. Rainfall could reduce production," he added.

Production from summer-sown crop in India, the world's biggest rice exporter, is likely to fall 2 percent to 94.48 million tonnes, according to farm ministry estimates.In Vietnam, prices rose amid scarce supply, as a longer period of rains took a toll on the current crop's quality and delayed planting of the major winter-spring season.

"I'm not sure how much crop yield we would get from the current autumn-winter season, to be harvested in November. But the large amount of rain would affect crop quality," a trader said."Meanwhile, sowing for the next winter-spring season could be late because it rained a lot and would take longer for the flood to go down."

In northern Vietnam, more than 22,000 hectares (54,300 acres) of rice were damaged in floods triggered by heavy rains last week. Traders estimated over 120,000 tonnes of crops were lost.
Due to low stocks, Vietnamese traders were gathering grains to ensure delivery of previous export contracts, pushing the prices of 5-percent broken rice to as high as $390-400 a tonne, free-on-board (FOB) Saigon, from $390-$395 last week."Prices are very high because we don't have much grain left from the last harvest," a trader in Ho Chi Minh City said.In Thailand, prices fell due to low overseas demand, while the trend of supply is upwards despite rains and floods in some parts of the country, traders said.Thailand's benchmark 5-percent broken rice was quoted at $375-$385 a tonne, free-on-board (FOB) Bangkok, down from $380-$388 a tonne last week."The rains and floods have not caused much damage to rice crops, but, alternatively have caused a fertile environment for crops in the future; so the trend of supply is on the rise," said a Bangkok-based rice trader.

The effects of Vietnam floods should increase prices in the short run and that would make Thai rice more competitive, traders said.Bangladesh, which has emerged as a major importer this year after floods damaged its crops, imported more than 1 million tonnes of rice in July-October period, food ministry data showed.Despite bulk imports, domestic prices have not budged, with officials and traders expecting more imports of the staple grain in the coming months.

Key meeting on jute crisis

A Staff Reporter
Description: The Bengal government has convened a meeting on jute next week amid concerns over the deterioration in the quality of the fibre and distress sale by farmers.The central government, in December 2015, had revised the specifications for jute bags procured for mandatory packaging by government agencies. As a result, light bags of 580 grams replaced heavy bags of 665 grams.These light bags require a higher grade of raw jute, which is in short supply, putting the mills in a spot.According to industry sources, Murshidabad and Nadia districts, which account for 60 per cent of the total production in Bengal, have seen a significant fall in acreage and quality between 2007 and 2017.Aggregate data show production in south Bengal down to 9 lakh bales this year from 15 lakh bales in 2007.
The demand for light bags has resulted in a surplus of 35 lakh bales of lowgrade jute and a shortage of 10 lakh bales of the higher grade.Farmers are now resorting to the distress sale of lowgrade jute, a situation made worse by a bumper crop last year.Sources said the high-level meeting could explore the possibility of mills producing bags that requires at least 50 per cent of the lower grade fibre.At the same time, the idea to create a buffer stock of 10 lakh bales through the Jute Corporation of India to tackle the demand-supply mismatch could also be explored. A buffer stock of such size could require capital to the tune of Rs 630 crore.
The government could also explore whether gunny bags could be directly procured from the Jute Corporation of India in order to get full reimbursement from the Centre. At present, rice millers buy new and old gunny bags from local markets themselves and submit the bills for reimbursement.

There's something in the water

Description: A pump house and flooded rice fields in Faridpur, Bangladesh

Description: PhD student Britt Huhmann measures arsenic in rice paddy soil using a field kit in Faridpur, Bangladesh.
Description: A farmer transplants rice seedlings in Faridpur, Bangladesh. Faridpur is known to have high levels of arsenic in their groundwater, which gets deposited into rice fields with irrigation.

MIT field study shows that arsenic in groundwater reduces rice yields in Bangladesh.Watch Video
Carolyn Schmitt | Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
October 20, 2017

Groundwater in rural Bangladesh contains arsenic at 10 to 100 times the amount of safe consumption levels, but is consumed as drinking water from wells and has led to cases of heart disease and cancer. Traces of arsenic are also consumed through rice, a staple food of the densely-populated country.Professor Charles Harvey and graduate student Brittany Huhmann, both from the MIT Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), traveled to Bangladesh during the 2015 and 2016 growing seasons to see how contaminated groundwater, deposited through irrigation, impacts rice yields.

Arsenic is a naturally occurring element that is found across the world, but certain locations have elevated arsenic concentrations in groundwater. Such is the case in Bangladesh. While drinking the tainted water remains a critical issue, the arsenic-laced water also has an impact on crop yields when used for irrigation in agricultural settings. Harvey and Huhmann pursued this study to get a broad understanding of how arsenic impacts rice yields across Bangladesh, and the potential magnitude of this occurrence.

“Most people [in rural Bangladesh] are relying on untreated groundwater for their drinking water. There isn’t a lot of centralized water treatment, especially in rural areas,” says Huhmann, the lead author on a recent paper describing the team's research. “So most of the time in the areas we worked, each family would have their own well that they drink out of, and a lot of those wells have arsenic, unfortunately, and people may or may not know.”The findings of the study, conducted in collaboration with researchers from the University of Dhaka in Bangladesh, Cornell University, and Columbia University, were recently published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

Rice is a major crop in Bangladesh, and it is the primary source of calories in the country of about 160 million people. Independent farmers primarily grow two types of rice, which are harvested on a seasonal cycle. Aman rice is grown during monsoon season, June through mid-November, and uses the natural rainfall to grow in flooded fields. Boro rice, on the other hand, is cultivated during the dry, winter season, and requires irrigation. The water used to irrigate the farmland comes from groundwater through wells, ultimately depositing various levels of arsenic into the soil.

In 2015, Harvey, Huhmann and their collaborators embarked on a two-year study to document the impact of arsenic on crop yields. Unlike previous studies into this issue, the researchers conducted their study in the field rather than in controlled settings, such as greenhouses. They also accounted for a myriad of other factors by researching soil from a number of rice farms to get a more comprehensive understanding of the impacts of arsenic on rice yield across Bangladesh. 

"To make real progress on this kind of difficult problem, you really have to work in the region for an extended time,” Harvey says. “Brittany has conducted the kind of study required — careful controlled field experiments covering large areas and multiple years."To determine the impact of contaminated water on the boro rice crop yield, Harvey, Huhmann, and their collaborators worked with 16 local rice farmers to evaluate their fields. The different locations allowed the researchers to account for a variety of field conditions and arsenic levels. The team selected rice fields studied in the Faridpur district of Bangladesh due to their proximity to wells known to have high arsenic concentrations.

“A lot of the farmers were really interested [in the project]. They hadn’t thought about the fact that arsenic could be affecting their crops,” Huhmann says. “Some of them had heard about arsenic and drinking water and how that’s bad for them, but most of them hadn’t thought about arsenic and irrigation water or what issues that could cause. They were interested to participate because they wanted to know what was going on, and we could give them more information about their crops, and what types of things were affecting their crops.”

In studying contamination in the soil, the research team looked at arsenic concentrations using an X-ray fluorescence spectrometer at each of the field sites. These measurements gave insight into the levels of arsenic build up in each rice field studied, and ensured they could accurately compare measurements between plots of land with higher and lower amounts of arsenic buildup in the soil.

“We wanted to look not just at one field and one farmer, but at many fields and many farmers. We wanted to have this design where we had both the control plots and intervention plots, so we could compare plots that are as similar in as many ways as possible, except for their arsenic content,” Huhmann explains.The researchers also weighed and recorded rice harvest from the different rice fields and found that the amount that rice production is reduced depends on the amount of arsenic in the soil.  

The researchers were also able to determine that between 7.4 percent and 26 percent of the annual boro harvest yield was lost as a result of the arsenic in soil.“It’s a pretty broad range, but this is the first study that has actually done work at a scale that can allow us to make this type of estimate,” Huhmann says. “Our hope is that future studies can build on this and we can get a better understanding of what types of impacts arsenic is having on rice yield.”

In the meantime, the researchers found that excavating and replacing the top few layers of soil with uncontaminated soil temporarily improves crop yield, a promising indication for potential solutions to the agricultural issue.“We found that arsenic in irrigation water is causing significant negative effects on rice fields in Bangladesh,” Huhmann says. “This is something that people should be paying attention to and should be thinking about what to do about it.”This research was funded, in part, by a National Science Foundation Dynamics of Coupled Natural and Human Systems grant and a National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Superfund Research Program grant.

We have increased productivity; income of rice, cassava farmers – IFAD

ON OCTOBER 20, 20179:47 PMIN AGRIC, NEWSCOMMENTS BY PETER DURU MAKURDI – The National Programme Coordinator, NPC, of the International Fund for Agricultural Development-Value Chain Development Programme, IFAD-VCDP, Dr. Ameh Onoja, Friday stated that the programme has increased productivity and income levels among Rice and Cassava producers, processors and marketers in all its participating states. Cassava Tubers Speaking at the opening of the Trade Promotion and Knowledge Fair organized by the world body in Makurdi, the Benue state capital, Dr. Onoja commended the Benue state government for supporting and ensuring the success of the programme in the state.

He noted that the government’s political will to support the programme had gone a long way to boost rice and cassava production in the state. He stressed that aside supporting farmers, the programme had provided and constructed feeder roads leading to its clusters in the state to create accessibility for farmers of rice and cassava farmers coupled with the construction of modern rice mils in the state. According to Dr. Onoja, “the Value Chain Development Programme has been operational in the six participate states of Anambra, Benue, Ebonyi, Niger, Ogun and Taraba for the last three years working with Rice and Cassava farmers, processors and Marketers to develop sustainable Value~ Chains for the two commodities. “The objective of the programme is therefore to enhance on a sustainable basis the income and food security of poor rural households engaged in the production, processing and marketing of Rice and Cassava in the targeted local government areas in all the participating states.

 “The intervention of the programme has significantly contributed to increased production, productivity and income levels, enhanced value addition and market opportunities, as well as access to quality seed and planting materials among Rice and Cassava producers, processors and marketers in all the six participating states. “Today we are producing over 5.5 metric tonnes of rice per hectare as against the 2.5 metric tonnes while cassava yield has hit an average of 20 metric tonnes per hectare as against the 12 metric tonnes recorded in the past.

This goes to show the level of success the programme has recorded in the last three years.” Continuing, Dr. Onoja said “the programme has also improved the knowledge and skills and innovativeness of all the operators along the Rice and Cassava value-chains such that today the programme can boast of having a critical mass of enlightened, skillfull and innovative programme beneficiaries that are supporting federal and concerned states governments in their efforts to achieve national food security, jobs creation and empowerment of communities. “Hence the impressive giant strides and achievements of the programme is what informed and encouraged us to provide a forum such as this Trade Promotion and Knowledge Fair to share our experiences and contributions.

 “The objective of the Fair therefore is to showcase the achievements and innovative outcomes of VCDP in the last three years in Benue State. “Let me therefore use this opportunity to acknowledge the tremendous support and encouragement, the programme has been receiving from IFAD and Benue State government in the last three years without which we would not have recorded the achievements you are witnessing today. “I want to urge the State Government to take special interest in the Fair and exhibition with a view to further taking then up for replication and scaling up. On his part, the State Programme Coordinator of IFAD-VCDP, Mr. Emmanuel Igbaukum, noted that the programme had opened floodgates of opportunities for rice and cassava farmers in the state as well as improved their livelihood. “Today small-scale farmers who formed cluster groups to key into the programme have enjoyed sustained growth and yields in their annual returns from their investments and testimonies abound in the selected local government areas.” Igbaukum stated.

Declaring the Fair open, Governor Samuel Ortom who lauded the impact the programme had recorded in the state said his government had paid the sum of N166milion counterpart fund to the programme assuring that another tranche of over N90.8million would soon be released for the 2017 activities of the programme in the state. Represented by the Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Prof. Tony Ijohor, the Governor reiterated the commitment of his administration to the programme “because it has proven to be a veritable means of improving the lot of farmers in the state. “We are seeing the benefit of this programme in the state which was made possible and attained through improved agronomy practices introduced by the programme.

“I can assure you that as a government we will remain committed to ensure that our people maximize the benefits from the programme in Benue state.” Benue state Commissioner of Agriculture, Mr. James Ambua said despite the lean resources available to the government there had been sustain payments of the state’s counterpart fund to the programme. According to Ambua, “before the advent of this administration, our yields in cassava and rice was abysmally low but today the story is different and because of the import of this programme we will continue to support the IFAD-VCDP in Benue state.

In his remark, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh represented by his Technical Assistant, Mr. Apeh Auta said with programmes like IFAD-VCDP the country would in no distant time achieve sufficiency in food production. “It is a thing of joy that our farmers have been doing well in our efforts to meet the food needs. Chief Ogbeh canvassed that attention should now paid to efforts to meet the food needs of the country, earn more foreign exchange from exports and to diversify the economy of the country.

“Undoubtedly, the economic progress of our country is in the hands of farmers who must deploy their acumen to improve their wellbeing and place our economy on the part of sustainable growth and development.” The Minister said.

As Africa’s need for food grows, Mali’s rice turnaround shows a way forward



by Isaiah Esipisu | @Andebes | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Saturday, 21 October 2017 06:53 GMT
“Africa has the resources, skills, and human and land capacity to move from importer to exporter by eating food made in Africa”
ABIDJAN, Oct. 21 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – In 2008, as food prices rose around the world, riots broke out in West Africa, and Mali’s government stepped in.It quickly launched an initiative to subsidise purchases of good-quality certified rice seed, as well as fertilisers, for farmers, in an effort to cut reliance on rice imports and grow more food of its own.In just two years, the country was producing enough grain for domestic consumption, and today is a rice exporter, said Bourema Dembele, who until July was director of research at Mali’s Institut d’Economie Rurale, a government institution.
“We had no choice other than to develop a policy that would later see our country out of the crisis,” said Dembele, now a Mali programme officer for the Alliance for a Green Revolution Africa (AGRA), a nongovernmental organisation.Such policies need to be replicated around Africa if the continent is to cope with a burgeoning population and climate change while improving food security and economic growth, African experts say.
“Rice is going to be the biggest challenge for Africa because countries highly depend on imports from sources that are totally unsustainable,” William Asiko, the executive director of Grow Africa, a non-governmental organisation, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
According to a report released last month at the African Green Revolution Forum, African nations spend $35 billion each year on food imports, a figure expected to rise to $110 billion by 2025 unless the continent can boost harvests.
Changing things “will take commitment of African governments to stimulate and guide the transition,” said Agnes Kalibata, AGRA’s president,“If left to the private sector alone, growth in the agrifood system will not be as fast as it could, nor will it benefit as many smallholder farmers and entrepreneurs as it could,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
According to the Africa Agriculture Status Report 2017, if most African governments moved as aggressively as Mali’s, the continent could not only feed itself but meet the growing demand from affluent city dwellers for high-value processed foods.In Mali, production of rice grew from just 900,000 tonnes in 2008 – below the domestic consumption of 1.1 million tonnes – to 2.7 million tonnes in 2016, thanks in part to government subsidies of 35 billion CFA francs ($64 million). Rice production is now double the country’s annual consumption.
Overall food production – including cereal crops such as sorghum, millet, groundnuts, cowpeas and maize, as well as rice – also increased over the same period from 3.6 million tonnes to 8.7 million tonnes, making the country largely self-sufficient.
Apart from subsidising seed and other farming needs, Mali’s government in 2015 began buying 1,000 new tractors every year to sell to farmers at half price. Farmers are required to make a downpayment of just 20 percent and can take out loans from commercial banks for the remaining sum.Poorer or very small-scale farmers also are eligible to buy tractors if they group together to cultivate at least 50 hectares (124 acres) of land with the equipment.
To support the effort, Mali’s government has allocated at least 15 percent of the national budget to agriculture, surpassing a target of 10 percent agreed to at the 2003 African Union Summit as part of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme. Dembele's organisation works with research institutions in Mali to produce quality-certified seeds for farmers to meet growing demand for them. Previously, many small-scale farmers planted uncertified seeds in part because certified seeds had to be imported and were too expensive.
Asiko, of Grow Africa, said more African countries need to create initiatives to increase rice production, especially in West Africa, where it is the main staple.“When we invest in production, we create a market for seed and fertiliser companies which are investment and business opportunities. When we produce in plenty, we create further opportunities for processors, and when we process enough, we further create opportunities for transporters and sellers,” he said.
The Africa Agriculture Status Report suggests that more productive farming could be Africa’s “quiet revolution”, creating jobs and sustainable economic growth that has largely failed to materialise from mineral extraction and increased urbanisation.
“Africa has the latent natural resources, skills, human and land capacity to tip the balance of payments and move from importer to exporter by eating food made in Africa,” Kalibata said.Apart from Mali, African countries that have had significant success moving towards food self-sufficiency include Ethiopia, Rwanda and Burkina Faso, she said.
(Reporting by Isaiah Esipisu; editing by James Baer and Laurie Goering :; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, climate change, resilience, women's rights, trafficking and property rights. Visit

Rice shipment: REAP rejects TDAP proposal
Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) has rejected Trade Development Authority of Pakistan's proposal of making pre-shipment inspection of all rice shipments mandatory. A delegation of REAP led by its chairman Chaudhry Samee Ullah Naeem Thursday held a meeting with Dr Syed Javaid Akhter, Director General TDAP at TDAP Office and discussed issues related to rice exports.

 Rafique Suleman, Senior Vice Chairman REAP, Pir Syed Nazim Hussain Shah and Abdul Karim Memon, Director TDAP were also present. Chairman REAP said rice exporters are putting their untiring efforts towards the growth of the country's economy. He urged TDAP to look into the issues and problems of rice exporters and support REAP in resolving the same. He rejected the TDAP proposal of mandatory pre-shipment inspection of all rice shipments.

He was of the view that due to this step, cost of rice exporters will not only increase, but the trade relations between exporters and buyers will also be affected. He said that such condition has not been implemented internationally and even Pakistan's competitors such as India, Thailand and Vietnam have also not made this condition mandatory. This condition is also not implemented at other export sectors of Pakistan, he added. Chairman REAP urged TDAP to leave the matter on the disposal of exporters and importers to let them tackle it with mutual understanding. Chaudhry Samee Ullah said that REAP will oppose all such steps which lead to government intervention in this free trade.

He asked TDAP to improve Pakistani stalls at international food exhibitions, as REAP members have reservations over the location of stalls, their making and quality. He said REAP has planned distribution of Biryani during Gulf Food, besides awards to major rice importers. In order to implement this proposal, REAP has also arranged a meeting with federal commerce minister next week, he added. Rafique Suleman, Senior Vice Chairman REAP voiced concern over non-participation of Pakistan in the tender of Qatar's grain procurement body - Central Tender Committee (CTC). He said this was a golden opportunity for Pakistan to enhance its rice exports. "Hopefully after the inclusion of Pakistani rice in the next CTC tender, rice exports to Qatar will enhance by approximately 25,000 metric tons generating a foreign exchange of some $12.5 million for the country at a time, when the country's forex reserves are depleting due to external debt payment. Rafique urged TDAP to take urgent steps to ensure Pakistan's participation in the next CTC tender.

He also requested TDAP to issue notification to grant authority to REAP for issuance of Certificate of Origin for rice shipments. The senior vice chairman said REAP is planning to send trade delegations to various countries for marketing and promotion of Pakistani rice. He requested TDAP to extend all-out support to REAP trade delegations. Dr Syed Javaid Akhter DG TDAP assured REAP delegation of full support. He announced making a joint committee of TDAP and REAP which will have meetings on a monthly basis. This committee will also propose indicative floor prices of rice varieties, so that Pakistani rice exporters could get better price for their products.

Vietnam rice exporters should focus on Asian markets
Vietnam should put a special focus on traditional rice importers in Asia to ensure the country’s rice trade stability in the long run, said Huynh Minh Hue, secretary general of the Vietnam Food Association (VFA), at a conference in HCMC on October 17 on the rice export strategy for 2017-2020 period.
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Farmers are seen harvesting rice in a field in the Mekong Delta 
Asia is the nearest and most important market for Vietnamese rice, Hue said. In the first nine months of 2017, rice exports to Asian countries accounted for 68% of the country’s total. Meanwhile, Africa is the second largest market for Vietnamese rice, with 15%, and should also be attended to, he said.

According to Hue, there have been concerns that Vietnam’s heavy reliance on the Chinese market, which accounted for 40% of the country’s rice exports, is risky. However, Hue downplayed such concerns, saying the neighboring country has high demand for rice in the long term. Echoing the opinion, Do Ha Nam, general director of INTIMEX Group, said Vietnamese rice is shipped to hundreds of countries around the world, but most of it is purchased by Asian and African countries. Particularly, China is a vital market. Nam said the focus on strategic and regional markets would help rice exporters achieve stable export earnings. Another important market for Vietnamese rice in Asia is the Philippines.

 Hue said rice exports to the Philippines would grow further in the coming time if the Philippine Government agrees to shift its rice import from a quota-based mechanism to a tariff-based one. He said the Philippines has plans to impose a 35% tariff on rice imports from ASEAN countries but 400% on rice from other countries, which will open the door wider for Vietnam as the country only has to compete with its only ASEAN rival Thailand. Nam said Vietnam’s white rice is not competitive on the Chinese market because similar products from Pakistan and Myanmar have lower prices.

However, Vietnam has exported large amounts of fragrant, glutinous and broken rice to China. Meanwhile, the best-seller in Africa is jasmine rice, and in the Philippines it is white rice. At the conference, Tran Xuan Long, head of the Agency of Foreign Trade under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, presented the strategy for rice export promotion in 2017-2020, with a vision towards 2030. Vietnam will reduce the volume of rice exports but seek to raise the value, according to the strategy. The country looks to export 4.5-5 million tons of rice worth US$2.2-2.3 billion per year in 2017-2020, and four million tons worth US$2.3-2.5 billion per year in 2021-2030. In 2020, white rice may account for 45% of total rice exports. Meanwhile, the proportions of fragrant rice, glutinous rice and rice products by then would be 30%, 20% and 5% respectively.

The country also expects to reduce reliance on the Asian market by lowering its rice export proportion to Asian countries from the current 68% to 60% in 2020 and 50% in 2030. Trade ministry proposes Government amend circular on rice export In a related development, the Ministry of Industry and Trade has sent the Government a draft decree on rice export, said Phan Van Chinh, head of the Import and Export Department under the ministry, at the conference on October 17. Chinh told the Daily on the sidelines of the event that the draft decree would make life easier for rice exporters.

The prevailing Decree 109/2010/ND-CP requires rice traders to have at least one warehouse with a minimum capacity of 5,000 tons, and a milling facility with a minimum hourly processing capacity of 10 tons in order to get rice export certificates, he said. He noted the draft decree still requires them to have warehouses and milling facilities in line with the standards set by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

He said if rice exporters meet the requirements, they will only need to send their dossiers to the Ministry of Industry and Trade for approval. He stressed the new regulation does not require them to have a prior confirmation from their local departments of industry and trade, adding that they must be accountable for their records.

Upon the issuance of certificates, the ministry and local authorities will conduct checks later. Exporters will store an amount of rice equivalent to 5% instead of the current 10% of the volume contracted for export, he said. Notably, local firms will no longer be required to register their export contracts with the Vietnam Food Association (VFA) in advance for customs procedures.

Unprecedented rice output surprises Iranians

Rice farmers in northern Iran have set a new record in the output volume harvesting about 2.3 million tons of the cereal grain over the first five months of the current fiscal year (started March 20). Abbas Keshavarz, an Iranian deputy agriculture minister, has described the output as "unprecedented in decades", adding that suitable climate conditions have contributed to the output surge, ISNA news agency reported. Simultaneously, the country imported over one million tons of rice to register 79 percent hike in volume terms compared to same period of time last year.

The country consumes about three million tons of rice per year and each Iranian averagely consumes about 38 kilograms of rice annually. It appears that the high output of rice this year has caused confusion among the importers as about 1.8 million tons of rice was imported into the country. This is while the country’s total imports of rice over the last two years stood at 1.5 million tons. According to Iran’s Customs Administration, the country imported worth of $995 million of rice over the first half of the current year, indicating a surge of 109 percent in value terms.

Basmati farmers in Punjab & Haryana rake it in
Description: Spreading aroma Even though the area under basmati rice was nearly 10 per cent less as compared to the last kharif season, the yield was better
Switch over to fast-growing variety with higher yield; lower stocks, dip in acreage boost prices
Low inventory and a fall in taxes on account of GST, coupled with rising exports, have helped basmati farmers in Punjab and Haryana to command a better price for their produce this season.“Even though the area under basmati rice was nearly 10 per cent less as compared to the last kharif season, the yield was better as more farmers decided to sow high-yielding varieties such as 1509 this time around,” said All India Rice Exporters Association President Vijay Setia.

Basmati acreage down “As a result, arrivals in the mandis are good. Farmers are getting a good price this time around. This was because there were low carry-forward stocks and also because buyers were more aggressive as there was a misplaced perception the yield would be less as the total acreage under basmati rice cultivation was relatively low,” he said.
According to a survey by the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (Apeda), basmati rice area in Haryana has come down 9.39 per cent to 6,52,000 hectares in the 2017 kharif season from 7,19,600 hectares in 2016.
Similarly, there was an 8.84 per cent reduction in the basmati area in Punjab, with the area coming down to 5,61,200 hectares.
The total basmati growing areas in seven States of north India came down by 7.92 per cent to 1.56 million hectares (mh) in the 2017 kharif season as compared to 1.69 mh, according to a recent report by Apeda.
Among the different basmati varieties, PB 1121 continued to be the most preferred one even though its area came down by 10.5 per cent to 1.1 mh. Pusa 1509, on the other hand, went up by 8.07 per cent to 1.29 lakh hectares.
According to Harpreet Singh Sidhu, General Manager Enforcement at the Punjab Mandi Board, total arrivals of basmati in mandis in the State stood at 1.86 lakh tonnes so far.
The total quantity of basmati rice traded in Haryana’s mandis till Monday was 86,741 tonnes, said a Haryana government official. Farmers, too, said they were happy with this year’s kharif yield.
“I have received 24 quintals of basmati rice from my one-acre plot,” said Rajinder Singh, a farmer in Rania, a small Haryana town 23 km away from Sirsa city. Singh chose to grow the short-duration, high-yielding 1509 variety, which accounts for most of the mandi arrivals.
High-yield varieties Farmers who have opted for other varieties such as PB-1 and PB-1401 also seem to be content with the yield.
“The harvest is planned after Diwali. The crop looks good and I expect the yield to be good,” said Surdeep Singh of Ellenabad, a small town in Sirsa district that lies close to Haryana’s border with Rajasthan.
Most basmati varieties are commanding a good price, both traders as well as farmers agree. Surdeep Singh said he expects to get up to ₹2,800/quintal for his produce.
Crop burning Punjab Mandi Board’s Sidhu, however, said the prices in Punjab are in the range of ₹3,000-3,300, which “is very good”.
However, rice farmers in both the States are worried about issues around burning crop residue.
“We expect more and more farmers in Sirsa to go for the 1509 variety during the next season as it would give them some extra time to prepare the field for the rabi crop as the 1509 variety takes only around 100 days as compared to 120 days required by most other popular varieties,” said Rajinder Singh of Rania.
Currently, less than 15 per cent of the acreage in the district is under 1509, he said.
Sukhwinder Singh Sekhon of Punjab Kisan Sabha, however, said the farmers should be adequately compensated if they do not burn crop residue.
“Farmers get less than 10 days to prepare the field for the rabi crop, any means other than crop burning would not be economical for farmers,” he said.
Moreover, studies have shown that the share of crop residue burning to air pollution was only 1.5 per cent, Sekhon argued.

China exports drought-resistant rice farming technique

Source: Xinhua| 2017-10-20 15:54:33|

HEFEI, Oct. 20 (Xinhua) -- A China-developed drought-resistant rice breed and its farming method have been introduced to nine countries, mainly in southeast Asia and Africa, according to an agricultural academy in east China's Anhui Province.Dr. Wang Shimei, of the Rice Research Institute of the Anhui Agricultural Academy, said the plantation area of the Lyuhan No. 1 (Green Drought) rice breed had reached 2.3 million hectares in China.
Wang said the breed was first exported in 2009 to Angola. Plantation has reached 10,000 hectares in the country since then. The rice has also been planted in countries such as the Philippines, Cambodia, Pakistanand Cameroon.
In Cameroon, the rice yield reached just over 29 kg per hectare this year, as compared with about an average 4.5 kg per hectare of other rice breeds in the country.
Wang said agricultural experts from 10 countries, including Egypt and Uganda, came to China in June to study the rice growing technique, hoping it could help improve the yield in their countries, which face severe drought.
She said the rice breed has also proved to have a steady yield in saline-alkali soil in the Philippines, where fields suffer from monsoon flooding

aT Introduced Korea's 'Functional Rice' that Became Real Food to Meet the World Market

·        20-10-2017

SEOUL, South Korea: aT (Korea Agro-Fisheries and Food Trade Corp.) introduced Korea's functional rice on arirang TV in 1st of October. aT is a professional association to satisfy overseas customers's expectation on Korean agricultural products. Germany's philosopher, Ludwig Feuerbach, said, "What you eat, what you are". It means that the 'food' affects significant influence to people's life, and that it also could replace those people. Currently in 2017, the general food buyers contracts the news on 'bad food' frequently through TV, internet and various medias.
Beyond the one-dimensional food concept that has fulfilled only its stomach, the whole world is paying attention to foods that can catch two rabbits of taste and health. As for the super food, that charges energy and increase the immunity, blueberries, chestnuts, salmon, broccoli, tomatoes, paprika and spinach have been well known.
Recently, there has been a renewed rise in the number of food items that are becoming more and more popular with superb food such as 'super food,' 'well-being food,' and 'real food.' It is the 'Functional rice' that is being produced in Korea. This functional rice mans whether it contains multiple times nutrition of existing rice or is the food that contains the nutrition that wasn't in the rice. Korean farmers, research institutes, and other stakeholders are constantly researching rice and developing and launching a variety of varieties.
Functional rice, which has undergone a process of sincerity, is not raised only at the table of Korea's own people. With increasing interest in 'health food' around the world, it is distributing Korean rice in various countries. It has become common to shop for functional rice offline or through online channels through word of mouth in Korean ethnic as well as ethnic communities.
There are as many different types of rice distributed in the Korean Mart in California. Among them, "GABA RICE" has gained popularity in the American community through word of mouth and is receiving high popularity among consumers. In the case of GABA rice, it is cultivated with the 'Pond-snail Farming Method', which is developed by Uesung in Gyeongbuk, Korea, and is named as environmentally friendly organic rice. Especially, 'GABA RICE' contains a lot of GABA ingredients.

GABA is an abbreviation for Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid. It is an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain. This material is deeply related to 'stability'. By increasing the oxygen supply of the brain, it promotes brain cell metabolism function and performs functions such as nerve stability, relaxation of anxiety, relieving anxiety. In addition to improving memory, blood pressure control, blood sugar control, prevention of dementia, and also has the efficacy of diet. Although the common rice gruel contains GABA, the GABA rice is 8 times more GABA than brown rice.
In particular, it is interesting to note that when the rice is cooked enough in water, the content of the GABA is further increased. After soaking in water, it increases 8 times in 12 hours, and 15 times in 36 hours. During the germination of rice, a lipid component that stabilizes insulin secretion is generated, nutrients are maximized, and the texture even better.
In addition to 'GABA RICE', functional rice in Korea is made up of local specialties such as rice, green tea, kelp rice, and shoji rice. These foods are a mixture of rice flour and related functional foods. They are able to ingest the nutritional ingredients of the special products themselves while maintaining the nutrition and texture of rice. In addition to this, functional rice of various varieties is commercialized and circulated in Korea, so that any consumer can choose healthy rice by choosing the rice they want.
Rice made from functional rice is superior in nutrition, texture and flavor and can produce various recipes. In the conventional traditional rice culture, it has been passed down like a traditional Korean dish, but it has developed into a culture that takes 'taste' and 'fun' as a distinctive recipe in modern times.
As functional rice becomes more and more popular, consumption and export volume of functional rice are increasing every year and it is remarkable that it is active in the world, especially in the US niche market. Food industry officials are paying attention to the continued growth of functional rice. The world's real food, 'functional rice' is the focus of attention

Military ordered to gather its own rice

Kim Chae Hwan  | 

 2017-10-20 14:29
Sources in North Korea are reporting that the authorities are preparing another push to collect rice for the armed forces this fall. However, in contrast to previous years, this time the order has been issued to the military itself. Ordinary citizens have in the past been assigned the task of gathering these provisions, but the responsibility this year has fallen on military conscripts.“Military leadership handed down orders last month detailing the quotas required to be collected by the local 12th Corp. These orders include amounts covering every division and brigade in the entire 12th Corp, which must be collected and presented to division leaders in the coming season,” a source in Ryanggang Province informed Daily NK on October 18.

"It is quite absurd that military personnel have to collect these provisions themselves. And such orders were handed down in all provinces, covering all military divisions across the country.”

The source says that soldiers are complaining about the plan, especially given the government's failure to distribute goods, even to the military in recent times. 

"Is there any other country on Earth that does not feed its own military? I thought the army was supposed to be defending our country, but instead they're turning us into an army of farmers," one serviceman told the source.

The North Korean regime began emphasizing the importance of feeding its military as a national priority after the Great Famine of the mid 90s. Kim Jong Il introduced the concept of songun (military-first) ideology, stating that "our nation's armed forces must never go hungry!"

Citizens who thereafter did not contribute the required quota of rice were excluded from what was left of the state distribution system. State organizations were also mobilized to collect food for the military, and those who did not satisfy the requirements were stripped of their political status and other perks. As a result, many had no choice but to eat significantly less in order to contribute their quota to the state.

But even these provisions were insufficient to feed the entire military. During the mid 2000s, the government hoped to solve the food shortage by allowing military members to cultivate small private gardens for personal consumption. The recent directive, however, seems to be an attempt by the authorities to absorb some of these stocks as well. 

According to a source in North Hamgyong Province, military members are complaining that they "must begin large-scale farming from next year" in order to meet these new demands, calling the plan just another "government scheme."

Guyana Rice Board:Former GRDB boss and deputy face 30-plus new fraud charges

Guyana Rice Board:Former GRDB boss and deputy face 30-plus new fraud charges
Two former senior officials of the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) are set to face at least 30 new fraud charges today in the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts.Yesterday, both former General Manager, Jagnarine Singh, and his deputy, Madanlall ‘Ricky’ Ramraj, were at the Camp Road office of the police’s Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU), with their lawyer, Glen Hanoman. Missing is Peter Ramcharran, a former accountant, who is arrested and in custody in Canada, pending extradition. Charges could be read in his absence.
This would be the second case, with SOCU expected to lay more charges in a number of other cases, involving billions of dollars.   GRDB is the agency which regulates the country’s rice industry, one of the top three foreign currency earners for Guyana.SOCU is investigating the findings of a forensic audit report which was handed over to the police by the Coalition Government several months ago.
Already, in one case, six former high-ranking officials of GRDB, including Jagnarine and Ramraj have been charged and placed on $500,000 bail each for allegedly failing to make a proper entry into a register of a company with the intent to defraud $362M from the entity’s Republic Bank account.
The six officials also included General Secretary of the Producers Association (RPA) and PPP/C Member of Parliament, Dharamkumar Seeraj; former Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs and PPP/C Member of Parliament, Nigel Dharamlall; former General Manager of the Guyana Oil Company Badrie Persaud and the Deputy Permanent Secretary, Finance Ministry of Agriculture, Prema Roopnarine.
The accused all pleaded not guilty to the charges which alleged that between January 1 and December 31, 2012, with intent to defraud, they omitted or concurred to be omitted $77.3M from the general ledger of the GRDB’s Republic Bank account.
Similarly, between January 1 and December 31 of the years 2013, 2014 and 2015 with intent to defraud the entity, they are alleged to have omitted or concurred to be omitted from the said Republic Bank account, $9.7M, $130M and $145M for three respective years.

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