Tuesday, November 21, 2017

R&D News-Latest crop improvement technology coming to Texas A&M AgriLife

Latest crop improvement technology coming to Texas A&M AgriLife

Writer: Kay Ledbetter, 806-677-5608, skledbetter@ag.tamu.edu
Contact: Dr. Charlie Johnson, 979-862-3287, Charlie@ag.tamu.edu
Dr. Michael Thomson, 979-845-7526, m.thomson@tamu.edu
Marco Molina, 979-458-1410, marco.molina@tamu.edu
Mayra Molina, 979-458-1410, mayrafmolina@tamu.edu
COLLEGE STATION – Texas A&M AgriLife Research is investing in the future of rapid crop design with improved traits through the deployment of two new labs and a half-million dollar seed grant program to jump-start the process.
“We are pleased to announce a new funding opportunity that focuses on building a pipeline for genome editing in agriculturally important crops in Texas and beyond,” said Dr. Bill McCutchen, executive associate director of AgriLife Research, College Station.
Dr. Charlie Johnson, director of the Genomics and Bioinformatics Service Lab, College Station. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo)
“The recent development of the Crop Genome Editing Lab and the MultiCrop Transformation Lab, coupled with the existing capabilities of the Genomics and Bioinformatics Service Lab, uniquely positions us to research and discover novel methods and solutions for important traits across multiple crops,” McCutchen said.
Together, these research and service labs, combined with one of the largest agriculture-focused sequencing facilities in the world, can now provide a complete plant genome editing pipeline for crop improvement, said Dr. Charlie Johnson, director of the Genomics and Bioinformatics Service Lab, College Station.
Dr. Michael Thomson, Texas A&M Univeristy professor and HM Beachell Rice Chair with AgriLife Research. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo)
The Crop Genome Editing Lab is led by Dr. Michael Thomson, Texas A&M University professor and HM Beachell Rice Chair with AgriLife Research, while the MultiCrop Transformation Lab is directed by research specialists Marco and Mayra Molina.
“We believe our 25-plus years combined experience working on plant biotechnology, either on academia or industry will fully support AgriLife’s initiative of building this pipeline aimed at successful plant transformation of major commercial crops and overcoming challenges such as stable transformation and plant regeneration,” the Molina’s said in a joint statement.
Mayra Molina, research specialist, will lead the MultiCrop Transformation Lab in College Statiion with her husband Marco Molina. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo)
Some of the newest capabilities include genomics analysis for single guide RNA design, Cas9/sgRNA construct development, biolistic or Agrobacterium-based transformation, plant regeneration and confirmation of gene-edited progeny.
Thomson said by working with individual research and breeding groups, their combined expertise can help jump-start genome editing activities for crop improvement.
The seed grant program will fund approximately 20 projects focused on a specific crop, trait and target gene or genes, with each project allowed to request up to $30,000 in service credits for the entire project, he said.
Marco Molina, research specialist, will lead the MultiCrop Transformation Lab in College Station with his wife Mayra Molina. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo)
The seed grant program aims to link investigators with this integrated genome-editing pipeline to test genome editing approaches for their target crop and trait.
“We are now utilizing CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing, which has transformed research approaches across a wide range of fields,” Thomson said. “This method presents an unprecedented opportunity to rapidly deploy beneficial traits in major crops, thus cutting time off the long breeding process.”
While genome editing offers tremendous promise, Thomson said there are still a number of challenges to be tackled before the technology becomes routinely used for crop improvement.
Some of the issues for researchers will be:
– Knowing the gene or genes underlying the trait of interest.
– Targeting multigene families or genes in polyploid species.
– Moving beyond simple knock-outs to implement precise base edits and allele replacements.
– Avoiding off-target effects.
– Overcoming genotype-specific transformation.
– Regeneration constraints.
– Efficiently selecting progeny with the desired edits.
“We have this technology and we are open for business,” Johnson said. “This is part of AgriLife Research’s continued investment into agriculture and life science platforms and providing the latest technology and corresponding seed grants to our faculty.”
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21st November,2017 daily global regional local rice e-newsletter by riceplus magaznie

 

 

Toxic burning of rice straw in Egypt down 13-15% in 2017: Minister

Ahram Online , Sunday 19 Nov 2017
The environment ministry's festival in Egypt's city of Obour, celebrating the end of the rice harvest season. (Photo: Ahram Arabic website)
Egypt's environment minister Khaled Fahmy has said that the toxic practice of burning rice straw at the end of the harvest season has reduced this year by 13-15 percent, Ahram Al-Arabic news website reported.The government has collected 79 percent of all rice straw from farmers after the harvest in 2017, Fahmy said.
Complaints against farmers who burn their rice straw has decreased from 12,040 last year to 10,070 this year, Fahmy added.The minister's announcements came during the end-of-year conference at the Ministry of Environment to discuss the ministry's efforts to counter pollution.
Burning rice straw after harvest season in the autumn results in the emission of toxic fumes that accumulate in black clouds in the sky.The cloud remains in the atmosphere for two to three months, potentially causing health complications for respiratory and heart disease patients, and could also trigger allergies and autoimmune diseases.
Fahmy said that his ministry has been able to raise awareness about the issue through workshops for farmers in several governorates, and has used satellite technology to locate the sources of fires.
The minister said that 2017 has seen the most success in four years in combating black clouds.
The government is planning on supplying farmers with equipment to help them recycle rice straw, converting it into fertiliser and animal fodder to combat the rising costs of these goods, the minister added.
On Friday, the ministry organised a two-day festival in Obour City east of Cairo to mark the end of the rice harvest season. The festival featured displays of animal dummies made of rice straw, as well as other artistic performances.
Rice is one of the largest crops grown by farmers in Egypt and is a key staple food for the vast majority of the country's population.
The country's annual production of rice is around 5.1 million tonnes, much higher than the annual consumption estimated at about 3.95 million tonnes, according to a United States Department of Agriculture report.
The land area used for rice production in 2017 was 704,500 feddans.
The black cloud first appeared over the Nile Delta and Cairo in 1997, but did not become visible to the naked eye until two years later.
Experts and environmentalists have blamed the cloud on straw burning during the rice harvest. 
Egyptians are sometimes forced to seek shelter indoors in the fall to hide from the negative health impact of black clouds.

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/281781/Egypt/Politics-/Toxic-burning-of-rice-straw-in-Egypt-down--in--Min.aspx


Shop Talk, Louisiana Style
 
VIDRINE, LOUISIANA - It has been quite some time since a Louisiana Governor and a Louisiana Commissioner of Agriculture toured the state together.  In fact, on Friday, Governor John Bel Edwards told the crowd gathered at R&N Farms here that it hasn't happened since the days of Earl K. Long when candidates ran as a ticket back in the 1930s.

Richard and Neil Fontenot, with the help of their family and friends, transformed their equipment shop into a 150 seat auditorium for the event. This stop, part of the Governor and Commissioner's Agricultural and Forestry Listening Tour, focused predominantly on rice and the rice industry, and rice growers from across the state attended, offering input and listening to the responses given by Edwards and Strain on questions covering a wide variety of important issues. 

Jackie Loewer, a rice grower from Acadia parish, thanked both Edwards and Strain for their leadership and support on agriculture issues, including the recent sale of rice to Iraq. Both expressed the key role of Louisiana Congressman Ralph Abraham, and how important it will be for everyone to work together, to continue promoting the state's agriculture products.

"Of the $13 billion agriculture contributes to Louisiana's annual economy, almost $9 billion is due to exports," said Commissioner Strain. "That's a number that will continue to grow, as the demand to feed the world is projected to increase over the next several years."

Issues ranged from workforce program obstacles growers face throughout the growing season to infrastructural improvements needed to increase the efficiency of marketing opportunities. Discussions also included exemptions that support the agriculture industry and specific instances related to disadvantages faced by Louisiana farmers compared with farmers in other states.

Christian Richard, a rice grower in Vermilion parish, explained "it's frustrating to know we're faced with paying additional costs on electricity for our drying operations, along with peak demand charges, while growers in our neighboring states don't have these same costs."  Both Edwards and Strain committed to working with the Louisiana Farm Bureau, and other organizations, in opening a dialogue with the Public Service Commission for resolution options.

The morning session ended with Governor Edwards and Commissioner Strain thanking everyone for taking the time to attend. "This was something we had planned for last year, but the circumstances with flooding disasters around the state had other plans," Strain explained. "If possible, we would like to continue listening sessions like this to get feedback in the future."
USA Rice Daily

Remote-sensing technology mitigates risks in agricultural production

 20/11/2017
VietNamNet Bridge - Accurate forecasts about rice and crop yields, as well as better monitoring of floods and natural calamities are needed to help policymakers come up with good solutions for agricultural production.


The data provided to farmers, businesses, insurance companies, policy makers and specialists remain limited, leading to high risks in production. Remote sensing technology would help reduce the risks.

According to the National Institute of Agricultural Planning and Projection (NIAPP), remote sensing technology can replace the usual tools in monitoring agricultural production and give more reliable results.

In the past, Vietnam used statistical systems, which were time-consuming and led to big errors.

Remote sensing technology surveys larger areas, and gives results after shorter time and with higher accuracy. And the cost of using remote sensing technology is lower than traditional methods.
Remote sensing technology surveys larger areas, and gives results after shorter time and with higher accuracy. And the cost of using remote sensing technology is lower than traditional methods.
Pham Quang Ha from the Agriculture Planning Institute commented that remote sensing technology, with accurate results, helps in monitoring rice production that serves food production planning; assesses the damages caused by natural calamities; and insures agriculture production to ease risks for farmers.

It is also helpful in statistical work, food storage planning, and scientific research and teaching, and adaptation to climate change.

The recent historic floods led to rice crop failure in the north. The damages caused by the flood were serious, but farmers needed to give figures to prove the damages.

In this case, remote sensing technology would help them measure damages in districts, communes and rice fields. The information would be referred to by insurers and the state to calculate compensation levels and necessary financial support to help ease farmers’ difficulties.

NIAPP’s director Nguyen Quang Dung said with remote sensing technology, scientists use signals provided by satellites in 6-day or 12-day periods to determine the time when crops begin, then calculate the expected rice yield. The calculation method gives high accuracy level at 90-92 percent.

Experts said remote sensing technology, together with simulation and mapping technology, can help give information to forecast risks, which can be used by state management agencies to consider giving support to help farmers fix damages and by insurers to compensate farmers.

Marcel Reymond recommends the use of remote sensing technology in agriculture production and agriculture insurance.

He said in the near future, all farm produce must be insured, because agricultural production faces risk from natural calamities. And remote sensing technology will be helpful to both insured farmers and insurers.

“This technology will help provide accurate, timely and objective data on losses to rice production,” he explained. “It will also help insurance companies tackle a big problem – the high transaction costs in insurance programs targeting small-scale farming.”

How do bacteria eat fungi?


Scientists from the National Institute of Plant Genome Research have identified a protein that helps bacteria consume fungi.Bacteria are single cellular life forms that have been on the Earth for approximately 3.5 billion years. In all their time on Earth they have adapted to different climates and region, interacting with all other life forms that subsequently evolved on the planet.
Like all organisms, bacteria too must compete with others sharing their environment, for sources of nutrition. Hence many bacteria are observed to release antifungal metabolites and toxins, to compete with fungi. Mycophagy is a process which takes this interaction a step further. Through their various antibiotics, toxins and enzymes bacteria can digest and consume fungi themselves.
In their recent study the scientists have isolated the bacterium Burkholderia gladioli strain NGJ1 from rice seeds and studied its antifungal effect on Ralstonia solanacearum, a fungal pathogen of rice plants. Through different confrontation assays experiments, the bacteria were allowed to come in contact with the fungal species.
The experiments showed that after a week of exposure, the bacteria were seen growing on the fungus. Under normal conditions the fungus is known to produce sclerotia, which are hard dormant bodies which store nutrients for the fungi in extreme conditions. In the presence of the bacteria only a few sclerotia were produced which were unable to germinate.
To understand the mechanism through which the bacteria were attacking the fungal cells, the scientists genetically modified the bacteria to not express the type three secretion system (T3SS). T3SS is a protein found in pathogenic bacteria. In the absence of this system the bacterium lost the ability of mycophagy. Using online tools, the scientists further identified that the protein Bg_9562 in the T3SS was similar to proteins in viral tails. The purified protein Bg_9562 was also seen to have a broad spectrum anti-fungal activity that could potentially be harnessed against fungal agents that are pathogenic to crops.
CCMB-IIRR tie-up for low GI rice

HYDERABAD , NOVEMBER 21, 2017 00:51 IST
UPDATED: NOVEMBER 21, 2017 07:50 IST

 

 

New variety is considered suitable for those with diabetics

Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in association with the Indian Institute of Rice Research (IIRR) has come out with an Improved Samba Masuri (ISM) which is not only resistant to bacteria blight but also has a low Glycemic Index (GI) considered suitable for those with diabetes.

National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), a constituent of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), has done extensive human trials on the new variety and had come to the conclusion that ISM has low GI of 50.99 which is among the lowest value for several rice varieties tested and usually in the range of 53 to 69, explained IIRR director P. Ananda Kumar and his colleague R.M. Sundaram, CCMB’s Ramesh Sonti, Vishnupriya and others on Monday.

GI value of a food is determined by feeding 10 or more healthy people a portion of the food containing 50 grams of digestible (available) carbohydrate and then measuring the effect on their blood glucose levels over the next two hours.Consumption of food with low GI results in slow release of glucose into the bloodstream reducing the ill-effects of diabetes.Plus, ISM also has desirable attributes like better yield and fine grain type enhancing market potential and profit for farmers, they told a press conference.

With financial support from National Agricultural Technology Project of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and CSIR800 program of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) work began in 1999 and completed in 2006, it was validated in 10 different locations for two years across the country. It was released in 2008. “We did molecular breeding in CCMB and actual traditional rice breeding at the rice research institute. Its not a transgenic plant. It is already been grown in 1.50 lakh hectares last year in seven rice breeding states including Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, TS, TN, UP, etc.,” the scientists said. Farmers in several rice growing States have testified to the improved yield of up to 40% because of successful tackling of Bacteria Blight. In two/three years time, the scientists are confident of coming out with a new variety of rice which can not only give high yields but also be resistant to three different pests affecting rice crop with field trials currently on.

CCMB Director Rakesh Kumar Misra said ISM development was an excellent example of inter-institutional collaboration. Two firms have expressed interest in commercial production of the seed and scientists expect more farmers to take to it in the coming years.

 

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/ccmb-iirr-tie-up-for-low-gi-rice/article20607229.ece

 

Indian American Sangeeta Mukhopadhyay Awarded with Chemist Award

India-West Staff Reporter
University of Arkansas doctoral student Sangeeta Mukhopadhyay wins second Cereal Chemists Award. (Fred Miller/UARK.edu photo)
Indian American doctoral student at the University of Arkansas Sangeeta Mukhopadhyay was named the winner of the student paper competition at the American Association of Cereal Chemists International annual meeting in San Diego.
Mukhopadhyay, who studies food science, won the 2017 Engineering and Processing Best Student Paper Award for her entry, "Experimental Simulation of Cross-Flow Rice Drying: Effect of Tempering Approaches on Milling Yields," according to a university news release.
It’s the second time she has won the award, doing so for her entry, “Impact of Rapid Moisture Adsorption on Rice Milling Yields,” in 2014.
Mukhopadhyay's research focuses on experimental simulation of cross-flow dryers, the most common rice dryers in the U.S. rice industry, the university said.
For the 2017 paper, she and Siebenmorgen simulated a cross-flow drying column with the goal of understanding ​the effect of post-drying tempering approaches on rice ​milling yields and the extent of fissure occurrence when rice from different dryer cross-sections are tempered differently, it said.
They found the tempering approach immediately after drying significantly affects head rice yields of rice located​ at different dryer cross-sections during drying. This effect was more prominent on rice located near the heated-air plenum during drying​. These results can be used to design better cross-flow rice dryers and improve the drying process, according to the news release.
A native of Kolkata, Mukhopadhyay earned her bachelor's degree in food technology from West Bengal University of Technology in India and her master's degree in food and agricultural engineering from Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur. She joined the University of Arkansas’ rice processing program as a graduate assistant in 2012.
AAACI is a global, nonprofit association of more than 2,000 scientists and food industry professionals focused on advancing the understanding and knowledge of cereal grain science and its product development applications through research, leadership, education, technical service and advocacy.


House panel opts for lower rice tariff to avoid trade sanctions

 
The House of Representatives’ Committee on Agriculture and Food on Monday reduced the proposed bound tariff rate for rice imports outside the minimum access volume (MAV) to 180 percent from 400 percent.
The House panel, which is chaired by Party-list Rep. Jose T. Panganiban Jr. of Anac-IP, decided to adopt a proposal of the Department of Agriculture (DA) to set a lower bound tariff rate so the government won’t have to extend trade concessions and to ensure that rice prices would remain stable.
Agriculture Undersecretary Segfredo R. Serrano said notifying the World Trade Organization (WTO) that Manila would impose a 400-percent bound tariff rate on out-quota rice imports may put the Philippines at the mercy of other member-countries of the WTO. Serrano added other WTO member-countries may ask for concessions just to secure their approval for the proposed bound tariff rate.
“They [WTO member-countries] know that within the formula under the Agreement on Agriculture [AoA], the Philippines has every legal right to inscribe its level of commitment. But they can hit us if it is outside of the AOA,” he said during the committee hearing held on Monday.
“They [WTO member-countries] might ask something in exchange from us just to get their nod for a 400-percent bound tariff rate.
“We would not advise risking noncertification of our notification of tariffication at the WTO just because of the issue with the numbers,” Serrano added.
The DA official disclosed that under the formula provided by the AoA, the Philippines could impose a bound tariff rate ranging from 150 percent to 179 percent on imported rice.
“In fact, what we proposed is that we follow the computation. The problem with imposing 400 percent is how are we going to explain that, what is our basis?” Serrano said.
Earlier, former President and now Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of the Second District of Pampanga had wanted a 400-percent bound tariff rate on out-quota rice imports in the substitute bill which would amend Republic Act (RA) 8178.
Arroyo, in proposing the figure, argued that the Philippines should interpret international agreements to its advantage and that a high bound tariff rate would afford the government trade “flexibilities.” However, Serrano said WTO member-countries will not accept such justifications, as the Philippines is expected to follow and respect the provisions provided under the AoA in converting nontariff measures, such as quantitative restrictions (QR).
Annex 5 of the AoA states that the tariff equivalent of converting any nontariff measures shall be based on the difference between the domestic price and international price (cost, insurance and freight unit value, or CIF) of the commodity for 1986 to 1988.
Paragraph 10 of the Annex 5 states that the tariff equivalent coming from the formula “shall be bound in the schedule of the member concerned.” Bound tariffs are maximum tariff rates that a WTO member-country could impose on a certain commodity.
Serrano’s proposal was supported by officials from the Tariff Commission, National Economic and Development Authority (Neda), Department of Foreign Affairs, and was eventually approved by the committee.
The Committee on Agriculture and Food has approved on its first meeting the substitute bill that seeks to amend RA 8178, which allowed the government to regulate the entry of imported rice via the QR scheme.
Under the substitute bill, the Philippines will impose a bound tariff rate of 35 percent for rice originating from the Asean region, regardless of its volume. Manila would also impose a 40-percent bound tariff most-favored nation (MFN) rate for in-quota rice imports from countries that do not belong to the Asean.
Once the substitute bill is enacted into law, the country’s MAV for rice shall revert to its 2012 level at 350,000 metric tons (MT), from the current 805,000 MT.
Panganiban vowed to fast-track the passage of the substitute bill that would allow the country to convert its QR on rice into tariffs. He revealed that the lower chamber is planning to approve the bill on third and final reading before the year ends.
“We will fast-track the approval of this measure and approve it before our Christmas break on December 16,” Panganiban told the BusinessMirror.
The passage of the law allowing the tariffication of rice is included in the priority bills identified as urgent by the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council this year.
However, Panganiban said the bill will be submitted first to the House Committee on Ways and Means for another round of deliberations.
Under the rules of the lower chamber, all matters directly and principally relating to the fiscal, monetary and financial affairs of the national government, including tariff, taxation, revenues, borrowing, credit and bonded indebtedness shall undergo deliberation by the ways and means committee.
Earlier, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Prenia told the BusinessMirror that the President’s economic team would like Congress to pass the law scrapping the QR by the end of the year so the country can start imposing rice tariffs by the first quarter of 2018.
The authority to set bound tariffs is vested in Congress. But, under the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act, the President, upon the recommendation of the Neda, has the power to modify the tariffs applied on Philippine imports.
The Philippines is under pressure to convert its QR on rice into ordinary customs duties after its waiver on the special treatment on rice expired on June 30. The WTO General Council approved the waiver, which allowed Manila to keep its rice QR until June 30, on the condition that the Philippines will subject its rice imports to ordinary custom duties by July 1.
In March the Philippines informed WTO members that it is facing delays in converting the QR because it has not amended RA 8178, which imposed the import caps on rice indefinitely. As a sign of “goodwill” to its trading partners, President Duterte signed Executive Order 23 in July to extend the concessions made by the Philippines in securing the waiver in 2014.


Researchers pin down one source of a potent greenhouse gas

Results suggest more methane may be released into atmosphere than thought

Published on November 20, 2017

Old Woman Creek National Estuarine Research Reserve. Photo by Jordan Angle, courtesy of The Ohio State University.
COLUMBUS, Ohio—A study of a Lake Erie wetland suggests that scientists have vastly underestimated the number of places methane-producing microbes can survive—and, as a result, today’s global climate models may be misjudging the amount of methane being released into the atmosphere.
In the journal Nature Communications, researchers at The Ohio State University and their colleagues describe the discovery of the first known methane-producing microbe that is active in an oxygen-rich environment.
Oxygen is supposed to be toxic to such microbes, called methanogens, but the newly named Candidatus Methanothrix paradoxum thrives in it.
In fact, 80 percent of the methane in the wetland under study came from oxygenated soils. The microbe’s habitat extends from the deepest parts of a wetland, which are devoid of oxygen, all the way to surface soils.
Kelly Wrighton
“We’ve always assumed that oxygen was toxic to all methanogens,” said Kelly Wrighton, project leader and professor of microbiology at Ohio State. “That assumption is so far entrenched in our thinking that global climate models simply don’t allow for methane production in the presence of oxygen. Our work shows that this way of thinking is outdated, and we may be grossly under-accounting for methane in our existing climate models.”
More work needs to be done before researchers can determine exactly how much more methane is out there, but the microbe’s habitat appears to be global.
Searching publically available databases, the researchers found traces of Candidatus Methanothrix paradoxum in more than 100 sites across North America, South America, Europe and Asia. The organism lives in rice paddies, wetlands and peatlands—even as far north as the Arctic. It just hadn’t been cataloged before, and its unusual metabolism hadn’t been discovered.

Jordan Angle
Researchers have long known that wetlands are Earth’s largest natural source of methane. They’ve placed estimates on the amount of methane produced globally based on the notion that only the oxygen-free portion of any wetland could harbor methanogens.
In just the last decade, ocean researchers have seen evidence of methane being produced in oxygenated water, and dubbed the phenomenon the “methane paradox,” but no microorganism has been found to be responsible.
The newly discovered wetland microbe is the first such organism ever found. That’s why Wrighton and her team named it CandidatusMethanothrix paradoxum.
The researchers weren’t expecting to make that particular discovery in November 2014, when they collected soil samples from sites around Old Woman Creek National Estuarine Research Reserve, a 573-acre freshwater wetland on the southern point of Lake Erie near Huron, Ohio. Their goal was to map the metabolism of the microbes that lived there, to better understand how methane was being produced in general.
When doctoral student Jordan Angle analyzed the samples, he found something strange: Soils that were rich in oxygen contained more methane than soils that lacked oxygen.
“I didn’t believe it, and thought he’d gotten the samples mixed up,” Wrighton said.
After Angle repeated the experiment two more times and got the same results, the team returned to the site over six months in 2015, April through October. They found that, in some cases, oxygenated soils contained 10 times as much methane as nonoxygenated soils.
Then researchers sequenced microbe DNA from the soils and assembled genomes for the most plentiful organism, which turned out to be the new methane producing microbe. These methane producing microbes contribute to the fact that although wetlands cover only 6 percent of the Earth’s surface, they account for about one-third of all atmospheric methane, estimated at 160 million tons—at least, that was the estimate before this discovery.
Wetlands are not the villains of the story, though. They do a lot of good for the environment—from filtering contaminants out of the water to providing a critical animal habitat—and they store much more greenhouse gas than they emit. Globally, wetlands sequester as much as 700 billion tons of carbonthat would otherwise raise global temperatures, were it to enter the atmosphere.
“Since late 18th century, 90 percent of Ohio’s wetland resources have been destroyed or degraded through draining, filling or other modifications,” Wrighton said. “It is imperative especially for the natural wetlands like this one that we preserve and protect these resources.”
Ohio State co-authors on the paper include Gil Bohrer, associate professor of civil, environmental and geodetic engineering, and his former and current doctoral students Timothy Morin and Camilo Rey-Sanchez; and senior researcher Rebecca Daly and doctoral students Lindsey Solden, Garrett Smith and Mikayla Borton, all of microbiology. They partnered with Adrienne Narrowe and Christopher Miller at the University of Colorado Denver, David Hoyt of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and William Riley of Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory.
Their work was funded by the Ohio Water Development Authority, the National Science Foundationand the Department of Energy (DOE), including Wrighton’s DOE Early Career Award. Old Woman Creek National Estuarine Research Reserve is run by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrationand the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

https://news.osu.edu/news/2017/11/20/paradoxum/

Thailand University Introduce Rice For Diabetes Patients


Monday, 20 November 2017 19:56
t
MAHA SARAKHAM -- Researchers at Mahasarakham University have introduced the rice that slowly releases sugar into blood and is thus suitable for diabetes patients, Thai News Agency (TNA) reported.President of the university, Prof Sampan Ritthidech said that researchers of the university processed rice from the Thung Kula Ronghai area which could slowly release sugar during the body’s digestive process.The processed rice was suitable for diabetes patients who needed to control the sugar level of their blood, he said.A leading researcher who developed the rice, Assoc Prof Siritorn Siri-amornpan of the university’s Faculty of Technology said that normal white rice had the glycemic index (GI) of about 90 but the processed rice’s GI was below 55.
GI indicates the speed of sugar transfers from carbohydrate and sweet foods to blood circulation.
The processed rice was served to type 2 diabetes patients, who did not depend on insulin, for three months and their accumulative blood sugar dropped significantly. The effect was similar to that of diabetes drugs which had side effects on kidneys after long use, she said.Assoc Prof Siritorn said the processed rice was already commercially developed and available at health product stores. Interested parties could inquire about the product and the research from Mahasarakham University.
-- BERNAMA
http://malaysiandigest.com/world/708795-thailand-university-introduce-rice-for-diabetes-

Rice researchers demonstrate water desalination technology in D.C.

RICE NEWS STAFF
NOVEMBER 16, 2017POSTED IN: CURRENT NEWS

Long Description
(From left) Rice postdoctoral research fellow Alessandro Alabastri, alumnus Andrew Treleaven ’13 and graduate student Pratiksha Dongare attended the inaugural University Innovation and Entrepreneurship Showcase in Washington, D.C., to demonstrate SNOWater, a solar water desalination project they pioneered at Rice’s Nanotechnology-Enabled Water Treatment Research Center. SNOWater converts high-salinity and polluted water to freshwater and allows the use of solar energy for off-the-grid water purification.
The Nov. 14 showcase highlighted the role of federally funded university research in fueling entrepreneurship, innovation and competitiveness across the country. The Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities and the Association of American Universities in partnership with the National Academy of Inventors and VentureWell hosted the event. Below: Dongare explains the project to U.S. Rep. Bill Flores, R-Texas. (From left) Treleaven, Alabastri, U.S. Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, Dongare, U.S. Rep. Pete Olson ’85, R-Texas, and Nathan Cook, Rice director of government relations, gather in front of the SNOWater display. (Photos by Nathan Cook and Gina Foote)
Long Description


http://news.rice.edu/2017/11/16/rice-researchers-demonstrate-water-desalination-technology-in-d-c/

Phoenix Group to set up 325-cr rice mill in Andhra Pradesh

SURESH P IYENGAR
MUMBAI, NOVEMBER 20:  
The Dubai headquartered Phoenix Group, a global agricultural and food company, plans to set up a rice mill with an investment of $50 million (325 crore) to process 250,000 of non-basmati rice per annum at Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh.The $2-billion agriculture-focussed company has also sounded out banks to procure stressed asset in food processing and rice mills. The company has raised $205 million (about 1,300 crore) through a consortium of seven banks led by Standard Chartered Bank, Singapore. The company plans to invest the remaining amount to boost its rice business in Mozambique, Benin and Ivory Coast as destinations, and India as origin.
Supported by OFID (the OPEC Fund for International Development), the loan facility was over-subscribed with participation of BNP Paribas, RaboBank, First Abu Dhabi Bank, ICICI Bank and Shinhan Bank.
Rice export

In India, the company logged in turnover of
1,500 crore through export of rice from India and import of pluses from Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan and Australia.
Gaurav Dhawan, Chairman, Phoenix Group, told BusinessLine that the company has already identified the land required for setting up the rice mill and is in talks with the State government for completing the formality.
“We have also identified 20-40 acres in Uttar Pradesh for cultivating tomato for the export market. Our target is to double revenue from India to 3,000 crore in the next four years,” he added.
Despite frequent changes in government policies, Dhawan is confident of sustaining growth in agriculture business in India by focusing on value added products and steering away from baseline commodities that have an impact on inflation.
Though the government has set out its vision to double Indian farmers’ income, he said there has been no constructive policy measures to achieve it. All the government policies are focused on food security and cost management by providing fertiliser at subsidised rate and giving minimum support price to farmers rather than targeting the export market with quality produce, said Dhawan.
If the Government provides the basic road, the private sector will invest in agriculture infrastructure such as putting up processing facility and cold storage to increase farmers’ income, besides sharing the knowledge on crops selection.
In Ukraine, Phoenix is all set to grow garlic on 1,000 hectares to challenge the dominance of China, which is fast losing market share due to contamination issues, he added.
(This article was published on November 20, 2017)

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/agri-business/phoenix-group-secures-205-mn-debt/article9967550.ece

 

Rice processing plant opened in Kazakhstan

20.11.2017

LLC Abai Daulett has put into operation a rice processing plant in Kyzylorda region of Kazakhstan, informs UkrAgroConsult.
Reportedly, the plant currently processes 7 MT of grain per hour using a waste-free production technology.
Kyzylorda rice growers have been harvesting bumper crops since a few years ago. In particular, the 2017 rice crop of over 500 KMT was the largest in the region’s history, reads the report.
In addition, an agreement has been signed on supplying Kyzylorda rice varieties to the Republic of Iran. Now the region’s rice producers expand foreign markets for their commodity.

    

http://www.blackseagrain.net/novosti/rice-processing-plant-opened-in-kazakhstan

Constant raids irk rice millers





Source: The Hitavada      Date: 21 Nov 2017 10:56:35



Staff Reporter,
RAIPUR,
Recent strings of raids on the rice mills have irked rice millers of state. Millers termed the action inappropriate as they have always cooperated in custom milling work. It’s notable that Government had begun paddy procurement on November 15 and many rice millers had registered for custom milling the paddy. Last year’s registration method has some new additions related to electricity and industry, which has made it difficult for old millers to register and the order to submit old gunny bags is also causing new problems.

Chhattisgarh Pradesh Rice Millers Association President Yogesh Agrawal stated that millers are ready to supply qualitative rice to people this year, but some millers aren’t able to register despite many efforts and even senior officials have been informed in this regard.

Millers complained that new arrangement of registration is being used to put unnecessary pressure on them. Millers are facing difficulty in fulfilling the old deals after prohibition on selling of rice extracted from old paddy.

Agrawal said that Government need to stop raids and rollback the actions taken on rice millers and hold discussion. Association never supports unlawful act and is always ready to cooperate. Custom milling will run smoothly only if the Government and Administration take the millers in confidence.

http://thehitavada.com/Encyc/2017/11/21/Constant-raids-irk-rice-millers.aspx

 

 

Koraput millers seek rice delivery date extension

By Express News Service  |   Published: 21st November 2017

Last Updated: 21st November 2017 07:20 AM  

JEYPORE: Millers of Koraput district have demanded extension of the deadline for delivering custom milled rice of the last kharif season. As per reports, 50 per cent of the millers have not met their target till November 15, the deadline set by the State Government.The Civil Supply Corporation had procured about 21 lakh quintals of paddy in the last kharif season through PACs and distributed those among 93 millers of the district for custom milling.
The millers were given a target to deliver about 16 lakh quintals of rice to the Civil Supply Corporation by November 15. However, about 14.5 quintals of custom milled rice was delivered by the deadline and only 47 millers achieved the target. The remaining 46 millers are yet to achieve their rice delivery target and about 1.5 lakh quintals of rice stock is pending with them, sources said.
For quite some time now, Koraput millers are complaining about shortage of godowns and harassment by the officials concerned for which rice delivery process is slow in the district. They said rice receiving centres in Jeypore, Koraput and Dumuriput are packed to the full for which they are unable to deliver rice on time.
Meanwhile, representatives of Koraput Millers’ Association also discussed the issue with State Civil Supply and Consumer Welfare Secretary VV Yadav and urged him to extend the delivery date to December-end as they are facing storage crunch. The Secretary reportedly assured the millers of looking into their problem.
Association secretary Gopal Panda said the millers are facing difficulties in delivery of rice without any fault of their own. The delay has happened due to absence of proper storage facilities of the Civil Supply Corporation, he added.
Punjab, Haryana procure 240 lakh tonnes paddy

SME Times News Bureau | 20 Nov, 2017
Agrarian states Punjab and Haryana have procured nearly 240 lakh tonnes of paddy so far, Food and Supplies Department officials said here on Sunday.Punjab has procured around 173 lakh tonnes and Haryana around 67 lakh tonnes, heading towards a record paddy procurement this season.
Government agencies have procured 98.5 per cent of the paddy arriving in the grain markets in Punjab and nearly 95 per cent in Haryana. The remaining paddy has been procured by rice millers and private traders.Punjab is expecting a record procurement of over 182 lakh tonnes of paddy this year compared with over 168 lakh tonnes of the bumper crop last year.

Paddy arrival in Haryana is much higher than the over 62 lakh tonnes that arrived in the state's grain markets in the corresponding period last year.The procurement, which began in both states on October 1, will continue till November end.The Reserve Bank of India has sanctioned over Rs 33,800 crore for paddy procurement in Punjab in this kharif season.
http://www.smetimes.in/smetimes/news/indian-economy-news/2017/Nov/20/punjab-haryana-procure-240-lakh-tonnes-paddy1636251.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zenith signs MOU with China’s leading agriculture enterprises to diversify into rice cultivation

Engly Tuy (Sakura) / Khmer Times Share:    

Zenith Agro Group (ZAG) has signed a memorandum of understanding with Taifeihuayuan Agriculture Development Co. and Yunnan Dongwei Agriculture Development Co to collaborate on rice production and commercialisation. As part of the strategic cooperation, Taifeihuayuan is keen to bring its proven technology in rice-planting into Cambodia and assist ZAG in the area of technical know-how.
They will also bring a research team from Nanjing that specialises in rice-planting in the southern part of China. Previously, the agriculture enterprise has achieved much success in Myanmar and is confident of providing ZAG with a performance guarantee of a minimum production of 12 tonnes of rice per hectare in two harvests yearly in Cambodia.
Wan Min Xiang, general manager of Hunan Donwei, Danny Wang, managing director of ZAG, Ouk Kosa and Fu Xue Jun.

VIP Guests attend the MoU signing ceremony

Rice Farming Skills Enhanced


November 20, 2017
BY ISMAEL GWASO

DWU Journalism student.
Taiwan International Co-operation and Development Funds (ICDF) is a major supplier of rice seeds in Papua New Guinea and the Pacific.
ICDF technician, Eric Yi-Chung Huang said they are supplying seeds to 252 farmers in Morobe Province and to more than 500 in the country.
‘’We have varieties of rice but what we are supplying is the TCS10 variety, which is adoptable to the PNG weather,” Mr Yi-Chung said.
ICDF is harvesting rice from its paddies located at the National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI), 10 Mile, Lae to be distributed to the farmers.
‘’Our mission is to deliver training and knowledge to every small scale farmer. We provide seeds and farming materials to improve small scale farming,’’ Mr Yi-Chung said.
He said farmers also receive training on marketing their produce.
Mr Yi-Chung said the previous harvest was one hectare which produced 3500kg.
He said this time they are looking at harvesting a 1.5 hectare.
The rice stalks are first cut followed by the removal of the grains from the stalk and then sun dried for three days.
Casual workers from around the 10 Mile area are engaged to do this work and also during planting and the weeding period.
ICDF provides hand tools and training on how to use them and harvesting process.
“We can provide big machines, but we prefer to use hand tools,’’ Mr Yi-Chung said.
ICDF waorks in partnership with NARI. ICDF is looking forward to showcasing their work during its field days on November 23 at the Zenag farm in Mumeng and at Erap farm on November 29.


The BusinessMirror makes history in Bright Leaf Awards


In Photo: Members of the 11th Bright Leaf Awards’s panel of judges celebrate with this year’s winners at the Fairmont Hotel in Makati City last Friday. From left are BusinessWorld columnist Albert Gamboa (judge); University of the Philippines Assistant Professor Marby Villaveran (judge); Philippine Daily Inquirer columnist Rina Jimenez-David (judge); Erwin M. MascariƱas of SunStar Cagayan de Oro; Ian Ocampo Flora of SunStar Pampanga; Laila D. Austria of the BusinessMirror; Mariane Mastura (representing Karren Montejo) of ABS-CBN Regional; Jasper Emmanuel Y. Arcalas of the BusinessMirror; Anselmo S. Roque of Punto Central Luzon; John Glen S. Sarol of Philippine Rice Research Institute-Jica; Neriz Nicole Burgos, host of Maunlad na Agrikultura sa Nayon Mag-Agri Tayo DWRW 95.1 FM Pampanga; Felecito B. Espiritu Jr., editor of Maunlad na Agrikultura sa Nayon Mag-Agri Tayo, DWRW 95.1 FM Pampanga; Harold Ramos Mongcal, writer of Maunlad na Agrikultura sa Nayon Mag-Agri Tayo, DWRW 95.1 FM Pampanga; and Founder and CEO of PhotoPRo Studio Mandy C. Navasero (judge). Navasero graced the awarding ceremonies.
THE BusinessMirror, the country’s leading business newspaper, made history last Friday.
For the first time, the Bright Leaf Agriculture Journalism Awards honored a journalist in two of its national categories.
It was also the first time for the BusinessMirror and for one of its youngest reporters Jasper Emmanuel Y. Arcalas. The 21-year-old Arcalas bagged the Best Agriculture Feature Story (National) of the year and Best Agriculture News Story (National) of the year at the 11th Bright Leaf Awards.
This is the first time the Feature and News Stories of the Year were won by a single news outfit and a reporter since Bright Leaf began in 2007.
The article that won Arcalas a Best Agriculture News Story was his story, titled “PHL retraces journey toward food security.”
The story unfolded in four parts the country’s two-decade struggle to achieve rice self-sufficiency. The series was published from January 16 to 19 this year.
Arcalas’s three-part story, titled “Can 13-year-old manual save PHL from bird flu?” won for him the Best Agriculture Feature Story this year.
The piece focused on the country’s efforts to curb the bird-flu outbreak using its 13-year-old Avian Influenza Protection Program Manual of Procedures.
Arcalas, who is assigned to cover the agriculture beat, is also one of the youngest reporters to win at the Bright Leaf Awards. He submitted his entries while en route to Brazil to cover the Southern American country’s meat sector upon the invitation of its industry association.
“This year, as a judge, one comes away not only with an appreciation of the state of agriculture journalism in our country but, as always, with fresh knowledge of current developments,” literary writer and Philippine Star columnist Krip Yuson said in his speech at the Fairmont Hotel in Makati City. Yuson is the head of the panel of judges for this year’s Bright Leaf Awards.
“All this makes for fascinating reading. And that is primarily what the Bright Leaf Agriculture Journalism Awards triumphs in: opening up many new doors to allow the bright light of knowledge to shine through,” he added. Yuson and the judges also honored BusinessMirror’s Tarlac-based photographer Laila Austria who won the Tobacco Photo of the Year for her entry, titled “Drying Tobacco,” which was published in May.
Three of her entries were shortlisted in two categories, including  Agriculture Photo of the Year.  This was the second year Austria joined the Bright Leaf Agriculture Journalism Awards.
This year’s winners also included Karren Montejo of ABS-CBN Davao for the Agriculture Story of the Year; Anselmo Roque of Punto Central Luzon for Best Agriculture News Story (Regional); John Glen Sarol of Philippine Rice Research Institute, Best Agriculture Feature Story; and Erwin Mascarinas of SunStar Cagayan de Oro, Agriculture Photo of the Year.
In broadcasting, Bright Leaf winners this year included DWRW 95.1 FM Pampanga as Best Agriculture Radio Program/Segment and ABS-CBN Regional as Best Agriculture TV Program/Segment.
“The importance of agriculture appears to escape public attention beyond the fundamentals, which explains why not too many regular publications allow for frequent space for agriculture journalism,” Yuson said. “But certainly, a higher degree of attention to the subject is mandatory for any modern nation that respects and fulfills its responsibilities to its people.”
Member of the panel of judges were Chito Lozada, deputy editor of The Daily Tribune; Albert Gamboa, business columnist of BusinessWorld; Marie Aubrey J. Villaceran, assistant professor of the University of the Philippines Diliman; Mandy Navasero, founder and CEO of Mandy Navasero PhotoPRO Studio; Jose Pablo Salud, editor in chief of the Philippines Graphic; and Pennie de la Cruz, desk editor of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
The list of judges also included Dr. Elenia Pernia, dean of the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communications; Jake Maderazo, station manager of DZIQ; Rina Jimenez- David, columnist of the Philippine Daily Inquirer; Dr. Roland Dy, executive director of the University of Asia and the Pacific Center for Food and Agribusiness; and Remar Zamora, chief of the Photo Section of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
The Bright Leaf Agriculture Journalism Awards was launched by Philip Morris Philippines Manufacturing Inc. (PMPMI). The awards is now being given by the PMFTC Inc., the company created in 2010 through the merger of the PMPMI and Fortune Tobacco Corp.
Image Credits: Roy Domingo


https://businessmirror.com.ph/the-businessmirror-makes-history-in-bright-leaf-awards/

CCMB announces bacteria-resistant rice variety in Hyderabad

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By AuthorSharjeel  |   Published: 20th Nov 2017  5:17 pm Updated: 20th Nov 2017  9:05 pm
Picture shows difference in ISM rice yield on the left and SM crop infested by bacterial blight (BB) on the right. Photo: By arrangement.
Hyderabad: The researchers from Hyderabad-based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) on Monday have announced a new Improved Samba Masuri (ISM) rice variety that has twin advantages of being resistant to Bacterial Blight (BB) and at the same time also beneficial to the overall health of the body. According to researchers, at present 40 per cent of the normal Samba Masuri crop is being lost due to Bacterial Blight. However, the new ISM variety of rice will significantly reduce this crop loss, which eventually would lead to reduced prices of rice and increased profit margins for farmers and traders.
Chief Scientist, CCMB, Dr Ramesh V Sonti said that the new ISM has the lowest Glycemic Index (GI) at 50.9 among all major rice varieties, which is an improvement over the 52.9 GI of earlier Samba Masuri variety. The traditional Samba Masuri rice is commonly called Sona Masuri and Kurnool Masuri and has very low resistance to BB, a pest disease for which there is no chemical solution yet. CCMB Director Dr Rakesh Kumar Mishra congratulated all scientists involved in the research, which has been going for nearly two decades. “The development of a rice variety which has high yield, great taste, low GI and complete resistance to BB is an achievement to be proud of ,” he said.
Director of Indian Institute of Rice Research Dr. P Ananda Kumar further explained that the new rice variety has been developed through traditional plant breeding and advanced biotechnology tools. “The Improved Samba Masuri is not at all genetically modified (GM),” he said. According to researchers, farmers have already cultivated ISM in 1, 30, 000 hectares in 2016 and another 1 00,000 hectares in 2017 Kharif season, across seven States including TS and AP. The old Samba Masuri rice is estimated to be cultivated over four million hectares across the country, annually. The scientists expressed hope that both Central and State governments would push for cultivation of ISM through subsidies to farmers.


GI Registry to decide Basmati claim of Madhya Pradesh soon

U Sudhakar Reddy| TNN | Nov 19, 2017, 13:38 IST
HYDERABAD: After Rosagolla decision Geographical Indication Registry at Chennai has decided to deliver a verdict in next 15 days on Madhya Pradesh claim on the inclusion of certain districts of State in the Basmati rice GI tag.

The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority of Ministry of Commerce and Industry was given GI tag in 2016 with the geographic area of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Uttarakhand and Parts of Western Uttar Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir.

Chinnaraj G Naidu head of GI Registry in Chennai told TOI, "We will decide on Madhya Pradesh's claim of inclusion in next two weeks regarding Basmati rice," APEDA applied in 2008 and GI registry decided in its favour in 2016 with the geographical distribution of seven states. State of Madhya Pradesh in July 2017 has filed submission stating that Basmati rice is cultivated widely. It argued that State of Punjab was allowed to intervene in a late stage before issuing GI tag in 2016. Madya Kshetra Basmati Growers Association also applied in favour of inclusion of Madhya Pradesh.

All India Rice Exporters Association in August 2017 has filed an intervener petition against State of Madhya Pradesh that the State should not be given any time for filing additional evidence in support of their claim.

State of Punjab has also objected strongly to claim for the inclusion of State of Madhya Pradesh district in GI Basmati. Dr Ranvir Singh Gill of Punjab Agricultural University was quoted in Punjab rebuttal saying,"MP has never had any scientific or historical reputation of cultivating of Basmati let alone commercial cultivation. Any dilution of India pride may not only lead to very adverse effects on the livelihood of Basmati growing community in Punjab and other GI areas but also will have serious implication on Indian Economy as it will open gates not only for other States but other countries too."
Pakistan has been fighting for owning up Basmati as it's own. The application of APEDA was then opposed by
Basmati Growers Association of Lahore in Pakistan. However, BGA did not file its evidence in GI Registry within the period prescribed under the GI rules. Basmati rice is exported worth thousands of crores of business. Andhra and Telangana grow in fewer areas when compared to other seven states. No attempts were made by the Telugu States for inclusion.Earlier in 2010, May 18 GI registry has rejected the application of The Heritage a society formed by farmers, traders, commission agents and millers of Karnal district of Haryana. GI registry then said Basmati rice being produced in at least six states of India and society apparently doesn't adequately represent the interest of all producers in other areas other than Karnal.
According to APEDA India is the leading exporter of the Basmati Rice to the global market. The country has exported 40,00,471.56 MT of Basmati Rice to the world for the worth of Rs. 21,604.58 crores during the year 2016-17.

Major Export Destinations for 2016-17 are Saudi Arabia, Iran, United Arab Emirates, Iraq and Kuwait.The Basmati is cultivated in Kaikaluru, Kalidindi, Agiripalli, Bapulapadu and Nagayalanka of Krishna district.Andhra and Telangana did not claim significant cultivation of Pusa 1509 variety in Karimnagar, Warragal of Telangana and East and West Godavari and Krishna districts of Andhra Pradesh.

According to APEDA the total basmati growing area in seven States came down by 7.92 percent to 1.56 million hectares in the 2017 Kharif season as compared to 1.69 mh previous years.Basmati is predominantly grown in 81 districts in the country.


‘Rice revolution’ sparked in Leyte
By: Tina Arceo-Dumlao - Business Features Editor / @tinaarceodumlao
Philippine Daily Inquirer / 05:04 AM November 20, 2017
Trailblazing couple Patrick Renucci and Rachel Renucci-Tan want to spark a “rice revolution” in Leyte. (Top) New tractors are available to farmers who want to adopt more modern farming techniques.It has been four years since Supertyphoon “Yolanda” barreled through central Philippines and left a wide swath of destruction from which many are still struggling to recover.
But in Alangalang, a second class municipality in Leyte about 30 kilometers south of Tacloban City, a “rice revolution” is taking place, one that promises to make the rice farmers here and in surrounding towns earn even more than they did before “Yolanda” brought them to their knees.
Business model
Leading the charge is the husband-and-wife team of French-Italian Patrick Francois Renucci and Filipino-Chinese Rachel Renucci-Tan, the founders of Chen Yi Agventures, whose business model promises to be “the national flagship for innovation in rice production.”
By filling a gap in the market —developing the most technologically advanced post-harvest facilities—Chen Yi promises to be a major producer that integrates seed growing, planting, farm management, harvesting and rice production in the Visayas and Mindanao.
The couple first set foot in the town in 2015, driven by their desire to contribute to the rebuilding of the province hit hard by “Yolanda.”
And already, the literal and figurative seeds that they planted have sprouted, encouraging the couple, who have been married for 10 years, to carry on their life’s work.
To think that practically everyone they knew and loved thought they were crazy for even thinking about going back to the Philippines to start a business, even more so when they said they were going to unknown Alangalang.
Compelling reasons
Their well-meaning loved ones certainly had compelling reasons to believe that they were not thinking straight.
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For one, the power couple gave up lucrative careers, a comfortable life and all that came with it, such as an enviable apartment in the City of Lights with its fine dining and haute couture.
In their former life, Renucci was at the helm of one of France’s largest printing companies. Renucci-Tan, on the other hand, was founder and CEO of Tan-EU EU Capital, a real estate investment management company based in Hong Kong and London.At its peak, Tan-EU Capital was managing over a billion US dollars, including a special situations real estate fund in partnership with a leading real estate developer in China as well as a distressed Chinese real estate fund that Tan-EU restructured to provide an exit for its investors.
Defying convention, they cashed in most of their chips and then reinvested heavily in Leyte.
And as they look at the 20-foot silos rising from the patch of land in the municipality, and the increase in the incomes of the farmers who early on bought into their grand vision of Leyte at least reclaiming its rank as the fifth leading rice producer in the country, they know for sure that they’ve made the right decision.
Tests of courage
Not to say that their faith in their vision had not been tested, at some points so severe that they were left fretting over whether they had made a gigantic—and extravagant—mistake.
Renucci-Tan tells SundayBiz in an interview that for one thing, they were rejected by as many as 21 banks when they presented their idea of investing in a state-of-the-art post-harvest processing facility in Leyte with the farmers with small parcels of land as the production partners.
“Nobody believed in our project,” shares Tan, “We waited for three years for it to get started.”
When they arrived in 2015, bringing with them their expertise in spotting and capitalizing on opportunities, they started by first understanding the state of rice production in the area.
“We made a survey of over 4,000 farmers to see what exactly was the problem, why were they earning so little. We did not know anything because we are not from here. Out of that survey, we came to understand the main problems—lack of capital, lack of labor and the low yield. Nobody is making enough money, which is not the case when you see the farms in Europe,” says Renucci.
Pain points
From that research, they determined the pain points and proceeded to find solutions, in the name of the farmers who were burdened by earning as low as P19,000 a year.
This is due to a combination of factors such as the lack of seeds, high labor cost due to antiquated production methods, lack of post-harvest facilities that led to the decline in the quality of their produce.
Their solution—their recipe for a social revolution— is the Renucci partnership program, under which the farmers can get a sure market for their produce and access to the proper seeds and technology.
“Revolution,” says Renucci-Tan, “is about a structural change, a major disruption. We want to do that in rice.”
The perennial problem hounding rice farmers, Tan says, was that they did not produce enough and they were buried in debt. This because they lacked access or knowledge about proper farming techniques, the value of mechanization, and access to affordable funds that they need to grow rice.
But from the start they saw the potential of Alangalang, indeed the whole of Leyte, as it was the country’s fifth largest and second largest rice producing area in the Visayas before “Yolanda” struck, and this despite the very low level of farm mechanization, meaning that the farmers still relied mainly on human and animal labor to grow their crop.
Renucci says that because of that potential, he believes that through more modern techniques, such as using the right kind of seeds, proper spacing of the plants and maintenance to prevent infestation, farmers stand to easily double their yield while reducing their cost. The result? An exponential increase in their income.
The proof is already there for skeptics to check.
Pilot area
From the pilot area of 50 hectares in Alangalang and neighboring towns such as Sta. Fe, the partner-farmers who dedicated themselves to learning the Renucci way of growing rice have seen an increase in their output, from just 50 to 80 bags of rice per hectare to as much as 200 bags.
There was no magic involved, says Renucci, just the introduction of more modern methods and materials.
“We are just helping farmers see what farming can really be,” says Renucci.
Premium rice
What’s more, the farmers get to produce affordable premium rice—half the cost of imported Japanese rice—that the market will appreciate.
“We want to give Filipinos the top quality rice that they can deserve. And we can produce beautiful rice from Leyte through technology,” says Renucci-Tan.
The “rice revolution” of Chen Yi means fully mechanized planting and harvesting of rice to increase the yield, quality of palay and therefore the income of farmers. Production cost is lowered and therefore the price to consumers of high quality premium rice.
“Chen Yi wants the ordinary Filipino to enjoy locally produced premium rice of the same quality as Thai Jasmine, Basmati, Japanese rice. Rice that Filipinos deserve; rice that can be produced in Leyte and not imported,” Renucci-Tan says in a statement.
The couple wants to enable the farmers of Leyte to be as competitive as their counterparts in Thailand and Vietnam while deploying advanced rice processing technology to produce affordable ultrapremium rice.
“We own the first “Yolanda”-proof and earthquake resistant rice processing center of this size in the Philippines and we are the first to use technology to merge and level disparate land parcels in order to create vast tracts of rice land found in Thailand, the United States and Europe. These large consolidated rice parcels can optimize irrigation, facilitate water management and ultimately reduce the cost of palay production”, Renucci says in a statement.
Partnership program
Then through the Renucci Partnership program, Chen Yi organizes the farmers by providing low interest loans in kind: Organic fertilizers, pesticides, and one kind of high yielding inbred seed. Chen Yi also extends high-tech planting and harvesting equipment to all farmer members of the program, thereby increasing the quantity and the quality of their palay.
“Chen Yi is targeting no less than 3,500 farmers for Phase I alone and aiming to increase their profits by 8-10x while being a highly profitable private enterprise that delivers affordable ultra-premium rice to the consumers,” Renucci-Tan says.
Recently, the company was able to secure the support of the Land Bank of the Philippines.
With it, the couple hopes that the “rice revolution,” where farmers are given the tools and opportunities they need to dramatically improve their yield and income, will be replicated across the country.“Someday soon, the Philippines will be self-sufficient and could even export rice,” they say۔

https://business.inquirer.net/241062/rice-revolution-sparked-leyte


Vietnam revises up rice export target
Source: Xinhua| 2017-11-20 18:40:03|Editor: liuxin

HANOI, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- Seeing more contracts signed since June, the Vietnam Food Association has revised its target of exporting rice this year by 400,000 tons to 5.6 million tons.
Vietnamese rice export will see encouraging signs from now till the end of this year and even in the first quarter of next year, the association said on Monday, noting that Bangladesh will have imported some 500,000 tons of Vietnamese rice from May to December, and the Philippines is expected to import more Vietnamese rice in the 2017-2018 period.
From early January to mid-November, Vietnam exported roughly 5.3 million tons of rice worth nearly 2.4 billion U.S. dollars, with nearly 40 percent of the volume going to China, 10 percent to the Philippines, and 9 percent to Malaysia, according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs.
Last year, Vietnam shipped abroad nearly 4.9 million tons of rice totaling nearly 2.2 billion U.S. dollars, down 26.5 percent in volume and down 22.4 percent in value, said its Ministry of Industry and Trade.
According to a national rice export strategy recently approved by the Vietnamese government, among types of rice for export from 2017 to 2020, some 45 percent will be white rice, 30 percent fragrant, special and Japonica rice, 20 percent sticky rice, and 5 percent value-added rice such as nutrient-enriched rice and organic rice, said the ministry.

Commerce Minister Tofail claims rice prices now normal after market fluctuations

  Senior Correspondent,  bdnews24.com
Published: 2017-11-20 00:36:46.0 BdST Updated: 2017-11-20 01:35:01.0 BdST
Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed has said the rice market is now 'normal' though the prices fluctuate at times.He told parliament on Sunday that the coarse rice in the market was being sold at Tk 40 per kg while the fine varieties, on average, cost Tk 56.The TCB price chart showed that the rice prices at Dhaka market were between Tk 42 and Tk 65 - from the coarse variety to fine variety.
The rice market witnessed an upward trend in the middle of this year that made the government to cut the duty on rice import. The measure stabilised the market to some extent.
 
The commerce minister explained reasons for the price hike and the measures the government took to control.
"The market is now normal," Tofail told the House adding "the import tax has been reduced to 2 percent to bring the price under control"."We have to increase the import tax after next harvest, otherwise, the rice import will continue and the farmers will suffer," the minister told MPs.He claimed that the government managed to keep the price-gouging syndicate in check which was why the prices of commodities remained at a reasonable level.
Tofail said the government has formed the competition commission to monitor and dismantle business syndicate and ring.Food Minister Kamrul Islam told parliament in the country has 577,000 tonnes in food reserves.

Long way to balance Indo-Bangla trade: Minister

09:50 PM, November 19, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 10:02 PM, November 19, 2017

 

Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed on September 17, 2017, says his government has instructed law enforcement agencies across the country to take legal action against those are creating artificial crisis of rice in the market to earn extra profit illegally. File photo

It would take Bangladesh nearly 24 years to balance the trade gap with India, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said at the parliament today.“Bringing trade balance between Bangladesh and India is very slim,” the minister said in response to a supplementary question of Jatiya Party MP Nurul Islam Milon.Minister Tofail said Bangladesh will have to wait till 2041 to bring the trade balance between the two countries.

Claiming the trade gap never causes any harm to the trade, the commerce minister said Bangladesh has to import goods from India for its own interest.
To justify his claim, Tofail referred to the current standings with USA. Bangladesh exports $6 billion to the US while imports less than $1 billion from the western country.
However, the USA has a big investment in Bangladesh, the minister added.
Replying to lawmakers’ queries, he said the price of rice and other essentials are normal and in stable state at present as the government has dealt the dishonest businessmen and middlemen with strong hands.
Responding to another supplementary, Tofail said rice market is now “stable” following the drastic cut on import duty on rice – which was brought down to 2 percent from 28 percent.
The step was taken for shortage of rice production due to recent flash flood in haor and northern regions of the country, he added. He said there was never an import duty on rice but it was imposed for protecting the domestic products.He said time would again come when duty on rice import would be imposed to protect the interest of farmers


Nagpur Foodgrain Prices Open- November 20, 2017

NOVEMBER 20, 2017 / 1:40 PM
            
Nagpur Foodgrain Prices – APMC/Open Market-November 20

Nagpur, Nov 20 (Reuters) – Gram prices firmed up in Nagpur Agriculture Produce MarketingCommittee (APMC) on good demand from local millers amid weak supply from producing regions.
Sharp rise on NCDEX, upward trend in Madhya Pradesh gram prices and reported demand fromSouth-based millers also pushed up prices, according to sources. 

    FOODGRAINS & PULSES
    
   GRAM
   * Gram varieties firmed up in open market here good demand from local traders amid      weak supply from producing belts.
  
   TUAR
     
   * Tuar varieties ruled steady in open market here but demand was poor.

   * Udid varieties reported higher in open market on renewed demand from local traders.
                                                            
   * In Akola, Tuar New – 4,000-4,100, Tuar dal (clean) – 5,700-5,800, Udid Mogar (clean)
    – 8,000-8,500, Moong Mogar (clean) 7,000-7,300, Gram – 4,500-4,650, Gram Super best
    – 7,300-7,500

   * Wheat, rice and other foodgrain items moved in a narrow range in
     scattered deals and settled at last levels in thin trading activity.
      
 Nagpur foodgrains APMC auction/open-market prices in rupees for 100 kg
   
     FOODGRAINS                 Available prices     Previous close  
     Gram Auction                  3,600-4,500         3,500-4,350
     Gram Pink Auction            n.a.           2,100-2,600
     Tuar Auction                3,500-4,030         3,500-4,030
     Moong Auction                n.a.                3,900-4,200
     Udid Auction                n.a.           4,300-4,500
     Masoor Auction                n.a.              2,600-2,800
     Wheat Mill quality Auction        1,600-1,675        1,600-1,695
     Gram Super Best Bold            7,000-8,000        6,800-8,000
     Gram Super Best            n.a.            n.a.
     Gram Medium Best            6,500-7,000        6,400-6,800
     Gram Dal Medium            n.a.            n.a
     Gram Mill Quality            4,600-4,700        4,400-4,500
     Desi gram Raw                4,900-5,000         4,800-4,900
     Gram Kabuli                12,400-13,000        12,400-13,000
     Tuar Fataka Best-New             6,100-6,300        6,100-6,300
     Tuar Fataka Medium-New        5,800-6,000        5,800-6,000
     Tuar Dal Best Phod-New        5,700-5,900        5,700-5,900
     Tuar Dal Medium phod-New        5,000-5,500        5,000-5,500
     Tuar Gavarani New             4,100-4,200        4,100-4,200
     Tuar Karnataka             4,500-4,800        4,500-4,800
     Masoor dal best            5,000-5,200        5,000-5,200
     Masoor dal medium            4,600-4,800        4,600-4,800
     Masoor                    n.a.            n.a.
     Moong Mogar bold (New)        7,100-7,500         7,100-7,500
     Moong Mogar Medium            6,300-6,700        6,300-6,700
     Moong dal Chilka            5,200-6,000        5,200-6,000
     Moong Mill quality            n.a.            n.a.
     Moong Chamki best            7,000-7,500        7,000-7,500
     Udid Mogar best (100 INR/KG) (New) 8,500-9,500       8,200-9,200
     Udid Mogar Medium (100 INR/KG)    5,800-7,000        5,500-6,800   
     Udid Dal Black (100 INR/KG)        5,300-6,400        5,300-6,400    
     Batri dal (100 INR/KG)        5,000-5,500        5,000-5,400
     Lakhodi dal (100 INR/kg)          2,750-2,850         2,750-2,850
     Watana Dal (100 INR/KG)            2,900-3,000        2,900-3,000
     Watana Green Best (100 INR/KG)    3,400-3,800        3,400-3,800  
     Wheat 308 (100 INR/KG)        1,900-2,000        1,900-2,000
     Wheat Mill quality (100 INR/KG)    1,750-1,900        1,750-1,900  
     Wheat Filter (100 INR/KG)         2,100-2,300           2,100-2,300        
     Wheat Lokwan best (100 INR/KG)    2,200-2,450        2,200-2,400   
     Wheat Lokwan medium (100 INR/KG)   1,900-2,150        1,900-2,100
     Lokwan Hath Binar (100 INR/KG)    n.a.            n.a.
     MP Sharbati Best (100 INR/KG)    3,100-3,600        3,100-3,600   
     MP Sharbati Medium (100 INR/KG)    2,300-2,700        2,300-2,700          
     Rice BPT best (100 INR/KG)        3,000-3,500        3,000-3,500   
     Rice BPT medium (100 INR/KG)        2,800-2,900        2,800-2,900   
     Rice Luchai (100 INR/KG)         2,200-2,400        2,200-2,400     
     Rice Swarna best (100 INR/KG)      2,500-2,600        2,500-2,600  
     Rice Swarna medium (100 INR/KG)      2,300-2,400        2,300-2,400  
     Rice HMT best (100 INR/KG)        3,600-4,000        3,600-4,000    
     Rice HMT medium (100 INR/KG)        3,250-3,600        3,250-3,600   
     Rice Shriram best(100 INR/KG)      4,800-5,100        4,800-5,100
     Rice Shriram med (100 INR/KG)    4,400-4,600        4,400-4,600  
     Rice Basmati best (100 INR/KG)    10,000-14,000        10,000-14,000    
     Rice Basmati Medium (100 INR/KG)    5,000-7,500        5,000-7,500   
     Rice Chinnor best 100 INR/KG)    5,000-5,500        5,000-5,500   
     Rice Chinnor medium (100 INR/KG)    4,700-5,000        4,700-5,000  
     Jowar Gavarani (100 INR/KG)        2,000-2,200        2,000-2,100   
     Jowar CH-5 (100 INR/KG)         1,800-2,000        1,700-2,000

WEATHER (NAGPUR) 
Maximum temp. 32.8 degree Celsius, minimum temp. 19.9 degree Celsius
Rainfall : Nil
FORECAST: Partly cloudy sky. Maximum and minimum temperature would be around and 31 and 20
degree Celsius respectively.

Note: n.a.--not available
(For oils, transport costs are excluded from plant delivery prices, but
included in market prices)
https://in.reuters.com/article/india-ongc-namibia/ongc-buys-15-percent-stake-in-namibia-offshore-block-from-tullow-idINKBN1DL0U6


South Korea buys about 118,900 tonnes rice in tender
HAMBURG: South Korea’s state-backed Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corp. purchased about 118,900 tonnes of rice in a tender which closed on Monday, European traders said. The majority of the rice was purchased from China with some also coming from Vietnam, Australia and the United States, they said. The tender had sought up to 132,790 tonnes of non-glutinous rice for arrival between December 2017 and March 2018. The purchases from China involved around 19,110 tonnes bought at $748.89 a tonne, 22,000 tonnes bought at $803.00 a tonne, 22,222 tonnes bought at $748.89 a tonne and 16,679 tonnes at $709.00 a tonne.
Prices include delivery to South Korea, traders said. Some 17,778 tonnes was purchased from the United States at $856.47 a tonne delivered to Korea, 11,111 tonnes was bought from Vietnam at $695.00 a tonne delivered Korea and 10,000 tonnes was bought from Australia at $778.00 a tonne delivered to Korea. No purchase of Thai rice was immediately reported although exporters in Thailand had been optimistic about winning part of the business.  





Vietnam revises up rice export target
HANOI, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- Seeing more contracts signed since June, the Vietnam Food Association has revised its target of exporting rice this year by 400,000 tons to 5.6 million tons. Vietnamese rice export will see encouraging signs from now till the end of this year and even in the first quarter of next year, the association said on Monday, noting that Bangladesh will have imported some 500,000 tons of Vietnamese rice from May to December, and the Philippines is expected to import more Vietnamese rice in the 2017-2018 period.
From early January to mid-November, Vietnam exported roughly 5.3 million tons of rice worth nearly 2.4 billion U.S. dollars, with nearly 40 percent of the volume going to China, 10 percent to the Philippines, and 9 percent to Malaysia, according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs. Last year, Vietnam shipped abroad nearly 4.9 million tons of rice totaling nearly 2.2 billion U.S. dollars, down 26.5 percent in volume and down 22.4 percent in value, said its Ministry of Industry and Trade. According to a national rice export strategy recently approved by the Vietnamese government, among types of rice for export from 2017 to 2020, some 45 percent will be white rice, 30 percent fragrant, special and Japonica rice, 20 percent sticky rice, and 5 percent value-added rice such as nutrient-enriched rice and organic rice, said the ministry.

Indian rice prices rise on improved demand
Rice prices in India climbed this week, buoyed by improved overseas demand, but rising supplies from a new season crop capped gains for the staple grain in the world's top exporter. India's 5 percent broken parboiled rice prices rose by $2 per tonne to $399 to $402 per tonne. "There was an improvement in demand from Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. African buyers were also making inquires," said an exporter based in Kakinada in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.
 In Thailand, benchmark 5-percent broken rice was quoted at $380-$387 a tonne, free-on-board (FOB) Bangkok, compared with $375-$387 last week. Thai Hom Mali rice won the title of "World's Best Rice" at this year's World Rice Conference held in Macau last week and traders said this will have a positive impact on global demand for Thai rice. "Due to floods in the northeast (part of Thailand) this year, where Hom Mali rice is grown, output of the crop has dropped, causing prices to rise. With this new development, I expect prices to rise further," said a Bangkok-based trader. Traders were also optimistic that South Korea's tender to buy 132,790 tonnes of rice for December-March arrival may result in demand for Thai rice. Overall, however, traders said demand was slow, and with new crops expected to enter the market starting the end of this month, prices could drop.
 Meanwhile, Bangladesh cancelled its first-ever deal with Cambodia to import 250,000 tonnes of white rice over a delay in shipments, officials said on Tuesday. The deal was signed in August at $453 a tonne. The country has emerged as a major importer of the grain this year after floods damaged its crops and, despite deals with several rice exporting countries including Myanmar and Bangladesh, is still battling to build its reserves. In Vietnam, the benchmark 5 percent broken rice was quoted at $400-405 a tonne, free-on-board (FOB) Saigon, little changed from the high levels last week due to continuous shortage of supply, traders said. "The recent harvest mainly served domestic demand and didn't affect export price. New crop yield was available, but prices stayed high," a trader in Ho Chi Minh City said. "We won't have larger supply until the end of the winter-spring crop season in March." Sowing for the winter-spring crops, one of Vietnam's two major rice crop seasons, is expected to start only by late November or December as flood waters in the rice-growing Mekong Delta have not completely receded, the trader added.


Phoenix Group to set up 325-cr rice mill in Andhra Pradesh
MUMBAI, NOVEMBER 20:  The Dubai headquartered Phoenix Group, a global agricultural and food company, plans to set up a rice mill with an investment of $50 million (325 crore) to process 250,000 of non-basmati rice per annum at Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh.The $2-billion agriculture-focussed company has also sounded out banks to procure stressed asset in food processing and rice mills. The company has raised $205 million (about 1,300 crore) through a consortium of seven banks led by Standard Chartered Bank, Singapore. The company plans to invest the remaining amount to boost its rice business in Mozambique, Benin and Ivory Coast as destinations, and India as origin.

Supported by OFID (the OPEC Fund for International Development), the loan facility was over-subscribed with participation of BNP Paribas, RaboBank, First Abu Dhabi Bank, ICICI Bank and Shinhan Bank.Rice export In India, the company logged in turnover of 1,500 crore through export of rice from India and import of pluses from Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan and Australia.

Gaurav Dhawan, Chairman, Phoenix Group, told BusinessLine that the company has already identified the land required for setting up the rice mill and is in talks with the State government for completing the formality.“We have also identified 20-40 acres in Uttar Pradesh for cultivating tomato for the export market. Our target is to double revenue from India to 3,000 crore in the next four years, he added.

Despite frequent changes in government policies, Dhawan is confident of sustaining growth in agriculture business in India by focusing on value added products and steering away from baseline commodities that have an impact on inflation.

Though the government has set out its vision to double Indian farmers’ income, he said there has been no constructive policy measures to achieve it. All the government policies are focused on food security and cost management by providing fertiliser at subsidised rate and giving minimum support price to farmers rather than targeting the export market with quality produce, said Dhawan.

If the Government provides the basic road, the private sector will invest in agriculture infrastructure such as putting up processing facility and cold storage to increase farmers’ income, besides sharing the knowledge on crops selection.

In Ukraine, Phoenix is all set to grow garlic on 1,000 hectares to challenge the dominance of China, which is fast losing market share due to contamination issues, he added.