Thursday, February 01, 2018

1st February,2018 daily global regional local rice e-newsletter by riceplus magazine

Bulog allocates Rp 2.5 trillion for government’s rice reserve

News Desk
The Jakarta Post
Jakarta | Wed, January 31, 2018 | 03:58 pm
A warehouse worker rests on top of sacks of rice on Jan. 19 at the Cipinang Central Rice Market in East Jakarta. (Antara/Sigid Kurniawan)
The State Logistics Agency (Bulog) has allocated Rp 2.5 trillion (US$187 million) to buy rice for the government’s rice reserve (CBP), in an attempt to stabilize rice prices and help victims of natural disasters.
Bulog operational and public service director Karyawan Gunarso said with the budget, Bulog could buy between 250,000 and 300,000 tons of rice.
“The government’s rice reserve will be used for market operations in an effort to push prices down and help victims of natural disasters,” said Gunarso in Jakarta on Tuesday, as reported by
Since last December, the government had intervened in the market to push down prices of rice to the ceiling price level, as the market price has always been above the ceiling decided by the government.
Since December, Bulog had distributed 204,000 tons of rice for market operation, Gunarso said, adding that the agency still had 800,000 tons of rice stocks after being combined with government rice stocks.
“If our stock runs out, we will use the CBP for market operation,” he added.
Gunarso said Bulog was ready to increase the stocks for CBP as long as it passed the right procedures, such as rice purchase only being proposed by related bodies and that purchases are reported to the Finance Ministry.
Disposing of the stock should also be considered, particularly because it can only stand for a certain period, he said, adding that “Bulog should be authorized to sell rice to private firms at a low price.” (bbn)

Malay Rice Millers' Assoc lauds move to set up tribunal for paddy farmers, millers

Noorazura Abdul Rahman
New Straits Times31 January 2018
ALOR STAR: Malay Rice Millers' Association (PPBMM) has lauded the government's plan to set up a complaints tribunal to mediate disputes between paddy farmers and millers.
Its president Mohamad Termizi Yop said the setting up of the tribunal would allow the association to properly explain on the deduction of paddy grades to the farmers.
As such, Termizi said PPBMM fully supports the Agriculture and Agro-based Ministry plan to set up the tribunal as it would be the right platform to mediate dispute between the two groups.

Malay Rice Millers' Association (PPBMM) president, Mohamad Termizi Yop. (pix by NOORAZURA ABDUL RAHMAN)
"The tribunal will be the best platform for us to properly explain to the farmers on the reasons behind the millers decision to deduct between 20 per cent and 26 per cent from the amount of paddy produced by the farmers.
"We want to explain to the farmers that it is (the deduction) is in accordance to the standard operating procedure (SOP) to ensure the quality of rice," he told a press conference at the association's office here today.
Termizi said the tribunal would also serves as an avenue for the farmers to seek justice from millers who failed to adhere to the SOP, thus protecting the farmers interest.
"This issue has been going on for sometimes, the farmers are complaining that they failed to get proper explanation from the millers," he said.
On Saturday, the Agriculture and Agro-based Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek announced the ministry's proposal to set up a tribunal to mediate disputes over the high dedication of paddy grade by millers to the extend of affecting their income.
Shabery said farmers who are unhappy with the deduction could refer their case to the tribunal.
He said the ministry is proposing the tribunal to be comprised of representatives from Pertubuhan Peladang Kawasan (PPK), farmers and millers.Translated from Berita Harian © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd

SLAC to hike premium rice prices in Q2

SL Agritech Corp. (SLAC) will increase the price of its premium rice products by at least 5 percent in the second quarter, according to company Chairman and CEO Henry Lim Bon Liong.
Lim said the cost of producing paddy has gone up following the implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion  law, which hiked the excise tax on fuel. He noted that the price increase might take effect in April.
“Transportation costs have increased. Maybe we will increase the price by 5 percent per kilogram [kg] across all varieties,” Lim said in an interview on the sidelines of SLAC’s news briefing last January 30.
He also revealed that rice farmers are demanding a higher price for their crop as the cost of producing paddy continues to go up.
“If we increase the price of rice, consumers will be affected but farmers will benefit also because we will buy palay at a higher price,” he said.
A letter from SLAC addressed to distributors dated January 29 indicated that the price increase of its Doña Maria and Willy Farms Premium Quality rice is “unavoidable.”
“In the effort of continuously providing the highest quality and delicious rice that you and our customers love and patronize, we wish to inform you of our impending price increase for Doña Maria and Willy Farms Premium Quality rice,” SLAC Marketing Director Tiffany Lim-Ngo said in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by the BusinessMirror.
“This price increase is brought about by the continuing rise in production costs and cumulative hike in petroleum prices coupled with weakening peso value. Thus, as much as we want to maintain our prices, this increase is unavoidable,” she added.
Documents obtained by the BusinessMirror showed that the list price of Doña Maria and Willy Farms Premium Quality rice products in Luzon would increase by at least P5 per kg.
A kilogram of Doña Maria Jasponica White Rice would go up to P105, from the current P100, while a 25-kilogram bag of Doña Maria Jasponica White Rice would rise to P1,950, from P1,850.
Also, the price of a 10-kg bag of Doña Maria Jasponica Brown Rice and Doña Maria Miponica Brown Rice would go up to P835, from P790.
A 2-kg bag of Willy Farms Sticky Jasmine Rice would increase to P180 from P171, while a P25-kg bag of Willy Farms Sticky Jasmine Rice would go up to P1,815,
from P1,724.
As for a 2-kg bag of Willy Farms Dinorado Rice, the price would rise to P145, from P138, while a 25-kg bag would be sold at P1,490, P74 higher than its current price.

Rice basmati weakens on subdued demand

PTI | Updated: Jan 31, 2018, 15:34 IST
NEW DELHI: In restricted activity, rice basmati prices fell by Rs 100 per quintal at the wholesale grains market today owing to slackened demand.
However, other grains held steady in thin trade.

Traders said muted demand against adequate stocks position mainly weighed on 
rice basmati prices.

In the national capital, rice basmati common and Pusa-1121 variety moved down by Rs 100 each to Rs 8,200-8,300 and Rs 6,900-7,000 per quintal, respectively.

Following are today's quotations (in Rs per quintal):

Wheat MP (desi) Rs 2,080-2,280, Wheat dara (for mills) Rs 1,795-1,800, Chakki atta (delivery) Rs 1,805-1,810, Atta Rajdhani (10 kg) Rs 260-300, Shakti Bhog (10 kg) Rs 255-290, Roller flour mill Rs 960-970 (50 kg), 
Maida Rs 990-1,000 (50 kg)and Sooji Rs 1,050-1,060 (50 kg).

Basmati rice (Lal Quila) Rs 10,700, Shri Lal Mahal Rs 11,300, Super Basmati Rice Rs 9,800, Basmati common new Rs 8,200-8,300, Rice Pusa (1121) Rs 6,900-7,000, Permal raw Rs 2,325-2375, Permal wand Rs 2,375-2,425, Sela Rs 2,800-3,000 and Rice IR-8 Rs 1,975-2,025, Bajra Rs 1,200-1,205, Jowar yellow Rs 1,375-1,425, white Rs 2,750-2,850, Maize Rs 1,350- 1,355, Barley Rs 1,470-1,480.

Nagpur Foodgrain Prices Open- January 31, 2018

Nagpur Foodgrain Prices – APMC/Open Market-January 31, 2018

Nagpur, Jan 31 (Reuters) – Gram and Tuar prices reported higher in Nagpur Agriculture Produce
Marketing Committee (APMC) on good buying support from local millers amid thin supply from
producing belts. Notable rise in Madhya Pradesh pulses and repeated enquiries from South-based
millers also boosted prices.
About 150 bags of gram and 1,000 bags of tuar reported for auction in Nagpur APMC, according to

   * Gram varieties ruled steady in open market here but demand was poor.
   * Tuar gavarani showed weak tendency in open market here on subdued demand from local
     traders amid good supply from producing regions.

   * Lakhodi dal firmed up in open market here good demand from local
   * In Akola, Tuar New – 4,100-4,300, Tuar dal (clean) – 6,400-6,600, Udid Mogar (clean)
    – 7,600-8,700, Moong Mogar (clean) 7,300-7,600, Gram – 3,500-3,600, Gram Super best
    – 5,200-5,700

   * Wheat 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                  3,100-3,800         3,100-3,751
     Gram Pink Auction            n.a.           2,100-2,600
     Tuar Auction                4,000-4,490         3,950-4,500
     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        1,600-1,704        1,690-1,706
     Gram Super Best Bold            6,000-6,500        6,000-6,500
     Gram Super Best            n.a.            n.a.
     Gram Medium Best            5,500-5,700        5,500-5,700
     Gram Dal Medium            n.a.            n.a
     Gram Mill Quality            3,750-3,850        3,750-3,850
     Desi gram Raw                3,700-3,800         3,700-3,800
     Gram Kabuli                12,500-13,100        12,500-13,100
     Tuar Fataka Best-New             6,400-6,600        6,400-6,600
     Tuar Fataka Medium-New        6,100-6,300        6,100-6,300
     Tuar Dal Best Phod-New        5,600-5,800        5,600-5,800
     Tuar Dal Medium phod-New        5,500-5,700        5,500-5,700
     Tuar Gavarani New             4,250-4,550        4,300-4,600
     Tuar Karnataka             4,600-4,800        4,600-4,800
     Masoor dal best            4,800-5,000        4,800-5,000
     Masoor dal medium            4,500-4,700        4,500-4,700
     Masoor                    n.a.            n.a.
     Moong Mogar bold (New)        7,500-8,000         7,500-8,000
     Moong Mogar Medium            6,500-7,000        6,500-7,000
     Moong dal Chilka            5,900-6,600        5,900-6,600
     Moong Mill quality            n.a.            n.a.
     Moong Chamki best            7,500-8,000        7,500-8,000
     Udid Mogar best (100 INR/KG) (New) 7,200-7,700       7,200-7,700
     Udid Mogar Medium (100 INR/KG)    5,600-7,000        5,600-7,000   
     Udid Dal Black (100 INR/KG)        5,800-6,200        5,800-6,200    
     Batri dal (100 INR/KG)        4,800-5,000        4,800-5,000
     Lakhodi dal (100 INR/kg)          2,550-2,650         2,500-2,600
     Watana Dal (100 INR/KG)            3,100-3,200        3,100-3,200
     Watana Green Best (100 INR/KG)    4,200-4,300        4,200-4,300  
     Wheat 308 (100 INR/KG)        1,900-2,000        1,900-2,000
     Wheat Mill quality (100 INR/KG)    1,750-1,850        1,750-1,850  
     Wheat Filter (100 INR/KG)         2,150-2,350           2,150-2,350        
     Wheat Lokwan best (100 INR/KG)    2,300-2,400        2,200-2,400   
     Wheat Lokwan medium (100 INR/KG)   2,000-2,200        2,000-2,200
     Lokwan Hath Binar (100 INR/KG)    n.a.            n.a.
     MP Sharbati Best (100 INR/KG)    3,200-3,700        3,200-3,700   
     MP Sharbati Medium (100 INR/KG)    2,400-2,700        2,400-2,700          
     Rice BPT best (100 INR/KG)        3,500-4,000        3,500-4,000   
     Rice BPT medium (100 INR/KG)        3,000-3,200        3,000-3,200
     Rice BPT new (100 INR/KG)        3,300-3,500        3,300-3,500  
     Rice Luchai (100 INR/KG)         2,500-2,700        2,500-2,700     
     Rice Swarna best (100 INR/KG)      2,600-2,800        2,600-2,800  
     Rice Swarna medium (100 INR/KG)      2,400-2,500        2,400-2,500
     Rice Swarna new (100 INR/KG)      2,400-2,500        2,400-2,500  
     Rice HMT best (100 INR/KG)        4,500-4,800        4,500-4,800    
     Rice HMT medium (100 INR/KG)        3,900-4,300        3,900-4,300
     Rice HMT new (100 INR/KG)        4,000-4,400        4,000-4,400   
     Rice Shriram best(100 INR/KG)      5,200-5,600        5,200-5,600
     Rice Shriram med (100 INR/KG)    4,700-4,900        4,700-4,900
     Rice Shriram new (100 INR/KG)    4,800-5,200        4,800-5,200  
     Rice Basmati best (100 INR/KG)    9,500-14,000        9,500-13,500    
     Rice Basmati Medium (100 INR/KG)    5,000-7,500        5,000-7,500   
     Rice Chinnor best 100 INR/KG)    6,100-6,300        6,100-6,300   
     Rice Chinnor medium (100 INR/KG)    5,500-5,700        5,500-5,700
     Rice Chinnor new (100 INR/KG)    5,600-5,800        5,600-5,800  
     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

Maximum temp. 32.4 degree Celsius, minimum temp. 10.7 degree Celsius
Rainfall : Nil
FORECAST: Mainly clear sky. Maximum and minimum temperature would be around and 32 and 11 degree
Celsius respectively.

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

osted on January 30, 2018

Rice Exporters delegation to visit Mauritius

F.P. Report
ISLAMABAD: Senior Chairman, Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) Rafique Suleman on Monday said a delegation of REAP will visit Mauritius next month to further explore the market of Pakistani rice in that country.
Addressing a function today in Karachi, he said that Pakistan has the best quality Basmati and Non Basmati rice of the world. He said Pakistani rice is very much liked by the people of rice buying countries and rice is the staple diet in Mauritius. He said State Trading Corporation (STC), has issued tender for 6000 Metric Tons of Basmati rice to import from Pakistan.
He said that this quantity must be increased, as Pakistan has the capacity to cater more quantity of rice. He also highlighted the growth of rice export trade in this fiscal year and informed that this fiscal year 29% growth was observed and he was hopeful that Pakistan will achieve the target of US$. 2.0 Billion. The function was organized in honour of Rashid Soobadar, High Commissioner of Mauritius which was hosted by Senior Vice Chairman REAP Rafique Suleman.
Sohail Yasin Suleman, Honarary Consult General of Mauritus was also present on this occasion. During the meeting Irfan Shaikh, Ex Chairman REAP, Chela Ram, Haji Abdul Rauf Chappal, Abdul Qayyum Paracha, Anis Majeed, Ashfaq Ghafar, Fuad Garib and other leading rice exporters were also present. Addressing function Rafique Suleman appreciated the work done by Abdul Rahim Janoo, Ex Chairman REAP for the enhancement of rice export trade. He also informed that working is in final stage on the new seeds of Pakistani basmati rice which are sustainable in very less amount of water and give more yield.
High Commissioner of Mauritius Rashid Soobadar, while addressing on this occasion said that rice is the staple diet of people of Mauritius.
He said Mauritius is a peaceful country and open economy for the all countries and believes in the rule of law as a business can only grow with the proper implementation of law. He said, “We are facilitating, guiding and helping the business community to work in Mauritius.” He expressed his full support for the upcoming REAP delegation to Mauritius. He also approved the request to increase the quota for tender and assured to review it with the consultation of officials of his country.

Scientists Worried as US Gives Green Light to Genetically Modified Rice                                                                      

20:35 31.01.2018
The approval of genetically modified Huahui No.1 rice by the US Food and Drug Administration paves the way for the Chinese GMO product to the international market. Speaking to Sputnik, Na Zhongyuan, the director of the Yunnan Institute for Ecological Agriculture, expressed his concerns about the use of genetically modified food.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officially gave safety approval to China's genetically modified Huahui No.1 rice grain; however, in China the large-scale cultivation of GMO cereals is still officially prohibited.
"The creation of genetically modified crops is one of new breed of scientific methods," Na Zhongyuan, the director of the Yunnan Institute for Ecological Agriculture, told Sputnik China. "I do not exclude that if the research continues, the problems that cannot be solved right now could be eliminated in the future. However, currently studies indicate that [GMO] products are unsafe, and therefore cannot be used."
According to the scientist, mass cultivation of genetically modified crops may damage biodiversity: "The risk here is much greater than that of widespread hybrid crops," Na warned, adding that the use of GM products is a "forced measure."

Professor Na Zhongyuan, who has been studying the problems of organic farming for many years, expressed confidence that GMO products will never conquer the market completely.
"This is absolutely impossible," the scientist believes. "If it was not for our institute, the GMOs would quickly come out on top in China. The state is required to make a fair and open choice and in this case genetically modified products will completely lose their market. The technologies that we develop at the Institute of Ecological Agriculture surpass the methods of genetic engineering in almost every respect."
Polls show that there is a strong belief among the Chinese about the potential danger of GMO products to human health. In 2016, in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang, the cultivation of genetically modified grain, including soy, was banned. In the survey, almost 91.5 percent of respondents expressed their disapproval of GMOs.
The rice, known as Huahui No.1 has been developed by a group of scientists since 1998 at Huazhong Agricultural University. The rice is resistant to many pests and thus does not require the excessive use of pesticides. In 2009 the product received a bio-safety certificate from the Ministry of Agriculture of the People's Republic of China after 10 years of safety tests.
However, the product has never been released on the country's commercial market and was banned for mass cultivation in China. Given the fact that the commercialization of GMO rice in China was prohibited Huazhong Agricultural University decided to enter the international market and has been trying to obtain approval and safety certification in other countries, including the US.
On January 11, 2017, the FDA confirmed that "human and animal foods from Huahui No.1 rice grain are not materially different in composition, safety, and other relevant parameters from rice-derived human and animal food currently on the market, and that genetically engineered Huahui No.1 rice grain does not raise issues that would require premarket review or approval by the FDA."
According to the university's statement the product previously passed a review on pesticide residue by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Although, the FDA approval does not automatically allow mass cultivation of GMO rice in the US or deliveries of Huahui No.1 to the American local market, it's a victory for Huazhong Agricultural University to obtain a FDA certificate.
The university team has plans for expansion into the Southeast Asia markets which requires government support.
"We hope the authorities can provide funding and legal support," Lin Yongjun, a professor at Huazhong Agricultural University told Global Times on Monday.
The views and opinions expressed by Na Zhongyuan are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

India Expects Rise in Basmati Exports as Iran Resumes Rice Imports

Thursday, February 01, 2018
The resumption of rice imports by Iran could give a fillip to India’s basmati shipments that have risen by about a fourth in rupee terms in the first eight months of the current fiscal year (started March 21, 2017), the Indian newspaper Hindu Business Line reported.
Iran is the largest buyer of India’s basmati and accounts for a fourth of India’s annual aromatic rice shipments of around four million tons.
The country restarted rice import registration this year from Jan. 21 till June 21. The permission was communicated by Agriculture Minister Mahmoud Hojjati in a letter to Minister of Industries, Mining and Trade Mohammad Shariatmadari.
According to the letter, the order registrations will be valid for a three-month period and are extendable by a further one month.
Hojjati noted that any rice shipments as per the new orders need to be cleared through Iranian customs by July 22, after which all imports will be banned.
Every year and during the rice harvest season (July-January), the Iranian government bans rice imports in support of local farmers and domestic production.
“Based on the current export trend, we expect basmati shipments to be higher than last year,” said DK Singh, chairman of India’s Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority.
Basmati is the second largest product in Apeda’s export portfolio after buffalo meat and accounts for over 22% of the total shipment value.
In the April-November period of this fiscal year, basmati exports grew 29% to $2.61 billion from $2.02 billion in the corresponding period of last year.
In rupee terms, basmati exports grew 24% to Rs.16,838 crore (1 crore=10 million) during the April-November period from Rs.13,571 crore in the corresponding year-ago period. In 2016-17, India’s basmati exports stood at 3.98 million tons valued at over $3.22 billion.
However, Indian rice exporters are cautiously optimistic over the shipment prospects with Iran, considering the fact that they have been facing issues related to traces of fungicide in exports to the European Union, another major market.
“We expect basmati shipments this year to be the same as last year or even higher,” said Rajen Sundaresan, executive director of All-India Rice Exporters Association.
 Sticking Points
“While Iran has reopened its market, it has stopped extending concessional foreign exchange (set at lower rates compared to market prices) to its rice importers,” said Vijay Setia, president of AIREA.
The move is aimed at discouraging more rice imports into the West Asian country.
Furthermore, Iran has also been raising objections to the digital phyto-sanitary certificates issued by Indian authorities. The issues have been taken up with India’s Agriculture Ministry and are likely to be resolved soon, sources said.
Iranians consume 3.2 million tons of rice a year while domestic production stands at 2.2 million tons.
“We need imports, but imports that are limited and controlled,” Hojjati has been quoted as saying.
More than 1.05 million tons of semi- and wholly-milled rice worth close to $996 million were imported into Iran during the first half of the current Iranian year (March 21-Sept. 22), registering an 84.4% and 108.4% surge in weight and value respectively compared with the corresponding period of last year.
Rice imports accounted for 6% and 4.2% of the volume and value of Iran’s overall imports respectively during the six-month period.
Imports are made mainly from the UAE, India, Pakistan, Thailand, Turkey and Iraq.
The two northern provinces of Gilan and Mazandaran are home to a majority of Iran’s paddy fields.
A total of 81% and 70% of rice harvest in the two provinces respectively were mechanized in the last Iranian year.

Shrewd Lebanese Businessman - Key Contributor to Election Victory, Enjoys Near Monopoly on Rice

Monrovia – During his recent inaugural address, President George Weah went to great lengths to pledge that under his watch, he will do all within his powers to ensure that Liberian businesses are not marginalized.

Report by Rodney D. Sieh, 

“As we open our doors to all foreign direct investments, we will not permit Liberian-owned businesses to be marginalized,” the President declared.
/pyj-writes.jpgWe cannot remain spectators in our own economy."
"My government will prioritize the interests of Liberian-owned businesses and offer programs to help them become more competitive and offer services that international investors seek as partners.”
One area that is likely to come under scrutiny is the country’s staple food, rice and one businessman who has enjoyed near monopoly during the course of the Sirleaf-led government is George Nehme.
Nehme is the CEO of Supplying West Africa Trader Inc (SWAT) and the Harbel Supermarket Corporation.
Multiple sources have confirmed to FrontPageAfrica that the businessman was a key contributor to Mr. Weah’s election victory.
SWAT is supplied by Louis Dreyfus (LD) Company and mainly sells rice that is 50% and 5% broken kernels.
A diversified food import company, SWAT also operates the Harbel chain of supermarkets and has used its ties in government to contemplate new investments in food processing, including palm oil and cassava.
Rice is the only important source of cereal carbohydrates in the Liberian diet and imported rice is the lion’s share of rice availability in Liberia, having gone up 75% since 2011, now comprising almost 70% of rice consumption.
Under current policies, the Government Issue import licenses for rice and sets a maximum sales price. Consequently, it can exert some control over the market. 
Because Liberia faced food shortages during the Ebola epidemic, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry began requiring the four major rice importers to maintain minimum stocks (up to 50,000 MT in the case of SWAT), and to report their rice stocks weekly.
The minimum stock requirement for each import varies according to their annual volumes and appears to be a minimum four to six-month supply.
Liberia’s rice importing industry is consolidated - four importers control around 95% of all rice imports.
Domestic production of rice in 2016 rebounded back to its previous peak in 2012, after a dip in 2014 due to the Ebola epidemic.
Almost all domestically grown rice is husked at the village level, either mechanically or by hand pounding.
Currently, less than 3% of domestically grown rice is industrially milled; there is one small privately-run industrial mill built (30 MT/day paddy capacity) and two Ministry of Agriculture mills with similar capacity.
In recent years, the Ministry of Agriculture has plans to add four more similar sized mills that could increase domestic capacity to up to 10% of domestic production if all mills run at full utilization.
Since the second civil war ended in Liberia in 2003, rice has grown significantly in consumption as the staple cereal grain, with FAO reporting only 60 g/c/d in 2001 but 248 g/c/d in 2011.
Prime Gateway Access
In addition to rice, Nehme is also linked to the recent purchase of some 8.5 acres of prime land previously owned by Western Cluster to be used as a route to ship iron ore.
The property was previously owned by Western Cluster Limited (WCL), which in October 2012, signed a port lease and operating agreement with the management of the National Port Authority (NPA) for the rehabilitation and construction of infrastructures at the Freeport of Monrovia for WCL’s export of iron ore.
The WCL Mineral Development Agreement signed with the government of Liberia in August 2011 for the development of iron ore mines in Bea, Bomi and Mano River Mines in western Liberia required the company to enter into a Port Lease and Operating Agreement with the NPA for the shipping of its iron ore through the Freeport of Monrovia.
At the time, the agreement allowed WCL to construct loading and unloading facilities including rehabilitation of the former Liberia Mining Company (LMC) and National Iron Ore Company (NIOC) piers. Under the agreement, 43.29 acres of land was earmarked for use by WCL for developing the port facilities.
Apart from the infrastructure development which will be undertaken by WCL, the National Port Authority is said to be receiving annual lease rental for the land.
FrontPageAfrica has learned that the lease of the prime property shortchanges much-needed revenues for Liberia.
“They took the entire – in the middle of it at the front of the waterfront where they will build a pier and have the key front which is the waterfront portion."
"It is a multi-year lease deal set at US$150,000 per annum and anyone looking to lease it will have to go through Nehme,” one source told FrontPageAfrica.
The revelation comes in the wake of the President’s first Annual Message in which he called for the removal of a "racist" clause in the constitution which restricts citizenship to  people of Negro descent while also pledging to scrap the law that prohibits foreigners owning land.
The clause was "unnecessary, racist and inappropriate", President Weah averred.
The constitution defines black people in the language of the time, as "persons who are Negroes or of Negro descent".
Other communities, like the estimated 4,000 Lebanese people who have lived in Liberia for generations, are barred from citizenship and, by extension, land ownership.
Nehme’s near monopoly of the rice market and ownership of the prime gateway property is raising new questions about how serious the new administration is toward curbing the marginalization of local businesses.
Currently, there are four companies licensed to import rice by the vessel load.
They account for about 95% of all rice imports (SWAT and UCI each bring in over 100,000 metric tons (MT) per year and the third company, Fouta Corporation, does about 70,000 MT.
K&K is the fourth licensed importer and does only about two vessels (40,000 MT) per year. Small traders, who import rice in 20- foot ocean containers, apparently have different licensing requirements.
UCI buys from Ameropa and Swiss-Agri Trading, selling mainly 100% broken kernels.
The UK company, DRUM Commodities, provides collateral management services on behalf of the banks that finance UCI imports.
UCI is a sister company of Group Carre d’Or/SDTM, the dominant rice importer in Côte d’Ivoire. In Côte d’Ivoire, Group Carre d’Or/SDTM buys exclusively from LD Company.
The Lebanese Ezzedine family owns UCI and now does only rice imports by the shipload, having given up palm oil and sugar imports.
K&K also has a warehouse but its capacity is unknown. SWAT policy is now to keep a minimum inventory of 50,000 MT.
It is studying a project to build 30,000 MT of milled rice silo capacity at its port site to make importation in bulk vessels possible.
Such a storage arrangement would make destination fortification feasible but this would be limited to rice imported by SWAT.
DRUM Commodities controls UCI warehouses at the port as part of its collateral management arrangement to support trade and inventory financing to UCI from a number of local banks. 
SWAT was last year engulfed in a major scandal after being linked to a consignment of Bella Luna Indian Parboiled Long Grain Rice contaminated with harmful substance
It can be recalled that a 2013 FrontPageAfrica investigation uncovered how the  Government incurred losses resulting from dubious transactions.
The documents show that scanty transactions between the Ministry of National Defense and the Supplying West African Trading, Incorporated (SWAT) led to acute cut-down of food supplies meant for the country’s new soldiers encamped at military barracks.
According to the documents, an amount of US$282,000 was paid as first installment to SWAT-a Lebanese business rice supplier- for 9,400 bags of rice for the soldiers without full delivery. Investigation further revealed that only 800 bags were delivered.
Payment Without Full-Delivery
A receipt dated February 14, 2011 with voucher number MOD: 203-000146 shows that the amount of US$282,000 was paid to SWAT.
A delivery note with two different dates of February 14, 2011 and February 18, 2011 confirmed the rice was delivered
However, delivery of the 9,400 bags of rice could not be confirmed to auditors of the General Auditing Commission (GAC), who had gone to commission an audit of the Ministry.
The revelation was a major violation of both the regulations of the 2009 enacted Public Finance Management (PFM) and the 2005 approved Public Procurement and Concessions Commission (PPCC), which require that full payment must be made only when delivery is made in full for work duly performed.
Part 10 of the PFM Act captured under ‘Responsibility for Accuracy of Vouchers’ states: “Any public officer, including a Minister and head of any government institution, commission, board who signs a voucher, a check, a document or record pertaining to accounts shall ensure that:
(a) There is sufficient evidence that payment is being made for work duly performed, goods delivered or services duly received in accordance with the contract and the price to be paid is also in accordance with the contract.
The PFM’s procurement method used is in line with the provisions of the PPCC Act.
Section 34 of the PPCC under ‘Description of Goods, Works and Services’ states: “(1) To the extent possible, any specifications, plans, drawings, designs and requirements or descriptions of goods, works or services shall be based on the relevant objective technical and quality characteristics, and performance of the goods, works or services to be procured.”

Bangladesh to scrap planned rice imports from Thailand

DHAKA, Feb 1 (Reuters) - Bangladesh will scrap a plan to import 150,000 tonnes of rice from Thailand, agreed at $465 a tonne in October, head of the state grains buyer said on Thursday.“They have been taking too much time to finalise the deal. There is no point to wait for them when we are getting supplies from other sources, including India, at cheaper rates,” Badrul Hasan, the director general of Bangladesh’s Directorate General of Food, told Reuters. Traditionally the world’s fourth-biggest rice producer, Bangladesh emerged as a major importer of the grain in 2017 after floods damaged crops and sent domestic prices to record highs.

Consumers to gain from new rice policy

Philippine Daily Inquirer / 05:22 AM February 01, 2018
(First of 2 parts)
Myrna Panaguiton, a 56-year-old on-call helper in Caloocan City, was doubtful about the prospect of cheaper rice in the market before the end of the year. With a family of nine, rice makes up a huge chunk in the Panaguiton household’s budget. In a week, the family consumes 10 kilos of rice at an average of P37 a kilo. This is about P370 in a week.
“Of course cheaper rice is good for us, but I don’t want to say anything unless it really happens,” she said in Filipino. “Imagine our expenses with the new tax law, everything is getting expensive. For what I know, prices of rice will rise, too.”
As an on-call helper, Panaguiton earns P3,000 a week from cleaning houses and washing clothes. Meanwhile, her niece is set to work overseas in the Middle East next month as a househelp. The other members of the family are either too old or too young to work.
The Panaguiton family is only one of the hundreds of thousands of families in the country that rely heavily on rice. For this year, a new policy direction being taken by the Duterte administration is predicted to lower the retail price of rice by as much as P6.97 a kilo.
With current retail prices, this means regular milled rice and well-milled rice will be priced at P31.08 and P35.34 a kilo, respectively. In a study made by the Southeast Asian Regional Center in 2010, a Filipino’s average consumption of rice per year was at 119 kilos while annual household consumption was at 568 kilos.
For a family of nine that consumes 10 kilos of regular milled rice in a week, this would translate to P69.70 in savings—more than enough to buy two more kilos of rice.
However, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol is less optimistic with the rosy forecast, along with rice retailers and distributors on the ground. The administration’s decision to stop regulating the entry of imported rice in the country by lifting the limit it imposes under the so-called quantitative restriction (QR) scheme is not bound to make any difference, he claimed.
Import restriction
In exchange for lower tariff rates and more flexible trade pacts, the Philippines allows rice to be imported in the country as part of its obligation to the World Trade Organization under a so-called quantitative restriction (QR) scheme.
The QR, which puts a cap on the volume of rice to be imported, is meant to protect local rice producers from being stifled by competition in the market.
Back during the Ramos administration, the government decided to set the country’s import quota at 350,000 metric tons (MT) with a tariff rate of 35 percent on rice that would come from other WTO member-countries. Rice that would be coming from non-WTO members would have to pay a higher tariff of 50 percent.
The country later on extended this scheme up to 2012, and then again to 2017, during the Aquino administration. While these extensions were approved, they came with a price in the form of concessions. These concessions were a compromise for other member-countries that wanted to take advantage of free trade. To further protect rice farmers, the government agreed to lower its tariff rates for the entry of processed pork, dairy, oil seeds and frozen potatoes while also increasing the limit of imported rice to 850,000 MT.
But the country could not hide under the blanket protection of QR forever. The administration of President Duterte is finally seeking to amend the decade-old law that put in place the rice import quota in line with its economic managers’ decision to scrap the QR for good this year.
“Removal of the QR will increase imports and depress palay prices,” economist Roehlano Briones said in a study published by the state-run think tank Philippine Institute of Development Studies (PIDS). “Rice imports are cheaper than domestically produced rice. Under a free market, the market price of rice will decline with the influx of cheaper rice imports.”
Most consumers are unaware that rice from abroad is cheaper than domestically produced rice. Data from the United Nations’ agriculture arm showed that since the 1990s, the price of rice in the world market has remained cheaper compared to the price of rice in the Philippines. This was due, in part, to higher cost of production since the country has very limited land suitable for rice production as compared to other Asean countries.
PIDS noted that “as a result, production cost goes up before enough rice is produced to meet domestic demand.”
Nonetheless, Piñol said he believed the lifting of QR would not make any difference in current rice prices. “There are statements that the lifting of QR will reduce the price of rice in the market by P7. It’s a flawed assumption,” he argued.
“Let’s not kid ourselves. For how many years have we been importing rice? Those imported by the private sector, do we see any of those being sold in the commercial market? No. Even the imported rice are mixed in the local rice so consumers don’t feel the effect of importation and even the lifting of the QR,” he added.
Rice distributors have the same sentiment.
“I don’t think that is going to happen,” said Jun Aguilar, a wholesale and retail distributor in Cagayan Valley. He and other traders sell rice in the Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Cebu, Davao and Metro Manila. “With no limits to importation, traders will blend rice again maybe at a 70-30 ratio of local and imported. Expenses in producing rice is huge right now.”
But whether or not rice prices would be affected or remain at its current level, Aguilar said that as traders, they could always change their selling price according to movements in the market.
“It’s really the consumers and especially the farmers, who will be greatly affected by this,” he said.
For industry group Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (Sinag), lifting QRs would not automatically reduce the retail price of rice.
“The liberalization of the agriculture sector since the mid-’90s saw the dumping of agriculture imports in the country, but it did not help in lowering the prices of most agriculture products,” it said. The sorry state of the garlic industry could be the exception. With almost 85-90 percent of the country’s garlic supply sourced from outside in the last 10 years, it did result in the lowering of the retail prices of garlic.
For the agriculture chief, the only way for consumers to feel the change in policy was if the government would decide to set a benchmark for the price of imported rice—a mandate that only the National Food Authority has the power to impose.
“Unless they allow private traders to import rice with a condition that they can only sell these imports at a certain price, it can work. But until then, nothing is going to change.”
With nothing to stop the deluge of rice imports that are about to enter the country, stakeholders in the agriculture sector as well as economic managers are banking on one thing: A better safeguard for local farmers against tighter competition.
The Duterte administration has decided to remove its quota on importation under the QR scheme, which was meant to work as a protection for our own rice producers.
Faced to compete with cheaper rice imports, many are worried that this scheme would aggravate the plight of local farmers who are mostly caught up in poverty.
“What we need is a comprehensive government program that would significantly increase public spending in the strategic areas of the rice sector,” Sinag said.
“These government programs must be anchored on the development of our capacity to produce our staple and food requirements,” the group added.
(T0 be concluded)

In search of diet and climate-friendly rice

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Back when I was busy pounding the agri-commodities beat, one of the things that I obsessively monitored was the National Food Authority’s (NFA) rice inventory. This is not a “sexy” topic for any business reporter. Why bother with rice stocks, when it’s more exciting to cover, say, a corporate takeover that can shock and awe the stock market?
So it might not be  sexy, but it’s nonetheless significant whenever there’s news that the NFA’s inventory has fallen below the required 15-day buffer stock, as this means that the state-owned body will have to tender for rice anytime soon. According to a report by BusinessMirror journalist Jasper Emmanuel Y. Arcalas, the NFA is urging the interagency National Food Security Committee to recommend the importation of 250,000 metric tons of rice to beef up its stockpile, which is now just equivalent to three days of consumption. At an average daily consumption rate of 31,000 MT, that means that the NFA is holding just over 90,000 MT in its warehouses.
Anyone who has a stake in the global rice market will pounce on this information, as the Philippines is a huge rice importer, and its import volume can move prices. In the domestic market, this incites unscrupulous local traders to hoard and jack up prices.  And this is quite worrisome in a country where, in most poor households, rice accounts for a huge chunk of their budget.
But more than prices and market trends, any story on the rice inventory is one that hits us on the gut, as this is one staple that we can live without.  This even if popular low-carb dietary regimens like South Beach or Keto have discouraged a health-conscious populace from consuming too much rice. How else can we enjoy our adobo, kare-kare and paksiw na lechon without a serving of fluffy white rice to sop up the rich sauce of our favorite ulam?
In my diabetic family, eating too much rice is a problem, as it can jack up the blood sugar levels of my parents. I managed to mitigate this problem by persuading my parents to switch to unpolished brown rice, as its glycemic index is lower than white rice. Only our kasambahay defied the white-rice ban in our household, as she refused to eat bland brown rice.
But, as I became more conscious with what I eat, nutritional content is not only thing that bothers me about rice eating. It’s the fact that rice farming is resource-intensive. Not only does it consume too much land, water and other farm inputs, but rice farms’ carbon footprint is quite steep.  The Food and Agriculture Organization said that agriculture (including forestry, livestock and fisheries production) accounts for about 20 percent of the world’s greenhouse-gas emissions. Asia has the highest GHG output from agriculture at 44 percent. The International Rice Research Institute (Irri) said that 20 percent of Asian agriculture’s GHG emissions come from paddy-rice production, and it’s a major source of methane gas.
Rice fields are also the first casualty of extreme weather events caused by a warmer planet. Rice production falls when there’s El Niño or La Niña, prompting the Philippines to import more. With climate change bringing in longer dry spell and stronger typhoons, local rice production is expected to decline further, forcing the country to rely more on imports for food security.
I’m still optimistic, however, that there’s a way to make rice more climate-friendly. The IRRI, for instance, is developing and promoting technologies that will reduce rice farms’ GHG emissions. One of these is the alternate wetting and drying technology that can cut water consumption by up to 30 percent and methane emission by up to 50 percent. The AWD technology is now being used in Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines, although the Irri said it’s yet to be implemented on a wider scale.  The IRRI is also developing climate-ready rice, or rice varieties that have tolerance to various climate stresses like drought, heat, salinity and flooding. They have also been tested and disseminated in various Asian countries. Unfortunately for us consumers, we have no way of knowing (and consciously buying) climate-friendly rice varieties, as none of the commercially available rice are branded as such.
But, even prior to the development of these climate-ready varieties, we already have traditional rice varieties that can be considered climate-friendly, as they’re resistant to pest and diseases, require less fertilizer and are even tasty to boot. Julian Gonsalves, senior consultant of the International Institute for Rural Reconstruction, said the institute has been collecting and propagating these heirloom varieties for years, and the IIRR, in fact, has a plot of land in its headquarters in Silang, Cavite, that is dedicated to the cultivating of various indigenous rice varieties. Gonsalves said most of these upland rice varieties that can tolerate both drought and excessive rainfall. They’re healthier, too, he said, as they have more fiber and anthocyanins, which can serve as antioxidants.
A lot of these heirloom varieties are grown in the Cordillera region and are cultivated by small farmers. If we want to reduce our carbon footprint while, at the same time, provide livelihood to these farmers, we can do so by buying these heirloom rice, which are available in weekend markets and food expos.  If you are keen on knowing more about these heirloom rice varieties, you might also want to get the seed catalog Philippine Traditional Rice Varieties published by the Bureau of Plant Industry.
Another option for us who want a more climate-friendly diet is to cut rice consumption and eat more food that are grown with less carbon emissions. So perhaps, we can eat more beans, lentils, leafy greens and amaranth (more known as kulitis and is used in the classic Ilocano dish diningding). Yes, it’s more eco-friendly to be vegetarian, and that’s something that I will discuss in my next column.
Prime Sarmiento is a longtime business journalist who specializes in food, agribusiness and commodities-trade reporting. Her stories have been published in both local and international publications, including Nikkei Asian Review, China Daily, Science and Development News Network and Dow Jones Newswires.
Comments and ideas are welcome at

Who is behind the rice price hikes?

·       Bilkis Irani
·       Published at 01:59 AM February 01, 2018
·       Last updated at 02:01 AM February 01, 2018
Bangladesh imported over two million tons of rice between June and December last yearMehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

A rice price model prepared by Dhaka-based think tank South Asian Network on Economic Modeling (SANEM), showed that rice prices shot up by about 35% over the year. To better understand the key factors behind the surge in rice prices, the Dhaka Tribune’s Bilkis Irani travelled across three northern districts – Naogaon, Dinajpur, and Panchagarh – and spoke to farmers, traders and rice millers in early December. This is the first in a three-part series on the crisis in rice prices

Bangladesh imported over two million tons of rice between June and December last year. It is extraordinary when one takes into account the scanty 7,100 tons imported in the previous fiscal year.
Floods and pests had a devastating effect on major rice basins during both the Aman and Boro seasons, prompting the government to import rice in a vain attempt to stabilize prices.
The leap in rice prices at the consumers’ end reflects the increased price of paddy sold by the farmers. Since most farmers suffered huge losses because of the floods and pest attacks, the increase in price can be considered a tawdry compensation.
Azizar Rahman was issuing instructions to farm labourers he hired to harvest the crop on the morning of December 1. Azizar, a farmer from the village of Makhmalpur in Naogaon, needs the extra hands during the harvest like most large-scale farmers.
In the previous Aman season, he sold coarse paddy varieties at the rate of Tk800 for every 40kg (1 maund*). This time around, brokers scouting the neighbourhood are offering as much as Tk1,000.
But the yield this season has been disappointing. A storm in October ravaged the paddy fields, cutting down the output of every bigha of farmland (1 bigha = 33 decimals) by at least 200kg.
Azizar could usually harvest around 3,200kg of paddy from his lands, but his final yield was only around 2,000kg.
“I had to buy seeds at Tk35 per kg. I spent money on fertilizers and insecticides. The market price of paddy is around Tk980-1000, this cannot cover my expenses. I could only make a profit if the price was Tk1,200 or more.”
Workers are seen drying paddy out on the floor of a rice processing mill Photo: Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune
Nurullah Miah, who brought his fresh harvest to a haat (weekly market) in Mohadevpur on December 2, said: “Brokers usually offer low prices before the harvest. I brought my harvest to the haat so that I can directly sell to miller agents to fetch a higher price.”
He complained that brokers and millers are the ones who control the price and reap the benefits when the rice is sold at higher prices in cities.
Nurul Islam, a broker at Mohadevpur haat, claimed buying the paddy before the harvest is the only way to make any profit.
Several other brokers agreed, noting that they lack the facilities to stock paddy. Brokers make a profit of Tk10-50 for every 40kg of paddy when they sell to millers, who in turn make profits of Tk10 for every 40kg.
They also claim that paddy prices have risen because the millers’ demand is always greater than the market supply. When compounded with the drop in supply due to disasters, the rice price hike is the result, according to several brokers.
“The government has fixed Tk39 per kg to buy Guti Swarna (coarse rice) from us, but after processing, it costs Tk41 per kg. We are now purchasing paddy at Tk1,013-1,020 for every 40kg,” he added.
Md Anisur Rahman, proprietor of Messers Tosiron Automatic Rice mill in Naogoan sadar, said the wholesalers in big cities and brokers who buy rice from the millers are the ones who manipulate the market price.
Dhaka’s wholesalers, however, denied the allegation saying: “A wholesaler in Dhaka can store 50-60 tons of rice at most. Auto rice mills can store at least 1,000 tons. You tell me who can hoard enough rice to manipulate the price,” said Rafiqul Islam, organizing secretary of Babubazar and Badamtoli Wholesale Rice Market Owners’ Association.
The market price does not establish that wholesalers and their agents are making a lot of profit. Sacks of 50kg of rice was bought at Tk1,950 in early December. The rice was sold at Tk41-45 in Dhaka, a profit of roughly Tk1-6.
Currently, retail price of coarse rice in Dhaka stands between Tk45-46 per kg
Dr Asaduzzaman, research fellow at Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies, told the Dhaka Tribune that the rise in rice prices was to be expected due to the twofold floods and pest attack.
He, however, pointed out that the government acted promptly by cutting import duties to increase rice import to meet the shortfall, and the current erratic nature of the price is out of fear and speculation.
“Maybe farmers are afraid, and they are hoarding some. Maybe the millers also feel the same way and stockpiling,” he observed.
“There is no denying the production loss this year. But if about two million tons of rice has already been imported – it is a record amount and far surpasses the estimated crop loss – the market must have been flooded with rice. The government should not have let permitted such a huge import of rice.
There should have been conditions on the importers to sell whenever the government asks. The state can always regulate, if it is willing,” he added.
A recent report by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) forecast that the Aman output in 2017 would stand at 13 million tons, down by 350,000 tons from 2016.
Floods ruined 591,647 hectares of Aman paddy field in 32 districts last year, according to a government estimate.
Dhaka Tribune correspondents from Nilphamri, Naogaon, Sylhet, Narail, Habiganj and Chapainawabganj also reported pest attacks late in the Aman season.
Throughout March-April, a series of flash floods hit the northeastern districts. The government admitted the Boro output would be some 450,000 tons less than the 19.1 million tons target.
According the Ministry of Food, as of December 21, 2017, about 464,000 tons of rice was imported by the government and 1.705 million tons by private importers in the current fiscal year.

Additional reporting by Sazzadur Rahman Sazzad, Khondaker Md Abdur Rouf, and Md Faruk Hossain
Note: In rural Bangladesh, paddy is usually measured and sold in bulk using the maund unit of measurement. 1 maund = 40kg. The metric system is used throughout the article

Nigeria: Govt Not Paying Subsidy, but Suffering Under Recovery - Adeosun

By Jonathan NDA-Isaiah
The federal government is not paying subsidy to keep fuel price at N145 but there is under recovery on the part of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation ( NNPC) the minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun has said.
Recall that the landing cost of petrol is N171 and the NNPC which has been the sole importer of fuel since October last year had suffered huge losses.
It also has led to the fuel scarcity being experienced in the country for more than two months now.
Speaking to State House correspondents after the federal executive council meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential Villa, the minister said Nigerians have been bearing the burden of revenue loss from the NNPC.
She explained "On the question of subsidy, the price of oil for Nigeria today is a double edge sword. So every dollar that goes up we get more revenue but also because we are importing refined petroleum increases the landing cost of fuel.
"So for every time we get excited that the oil price is going up, there is also a knock on effect on the price of imported PMS and that is a function of us not having refining capacity, it is one of the unfortunate impact of that.
"Now, when there is talk of payment of subsidy, technically today, there is no subsidy but there is under recovery. Why that is, is because NNPC are currently doing all the importing. They are importing at a higher price than they are selling which means they are losing money, which means effectively that loss is being borne by everybody and effectively it reflected in the federation account.
"So, there is no subsidy payment in the way the old subsidy scheme use to work where they were paying the oil marketers but there is an under recovery, a loss on the importation of PMS being borne by NNPC and therefore indirectly being borne by everyone one of us.
Adeosun also said she presented two memos on behalf of Nigeria Customs Service.
According to her, One was to acquire additional 81 units of two bedroom residences in Ido, Gwari district, Life Camp for use as barracks for customs officers within the Abuja area. The total amount is N1.2 billion.
She said the second approval was for the purchase of 50 operational vehicles that are going to be deployed for anti-smuggling or anti-rice smuggling task force that is being put together, which customs will be leading.
She added "As you know, effort to become major rice producers has resulted in the revival of local rice growing. What we have found is 90 per cent reduction in the official import of rice but smuggling has increased and of course, our borders are very, very porous.
Now, we believe that to protect our farmers, to protect the investment that people have gone back to the farm for, government must really act to stem the tide of illegal rice importation and rice smuggling.
So, there is a multi-task force agency that has been working since last July which includes customs, NAFDAC, the Consumer Protection Council, the Ministry of Finance, the Trade Mark Practices Bureau, gathering information on how this rice is coming in. What are the key entry points? And mapping out how we are going to have effective strategy to stop it.
"We felt that it is important that we don't want customs going to seize rice in the markets. Customs should actually stop rice coming in at borders points and customs indicated that they need additional vehicles, additional resources as well as more information driven measures that will be taken. But what was approved today was the purchase of 50 vehicles as part of these efforts. The contractor is Elizade and the value is N1.12 billion"
During his briefing Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola said the his ministry had 66 approvals by the Council in the last two years.
Disclosing that the approvals cover roads, cpn projects and some housing projects particularly Federal Secretariat, he added that the implementation of the projects had led to the creation of 69,736 jobs.
"Some of the topical once were the progress of works on the Katsina Wind Mill, the Kaduna 216 mwt power plant, the Afam 240mwt plant, and of course the Mambilla 3,060mwt hydro power plant, and the project to evacuate the Ajura 459mwt power plant.
"It also covers federal secretariat in states like Gombe, Zamfara, Bayelsa, Ekiti and of course the Zik Mausoleum in Anambra. And we reported about the state of the Pilot housing projects that is also going on in 33 states. Our report also dealt with the short, medium and long term impact of these approvals vis a vis the budget implementation for 2016 and 2017, and our report showed that the implementation of these projects had led to 69,736 jobs. And most of these are jobs largely that were lost in the construction industry before the advent of this administration,' he said.

The Alert on Massive Rice Smuggling

Hameed Ibrahim Ali
  The National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Mohammed Babagana Monguno (rtd) recently alleged plan by smugglers to flood Nigeria with rice illegally imported into the country.
The NSA alerted Comptroller General of Customs (CGC) Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) on the discovery of not fewer than 20 shiploads of rice in Cotonou, Republic of Benin with final destination believed to be Nigeria. According to the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), fifteen of the ships had already been discharged at the Ports in Cotonou while the other five other ships were due to berth.
Coming at a time Nigeria is already making progress in its quest to boost local production of rice with the view to achieving self sufficiency, the discovery of large consignment of rice at the Cotonou ports ostensibly for smuggling into Nigerian is clearly act of economic sabotage. We therefore expect ONSA and other security agencies to unearth the masterminds of such dastardly plot against the Nigerian economy.
There is no doubt that the smuggling of the large quantity of rice would, to a large extent, undermine government’s efforts at boosting local production of rice and other grains for domestic consumption to boost the Nigeria’s dwindling foreign reserves. It is recalled that the Federal Government had in January 2017 banned the importation of rice into the country from land borders.
It is also heart-warming that the Custom authorities have since swung into action with increase surveillance across the land borders at Seme, the busiest land frontier with the Republic of Benin as well as Idi Iroko (Ogun State), Shaki (Oyo State), Babana (Kwara State) and other Nigerian borders with the Republic of Benin in the northern axis of the country.
We can only hope Customs personnel remain vigilant in ensuring that the laudable objective of encouraging cultivation and consumption of home grown rice would not, for the umpteen times, be sabotaged by unpatriotic antics of smugglers.
While it is reassuring that the relevant authorities were diligent in discovering the large consignment of rice due for smuggling into Nigeria from Cotonou, the scenario, no doubt, paints a worrisome picture of the gravity of threats which nefarious activities of smugglers constitute to an economy that is only smarting out of recession.
If anything however, this discovery should serve to encourage security agencies to scale up their networks so as to forestall the activities of saboteurs who in their desperation to thwart government efforts at diversifying the economy would stop at nothing in the determination to compromise Nigerian security system.
Nevertheless, the fact that such large consignments of rice were imported into the neighbouring country Cotonou with the intention of smuggling across Nigeria’s borders is an evidence of the prevailing complicity of bad elements within the Customs and other security agencies which compromises operational vigilance at the country’s land borders with manifest loopholes that could be exploited by smugglers. Consequently, the Nigerian Customs must be alert to the additional responsibility of purging the agencies of officers who continue to connive with smugglers to sabotage the economy.
It must be emphasised that self sufficiency in local production would aid food security and should be seen as cardinal aspect of national security. Any attempt therefore to sabotage Nigeria’s efforts at attaining self sufficiency in grains production must be resisted by the relevant agencies.
Government on its part must ensure that Nigerian embassies in Benin Republic and other neighbouring countries be put on alert on the activities of smugglers.
We are also of a strong conviction that Nigerian government should engage authorities of neighbouring countries on bilateral measures that could further discourage the criminal activities of importers of rice as well as other banned items who use the ports in these countries as cover for their smuggling activities.

Professor Explains Implication of Rice Cultivation Techniques for Developing Countries

By Jacob Wexler
As bizarre as it sounds, Prof. Norman Uphoff, government and international agriculture, argues that cutting the water supply in half and reducing the plant population by a factor of 10 actually increases rice harvest yields.
The counterintuitive advice is derived from System of Rice Intensification, which is “not a technology, but a set of ideas and insights” that seeks to maximize a crop’s potential through better management, according to Uphoff.
SRI focuses on making “a set of changes in the management of plants, soil, water and nutrients to get a more productive phenotype, a more productive plant from the existing genetic potential,” Uphoff explained.
SRI breaks from traditional ways of rice farming that “might seem counterintuitive” at first, according to Uphoff.
Uphoff gave an example of farmers who are asked to “cut the plant population by 80 to 90 percent,” to plant only one seed in a clump as opposed to 3 or 4, to use about half as much water and to limit the amount of chemical fertilizer they use in favor of organic fertilizer.
Father Henri de Laulanié, a French Jesuit living in Madagascar, created SRI in the 1980s and began working with the Cornell International Institute for Food, Agriculture and Development in 1993.
Uphoff, the director of CIIFAD from 1990 to 2005, has overseen efforts to research the potential benefits of SRI. CIIFAD itself has been instrumental in the promulgation of SRI techniques abroad. Many of the photos Uphoff presented had been sent to him by farmers with whom he or CIIFAD had worked with during their research.
Uphoff presented numerous case studies where SRI grown rice plants appeared significantly healthier and larger than traditionally grown rice plants in the same location. SRI plots tended to produce a much higher yield than traditional plots.
“The focus is on developing countries,” explained Uphoff. SRI has the potential to reduce the amount of water, money and labor that farmers in developing countries need to spend.
“At first, SRI takes more time and labor investment than traditional farming,” said Uphoff. This can be explained by the more frequent weeding that SRI grown crops require along with the more precise degree to which the crops have to be planted. But, as Uphoff stated, “over time eight percent less labor per hectare” was needed to maintain the crops.
Despite Uphoff’s efforts, acceptance of SRI in the international community has been slow. Uphoff said that the international community did not greet SRI “as curiously or as open-mindedly as I expected.”
As a result, SRI research efforts have not been funded through the more traditional academic avenues. Rather, SRI research has been funded by organizations like the Ohrstrom foundation, actor Jim Carrey’s Better U Foundation and various non-governmental organizations.
Uphoff described SRI as a “paradigm shift” and explained that there will always be resistance against new ideas. Moreover, he described SRI as “going against the tide of proprieterization of agricultural technology” in that SRI is information designed to be usable by anyone.
Despite the skepticism, many countries, including China, India and Indonesia have integrated SRI practices into their agricultural systems. While Uphoff described the interest in SRI as “limited,” he pointed to a “worldwide network of researchers and practitioners” known as SRI-Rice as evidence for SRI’s bright future.

Seth Klarman Gives $5 Million to Spelman: Philanthropy Tracker

By Amanda L Gordon
January 31, 2018, 3:00 PM GMT+5
·       Bill Gates wants more milk, Marc Benioff protects oceans
·       Bezos funds news literacy, Moskovitz is sending vitamin A
It’s unclear what recent tax changes will mean for U.S. donations, but in January, there was plenty of publicly noted giving.
Seth Klarman
Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg
Celebrities spurred donations to Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, to aid those who’ve experienced sexual harassment. Billionaires at Davos announced mega gifts for ocean conservation, agriculture development and health workers. Seth Klarman donated to a historically black women’s college. And how about football as a philanthropic engine? Colin Kaepernick’s #10for10 brought 10 days of donations to 10 different charities, while the countdown to the Super Bowl had fans opening up their wallets. It started with Buffalo Bills loyalists donating to Bengals’ charities. As for office pool winnings come Sunday, Super Bowl ads may offer some ideas. Matt Damon will tout for Stella Artois.
The Bloomberg News Philanthropy Tracker rounds up big, small and interesting gifts of the month. Email tips to
January Gifts
$306 million: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for agricultural development, including $164.5 million to Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa to improve soil health, $46.9 million to TechnoServe for coffee production in East Africa, $19.8 million to International Rice Research Institute to develop stress-tolerant rice, and $5.2 million to CARE for the dairy value chain in Bangladesh. "If we are serious about ending extreme hunger and poverty around the world, we must be serious about transforming agriculture for small farmers -- most of whom are women," Gates said in a statement.
$75 million: Bill Miller, founder and chairman of Miller Value Partners, to the Johns Hopkins University philosophy department.
$50 million: Evelyn and Ernest Rady, chairman of American Assets Trust, to Salvation Army to build transitional housing in San Diego. Two facilities will serve the city with the fourth highest homeless population in the U.S.
$50 million: Jeff Skoll, Richard Branson, Christopher Hohn and the ELMA Foundation have pledged this amount to Last Mile Health and Living Goods to train and deploy 50,000 community health workers to provide digitally enabled care to 34 million people.
$30 million: T. Denny Sanford to the Horatio Alger Association for scholarships at 12 universities, seven of which are in South Dakota, where Sanford founded First Premier Bank. Sanford also gave $30 million this month to the San Diego Zoo.
$33 million: Jeff Bezos to TheDream.US to fund college scholarships for dreamers, immigrants brought to the U.S. as children without documentation. Donald Graham solicited the gift for the organization he founded after selling the Washington Post to Bezos in 2013. Separately, Bezos gave $250,000 to the News Literacy Project to train youth in consuming and producing journalism.
$25 million: Janice and Ken Freeman, a KKR alum, to Bucknell University for a new college of management.
$10 million: Ophelia Lazaridis, wife of BlackBerry founder Mike Lazaridis, to the Stratford Festival in Ontario for building a new Tom Patterson theater. The gift matches that made by Bridgewater Associates’ Dan Bernstein, chairman of the festival.
$10 million: Len Blavatnik to Columbia University’s Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science to supports doctoral students and fund breakthrough ideas. Through the Blavatnik Family Foundation.
$7.2 million: Asana Inc. CEO Dustin Moskovitz and Cari Tuna’s Open Philanthropy Project to Helen Keller International for vitamin A supplementation to preschool children in sub-Saharan Africa.
$5.5 million: Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan’s Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Center for Data Science to create an AI-based tool to map scientific knowledge.
$4.5 million: CEO Marc Benioff and his wife, Lynne, through the Benioff Ocean Initiative to the World Economic Forum Friends of the Ocean Action, a three-year public-private effort to meet United Nations sustainable development goal No. 14.
$5 million: Beth and Seth Klarman, CEO of Baupost Group, to Spelman College to provide scholarships at the Atlanta-based school.
$2.5 million: Robert F. Smith, CEO of Vista Equity Partners, to Prostate Cancer Foundation for research on the disease in African Americans and care for U.S. military veterans.
$350,000: A mobile health van will fight the opioid epidemic for eight months in a pilot by the Kraft Center for Community Health at Massachusetts General Hospital. Support from GE Foundation, Partners HealthCare, Hearst Foundation, Ford Motor Co. and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
$200,000: Mark Heising, founder of Medley Partners, and Liz Simons, a former teacher, through the Heising-Simons Foundation, to award freelance journalists reporting on U.S. immigrants and other under-represented people.
$25,000: Paul G. Allen through Vulcan Productions, to create a fellowship for a documentary filmmaker to tell a story about environment or conservation in conjunction with the San Francisco International Film Festival.
$20,000: Kaepernick and Stephen Curry each pledged $10,000 to United Playaz in San Francisco, which works to keep youth out of the justice system.


January 31, 2018
Photo Courtesy of: Mary Levinski SAUK RAPIDS -- The Sauk Rapids-Rice Culinary Team is one of the most successful in the nation, and their secret is an open one: dedication.
They're ten-time defending state champs in management, they've crossed the national stage twice in the past decade, 2013 and 2016 and have been named in the top 50 programs in the country for five years in a row.
Photo Courtesy of: Mary Levinski
Mary Levinksi is the ProStart Culinary and Management Team Advisor. She says along with the team's dedication, which sees students take time away from work and family to make sure they're at their best, they also do a lot of research to maintain their edge.
"We like to do a lot of research. We like to see what's on the cutting edge of the industry, what's new. Then we try to find mentors that understand the new trends, and then help us to grasp those concepts so we can recreate them in the classroom."
The team will be in a special super bowl event this weekend as well. Levinski says the "Taste of the NFL" is big deal featuring with some of the best chefs in the country.
"Chefs from all major 32 NFL cities. They represent the teams, and they put together small plates for the people who buy tickets to attend this event. Really to support food shelves and preventing hunger."
The team starts to participate in that on Friday and Saturday, their day Friday will kick off at 4:00 a.m. They'll spend all day with the chefs on Saturday helping them serve the guests attending the event.
Photo Courtesy of: Mary Levinski
Levinksi recently won the American Culinary Federation's Teach of the Year award for the Minneapolis Chapter.
That award usually only goes to a college instructor, and is given to "an active culinary instructor whose knowledge, skills and expertise have enhanced the image of the professional chef, and who, by example has given leadership, guidance, and direction to students seeking a career in the culinary profession".
Several of Levinski's students have gone on to successful culinary careers, at some big name restaurants on both coasts, and here in Minnesota.

Sokoto has good climate for rice farming — Expert

By Nasiru Bello, Sokoto | Publish Date: Feb 1 2018 2:00AM
Irrigation farming system has been identified as one of the sure methods for all year round rice production, the Executive Director, National Cereals Research Institute, Dr Samuel Agboire, has observed.
Dr Agboire, who disclosed this in Sokoto while delivering the keynote address at a two-day sensitisation workshop organised by AfricaRice with theme ‘Applying Innovation System Approach in Rice Value Chain Analysis and Development for Competitive Markets in Nigeria’, said Ttransforming Irrigation Management in Nigeria (TRIMING) was conceived to increase competitive advantage through collaboration in a venture that links producers, millers and marketers.
The executive director, who was represented by, Dr. Aliyu Umar, said Nigeria can produce high quality rice and rice based products that can withstand the test of time.
In his remarks, an official of the AfricaRice, Dr. Salim Ndindeng, said Sokoto State has less risk climate, which according to him, is suitable for rice farming.
‘‘Sokoto State is blessed with very good soil, a maximum of eight to nine metric tonnes can be gotten from a hectare. So, Sokoto is less risk farming state,’’ he said.

Study Reveals The Healthiest Plant-Based Milk Alternative To Cow's Milk

31 January 2018, 9:32 pm EST By Samriddhi Dastidar Tech Times
A study has determined which non-dairy milk is the best substitute for cow's milk. Researchers compared the nutritional values of soy, rice, coconut, as well as almond milk and this is what they found out.  ( Foundry Co | Pixabay )
Soy milk has the best nutritional profile among non-dairy milk, according to a new study. A team of researchers came to the conclusion after comparing four alternative kinds of milk to dairy milk, namely soy, coconut, rice, and almond.
The experts found that coconut, rice, and almond milk did not have the essential nutrients that are beneficial for overall good health.

Cow's Milk

Scientists from Canada's McGill University conducted the research to see if there was any truth to claims that plant-based milk is appropriate and wholesome substitutes for dairy milk. They analyzed the nutrition labels of various unsweetened rice, soy, and almonds milk apart from beverages that were free from coconut dairy and were easily available in grocery stores.
Milk obtained from cows is still the most balanced and complete source of carbohydrates, fat, and protein, according to the researchers.

Dairy Vs. Non-Dairy Milk

 The researchers found soy milk as the source of non-dairy milk to be most comparable to cow milk as far as overall nutrient balance was concerned. There are about 95 calories of protein in every 8-ounce serving of soy milk, making it the non-dairy milk that has the highest content of protein.
There are also phytonutrients like isoflavones in soy milk that have cancer-fighting abilities. However, soy milk was also found to have anti-nutrient substances like phytic acid, which can make it more difficult for the body to absorb and digest crucial minerals and vitamins.
The low amount of calories in almond milk was found to be high in monounsaturated fatty acids, which are good for weight management, weight loss, and reduction of bad (LDL) cholesterol. Almond milk, however, is low in carbohydrates and protein that make it less nutritionally balanced than soy or cow milk.
The researchers observed that there was no protein in dairy-free coconut beverages. Most of the energy provided by such type of milk come from saturated fats, though it is low in calories. Drinking such beverages, however, increases the good HDL cholesterol and reduces LDL ones.
Rice milk, which is sweet tasting, is a good option for people who are allergic to almonds and soybeans. However, it has a high amount of calories and is comparatively low in good nutrients. The researchers also added that consuming rice milk instead of cow milk without proper care can result in malnutrition, specifically for infants.
“It is quite clear that nutritionally soy milk is the best alternative for replacing cow’s milk in human diet,” the research team concluded.

Rice Husking Machine Market 2022 Research Report Driven by Country Analysis (USA, EU, Japan, Chinese etc)

January 31, 2018
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Rice Husking Machine Market is a professional and in-depth study on the current state of the global Rice Husking Machine industry with a focus on the market. The report provides key statistics on the market status of the Rice Husking Machine market manufacturers and is a valuable source of guidance and direction for companies and individuals interested in the industry.
The report covers 10-years data on global, regional and national for trading information. The Rice Husking Machine Market report firstly reviews the basic information of Rice Husking Machine market including its classification, application and manufacturing technology. The report then explores global top manufacturers of Rice Husking Machine market listing their product specification, capacity, Production value, and market share etc.
The report depicts the Global total market of Rice Husking Machine industry including capacity, production, production value, cost/profit, supply/demand and Chinese import/export. The total market is further divided by company, by country, and by application/type for the competitive landscape analysis.
The report estimates market development trends of Rice Husking Machine Market. Analysis of upstream raw materials, downstream demand, and current market dynamics is also carried out. In the end, the report makes some important proposals for a new project before evaluating its feasibility.
Browse Detailed TOC, Tables, Figures, Charts and Companies Mentioned in Rice Husking Machine Market at-
The Countries-wised Rice Husking Machine Market Import and Export Information:
  • North America
  • South America
  • Europe
  • APAC
  • MEA
Key Topics Covered:
Chapter 1: Introduction of Rice Husking Machine Industry
Chapter 2:  Manufacturing Technology of Rice Husking Machine
Chapter 3: Analysis of Global Key Manufacturers
Chapter 5: Market Status of Industry
Chapter 7: Analysis of Rice Husking Machine Market Chain
Chapter 8: Global and Chinese Economic Impact on Rice Husking Machine Market
Chapter 9: Market Dynamics of Rice Husking Machine
Chapter 10: Proposals for New Project
Chapter 11: Research Conclusions of Global and Chinese Rice Husking Machine

8 factors which point to higher rice prices

 Opportunities exist for improving rice prices.
Possibilities exist for rice prices to improve.
Milo Hamilton | Jan 30, 2018
We are in a farming price depression as I write this. Almost all things grown with a futures market are going down in price. If you were trading ag for profit, why wouldn’t you be short the grain markets?
The trend is your friend. I would not argue with the bears, but rice may be dancing to a different animal. Some of the eight factors and turning points listed below, which point to higher rice prices, apply only to rice, and some apply to all ag products:

1. Stocks in the hands of the five major rice exporters are at their lowest level to world rice trade in the last six decades, and world rice trade is trending higher.
2. Two major rice exporters have disastrously low levels of water resources per capita: India and Pakistan. The U.S. is not a poster child for good water management either, but has seven times more water resources per capital than these two countries that export about 15 million metric tons or one-third of traded rice per year. Their water metrics are dropping by 1 percent to 2 percent per year. That is a dire trend over the next two decades.
3. If India cuts back its rice exports as it has its cotton exports, the world rice price would double over night. India would export less of its scarce water to boot.
4. China has 65 percent of the world’s rice stocks now, and apparently has been piling up rice for the last 11 years. I say apparently because technically grain stocks are a military secret there. Those who know do not tell and those who tell do not really know for sure.
Why is China importing 5 million to 7 million metric tons of rice per year, increasing production and stocks and selling off very little in the world market? One answer is that their price inside the country is about $18 per hundredweight; no one would buy their rice without massive export subsidies in the global market that is $7 (India) to $12 (Vietnam) per hundredweight.
If China drops its domestic rice support price, it must contend with labor costs rising at 15 percent per year, and tiny rice farms with polluted soils and water and not much of that either. Also, if it dropped its domestic price to farmers to Vietnamese prices — much less Indian rough prices — it would import a huge share of world rice trade that could easily double the world price.
5. The global corn yield is now 30 percent higher than rice yields, and its upward trend could be 50 percent higher in the next five years. Is that bearish on rice, which suffers from a GMO ban?
6. Long-grain rice, like cotton, cannot easily be grown above the Bootheel of Missouri. If you extend that line across the world, most of the world cannot grow rice north of that latitude. You can grow high corn yields in Canada now. You can grow oats, wheat, soybeans, canola, and sunflowers very far north, but not long grain rice. Rice is latitude-challenged.
6. Our weather consultant, believes we are entering a period of extreme cold winters that could last a decade or longer due to a decline in sunspot activity. If the northern latitude growing season is reduced, what would that mean for rice? Work I have done suggests that global warming is kind to rice; but wet, cold growing seasons decimate rice in North and East Asia.
7. So, exporter stocks are historically very tight. What happens if trade is disrupted by a withdrawal of the U.S. as the world’s oceanic police force? I say the answer is stockpiling.
8. The U.S. dollar went down in value in 2017, making the export price of all grains and cotton, rice included, cheaper to foreign buyers. This trend could continue in 2018. That is good news for demand for U.S. rice on the global market.
So, I watch the charts closely and I see these eight turning points ahead for rice. I am still a grain price bear, but I am not hibernating. I am watching what is going on from the mouth of my dismal economic cave and sniffing the market for a more positive price outlook.

Time and labor savings cited as key advantage for row rice

Furrow-irrigated row rice provides time and labor savings for Arkansas farm.
Forrest Laws | Jan 30, 2018
Yield comparison between furrow-irrigated or row rice and traditional flood-irrigated rice was statistically the same, for Mississippi County, Arkansas farmers Mike and Ryan Sullivan.
But with fewer trips across the field to  prepare land for the next soybean crop saved time, labor and money, said Ryan during a presentation at the January national Conservation Systems Cotton and rice Conference in Memphis.
 Pulling levees was one of the reasons Ryan decided to try furrow-irrigated rice. Although he’s a recent graduate of Arkansas State University, Ryan has spent his whole life on the fifth-generation rice-soybean farm.
“Every fall we would go in with a field cultivator and a Kelly Diamond to get the soybean fields ready so we could plant rice flat,” he said in his presentation. “We drilled into the old soybean beds from last year. We planted at an angle because we couldn’t get good down pressure in the middles.”
Planting on the old soybean beds meant the Sullivans didn’t have to put up levees in their rice, a practice that on their heavy gumbo soils could require five or six trips with a tractor and a levee plow. The lack of levees means the fields are also less likely to become rutted during harvest.
Sullivan said the furrow-irrigated fields that were grown in side-by-side comparisons with conventionally-planted rice produced an average of 4.6-bushels-per-acre less rice than the fields of levee rice. (The 477.2 acres of furrow rice produced an average of 196.5 bushels vs. 201.1 bushels per acre on 539 acres of flooded rice.)
Mekong Delta seeks to turn agriculture challenges into opportunities
A workshop on new techniques under the Consortium for Unfavourable Rice Environments (CURE) was held in Can Tho city on January 30, highlighting the need to turn challenges into opportunities for Mekong Delta agriculture.

Farmers use combine harvesters to harvest rice

Prof. Bradford Mills from the US’s University of Virginia said saltwater and flood prevention, a traditional agricultural practice in the Mekong Delta, no longer matches modern agricultural development. Studies show that using farming plant varieties and animal breeds that suit local soil conditions will help turn challenges into opportunities.

Agreeing, CURE expert Jeffrey Alwang said the Mekong Delta needs to plan agricultural activities according to agro-ecological zones, elaborating that in upper river areas, agricultural production should be switched to eight crops per three years, including rice-aquatic farming, rice-lotus farming and luc binh (water hyacinth) farming.

Instead of preventing saline intrusion in the river mouth and coastal areas, farmers should consider saltwater as a natural resource and adopt crops other than rice such as rice-shrimp farming and farming of saltwater aquatic species. Meanwhile, integrated agriculture-forestry like cajuput-aquaculture and cajuput-rice-aquaculture should be promoted in the Ca Mau Peninsula, which has submerged forests.

Nguyen Thi Lang, Director of the Mekong Delta Institute for High Technology Agriculture Research, suggested solutions to improve Vietnamese rice quality, aiming to export rice to demanding markets instead of shipping up to one-third of total rice exports to China like at present.

She said scientists need to advise the Government about communication strategies and training to raise farmers’ adaptability to high-tech agriculture. It is also important to develop rice varieties tolerant of harsh natural conditions and climate change.

Lang added her institute is transferring saltwater, flood and drought tolerant varieties which have been successfully piloted in many provinces.-VNA

Researchers continue studying ‘fish in the fields’

Researchers with the Nigiri project monitor different aspects of water quality and available food in the flooded rice fields on Knaggs Ranch. Daily Democrat file photo
By Democrat staff
POSTED: 01/30/18, 1:04 PM PST | UPDATED: 1 DAY AGO
MARYSVILLE >> The Resource Renewal Institute is mounting the second phase of a control study measuring how the introduction of freshwater forage fish into fallow rice fields can reduce methane emissions from rice cultivation.
After six years of work demonstrating that small fish grow rapidly in flooded fallow rice fields, using these small fish to control methane emissions from rice cultivation could be a huge Climate Change breakthrough.
Preliminary results indicate that reviving and modernizing the simple, age-old practice of raising fish in rice fields can reap enormous benefits worldwide, according to spokeswoman Deborah Moskowitz, “dramatically reducing climate-changing methane emissions, protecting our ocean wildlife, supporting more sustainable and profitable agriculture, and providing a new source of protein for the earth’s growing population.”
On Thursday, a team of scientists from the University of Montana and UC Davis will introduce Golden Shiner minnows into experimental rice field ponds near Marysville to measure the effect small fish have on nutrient levels and methane emissions in rice fields.
Samples taken from the flooded fields over the past two months confirm there is an abundance of protein-rich zooplankton for fish to dine on. Scientists have also noted the presence of methane emissions, a harmful greenhouse gas.
“Understanding why and how these small fish be used to reduce methane emissions may surpass the project’s goals to sustainably produce a second crop of fish, since methane emissions from rice cultivation around the world make up 1.5 to 2 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions (the equivalent of nearly 1.4 billion tons of CO2),” stated Moskowitz.
Since 1985, Resource Renewal Institute has facilitated the creation, development, and implementation of practical strategies to solve environmental problems in a comprehensive framework.
The project is similar to the one undertaken at Yolo County’s Knagg’s Ranch, where salmon have been introduced into rice fields as a mean of accelerating their growth before they are released into the Sacramento River.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018 - 10:18
Importing of rice halted
President Maithripala Sirisena has instructed the cabinet to stop importing rice since the Maha Season paddy harvest has begun.
President gave the directive following detailed facts regarding the matter being put forward at the cabinet meeting on Tuesday afternoon(Jan.30).
Responding to an enquiry, a senior government minister said that accordingly, a cabinet sub-committee was set up to look into rice stocks currently available in the market.
The committee includes the ministers of Agriculture, Industries and Commerce as well as the minister of Rural Economy. 
In addition, reports state that discussions relating to a proposal to import 100,000 metric tonnes of rice, has been postponed.
Meanwhile, the cabinet approval was granted to set up a special High Court bench of three judges to expedite the hearing of the cases regarding bribes or corruption charges.
The cabinet also approved the suggested amendment for revising the court organization act.
It was decided to have this special high court in addition to the high court currently in operation.      

Soy Is The Healthiest Plant Based Milk, Researchers Say

Rice milk was described as the least nutritionally adequate
Jan 31, 2018 1:41 PM
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Soy milk is the healthiest dairy-free beverage, according to one team of researchers
Soy milk has the best nutritional profile out of the most-commonly consumed dairy-free alternatives, according to researchers from McGill University in Montreal.
A new study, which was recently published in Journal of Food Science Technology, looked at almond, soy, rice, and coconut milk - and compared the nutritional values of the unsweetened versions.
The researchers - PhD Candidate Sai Kranthi Vanga and his supervisor Vijaya Raghavan of the Department of Bioresource Engineering - then compared the plant-milk to cow's milk, which they described as 'a wholesome, complete food, providing all major nutrients like fat, carbohydrates and proteins', and claim offers the best nutritional profile of all the milk options.

Cow's milk is detrimental to health according to plant-based experts


The study bills soy milk as having 'the most balanced nutritional profile', of the plant-milks, linking its health benefits to the anti-carcinogenic properties of phytonutrients present in the milk.
Rice milk fared poorly in the test, with scientists claiming it has 'sweet taste and little nutrition'.
The report says: "Concerns, apart from the high carbohydrate count, is that consumption of rice milk without proper care can result in malnutrition, especially in infants."
Coconut milk contains 'no protein and few calories, with most of them fat', according to the study; almond milk has larger amounts of healthy fats and can help lower cholesterol, but the study quotes a 'need for complementary sources of food to provide essential nutrients'.


Despite the study's assumption that cow's milk is best, many health experts disagree.
According to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, '[cow's] milk and dairy products are not necessary in the diet and can, in fact, be harmful to health'.
"Milk and other dairy products are the top sources of artery-clogging saturated fat in the American diet,  says plant-based doctor Neal Barnard.
"Milk products also contain dietary cholesterol. Diets high in fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol increase the risk of heart disease, which remains America’s top killer."


Leading physician Dr. Michael Greger associates dairy products with harmful health conditions, including acne, cancer, asthma, Parkinson's disease, and elevated blood pressure.
The McGill researchers also noted there are potential health issues with cow's milk, saying: "The presence of various pathogens like Salmonella spp and Escherichia coli O157:H7 in milk have been associated with disease outbreaks around the world."