Friday, March 16, 2018

16th March,2018 daily global regional local rice e-newsletter

India’s April-Jan non-basmati rice exports jump 34 percent
Date: 15-Mar-2018
MUMBAI (Reuters) - India's non-basmati rice exports during April-January jumped 34 percent from a year earlier to 7.02 million tonnes as Bangladesh, Benin and Sri Lanka raised purchases, a government body said. The country's buffalo meat exports during the period rose 7.2 percent from a year ago to 1.16 million tonnes on good demand from Vietnam, Malaysia and Egypt, the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority said in a statement. India is the world's biggest exporter of buffalo meat and rice.

Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images

China dominating in rice could offer export opportunities

Farmers harvest rice at Xinghua in October 2017 in Taizhou, Jiangsu Province of China.
China is fast becoming the 800-pound gorilla in the world’s rice markets.
Forrest Laws | Mar 15, 2018
Description: Farmers harvest rice at Xinghua in October 2017 in Taizhou, Jiangsu Province of China.As it has with other crops, including cotton, corn and wheat, China is fast becoming the 800-pound gorilla in the world’s rice markets.
Based on what’s happened in recent years, China is now the top producer, top consumer, top stockholder, top importer and a “rising exporter” of rice, according to a USDA Foreign Agriculture Service international economist.
 “One thing to note, as was highlighted in the February 2018 Grain World Market and Trade Report, is China has strengthened its importance in global rice trade not only as an importer but now strikingly also as an exporter,” says USDA’s Rachel Trego.
Trego, who is team leader for food grains analysis at USDA-FAS’ Office of Global Analysis, said China’s exports have been relatively limited because of the high domestic rice prices within the country until recent months. Most Chinese exports have tended to be to the nearby regional markets such as South Korea, Mongolia and Hong Kong.
 “But we've begun to note some new developments that have been remarkable, which is part of why we noted this in our reports,” said Trego, who was a presenter for a University of Arkansas Systems Division of Agriculture Food and Agribusiness Webinar. (To view the webinar, click on
Part of that, Trego says, is that China has begun resuming exports to Africa. “These dwindled and virtually were down to nothing by the time of 2012, but, in 2017, approximately two-thirds of Chinese exports were to Africa.
“There have been a couple of reasons they have been able to enable these exports. China has begun to have some more available supplies of some of the multi-year-old rice from the stocks. China is beginning to auction off and have increasing amounts of sales from the auctions of some of the 2013 rice from the government temporary reserves.”

Less from Thailand

Meanwhile, the amount of rice Thailand has been exporting, especially to Africa, has dwindled, as Thailand is left with only the no-longer-good-for-human consumption rice within the country’s domestic stocks.
“Given Thailand’s ending of exporting especially low-priced rice to Africa, China has been able to see some in roads into Africa, as well as beyond,” said Trego, who is a regular contributor to USDA’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates.
“Notably, China’s average export price as reported by China’s custom data developed precipitously in 2017, and this has been quite interesting in that the Chinese customs data also shows that the exports have primarily been of medium-grain rice. Seeing prices in the $500 per range on average for total exports is certainly a shift from where they have been in the past.”
With China becoming a top importer of rice, as well, U.S. growers are asking where the U.S. stands on its ability to tap into the Chinese import market, which up to now has been confined primarily to nearby rice-producing countries such as Burma and Cambodia.
“USDA has been working actively on a phytosanitary protocol for access of rice to China, and this process has lasted for more than a decade,” Trego said. “On the U.S. side, USDA’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service has been working with the AQSIQ, the comparable agency in China. We had it signed a couple years ago at the technical level, but we were waiting for it to be signed at the political level, which was finally accomplished in 2017.
“Although the phytosanitary protocol has been signed, there remain a few steps, including a questionnaire that has been sent to the United States regarding some of the facilities as well as audits,” Trego noted. “While the phytosanitary protocol has been signed, there are still some steps to take before we can begin to see U.S. shipments of rice to China.”
Judging from Chinese domestic prices relative to some of the California export prices, U.S. export quotes at times have been lower than Chinese retail prices. “That may suggest some opportunities to be able to ship to China if given the opportunity once the phytosanitary protocol and the necessary arrangements are accomplished,” Trego said.

Types of rice

During the question and answer session of the webinar, Trego was asked what types of U.S. rice would be competitive in China’s markets?
“The predominant suppliers right now to the China market have been some of the neighboring countries that are sending long-grain rice,” she said. “As noted from that exporter export quote chart earlier, the Asian prices for long-grain are quite a bit lower than those for the U.S.
“So for long-grain it would primarily be focusing on some of the high-end and niche markets. China has been importing, especially because of price, but also because of concerns on food safety, and so really targeting the high end would be helpful for that on long grain.”
For the medium- and short-grain, China has a Tariff Rate Quota for medium-grain, and the U.S. is a predominant medium-grain exporter and is relatively competitive. “Given the price chart I shared earlier for Chinese retail versus U.S. prices, given the limited competition from other medium-grain suppliers in that market, there could be some great opportunities.”


By Swati Verma
BENGALURU, March 15 (Reuters) - Rice prices in Thailand
jumped this week, boosted by fresh purchases from China and
Indonesia amid a buoyant baht, while demand for the staple
weakened in top-exporter India.In Thailand, the world's second-biggest rice exporter,benchmark 5 percent broken rice <RI-THBKN5-PI> rallied to
$432-$435 per tonne, free on board (FOB) Bangkok, from $408-$410
last week.
"China and Indonesia bought our rice," a trader in Bangkok
said, adding that the Indonesia purchase wasbusiness-to-business while the Chinese purchase came through thegovernment."China bought it at much higher prices, so millers thought
if China could afford it at this level, prices could rise, and
they did."
The baht traded near its strongest level in overfour years on Thursday. A stronger baht translates to higherexport prices in U.S. dollars.Thailand plans to offer for sale 2 million tonnes of ricestill remaining in state stockpiles next month or in May, thecountry's commerce ministry said on Monday.
The country aims to export 9.5 million tonnes this year,
compared with a record 11.63 million tonnes shipped in 2017.In India, 5 percent broken parboiled riceprices <RI-INBKN5-P1> were quoted at $422-$426 per tonne,unchanged from last week amid limited supplies.
"African buyers are a bit active but Asian demand is weak.From next month supply from winter-sown crop is expected to goup," said a Pune-based dealer with an exporting firm.India's non-basmati rice exports during April-January jumped
34 percent from a year earlier as Bangladesh, Benin and SriLanka raised purchases.However, imports by Bangladesh, which has emerged as a major
rice buyer since 2017 after floods damaged its crops, will drop
in the coming months as there is no fresh demand, Badrul Hasan,
head of Bangladesh's state grain buyer, said."Our rice stock is quite satisfactory and we have alsostarted subsidised rice sales to cool prices in domesticmarkets."
Rice at government warehouses stood at nearly 1.1 milliontonnes, boosted by record imports, Bangladesh's food ministrydata showed.In Vietnam, 5 percent broken rice fell to $410-$415 a tonnefrom $418-425 a week earlier as the winter-spring harvestpeaked.
"Farmers have harvested around 30 percent of the paddy andprices may fall further in the coming weeks on strong supplies,"a Ho Chi Minh City-based trader said.The country's top rice exporter Vietnam Southern Food Corp.,
or Vinafood II, raised $51 million from selling a 23 percentstake at an initial public offering on Wednesday.
The IPO has no immediate impact on the domestic rice market,traders said.(Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav in Mumbai, PatpichaTanakasempipat in Bangkok, Ruma Paul in Dhaka and Khanh Vu inHanoi, editing by David Evans)

A new rice variety has been released in the Riverina today

 Alison Bowman
NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) plant systems group director, Alison Bowman, today launched a new rice variety, Viand, which combines water-saving attributes with the ability to fit high-value markets. Speaking at the rice industry field day at the Yanco Agricultural Institute, Dr Bowman said Viand offers growers up to 10 per cent water-use efficiency gains on existing varieties. 
Description: Alison Bowman “NSW DPI, in partnership with SunRice and AgriFutures Australia, has bred a high-yielding, fast maturing, medium grain rice, which delivers water saving advantages through its shorter growing season,” Dr Bowman said. “In late sown on-farm trials Viand outperformed medium grain Reiziq rice by 107 per cent per megalitre of water.” “Shorter season varieties add flexibility to farming systems, giving growers options to manage risk and extend the sowing window for rice.” 
Local rice growers, Chris and Sue Hardy, grew Viand in commercial trials when it was known as YRM70 and were able to double crop with irrigated winter crops and extend the rice sowing window to utilise late irrigation water allocations. 
“We grew five Viand crops in two and a half years in a 25-hectare paddock, alternating Viand with winter cereals on an irrigation layout of beds in bays,” Mr Hardy said. “Double cropping improved our returns, allowing us to take advantage of available water to deliver a system which arguably gives us the best return on our available asset base.” AgriFutures Australia General Manager Research and Innovation, Michael Beer, said the new variety addresses the key industry challenge of growing more rice with less water. 
“Rice growers can look forward to the benefits of Viand, backed with a sound agronomic package and a variety bred with more tolerance to cold damage, this new rice variety allows for better yields across seasons,” Mr Beer said.
Aimed at maximising grower returns, Viand meets the requirements of high value domestic and export markets and should prove popular with growers and consumers. The release of Viand marks 90 years of rice breeding by NSW DPI and the 110-year anniversary of the research station at Yanco.

Nagpur Foodgrain Prices Open- March 16, 2018

Nagpur Foodgrain Prices – APMC/Open Market-March 16, 2018

Nagpur, Mar 16 (Reuters) – Gram and tuar prices firmed up again in Nagpur Agriculture Produce
Marketing Committee (APMC) on good demand from local millers amid weak supply from producing
belts. Upward trend on NCDEX in gram, fresh hike in Madhya Pradesh pulses and enquiries from
South-based plants also boosted prices.
About 3,500 bags of gram and 2,900 bags of tuar reported for auction in Nagpur APMC, according
to sources. 

   * Gram mill quality and desi gram raw reported down in open market in absence of
     buyers amid good supply from producing regions.
   * Tuar varieties ruled steady in open market here but demand was poor.

   * Batri dal recovered in open market here on increased buying support from local
     traders amid weak supply from producing belts.      
   * In Akola, Tuar New – 3,900-4,100, Tuar dal (clean) – 6,300-6,500, Udid Mogar (clean)
    – 7,500-8,200, Moong Mogar (clean) 7,200-7,600, Gram – 3,700-3,900, Gram Super best
    – 5,400-5,800

   * Wheat, rice and other foodgrain items moved in a narrow range in
     scattered deals and settled at last levels in weak trading activity.
 Nagpur foodgrains APMC auction/open-market prices in rupees for 100 kg
     FOODGRAINS                 Available prices     Previous close  
     Gram Auction                  3,200-3,560         3,100-3,560
     Gram Pink Auction            n.a.           2,100-2,600
     Tuar Auction                3,500-4,075         3,400-4,050
     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        1,596-1,772        1,600-1,742
     Gram Super Best Bold            5,500-6,000        5,500-6,000
     Gram Super Best            n.a.            n.a.
     Gram Medium Best            5,150-5,350        5,200-5,400
     Gram Dal Medium            n.a.            n.a
     Gram Mill Quality            3,600-3,700        3,650-3,750
     Desi gram Raw                3,700-3,800         3,750-3,850
     Gram Kabuli                12,500-13,100        12,500-13,100
     Tuar Fataka Best-New             6,600-6,800        6,600-6,800
     Tuar Fataka Medium-New        6,200-6,400        6,200-6,400
     Tuar Dal Best Phod-New        5,900-6,100        5,900-6,100
     Tuar Dal Medium phod-New        5,500-5,800        5,500-5,800
     Tuar Gavarani New             4,250-4,350        4,250-4,350
     Tuar Karnataka             4,550-4,750        4,550-4,750
     Masoor dal best            4,800-5,200        4,800-5,200
     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            5,600-6,600        5,600-6,600
     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) 8,000-8,500       8,000-8,500
     Udid Mogar Medium (100 INR/KG)    5,900-6,800        5,900-6,800   
     Udid Dal Black (100 INR/KG)        6,100-6,300        6,100-6,300    
     Batri dal (100 INR/KG)        5,100-5,500        5,000-5,500
     Lakhodi dal (100 INR/kg)          2,600-2,700         2,600-2,700
     Watana Dal (100 INR/KG)            3,450-3,600        3,450-3,600
     Watana Green Best (100 INR/KG)    4,200-4,300        4,200-4,300  
     Wheat 308 (100 INR/KG)        2,000-2,100        2,000-2,100
     Wheat Mill quality (100 INR/KG)    1,900-2,000        1,900-2,000  
     Wheat Filter (100 INR/KG)         2,150-2,350           2,150-2,350        
     Wheat Lokwan best (100 INR/KG)    2,350-2,450        2,350-2,450   
     Wheat Lokwan medium (100 INR/KG)   2,100-2,200        2,100-2,200
     Lokwan Hath Binar (100 INR/KG)    n.a.            n.a.
     MP Sharbati Best (100 INR/KG)    3,200-4,000        3,200-4,000   
     MP Sharbati Medium (100 INR/KG)    2,400-2,800        2,400-2,800          
     Rice BPT best (100 INR/KG)        3,500-4,000        3,500-4,000   
     Rice BPT medium (100 INR/KG)        3,000-3,400        3,000-3,400
     Rice BPT new (100 INR/KG)        3,500-4,000        3,500-4,000  
     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)        4,200-4,800        4,200-4,800    
     Rice HMT medium (100 INR/KG)        3,600-4,200        3,600-4,200
     Rice HMT new (100 INR/KG)        4,200-4,600        4,200-4,600   
     Rice Shriram best(100 INR/KG)      5,000-5,600        5,000-5,600
     Rice Shriram med (100 INR/KG)    4,700-4,900        4,700-4,900
     Rice Shriram new (100 INR/KG)    5,100-5,600        5,100-5,600  
     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)    6,100-6,500        6,100-6,500   
     Rice Chinnor medium (100 INR/KG)    5,500-5,900        5,500-5,900
     Rice Chinnor new (100 INR/KG)    6,000-6,200        6,000-6,200  
     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. 36.2 degree Celsius, minimum temp. 20.0 degree Celsius
Rainfall : Nil
FORECAST: Partly cloudy sky with possibility of thundery development. Maximum and minimum
temperature would be around and 36 and 20 degree Celsius respectively.

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

Iran's Growing Water Shortage Protests Spur Accusations of Mismanagement

March 14, 2018 8:31 PM
·       Michael Lipin
·       Mohammad Naficy

Description: FILE - A drought-plagued Iranian farmer carries a shovel to his tomato field in Fars province.
FILE - A drought-plagued Iranian farmer carries a shovel to his tomato field in Fars province.
Escalating street protests by Iranians against water shortages in a rural part of central Iran have inspired more domestic criticism of the government's handling of the nation's water resources.
Overseas-based human rights groups say the protests by farmers in Varzaneh in Isfahan province began last month and escalated into violent confrontations with security forces last week.
Description: FILE - An Iranian man looks toward an abandoned boat in Sikh Sar village at the Hamoon wetland near the Zabol town in Sistan-Baluchistan province, Feb. 2, 2015.
FILE - An Iranian man looks toward an abandoned boat in Sikh Sar village at the Hamoon wetland near the Zabol town in Sistan-Baluchistan province, Feb. 2, 2015.
Iranian activists have posted several video clips on social media showing what they said were Varzaneh farmers protesting the transfer of local river water to steel factories in neighboring Yazd province.
One of the clips, which the activists said were recorded last Friday, shows a barren area with a large group of people confronting police on foot or on motorcycles. Some of the protesters threw stones at the police, who the video narrator said responded with tear gas and bullets.
Iranian state-affiliated news agency Mehr said a member of parliament for Isfahan province blamed the violence on the government. In a report published Sunday, Mehr quoted Hassan Kamran-Dastjerdi as telling an open session of parliament that Iran's energy ministry has "plundered" water from Varzaneh's farmers by redirecting it to steel factories and refineries in neighboring areas. He said the farmers had been working on the land along the Zayandeh River for centuries.
'Losing their livelihood'
In Tuesday's edition of VOA Persian's Straight Talk call-in show, one caller, who said he was in Isfahan province and identified himself as Mohsen, said the Zayandeh River has been drying up, making it harder for farmers to plant rice and driving up rice prices.
"Isfahanis are not pleased that water from Isfahan is being diverted to Yazd, even though the people there are fellow citizens," Mohsen said. "The farmers are losing their livelihood because the river water is not available to them. That is why they are demonstrating."
Mohsen and the other Iran-based callers to Straight Talk criticized what they saw as the Iranian government's mismanagement of water resources, which have been depleted across the country in recent years.
A man who said he was calling from the southwestern province of Khuzestan, said the area had been suffering from water shortages, despite the existence of government-built dams. He also said the government lacked technology to turn wastewater into drinking water and had not done enough to educate people to avoid using drinking water for washing.
Iranian officials have acknowledged that outdated agricultural and irrigation systems and poor water management policies in the past three decades have contributed to the shortages. Below-average levels of precipitation in recent months have exacerbated the situation.
Description: FILE - This picture taken Aug. 26, 2016, shows an Iranian spending time in Urmia Lake near Urmia, in northwestern Iran.
FILE - This picture taken Aug. 26, 2016, shows an Iranian spending time in Urmia Lake near Urmia, in northwestern Iran.
The lack of rain has led to further shrinkage of Iran's Lake Urmia, the largest saltwater lake in the Middle East. In a report published last month, Iran's Financial Tribune said the latest data from the West Azerbaijan Regional Water Authority showed Lake Urmia had shrunk by 248 square kilometers (96 square miles) over the past year. The report also said precipitation in the lake's catchment area had fallen 7 percent from September to February, compared with the same period the year before.
Behrooz Samadbeygi and Afshar Sigarchi of VOA's Persian servicecontributed to this report.

Nigeria: How Asian Rice Importers Sabotage Nigeria's Policy

By Mustapha Ogunsakin
Nigeria's Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, must by now have understood what it means to fight the rice mafia in Nigeria.
For about a week now, he has been in the eye of the storm over comments reportedly credited to him, relating to the fact that seven rice mills had closed shop in Thailand on account of the drop in the importation of rice by Nigeria.
Apart from the response of Thailand Ambassador to Nigeria, Wattana Kunwongse, denying remarks that rice mills are collapsing in the Asian country; many people had gone to town, particularly on the social media to castigate the minister for telling lies.
This was done rather than viewing the statement credited to the minister in the context that Nigeria is involved in a trade war that dates back many decades.
Kunwongse, in a statement, said: "The report is not only misleading but a distortion of the actual conversation between myself and the honourable minister of agriculture at the federal ministry of agriculture and rural development."
He narrated how he "praised President Buhari's Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), the essence of which is the endeavour to move the country to a self-sufficiency and export-oriented economy, and to that worthy cause, Thailand stands ready to work closely with the Nigerian government in the field of technological transfer and agricultural machineries."
It seems relevant and necessary to ask how the exporting country hopes to benefit from assisting an importing country in technological transfer and agricultural machineries that will end up stopping the latter from continuing to depend on the former. Some issues raise questions of correlation and causation.
What the ambassador did not explain is how his country imported 1,647,387 metric tonnes of rice to Republic of Benin in 2017 alone.
Mr Kunwogse also did not mention that Thailand's import of rice to Benin has been steadily on the increase, 805,765MT in 2015, and 1,427,098MT in 2016, while official import from Thailand into Nigeria was steadily declining.
Nigeria has an estimated 180 million people while the population of Republic of Benin is about 11 million people. In 2014, 1,239,810MT was imported into Nigeria.
It declined to 644,131MT in 2015, and to 58,260MT in 2016, reaching an all-time low of 23,197MT in 2017, and if this trajectory remains on a downward path, Nigeria may not be importing rice by 2020.
The flow of rice imported from major Asian origins to Benin for onward shipment to Nigeria is a factor that should not be ignored in the regional rice trade in West Africa.
ECOWAS data indicate that over half of the rice Benin imports is sold into the Nigerian market. Port of Cotonou statistics show about 2.4 million metric tons (MMT) of cereals arriving at the port in 2014, over half of which is rice.
USDA data show about 700,000 MT of net rice and wheat imports, coming under lower duties, another reason for the large volumes of cereals transited through Benin, and made easier than in Nigerian corridors out of Lagos. Rice is by far the most important commodity for the Benin Food Importers Association.
This should be a cause for concern as Nigeria consumes parboiled rice exclusively, but Benin prefers white rice. Rice consumption in Nigeria is almost entirely of parboiled rice.
In West Africa only Nigeria consumes parboiled rice. Other West African countries including all the neighboring countries to Nigeria (Niger, Benin, Cameroon, Chad) are not consumers of parboiled rice. In Africa only South Africa is the other major country that consumes parboiled rice.
The shipments of parboiled rice from India and Thailand into Lome, Cotonou and Douala ports is a very fair estimate of smuggled rice into Nigeria as none of these countries have internal consumption of parboiled rice. All the imports of parboiled rice into these countries finally find their way into Nigeria.
Consumption of parboiled rice by Nigeria's neighbours like Togo, Sierra-Leone, and Niger Republic is not significant as parboiled rice is not part of their staple food. So where is this humongous rice import meant for?
Smuggling of parboiled rice from across the borders (mainly Benin Republic) is creating a major disaster for the rice industry in Nigeria and is upsetting the country's economy.
Will it then be correct that the exporting country is involved in the smuggling by proxy? These neighboring countries don't consume parboiled rice! Details on this argument can be found on: news/Agriculture/Smuggling-of- Parboiled-Rice-from-Across- the-Borders/37718 .
In a few weeks, Nigerians will celebrate Easter, a very important festival for Christians in Nigeria, which celebrates the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is the other season apart from Christmas that the demand for parboiled rice will reach its peak.
Why is it now that the attack on the minister over importation of rice loudest? Much of the rice imports to Republic of Benin are expected to find their way into Nigeria at all cost, particularly through smuggling.
Investigations reveal that the rice gang has become so ruthless and sophisticated that they will stop at nothing to ensure that these imported goods get into the country.
The smugglers, who move in convoys of not less than 50 vehicles, are always battle ready and well equipped to kill anyone, including custom any official, who dares to stop them. A case in point is January 17 this 2018, when smugglers engaged custom officers in a gun battle at Abule-Egba, Lagos State, where the smugglers incited the people into a riot, claiming one of them was killed.
The attack on Chief Ogbeh therefore seems part of a ruthless campaign that has been going for years to ensure that Nigeria never reached a self -sufficiency in rice production planned by successive governments for the Nigerian people. His predecessor in office, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, now President, African Development Bank (AfDB) was also fought to a standstill.
In July 2015, the government of Thailand announced that it has struck preliminary deals to export a total of 760,000 tonnes from its huge stockpiles to several countries in Africa. This announcement was made by the Thai Rice Exporters Association, which said the said rice would be supplied to Nigeria, Mozambique, and South Africa.
This was despite the restriction placed on importers of rice, and other items from the official foreign exchange market by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Mr. Godwin Emefiele, the CBN Governor, had at that time bemoaned the high bill on rice importation which had resulted in huge unsold stock of rice cultivated by indigenous farmers as well as low operating capacities of the many integrated rice mills in the country.
But Reuters quoted Chukiat Opaswong, honorary president of the Thai association, in a phone interview from Johannesburg, saying most of the rice going to Africa is parboiled and shipments will start in September. The rice would be sold at around $430 a tonne netting the government more than $325 million, that is roughly N117 billion. Nigeria is one of the major importers of the commodity from Thailand, importing about one million tonnes of rice valued at about $700 million every year.
A research by Bloomberg then revealed that Thailand Government held around 17.8 million tonnes in stockpiles and was keen on selling 10 million tons of stockpiled rice in 2015 and around seven million in 2016 through tenders. ("Thailand's rice export to the world in 20 January-December 2017 reached 11.48 million tons equalising $5.1 billion (USD), a 15.54 per cent increase compared to previous years, which is one of the highest figures on the history Thailand's rice exportation).
The stockpiling means the rice exported is not necessarily fresh as it is kept for years in store and only drawn upon during the time of export.
In 2015, Dr Adesina fought the "Rice Cabal," a group of exporters of parboiled rice from Thailand and India, to a standstill. In 2014, he warned that "Nigerian government will not allow any company to undermine its policy of food self - sufficiency", and then added "Nigeria is not for sale".
For over a decade, a cabal of foreign rice importers has held Nigeria by the jugular, determining the quantity of rice to be imported into the country from Asian countries such as Thailand, and India. So much was their influence that they have no regard for government's quota of rice importation.
These companies are so powerful to the extent of owing government N35.6 billion on duties from imported rice in 2014 alone, according to the former Minister. It is not clear whether these companies paid the tariff after the Buhari administration took over government.
In recent times, Nigerians have begun to patronise their own local rice, which they have turned into delicacies, attracting higher prices than imported rice. Virtually all eateries across the country now serve local rice, one popularly called "ofada". Across the cities, women with coolers take the rice to offices and sell to ready customers who pay higher price.
Nigerians are also beginning to appreciate the nutritional value and taste of their own local rice as against parboiled rice that has been laced with preservatives and warehoused for years before getting to their destinations.
Nigerians living in the city of Lagos woke up in December 2017 to the cheery news of sale of local polished rice by Lagos State government. The product, christened LAKE RICE, was a product of partnership between Lagos and Kebbi states to ensure food security and showcase the ability of Nigeria to become a food-producing nation.
Over a million bags was sold. It went a long way to reduce the price of rice during the festive period. Since then many state governments have formed joint partnership in the production of rice and other staple foods.
Foreign rice importer companies are therefore experiencing serious competition from patriotic Nigerian rice growers, farmers, and even state governments who have embraced government's rice policy and have become major investors in the local rice sector.
Nigerians are taking the gauntlet and freeing themselves from shackles of dependency. Nigerians are feeding Nigerians.
The fear or competition by these Asian companies and their unwillingness to pay billions of naira to the treasury is what is driving a devious campaign against the rice quota allocations. For once, Nigeria is winning the rice rice war, and after Chief Ogbeh spoke to put this in context, hell was let loose.
Government's rice policy is geared towards encouraging investment in local rice production and milling as government has announced the plan to distribute more small mills across the rice production zones.
As Easter festivities approach, the Nigerian authorities will have their hands full in controlling imported rice from finding their way into Nigeria through smuggling.
Nigerian rice producers and the entire value chain will also need to make sure local polished rice reaches the nooks and cranny of the country.
States like Lagos are also expected to control the huge Lagos market by selling at subsidised rate the way they did last December.
Then the words of Audu Ogbeh will be understood that the Asian Tigers are at war with Nigeria and West Africa on rice war, a war Nigeria and the West African sub region must win very quickly and permanently.

NFA rice probe pressed

·       March 15, 2018
·       Written by Camille P. Balagtas
SENATOR Juan Edgardo Sonny Angara has filed a resolution asking the Senate to investigate the alleged irregularities in the distribution of government-subsidized rice by the National Food Authority (NFA).
Angara said the probe will be done in aid of legislation with the end in view of ensuring the stability of supply and price of the staple food.
NFA is the primary agency tasked to ensure food security in the country and the stability of supply and price of rice. It is also tasked to maintain buffer stock of rice to provide immediate supply during emergencies.
Angara’s call for a Senate inquiry comes after the NFA requested to be allowed to use its standby authority to import 250,000 metric tons (MT) of rice to replenish its buffer stocks, which had recently gone down to two days’ worth.
The Department of Agriculture however had recently reported that the Philippines is now 96 percent rice sufficient, with the country producing over 19 million MT of rice in 2017.
Angara also expressed alarm over news reports quoting Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol that the NFA’s rice supply chain could be abused by traders, some of whom mix government-subsidized rice with those intended for commercial sale, thus causing the shortage and alleged manipulation in the market.
“Secretary Piñol said there are many instances where the NFA rice is being sold to favored wholesalers, who repack and resell the NFA rice as commercial rice instead of selling them at lower prices in the market,” Angara pointed out.
Citing a policy brief from the Senate Economic Planning Office, Angara said the government policy of stabilizing price of rice—both for producers and consumers—has been proven not only to be very costly as it requires P454 billion in subsidy for the past 10 years, but also difficult to implement efficiently and effectively.
The same policy brief noted that “the NFA’s program to distribute cheap rice to poor consumers has been hampered by poor targeting, substantial leakages and corruption.”

China's decade-long farm experiment cuts pollution, boosts yield

Description: (Photo/CGTN)2018-03-15 16:55CGTNEditor: Mo Hong'eECNS App Download

A decade-long project engaging millions of farmers and agricultural researchers in China has helped reduce fertilizer use saving billions of dollars, increased crop yield, and reduced nitrogen pollution.
From 2005 to 2015, around 1,152 researchers reached out to more than 20.9 million small hold farmers in 452 counties to introduce best agricultural practices using locally available resources.
The research project led by Cui Zhenling from the China Agricultural University in Beijing along with 45 academicians resulted in reducing nitrogen fertilizer consumption by 14.7 to 18.1 percent.
Researchers applied an integrated soil crop management system (ISSM) saving 1.2 million tons of nitrogen fertilizers.
Despite a massive reduction in fertilizer use, "Average yields of maize, rice, and wheat increased by 10.8 to 11.5 percent, generating a net grain output of 33 million tons.
The increased grain output and decreased nitrogen fertilizer use were equivalent to 12.2 billion U.S. dollars," researchers maintained in the study titled "Pursuing sustainable productivity with millions of smallholder farmers."
During 13,123 field trials at maize, rice and wheat fields across the country, researchers tested how yields varied with different crop varieties, planting seasons, fertilizers and water usage. They also studied sunlight and its effect on the crop yield.
According to United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the global consumption of the three main used fertilizers is forecast to grow annually with an average of between 1.5 and 2.4 percent respectively from 2015 to 2020 .
Excessive use of nitrogen fertilizer has led to massive soil acidification, a spike in water pollution and excessive greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions contributing to global climate change. As a result, water bodies including rivers and soil have seen the worst levels of pollution in the last few decades.
Researchers pointed out in China a farmer uses nearly 305 kg of nitrogen-based fertilizer while the global average is only 74 kg. "For a sustainable food-secure future, China needs a "great balancing act" to attain high yield and high efficiency with a substantially reduced environmental footprint," the study maintained.
China's effort to control nitrogen comes close on the heels of FAO's study warning Asian countries contribute nearly half of the global nitrogen pollution.
"Among the Asian countries, the bulk of the increase of world demand for nitrogen is expected to come from China (18 percent) and India (17 percent), followed by Indonesia (6 percent)," study claimed.
Efforts of researchers to train farmers reduce farming has also got crucial policy support. Chinese Premier, Li Keqiang in the work report to the first session of the 13th National People's Congress (NPC) announced to cut ammonia nitrogen emission by two percent. [Special coverage]
"This chemical oxygen demand and ammonia nitrogen emissions will be cut by two percent," he said.

Rhizobacteria can help boost rice yield
Graduate CLSU student makes major discovery
A research conducted by a graduate student from the Central Luzon State University (CLSU) in Munoz, Nueva Ecija, has shown the potential of rhizobacteria to enhance the growth and yield of rice.The study entitled “Enhancement of Growth and Yield of Aerobic Rice [Oryza sativa L.] by Plant Growth-Promoting Rhizobacteria” revealed rhizobacteria can be an effective growth promoter of rice in vitro, or taking place outside a living organism such as test tube.
According to Eduardo Jimmy Quilang, head of the Agronomy, Soils, and Plant Physiology Division of the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), the research was carried out by Harry Jay Cavite, a graduating student from the CLSU.Cavite conducted the research in three studies.
The first study revolved on isolation, selection, and identification of rhizobacterial isolate (a culture of microorganisms that was set apart for a study) the from the upland rice ecosystem. Twenty-five rhizobacterial isolates were initially obtained from upland rice rhizosphere (the portion of soil surrounding a plant root). From the isolates, four were selected to proceed for examination in the next studies. The isolates were selected based on their plant growth-promoting activities.
The following study evaluated the selected isolates in enhancing rice seedling growth in vitro using PSB Rc23 seedlings. Significant results showed two isolates had better effect on shoot (isolate Ralstonia pickettii) and root length (isolate IBBw1a) by 23 percent and 60 percent, respectively, compared with the control treatment.
Moreover, isolate IBBw1a performed 53 percent better than control in terms of seedling vigor.
From in vitro, the third study examined the isolates under screenhouse conditions. Isolates were studied for two factors: different soil treatments and inoculation-fertilization treatments.
Results show that one isolate (A. delafieldii) in combination with half fertilization rate, while inferior to treatment with 100-percent recommended rate of inorganic fertilizer, has comparable growth promotion in terms of root fresh weight, shoot, and root oven dry weights, plant height, productive tiller count, grain yield, and NPK (nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium) uptake.
Cavite concluded isolates were proven to be effective growth promoters in vitro but not totally effective under screenhouse conditions.
He recommended further assessment of rhizobacteria under field conditions. He added there is a need to look into the use of molecular techniques to identify and further assess the characteristics of selected rhizobacterial isolates.
Following his presentation, Cavite conversed with PhilRice researchers in an open forum where alternative recommendations for further studies were discussed.
Cavite is finishing his master’s degree on crop science. He is a Department of Science and Technology scholar and has received awards from the study. One of his awards was from the International Conference on Integration of Science and Technology for Sustainable Development.
Plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) are a group of free-living bacteria that colonize the rhizosphere and benefit the root growth.
PGPR exert a direct effect on plant growth by production of phytohormones, solubilization of inorganic phosphates, increased iron nutrition through iron-chelating siderophores and volatile compounds that affect the plant’s signaling pathways.
Science and technology reach Bolivian producers and increase crop yields up to 100 per cent
REPORT from World Bank
15 Mar 2018 
Yapacaní, in Santa Cruz-Bolivia, is home to hundreds of farming families. The extensive fields of rice, corn, yucca, potatoes and bananas show that in this community the agricultural activity is intense.
The farmers are familiar with the work of the National Institute for Agricultural and Forestry Innovation (INIAF), that was supported by the World Bank for five years, through the Innovation and Agricultural Services Project - PISA, completed in February 2017.
The project played a central role to improve the production yield and to deal with pests, diseases and climate impacts that affect crops and, subsequently, the farmers' income.
"We participated in events in which the technicians taught us new methods to prepare the land and store water. In addition, the use of seeds certified by INIAF has really helped us to improve our production", says Segundo Maldonado, a rice farmer.
In fact, the seed strengthening certification system was one of the most successful components of the project. The use of certified seeds increased the yield and productivity of crops nationwide by 25 percent and, along with other scientific innovations, contributed to fighting pests since they were developed with tolerance to pathogens that diminish the productivity in the sector.
The volume of certification increased from 78,691 tons in 2011 to 119,124 tons in 2015. Since 2012, the certification has been extended from 210 to 284 varieties including fruits and medicinal plants and, during the five years of project activity, certified seedlings have gone from one million to 10 million. Today it is estimated that more than 50 percent of the agricultural area in Bolivia uses certified seed.
The INIAF certification services reached about 4,500 producers and 300 seed associations annually, which represents benefits for more than 14,000 families in the rural area.
Yapacaní is just one example of the scope of PISA. At a national level, the wheat and rice research programs that INIAF developed, in partnership with international centers, managed to introduce 10,000 genotypes that have been adapted by local researchers to different production contexts. Producers increased crop yields by 100 percent. This is an impressive result.
It is expected that in the following years these new varieties will replace a significant percentage of the area under cultivation in the country, generating a significant increase in value. The challenge now is to disseminate these technologies quickly.
INIAF also assumed a leading role in the project to train and technically assist farmers. Since its inception, the entity advised 193 municipalities and 1,505 communities in the nine departments of the country, reaching about 36,336 beneficiaries, of which 34 percent were women.
Francisco Obreque, agriculture specialist at the World Bank in Bolivia and manager of the project considers this work “strengthened the capacity of producers to adapt to climate change and increased productivity in strategic areas, through partnerships with multiple actors".
Objectives achieved
“One year after the end of the PISA, INIAF has the capacity to articulate the National System of Agricultural and Forestry Innovation (SNIAF) and develop research that allows the generation of agricultural and forestry technology to improve the productivity of the sector”, said Carlos Osinaga, general executive director of INIAF.
There are other goals achieved in these five years:
·       The Innovare event has been institutionalized and, in its fifth edition in 2017, has consolidated the process of promoting innovations in the agricultural, livestock, forestry and aquaculture fields.
·       31 strategic varieties were released, such as corn, wheat, rice, potatoes, vegetables and quinoa, with characteristics of high productivity and quality, tolerant to diseases and extreme temperatures caused by climate change.
·       The national system of conservation of genetic resources and the actions of collection, characterization and use are articulated, keeping to date 19,073 records of genetic material.
Key learnings of the project
The first lesson is that the needs for innovation should be identified in a participatory process (from the bottom up). By the other side, building alliances with producer organizations, research institutes, universities, NGOs and private companies leads public agencies to improve their capacity to promote the adoption of innovations. Finally, the collaboration between co-financiers - in this case, the World Bank, DANIDA and COSUDE - add value to the projects in terms of greater availability of resources and complementation of technical support.
The PISA project contributed to the growth of productivity, sustainable rural development, and the improvement of the income of thousands of families that depend on agriculture and forestry activities. Segundo Maldonado in Yapacaní is one of the 30,000 producers that benefited from its implementation.

Koraput CSO held by vigilance accepting bribe of Rs 50,000

Jeypore | Wednesday, Mar 14 2018 IST

Koraput distrtict civil supply officer Balava chandra Dash was caught by vigilance sleuths while taking bribe of Rs. 50 ,000 from a miller at his Jeypore office on Tuesday night. Vigilance sources here on Wednesday said one P.S .Babu, the rice miller of Sri Dhanlaxami Modern Rice Mill of Randapali has approached the District civil supply office to get his Rs 22 lakh dues of custom milling rice of last year.
The CSO however, asked the amount to clear his file. The miller lodged complained before Jeypore vigilance SP three days back and accordingly the vigilance team trapped the officer when he was accepting the bribe money from the miller at his official chamber in the night . The Vigilance team also raided the office and house of the Civil Supply Officer in Jeypore and khariar. Later, the supply officer was forwarded to the court.
Sources said that since past two years millers, farmers and consumers of Koraput district have been demanding large scale irregularities in the district civil supply office and even complained of misappropriation of huge amount of mandi paddy handling charges by the officer . The CSO who was caught by the Vigilance had two vigilance case pending against him in 2001 and 2014 .

Description: Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday, March 13, 2018, announced that his administration has ensured the construction of four rice mills annually as against the two per year done by the government he succeeded.
He spoke at the Aso Rock Villa when he hosted key stakeholders in the rice production value chain, whom he commended for investing over N300 billion in rice mills located even in remote parts of the country.The stakeholders presented to him an outlay of their investments and challenges they encounter. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was also signed among the farmers, millers and dealers.
Buhari said that a significant percentage of the investment was done under the cloud of recession, explaining that eight rice mills were built between 2015 and 2018 as against the 13 built between 2009 and 2015. Goodluck Jonathan was president from 2010 to 2015.
His words: “When we came in 2015, there were thirteen rice mills in Nigeria. Twelve of these were built between 2009 and 2015. This was an average of two mills per annum.
“But my team and I felt more could be done. And we put in place measures and policies to unlock the potential of this sector and thus, increase the rate of investments.
“You will all recall that in November 2015, I was in Birnin Kebbi to launch the CBN’s Anchor Borrowers program and also kick off the dry season rice farming. Since then, the Vice President and I have commissioned a record number of agricultural projects and programs. From rice, to wheat, to cashew, to animal feed, to fertiliser, to drinks processing and many more.
“And very soon, I will also be commissioning a sugar estate. These projects are all over the country and worth billions of Naira. Clearly, our policies are working.
“From your presentation today, you have shown that between 2016 and 2018, eight new rice mills have come on stream. This is equivalent to four new mills per annum. Our paddy production and productivity has also doubled compared to 2014 levels.
“This achievement just confirms what we all know. That when Nigerians are committed to execute a task, it gets done.”
 The president said the commitment of the stakeholders has guaranteed that the 11 million Nigerian farmers will remain employed; and assured them that “we will also do our bit to ensure you are able to sell quality Nigerian rice at an affordable price”.
He equally commended the  Governor of Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu, for his unwavering commitment to the rice value chain and indeed agriculturists, declaring him a true ambassador for rural economic development.
 In a chat with State House correspondents afterwards, Bagudu said menace of rice smuggling was being taken seriously by the government, as Buhari has been angry over the development; with other countries virtually waging an economic war in Nigeria.
“But it is a collective responsibility and so we want all Nigerians to participate the menace in importing the commodities especially in rice.
“The narrative out there is wrong. Other countries are undertaking economic warfare on us. There is no nation in the world that can produce and sell to Nigeria freshly grown rice equivalent to what is produced in Nigeria at the prices that Nigeria farmers are selling.
“So, most of the prices of smuggled rice are discounted prices that reflect the age of that rice and in some cases, as identified by NAFDAC, not fit for human consumption”, the governor stated.

Buhari Optimistic Of Nigeria’s Self Sufficiency In Food

by AIT / - / Nation 
President Muhammadu Buhari is optimistic that Nigeria will soon attain self-sufficiency in food production going by the huge investments so far made in the agriculture sector under his administration.
The President, who shared this optimism on Tuesday at a meeting with stakeholders in the rice value chain at the Aso Rock Villa in Abuja, said measures put in place by government since 2015 have led to an unprecedented increase in rice production in the country.
President Buhari noted that Nigeria is blessed with a fertile land and other natural resources for agriculture development, saying it is an embarrassment that the country still imports most of the food items it consumes.
The President commended the rice millers for their courage in investing over 300 billion Naira even when the country was in recession, describing the gesture as a demonstration of confidence in government's agriculture policies and programmes.
President Buhari said he will soon inaugurate a National Food Security Council which he would personally chair.
The council, according to the President, will include governors, ministers, security agencies and key stakeholders across the entire agricultural segments of farming, fisheries and livestock management. 

Bank guarantee limit reduced for millers in Telangana budget

By AuthorTelanganaToday  |   Published: 16th Mar 2018  12:59 am
Hyderabad: The State government has reduced the limit for bank guarantees to be submitted for traders and commission agents for making purchases through marketing committees.
The relaxation was ordered by the Irrigation and Marketing Minister T Harish Rao after holding talks with representatives of ginning and rice mill owners here on Thursday.
The mill owners had earlier challenged the rule for providing bank guarantees in the court represented to the Minister who took a favourable decision. Now the millers are to provide a bank guarantee of Rs 50,000 for those carrying out a transaction of over Rs 1 crore, Rs 1 lakh for those having turnover of Rs 1 crore and Rs 2 lakh for those with a turnover of over Rs 5 crore.
However, the Minister put a condition that the current orders would come into effect only after the traders withdrew their case in the court.
The Minister told the millers that the government took several measures to ensure transparency in operations at market yards.
With the farmer-friendly policies yielding positive results, the agricultural output had also peaked and most of the rice mills that were closed earlier were now functioning. Further, more than 700 rice mills that were closed down are reopening.

YSR Congress MLA charges Andhra Pradesh Agriculture Minister Somireddy Chandramohan Reddy with corruption

By Express News Service  |   Published: 16th March 2018 05:49 AM  |  
Last Updated: 16th March 2018 05:49 AM  |   
Representational Image. | Express
NELLORE: YSR Congress Party district convener and Sarvepalli MLA Kakani Govardhan Reddy alleged that Agriculture Minister Somireddy Chandramohan Reddy had received Rs 50 crore as bribe from the rice millers of Nellore. “Hence, the minister has been trying to procure paddy from the farmers at a low price,” he said. Kakani, along with leaders of farmers’ associations, handed over a representation to Joint Collector A Md Imtiaz Ahmed at his camp office here on Thursday.
Speaking to the media, the Sarvepalli MLA accused Somireddy of trying to make paddy procurement centres in the district just namesake. “The minister has been supporting the millers to purchase paddy at low prices from the farmers,” he alleged. The MLA demanded the government to announce MSP of Rs16,000 per putty of paddy.“Even though the State government has announced Rs 3,500 for one putty of paddy, rice millers and middlemen who formed a syndicate, have been deceiving the farmers by offering less price. Millers are not coming forward to procure paddy at the centres. Meanwhile, the middlemen are exploiting the helpless farmers by purchasing paddy at Rs 11,500 per putty,” Kakani said.
The MLA said that the Telugu Desam government had failed to implement Swaminathan Commission recommendations as promised during its election campaign to better safeguard the interests of farmers. He explained that the cost of cultivation had increased in recent years. “If the government had implemented the Swaminathan Commission recommendations, they have to pay Rs 25,000 for one putty of paddy,” the MLA said.

Nigeria hopes high tariffs will make it grow more rice

Farmers and millers are happy. So are smugglers
Mar 15th 2018| ARGUNGU
STANDING ankle-deep in water between neatly spaced rice plants, an instructor shows a group of about 100 farmers in Kebbi, a state in north-west Nigeria, how to apply herbicide. The training session, arranged by TGI Group, a Nigerian conglomerate that runs a large rice mill nearby, has an enthusiastic audience. Hussein Ahmed, a farmer, says the yield from his small field has increased by about 50% since he started using chemicals and carefully spacing the seedlings. Another farmer boasts of marrying a second wife thanks to the extra money he is earning from growing rice.
Across the region the grain is cooked with tomatoes and mounds of chili to make jollof, a dish that is almost always eye-wateringly spicy, no matter how mild the cook insists it is. Jollof is not just the cause of many arguments in the region—Ghanians and Nigerians each insist theirs tastes better. Its main ingredients have also become symbols of how Nigeria is trying to diversify an economy that exports crude oil and imports almost everything else.
Muhammadu Buhari, who was inaugurated as president in May 2015 in the midst of an economic shock caused by low oil prices, turned to autarky. His central bank stopped providing foreign exchange to importers bringing in 41 categories of goods, including rice, toothpicks and incense. The government increased customs duties on rice from 10% to 60% in October 2016 to encourage farmers to plant more.
Such tariffs have certainly spurred investment in farms and in milling plants such as the one run by TGI in Kebbi. The mill can already produce 120,000 tonnes of rice a year, yet the company is planning to add another 100,000-tonne production line and open two more mills in other states in the next five years. Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man, says he will invest in six new factories that will produce 1m tonnes of rice a year.
To feed these mills, Nigeria will have to increase its rice yield, which is among the lowest in the world. Farmers in Thailand harvest three crops a year, compared with one or sometimes two in Nigeria. Outgrower schemes, in which firms such as TGI provide training, fertiliser and other chemicals on credit that is repaid after harvest, can help. But extending them to all 1.4m rice farmers in the country would be a huge task.
The central bank has done its bit by doling out some 55bn naira ($153m) in loans to 250,000 farmers (most of whom grow rice). Architecture graduates and civil servants have cashed in on the boom and taken up farming. Central-bank officials are happy to talk about how much money it has lent, but they do not mention how much money is being paid back. Nigeria’s anti-corruption body recently said that it had recovered 300m naira stolen from the farm-loan scheme in two states.
The bigger problem, however, is that local rice is still not competitive with Asian imports. Farouk Gumel of TGI says that in January he was selling 50kg bags at his factory gate for 14,000 naira each (traders then add on the cost of the long journey to cities in the south). Smuggled rice, on the other hand, was being sold in urban markets for 12,500 naira a bag. Thanks to increased production and perhaps smuggling, rice prices are lower now than they were a year ago, though they are still 68% higher than they were two years ago.
The government says its policies are working and that Nigeria will no longer need to import rice by the end of the year. But its numbers do not add up. It says that rice production has doubled since 2015 (and will increase by 50% again this year), but there are scant data to support such ambitious claims. Nigerians eat 5.3m-7m tonnes of rice a year. Imports account for 2m-3m tonnes, a figure that has barely budged in recent years (see chart). Nigeria’s information minister, Lai Mohammed, points to statistics from Thailand showing that its exports to Nigeria have slumped by 97% in two years. But Thailand’s exports to Benin, have doubled to 1.8m tons a year, the equivalent of 160kg per Beninese. The country’s tariff of 12%, and its poorly policed border with Nigeria are probably the main reason for its booming demand.
Nigeria’s import restrictions benefit farmers and millers and seem to be encouraging more planting. But until yields improve and the costs of producing Nigerian rice fall, the country’s consumers will have more reason to thank smugglers for keeping their plates filled with jollof.
Rice farmers capable of producing enough to end importation–RIFAN chairman

By Mohammed Lawal
Zaria (Kaduna State) –  Alhaji Junaidu Zubairu-Birnin-Daji, Chairman, Rice Farmers’ Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Kaduna State chapter, has expressed optimism that rice farmers in the country were capable of ending rice importation.Zubairu-Birnin-Daji made the remark in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Zaria, Kaduna State.
He said: ‘‘with the introduction of loan to rice farmers by the Federal Government, we are not just going to stop rice importation into Nigeria but we have already put an end to it.
‘‘I want to assure you that Kaduna State is one of the largest rice producing states in Nigeria, especially Zazzau Emirate.
‘‘Igabi Local Government stand tall in terms of massive rice production in the state followed by Kajuru and Chukun Local Government Areas, then others follow,’’ he said.
The chairman said over 13,000 rice farmers have benefited from the Anchor Borrower programme introduced by the Federal Government through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Bank of Agriculture (BOA).
He gave assurance that the beneficiaries of the loan in the state would do everything possible to ensure success of the programme through massive production of the commodity.
 ‘‘It is our ultimate desire to make rice importation a thing of the past. We cannot continue to boost other people’s economy while our own continue to be in shambles.
‘‘As farmers, we must rise up to the challenges to boost the economy as well as our revenue base,’’ he said.
The chairman explained that the programme was designed in such a way that traditional rulers were involved by endorsing the application form before one gets the loan.
Zubairu-Birnin-Daji added that a beneficiary must also produce a guarantor who would also provide vital information on himself and attach his passport photograph in case the beneficiary defaulted.
The chairman said that N270, 000 was earmarked for each hectare of farmland, stressing that ‘‘a farmer would not be given the money but he would be given inputs that would assist him to do the farming business successfully.
‘‘A farmer is expected to be given water pumps, sprayers, fertilisers and chemicals, the number of each depends on the size of his farmland.
‘‘After the entire exercise, a farmer would have his water pump machines and sprayers saved to be used in the subsequent farming for five years.
‘In addition to that, when paying back the loan, a farmer is not paying cash but with rice harvested from his farm, so, if a farmer works hard, he would have some excess bags of rice after payment,’’ he said.
Also contributing, the State Vice-Chairman and Zonal Chairman in-charge of Zaria zone, Alhaji Hassan Tahir-Tanimu, expressed satisfaction with the loan disbursement exercise.
Tahir-Tanimu, who is also a traditional title holder of ‘Danmadamin Samaru,’ said: ‘‘we started this distribution exercise since last week and the work is going on well.
‘‘The distribution covered five local government areas of Sabongari, Soba, Kudan, Makarfi and Ikara.
‘‘Government had made provision for losses through insurance because government wants to make Nigeria sufficient in rice production,’’ he said.
He said a pilot scheme was launched in Kebbi State, now there were many big rice milling companies including; WACOM, LAVANIA and many others in the state.
He said the companies needed more rice to mill, therefore, farmers must cultivate more hectares of land to meet the huge demands of the companies. (NAN)

Tanzania: TPSF Lists Successes of Trade Hub Project

By Alfred Zacharia
Dar es Salaam — The Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) has revealed details of the eight achievements it recorded during the implementation of the yearlong East Africa Trade Hub (EATH) project in compliance with the regional common market protocol of the East African Community (EAC).One of the achievements was to reopen rice markets for smallholder farmers in Rwanda and Uganda. This was possible after eliminating the 75 per cent common external tariff (CET).
Briefing journalists in Dar es Salaam yesterday, the TPSF director of policy, Mr Gilead Teri, said the measure was taken after allegations that rice imports from Tanzania were found to be mixed with rice that was imported from Asian countries.
"Rwanda has eliminated the $300 tax on rice imported from Tanzania," Mr Teri stated, adding that farmers currently export rice to Rwanda and other EAC member countries freely, thanks to an understanding reached through dialogues conducted during the EATH Project.
Another achievement that TPSF celebrates is the directive by President John Magufuli requiring Dar es Salaam Port to operate around the clock.
That presidential directive - which was given during a dialogue conducted with the Tanzania National Business Council (TNBC) recently - has resulted in fast-tracking the clearance of cargo consignments out of customs control and the port, Mr Teri said.
TPSF had been pushing for elimination of the 18 per cent value-added tax (VAT) on ancillary services in the clearance of goods, which was seen an unnecessarily heavy burden on the business community in general.
"Not only were the consequences of the tax on the business community adverse, but the port also saw a significant decrease in consignments passing through it, as business owners opted for alternative ports like Beira and Mombasa," Mr Teri revealed.
Other achievements are the abolition of various fees and levies related to agriculture; the reduction of tariffs from 5-to-2 per cent on food crops, and from 5-to-3 per cent on cash crops - as well as the exemption of VAT on locally-produced compounded animal feed.
Yet another achievement is the exemption of VAT on capital goods so as to reduce costs of imported machines and accessories used in strategic industries.
Also, the Trade Hub project helped TPSF to influence the Tanzanian government to exempt VAT on fertilised eggs for incubation in support of the domestic poultry sector. "It was not easy to achieve all these developments," the TPSF policy chief said. "We partnered with different entities - including local and international organisations - to succeed."
In implementing the Trade Hub Project, TPSF created a partnership with USAID in preparing trade dialogues, meetings, training and research programmes.
In 2017, TPSF successfully held two dialogues with its two counterparts in Kenya and Rwanda: one: on harmonising agendas towards full realisation of the EAC common market - thus further strengthening the private sector - and, two: the elimination of non-tariff barriers (NTBs) that continue to impede growth of trade in the region.
The Hub Project also prepared seven Advocacy Papers and three validation meetings involving 82 private sector leaders. It also successfully conducted four common market update meetings, reaching 138 people, and conducted two peer-to-peer processes involving 49 corporate leaders.

Nellore: Paddy growers worried as millers set conditions

PublishedMar 15, 2018, 8:01 am IST
UpdatedMar 15, 2018, 8:01 am IST
Procurement centres delay purchasing the produce.
Description: Nellore district collector R. Muthyala Raju at a paddy procurement centre near a rice mill in Kaligiri in SPSR Nellore district on Wednesday. (Photo: DC)
 Nellore district collector R. Muthyala Raju at a paddy procurement centre near a rice mill in Kaligiri in SPSR Nellore district on Wednesday. (Photo: DC)
Nellore: Paddy growers are at the mercy of rice millers in disposing the paddy being harvested in a big way in Nellore district. Though the government has set up paddy procurement centres, they can procure only if the miller is ready to accept the paddy. Because of the ongoing harvesting everywhere and the output, more than 30 metric tones of paddy has been arriving into the market on a daily basis but the mills are not in a position to handle the volume.
In this backdrop, farmers are seen drying the rice wherever they find place including road margins. Quite often, it has been taking a long time, sometimes days, for vehicles carrying paddy to the rice mills to be unload. Unlike in the past, the number of rice millers entitled to collect the paddy is fewer this year because of a condition of the government to submit bank guarantee to the extent of `1 crore or depending on their off-take.

A rice miller said they are forced to spend heavily towards bank charges for processing bank guarantees unlike in the past. He said he paid Rs 1,73,000 towards processing fee to obtain bank guarantee for Rs 49,50,000. In this backdrop, farmers have been requesting authorities to tag the purchase centres with the rice mills located close to them and also demanding the government to buy the paddy directly from farmers to prevent middlemen from exploiting them. Interestingly, rice millers have also appealed to the government to buy paddy directly and give it to the millers for custom milling instead of bringing pressure on them to buy now citing moisture and other problems.
A farmer, Chandrasekhar Reddy, has alleged that millers are reducing the price under the pretext of moisture, brokens and abdomen white on the grains though the paddy is within the parameters fixed by the Food Corporation of India. State Secretary of Farmers Association Federation Ch. Koti Reddy has underlined the need to upgrade the software at the paddy procurement centres to accept 100 bags of paddy instead of 80 bags per acre. He too appealed to the government to buy paddy from farmers instead of involving millers at this stage.

Bangladesh exceeds its Boro rice cultivation target

Farmers were given the target of planting over 4.99 lakh hectares of land but finally, they planted Boro rice seedling in 5.08 lakh hectares of land.

Devdiscourse News Desk 14 Mar 2018, 01:05 PM 
Around 2.25 lakh irrigation devices have been introduced for irrigation of Boro rice fields.
The farmers have overpassed the fixed cultivation target of Boro rice in the agriculture region of Rangpur, achieved by various pro-farmer and effective steps taken by the government.
There is an excellent growth in Boro rice plants and government is looking for the bumper production of the crop, says Deputy Director of the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE). As per Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha, heavy production of Boro rice will meet half of the demand in the northern region.
Farmers were given the target of planting over 4.99 lakh hectares of land but finally, they planted Boro rice seedling in 5.08 lakh hectares of land, 8,686 hectares more. This has been achieved in one season.
The scientists are providing practical knowledge and assistance along with the latest technology to meet the production target. The government has a fixed target to produce over 20.70 lakh tonnes of Boro rice from 4.99 lakh hectares of land, says Horticulture Specialist of DAE, Khondker Md Mesbahul Islam.
As per the programme, from 1.40 lakh hectares of land, around 6.69 lakh tonnes of hybrid Boro rice and 13.97 lakh tonnes of high yielding variety of Boro rice from the 3.56 lakh hectares of land is to be produced.
The farmers have reached 2,638 hectares of land for cultivation of local variety Boro rice and over 3.24 lakh hectares of land for high yielding variety of Boro rice.
Around 2.25 lakh irrigation devices have been introduced which includes 2.21 lakh shallow tube wells, 2,694 deep tube wells, and 440 low lift pumps for irrigation of Boro rice fields.

Pakistan national behind illegal rice smuggling, terror-related charges rearrested
Mar. 14, 2018, 6:00 pm
Description: Pakistan national Ramesh Kumar behind illegal rice smuggling and terror-related charge re-arrested. COURTESY Pakistan national Ramesh Kumar behind illegal rice smuggling and terror-related charge re-arrested. COURTESY
Detectives have re-arrested a Pakistan national behind rice smuggling and terror-related syndicate.Ramesh Kumar, who was among 11 Pakistan national arrested in Mombasa on January 11, had been released on bond Sh200,000 pending the determination of the case.Four of the eleven suspects were deported back to their country after pleading guilty, and Kumar was among the seven released on bond pending hearing and determination of their case.
Kumar was not allowed to leave the country, but on March 10 he boarded a Kenya Airways flight from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) to Entebe Airport in Uganda.
He was flown back to Kenya on Monday, March 12 and arrested at JKIA, before being brought back to Mombasa to answer the charges.
Mombasa CID boss Washington Njiru told the Star the suspect is being held at Central Police Station and is expected to be arraigned in court on tomorrow (Thursday) morning.
“The Pakistan national abused the bond which was awarded to him by flying out of the country. We have re-arrested him and shall appear before the country tomorrow morning,” Njiru said.
Detectives are also probing several companies allegedly linked to the suspect.
They include Ramesh Commodity Limited, Focus Trading Limited and Emke Global Kenya Limited which are allegedly used tax evasion.
Local companies are accusing the foreigners of using the local market as dumping grounds for cheap rice from Pakistan, denying the country revenue and fair-playing ground for other local companies.
Preliminary police finding indicates that the foreigners repackage the imported rice and sell it at subsidized prices thus affecting local dealers.
The repackaging is done within Shimanzi area, police claim.
The other suspects who were arrested in January alongside Kumar were identified as Sawai Singh (32), Sunil Kumar (24), Karen Kumar (25), Khaman Deep (25), Manosh Kumar (26), Haresh Kumar (27), Saleem Imtiaz (26), Nakash Narain (28) and Bhojo Tharo (37).

Mechanisation can double rice production in five years, says PwC

Chikodi Okereocha On: March 16, 2018 In: Uncategorized
ow mechanisation is one of the major production constraints in the rice value chain. The low rice mechanisation impacts negatively on the rice yields and production, as Nigeria’s rice yield is one of the lowest globally at two tonnes per hectare, relative to 4 – 7 tonne per hectare in Asia.
So, for the country to boost rice production, there is a need to increase rice mechanisation rate from the current 0.3 horsepower per hectare (hp/ha) to 0.8 hp/ha in the next five years. This will double the rice production capacity, which peaked at 3.7 million tonnes in 2017 to 7.2 million tonnes.
These were key highlights of the latest report published by  PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC Nigeria). The report titled: “Boosting Rice Production Through Increased Mechanisation,” said for Nigeria to double production, there is the need to, at least, triple its current stock of machinery over the same period.
The report, which was made available to The Nation, said in addition to raising production, adequately increasing mechanisation has the capacity to raise yields, increase labour productivity, reduce post-harvest losses and increase income generated by farmers while also deepening import substitution.
It noted that in recent years, government has changed its approach to mechanisation from providing machinery through subsidised sales to private-sector-led hiring services. This model, the report said, facilitates the establishment of hiring centres, enabling farmers’ access to machinery without an outright purchase. In addition, subsidies are provided to small-scale farmers who require agricultural machinery.
“The hiring services model, if successfully implemented, has the potential to change the agriculture mechanisation landscape in Nigeria as it did in India. The hiring services scheme in India increased mechanisation from 0.63hp/ha to 1.96 hp/ha, promoting self-sufficiency in rice production and placing the economy as the second largest rice producer in the world,” the report added.
It, however, said Nigeria’s mechanisation gap provides numerous opportunities for investment across the agricultural value chain. And to attract the required investment, the PwC report said there is need for government to create an enabling environment that ensures mechanisation is profitable.
“In terms of priorities, the government should concentrate on addressing challenges around land tenure and ownership, providing rural infrastructure and extension services, and ensuring incentives are transparent and accessible to all investors’’, the report, authored by seven experts at PwC Nigeria, advised.
These measures, the report said, were necessary to address Nigeria’s low mechanisation, relative to other countries. It said, for instance, that Nigeria’s mechanisation rate is low at 0.3 hp/hectare, relative to India’s 2.6 hp/hectare, Vietnam’s 2.2hp/hectare and China’s 8hp/hectare.
The Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) identified mechanisation as a key input for developing the agriculture sector in sub-Saharan Africa, recommending a minimum of 1.5 hp/hectare.
In Africa, 80 per cent of agricultural area is cultivated by human power, with only five per cent by tractors.   The remaining activities are facilitated by draft animals and manual processes, accounting for 15 per cent and 78 per cent, respectively.
The report said low income and lack of technical skills limited the adoption of mechanisation in Nigeria and in sub-Saharan Africa, noting that smallholder farmers, who account for 80 per cent of the agricultural production in Nigeria, have low income and limited access to credit facilities.
“Hence, high acquisition and maintenance cost of agricultural machinery has limited their capacity for investment in agricultural machinery. Also, low technical skills have constrained the adoption of mechanisation. Without training, smallholder farmers do not have the technical capabilities to operate machinery and equipment,” it said.
The report, however, said the impact of government’s intervention in agricultural mechanisation has been limited, noting that from the 1980s till date, the Federal Government has sought to enhance mechanisation through several agriculture policy interventions.
“These range from the establishment of National Centre for Agricultural Mechanisation (NCAM) in 1990, to the recent Mechanisation Implementation Programme (MIP).
“Similarly, many states have attempted to increase mechanisation through the provision of subsidies for tractor hire. However, the adoption of mechanisation is still low as a result of the bureaucratic processes and inadequate agricultural machinery.” PwC said.
The firm emphasised that mechanisation can double rice production in the next five years. Citing a study, which analysed the drivers of increased rice production in five sub-Saharan African countries, including Nigeria, PwC said farmers who ploughed with a tractor increased their production by 51 per cent relative to those who utilised manual methods.
In addition, mechanisation reduces production costs and post-harvest losses. The introduction of mechanisation in rice farming reduced production costs by 27 per cent and increased profits per hectare by 36 per cent in Nepal, for instance.
Also, the Africa Rice policy stated that the use of appropriate technologies could reduce a country’s rice imports by 151 7 per cent. “Based on our analysis, we estimate that an increase in mechanisation rate from 0.3hp/ha to 0.8hp/ha in the next five years, can double rice production to 7.2 million tonnes,” the report concluded.

Indonesia booked trade deficit in February: BPS

News Desk
The Jakarta Post
Jakarta | Thu, March 15, 2018 | 04:21 pm
Description: Indonesia booked trade deficit in February: BPSCentral Statistics Agency head Suhariyanto (JP/Anton Hermansyah)
The Central Statistics Agency (BPS) announced on Thursday that Indonesia booked a US$116 million trade deficit in February, bringing the deficit year-on-year (yoy) to $872 million.Indonesia had enjoyed trade surpluses in the last three years. 
Imports increased by 25.18 percent yoy to US$14.21 billion, while exports only increased by 11.76 percent yoy to $14.10 billion.BPS chief Suhariyanto said all types of imports increased in February, with imports of consumer goods climbing by 55.32 percent yoy, driven mostly by rice imports.
Imports of industrial materials and capital goods, which made up over 90 percent of total imports, increased by 20.75 percent and 32.23 percent, respectively.
Meanwhile, export growth was held back by a 13.11 percent decline in palm oil exports, which may have been effected by India’s recent import duty hike on crude palm oil (CPO) imports.
India is the largest importer of Indonesia’s CPO, but in February the exports of the commodity decreased by 24.44 percent yoy to $113 million.
Suhariyanto expressed the hope that Indonesia would have an overall trade surplus by the end of the year, particularly if it could diversify its exports – not relying on the export of raw materials.
“We have to diversify our exports with more added-value products as otherwise, we risk being outpaced by countries like Cambodia and Myanmar,” he said. (kmt/bbn

Asia Rice-Thai prices climb as China, Indonesia buy

Description: Rice prices in Thailand jumped this week, boosted by fresh purchases from China and Indonesia amid a buoyant baht, while demand for the staple weakened in top-exporter India.
In Thailand, the world’s second-biggest rice exporter, benchmark 5 percent broken rice rallied to $432-$435 per tonne, free on board (FOB) Bangkok, from $408-$410 last week.
“China and Indonesia bought our rice,” a trader in Bangkok said, adding that the Indonesia purchase was business-to-business while the Chinese purchase came through the government.
“China bought it at much higher prices, so millers thought if China could afford it at this level, prices could rise, and they did.”
The baht traded near its strongest level in over four years on Thursday. A stronger baht translates to higher export prices in US dollars.
Thailand plans to offer for sale 2 million tonnes of rice still remaining in state stockpiles next month or in May, the country’s commerce ministry said on Monday.
The country aims to export 9.5 million tonnes this year, compared with a record 11.63 million tonnes shipped in 2017.In India, 5 percent broken parboiled rice prices  were quoted at $422-$426 per tonne, unchanged from last week amid limited supplies.“African buyers are a bit active but Asian demand is weak. From next month supply from winter-sown crop is expected to go up,” said a Pune-based dealer with an exporting firm.
India’s non-basmati rice exports during April-January jumped 34 percent from a year earlier as Bangladesh, Benin and Sri Lanka raised purchases.However, imports by Bangladesh, which has emerged as a major rice buyer since 2017 after floods damaged its crops, will drop in the coming months as there is no fresh demand, Badrul Hasan, head of Bangladesh’s state grain buyer, said.
“Our rice stock is quite satisfactory and we have also started subsidised rice sales to cool prices in domestic markets.”Rice at government warehouses stood at nearly 1.1 million tonnes, boosted by record imports, Bangladesh’s food ministry data showed.
In Vietnam, 5 percent broken rice fell to $410-$415 a tonne from $418-425 a week earlier as the winter-spring harvest peaked.
“Farmers have harvested around 30 percent of the paddy and prices may fall further in the coming weeks on strong supplies,” a Ho Chi Minh City-based trader said.The country’s top rice exporter Vietnam Southern Food Corp., or Vinafood II, raised $51 million from selling a 23 percent stake at an initial public offering on Wednesday.The IPO has no immediate impact on the domestic rice market, traders said.

Canaan Banda’s rice business

March 16, 2018
GROWING up in a family of 11, Canaan Banda knew what it was like to fight for the chicken wing at meal times. He learnt about business as a boy when he would lend a hand to his mother, Catherine Banda, who traded for a living to supplement his father’s monthly salary.When he finished his high school education, he couldn’t pursue further studies because he was from a big family with siblings that had competing needs.
He had nine brothers and only one sister, so there was stiff competition for the family’s limited resources.
“It was a humble background and it’s from there that I could see my mum doing a lot through her little business,” Canaan shares.
She sold farm produce at Chifundo market in Kafue Estates; a consistent and serious market in the area.
Canaan’s childhood comprised spending time at the market, helping his mother to sell products like vegetables, tomatoes, sugar cane and chikanda or African polony.
She would order those products from a place called Great Chilumba in Kafue.
Canaan and his siblings took turns helping their mother sell at the market.
“Of course, we were a bit resistant when it came to selling at the market, but we were forced to do so because we had no way out,” he says.
The money from market sales got them through hard days.
Canaan’s father, Poston Banda, worked as the head of security at Indeco Estates Development Company and his salary was not adequate to cater for their huge family, so his mother had to make up for what his father’s salary could not cover.
Canaan and his siblings helped their mother on a rotational basis and their time was collectively spent at school, at home and at the market.
Despite helping their mother at the market, school was still a priority for Canaan and siblings. As a matter of fact, their mother wouldn’t let them miss any classes.
As a young boy, he learnt how to convince customers to buy their products and his business sense slowly began to grow.
When he finished high school, Canaan got a job as a site supervisor at a Catholic Church project in Kafue. That job lasted four years before the entrepreneurial bug began to tug at him really strongly.
“The rice idea came about in 2008. My friends noticed I had written out a small business plan and was researching different businesses,” he recalls.
One of his friends thought he would be interested in the rice business. Canaan thought long and hard about it but was sceptical about experimenting with the idea in Western Province, where the market was already congested.
Understanding Canaan’s concerns, his friend instead suggested the rice market in the Muchinga town of Chama.
Beginning in 2009, Canaan began gathering information on rice. He researched the rice trade in Chama and received information on it from personal sources based there.
In 2011, three years after he began his research on rice, he decided to take a trip to Chama for the first time.
He bought his rice, transported it to the milling point, and had it graded.
After processing the rice in Chama, he was able to transport and package it before selling it. He wanted to have a feel of the whole process for a better idea of what the business involved and told his wife honestly that he didn’t think he wanted to work for anyone.
She was hesitant at the beginning but Canaan convinced her otherwise. He had after all spent four years without a formal job and they had not died of hunger.
Being the handyman he is, projects kept him going and he saw no reason to let his business vision die.
The word “rice” became part of his everyday vocabulary. He talked about it like a man would about a woman he can’t keep his mind off.
“People were telling me to find something else to do other than the rice,” he says, emphasising just how much the rice idea had taken over his life.
In 2016, he entered the Nyamuka Zambia business plan competition for the first time using his rice processing idea but did not even make it into the semi-finals.
The competition is designed for start-up businesses with a total prize fund of K1,275,000.
Last year, he again applied with exactly the same business plan. The only difference this time was while he submitted the first application in handwritten format, his second application was submitted in soft copy.
“I simply changed the way of filling in the information,” he says. “That was the only thing that changed and I found myself in the semi-finals.”
There were 10 coveted spots, which each carried a range of cash prizes, and once Canaan made the top 10 shortlist, he was determined to make it as a finalist in the top three.
He had a lot of confidence in his business plan and was certain he could defend it successfully before a selected panel of judges.
The only thing that kept him on edge was not knowing the business ideas of his fellow contestants.
“People were not sharing what they were doing, so you couldn’t give a judgement about your opponent,” he explains.
Canaan was convinced, though, that somehow he had the winning idea. It took him seven years in the making after all.
Currently, Zambia is facing a deficit of between 15,000 and 20,000 metric tonnes of rice yearly, which is being covered by rice imports.
Canaan knew this was justification for his business plan, which until that point, he had been unable to realise fully because of financial constraints.
He had suffered many setbacks in his business journey but here, Canaan was now on the cusp of victory; a win would propel him forward and was just the thing he needed to take him to the next level.
Remarkably, he was shortlisted in the final three. To prepare himself, he pitched his business idea in front of his five-year-old son, exciting the boy by telling him that he was going to share a story with him about rice.
That pitch would eventually make him the winner of the K250,000 grand prize in October 2017.
Since his win, Canaan has been preoccupied with setting up a rice plant in Chama and working closely with Nyamuka Zambia to make wise investment decisions.
“I have a business development mentor assigned to me by Nyamuka Zambia, who I will be working with over the next one year,” he shares.
His company is called Chaca Rice Processing Initiative and he intends to upgrade it to a company limited by shares in the near future.
He has since bought an automated combined rice mill with his winnings; a machine he says can process rice without much physical labour involved.
Canaan is a bona fide self-starter, who does not believe in using the word “impossible”. He says a hero just knows a thing can be done one way or another.
When he wants to do something, he sees it through and if it fails, he simply tells himself that it is not the end.

Nigeria hopes high tariffs will make it grow more rice

Farmers and millers are happy. So are smugglers
Mar 15th 2018| ARGUNGU
STANDING ankle-deep in water between neatly spaced rice plants, an instructor shows a group of about 100 farmers in Kebbi, a state in north-west Nigeria, how to apply herbicide. The training session, arranged by TGI Group, a Nigerian conglomerate that runs a large rice mill nearby, has an enthusiastic audience. Hussein Ahmed, a farmer, says the yield from his small field has increased by about 50% since he started using chemicals and carefully spacing the seedlings. Another farmer boasts of marrying a second wife thanks to the extra money he is earning from growing rice.
Across the region the grain is cooked with tomatoes and mounds of chili to make jollof, a dish that is almost always eye-wateringly spicy, no matter how mild the cook insists it is. Jollof is not just the cause of many arguments in the region—Ghanians and Nigerians each insist theirs tastes better. Its main ingredients have also become symbols of how Nigeria is trying to diversify an economy that exports crude oil and imports almost everything else.