Monday, October 29, 2018

29th October,2018 daily global regional local rice e-newsletter

Rice millers seek refund of security

Oct 29, 2018, 1:34 AM; last updated: Oct 29, 2018
Our Correspondent
Fatehgarh Sahib, October 28
The Rice Millers Association Punjab has urged Food and Civil Supply Minister to immediately direct procurement agencies to release their 10 per cent security worth crores, deducted from their paddy shelling bills and lying with them from the last four years.
The association press secretary, Nakesh Jindal, said, “The government procurement agencies have withheld 10 per cent of the final paddy bills and cleared rest of the amount despite the fact that millers have submitted affidavits to the district heads of procurement agencies regarding payment of any type of recovery that arises. So, securities should be refunded.”
“According to instructions of the Commissioner Food and Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs, Punjab, such securities deducted from custom milling securities final bills can be kept only for two years. These securities of millers have been lying with agencies for more than four years,” he added.,

No let-up in waste disposal in open by Karnal rice mills

29, 2018, 1:33 AM; last updated: Oct 29, 2018

Husk ash dumped near the grain market in Karnal. Tribune photo: Sayeed Ahmed
Parveen Arora
Tribune News Service
Karnal, October 28
Despite a public outcry, the authorities concerned have allegedly failed to check pollution emitting from rice mills in Karnal district. Without any check, the rice mills, which fall under green, orange and red categories of the Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) as per their discharge, are contributing a lot to air, soil and water pollution.
Local residents blame the authorities concerned for not bothering to check the unsystematic disposal of waste from the mills.
Sources in the HSPCB say that the millers have to ensure proper handling, storage and transportation of rice husk, rice husk ash and waste water to check pollution but most of the mills are not following the norms. For every 100 kg of paddy, 20 kg to 23 kg of husk is produced and when 100 kg of husk is burnt in boilers, it generates around 25 kg of ash, say sources.
The Tribune visited Kutail and Bastara villages, Bajida road and Taraori and found that the effluent treatment plants (ETPs) of various mills were not working, due to which untreated waste water was being discharged into the open, while collection, storage and disposal management of husk ash was also being handled unscientifically.
The residents say environment pollution by the mills is not new. “This has been going on for the past several years. We have raised the issue at several platforms, but in vain,” says a farmer.
The unscientific disposal of husk ash is creating problems for residents of the nearby areas, as it causes eye, respiratory and skin-related diseases.
Dr S Singhal, a skin specialist at the local civil hospital, says that the exposure to such pollution causes skin-related diseases such as itching and irritation. People, who already have any kind of skin problem, should avoid going out.
Meanwhile, Vinod Goel, state vice-president of the Haryana Rice Millers and Dealers Association, said that the ETPs of all mills should be in the running condition and the millers should avoid dumping ash and waste water in the open.
SK Arora, area engineer of HSPCB, said, “We have asked the mills to ensure scientific treatment of waste. If any mill is contributing to air or water pollution, I will get it checked”.

1:34 AM (IST)

Millers allege pressure to buy ‘moist’ paddy

Oct 29, 2018, 1:34 AM; last updated: Oct 29, 2018,
A woman dries paddy at a grain market in Moga. Tribune photo
Moga, October 28
High moisture content is creating a hurdle in the paddy procurement process in the district. As a result, the arrival of paddy in the grain markets has also turned slow.
The government has issued specific guidelines to purchase paddy with moisture content up to 17 per cent, but most of the foodgrain arriving in the markets is having a moisture content of more than 20 per cent.
Rice millers allege that they are forced to lift paddy from commission agents with high moisture content under pressure from the district administration and ruling party legislators, while farmers allege that they are being harassed by the government agencies on the pretext of high moisture content. Sources said at Charik grain market, the Markfed authorities were allegedly forcing the millers to lift “moist” paddy. Buta Singh, district manager, Markfed, said he would look into the issue. — TNS

Farmers protest sale of paddy by ‘outsiders’

Oct 29, 2018, 1:34 AM; last updated: Oct 29, 2018


Farmers protest on the Tapa-Pakho Kanchiya road in Barnala district. Tribune photo
Tribune News Service
Barnala, October 28
Farmers of Dhilwan and other villages, led by the BKU Sidhpur, kept the Tapa-Pakho Kanchiya road blocked for many hours on Sunday to protest the sale of paddy from other districts in their area.
They alleged that trucks loaded with paddy from four districts — Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Moga and Ferozepur — were openly entering in their areas and unloading paddy in rice mills, which led to the rejection of their crop.
“Rice millers were openly purchasing paddy from other districts and rejecting our crop without giving any valid reasons. We kept the road blocked for many hours and stopped many trucks loaded with paddy from other districts,” said Roop Singh Dhilwan, district president of BKU Sidhpur.
Farmers also raised slogans against the authorities, who they alleged had failed to check the “smuggling” of paddy to their area.
“Today, the administration has assured that after Monday, no paddy would arrive from other districts in our area. We have now lifted the blockade, but we will take to the streets again if the authorities fail to fulfil their promise,” said Dhilwan.
When contacted, Food and Civil Supply Officer Harpreet Singh, who met the protesting farmers, said they had assured farmers that there would be no sale of paddy from other districts in their area.

Saltwater Rice Successfully Harvested by Chinese Scientists

TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Alkali-resistant ‘sea rice’ planted in east China’s Shandong Province was harvested by Chinese scientists.

·       October, 27, 2018 - 11:45 

The initial success marks an ambitious plan to boost the country’s rice production and feed an additional 80 million people.
The new type of rice, successfully harvested by a group of scientists in the seaside city of Qingdao, eastern China, was revealed a year ago. Sea rice that is able to grow in tidal flats or saline-alkali land was developed by crossbreeding different varieties of rice.
“If there are natural disasters, as China has a large population, it's difficult to rely on importing food from abroad as there are logistical barriers. If the Chinese go hungry because of crop failures caused by natural disasters, there will be social unrest and destabilizing factors for the world,” Deputy Director of Qingdao Sea Rice R&D Centre Guodong Zhang told RT's Ruptly video news agency.
According to the scientist, turning barren land into fertile farmland will enable China to feed the entire country and will therefore be beneficial to peace and stability.
“Wheat and rice are the staple food of the Chinese people, and 60 percent of them depend on rice,” he said.
“With the joint efforts of our team and the whole of society, more than 65,000 square kilometers of salt and alkali land will be transformed in China,” the deputy director said.
“That can increase food by 30 billion kilograms based on the calculation of at least 300 kilograms per 667 square meters. This can support an additional 80 million people in China.”
Earlier this year, the research team successfully grew and harvested the salt-resistant rice in a Dubai desert.

Reshuffle in diplomatic assignments at major capitals

APPUpdated October 27, 2018
Pakistani Foreign Ministry Shah Mehmood Qureshi. Photo: File/AFP
ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi announced on Friday a major reshuffle in diplomatic assignments abroad, including the proposed appointments of two career diplomats — Dr Asad Majeed Khan and Nafees Zakaria — as Pakistan’s new ambassador and high commissioner in Washington and London, respectively.
Speaking at a press conference, he said the appointment of career diplomats as new envoys at Washington, London, Ottawa, Riyadh, Doha, Rabat, Belgrade, Havana and Dubai was aimed at replacing some political appointees with senior and career diplomats so that they could safeguard Pakistan’s interests and present the country’s points of view on various issues in a more effective manner.
He said Raza Bashir Tarar would be appointed high commissioner in Ottawa, Raja Ali Aijaz ambassador in Riyadh, Syed Ahsan Raza Shah ambassador in Doha, Hamid Asghar Khan ambassador in Belgrade, Sahibzada Ahmad Khan ambassador in Havana and Ahmad Amjad Ali consul general in Dubai.
Replying to a question about the coming visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to China, the foreign minister said the prime minister would hold bilateral meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang in Beijing, besides visiting Shanghai to represent Pakistan at the International Expo being hosted by China and attended by various countries.
Mr Qureshi said Prime Minister Imran Khan, who was among the leaders invited by China as special guests, would deliver a key-note address at the event.

Talks with UAE team

The foreign minister also briefed media persons about the discussions made with the visiting UAE delegation comprising CEOs/senior officials of major companies — including Mobadla Petroleum, ADIA (Sovereign Wealth Funds), Etisalat, DP World, Dubai Investment Authority, Emaar Company, Aldahra Agriculture and Abu Dhabi Fund for Development.
He said the one-day visit of the delegation headed by Dr Sultan Aljaber, minister of state and CEO of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, was a follow-up to the prime minister’s official visit to Abu Dhabi on Sept 19 and his understanding with Crown Prince Sheikh Muhammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan to forge closer economic, trade and investment relations between the two countries in all areas of common interest.
During the discussions, the FM said, two sides deliberated on the ways and means to further broaden and deepen economic relations in diverse areas of mutual benefit between Pakistan and the UAE. The areas identified for cooperation are agriculture, agricultural exports, fruit and vegetables, food processing industry, energy, housing, water etc.
He said as Pakistan’s rice exports to the UAE had decreased over the past few years, as compared to India, there was a need to correct this situation and the two sides discussed the ways and means in that respect.
Mr Qureshi said Pakistani fruit and vegetables, particularly citrus and mango, were available in high quality and quantity and could be exported. But, these fruits go waste due to short shelf life and inadequate storage facilities. with the UAE having quality packing expertise, it can invest in Pakistan’s food processing industry for onward exports of the country’s perishable food items for mutual benefit of the two countries.
The foreign minister said in the energy sector the UAE side had expressed interest in the establishment of an oil refinery and a state-of-the-art energy terminal in Pakistan, which could serve as a hub of energy in the region.
He said the two sides also discussed how the UAE could facilitate Pakistan, like Saudi Arabia, in oil supply through a preferential treatment and help the country to meet its high fiscal needs.
The foreign minister said the two sides also discussed how the UAE companies could contribute to implementation of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s initiative of the housing project for the low income groups.
He said since the UAE had modern technology and expertise in desalination of sea water, the two sides deliberated upon the ways and means for cooperation in this area, particularly to meet water requirements of Karachi and Gwadar.
Published in Dawn, October 27th , 2018
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A lot of opportunities exist for Pakistani investors in Kenya

October 27, 2018
Salim Ahmed
High Commissioner of Kenya Prof. Julius Kibet Bitok has said that direct flight from Karachi to Nairobi will help ease the transportation and will help improve trade activities between the two countries.
He was speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry. The LCCI Acting President Khawaja Shahzad Nasir, Vice President Fahim-ur-Rehman Sehgal, former Senior Vice President Amjad Ali Jawa, Executive Committee Members Mian Zahid Javaid, Naseem ul Ghani, Atif Ikram, Dr. Muhammad Arshad, and Rana Nisar Ahmad also spoke on the occasion.
High Commissioner said that Pakistan and Kenya have good diplomatic ties and maintain steady trade relations. He said that the government of Kenya, with the collaboration of United Nations, is planning to organize a conference on “Sustainable Blue Economy” during next month. This conference will cover the areas of banking system, fisheries, marines, technology and various others. He urged the LCCI members to participate in the conference and avail the opportunity to have close interaction with their counterparts.
“Pakistan and Kenya has same currency value”, the High Commissioner said and added that Kenya has a stable banking system now. There are no issues of banking channels between the two countries as Pakistani banks are operational in Nairobi. He said that Kenya is also working on digital banking and encouraging its businessmen to use online banking for their transactions.
He said that there are a lot of opportunities for Pakistani investors in Kenya that must be availed as the Kenyan government is ready to support them for establish their businesses. He appreciated the role of LCCI in strengthening the trade and economic ties between both countries.
The LCCI Acting President Khawaja Shehzad Nasir said that Pakistan has been one of the top-10 trading partners of Kenya and consider it as a gateway to whole Africa. He said that the bilateral trade is following increasing trend. From 2016 to 2017, the value of two-way trade has gone up from dollar 669 million to dollar 787 million.
The LCCI Acting President said that Pakistan is having unfavourable balance of trade with Kenya and is interested to enhance Pakistan’s exports to trim down the trade deficit. He said that Pakistan mainly exports rice to Kenya and primarily imports coffee and tea from Kenya. He emphasized the need to identify more tradable items and said that Pakistan can export wide range of textiles items, pharmaceutical products, articles of plastic and chemicals etc. to Kenya.
The LCCI Vice President Fahim-ur-Rehman Sehgal said that regular exchange of sector-specific delegations can help the two countries discover new opportunities of economic cooperation.

Japanese firm seeks Cambodian rice supplier

Sok Chan / Khmer Times  

A Japanese firm is now scouring Cambodia for suppliers of fragrant rice, which it intends to ship home, where demand for Cambodian rice is on the rise, an official of the Cambodia Rice Federation said.
Moul Sarith, CRF secretary-general, yesterday told Khmer Times that representatives of Tanaka Food Industry Corporation have approached his organisation in search of a partner that will supply them with Cambodian fragrant rice, whose reputation abroad continues to improve after a local brand took home this year’s World’s Best Rice award.
Mr Sarith said that it is the first time the Japanese company looks for rice suppliers in the Kingdom. He said it imports around 100 tonnes of rice from Thailand a year.
Japonica rice continues to be the most demanded variety in the Japanese market, but fragrant rice’s share of that demand – 30 percent – is also significant, he added. He said farmers in the Kingdom are now beginning to plant Japonica to feed the Chinese, Korean and Japanese markets, but that this is being done at a small scale.
“The company has not told us how much they are interested in importing. So far, they just want us to arrange meetings with local suppliers, which is what we are doing,” Mr Sarith said.
The Japanese government has a rice quota in place that limits its imports of the product to just 4,000 tonnes a year, Mr Sarith explained.
“If Japan increases its rice quota, the Cambodian government or CRF would negotiate with Japan to increase our shipments of rice,” Mr Sarith said.
“We could potentially grow more of the Japonica variety if demand from Japan were to increase,” he said.
Mr Sarith said Cambodian rice is gaining popularity with consumers abroad, particularly after Cambodian premium fragrant rice Malys Angkor won the World’s Best Rice award – the fourth time a Cambodian brand has taken home the award.
The ceremony took place in Hanoi, Vietnam, during the World Rice Conference held on Oct 10-12.
Cambodian brands have been crowned the best in the contest on four occasions – in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2018.
“This recognition boosts our country’s image, adds prestige to our rice, and gives us more exposure abroad,” Mr Sarith said.
According to figures from the Ministry of Agriculture, Cambodia exported 389,264 tonnes of rice in the first nine months of 2018, a drop of 8.4 percent. China continues to be Cambodia’s top export market

Hapro signs agricultural contracts worth $2 million

Update: October, 27/2018 - 09:25
Hapro strives to achieve total revenue of VNĐ9 trillion by 2020, an increase of 45 per cent compared to 2018, with 80 per cent of revenue coming from exports. — Photo
HÀ NỘI — Hà Nội Trade Corporation (Hapro) has signed contracts for exporting agricultural products worth about US$2 million at the world’s largest food innovation exhibition SIAL Paris.
The fair, which is taking place in Paris from Tuesday to today, has an exhibition area of nearly 250,000 sq.m, attracting about 6,500 businesses from more than 100 countries around the world. It is also expected to welcome more than 155,000 visitors from more than 190 countries.
Hapro’s booth features traditional exports of Việt Nam such as rice, pepper, cashews, cinnamon, processed food, vermicelli, rice noodles, rice crackers, dried fruits, desicated coconut and spices.
At the exhibition, Hapro welcomed about 100 customers to learn about the opportunities for cooperation. The corporation also signed export contracts for agricultural products including cashew nuts, desiccated coconut, pepper and cinnamon.
Hapro is also actively negotiating with clients to continue signing contracts to export key products such as rice, pepper, cashew nut, cassava starch, processed vegetables as well as dried fruits.
Prior to this, at the World Rice Conference held in Hà Nội from October 10 to 12, Hapro inked three contracts to export rice to Malaysia and the US worth nearly $2.5 million.
After the equitisation in June 2018, Hapro’s business activities have made remarkable changes. The corporation has launched a number of trade promotion activities, sought new markets, and strengthened exports. 
According to Hapro’s chairman Nguyễn Thị Nga, in the coming time, Hapro will focus on improving export turnover and making Hapro brand become the leading international brand in the region.
Besides developing commercial infrastructure in Hà Nội and other provinces or cities across the country to serve retail development, Hapro boosts the export of key agricultural products and foodstuffs of Việt Nam as well as handicraft products to 80 countries and regions in the world.
In the first nine months of 2018, Hapro’s export turnover reached $89 million, equaling 122 per cent over the same period last year. The corporation’s revenue hit over VNĐ3.9 trillion (US$167.24 million), a year-on-year increase of 20 per cent.
Some export items continued to have high growth rates such as cashew nut with $62 million (up 15 per cent) and rice with $12 million (up 22 per cent) over the same period in 2017.
Hapro strives to achieve total revenue of VNĐ9 trillion by 2020, an increase of 45 per cent compared to 2018 with 80 per cent of revenue coming from exports, said Hapro’s general director Vũ Thanh Sơn. — VNS

Bagudu: Without Ambode, Nigeria Couldn’t Have Reduced Rice Importation by 90%

By Gboyega Akinsanmi
The Kebbi State Governor, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu, has disclosed that Nigeria could not have been able to reduce rice importation by 90 per cent without the strategic support of his Lagos State counterpart, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, to the Nigerian Rice Initiative (NRI).
Bagudu, however, lamented that Ambode had done so much for Lagos in particular and Nigeria in general that he should be denied an opportunity to seek re-election on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2019.
He gave the insight into how the partnership between Lagos and Kebbi States culminated in the massive production of Lake Rice at the 18th National Women Conference of the Committee of Wives of Lagos State Officials (COWLSO) held at Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island Thursday.
At the conference, Bagudu commended Ambode for the Lake Rice initiative, saying apart from rekindling hope in the ability of Nigerians to achieve a lot for Nigeria, the initiative led to 90 per cent reduction in rice Importation.
“Ambode spoke about one of the things I believe is a measure of his greatness which is the partnership between Lagos and Kebbi. Ambode and I have worked in farms in Kebbi State. Without Ambode, there would not have been Lake Rice. I repeat again without Ambode, there would not have been Lake Rice.
“The significance of Lake Rice is that it encouraged a revival in the ‘we can do spirit’ and Mr. President captured it adequately when he said at least now when we tell the world we are going to do something they better take us seriously.
“Those Nigerians, Africans and well wishers who saw Mr. President when he visited Prime Minister Theresa May and President Trump and announced enthusiastically that Nigeria has reduced its rice importation by 90 per cent can humbly say that without Ambode we wouldn’t have achieved that.
“Ambode supported the NRI. Without her Excellency, Mrs. Bolanle Ambode and COWLSO, who encouraged and supported the Lake Rice and the Nigerian Rice Project that would not have been possible. I thank you all for what you have done for Nigeria and what we have done to show that it is possible,” he said.
Bagudu, however, lamented Ambode’s botched second-term aspiration, which according to him, might have been due to the fact that the governor might have offended some political leaders and interests in the state.
Despite his botched aspiration to seek re-election, Bagudu commended Ambode for the high sense of maturity displayed in the wake of the political developments, saying he demonstrated grace which had united the APC ahead of the 2019 elections.
In his remarks, Ambode said the Lake Rice initiative had significantly impacted on the economic fortunes of not only Lagos and Kebbi States, but also the entire nation, saying Bagudu also deserved commendation for the success of the partnership.
Ambode congratulated executives and members of COWLSO for another very successful conference, saying it was on record that Mrs. Ambode, along with other hardworking and committed members, had succeeded in taking the association and the annual conference to a higher level.
He said from testimonies, the conference was yet another rewarding two days of networking, eye-opening, educative and inspiring experiences, adding that it now behooves participants to spread the knowledge gained.
He said the opportunity to be part of a conference such as this is a privilege which also comes with a corresponding responsibility, noting that women “have a responsibility to share this experience with other women and men around you.
“This is the only way that the impact of the knowledge gained at this conference can be widened and deepened. It is a burden each and everyone has to discharge to the best of your abilities. The government, no doubt, also has its own responsibility in terms of giving due and deserving consideration to the recommendations contained in your communiqué”.
In a communiqué for the conference, COWLSO said it was time for women to rise against the menace of children becoming mothers, especially by putting machinery in place for continuous sensitisation and advocacy to address and eliminate the root causes and consequences.
The communiqué, which was read by Prof. Ibiyemi Olatunji-Bello, said government “must put structures and policies in place to address the issues of children having children”.
“The government at all levels, policy makers in health sector both at state and local levels, family, society, NGOs and so on, must all rise and resolve to eliminate the menace by enacting a policy for a reduction in the minimum age in rendering family planning services from 13 to 15 years,” she said.

Women rice processors in Jigawa seek funding support


Women rice processors in Kafingana village, Birnin Kudu Local Government Area of Jigawa have solicited support from Sasakawa Global 2000 in the form of loan to boost their capacity.
The Chairperson of the group, Malama Ladidi Haruna, made the call on behalf of the women on Saturday when the Country Director of Sasakawa Global 2000, Prof. Sani Ahmed-Miko visited the rice processing plant in the area.
“With additional support from Sasakawa, the association will diversify its business which will go a long way in enhancing the socio-economic status of our members,” she said.
She described Kafingana as one of the major rice producing areas in the state, saying that with additional support, the association will produce more of the commodity.
Also speaking, the Private Service Provider (PSP) in charge of maintaining the plant, Alhaji Sadiqu Abdu, said he had so far trained six mechanics and three operators to ensure effective maintenance of the two rice processing machines.
The machines, he said, were donated to the women rice processors by SG 2000 and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
According to him, no fewer than 1,000 tonnes of paddy rice are being produced in the plant.
He, however, promised to link the rice processors with markets as the two processing plants had the capacity to process one tonne of paddy rice hourly.
Earlier in his remarks, the District Head of Kafingana, Alhaji Nasiru Munkaila, had advised the women to make the best use of the opportunity provided by SG 2000 to improve the living standard of their families.
On his part, Ahmed-Miko urged the women to be more committed to promoting the business in view of the fact that women were among the most vulnerable in the society.
He assured the women farmers group that the organisation would continue to support them as long as they remained focused on achieving the desired objective.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the SG 2000 team was in Jigawa in continuation of its media field day tour aimed at meeting with beneficiaries of its various intervention programmes.
The visit was also organised to enable SG 2000 to assess the success or otherwise of its various intervention programmes. (NAN)

UP signs MoC with Japan; Israel to help set up centres of excellence
The Uttar Pradesh government on Friday signed a five-year memorandum of cooperation (MoC) with Japan on the opening day of the three-day ‘Krishi Kumbh’ paving the way for Japanese companies to make investments in the state’s agriculture sector.
LUCKNOW Updated: Oct 27, 2018 15:37 IST

HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Chief minister Yogi Adityanath looking at some of the exhibits at Krishi Kumbh 2018 in Lucknow.(HT Photo)

The Uttar Pradesh government on Friday signed a five-year memorandum of cooperation (MoC) with Japan on the opening day of the three-day ‘Krishi Kumbh’ paving the way for Japanese companies to make investments in the state’s agriculture sector.
Japan and Israel are UP’s partners in Krishi Kumbh, a congregation of around 50,000 farmers, investors and experts. It is a first-of-its-kind event in the state to find ways to double farmers’ income by 2022.
Israel will help Uttar Pradesh in setting up centres of excellence, one each in Kannauj (vegetable) and Basti (fruits) besides extending cooperation in drip irrigation.
agriculture minister Surya Pratap Shahi said: “We have signed an MoC with Japan for five years with the understanding that Japanese companies will help UP in giving a push to its agri industry and developing food chain to benefit farmers.”
Two dozen companies from Japan and Israel are participating in the event.
Agriculture director Souraj Singh said International Crop Research Institute for Arid Tropics, International Rice Research Institute, International Food Policy Research Institute, International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre, and many institutes and delegates representing policy-makers in Japan and Israel were also participating in the Krishi Kumbh.
A representative of a Japanese company that has put up a stall said the company was interested in producing honey in UP.
The summit has 12 expert sessions and three to four sessions will be held every day to help farmers decrease their input cost and increase income by using latest modern means of farming.
Getting exposed to a luxurious venue with air-conditioned pandals having stalls of different products, and seeing live shows on modern ways of sowing was a new experience for farmers.
“Water shortage in our district can be taken care of if the government helps us in buying this technology,” Ram Ratan, a farmer from Jorai village in Sonbhadra district said, referring to drip irrigation technology.
In drip irrigation, water and nutrient are directly delivered to the plant’s roots in the right amount so that it may grow optimally.

Scientists develop transgenic rice that can grow under high salinity, drought

A team of Indian and international scientists hit upon the idea while studying a wild rice variety, Pokkali, grown in coastal regions of Kerala
By Sunderarajan Padmanabhan
Last Updated: Friday 26 October 2018
 Tests showed that the plant expressed the gene, OsIF, four times more than in traditional plants. Credit: Getty Images
A group of researchers from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) and University of Illinois have developed transgenic rice that promises to generate high yields even under conditions of high salinity, high temperature and drought.
The scientists hit upon the idea while studying a wild rice variety, Pokkali, grown in coastal regions of Kerala. When they tried to figure out its ability to survive and thrive in highly saline environment, it emerged that it had very high level of a gene, OsIF. Tests showed that the plant expressed the gene four times more than in traditional plants.
Using this insight, researchers raised another rice plant, IR 64, with OsIF over-expressed in it. They did so by using a promoter derived from cauliflower mosaic virus (CaMV). It was found that over-expression of OsIF improved the growth and yield of this plant significantlyin adverse conditions of high salinity, high temperature and drought. This plant had a yield of 20 per cent more than a normal one. Further studies showed that over-expression helped by stabilising the process of photosynthesis in the plant.
The OsIF gene encodes a protein in rice for cell components called intermediate filaments (IFs). These filaments protect cells from external forces, besides participating in cell adhesion and tissue integrity. They also act as a molecular scaffold that controls intracellular organisation and contribute to signalling events in response to cell stress.
The research group has been engaged in understanding biochemical and molecular basis of salinity tolerance of the Pokkali rice for the past two decades. “Pokkali is a beautiful example for how new stress tolerant genotypes have evolved under natural selection pressure. It posed a challenge before us to find out as to how it is able to survive and set seeds under salinity stress, through relatively less in number,” said AshwaniPareek, research team leader at JNU, while speaking to India Science Wire.
Besides OsIF, he said, “We have identified and functionally validated over one dozen stress responsive genes from the plant. Our study has shown unique involvement of intermediate filaments in cellular protection against abiotic stress in rice.”
Besides Pareek, the research team included Neelam Soda, Khalid Anwar, Ashutosh Sharan (School of Life Sciences, JNU); Brijesh K Gupta and Sneh Lata Singla-Pareek (ICGEB); and Govindjee(University of Illinois). The research results have been published journal Scientific Reports(India Science Wire)

IRRI and Crop Trust Team Up to Protect the Future of Rice.

Two organizations, Crop Trust and The International Rice Research Institute, announced their agreement providing US$1.4 million a year, in perpetuity, funding the world’s largest rice collection. This agreement, set to be signed on World Food Day, is intended to finance “the conservation and sharing of 136,000 varieties of the staple crop that feeds more than three billion people worldwide,” says Crop Trust.  The funding of this gene bank is provided by Crop Trust’s endowment fund and will go through five-year phases.
Climate change is increasingly putting pressure on farmers and the global food systems, according to researchers from the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), and the transdisciplinary International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES). Scientists at IRRI’s facility in Los Baños are currently working toward developing varieties of rice that can survive climate change using the stored seeds.
“Our work to conserve rice has a proven track record in bringing benefits to the world,” says IRRI evolutionary biologist Ruaraidh Sackville-Hamilton. “With this collection safely conserved, we can continue to use it to develop improved rice varieties that farmers can use to respond to the challenges in rice production, and to adapt to the changing tastes and preferences of consumers everywhere.”
The collection houses a variety of rice species used to create strains resistant to extreme climate. One variety to assist farmers across Asia is called scuba rice. Scuba Rice is designed to tolerate up to two weeks of flooding. Other developments include varieties developed to withstand drought, pests, diseases, and iron toxicity.
Not only is the IRRI one of 11 genebanks of the CGIAR, but it is spearheading a new permanently funded conservation effort that Crop Trust hopes to replicate in the future according to Marie Haga, Executive Director of the Crop Trust. The agreement also ensures that other conservation efforts benefit from the funding, asking IRRI to provide advice to five other genebanks.
The lasting effects of this agreement could be significant, impacting the ability of farmers to successfully farm the staple crop for years to come. “Rice is and will continue to be a vital crop for rural development, for improving the economic fortunes status of millions of people and for establishing sustainable, resilient food systems,” says Elwyn Grainger-Jones, Executive Director of the CGIAR System Organization.

Paddy procured is double the produce

Oct 27, 2018, 2:21 AM; last updated: Oct 27, 2018,
Parveen Arora
Tribune News Service
Karnal, October 26
Procurement agencies in Karnal have already purchased more than double the total paddy produced in the district and the harvesting season is not yet over.
The Tribune has learnt that due to a nexus between procurement agencies, marketing board officials, millers and traders, PDS rice from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar is being pushed into the procurement stream by showing it as rice delivered against custom milling of paddy.
Since no paddy against this rice is needed by millers, its procurement is shown only on paper by procuring fake gate passes, etc.
Paddy from UP is being brought to the state much to the detriment of local farmers, who allege that their crop is being rejected on one pretext or the other.
“I brought paddy to this grain market on Wednesday and have been asked to wait as the moisture content is high. I have been informed that it will be sold for anything between Rs 1,500 and Rs 1,550 per quintal,” alleged a farmer in the Karnal grain market.
According to the data available with the state Agriculture Department, paddy is grown on 1.72 lakh hectare in the district. With 40 per cent of it under basmati cultivation, grade A paddy was grown on around 1.03 lakh hectare.
With average yield in the district being 6 tonne per hectare, the total paddy production in the district should be around 6.19 lakh tonne. However, the procurement agencies have already procured 13.53 lakh tonne of paddy and the procurement is not yet over.
Karnal Arhtiyas Association president Rajnish Chaudhary admitted that paddy was being brought from UP and other states to Karnal district. The administration should increase vigil at inter-state ‘nakas’ to check the arrival of paddy from other states. He, however, evaded a reply on allegations of PDS or other cheaper quality rice being pushed into the procurement stream.
Haryana Rice Millers and Dealers Association vice-president Vinod Goel said farmers from Haryana, who owned land in UP, could bring paddy to the Karnal grain market. There was no ban on trade of paddy from other states, he said.
How it happens?
·       Paddy crop purchased by state procurement agencies on behalf of FCI
·       Sent to millers for milling (leave it to the millers to procure on their behalf)
·       Millers have to deliver 67 kg of rice against 100 kg of paddy to FCI
·       Millers who already have ‘PDS’ rice or other cheaper rice stored with them make procurement only on paper by procuring gate pass, Form J and other documents in collusion with the officials of procurement agencies and marketing board
·       Through a bogus procurement, the millers not only take away price of their inferior rice as per MSP of the paddy, but also get milling charges and other benefits without actually purchasing any crop

PM Narendra Modi bats for new technology in agriculture sector as he inaugurates ‘Krishi Kumbh’ in Lucknow

By: PTI | Updated: October 26, 2018 7:30 PM

Prime Minister Narendra Modi Friday inaugurated the 'Krishi Kumbh' in Lucknow as he expressed hope that the event will pave the way for new technology to be imbibed in the agriculture sector.

PM Narendra Modi bats for new technology in agriculture sector
Prime Minister Narendra Modi Friday expressed confidence that farmers would pave the way for new technology to be imbibed and hoped better opportunities would be created in the agriculture sector.
Addressing the three-day ‘Krishi Kumbh’ on its opening day here via video conferencing, Modi appreciated the UP government for its efforts in augmenting substantially, the procurement of foodgrains. He asserted that farmers are the ones who take the country forward.
The prime minister reiterated the Centre’s commitment to double the income of farmers by 2022. In this context, he mentioned the series of steps that the government is pursuing to reduce farm input costs and raise profits.
He also mentioned that a large number of solar pumps will be installed in farms across the country in the near future.
“The Government is working to deliver the benefits of science to agriculture,” he said.
Modi also said that the Rice Research Centre being set up in Varanasi, is a step in this direction.
The Prime Minister spoke of the importance of value addition in farming and mentioned the steps being taken in the food processing sector.
He said that after the Green Revolution, emphasis now is on milk production, honey production and also on poultry and fisheries.
The PM called for discussions on matters such as judicious use of water resources, better technology for storage and use of latest technology in farming, during the Krishi Kumbh.
Amid concerns over rising level of air pollution in the national capital, Modi emphasised on the need to evolve new technologies and ways that will help eliminate the need for farmers to burn crop stubble.
Speaking on the occasion Union Agriculture minister Radhmohan Singh said, “Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the country is transforming at a fast pace. With doubling of their income by 2022, the farmers of the country will be strengthened.”
The three-day Krishi Kumbh is a high profile conglomeration of farmers, scientists, industrialists, research institutions and policy makers to generate awareness among farmers, to define latest technologies and to showcase the business opportunities in agro processing for business houses.
The event is spread in an area of over 13 hectares for showcasing the best agro practices in the country. It will provide an opportunity to the stakeholders to understand the requirements of each other for investment benefits.
UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said, “The production potential of our soil is that it can fulfill the food requirements of the entire world. However, it could not be realised primarily due to lack of techniques and awareness. If the farmers who have assembled at the Krishi Kumbh can gain knowledge from international experts, and implement them, then there is no doubt that the income of the farmers will be doubled by 2022.”
UP Agriculture minister Surya Pratap Shahi said nearly 2.5 crore farmers from UP are likely to be benfitted from the Krishi Kumbh.
“Development of farmers in UP, will eventually result in development of farmers in the country,” he said.

Reschke appointed to wild rice task force

Reschke appointed to wild rice task force
Natural Resources Research Institute Aquatic Vegetation Scientist Carol Reschke has been appointed to Governor Dayton's Wild Rice Task Force. Her expertise will help the group of experts and stakeholders find a compromise solution to wild rice restoration and protection in Minnesota.
Reschke is currently researching the microbial communities of wild rice and competing emergent plants that often displace wild rice.
The Governor appointed Task Force is comprised of representatives from Tribal Nations, industry, environmental advocacy groups, scientists, state government agencies and others.
NRRIs is to deliver research solutions to balance our economy, resources and environment for resilient communities.
Rice import lib draws support from solon
 October 29, 2018 at 01:00 am by Rio N. Araja
CAMARINES Sur Rep. Luis Ray Villafuerte is urging the Senate to quickly approve the rice tariffication bill to stabilize the retail prices of rice and ease the galloping inflation. 
He said President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of the import liberalization bill as an urgent measure should prod the Senate to act on it with dispatch as soon as Congress resumed session on Nov. 12.
“The prompt approval of the rice tariffication bill is the fastest way for both chambers of  Congress to help President Duterte tame inflation and ease its impact on consumers, most especially this coming holiday season given that food expenses account for 9.7 percent of the consumer price index,” Villafuerte said.
He said the measure’s swift passage would go a long way toward boosting rice production, a long-term approach to stabilizing the supply and price of the staple.
Under the bill, import tariffs are to go to the rice competitiveness enhancement fund, which the
Agriculture department would use to provide for easy-to-access loans to farmers for production, inputs for fertilizers, post-harvest facilities and research and development.
Villafuerte is the co-author of the House of Representatives’ version of the rice tariffication bill that was approved in August.
In certifying the rice tariffication bill as urgent, Duterte cited the “urgent need to improve the availability of rice, prevent artificial rice shortages, reduce the prices of rice, and curtail the prevalence of corruption and cartel domination in the rice industry.
The rice tariffication bill would be a “win-win” situation for consumers and farmers amid the high inflation, Villafuerte said.
Consumers would benefit from the bill as the lifting of the quantitative restriction on rice imports would reduce the inflation rate by .07 percentage point, the central bank says. 
“Lower prices would benefit farmers too as they are also rice consumers,” Villafuerte said.

Why farmers want rice imports stopped
By Otiato Guguyu | Published Sun, October 28th 2018 at 00:00,
 Updated October 27th 2018 at 23:07 GMT +3 SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Twitter Farmers at rice farms in Mwea. Mwea rice farmers want the Government to control imports to keep prices stable as they wait to harvest in a month’s time. The demand could be hard to implement given that about 90 per cent of the rice consumed locally is imported, a good chunk from Pakistan - Kenya’s main tea market. The farmers say to break even on leased land, they need to make Sh52 per kilo and Sh30 per kilo on own farm. Mwea Irrigation Scheme covers 20,000 acres with an additional 6,000 acres by private outgrowers. Last year, they sold rice between Sh62 and Sh72 a kilo after demand picked up. Chairman of Irrigation Water Users Association Moris Mutugi said imports flooding the market will hurt earnings if not controlled. “We are expecting a bumper harvest and we foresee struggle to get market. If imports must come, then they should not be brought here to compete with ours,” he said. Your opinion is valuable. Take this quick survey to help us improve the website and content Kenya imported 625,000 tonnes of rice last year compared to 507,999 in 2016. Production Rice production is estimated at 160,000 tonnes against a consumption of 450,000 tonnes. Irrigation Principal Secretary Fred Segor said while the Government could not clamp down on imports, it would ensure importers paid requisite duty that would make Kenyan rice competitive. “One important issue is when farmers produce they spend money and have to get money so marketing is important,” he said. “We are in a free market so you cannot stop but there is mechanism for duties which should make rice competitive.” He blamed the cheap imports on loopholes where the Government is not able to tax the rice, and counterfeits. He also challenged farmers to increase productivity to bridge the deficit. Mwea farmers are currently producing are expecting to reap 90,000 tonnes this year.

Tiny gyroscope the size of a grain of rice could help shrink gadgets even further

October 28th, 2018
This optical gyroscope is 500 times smaller than existing models(Credit: Caltech)
The electronics inside consumer gadgets are often miniaturized versions of bigger components – like phone cameras, for instance – and that applies to the gyroscopes used to help a device orientate itself in 3D space. Now scientists have worked out a way of making these gyroscopes much, much smaller.

How small? Well, smaller than a grain of rice in fact. If you're hoping your next phone is going to be an easier fit inside your pocket – or even small enough to clip to your wrist – then this is one of the innovations that might help.
"The proof-of-concept device is capable of detecting phase shifts 30 times smaller than state-of-the-art miniature fibre-optic gyroscopes, despite being 500 times smaller in size," explains the team behind the work.
Today's wearables, smartphones, and drones use microelectromechanical (MEMS) sensors as gyroscopes, to work out how they are being rotated: it's how your phone knows to switch from portrait to landscape mode when you turn it around.
These electronic gyroscopes are much smaller than the rotating, nested wheels that made up the first models, but they're not always as accurate as they could be. That's led to the development of optical gyroscopes that use a split beam of light to get their bearings – what's known as the Sagnac effect.
While optical gyroscopes improve accuracy, up until now they haven't been any smaller than a golf ball. That brings us to the new research from scientists from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), who have used a technique they call "reciprocal sensitivity enhancement" to make optical gyroscopes substantially smaller.
The Sagnac effect works by detecting very slight variations in the two beams of light split from a single source: those differences can be decoded by the gyroscope to judge rotation and orientation. The trick that the researchers have pulled off is to weed out some of the noise from these signals while maintaining the variations essential to the Sagnac effect (so "reciprocal" in affecting both light beams together).
That reduced noise – or "sensitivity enhancement" – means the whole system can work with weaker signals, and that means everything can be shrunk right down. The work has been published in Nature Photonics.
As is the case with any research of this type, it's going to take a long time for the technology to make its way from the laboratory to a gadget being sold on the shelves of your local electronics store, but now you know what's in the pipeline: super-small gyroscopes that are more accurate than ever before.
Source: Caltech

Economic sabotage
By  Panay News
Monday, October 29, 2018
SOME unscrupulous rice traders are hoarding rice to the detriment of our poor countrymen who must struggle to eat three square meals a day. They should be held liable for violating Republic Act 10845 or the Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act of 2016.

Also, the Department of Agriculture should charge with economic sabotage the owners of warehouses stockpiling and repacking National Food Authority (NFA) rice and passing them off as expensive commercial rice.

We shouldn’t buy the excuse of traders that this is merely inventory management. This is clearly a case of economic sabotage. Hoarding rice to create a scenario wherein rice is scarce results in skyrocketing rice prices. This is the very definition of price manipulation and economic sabotage.

By manipulating supply and demand, unscrupulous rice traders are able to increase rice prices while providing the NFA officials with justifications to import rice from Vietnam and other countries. This is an old trick repeatedly used by these unscrupulous rice cartels. They suppress the supply of rice and create an artificial rice shortage thereby leaving our consumers with no choice but to buy expensive commercial rice.
Relative to rice importation, there must be full disclosure and transparency – keys to dismantling rice cartel.
Replacement of import quotas with tariffs would not dismantle the rice cartels. The government rosters of rice importers and traders must be purged of smugglers, economic saboteurs, hoarders, and tax evaders.
It is still business as usual for rice cartels because they control the underlying system and internal architecture of rice importation and distribution. Their control of that system is not addressed by any of the bills on rice tariffication. But revoking their licenses and permits to import rice will deal a serious blow to the rice cartels.
Rice cartel members are able to operate with impunity because their identities are hidden from public view. Isn’t it curious that the lists or registries of licensed or accredited rice importers and traders are not front page material on the websites of the NFA, the Bureau of Plant Industry, Bureau of Customs, Department of Trade and Industry, and Bureau of Internal Revenue — the five agencies which are supposed to have those lists and supporting documents?
It is time to bring those names out of the shadows through transparent and verifiable full disclosure on the website of the Department of Agriculture of the names, executives, and contact numbers and electronic records of all transaction details of all rice importers and traders, as well as their freight forwarders and warehouses.
There must be a rigorous vetting process, with the crucial involvement of civil society watchdog organizations, that will purge of the lists of rice importers and traders. Yes, there must be a detailed audit and forensic examination of all the processes and documents in the rice importation cycle.

Sowing innovation

Rice farmers in Asia-Pacific are facing numerous challenges from labour shortages to climate change but innovation can help save the day and even make farming 'sexy' again
In a village called Chari, located in the eastern state of Jharkhand in India, Prativa Devi got married at the age of 13 to a man whose family earned a living mainly by farming.
Farmers transplant rice seedlings with a rice transplanter in Hengyang, Hunan.
The four-acre farmland became her family's main source of income where they grew rice crops as Ms Devi fulfilled her role as a mother of three, a wife and a provider for the family.
She remembers the time when she grew indigenous rice crops which were solely dependent on rains and a local pond for irrigation, but those days are long gone.
The year 2008 was a major turning point when a training camp was held in her village to educate her and other villagers about hybrid rice.
"I learned about the benefits of growing hybrid rice and applying modern agricultural techniques. I decided to try it out and we started growing in 2010," she recalls.
The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) defines hybrid rice as "a type of rice that has been bred from two very different parents". Compared to traditional inbred rice, of which seed and subsequent crops have the same genetic makeup as the parent crop, commercial hybrid rice can generate up to 30% higher yields than the high-yielding inbred rice when grown under the same conditions, it says.
The training has proven to be highly beneficial for Ms Devi's family.
"Our profits doubled," she says. "We bought a two-wheeler, a tractor and a pickup four-wheeler. We built a permanent house and all my children now study in good schools. My entire family are very happy.
"We owe our existence to farming. It has transformed our lives and has brought tremendous change and holds great significance for all of us," said Ms Devi with a smile.
Ms Devi is one of 70 million rice farmers across Asia-Pacific whose life is dependent on the productivity of their farms.
These farmers are facing considerable challenges, from land and water scarcity, labour shortages, unpredictable climate change and a lack of access to knowledge and technical expertise.
Rice is already one of the world's most important staple food, with Asians the main consumers. As the population increases across the region, Asia's rice consumption is projected to account for about two-thirds of the total demand by 2050.
"There's a combination of things that have worked against rice farmers. Over the next 25 years, we will need to increase rice production by 25% to 550 million tonnes per year to ensure sufficient food supply for the world," Peter Ford, president, Asia Pacific, Corteva Agriscience, an agricultural division of DowDuPont, told Asia Focus on the sideline of the fifth International Rice Congress held recently in Singapore.
"The labour shortage for rice farmers is a major issue. It is now at a crisis point. As we see urbanisation continue, even if we pay competitively, newer generations do not want to work as farmers because the job is difficult and backbreaking," he added.
"Given the current growth rate, the global population is expected to reach about 10 billion by 2050. Much of this growth will occur in poor, densely populated regions in Asia and Africa that are already highly dependent on rice for food, nutrition, and livelihoods," said Matthew Morell, IRRI's director general and CEO.
"These populations will be further challenged by the realities of climate change and we as a community must provide the innovations and innovative thinking to meet and overcome these challenges," he told the forum.
Farra Siregar, managing director of Corteva's Asean, said about 60% of farmers in Asia are smallholders whose agricultural activity is carried out on small and marginal farms in areas of two hectares or below.
"For small holding farms, every challenge got amplified, especially in labour constraints, ageing farmers, weed control issue and illiteracy," she told Asia Focus.
According to the World Programme for the Census of Agriculture, farm holdings in Asia-Pacific are the smallest in the world, averaging only one hectare compared with the average of 5.5 hectares for 114 countries covered by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
To deal with the labour constraints, Ms Siregar explained that small farmers would need the best technology and agronomy knowledge about seeds, crop protection and mechanisation in order to improve their yield. Due to their size, these issues have proven to be more difficult for them.
Mr Ford added that bringing technology to the market can help make a difference. The technology is there to help rice farmers but access to knowledge is by far the limitation.


Similar to other industries, small farmers are facing a rapidly changing world, said Gilbert Houngbo, president of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the United Nation's international financial institution dedicated to eradicating poverty and hunger in rural areas of developing countries.
"They need to simultaneously adapt to climate change and increase output and must be at the heart of an emerging agricultural 'innovation ecosystem'," he said.
Through the innovation ecosystem, collaboration and contribution of a range of actors in the broader ecosystem -- from scientists and academics to financiers, small businesses and industries -- is needed to turn new ideas into better ways of doing things, he told the forum.
To analyse the problems faced by rural communities, for instance, one needs to look at all the aspects of the value chain, with small farmers playing a key role, and search for innovative ideas that can solve them by involving all key stakeholders.
"Creating a rural innovation ecosystem that works well is difficult because every locality has a different set of challenges," he added.
An example of the IFAD value chain project can be seen in eastern Indonesia under the Smallholder Livelihood Development project (SOLID), which brought together multiple innovation across the value chain in nutrition, dietary habits, crop science, fishing techniques, technology, food loss and market access.
"Farming in the 21st century means connecting to rapidly modernising value chains and meeting quality standards, accessing information technology, taking advantage of new seeds and diversifying production and coping with the effects of climate change," Mr Houngbo said.
Another prominent example could also be seen through Corteva's farmer network, education outreach programme and large plot demonstration or education farms, which are actual fields experience trials conducted on farmers' fields.
"For the farmers, seeing is believing and farmers trust other farmers. The best way is for them to see that it works on their peers' plots. This can help overcome the adoption challenge. Sometimes farmers are not only ageing but also illiterate. The way that we educate them has to also be simple," Ms Siregar said.
She added that Corteva currently has direct engagement with over 7 million farmers, with 1-1.5 million addition every year.
"We want to demystify the misconception. We take [the farmers] through the whole value chain through farm schools or education-farms where they can learn how to sow the seed, how to fertilise. We hold their hands and walk them through all the way to harvest," noted Mr Ford.
Interestingly, he says, many farmers in this part of the world overuse fertilisers, thereby wasting money and causing damage to their crops. The programme helps walk them through how to protect the crops against pests and diseases with different practices.
"The biggest step change for rice farmers is the adoption of hybrids versus the traditional practice of self-sowing seed or open pollinated varieties (OPV)," he added.
OPV seeds are produced from cross-pollinating two of the same variety of a plant, usually by wind, birds or insects, resulting in plants that are very similar, but naturally varied.
"We see a 15-20% yield increase just from taking that one step of adopting hybrid seeds. The limiting factor is knowledge -- replacing the seed they traditionally use. Through other agronomic intervention or other farm practices, the yield could go up to 30%," he said.
In terms of pricing, Mr Ford said although hybrid seeds are generally more expensive than self-sowing or inbred varieties, he doesn't see the cost or price of inputs a major problem as the programme monitors and measure the output and return on investment (ROI) rigorously.
"If we can keep the farmers profitable and get them to value and understand the full picture, not just cost but the whole entire picture, the more profitable, the more sustainable," said Ms Siregar.
"We want to make farming sexy again. It is high-risk, high-tech, and it's beautiful. There is no reason why future generation would not want to be a successful farmer. It's the backbone in any kind of progress if we see historically.
"What we need to do is showcase farming as an entrepreneurship -- an 'agripreneur' looks at it as a small business. There is a lot of science behind it and there is a lot of digitalisation coming on stream. We need to demystify it and don't see farming as traditional farming and show how modern farmers are like," she added.


Rajan Gajaria, executive vice-president for business platforms at Corteva Agriscience, highlighted the importance of the "3Cs" in driving innovation in rice farming: convergence, collaboration and consumers.
"Innovation is usually overrated," he said, "What is underrated is hand-in-hand discussion, conversation and education. All of these factors will make innovation comes to life."
He pointed out that there is no one single technology that can solve the problem. It is how different technologies converge together to fix basic fundamental of good agronomic practices.
"There has been a lot of progress being made on seed, chemistry, physics, mathematics, big data and the way we make use of layers and layers of information. However, this information will not be useful unless you can educate and share the practices with the farmers," he explained.
This brings him to the next point on collaboration.
"The key part of innovation is collaboration. I don't think there is any company, university, or academia in the world who can make a difference all by themselves. If all of us are working together in a collaborative spirit, there could be a fundamental difference in how we can approach rice productivity across Southeast Asia," he said.
He added all stakeholders must work in conjunction to find the way to improve rice productivity.
"If misinformation is preventing a small farmer from realising his or her full potential, shame on us. This is the opportunity for us to partner to see what we can do and at the end of the day, let them unleash their full potential."
Lastly, ensuring the trust among the consumers is another key area to complete the value chain of efficient and sustainable rice production.
For instance, there is still a perception that rice farming uses a lot of water and intensifying the global environmental challenge.
"Innovation is important, but it alone is not enough. You cannot keep banking on innovation when a basic issue of rice farmer education, policymaking, regulatory and consumer trusts is still there," said Mr Gajaria.
"Unless we complete this whole value chain -- from technology innovation, laboratories, fields and education for farmers to trust among consumers -- we are not going to be able to reap the benefits of any innovation," he added.
"Rice is not only a crop. It is a way of life. It's livelihood. There are a lot of socio-economic values associated with it. It can make or break countries in this part of the world, depending on how successful the rice crop is."