Thursday, November 08, 2018

8th November,2018 daily global regional local rice e-newsletter

Study identifies relationship between smog and rice residue burning in Punjab
Description: "The study will be instrumental in helping reduce the contribution of the agriculture sector in the formation of smog."— AFP/File
ISLAMABAD: A new research study carried out by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations has found a relationship between smog and the practice of rice residue burning by farmers in the rice belt of Punjab. Findings of the study provide scientific evidence of the causes of smog, and the relationship between smog and crop residue burning. The study will be instrumental in helping reduce the contribution of the agriculture sector towards the formation of smog, FAO Representative in Pakistan, Mina Dowlatchahi said on Tuesday.
The study carried out under the ‘Remote Sensing for Spatio-Temporal Mapping of Smog’ project in collaboration with the Punjab government, found that the formation of smog, however, was not dependent only on the presence or increase of these pollutants, but certain meteorological and weather conditions also help these pollutants suspend in the lower atmosphere because of which the pollutants from a dense visible layer of smog. FAO responded to a request from the Punjab government in 2017 and initiated the project, which has now been completed. It is a first of its kind evidence-based geospatial research which will contribute to findings on emissions and drivers of smog.
FAO will present the report to the Punjab government next week with its recommendations. The research findings were reviewed by FAO global technical experts on information with a geographical component, methods and tools and validated by a wide array of Pakistani experts and institutions. Representatives of the ministry of climate change and the Punjab government were present on the occasion. Speaking to experts, the FAO representative stated that the organisation remained committed to support the government efforts to help devise appropriate strategies and action plans to tackle smog in Pakistan. Pakistan suffered one of the highest death tolls in the world from air pollution in 2015, when, according to UN estimates, thousands lost their lives because of the high level of fine particles in the air.
This phenomenon engulfs several cities in Punjab province, particularly Lahore, during the winter months and has evolved into a public health and economic emergency. Smog is one of the several forms of air pollutants that cause harm to human functioning. Formation of smog, however, is not dependent only on the presence or increase of these pollutants, but certain meteorological and weather conditions also help these pollutants suspend in the lower atmosphere because of which the pollutants form a dense visible layer of smog. FAO is also carrying out water accounting in the Indus Basin using geospatial data and techniques.
Japan’s farmers double output of premium rice
More premium rice bands are showing up in high-end stores, like the Mitsukoshi department store in Tokyo's ritzy Ginza district.   TOKYO -- Japanese rice farmers are expanding production of new, pricier brands, a move to shore up income as consumers eat less of the staple. The output of 10 leading brands introduced in 2015 through 2018 is set to more than double this year to a little over 50,000 tons, a survey of prefectures found. Shinnosuke, from the famed rice-growing region of Niigata Prefecture, is set to post a 120% increase to 11,000 tons. Niigata is focusing on marketing the new grain in greater Tokyo, looking to boost name recognition in the country's largest market. For nearly half a century, the central government controlled rice production under its acreage reduction program to prevent steep drops in price. But Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hammered out a plan in 2013 to do away with this policy, starting with the 2018 harvest, and the prefectures have taken full charge of production instead.

This has led to a rush to develop new regional brands. Japan has 795 registered brands today, up 50% from a decade earlier. Many of the newcomers are marketed as premium types. With a retail price of about 3,000 yen ($27) per 5 kg, Shinnosuke is on a par with the top-of-the-line Uonuma Koshihikari, also from Niigata. This compares with brands that grew popular in the 2000s and went for around 2,500 yen per 5 kg. A rice shop in the posh Mitsukoshi department store in Tokyo's Ginza shopping district displays many brand-new offerings. "Ichihomare from Fukui Prefecture is priced at more than 1,000 yen per kilogram, but it's the No. 1 seller and already has many repeat buyers," said the store manager. Supermarkets, aware of customers' preference for more affordable fare, are only dipping their toes in the premium market. "We'll test consumer reaction to higher-grade brands with 2-kg bags for now," said an executive at Inageya, a grocery chain based in the Tokyo area.
Rice acreage has fallen by half since 1970, before the reduction program began. To deal with the lower income from smaller parcels, farmers worked on developing high-grade brands. Prefectures are ready to go all-out in promoting their latest deluxe brands, with some earmarking nearly 300 million yen a year for advertising. But critics say such campaigns are wasting taxpayer money, since the ads rely too much on celebrities and do not effectively communicate the flavor of the grains. Meanwhile, Japan faces an annual shortage of 1.3 million tons of the lower-grade rice typically served at restaurants. "We want the government to fund increased output of low-cost rice, too," said the president of a major wholesaler.  

Pakistan seeking to expand its exports to Yunnan

China International Import Expo (CIIE) will lead to creation of economic opportunities for Pakistani exporters to sell their products to China and we will, also, provide incentives to our exporters to open up their exports to Yunnan, underscored by Pakistan’s Consul General to Chengdu, Muhammad Mudassir Tipu, while delivering a keynote address at the “Everlasting China-South Asia Expo” held in Shanghai today.
The Expo, held at the sidelines of the CIIE, was inaugurated by Vice Governor of Yunnan Zhang Guohua. Other notable speakers at the opening session of the Expo included Consuls General of Laos, Vietnam, and Thailand based in Kunming as well as Minister of Business Supply of Nepal and Deputy Minister of Commerce of Myanmar.
Highlighting on Pakistan’s participation at the mega event, the CG reinforced that the CIIE, which was inaugurated by President Xi Jinping, was a monumental success.
He asserted that Prime Minister Imran Khan, was also invited by the Chinese government to attend the Expo. Pakistan was one of the 12 Guest of Honor countries at the Expo and had a Country Pavilion with ten booths, the CG emphasized.
In his remarks, CG added: “During last year total bilateral trade between Pakistan and Yunnan stood at $ 64 million. This comprised of imports by Pakistan. "We need to open up export opportunities for Pakistan into Yunnan."
"It is worth noting that Pakistan’s textile, furniture, leather, seafood, rice, fruits, cotton are exported to markets around the world, and we hope we can also introduce the best of our export products to Yunnan.”
The CG, also highlighted the commencement of Lahore-Kashgar Bus service and urged upon people of Yunnan to explore Pakistan’s breathtaking beauty by riding that bus service, which he hoped will further reinforce tourism ties between Pakistan and China.

Rice exports reach 5.2 million tonnes in ten months


Monday, 2018-11-05 16:26:17

Vietnam exports 5.2 million tonnes of rice worth US$2.6 billion in the first ten months of this year. (Photo: VNA)
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NDO – Vietnam exported 264,000 tonnes of rice with a value of US$136 million in October, thus bringing the total export volume of rice in the first 10 months this year to US$5.2 million tonnes, worth U$$2.6 billion, up 1.7% in volume and 14.1% in value over the same period in 2017.
According to the latest data from the Department of Agro-Product Processing and Market Development (under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development), China continues to rank first among Vietnam’s rice export markets, accounting for nearly 24% of the market share. Other markets also saw a sharp increase in importing Vietnamese rice, including Indonesia, Iraq, the Philippines and Malaysia.
The average rice export value in the last nine months of this year was at US$503 per tonne, up 13.7% over the same period last year. The price of jasmine rice was at US$575 per tonne at its highest, followed by Japonica rice at US$526 per tonne. The price for Vietnamese 5% broken rice in the first half of last month was at US$410 per tonne, higher than India's at US$372 per tonne and equivalent to Thailand's at US$411 per tonne.
The largest export market for Vietnamese jasmine rice is still China, accounting for 25% of the total exports, followed by Ghana with 21%. China continues to be the main market for Vietnamese sticky rice, accounting for 80% of the total glutinous rice exports.
According to the Department, domestic rice prices are expected to increase as enterprises buy more rice to serve export orders signed in October and prepare for the next orders that can be reached in the year-end biddings.
On October 18, the Philippines closed bids to buy 47,000 tonnes of rice, including 28,000 tonnes from Vietnam. Also on that day, Egypt opened its first tender in 2018 for the import of 25,000 tonnes of rice. In addition, during the 10th World Rice Conference in Hanoi last month, multiple export orders were signed, in which the Hanoi Trade Joint Stock Corporation (Hapro) reached orders with their US and Malaysian customers to export rice worth US$ 2.5 million.
Currently, farmers have finished harvesting their summer-autumn rice crop. Several localities also started harvesting their autumn-winter crop. The price for autumn-winter rice in the Mekong Delta rose slightly amidst a limited supply.
According to the local price supply system, in Vinh Long, the price for the autumn-winter rice variety IR50404 increased by VND200 a kg to reach VND5,300 per kg, while IR50404 dried rice is priced at VND5,900 per kg and IR50404 husk-free rice is at VND10,000 per kg. In Bac Lieu, dried OM 5451 rice wholesale price sold by the Provincial Food Company is at VND6,200 - 6,300 per kg. Many other localities also reported stable or a slight increase in rice prices.

Atiku Bagudu: Lake Rice has reduced importation by 90 percent

Kebbi State Governor, Atiku Bagudu has said that the production of Lake Rice through the joint efforts of Kebbi and Lagos states has reduced the importation of the staple food by 90 per cent.
Bagudu, who commended his Lagos counterpart, Ambode, for his commitment to the production of the brand, however, said that the achieving the feat would not have been possible without the support of the Committee of Wives of Lagos State Officials.
Speaking at the closing ceremony of the three-day 18th National Women’s Conference organised by COWLSO in Lagos, Bagudu disclosed that the partnership between Kebbi and Lagos had helped to improve the economy of Lagos, Kebbi and Nigeria in terms of local production of rice.
“Without Ambode, there would not have been Lake Rice. The significance of Lake Rice is that it has encouraged a revival of the ‘I can do it spirit,” he said.
The governor noted that the emergence of Lake Rice had help the nation to reduce the importation of rice by 90 percent, as captured by President Muhammadu Buhari recently at a meeting with the British Prime Minister, Theresa May.
“Without Ambode, we won’t have been able to do that and that was because he got the support of his wife, who is the Chairman of COWLSO. His wife supported the idea and that was why it was successful,” he
Bagudu, however, said COWLSO had done tremendously well by organising the conference over the years in order to reposition women and take them to an enviable position in the society, adding that he was impressed that women in Lagos could take time off their busy schedule to gather in a place to network and educate themselves on issues affecting women and society.
In his remarks, Ambode commended COWLSO for organising the annual event, saying that his wife, Bolanle, had been able to take the committee to a higher level than she met it.
The governor said he had no doubt that the three-day programme provided opportunities for networking and education among the women, adding that the opportunity to be part of the conference was a privilege that came with responsibilities.
“You have a responsibility to share your experience with others around you. This is the only way you can deepen what you have learnt at the programme. Government will give attention to the recommendation in the communiqué,” he promised.
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FG faults USDA’s claims on Nigeria’s rice importation, local production

 November 6, 2018
Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja
The Federal Government on Tuesday said there was no truth in the United States Department of Agriculture’s World Markets and Trade Report that claimed that Nigeria imported three million metric tonnes of rice in 2018, which is 400,000 metric tonnes more than the quantity of the product imported in 2017.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, made government’s position known in an interview with State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Mohammed also faulted the claim in the report that local production of rice was on the decline and that the facts fly in the face of government’s claim of what it achieved in the area of rice production.
“I want to say categorically that, that story is false. Predictably, the Atiku Media Organisation, this afternoon, latched onto the story. We are not surprised.
“I want to say categorically that, that story is fake and that Atiku Media Organisation also goofed,” the minister said.
He said immediately after the story broke, he contacted the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Comptroller-General of Customs, while he also had meetings with the Rice Producers Association as well as rice millers.
The minister claimed that all of them responded that the story was not true.
Mohammed said, “For starters, you cannot import rice without a Form M being approved. You can’t import rice without Letter of Credit.
“So, we challenge the US Department of Agriculture World Markets and Trade Report to provide evidence that Form M was opened to bring in 400,000 metric tonnes over and above that of last year and that Letters of Credit were also opened for them.
“Two, the records are very clear as to the importation of rice. You don’t have to take my words for it, but go to Thailand Rice Miller and the figures are there.
“In 2014, 1.2 million metric tonnes of rice was exported to Nigeria. In 2015, 644 metric tonnes of rice was exported to Nigeria, and by 2015, it went down to 5,000 metric tonnes.
“These are not my figures; these are figures from the Thailand Rice Association.
“The claim that local rice production is on the decline is again absolutely false. Yesterday (Monday), when I spoke to the millers, all of them said, ‘please, just come to Kano, come to my factory you are going to see two kilometre length of trailers waiting to discharge paddy rice.’
“So, I want to say categorically again without fear of contradiction that the Anchor Borrowers Rice Programme is working. Nigeria has been able to reduce by 90 percent the $1.65bn it was paying on rice importation, the number of integrated rice processing mills increased from 13 to 25.
“Those are the majors and that between the smaller ones and the big ones, today the capacity is 4.9 metric tonnes of rice. That is why we are confident that in a year plus we are going to meet the six million metric tonnes of rice production which is our local consumption.
“The facts are there and I challenge anybody to the contrary.”
When asked if it is possible to factor the amount of rice being smuggled into the country into the official figures he released, the minister explained, “You cannot claim that smuggled rice is part of rice imported into the country. Yes, we do know we have a challenge with smuggled rice but we have taken steps to ensure that these menace is contained.
“You remember that we set up tripartite committee between the Republic of Benin and Nigeria comprising of the two Ministers of Finance and Agriculture and Comptroller-General of Customs of both countries.
“Two, we have been able to reach an agreement with the Benin Republic President to allow Nigerian Customs officials to be present at the Cotonou Port. And you know that only a week ago, Mr. President jointly commissioned the border building within Benin Republic. These are all attempts made to contain smuggling.
“When we say Nigeria imported, it is different from x-amount of rice is being smuggled because when you import, you open Letter of Credit and we are saying it is absolutely untrue. Again to say local rice production has gone down is absolutely untrue.
“We have grown rice farmers from five million to 12 million. Those facts are out there. We have created prosperity for rice farmers. We have about 32 or 34 states that produce rice, you can ask them.”
Mohammed said the such report was not only misleading but was capable of generating a lot of misunderstanding.
He described the story as part of the fake news the government is fighting.
When asked if the Federal Government would engage the US government to present the facts since he has declared the story a fake news, Mohammed said, “That will be at another level. What we are doing here is to educate Nigerians and let them know that the story is false.
“Whatever steps government is going to take, I have a responsibility as the Minister of Information and Culture of this country to tell you what government has achieved; and if anybody tries to demarket the government, to put the facts straight.
“I am not surprised that the Atiku Media Organisation latched unto this story and unfortunately they goofed because what they ought to have done, when I was in their position as an opposition was to check with Central Bank, with Customs, rice farmers association and the millers. I have contacted all of them and what I am telling you is what I am telling you.”
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Move afoot to partly waive defaulting millers’ dues

Nov 7, 2018, 1:24 AM; last updated: Nov 7, 2018, 1:24 AM (IST)
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, November 6
Over a year after bringing a one-time settlement (OTS) scheme for 1,500 defaulting rice millers whose outstanding amount has crossed Rs 7,500 crore, the state government is coming up with a scheme to waive part of their dues by reworking the interest penalty levied on them.
Directly benefitting top defaulters owing allegiance to the Congress or the SAD, the government in the revised OTS has proposed that the interest component should be less than the principal amount. It is learnt that two Cabinet ministers were pushing the case of one of the top defaulters.
The principal outstanding that millers owe to Pungrain, Markfed, Punsup, Punjab Agro Foodgrains Corporation and the Punjab State Warehousing Corporation has swelled to Rs 2,182.92 crore and the compounded interest has multiplied to Rs 5,400 crore.
To be tabled in the Cabinet meeting, the revised scheme prepared by the Department of Food and Supplies would be discussed with the CM, who returned from his foreign visit on Saturday. The Finance Department has been asked to comment on the financial implications of waiving part of the dues.
Food and Supplies Minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu said certain changes had been recommended in the revised OTS policy. “As millers were not coming forwards to clear their dues, the government aims at recovering the principal amount,” he said.
The defaulted amount has accrued for different reasons like failing to return milled rice to the FCI and selling it in the open market, dispute over pending interest amount, dues on account of gunny bags, quality cut or loss on account of sale.
Legal proceedings initiated against such defaulters have been pending for the last many years resulting in marginal recovery of the outstanding amount that keeps increasing every year due to the factor of compound interest.

Rice industry seeks lifting of ban on biomass

Industries in NCR using this fuel shut from November 4 to 10
 Nov 7, 2018, 12:35 AM; last updated: Nov 7, 2018, 12:35 AM (IST)
Tribune News Service
Karnal, November 6
The All-India Rice Exporters Association (AIREA) and Haryana Rice Millers and Dealers Association (HRMDA) have opposed direction of the Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) of shutting all industries running with coal and biomass in the NCR between November 4 and 10.
They have urged the EPCA to reconsider it. The direction was issued to deal with the pollution level in Delhi. Vijay Setia, president, AIREA, said they had received the letter and it was a jolt as lakhs of tonnes of paddy was lying in mills, which was yet to be processed.
He said once the paddy reached the rice unit, it needed to be dried with the help of a boiler, which ran with biomass. “If the raw material for rice is not separated from water content within the first few days, fungus can affect it, leading to loss,” he added.

Vinod Goel, state vice-president of the HRMDA, said the millers had been allotted paddy in lakh metric tonnes for milling, which was given on time. He urged the EPCA to lift the ban.

FG, CBN Reject US Report On Rising Rice Importation ​
The federal government and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday debunked the report by the United States Department of Agriculture World Markets and Trade that Nigeria imported three million metric tons of rice in 2018.
The US report had said the import figure is 400,000 metric tonnes higher than the quantity of the product that was imported in 2017. The report also stated that Nigeria’s local rice production dropped from 2016 to 2018 compared to the situation in 2015. The report ran contrary to several claims by the Nigerian Government that local rice production had increased while importation had dropped by up to 90 per cent.
The report, which was released in October, showed that since 2016, Nigeria had consistently milled 3,780,000 metric tons annually which is a reduction from 3,941,000 metric tons recorded in 2015. But the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, while briefing journalists in the State House, described the report as false. Mohammed, who said he had contacted the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), the Minister of Agriculture and rice millers on the authenticity of the report, argued that they all dismissed the report as untrue. According to him, whereas 1.2 million metric tons of rice was exported to Nigeria in 2014, the figure declined to 644,000 in 2015 and went further downward to 25,000 in 2016.
However, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has said the claim by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari that it has increased rice production in the country is false. The minister also faulted the claim by the report that local rice production in the country is declining, saying instead, local rice production capacity has risen to 4.9 million metric tons. The CBN has also clarified that the volume of rice importation into Nigeria (in metric tonnes) has declined drastically in 2018, judging by figures obtained from various official sources. Indeed, figures obtained from India and Thailand, which are dominant rice exporters to Nigeria indicated that as at September, the latter had so far exported about 5,161 metric tonnes of rice to Nigeria, while the former sold only a paltry sum of 426 as at July 2018.
Attributing the reduction to concerted effort by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and interventions of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Director, Corporate Communications at the CBN, Mr. Isaac Okorafor, in a statement yesterday, also stressed that the Bank had not allocated any foreign exchange for the importation of rice this year. Okorafor, argued that the figures being bandied in certain quarters were based on unrealistic assumptions such as satellite mapping of farms, expected demand by politicians for election campaigns as well as expected losses from flooding, all of which led to unauthentic conclusions that the country had imported or could import 400,000 more metric tonnes. The spokesperson for the CBN further noted that the combined figure of 5, 587 tonnes of rice imports from India and Thailand may have been rice imported on not-valid-for-forex basis. Meanwhile, trade figures for the second quarter of 2018 received from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that total imports value was N2,106.7 billion; -16.3% lower than the first quarter (Q1), 2018 (N2518.26 billion) and – 19.9 per cent lower than Q1, 2017 (N2,631.65 billion). The report on the Bureau’s site showed that the value of imported agricultural goods in the second quarter of 2018 (N224.52 billion) increased by 21.7 per cent from Q1, 2018 (N184.49 billion) and lower by -3.14 per cent from Q2, 2017 (N231.80 billion). According to the report, raw materials imports in Q2 2018 (N261.10 billion) declined by -8.3 per cent compared to Q1, 2018 (N284.81 billion) and lower by -14.2 per cent in Q2, 2017 (N304.43 billion).
The solid minerals import in Q2, 2018 (N17.29 billion) increased by 37 per cent on a quarter-to-quarter basis (N12.62 billion), but declined by -91 per cent on a year-to-year basis (N193.16 billion). Energy goods imports in Q2, 2018 (N98.17 million) was 202.6 per cent higher than Q1 2018 (N32.45 million) and 288.5 per cent higher than Q2, 2017 (N25.27 million). The NBS reported that the value of manufactured goods imported in Q2 2018 (N1,175.86 billion) declined by -1.2 per cent over the previous quarter (N1,189.97 billion) but increased by 1.6 per cent over the same quarter in 2017. The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the CBN had been collaborating to reduce the volume of rice importation through what has become famed as the Rice Revolution.
 Meanehile, the presidential candidate of the PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has said the claim by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari that it has increased rice production in the country is false. Atiku in a statement issued yesterday by his campaign organisation said the recently released data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) World Markets and Trade Report has proven the claims by Buhari and his government to be false. President Buhari boasted about it when he told British Prime Minister, Theresa May, on April 16, 2018, that: “We have cut rice importation by about 90 per cent; made a lot of savings of foreign exchange and generated employment. People had rushed to the cities to get oil money, at the expense of farming.
But luckily, they are now going back to the farms. Even professionals are going back to the land. We are making steady progress on the road to food security.” Atiku noted that the Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh, on May 2, 2018, also made similar claim. According to Ogbe, “Unemployment in Thailand was one of the lowest in the world, 1.2 per cent, it has gone up to four per cent because seven giant rice mills have shut down because Nigeria’s import has fallen by 95 per cent on rice alone.” The former vice-president, however, noted that the “World Markets and Trade Report of the USDA, which is a public document disclosed that Nigeria imported three million metric tons of rice in 2018, which is 400,000 metric tons more than the quantity of the product imported in 2017.
 “It does not end there. The report shows that there has actually been a steep drop in commercial rice production from its 2015 peak under the previous Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) administration.” Quoting the report further, Atiku added that “Nigeria had consistently milled 3,780,000 metric tons annually-a drop from 3,941,000 metric tons recorded in 2015.” Atiku, therefore, appealed to Buhari and his government to be truthful to the Nigerian public, rather than claiming progress they have not made, “because no matter how far and fast falsehood has travelled, it must eventually be overtaken by the truth.” 

NFA holds pre-bid conference for 500K MT rice import

MANILA — A total of 12 rice suppliers from Asian countries attended a pre-bidding conference on Wednesday at the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) auditorium along Visayas Ave. in Quezon City for the government’s rice importation program.
The importation is for 500,000 metric tons of 25-percent broken, long grain white rice, as additional government buffer stock.
The National Food Authority (NFA) conducted the pre-bidding conference to allow prospective bidders to clarify the provisions of the Terms of Reference (TOR) covering the importation.
The opening of bids is set for November 20.
The 500,000 MT is divided into nine lots, with 14 designated discharge ports as follows: Subic — 118,000 MT; Manila — 75,000 MT; La Union — 65,000 MT; Batangas — 40,000 MT; General Santos City — 32,500; Tabaco — 30,000 MT; Cagayan De Oro — 26,700 MT; Cebu — 25,000 MT; Iloilo — 20,000 MT; Tacloban — 20,000 MT; Zamboanga — 17,300 MT; Davao — 12,500 MT; Surigao — 10,000 MT; and Bacolod — 8,000 MT.
The first half or 250,000 MT should be delivered not later than Dec. 31, while the remaining 250,000 MT should arrive in the country not later than Jan. 31, 2019.
The NFA Council has approved the importation of an additional 500,000 MT on top of the previous two batches of 250,000 MT rice imports delivered between June and October, and the 250,000 MT offered for bids last Sept. 18, where only three suppliers won the award for 47,000 MT.
Another bidding for the remaining 203,000 MT will be scheduled, as the second bidding conducted on Tuesday under a government to government scheme failed to attract offers from the governments of Vietnam and Thailand, the only countries with a Memorandum of Agreement for Rice Trade with the Philippines.
The series of rice importations by the NFA is intended to continuously replenish the NFA’s buffer stocks, in line with the President’s directive for the government to have sufficient food stocks at all times. (PR/PNA)

13 foreign bidders vying to supply 500,000 MT rice

 November 7, 2018, 5:21 PM
By Madelaine Miraflor
At least 13 companies expressed interest to supply the country with additional 500,000 metric tons (MT) of rice through a government to private (G2P) importation, which will be done in order to inject more stocks to the National Food Authority (NFA).
On Wednesday, NFA conducted the pre-bidding for the supply and delivery of the 500,000 MT of 25 percent brokens, well-milled, long grain white rice, import contracts of which will be awarded on November 20.
The companies that participated in the bidding are Asia Golden Rice Co. Ltd., Thai Hua Co. Ltd., Ponglarp Co. Ltd., Gia International Corp., Shwe Wah Yaung Agriculture Production Co., Ltd., Vietnam Northern Food Corp. (VinaFood I), Hiep Loi Joint Stock Company, Phoenix Global DMCC, Meskay & Femtee Trading Co. (Pvt.) Ltd., VinaFood 2, Tan Long Group Joint Stock Company, Olam International, Capital Cereals Co. Ltd.
The 500,000 MT is divided into nine lots with 14 designated discharge ports, including Subic (118,000 MT), Manila (75,000 MT), La Union (65,000 MT), Batangas (40,000 MT), General Santos City (32,500 MT), Tabaco (30,000 MT), Cagayan De Oro (26,700 MT), Cebu (25,000 MT), Iloilo (20,000 MT), Tacloban (20,000 MT), Zamboanga (17,300 MT), Davao (12,500 MT), Surigao (10,000 MT), and Bacolod (8,000 MT).
The first half of 250,000 should be delivered not later than December 31, while the remaining 250,000 MT should arrive in the country not later than January 31, 2019.
During the last time the NFA conducted an open tender importation, which was held on October 18, the agency failed to award all the import contracts as most of the bidders found it hard to meet the country’s reference price.
With majority of the bid offers exceeding the NFA’s approved budget of US$428.18 per MT, only 47,000 MT of the 250,000 MT worth of rice import contracts were awarded to three foreign suppliers who offered prices lower than the approved budget.
NFA then attempted to secure offers for the supply of the remaining volume of 203,000 MT of rice through a government-to government (G2G) importation Wednesday but also failed.
This, as the governments of Thailand and Vietnam, the only two countries with existing Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on Rice Trade with the Philippines, decided not to participate in the bidding.
Vietnam and Thailand both said in separate letters to the state-run grains agency that they found it hard to comply with the Terms of Reference (TOR) for the said importation.
Thailand, in particular, complained about the reassignment of discharge port, fumigation conditions, penalty for short delivery and short landed, among others.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, who now serves as the chair of NFA Council, said the re-bidding for this will be done next week.
The series of rice importations by the NFA is intended to continuously replenish the agency’s buffer stocks in line with the President’s d

NFA-Bicol orders public markets, retailers to lower rice prices

LEGAZPI CITY — The National Food Authority (NFA) regional office here has lowered the price of its rice sold in public markets and accredited retailers.
Henry Tristeza, NFA regional director, in an interview on Tuesday, said the move was in compliance with Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol’s directive to lower the price of NFA rice in all public markets from PHP32 to PHP27 per kilo.
“The decision to lower down the prices of NFA rice is to cushion the effect of the high inflation rate in Bicol and the increasing prices of prime commodities in the country,”Tristeza said.
“Tulong ito ng gobyerno sa lahat ng mamamayan lalo na ang mga nasa poverty line ng bansa (It’s the government’s way to help the people, especially those who belong to the poverty line),” he added.
According to Tristeza, their accredited retailers who bought rice at higher price from NFA warehouses region-wide will not be affected by the decision because most of them are almost running out of stocks and they are about to buy another round of stocks.
Tristeza also warned retailers not to take advantage of the lower price of NFA rice by labeling their stocks as commercial rice.
“We have a ‘One strike policy’ and whoever violates would be meted out penalties and fine,” he said.
The official also said that on Friday, NFA-Bicol will implement the SRP, or suggested retail price, on all commercial rice in the region.
They will require all the commercial rice traders to put SRPs beginning Friday.
“We are just waiting on the guidelines regarding the SRP program from our central office in Manila, we will convene the inter-agency to discuss about the implementation,” Tristeza said.
Meanwhile, the regional director said that based from their latest monitoring, prices of commercial rice sold in public markets are now PHP2 to PHP3 lower per kilogram.
The NFA expects traders and retailers to gradually lower prices of commercial rice as more NFA rice imports are expected the flood the markets soon. At the same time, the agency continues to buy palay from farmers.
Tristeza said they have been given the go-signal to procure palay from farmers at a higher price.
They are buying palay from farmers at PHP20.70 per kilo or an additional of PHP3 per kilo as buffer stock incentive and additional of 30 centavos per 30 kilometers as delivery incentive from the origin to NFA warehouse. (Jorge Hallare/PNA)

Northern localities work hard to improve rice productivity

VNA WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 07, 2018 - 15:11:00 
Description: photo (Photo: VNA)

Nam Dinh (VNA) – Vietnam’s northern region harvested some 5.6 million tonnes of rice during the summer-autumn crop, up more than 320,000 tonnes from the same period last year, heard a recent conference.

Tran Xuan Dinh, deputy head of the Department of Crop Production under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), said at the conference that each hectare of rice produces an average of 5 tonnes, up 0.35 tonne against 2017.

Since the beginning of this year, the localities have shifted over 10,480 hectares of rice to other crops, a year-on-year rise of 1,800 hectares, the official said.

As of early October 2018, the northern provinces had cultivated nearly 280,000 hectares of vegetables, mostly corn, sweet potato, soybean and peanut, he added.

Many localities have applied science and technology in production, Dinh said, taking the organic rice farming model in Hanoi’s Chuong My district and the rice production-consumption chain in Nam Dinh province which have yielded high economic values as examples.

It is forecast that the region will face water shortages during the upcoming winter-spring crop.

Given this, northern midland and mountainous provinces have taken the initiative in shifting rice cultivation to other crops.

Apart from forming large-scale rice fields, regional localities have also continued with technological application in production in order to raise productivity and quality.

MARD Deputy Minister Le Quoc Doanh urged cities and provinces to roll out preferential policies and incentives to attract investors in agriculture and rural areas, while developing linkage chains among farmers as well as between farmers and businesses to ensure markets for local products.

He also suggested expanding services of enterprises, cooperatives and farmers’ groups in the supply of varieties, materials and pesticide, and irrigation to cut production cost and improve efficiency.

The region is expected to cultivate more than 1.1 million hectares of rice and garner some 7.2 million tonnes in the upcoming winter-spring crop.-VNA

High rice price has farmers split over harvested crops

Surin – The Ministry of Commerce is providing harvesters to rice growers as higher prices have prompted many to maximize their harvests this season.
With Hom Mali rice prices now between 16,000 and 17,000 baht per ton, rice growers nationwide have rushed to harvest their fields, creating a shortage of rental harvesters. A media survey of whether or not harvested rice will be sold to market or entered into government credit programs has found opinions are split.
Most farmers in Surin province have begun drying their rice for entry into state programs seeking to maintain rice prices by delaying produce put to market. Only those in need of immediate cash have said they intend to sell their rice this season.
The Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) in Si Sa Ket province has held a session hosted by relevant authorities on the rice credit program, which urges rice farmers to receive credit in exchange for state storage of their rice so that the grain may be sold when market prices are higher.
In Nakhon Ratchasima, farmers in Non Soong district have begun drying their rice for sale to mills and cooperatives as well as to fellow farmers in Phra Thong Kam district, who are seeking to regrow their crops after extended drought damaged much of their rice fields. The district is selling its rice at 14,000 baht per ton or 14 baht per kilogram.
A group harvesting program has been kicked off in Roi Et province, encouraging local farmers to work together to better manage and improve the quality of their rice. The province is to hold a World Hom Mali Rice Festival from November 21-28.

Rice exports to EU to be hit by tariffs

Sum Manet / Khmer Times 
Cambodia is looking for new markets abroad for its rice, following news of impending tariffs in the European Union.
Hun Lak, vice president of the Cambodia Rice Federation, said the EU intends to impose tariffs on Cambodian rice based on complaints raised by Italy and Spain.
“They produce their own rice and they requested that the EU protects their rice instead,” Mr Lak said.
“We enjoy the benefits of the Everything-but-arms (EBA) treaty, but the new tariffs will affect our export to the EU by making our rice less competitive.
“We must diversify away from the EU market. We are looking at China, one of the biggest markets for Cambodia,” Mr Lak said, adding that Cambodia needs to continue to reduce the cost of production and transportation while enhancing quality.
Italy, along with six other European Union countries, filed a request to the European Union to activate a ‘safeguard clause’ that allows EU member states to impose barriers to protect against trade imbalances.
Fragrant rice now sells for $900 per ton, while white rice fetches $500 per ton, said Mr Lak.
The EU intends to impose tariffs of 175 euros per ton during the first year, 150 euros in the second year, and 125 euros in the next.
Song Saran, CEO of Amru Rice Cambodia, commented on the ‘safeguard clause’ on his Facebook profile.
“It is totally biased. The Italian and Spanish farmers switched to Japonica variety because they get higher profit margins than they do with the Indica variety. Then they blamed Cambodia and Myanmar for exporting cheap Indica rice to the EU.
“Our farmers have to switch to other varieties and diversify their markets to keep fighting for survival. No one will help us, only Khmers can help Khmers,” Mr Saran commented.
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.
In November last year, Cambodia signed memorandums of understanding with the Export-Import Bank of China and CITIC Group Cooperation to help the Kingdom increase paddy production and boost rice exports.
The agreements aim to increase rice exports to China beyond the 300,000 tonnes now allowed by the quota in place.

Record turnout for 
a midterm election
Midterm Election Results 

WASHINGTON, DC -- Most midterm elections results are in and the for-sure case is that Democrats have taken control of the House and Republicans solidified their hold of the Senate. Democrats in the House gained 27 seats as of press time with 17 races yet to be called. Senate Republicans picked up two seats out of 32, with three races still to be called. 
Most rice state/district incumbents held on to their seats and will return to Congress. Exceptions include Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill (D) who lost to Republican Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley.  A runoff election in Mississippi between incumbent Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R) and Mike Espy (D), a former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, will take place on November 27.  In terms of House races, the only rice district race yet to be called is California's 10th Congressional District where incumbent Rep. Jeff Denham (R) is facing Democratic challenger Josh Harder.  Congressman-Elect Dan Crenshaw (R) won in Texas' 2nd Congressional District, taking over the seat of retiring Rep. Ted Poe (R). 
The change in House leadership for the 116th Congress, which convenes in January, is sure to continue to keep things in Washington interesting.  It's widely reported that current Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will again be Speaker of the House, however, there is no guarantee.  House Democrats will soon hold leadership elections and Pelosi could face a challenger vying for the most powerful position in the chamber.  It's also widely reported that current Republican House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is likely to become the Minority Leader since current House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) is retiring, though McCarthy could face a challenger as well.
If Pelosi becomes Speaker, she has publicly stated several times that shake-ups to committee leadership is not one of her goals, meaning that current House Committee Ranking Members will presumably take over as chairs.  In the case of the House Agriculture Committee, Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MN) will take over the gavel and again become chairman.  House Agriculture Subcommittee leadership could fall to the current ranking members:  Rep. David Scott (D-GA), Commodity, Exchanges, Energy and Credit; Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH), Conservation and Forestry; Rep.
Jim McGovern (D-MA), Nutrition; and Rep. Jim Costa (D-CA), Livestock and Foreign Agriculture.  The two unknowns would be the General Farm Commodities and Risk Management Subcommittee and the Biotechnology, Horticulture and Research Subcommittee as both ranking members, Rep. Rick Nolan (D-MN) and Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM), respectively, are leaving Congress at the end of the current session.
 In the Senate it's expected Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) will keep the head post for the majority and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) will remain Minority Leader.  A new majority whip will be elected by Republicans as current Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) is term-limited and must vacate the seat.  Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) was not up for reelection this cycle and should remain at the head of the committee.  Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) won her re-election and will likely keep her post, as well. 
The outcome of this election will have an impact on USA Rice's legislative priorities, from the Farm Bill to trade.The 2014 Farm Bill expired on September 30.  Now that there is a lame duck 115th Congress, it's critical that a new Farm Bill is passed before the next Congress takes over in January.  If a farm bill is not passed by the end of this year and no extension of the 2014 farm bill is passed, then the legislative process must start all over.  If this is the case, a new Farm Bill final product is destined to look much different in the 116th Congress than what the conferees are currently negotiating.

While it's likely that the Senate bill wouldn't look much different than the bill passed in June of this year, with Republicans maintaining the majority, a bill out of the House with a Democratic majority has the potential to be drastically different.  Rep. Peterson, the presumptive incoming chair of the House Agriculture Committee, has already stated publicly that he does not want to write another bill and is pushing for a conference report to be approved by both chambers before the end of the year. 
In terms of trade, barriers could compromise Congress' approval of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), NAFTA's proposed replacement, due to Democratic concerns with the agreement not containing more enforceable labor standards and environmental protections.Brokering any legislative win for U.S. trade with Cuba is now also up in the air as Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), who secured an amendment in the Senate version of the Farm Bill to allow for agriculture trade promotion program dollars to be used in Cuba, lost her bid for re-election.  It's yet to be seen if this amendment will be included in the conference report.


The stress of hotter temperatures may trigger a response in a plant’s RNA, or ribonucleic acid, part of a cell’s genetic messaging system, according to a new study.
The study with rice plants shows that a sudden increase in temperature led to changes in the structure of the plant’s RNA, which was linked to a loss in the number of its messenger RNAs—or mRNAs. The mRNA molecule is a particular type of RNA, which transfers DNA instructions to the ribosome in a cell during the protein-making process.
Because plants are not able to regulate their own temperatures, as humans do, or move from the heat source, this process may be one of the ways they cope with high temperatures and drought conditions, says Sarah M. Assmann, professor of biology at Penn State.
While more studies are needed, the current work may serve as an important first step in helping farmers produce more heat and drought-resistant crops, researchers say.


“Rice is a staple food for half the world’s population and is particularly important for subsistence agriculture in some parts of the world, so it’s a vital food crop,” says Assmann. “With climate change—and with the goal that we need to increase food production to feed the world’s growing population—we are always trying to understand how plants are responding to climate stress, so, potentially, in the future, we could improve crop varieties, either through breeding or other mechanisms, to get better stress tolerance and better yields.”
The researchers examined more than 14,000 different RNAs to look for changes in the molecules’ intricately folded structures that could signal acute heat stress, says Philip Bevilacqua, professor of chemistry and of biochemistry and molecular biology. Unlike the intertwined double strand—or double helix—of the DNA molecule, RNA is single-stranded.
“Because DNA has two strands, it’s really locked into very few different folds, but RNA, because it is not tied up with another strand, is able to fold back on itself, so there are much more complex folds in the RNA,” says Bevilacqua.


To create heat stress, the researchers subjected one group of two-week old rice seedlings to above normal temperatures—108 degrees Fahrenheit—for just 10 minutes and compared those plants to a control group of plants growing at 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
“We chose such a short time because the refolding of the RNA is a fast process, whereas the downstream processes, such as protein production, are slower and we were particularly interested in how the RNA refolded,” says Bevilacqua.
The researchers found that the folds in the RNA of the plants suffering from heat stress were looser than those in the control group. The unfolding of the mRNA, then, correlated with a loss in the abundance of mRNA, suggesting that mRNA unfolding promotes its degradation, a method that cells use to regulate which genes express and when.
“One of the main things we discovered is that there’s a correlation between the RNAs that tend to unfold at their ends and a reduction in the abundance of those RNAs, and since the RNAs code for proteins you can loosely infer that would then result in a reduction of the encoded proteins, including enzymes and all the myriad functions that proteins perform,” says Assmann.


According to Bevilacqua, this process offers hints on next steps for future research into more heat and drought resistant crops.
“So, if loss of structure results in loss of abundance and if that loss of abundance is not optimal, then you could imagine that we could change the sequences of the ends of the RNA, making them more stable, and, therefore, stabilize the production of those proteins,” he says.
Zhao Su, lead author of the paper, says the study also uncovered new insights into gene regulation.
“This study reveals a new layer of gene regulation that was previously not appreciated,” he says. “In particular, we showed that mRNAs encoding one specific type of regulatory protein, transcription factors, are especially targeted for degradation by unfolding under high temperatures.”
The research will appear in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The National Science Foundation’s Plant Genome Research Program supported the work.
Source: Penn State

Study calls for revisiting of potato pricing model

A study by Rwanda Civil Society Platform calls for revisiting of potato pricing. File.
A study conducted last year has found that the minimum price set for potato farmers was being abused and that the farmers were the victims.
The research was informed by low prices or market issues expressed by farmers for their produce, lack of farmers’ say in setting prices for their produce, and insufficient access to, and use of quality agricultural inputs (seeds, fertilisers, and agro-chemicals such as pesticides for crop protection), which adversely affects farm productivity.
It was commissioned by Rwanda Civil Society Platform (RCSP).
“Even as prices of potatoes increased to between Ref450 and Rwf500 a kilo of Irish potato in Kigali markets as of September 19, 2018, farm gate prices remained at Rwf191,” said Dr Michel Rwibasira, one of the researchers who carried out the study.
Under the theme; “Analysis of Value Chain for Intensified Crops and market price in Rwanda,” the case study: maize, Irish potatoes and rice, the research collected data from 577 respondents from across the three intensified crops (IC) in targeted districts producing such crops (Nyabihu, Musanze, and Burera [for Irish potatoes production]; Gatsibo and Nyagatare in Eastern Province; Ruhango and Gisagara in Southern Province, and Rusizi in Western Province.
Kimironko and Mulindi food markets in Kigali were also surveyed as well as views of consumers.
“Farmers requested that such profits should be redistributed evenly among all people engaged in the potato value chain, including farmers,” he said.
They expressed their dismay for not having a say in what happens to their produce beyond harvesting, especially for Irish potatoes.
“There is a need to have farmer protection mechanisms against what they called unfair pricing; farmers need to be empowered to participate in value chain activities beyond production,” reads part of the study.
The price of a kilo of potatoes to a farmer has been set at between Rwf140 and Rwf170 during peak season by the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MINICOM), after consulting different stakeholders in the business, including farmers’ cooperatives and potato traders. The price depends on the quality and type of potato in question.
However, potato farmers, including Clemence Mukarugwiza of Karago Sector, and Martin Niyibizi from Kintobo Sector both in Nyabuhu District told The New Times that the set prices are sometimes not observed as they even sell as low as Rwf70 a kilo during the harvest period because there is large supply which overweighs the demand.
Currently, they said, a kilogramme of Kinigi potatoes is Rwf180 and Rwf120 to Rwf130 for other varieties.
“We are afraid that during the peak season in December, we will sell a kilogramme at about Rwf70, which is not profitable for us,” Mukarugwiza lamented.
The Rwanda Civil Society Platform Chairperson, Jean Leonard Sekanyange said that when a farmer hears that a kilogramme of potatoes is Rwf500 in Kigali, yet they sold it Rwf180, they think that most of the proceeds are going to the dealer, not the farmer, which demotivates the farmer.
“That is why we request that concerned public institutions should ensure effective mechanisms for compliance with such pricing, and reinforce penalties against those who do not comply,” Sekanyange observed.
“The price should be determined by market forces. When someone sets prices yet they are not the ones to buy the produce, it is sold at a lower price in case of oversupply and few buyers,” he said.
The director of domestic trade at the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MINICOM, Cassien Karangwa said that there were some dishonest potato dealers who wanted to make excess profits from low potato produce that resulted from disasters such as foods that adversely affected farm produce from March this year, and they were selling potatoes at higher prices of Rwf450 and Rwf500.
“We have taken measures to inspect markets and punish such dishonest dealers who hike prices to make undue benefits,” Karangwa said.

Awareness about anti-rice stubble burning to control smog need of hour: Benish
November 8, 2018
Staff Reporter
Additional Secretary Agriculture (Task Force) Benish Fatima Sahi has said that Punjab is on the edge due to environmental pollution. She said that smog causes to effect human health and people have to suffer in case of smog effects.
The Additional Secretary Agriculture (Task Force) said that dense smog has adverse effect for not only human beings but also for the crops. So, it is need of time to disseminate information regarding anti-rice stubble burning among farming community in a more effective and targeted manner.
Benish Fatima stated this while presiding over a meeting to review rice crop situation and its off-season management practices at Rice Research Institute, KalaShah Kaku on Wednesday. High officials of Agriculture Department attended this meeting.
Additional Secretary Agriculture (Task Force) briefed that due to smog, photosynthesis process in leaves of crops is also affected and plants cannot make their necessary food.
Plants, under the effect of smoggy clouds, cannot prepare necessary hormones for its growth and per acre yield of crops may affect due to this situation. He said the government is paying special heed towards Anti-Smog campaign and more than 200 FIRs have been registered against persons who are involved in rice burning incidents.
The spokesman advised instead of burning of rice stubble, farmers should mix the crop residual into the soil through deep plough through rotavator or disc harrow. This year Agriculture Department will monitor & report burning of Rice stubbles incidents on day today basis.
Under section-144, Government of Punjab has imposed ban on burning of crop residuals. Field Assistant of Agriculture Department is monitoring and reporting incident of rice stubble burning to their Divisional Director & Director (M & E) on daily basis.
Researchers and experts also briefed Additional Secretary about departmental activity regarding off-season management of Rice crop.

Nanotube film drowns out battery-killing lithium tentacles

November 5th, 2018

Rice University chemist James Tour, left, graduate student Gladys López-Silva and postdoctoral researcher Rodrigo Salvatierra have come up with a new kind of battery that prevents dendrite growth(Credit: Tour Lab/Rice University​)
Battery researchers are fighting battles on many fronts in their efforts to advance our energy capabilities, and one of those centers on dangly tentacles of lithium called dendrites. These form as a battery charges and quickly degrade their capacity, so scientists are coming at them from all angles in attempts to quash them. New research out of Rice University describes yet another promising possible solution, by working a thin film of carbon nanotubes into the battery design as as way of drowning them out.
Dendrites are microscopic fibers of lithium that form on the anode of lithium-based batteries as they are charged. These become sharp needle-like structures that can pierce the battery's separator and cause it to short circuit, sometimes even resulting in the battery catching fire. One way to restrict their growth is to limit the charge rate of the battery, but with lithium-metal batteries promising much faster charging times and as much as 10 times the capacity of the lithium-ion batteries used widely today, scientists are keen to address the problem.
We have seen experimental versions designed to limit dendrite growth by using Kevlar nanofibers or the potential for entirely new kinds of electrolytes, the chemical solution that carries a battery's charge. In fact, last year the same group of Rice University researchers developed a lithium-metal battery made with asphalt that demonstrated faster charging times, as well as a heightened resistance to dendrite formation.

The team has now taken another step forward by bringing a film made of carbon nanotubes into the mix. This is used to coat the lithium metal anode of the battery, and serves to more effectively drown out the dendrites, kind of like throwing mulch onto a garden bed as a form of weed control. Except this film soaks up lithium ions from the anode and distributes them during charging, all without affecting the charging rates themselves.
"The role of carbon nanotube film is to distribute the lithium deposition, helping to create a smooth layer of lithum with no dendrites," study co-author Rodrigo Salvatierra tells New Atlas. "In that sense, the carbon-nanotube modification does not limit these batteries to slow charging rates. In fact, high rates can be applied for both charge and discharge."

In integrating this new component into the asphalt-lithium metal battery developed last year, the Rice researchers found the film prevented dendrite growth over 580 charging cycles. During this time, the battery's cells maintained 99.8 percent of their coulombic efficiency, and the finished product should also be a littler easier to construct, as Salvatierra explains.
"This works differently from the asphalt-particles in several aspects," he says. "First, we are using a thin carbon nanotube film to modify a solid lithium metal foil, therefore the lithium metal foil and carbon nanotube film are ready to go in a battery. In the asphalt-derived electrodes, lithium metal had to be electrochemically deposited over the particles before the use in the full battery device."
Salvatierra also tells us that this new anode can store three to five times more charge than commercially available versions, and that a fully charged version was stored for a month with "negligible charge loss," which bodes well for its potential use as a long-term energy storage solution.
The team's research was published in the journal Advanced Materials.

Vietnam, Thailand withdraw from bidding to supply 203,000 MT rice to PH
Description: Manila (CNN Philippines, November 6) — Both Thailand and Vietnam refused to participate in the bidding to supply the country with 203,000 metric tons of rice, citing the National Food Authority's (NFA) terms of reference of importation.   According to a letter read by Maria Mercedes Yacapin, Chair of the NFA Committee on Government-to-Government Procurement, Thailand cannot adhere to the terms of reference provided to them on October 31.  
The terms of reference, which enumerates the conditions to be followed by bidders, included reassignments of discharge ports, fumigation conditions and fines for short deliveries.   "Having considered the NFA's condition, we are concerned that the terms of reference even with some amendments as stated in your letter remains difficult for us in terms if compliance," the letter said. 
Thailand's foreign trade department also argued that they have already abided by the terms of reference set on May 16 this year.   Vietnam echoed Thailand's sentiments saying they may not be able to comply with the regulations under the terms of reference.   Vietnam and Thailand, produce an average of 5-8 tons per hectare at P5 to P9 per kilogram, while local farmers produce only 3 to 6 tons at higher costs of ₱11 to ₱14 per kilogram. Authorities have resorted to importing rice from these two countries to lower costs in the market.   However, Yacapin contends that Thailand and Vietnam's withdrawal is not a cause for alarm since they are expecting rice prices to stabilize due to the implemented suggested retail price (SRP). The SRP sets prices of rice at ₱37 to ₱47 per kilogram.  
 She added that they are also expecting 47,000 metric tons of rice to arrive on November 30 from last month's bidding. In an interview with CNN Philippines News Night, National Food  Authority (NFA) spokesperson Gerry Imperial said the countries refused to participate because of the shortness of the delivery period for the staple. He said the first 250,000 metric tons import of rice is expected to be delivered to the markets by the end of December. Imperial added rice supply will still be sufficient even without the supply of the said countries.
 "Yes, there is enough supply, and kasalukuyan tayong umaani. Although tumama si 'Ompong' at 'Rosita' sa northern part of Luzon, di naman naapektuhan ang isa sa rice granary natin na Region IV and other rice-producing provinces in Central Luzon," Imperial said. [Translation:Yes, there is enough supply, and we're currently harvesting. Although typhoons Ompong and Rosita hit parts of Northern Luzon, they have not affected one of our rice granary which is Region IV, and other rice-producing provinces in Central Luzon.]
Deal with Philippines eyed for rice commercialisation
Description: By JEFFREY ELAPA The signing of a memorandum-of-agreement (MoA) between Papua New Guinea and Philippines on Nov 16 will herald the beginning of rice commercialisation in PNG, both countries say. Agriculture and Livestock Minister Benny Allan and Philippines Ambassador Bien V Tejano asserted this during a visit to the Pacific Adventist University rice model farm outside Port Moresby yesterday, which will have its first harvest next month.
 The signing will be done between agriculture ministers of the two countries while Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte and Prime Minister Peter O’Neill will witness at the PAU farm. Duterte will be in PNG for the Apec leaders’ summit at that time. Initial discussions were made by the leaders of the two countries during Apec 2017 in Vietnam, and a State visit by O’Neill to the Philippines this year. After the initial discussion, 19 technical officers from department of agriculture of Philippines started an initial rice modelling research station at PAU, which will become a seed bank centre for rice in the region and the country.
 Allan said four different types of rice varieties would be trialled at PAU and distributed throughout Central and PNG. He said the centre would also be used to train rice farmers. Allan said there were already investors from the Philippines ready to invest in rice farming in the country, with the agreement opening up the floodgates. “This is a good project to set the tone for rice growing in PNG on a bigger economic scale to meet the local demand and even to export and supply the Philippines population of 150 million people,” he said. “The MoA of Nov 16 will set that course for rice production, seen as a food security issue for this country.” Tejano said the water, climate and soil was conducive for paddy rice farming in the country. He said the project would expand throughout Central and the Southern Region.
Tejano said PNG imported 400 tonnes of rice annually at a cost of K500 million while the Philippines need eight million tonnes of rice to feed 150 million people. He said most of that rice was imported from Thailand and Vietnam but that could change with PNG coming into the picture. Tejano said the project could feed the people of PNG within three years as it only needed 18,000ha, with more land available. He said rice production would reduce the price of rice, retain foreign currency, bring in more revenue, address food security and provide job employment opportunities.

Rice thefts worry farmers amid high prices

Description: C:\Users\Mujahid\Downloads\Rice thefts worry farmers amid high prices _ Bangkok Post_ news_files\c1_1571650_620x413.jpg
A farmer in Muang district in Chayaphum province dries his rice outdoor to reduce moisture. (Photo by Makkawan Wannakul)
Farmers are putting up their guard against rice thefts after several cases have been reported this year in the wake of high prices.
Noosin Damri, a farmer in Warin Chamrap district of Ubon Ratchathani province, on Monday lodged a complaint at the Huay Khayung police station. She claimed 16 bags of Hom Mali rice paddy weighing about 450kg had been stolen from her granary. (continues below)
Description: C:\Users\Mujahid\Downloads\Rice thefts worry farmers amid high prices _ Bangkok Post_ news_files\2981726.jpg
Noosin Damri, a farmer in Ubon Ratchathani province, is a victim of rice thefts this year. (Photo by Nila Singkhiri)
She told police that she had heard the sound of a motorcycle leaving her house around 1.30am and suspected it could be the vehicle used by the thieves.
The loss was estimated at 6,000 baht or more based on the current prices of between 13,800 and 17,500 baht per tonne, according to a recent joint survey by the Commerce Ministry and the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry.
"That paddy won't make them rich. What they did to me was a sin," Ms Noosin said.
Huay Khayung police found only two pairs of sneakers and motorcycle tyre traces near her barn.
This year is a good year for farmers. Paddy prices have fetched high prices due to drought in the lower northeastern provinces which diminishes supply while the demand remains high, the Office of Agriculture Economics has said.
The prices of Hom Mali rice paddy from August to September were quoted at 13,800-17,500 baht a tonne, up from 11,550-14,250 baht a year earlier. The prices of 5% white rice paddy were 7,500-8,000 baht a tonne, up from 7,300-7,8000 baht.
The good news stokes worries about rice thefts. Officials in Chaiyaphum, Amnat Charoen, Roi Et and Nong Khai provinces, as well as those in other areas, have urged farmers to be vigilant when drying their produce, a common practice aimed at fetching better prices when the grain is sold to rice mills. Rice paddy with lower moisture content is normally sold for higher prices. (continued below)
Description: C:\Users\Mujahid\Downloads\Rice thefts worry farmers amid high prices _ Bangkok Post_ news_files\2981730.jpg
A tent for farmers to guard their rice is seen near a village ground in Muang district of Chayaphum province. (Photo by Makkawan Wannakul)
In Chaiyaphum's Muang district, farmers have to take turns guarding their paddy dried on school football fields, temple lawns and village roads.
"We volunteer to guard our rice around the clock," Fok Promyaem, a farmer of tambon Cheelong, said.
Samran Boonpriem, who has rice fields at Ban Khai in tambon Ban Khai, said her family, including her husband and sons, stayed outdoor near the village ground at night to make sure the family's paddy was safe.
"Sometimes, we can hardly sleep. Whenever we hear vehicles coming nearby, we wake up and turn on the flashlight," she said.
Chaiyaphum police chief Pol Maj Gen Sompot Khomprang said all police stations in the provinces are working with farmers by stepping up their patrol duty, targeting strangers in villages who might be rice thieves.