Monday, November 19, 2018

17th November,2018 Daily Global Regional Local Rice E-Newsletter

19th November,2018 Daily Global Regional Local Rice E-Newsletter

Sepik eyes large-scale rice production

BY: Sally Pokiton
08:56, November 18, 2018
1050 reads
East Sepik Governor Allan Bird and the government of Philippines, through its Embassy in Port Moresby, are in discussions to move the development of a rice project in the Sepik Plains.
This follows an MoU Agricultural Cooperation signing between the two countries on Friday (November 16th) at the PAU rice demo farm.
The MoU paves way for the two countries to move forward in commercial rice production, with technical assistance to come from the Philippines.
Governor Bird said the interest of rice farming and production in his province is quite extensive and wants to capture that opportunity and to develop it jointly with the Filipinos.
“The largest rice technology, science around rice and all that is actually owned by the Philippines, and it makes sense for us to partner with them, given the large land we have.
“For us, rice is not really a food security issue, for us, Sepiks prefer to eat sago, they prefer to eat yams, bananas, sweet potatoes, cassava so it will purely be a commercial exercise for us.
“They’ve (Philippines) sent their experts to East Sepik, they’ve tested the soils, they’ve set the satellite over the Sepik plains to have a look, they’ve figured out where the best place is to grow rice.
“We are just waiting for this signing,” Governor Bird said.
In East Sepik, small scale rice production has started in the Angoram area and is already being sold in shops in Wewak.
“We know something about growing rice on a small scale subsistence level, but we don’t have the expertise as a country to do large scale commercial plantation, and this is where it’s important for us, with the signing of this agreement that gives access to their technology, it also enables them to bring in experts,” he said.
The first trial will be done in Wosera, and landowners are ready.
“We have about 300 hectares, that’s just for the next stage of trial. But we’re looking to grow hundreds of thousands of hectares of rice,” Governor Bird added.
Philippines imports rice from Vietnam, Thailand, Pakistan and India, but with their growing population and the demand for rice, they might not have enough to feed their own and export.
It is now looking to PNG to assist through such agricultural cooperation.
Philippine Secretary of Agriculture Emmanuel Pinol said the target for Papua New Guinea now through that cooperation is to be able to cultivate about 100,000 hectares within the next years.
“But we will go beyond that, Governor Allan has offered a large amount of land in the East Sepik.
“In the Philippines, the rice grown would have between 30 to 40 tillers, here in PNG we have 50-60 tillers.
“We are projecting that we could easily hit eight to ten metric tons per hectare, in the Philippines we are only producing four to six metric tons,” Pinol added.

Irga—a flood resistant paddy variety

  • Nov 17 2018, 23:39pm ist
  • updated: Nov 18 2018, 00:20am ist
Irga variety of paddy.
Paddy farmers in undivided Dakshina Kannada district suffer from less yield, the Zonal Agricultural and Horticultural Research Station, in Brahmavar have taken up an initiative to introduce flood resistant rice variety ‘Irga’ to the paddy fields in Udupi.
Farmers normally cultivate MO4 variety of paddy in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts. However, this variety can not withstand the stagnation of flood water during heavy rainfall. As a result, farmers reap less yield. “The Irga variety can resist the flood and is suitable for this region. We are mulling over introducing this variety on a large scale next year,” said Dr Sridevi Jakkeral, scientist of Zonal Agricultural and Horticultural Research Station.
The Irga rice variety will help in farmers in getting good yield. The paddy seedlings grow 10 cm height.
The paddy will be ready for harvest within 130 to 135 days of transplantation. Farmers can reap about 40 quintal to 50 quintal of yield per hectare. Compared to other variety, the farmers can also get more quantity of paddy straw.
The straw from Irga is nutritious for the cattle, said Dr Sridevi.
She said, her team had taken up extensive study on Irga variety. The germplasm lines were brought from Philippines to invent this paddy species. Seeds of this variety were distributed among 20 farmers on a trial basis this year who cultivated rice on flood-affected areas. The saplings were not damaged as they could resist the flood for eight days.
Farmers had been demanding an alternative to MO4 variety of rice in the region. Irga rice is more tastier compared to MO4. The quantity of water required for cooking the rice is also less.
International Rice Research Institute, Philippines will shortly submit a certificate explaining the genetics of this variety of rice. The variety is suitable for the topography of Udupi and Dakshina Kannada. The paddy stalks of Irga variety grows around 95 cm long and bunch of rice in stalks remain intact.

Oxfam Formally Launches Blockchain Platform for Rice Farmers in Cambodia
Description: has launched a blockchain project for farmers dubbed BloCRice, which seeks to increase the bargaining power of farmers by digitally connecting every player in the supply chain on one platform, local Cambodian news outlet reports. Based on the report, the new platform will leverage on smart contracts to build digital agreements between organic farmers and exporters of rice in Cambodia and their buyers in the Netherlands. Solinn Lim, country director of International charity Oxfam in Cambodia, was quoted by the news outlet saying: “BlocRice promotes the use of such digital contracts as tools for social and economic empowerment. The application of blockchain technology is expected to enhance the negotiation power of small-scale farmers in their rice value chains, who are usually poor primary producers.” The blockchain platform, which is still in the pilot phase, is being implemented in partnership with organic farmers in Preah Vihrear province, which forms part of the country’s international borders with Thailand and Laos. Popular Dutch rice cracker manufacturer SanoRice will also participate in the pilot phase, the outlet noted.
According to a brochure from Oxfam, BloCRice will bring increased automation and visibility to individual farmers, which should allow them to set higher prices for their produce. “All actors, from the agricultural cooperatives up to SanoRice, will have a shared, digital contract. During the process, from planting to the manufacturing of rice crackers, the chain actors will share information with each other through their shared database powered by blockchain,” Solin went on further to add. Oxfam is also working with local Acleda bank to introduce cashless payments services to farmers so they can transact faster than they currently do.
 Earlier this year, Alipay’s parent company Ant Financial partnered with Wuchang municipal government in China to use blockchain to stop counterfeit rice from entering the local market. The blockchain was also used to shorten the timeline for the distribution of Wuchang Rice across the country, “shortening the original delivery time of 3-7 days to less than 2 days,” a local Chinese news outlet had stated.
 Date: 17-Nov-2018

Natural farming – the key to long-term sustainability
Description: our ancient history, agriculture was one of the most highly regarded occupations in Sri Lanka. Among the varying communities, the farmers were the highest respected. This shows the importance given to agriculture and food security in people’s daily lives compared to other professions. Even the ancient kings who constructed and maintained irrigation systems in the dry zone were venerated for their contribution to sustaining agriculture. In the hill country of Sri Lanka, valley bottoms were irrigated during dry periods through canals that collected spring water into hill slopes. Hills performed the function of reservoirs and helped to manage watersheds. Therefore, the thick forest that covered hilltops was never destroyed and as a result, it helped to prevent soil erosion and regulate water flow. he rice farming soils, as well as the agroecosystem, was a co-evolved system that maintained its production potential for literally thousands of years. Modern history demonstrates that the great soil capital of this nation was practically lost with the advent of colonial plantation agriculture. Then in the middle of the last century, Sri Lanka adapted (what was called) the “Green Revolution” in favour of high-yield farming. As a part of the Green Revolution, scientists developed new varieties of seeds which changed the way agriculture was carried by the Sri Lankan farmers for centuries. To produce a good yield from these varieties of seeds and prevent pest attacks, chemical fertilizers for the soil and pesticides were also introduced. The farmers were pressurized not only to buy these seeds but also to invest in fertilizers and pesticides. They were given loans for the initial investment into the crop. The interest rates and the other expenditure further put the farmers into a cycle of debts. It nearly took four decades for our farming community to become aware of the dangers. They realised that complete dependence of high input seeds and fertilizers had robbed them of crop independence. With the advent of the “Green Revolution,” they lost their interest and ability to independently manage their farms and over the years, they were beginning to lose their indigenous farming knowledge and practices. Indian experience In the past decade, India has done a fair number of research programmes preparing retrospections of their adapted Green Revolution, its achievement and limits in terms of agricultural productivity improvement and its effect on the environment. Indian experience revealed that although the output has increased tremendously, it has given rise to numerous ecological problems, such as waterlogging, soil erosion, lowering of underground water table, soil, water and air pollution, the decline in soil fertility and the emergence of several diseases and health hazards. 
New revolution Therefore, the main point faced by us today is how the country can move towards a new green revolution which demands people to produce and consume responsibly. It doesn’t mean going back thousand years, but having a combination of what nature can offer together with scientific knowledge which will guarantee a healthier, sustainable, human-friendly farming which will be and more acceptable. In order to do it, we need to restore the time-tested soil and agricultural practices of Sri Lanka. But how? This writer agrees with Dr. Ranil Senanayake, environmental scientist, when he says that there are only two methods. One is the re-training of farmers on the management of their lands without a heavy energy and toxin input. The other is to build back the fertility of farming soils so that the natural productivity is re-established.

According to Dr. Senanayake, we have no national plans for transitioning towards optimal production with little or no external inputs, and the ignorance of that practice has led to the guardians of our agriculture policy, planning and implementation to just rely on the distribution of more of the addictive fertilizer.
He further adds: “When soil loses its tree cover and the inputs of organic matter to feed the living organisms within the soil, the fertility goes down, and the overall plant health of the soil loses its cohesive strength. The loss of cohesive strength accelerates erosive processes which are brought about through the loss of soil binding agents.” He also recommends solutions to this problem.
One is the addition of composts and deep-rooted plants, another is by immunising with cultured soil bacteria, and the third solution is by incorporating ‘green manure’ that is grown as a preparatory crop before tilling. In addition, there are many commercial companies and farmers in Sri Lanka and abroad with a long experience of soil building and organic production. Dr. Senanayake states that there are many examples of farms in Sri Lanka that have moved away from the chemical farming regimes to organic farming regimes with no loss of crop.
 FoundationAny action must begin a national consciousness and awareness programme. First of all, the real connection between food and health should be reinforced among the people. This could be done by a national school-wide education programme and an adult education programme via media. It may be a good idea if we can create a National Foundation for a long-term eco-initiative to protect natural resources of land, soil, water and vegetation. It needs to be a public-private enterprise. The Foundation can help farmers develop their crop and become economically self-reliant by organising regular innovative agricultural workshops.
 They must be trained to choose indigenous seeds and crops which are best suited to the local soil and climate. They must be further trained to develop, dry, preserve, store and pack seeds for use by other farmers as well. In the initial stages, the programme can facilitate interaction with farmers and public to apprise them of the causes for the decline in crop productivity, escalation in production costs resulting in higher consumer prices.

The seminars, lectures and demonstrations can create awareness in farmers about the dangers in chemical farming. The Foundation can go further in search of remedial solutions for some of the major environmental degradation factors in the experiments with the farmers and also scientists. Appropriate training programmes on chemical-free and zero budget agriculture have yielded positive results in India and a number of Far East countries.
There is no doubt that Sri Lanka can accomplish the same success if implemented in a well-planned and organised manner. In 2016, the Government started an ambitious three-year agricultural plan to build a toxin-free nation. The plan reimagined the country’s agricultural future based on the principles of agroecology: an approach which prioritizes sustainable and people-centred practices over corporate profit. However, the Government’s commitment has not been translated into a national policy.
It resulted in a significant division between those who support smallholder-led agroecology and those committed to agribusiness policies, including the use of chemicals. As a result, the project has not effectively materialised. Multi-institutional support However, to make a natural farming initiative sustainable, an integrated approach to improving soil fertility and productivity is required.
The Government should take a policy decision in this regard to take the initiative and provide the necessary policy support. The Government’s support will be greatly welcomed by the farming community but the bottleneck will be the need for transferring the technology of processing. To make the farmers manage their own units and get into marketing themselves is the true challenge. We need to facilitate interfacing of the production process with the processing and marketing of agricultural produce. The next will be to support the creation of models within each agroecosystem.
 Ideally, this work should be done by a committee consisting of Agriculture Ministry, Department, NGOs and farmer groups. In parallel, there should be the encouragement of companies who can provide biological inputs for sustainable agriculture and for companies who can market or export organic products. There also should be a liaison between the EDB, Sri Lankan Standards Institute, organic certifiers and other institutions authorised to issue a certification of toxin-free products. 

National research center eyes expanding rice culture
Description: National research center eyes expanding rice cultureA Japanese expert assisting women rice breeders in Fogera National Rice Center

National research center eyes expanding rice culture

17 November 2018
By Birhanu Fikade
The newly built National Rice Research and Training Center has commenced operations to expand the production and consumption of rice in Ethiopia.
Inaugurated on Thursday, the Fogera Rice Research and Training Center, some 60 kilometers west of Bahir Dar city in northern Ethiopia was built with an investment outlay of some 200 million birr mostly funded by the Government of Japan. The center is tasked to spearhead rice culture across Ethiopia.
Gedu Andargachew, president of the Amhara Regional State said that “currently 80 percent of the 1.5 million quintals of rice produced in the region has capacitated the likes of farmers in Fogera to reap yields from rice fields which once were swampy and simply disregarded as non-utilizable and productive. Out of the 53,000 hectares of rice fields cultivated, 75 percent is the share of the region,” the president said. Yet, according to national agricultural data, some 30 million hectares of land identified as suitable for rice farming and the potential of the country remains untapped.
Kaba Urgessa (PhD), state minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources, said that “Ethiopia has imported some 300,000 tons of rice costing USD 200 million last year.” Rice consumption is steadily growing and local production is yet sluggish to meet the growing demands. For that, Mandefro Nigussie (PhD), director general of the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research alerted the need for more expanded local production with a view to substitute ever growing import bills; and by extension, to meet nutritional requirements.
Rice is a highly consumed agricultural commodity globally. It was introduced to Ethiopia as early as 1970s. Yet, it is only recently that rice was recognized at least in the research community. At its 33 hectares expanse (farmers provided the land), Along with the Fogera rice center; 35 verities of rice, nationwide, have been bred suitable for highland, lowland and irrigated farms.
For Kiyoshi Shiratori, a senior extension advisor with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) said that the challenge in rice farming in Ethiopia is going to be market oriented. He sees lack of rice breeders and millers as a critical issue and when added the lack of local rice experts and researchers, it means a lot hindrance to rice cultivation in Ethiopia.
Apart from foodies, rice has already been customized to the customs and traditions of communities as observed in Fogera, a small local town. Households now can ferment and distill alcoholic beverages from rice. Japan is well known for its Sakiaka rice wine. Tela, a local beer made from rice is also among the verities served during the inauguration of Fogera rice center. The most popular in Fogera and perhaps in many parts of the country – rice mixed injera (staple bread, baked from a tiny super grain called teff) is a trending food culture. During a sideline exhibition, demonstration on how the popular Japanese rice popcorn was made with a tiny pressure blowing machine was shown.

Direct banking channels vital to enhance trade between Pakistan, Russia

Parvez JabriNovember 16, 2018
LAHORE: Pakistan and Russian trade can be enhanced to a record high level if direct banking channels were established between the two countries.
These views were expressed by Russian Ambassador to Pakistan Mr Alexey Yuievich Dedov while talking to the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and industry (LCCI) President Almas Hyder, Senior Vice President Khawaja Shahzad Nasir, Vice President Fahim-ur-Rehman Saigal and Executive Committee members here at the chamber.
To a question, the Russian ambassador said that if the direct banking channels were set up, the trade volume could be further enhanced.
LCCI President Almas Hyder said that among the overall import and export destinations of Pakistan, Russia came at 31st and 32nd places, respectively.
It was encouraging to see that our bilateral trade relations were consistently improving.
He said that Pakistan was exporting citrus fruit, articles of apparel, rice, woven fabric, hosiery items, sports goods, and home textiles etc to Russia.
The major imports from Russia to Pakistan were dried vegetables, newsprint, coal, synthetic rubber and ferrous waste and scrap of iron or steel etc.

In Brief This Week: Biocartis, CHOP, Agilent, and More

Nov 16, 2018
NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Belgian MDx firm Biocartis said this week that it is adjusting its guidance for 2018, increasing its projection for new instrument placements and narrowing its expectation for cartridge volume. The firm said it saw continued strong growth in its installed base in the third quarter, with the US leading Idylla instrument placements. As a result, the company increased its guidance for the full year to 300 new instrument placements, up from a range of 250 to 275 that it reported at the end of the first half of 2018.
Commercial cartridge volume for the first nine months of 2018 also doubled year-over-year, the firm said. Based on that performance, the company narrowed its full-year guidance to 130,000 - 135,000 commercial cartridges, an approximately 90 percent increase over 2017.
Among other recent milestones, the company said it is seeing promising initial market adoption of its Idylla MSI assay — launched as a research-use-only product in July — and is on track to claim a CE-mark for the assay early next year. The firm also highlighted its joint venture with Wondfo to commercialize Idylla products in mainland China. According to Biocartis, the venture will be owned 50-50 by itself and Wondfo and initial activities will be focused on the local manufacturing, commercialization, and regulatory registration of existing Idylla products for colorectal and lung cancer.
Biocartis continues to expect to file premarket authorization documentation with the US Food and Drug Administration for its Idylla RAS test towards end 2019, subject to feedback from the FDA. It expects to launch a liquid biopsy version of the Idylla EGFR mutation test in the first half of 2019, and said that the CE-IVD kit version of Genomic Health's Oncotype Dx test will be launched in the second half of next year.
It ended the quarter with an unaudited $91.6 million, and expects to end the year with $62.2 million.

The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia said this week that computational biologist Yi Xing has launched the Center for Computational and Genomic Medicine, using computational biology research to inform new projects in wet laboratories. Specifically, CHOP said, Xing aims to leverage recent advancements in sequencing technology and computational biology to drive new discoveries in diagnosing and treating pediatric diseases. The center will recruit new faculty members, focusing on experts who are adept at using existing technology and can develop new genomic technologies or computational tools.
Xing's own laboratory will continue to investigate cancer immunotherapy, and he also expects to develop a focus on genetic diseases. His long-term research goal is investigating how variation in RNA processing and regulation affects human health and disease.

Agilent Technologies this week declared a quarterly dividend of $.16 per share of common stock, payable on Jan. 23, 2019, to all shareholders of record on Dec. 31, 2018.

IntegraGen announced this week that it plans to collaborate with Google Cloud to implement IntegraGen’s genomic analysis tools Sirius and Mercury into the Google Cloud Platform. This collaboration will facilitate important genomics research projects and aid in the analysis of sequencing data, enhancing the adoption of personalized approaches to medical care, the company said. Mercury is a biological interpretation tool for oncology designed to help pathologists and oncologists transform raw high-throughput sequencing data into a clinical molecular report for diagnostic and clinical use. Sirius provides researchers with ease of use and speed of analysis despite considerable volumes of data being analyzed.

Helomics and Genomics England announced this week that Helomics will utilize the de-identified genomics and clinical data set for the 100,000 Genomes Project to further develop its artificial intelligence-based precision oncology platform for ovarian cancer. Helomics said it also plans to collaborate with other companies to turn its research findings into treatments and diagnostics.

Celcuity this week reported a net loss of $1.9 million, or $.18 per share, for the third quarter of 2018, compared to a net loss of $1.8 million, or $.26 per share, for the third quarter of 2017. On an adjusted basis, the firm's net loss for Q3 was $.15 per share.
The Minneapolis, Minnesota-based cellular analysis company did not report revenues. It is commercializing diagnostic tests designed to improve the clinical outcomes of cancer patients treated with targeted therapies.
Celcuity Chairman and CEO Brian Sullivan said in a statement that the firm is getting ready to implement a clinical trial agreement inked in October with Puma Biotechnology and the West Cancer Center. The trial will evaluate the efficacy of Puma’s pan-HER inhibitor Nerlynx (neratinib) in early stage triple-negative breast cancer patients who have hyperactive HER2 signaling tumors identified by Celcuity's CELx HSF Test. The trial administrators anticipate enrolling up to 27 patients beginning in early 2019. Celcuity said it expects to obtain interim results in 10 to 12 months after the first patient is enrolled and final results within 18 to 24 months.
The firm is continuing to advance the development of its CELx Signaling Function tests for breast cancer and two new tissue types, Sullivan said. Celcuity is also engaged in a clinical trial in collaboration with Genentech and the NSABP Foundation, he added.
For Q3, the firm's R&D expenses were up 14 percent to $1.6 million compared to $1.4 million for the prior-year quarter, and its general and administrative expenses rose 229 percent to $376,796 from $164,665.
As of Sept.  30, Celcuity had cash, cash equivalents, and investments of $26.7 million.

Immunovia said this week that four additional North American familial pancreatic cancer sites have joined the firm's PanFAM-1 prospective study investigating the early diagnosis of hereditary risk of pancreatic cancer in high-risk individuals. The new participating centers are the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Massachusetts, and Yale University.
Started in 2016, PanFAM-1 is designed to validate Immunovia’s blood-based test IMMray PanCan-d and will analyze more than 2,000 individuals over three years across sites in Europe and the US that already offer FPC screening programs. An interim analysis is planned for the end of 2019 with an interventional phase planned for completion in 2021, Immunovia said. The company is also running a study for another recently identified high-risk group, new onset diabetics older than 50 years of age.

GenomOncology announced this week that its proprietary match algorithm and Knowledge Management System application programming interface suite were selected by the Indiana University School of Medicine to provide real-time clinical trial recommendations to clinical researchers for the benefit of IU patients. GenomOncology's informatics-based service will help IU's clinical research teams discover and evaluate potential clinical trials.
The GO KMS API suite enables precision health approaches by allowing researchers to aggregate and analyze biomarker-based data within a genomics-aware framework that includes a diverse set of annotations including genes, pathways, drugs, alterations, transcripts, and diseases, the company said. GO's KMS clinical trial database contains more than 2,900 clinical trials curated by the My Cancer Genome team for comprehensive clinical reporting.

The International Rice Research Institute recently announced that it has formed a collaboration with German plant bioinformatics firm Computomics to advance rice breeding. Under the terms of the deal, the partners will apply Computomics' next-generation sequencing data analysis technologies to IRRI's rice phenotypic, genotypic, grain quality, progeny, and environmental datasets to rank potential new cross breeds and varieties based on traits such as increased yield, improved nutritional content, and stress tolerance. IRRI said it will produce, test, and develop high-scoring varieties using its germplasm and the resources of its International Rice Genebank. Computomics will be able to use data from IRRI's field tests to improve its algorithms.

‘Rice Tariffication bill gives farmers a fighting chance’
posted November 16, 2018 at 11:40 pm by Macon Ramos-Araneta
Filipino farmers will have a fighting chance against farmers from neighboring ASEAN countries as cheaper rice will start flooding the market, according to Senator Cynthia Villar, principal author of the Rice Tariffication Bill, which was approved on third and final reading.
“I will not agree to liberalize the importation (of rice) without any help because they (farmers) will be the losers,” Villar said.
Talo tayo ng Vietnam at Thailand in terms of competitiveness. So we have to help our farmers to be competitive as soon as possible,” added Villar, who chairs the Senate agriculture and food committee.
“That’s why we need additional funds and programs to help our farmers mechanize and ultimately lower the cost of producing palay,” she said.
The Senate on Wednesday passed on third reading the bill which provides support to farmers projected to be adversely affected by the lifting of the quantitative restriction on the importation of rice.
With a vote of 14 affirmative, 0 negative and 0 abstention, senators approved Senate Bill 1998 or the bill which amends Republic Act 8178 or the Agricultural Tariffication Act and replaces the quantitative import restriction on rice with tariffs.
Villar said “a package of support programs is incorporated in the bill to make sure that Filipino farmers will be competitive with farmers from neighboring countries.”
According to Villar, the bill creates the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund or Rice Fund consisting of an annual appropriation of P10 billion for the next six years following the approval of this act.
The Rice Fund will be allocated to rice-producing areas and will be earmarked as follows: 50 percent shall be released to and implemented by the Philippine Center for PostHarvest Development and Mechanization as grant in aid to eligible farmers’ associations, registered rice cooperatives and local government units in the form of rice farm equipment, such as tillers, tractors, seeders, threshers, rice planters, harvesters, irrigation pumps, small solar irrigation, reapers, driers, millers, and the like, for purposes of improving farm mechanization; 30 percent  shall be released to and implemented by the Philippine Rice Research Institute and shall be used for the development, propagation and promotion of inbred rice seeds to rice farmers and the organization of rice farmers into seed growers associations and/or cooperatives engaged in seed production and trade; 10 percent shall be made available in the form of credit facility with minimal interest rates and with minimum collateral requirements to rice farmers and cooperatives, to be managed equally by the Land Bank of the Philippines and the Development Bank of the Philippines;
Ten percent (10%) shall be made available for the extension services provided by PhilMech, PhilRice, Agricutural Training Institute and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority for teaching skills on rice crop production, modern rice farming techniques, seed production, farm mechanization and knowledge/ technology transfer through farm schools nationwide as follows: 70% to TESDA, 10% each to ATI, PhilRice and PhilMech.
Villar said the bill gives preferential attention to rice farmers, cooperatives and associations adversely affected by the tariffication of the quantitative import restriction on rice.
The bill also allocates tariff revenues in excess of P10 billion to the Rice Farmer Financial Assistance program which will compensate rice farmers who are projected to lose farm income arising from tariffication.
A portion of the excess tariff will also be allocated for titling of agricultural rice lands, expanded crop insurance on rice, and crop diversification program.

Rice tariffication bill includes support for Filipino farmers —Sen. Villar

Published November 16, 2018 11:57am
Updated November 16, 2018 12:20pm
Farmers who will bear the brunt of imported rice once the rice tariffication bill is enacted will get a package of support under the measure, Senator Cynthia Villar said Friday.
This support package of support is incorporated in the bill to make sure that Filipino farmers will have a fighting chance against farmers of neighboring countries, said Villar, chairperson of the Senate agriculture and food committee and principal sponsor of the bill.
Inexpensive rice is expected to flood the market once the law is in place.
“I will not agree na mag-liberalize ang importation na walang tulong sa farmer kasi talo talaga tayo. Talo tayo ng Vietnam at Thailand in terms of competitiveness. So we have to help our farmers to be competitive as soon as possible,” the senator said in a statement.
“That’s why we need additional funds and programs to help our farmers mechanize and ultimately lower the cost of producing palay,” she added.
The bill creates the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund or Rice Fund consisting of an annual appropriation of P10 billion for the next six years after the measure has been approved.
The Rice Fund will be allocated to rice producing areas and earmarked as follows:
  • 50 percent to the Philippine Center for PostHarvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) as grant in aid of eligible farmers’ associations, registered rice cooperatives and local government units
  • 30 percent to the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) for developing, propagating, and promoting inbred rice seeds and organizing rice farmers into seed growers associations and cooperatives
  • 10 percent to a credit facility with minimal interest rates and collateral requirements managed by Land Bank of the Philippines and Development Bank of the Philippines for rice farmers and cooperatives
  • 10 percent to PhilMech, PhilRice, Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) for teaching skills in rice production, modern rice farming, seed production, farm mechanization, and knowledge and technology transfer through farm schools nationwide
Seventy percent of the skills training fund will go to TESDA and 10 percent each to ATI, PhilRice, and PhilMech.
Villar said the bill focuses on rice farmers, cooperatives, and associations adversely affected by rice tariffication.
The bill also allocates tariff revenues in excess of P10 billion to the Rice Farmer Financial Assistance program to compensate rice farmers who will lose income as a result of the measure.
A portion of the excess tariff will be allocated to titling rice lands, expanded crop insurance, and crop diversification program.
Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto earlier said senators made sure that the bill will mandate all duties collected from imported rice be plowed back to farmers.
“The result is a 100-percent plowback rate. Everything will be returned to the farmers. They will get all the dividends to compensate for their losses, which I think will never be enough,” Recto said. —VDS, GMA News

Opposition Alleges Irregularities In Paddy Procurement

Edited By Devbrat Patnaik |  Last updated Nov 17, 2018 - 23:55:11
Bhubaneswar: The Opposition put the State government on the backfoot on the second day of the winter session when it revealed that crores of rupees were embezzled in paddy sale as middlemen were involved in the paddy procurement.
Both Congress and BJP members alleged the State government of exploiting farmers by delaying disbursal of bonus and input subsidy. They also raised the sharecroppers’ issues in the House.
Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra stated that rampant corruption has occurred in the paddy purchase by the government.
As per the charges, instead of farmers, middlemen carried paddy sacks to rice mills in two wheelers and vehicles, some of which did not have registration numbers.
“Paddy has been carried to millers from societies in two-wheelers and other vehicles having no registration number. This clearly exposes misappropriation of crores of rupees and the corruption the state government is involved in,” said Mishra.
For instance, he claimed that a motorcycle with registration number OR17G8519 was seen carrying 22 tonnes paddy to Bishnu Rice Mill from Sarasa Cooperative Society on May 30. Similarly, 23 tonnes of paddy were carried on another motorcycle having registration number OR15L3598.
Mishra even demanded that the Chief Minister should stage an agitation in New Delhi if he thinks he is so concerned for the farmers and wants a hike in the minimum support price (MSP) for paddy.
Meanwhile, BJP MLA Pradip Purohit said, “This government is concerned about millers only. During the reign of this government, farmers are not getting their due price, prestige and pension. Living in worse condition, they are forced to commit suicide.”
On the other hand, the ruling-BJD claimed in the House that the Opposition is trying to politicise the farmers’ issues.
“We have not done anything to hurt the interests of farmers,” said Pradeep Maharathy, Agriculture Minister.
Later in the day, the Congress created a ruckus by expressing dissatisfaction over the Maharathy’s reply during an adjournment motion discussion.

Only 1 miller for paddy procurement

 There are not enough millers in Jagatsinghpur district to procure paddy from farmers and custom mill them to produce rice.
Published: 18th November 2018 02:49 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th November 2018 11:20 AM  |  A+A A-
By Express News Service
JAGATSINGHPUR: There are not enough millers in Jagatsinghpur district to procure paddy from farmers and custom mill them to produce rice. This crop season, the Civil Supply department has fixed the paddy procurement target at 74, 411,76 MT but only one miller has come forward to mill the stock. The department aims at producing  50,600 MT rice from the procured paddy. 
Sources said even as the procurement target has been fixed, the department has not initiated any measures to rope in more millers until now. 
As many as 33,443 farmers have registered their names in the paddy procurement automation system to sell paddy in kharif marketing season. The district requires 40 millers to lift the targeted amount of paddy but there is only one miller, informed Civil Supply officials at the paddy procurement meeting held here on Friday. Although the department has sought intervention of the State Government for selection of millers for the district, nothing has been done so far.
This year, 105 paddy procurement centres will be opened and procurement would begin from December 7. Civil Supply officials said 21 millers from districts nearby Jagatsinghpur were roped in last year to procure paddy from farmers as a result of which, farmers could not sell their stock and had to resort to distress sale.  Farmers are apprehensive that a similar situation will arise this year too due to non-availability of millers.
District Civil Supply Officer Dillip Kumar Patra said the department has sought intervention of the State Government towards selection of adequate number of millers in the district.
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Nigeria’s rice self-sufficiency target jinxed


Rice farming plagued by insecurity, flooding

Nigeria to become world’s 2nd biggest importer of rice in 2019

Local rice not competitive
Anchor borrowers hijacked by politicians   Herdsmen attacks in could led to food insecurity –Ortom

Rice farmers in Nigeria have reported a drop in output since last year due to a combination of higher input costs, insecurity and widespread flooding in the main growing regions. At the same time, people are giving up traditional coarse grains in favour of imported rice as the country’ population is set to hit 200 million. PAUL OGBUOKIRI writes on these and other factors that have combined to continue to make the Federal Government’s rice self-sufficiency targets unrealistic.

Obviously, rice is a big deal in Nigeria. The produce is no doubt Nigeria’s number one stable food and the country is alleged to be spending about $5miilion daily on its importation even as demand for rice was put at over 5.2million metric tonnes (mmts) in 2016.
This is as Nigeria’s rice imports is expected to rise by 13 per cent next year to 3.4mmts, a year, making the country the world’s biggest rice importer after China, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
“China and Nigeria are projected to remain the largest rice importing countries in 2019, followed by the EU, Cote d’Ivoire, and Iran,” the USDA said in its latest Rice Outlook released Tuesday. “Nigeria and Egypt are projected to account for the bulk of the 2019 import increase.”
Nigeria according to the report is further expected to demand 35mmts by 2050, due to population growth.

Though Nigeria is the second highest producer in Africa, producing about 2mmts a year, it is the highest consumer and has depended on importation to bridge the deficit (of about 3.2mmts).
To this end, the country’s appetite for rice means that Nigeria imported nearly 17mmts of rice over the past five years. Duties for imported rice are currently 60 per cent and consumers have seen the price of a bag of rice double between 2014 and 2016.
Furthermore, with the country’s increasing urban population, Nigerian’s taste for the polished and stone-free rice has continued to rise over and above the locally produced brands, which do not meet best standards.
But the government in recent times has shown some form of determination to turn the table against importation of rice and fill the gap with locally produced rice.
Though the effort predated the Buhari regime, this government however, believes that its policy on rice had succeeded in forcing down rice import into the country by 90 per cent, even as local production had moved up by over 100 per cent less than one year after it was introduced.
FG’s, USDA’s contradictory claims
The government’s claim, which can be interpreted to mean that 90 per cent of the rice eaten in Nigeria today is locally produced does not, however, represent the real situation in the markets across the country, as they are full of foreign rice imported from Thailand and India.
It is sequel to this contradiction that the government’s reaction to the recent report by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), which indicated that Nigeria imported 3mmts of rice in 2018, even as rice importation is set to increase by 13 per cent to hit 3.4mmts, in 2019; has continued to generate interest.
This came as the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh and his counterpart in the Ministry of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in their reaction to the report, said records from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Nigeria Customs Service (NCS); show that rice import into the country had fallen by 90 per cent.
Ogbeh said: “After that report I went to the CBN and I met with the governor on Monday and asked him how many Letters of Credit (LC) they have opened this year for rice importation and he said `not one’ and you can ask the CBN governor.”

Sunday Telegraph’s investigation
However, an independent investigation by Sunday Telegraph found out that the claim by the two ministers was correct. But our corresponded noted that with the CBN’s removal of ‘41 items’, in 2015, from the list of goods importers can’t access foreign exchange from the Nigerian Interbank Forex Market, the apex bank had subsequently stopped opening LCs for the importation of rice into the country.
In addition to that, the ban on importation of rice through Nigeria’s land borders and imposition of 60 per cent tariff on it, including the high cost of doing business in the Nigerian ports discouraged those who can independently source their own forex from importing rice through the Nigerian ports.
To this end, most of the foreign rice eaten in Nigeria came through the country’s porous borders after landing at the Cotonou Port at 7 per cent Import duty.
“That explains why while importation of rice through Nigerian seaports has declined by 90 per cent, importation by Benin, Cameroon and Niger, which do not consume parboiled rice increased by over 100 per cent,” experts say.
An Agribusiness & Youth Empowerment Coordinator, Community of Agricultural Stakeholders of Nigeria (CASON), Sotonye Anga, said the administration has done well but there is plenty of room for an improved performance.
He said rice is still smuggled in from Benin Republic and might send Nigerian farmers out of business.
He said: “I have travelled across the country. Right now in Ogun State, if you go to places across the border, you will see crazy movement of rice from Benin Republic into Nigeria. I think the Customs and other security apparatuses positioned across our border towns should be able to reduce the massive importation of rice into the country because, the obvious truth is that, they still smuggle rice in those very small vehicles.”
He said if rice brought in from Benin Republic, Niger and Cameroon is coming into Nigeria, selling between N7000 to N8000 per 60 kilogramme bag, farmers in Nigeria will not be able to stand the competition.

Endless self-sufficiency targets
The Jonathan administration had set 2015 target for the country to become self-sufficiency in rice production and its efforts toward realising that dream was acknowledge by the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO). To ensure a gradual realisation of the ambition through its backward integration programme, the government supported rice farming and further imposed a 110 per cent tariff on imported rice, vowing to place an outright ban on its importation in 2015.
But President Mohammad Buhari at the inception of his administration in 2015 jettisoned the Jonathan’s target and fixed his own self-sufficient target for 2017. The date was later shifted for December 2018; when he hoped production would reach 7mmts.
Speaking on the government’s 2018 target, Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, stated that “by 2018, the administration targets a rice production of 7mmts. As of 2015, rice demand in Nigeria stood at 6.3mmts.”
Similarly, when Vice President Yemi Osinbajo was acting president when President Buhari was away on medical vacation, last year, in United Kingdom, Osinbajo in his presentation at the second anniversary of the government gave a new date, 2019.
He said: “I am delighted to note that since 2015 our imports of rice have dropped by 90 per cent, while domestic production has almost tripled. Our goal is to produce enough rice to meet local demand by 2019. All of these are evidences that we are taking very seriously our ambition of agricultural self-sufficiency.”
Also, the Federal Government last April in Lagos announced yet another date – the magic year, 2020 will be the year the country will attain self-sufficiency in rice production, provided the implementation of the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme launched on November 17, 2015; is sustained.

Foreign rice floods markets
Following the drastic fall in Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings from the sale of crude oil in 2015, and the subsequent pressure on the naira, the CBN in an effort to conserve the scarce forex, listed 41 items it banned from accessing forex from the Inter-bank Forex Market. Rice was top on the list.
Also, while the Buhari administration removed the 50 per cent levy on rice, it retained the 60 per cent duties on imported rice. However, Benin Republic crashed its own tariff to a paltry 7 per cent. This was even as the Cotonou Port charges is said to be far less than what is obtainable in Nigeria, even as the port is said to be more business friendly.

To make matters worse, the Federal Government retained the ban on importation of    rice through the land borders put in place earlier by the Jonathan administration. Subsequently, rice importers resorted to importing rice through the ports of Nigeria’s neighbouring countries and in turn smuggle same into the country in bits through unapproved border routes and creeks across the country.
Consequently, they flooded Nigerian markets with rice and sell at between N6, 000 and N8, 000 depending on quality. Conversely, the locally produced rice which is rarely seen, but is in high demand by Nigerians, it sells at between N15, 000 and N17, 000 when one manages to find it.

Local rice uncompetitive
Operators in the rice sub-sector say that issues around quality, price instability, and harvesting/processing challenges, among others, remain the clog in the wheel. They insisted that until and unless these issues are resolved Nigeria’s dream of achieving self-sufficiency in rice production will remain a pipe dream.
They put the problems in perspective when they lamented that local rice production remained uncompetitive because of high cost of input. They said for instance that rice farmers and investors are bogged down by rising cost of inputs such as seeds, irrigation water, fertilisers and other assorted chemicals and pesticides, among others.
According to them, rice farmers are contending with high electricity bills and other inputs, which have pushed up cost of domestic rice prices. They said prices of domestic rice have doubled in the last two years despite the ‘technical’ ban on rice importation.
“The quality of our seeds is a contributory factor in the high cost of our locally produced rice. The resulting yield from these seeds means that the cost at which millers purchase paddy is high, with varying quality and subsequently, the rice recovered after milling is below the global average of 62 per cent,” they said.

No subsidy, no infrastructure
Recently, investigation carried out in five states, which include Lagos, Ekiti, Kebbi, Kaduna and Ebonyi – and in neighbouring Benin Republic, revealed that the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP), which was touted as the answer to Nigeria’s quest for self-sufficiency in rice production, has failed in most places with the government unable to recoup a large chunk of the N55 billion loan already disbursed.
Sunday Telegraph learnt that the ABP has given rise to a multitude of angry farmers who claim that the programme has been hijacked by local politicians who disburse funds to fake farmers and has become a means for political patronage.
Efforts by the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) to salvage the programme is merely slogging by, as complaints of the supply of expired herbicide, bad seeds and other challenges are threatening to derail it.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s huge infrastructure deficit has not helped either. Lack of access roads, which increased transportation cost, has continued to frustrate rice farmers. Also, the nation’s perennial inadequate power supply means that rice millers have to run on diesel-powered generators at huge cost.
The Chairman, Kebbi State Rice Farmers Association, Alhaji Sahabi Augie, lamented that farmers are still battling with high costs of inputs, including seeds, fertilizers, chemicals and diesel, used for running milling machines. He said that the situation was responsible for rice not being produced cheaply.
Augie said, for instance, that fuel is sold for N180 per litre around Kebbi State, and he needs to buy it daily to operate irrigation pumps. The same applies to all farmers because they use fuel for irrigation water. He, however, expressed happiness that the price of fertiliser has gone down to N5000 a bag.

Herdsmen crisis/Insurgency and flood disaster
It has been said that the root cause of the herdsmen/farmers’ clashes involves nomadic herdsmen venturing southwards seeking grazing land for their cattle given increased desertification in northern part of the country. But grazing on farmlands has destroyed livelihoods of farmers, triggering a deadly cycle of confrontations and reprisal attacks.
But, in addition to the tragic loss of lives, continued violence in a major food-producing region was further argued, is bad for the agriculture and food industries with wider implications for the productivity of Nigeria. Experts argue that sustained pastoral conflicts, which hamper food production means that taking advantage of any gaps in global agriculture trade will remain a pipe dream for a while.
The recent flood disaster which ravaged the country destroyed farmland and other properties this year, did not spare rice farms in Kogi, Benue, Kebbi, Adamawa, Taraba states.
Rice Farmers Association (RIFAN) in Edo State said that thousands of hectares of rice farmlands were destroyed by flood in several communities in Edo North and Edo Central senatorial districts.
National Vice President of the association, Mr. DirisuAbdulsalam, said that the flooding would have negative effect on the rice-sufficiency drive of the government
Also speaking on disaster visited on rice farmers in Kebbi State by the flood, Mohammed Sahabi, chairman of the Rice Farmers Association in Nigeria in Kebbi, said,“The rain has not been favorable to rice farmers this year. We lost more than 20,000 hectares of unharvested rice this year in Kebbi alone.”
Last week, Farmcrowdy, an agribusiness start-up that allows middle-class Nigerians fund farmers across the country and share in profits, said some of its farmer-partners were killed in the Plateau attack. As hundreds of smallholder farmers in Nigeria’s north are a key cog in the business models of Farmcrowdy and other agriculture crowd funding businesses, the sustained risk of violence affects the wider value chain.
Onyeka Akumah, Chief Executive of Farmcrowdy, said the business did not work with farmers in affected areas this year due to the risk of violence and will “avoid such areas until we deem them safe for our investments.”
“Being cut off the value chain is a significant loss for these smallholder farmers as agribusinesses provide them increased access to capital and, crucially, guaranteed sales,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom has warned that the sustained attacks on Benue communities by suspected herdsmen could lead to food insecurity in the country.
Ortom stated this at the Government House in Makurdi, during a courtesy call by the Presidential Committee on Rehabilitation of communities affected by farmers and herdsmen crisis. Since then, many Nigerians, including security and agricultural experts have issued similar warnings.
Despite this, the herdsmen attacks on farmers and farmlands, especially in the North central states of Benue, Taraba, Kogi and Plateau are still on the increase.
Benue, popularly referred to as the country’s ‘Food Basket’, has not known peace till date because of herdsmen attacks. Farmers in the agrarian communities of the state have abandoned their farmlands and fled to safer climes because of herdsmen’s attacks. They are today living as Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) at various IDP camps in the state. The situation is not different in neighbouring Kogi, Taraba and Plateau.

Private sector operators wade in
However, all hopes are not lost on the possibility of the country achieving self-sufficiency in rice production in the country as he government’s policy has attracted many big investors into rice farming including Olam, a multi-national agribusiness, which set up a rice farm in 2012 in response to government calls for local players to help feed the fast growing Nigerian population.
Also, Coscharis Farms, which is a 2, 600 hectares rice plantation, funded through the Anchor Borrowers Programme, is aimed at boosting food production in the country, especially rice.
The CBN granted Coscharis Farms a N2 billion Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme (CACS) to boost its capacity to produce rice all-year round, which are three harvests a year.
Coscharis Group Chairman, Mr. Cosmas Maduka, said Coscharis Farms Limited will provide full time employment for about 3, 000 people as well as drive ancillary industrial growth in the state when all the phases of the investment are completed.
Similarly, Dangote Industries Limited (DIL) has also thrown its hat in the rice cultivation ring. The indigenous conglomerate has since signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) to invest $1billion (N306 billion) on the establishment of full integrated rice production and processing operations across Nigeria.
Farmlands in Edo, Jigawa, Kebbi, Kwara, and Niger states, totalling 150,000 hectares, have been penciled down for commercial production of paddy rice.
Dangote inaugurated its 8,000-hectare rice out-growers’ scheme in Hadejia, Jigawa State early this year when he distributed rice seedlings to farmers.
The scheme was said to have helped reduce the level of Nigeria’s imports while potentially providing direct and indirect jobs to about 10, 000 Nigerians.

Massive smuggling of rice
Nigeria with a land mass of 4,000 square kilometres coverage, has well over 1,400 illegal routes, which are not manned.
The number of illegal routes is 100 times more than the number of approved routes.
With only 84 approved land border control posts designated in the 1980s after the Maitatsine riots, there are more than 1,400 illegal borders spanning across the country where illegal activities especially smuggling is taking place.
In Ogun State, there are at least 83 illegal routes, while in Adamawa the country has about 80 illegal routes with which illegal trade and migration takes place unabated.
For instance, in the Idiroko and Seme border, lots of smuggling occurs at the illegal routes with several thousand of banned items such as foreign parboiled rice, vehicles, poultry products, groundnut oil among others are illegally exported into the country on a daily basis.
At Idiroko and Seme borders, smuggling of contrabands remained unchecked with industry players attributing that to connivance of officers of the commands.
Last January, Customs officers, who are supposed to fight smuggling at the nation’s border points, were caught helping smugglers to move vehicles, and rice at the border.
Officers of the service especially Idiroko were allegedly offered N30, 000 by smugglers to drive in banned items such as vehicles and foreign parboiled rice from neighbouring Benin Republic into Nigeria.
Last week, the CGC’s strike force intercepted about 6660 bags of rice, which is equivalent to 11 trucks of rice in the south-west after it was successfully smuggled into the country through the land borders.

Though the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said while they believe Nigeria is no longer importing rice is because, “You cannot claim that smuggled rice is part of rice imported into the country”.
The country needs to find an urgent solution to the smuggling of rice and adequately support genuine local farmers. Of course bringing an end to the herdsmen/farmers clashes is equally important.

Paddy procurement in Sundargarh from Dec 12

Description: Paddy procurement in Sundargarh from Dec 12

Rourkela/Boudh: Procurement of paddy in Sundargarh will begin from December 12 through 119 paddy procurement centers.
Sundargarh Civil Supplies Officer (CSO) A Barik said in the first phase, the target is to procure about 1.30 Lakh tonnes of Paddy to process 88,700 tonnes of rice.
He said 14 rice mills of the district have been authorized for custom milling of rice and 44 large Area Multi Purpose Societies (LAMPS) would set up 112 procurement centers, while two Regional Cooperative Marketing Societies would set up four paddy sale centers. A multi -purpose cooperatives society will be set up three paddy procurement centers.
The minimum support price for Fair Average Quality (FAQ) common variety is Rs 1,750 per quintal while FAQ A grade would be Rs 1,770 per quintal. Procurement would continue till April 30.
He informed that in 2017-18 kharif crop season, the district had procured 1.47 lakh tonnes of Paddy at the cost of Rs 226 cr. He said the procurement target would be increased wijth the government approval this year.
The Special Relief Commissioner and Revenue Disaster Management Department had earlier notified 67,540 hector (ha) of land as drought hit in the district based on eye estimation report.
The overall paddy crop yield is likely to come down drastically this kharif crop season. The district had decided to take up paddy cultivation on 2.09 lakh ha in all 17 blocks, but crop damage was reported in 67,540 ha due to drought. Deficient rainfall led to over 50 percent crop damage on 35, 986 ha with Hemgir Lefripara, Tangarpali, Sundargarh, Subdega, Balishankara, Bargaon and kutra blocks facing severe drought condition.
Crop damage of 33 to 50 percent over 31,554 ha was reported from these blocks along with other blocks.
In Boudh, procurement will begin from Kantamal block on November 26. All the 42 primary paddy agriculture cooperatives societies and 10 paddy procurement centers will open from December 1. Procurement will continue till April next year.
The district has 11 millers and of them, nine have expressed interest in participating in the procurement process. It has been targeted to procure 1, 04,852 tonne of paddy which will be milled to procure 71,300 tonne of rice.


FG Approves N60bn To Boost Rice Production

The federal government has approved N60 billion in support of its rice subsidy programme aimed at bringing down the price of the commodity across the country,Naija News Understands.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh stated this when he briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the meeting of the National Food Security Council.
The meeting was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Friday.
He disclosed that a committee would be constituted by the ministry of agriculture in collaboration with ministry of finance for smooth implementation of the rice subsidy programme.
There is a subsidy programme coming up. Government has approved some money, N60 billion to support the rice industry to bring down prices. But we are going to handle it differently.
“We don’t want to get into petroleum subsidy problem, so a committee is looking at it with the ministry of finance.
“We think that it is better for us to loan money to the millers, farmers and distributors at a very low interest rate, so that the capital doesn’t disappear, and if they have cheaper credit to do their business that should impact on the price of rice in the market.
“Every country does it for food, we will use a different method to do it and it will be cheap credit to the farmers, millers and the marketers, not outright cash subsidy for their product,’’ he said.
Description: View image on Twitter Description: View image on Twitter
Mr Ogbeh, who announced that the Bank of Agriculture would soon be restructured, expressed the hope that farmers would be able to buy shares in the bank after the restructuring exercise.
The minister also expressed optimism that the restructuring process would bring down the bank’s interest rates to five per cent. Description: View image on Twitter
He added that the objective was to make agriculture more attractive so that people could raise capital to invest in profitable business ventures.
“The Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE) is about to restructure the bank of agriculture after which farmers are going to be able to buy shares in the bank, so eventually it will become the farmers bank.
“And we hope in the process that it will bring down interest rates reasonably maybe 5 percent or a little higher, so that agriculture will become attractive and people can raise capital to invest,’’ he said.
The minister revealed that the Council called for ban of fertilizer NPK 15-15-15, saying recent research had indicated that the fertilizer had no value for any crop or soil.
He said: “We call for the ban of fertilizer NPK 15-15-15 which has been used in the country for many years but recent research revealed its not useful for any crop or any soil.
Soil differs and so does crop, to believe there is one uniform fertilizer you can spread for every crop is a fallacy.
“And it’s because we have done soil test and change the formulations of fertilizers, local blenders, that is why some of the yields we are getting now are rising from two tonnes per hectares to five and six.
“So, the president is looking into that and to see how we can deal with it.’’
The Deputy Chairman of the National Food Security Council and Kebbi state governor, Atiku Bagudu, who also spoke on the outcome of the meeting, said that the council may subsidize the price of rice with N5 billion.
He said the subsidy would enable Nigerians to buy rice at a cheaper rate during the forthcoming yuletide as obtained in 2017.
The governor dismissed the reports by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) World Market and Trade which suggested that Nigeria has been importing rice to the tune of about three million tonnes.
Certainly, that is an erroneous report, in spite of the flooding the upland rice production has been quite strong this year.
“Even though prices have increase in response to flooding, we still have adequate paddy rice in Nigeria,’’ he said.
REX NELSON: Duck hunting's meccaby Rex Nelson | November 18, 2018 at 4:30 a.m.
Another Arkansas duck season began Saturday. As is always the case on opening weekend, the airport at Stuttgart is crowded with private jets as people from across the country visit the Grand Prairie, the mecca of the sport.
"It is not too lyrical, I hope, to say that the Stuttgart region has become one of the wonders of America," Ralph Coghlan wrote in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in December 1949. "No place else can the wild duck be seen and heard in such profusion. To go into a marsh before daybreak, listen to the chatter of great rafts of ducks on the water, watch them as they soar gracefully in the sky with whistling wings and see the morning sun bring out the brilliant colors of their heads, wings and breasts--that's living."
There was a strong tie between St. Louis and the Grand Prairie in those days. The state's most famous duck club, Wingmead, was established south of DeValls Bluff in 1937 by Edgar Monsanto Queeny, the son of the founder of Monsanto Chemical Co. at St. Louis. By the time Queeny retired from Monsanto in 1960, it had become the third-largest chemical company in the country and the fifth-largest such company in the world.
Queeny's passion was duck hunting. He began hunting in Arkansas in the early 1930s on Mill Bayou near DeWitt with a man named Elmer "Tippy" LaCotts. It was LaCotts who introduced Queeny to Jess Wilson, reputed to be the state's best duck caller and hunting guide. Queeny later found land to buy on LaGrue Bayou, formed an irrigation district and used the power of eminent domain to acquire almost 11,000 acres.
Plans for the home at Wingmead were drawn in 1937 by a prominent St. Louis architect. The house was built two years later. Queeny and his wife would come to the Grand Prairie each October and often stay until March. Guests--including the likes of Walt Disney and Nash Buckingham--would arrive on Friday in time for a black-tie dinner. They would hunt ducks on Saturday and Sunday mornings, hunt quail on Saturday afternoon and depart on Sunday afternoon.
What I wouldn't give to be able to go back in time and experience those Wingmead weekends. My mother hailed from Des Arc. My grandfather had once been the Prairie County judge and would treat us to stories of the formal dinners at Wingmead.
Someone who shares my love of and fascination with the Grand Prairie is Brent Birch, who heads the Little Rock Technology Park as his day job. Just in time for duck season, Birch has released a beautiful book titled The Grand Prairie: A History of Duck Hunting's Hallowed Ground.He has written his own stories, collected the stories of others and filled the book with photos and artwork.
"Duck hunting in Arkansas is nothing short of a phenomenon," Birch writes. "There are places where one can hunt mallards in flooded timber. But not like in the Big Ditch Bottoms. There are places you can shop for waterfowling gear. But not like Mack's Prairie Wings. There are places you can hunt ducks on public land. But not like Bayou Meto Wildlife Management Area. I don't know of a place anywhere else where anybody pays $6,000 an acre for property worthless for anything other than hunting ducks. There is no question the Chesapeake Bay has a storied duck hunting history. As does the Central Valley of California, the southern coast of Louisiana, the plains of the Dakotas and a handful of other regions. But the Grand Prairie of Arkansas holds a special place in the memories of those who have been here and in the dreams of those who haven't."
Bill Hope planted a plot of rice as an experiment near Stuttgart in 1902. The result was good enough that other farmers followed his lead. The Stuttgart Rice Mill Co. was incorporated in March 1907 and completed in October of that year. In 1921, the farmers' cooperative that's now industry giant Riceland Foods Inc. was formed. By 1926, the University of Arkansas had located its Rice Research and Extension Center at Stuttgart.
With rice came ducks--millions of ducks. The championship duck calling contest that's now a part of Stuttgart's Wings Over the Prairie Festival began in 1936. In 1943, Producers Rice Mill was established at Stuttgart. As rice farming continued to expand, more ducks spent the winter on the Grand Prairie.
"A few visionary men--or lucky, depending on how you look at it--realized the potential symbiotic relationship between agriculture and hunting to create an economic boon for the state," Birch writes. "The result has been a diverse economy. . . . What if W.H. Fuller never got that rice crop to take off near Carlisle? What if the Tindall brothers never built that first reservoir? What if every tree on the Grand Prairie had fallen prey to the saw? What if a long line of hunters and conservationists didn't realize that for duck hunting to survive there would have to be more give than take on the part of the hunters?"
In December 2013, Birch visited some of the state's historic duck clubs to research an article for Greenhead magazine. One of those clubs was Screaming Wings. Formerly Russell McCollum's Wildlife Acres, Screaming Wings is owned by Witt Stephens Jr. of Little Rock. Several years later, Stephens reached out to Birch and asked him to drop by his office to talk about duck hunting.
"After some small talk about the upcoming season and other various topics, Witt threw the notion out on the table of doing a book on the history of duck hunting on the Grand Prairie," Birch says. "Our ideals about the sport, its value to our state and the Grand Prairie region aligned perfectly, making what route to take with the book an easy choice. Our goal is to capture the history like never before, taking the reader on a deep dive into this region and this region only, detailing the entire ecosystem that makes up waterfowling on the Grand Prairie. We as Arkansans have an authentic treasure, and it's unfortunate some of the true pioneers who helped uplift the Grand Prairie were gone before we could capture what they knew and experienced. Our hope is this book educates today's and future generations about what waterfowling on the Grand Prairie is all about."
Birch notes that duck hunting on the Grand Prairie is about more than "overly modified fast boats or how fast you can shoot a limit to post on social media." It should be about the experience, from the stores where hunters buy supplies to the restaurants where they eat breakfast after the hunt. Birch and his contributors have captured that experience well.
Rex Nelson is a senior editor at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

ओडिशा : चावल मिल मालिकों ने मिलिंग चार्ज बढ़ाने की मांग की

आउटलुक ब्यूरो - NOV 19 , 2018
ओडिशा : चावल मिल मालिकों ने मिलिंग चार्ज बढ़ाने की मांग की
ओडिशा : चावल मिल मालिकों ने मिलिंग चार्ज बढ़ाने की मांग की
ओडिशा के गंजम जिले के चावल मिल मालिकों ने राज्य सरकार से मिलिंग चार्ज को 10 रुपये से बढ़ाकर 30 रुपये प्रति क्विंटल करने की मांग की है, साथ ही सीजन शुरू होने से पहले 5 करोड़ रुपये की बकाया राशि के भुगतान की भी मांग की है।
चालू खरीफ में 15 दिसंबर से राज्य के किसानों से धान की खरीद शुरू की जानी है। गंजम जिला चावल मिल मालिक एसोसिएशन (जीडीआरएमओए) के सचिव संतोष साहू ने सोमवार को न्यूज एजेंसी पीटीआई को बताया कि उन्होंने खाद्य और उपभोक्ता कल्याण और सहकारी मंत्री एस एन पेट्रो से मुलाकात कर इस बारे में ज्ञापन दिया है।
उन्होंने कहा कि हमने मंत्री के साथ चालू खरीफ में धान की सरकारी खरीद शुरू होने से पहले ही हमारी मांगों पर विचार करने की मांग की है। साहू ने कहा कि राज्य सरकार धान की मिलिंग पर 10 रुपये प्रति क्विंटल के हिसाब से चार्ज दे रही है, तथा पिछले दो दशकों से इसमें बढ़ोेतरी नहीं की गई है, जबकि इस दौरान परिवहन लागत के साथ ही मजदूरी की दर काफी बढ़ गई है, इसलिए हमने तत्काल मिलिंग जार्च को 10 रुपये से बढ़ाकर 30 रुपये प्रति क्विंटल करने की मांग की है।
उन्होंने कहा कि चूंकि मिलिंग शुल्क केंद्र सरकार द्वारा तय किया जाता है, इसलिए हमने राज्य सरकार से आग्रह किया है कि इस मामले को केंद्र के समक्ष रखे। उन्होंने कहा कि मंत्री ने हमे आश्वासन दिया है कि वह मिलिंग जार्च बढ़ाने के लिए केंद्र सरकार को लिखेंगे।
उन्होंने कहा कि इसके अलावा हमने धान के खरीद केंद्र, हैंडलिंग शुल्क तथा मिलों को जूट बोरी खरीदने के लिए राशि आंवटन करने जैसे अन्य मुद्दों को भी हल करने की मांग की है। उन्होंने कहा कि जूट बोरी राज्य सरकार उपलब्ध कराती है, लेकिन कई बार समय पर राज्य सरकार द्वारा जूट बोरी उपलब्ध नहीं कराने से मिलर्स को स्वयं ही इनकी खरीद करनी पड़ती है। अत: मिलों द्वारा स्वयं खरीदी गई जूट बोरियों का पिछले साल से भुगतान नहीं किया गया है।
अब आप हिंदी आउटलुक अपने मोबाइल पर भी पढ़ सकते हैं। डाउनलोड करें आउटलुक हिंदी एप गूगल प्ले स्टोर या एपल स्टोर से