Saturday, December 01, 2018

1st December,2018 Daily Global Regional Local Rice E-Newseletter

Work on gene-edited babies blatant violation of the law, says China
Vice-minister condemns work of He Jiankui, but Chinese regulations are vague
Lily Kuo in Beijing
Thu 29 Nov 2018 13.00 GMTLast modified on Fri 30 Nov 2018 01.00 GMT Description: He Jiankui

 He Jiankui speaking in Hong Kong on Wednesday, where he defended his work. Photograph: Alex Hofford/EPA
Chinese authorities have declared the work of He Jiankui, a scientist who claims to have created the world’s first gene-edited babies, a violation of Chinese law and called for the suspension of all related activity.
“The genetically edited infant incident reported by media blatantly violated China’s relevant laws and regulations. It has also violated the ethical bottom line that the academic community adheres to. It is shocking and unacceptable,” Xu Nanping, a vice-minister for science and technology, told the state-owned CCTV on Thursday.
Xu called for the suspension of any scientific or technological activities by those involved in He’s work.
The Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, where He is an associate professor, has said it had no knowledge of his research.
'Of course it's not ethical': shock at gene-edited baby claims

The scientist has said his project was approved by an ethics committee at Harmonicare Shenzhen women and children’s hospital, which has also denied any involvement.
He shocked the global scientific community when he claimed this week to have edited the genes of embryos that resulted in the birth of twin girls named Lulu and Nana.
However, his work – a byproduct of personal ambition and a vague regulatory environment in a country that has been pushing ahead in the field of gene editing for years – did not come as a total surprise to everyone.
William Hurlbut, a bioethicist at Stanford University who has been in touch with He since an ethics conference last year, said: “I knew that was his long-term goal. I just didn’t think he would push so imprudently. I worried his enthusiasm for what he was doing was so high that he might proceed faster than he should … Now the door is open to this and will never close again. It’s like a hinge of history.”
Born to farmers in Hunan province in 1984, He has been described by his family and friends as fiercely driven and intelligent. In interviews with local media, he has said he would rather spend his holidays in the lab.
“He was always first in primary school, middle school, university and after that. He was never second. Always first,” his father told Beijing News. A former colleague of He’s told local media that the three words that best described the scientist were “smart, crazy and genius”.
“He is China’s Musk,” the colleague said, referring to the Tesla co-founder Elon Musk. Other media reports have called him China’s Einstein.
He, who also goes by his initials JK, depended on government and university scholarships to see him through university in China, where he studied physics. He then earned a PhD in physics at Rice University in the US and conducted post-doctoral research in genome sequencing at Stanford University.
He returned to China in 2012 as part of a talent recruitment programme in the technology hub of Shenzhen and because he wanted to improve Chinese research, which he believed was “weak”, according to his father.
He returned to a country that would soon be at the forefront of gene editing, using technology known as Crispr-Cas9.
China is one of few countries in the world known to have conducted tests on humans with Crispr. Since as early as 2015, cancer patients have been infused with cells of edited DNA. Beijing included gene editing as a key industry in its five-year science and technology development plan for 2016 to 2020.
The UK and many other countries have outlawed the genetic modification of babies, which is considered unsafe and unethical because any modifications would affect the child’s offspring and future generations.
He used the technology to modify the gene CCR5, a doorway for HIV, in several embryos created through IVF for couples with HIV-positive fathers, presenting it as an HIV vaccine trial.
Chinese regulations have not kept pace with scientific breakthroughs in this area. The only relevant regulations come from an “ethics guidance” document released in 2003 that bars the use of any research embryos for reproduction. There are no specified punishments for such violations.
He was able to keep his work from much of the scientific community. He retrospectively registered the clinical trial with Chinese authorities in November, well after the work had been done. A researcher associated with the trial has reportedly said He did not inform all staff involved that his project involved gene editing.
“How can a scientific experiment with so many uncertainties be kept as a secret for such a long time?” asked He Kaiwen, a researcher at Interdisciplinary Research Centre on Biology and Chemistry in Shanghai, who was one of a group of more than 120 scientists who released a statement condemning He’s work. “This shows that there’s huge problem with the transparency of scientific research.”
She added: “This is a completely new situation. This question is one we have never faced before.”
The international scientific community continues to reel from He’s claims, which he defended at a global summit on the topic in Hong Kong on Wednesday. The organising committee of the conference, the International Summit on Human Genome Editing, called the scientist’s statements “unexpected and deeply disturbing” and recommended an independent assessment.
“Even if the modifications are verified, the procedure was irresponsible and failed to conform with international norms. Its flaws include an inadequate medical indication, a poorly designed study protocol, a failure to meet ethical standards for protecting the welfare of research subjects, and a lack of transparency in the development, review, and conduct of the clinical procedures,” the committee said in a statement on Thursday.
Officials from China’s national health commission promised on Thursday to “investigate and deal with any unlawful behaviour” by He.
The government-affiliated China Association for Science and Technology said the incident was “seriously damaging to the image and interests” of the Chinese science community and expressed its “indignation and condemnation of the people and institutions involved”.
Chinese scientists have called for comprehensive regulation to prevent this kind of research in the future. “The improvement of any law comes from exploration,” said He Kaiwen. “Something happens. It reveals a loophole, and we fix it. This is what we scientists want: to push the industry in the right direction.”
Additional reporting by Xueying Wang
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Scientists Develop New 'Climate Proof' Crops with Help of Nuclear Technology

“Guillemar” heat temperature stress tolerant rice contributes towards food security in Cuba. (Photo: F. Sarsu/IAEA)
New rice and green bean plants are now being rolled out to help farmers grow more of these staple foods despite higher temperatures caused by climate change. These new ‘climate proof’ crop varieties were developed as part of a five-year project aimed at helping countries to improve food security and adapt to changing climate conditions. The project specifically addressed the improvement of tolerance of rice and bean plants to high temperatures in drought-prone areas.
“Climate change is forcing food producers and farmers to change how they approach agriculture,” said María Caridad González Cepero, a scientist at the National Institute of Agricultural Science in Cuba. “New plant varieties, such as these ‘climate proof’ rice and bean plants, offer a sustainable option for adapting to some of the negative effects of climate change, which is important for ensuring food security today and in the future.”
One of the major consequences of climate change has been the extreme fluctuation in global temperatures. Higher temperatures have a direct and damaging effect on plant development and yields. In many agricultural locations worldwide, temperature extremes are causing plants to suffer, including staple crops such as rice and green beans, also known as the common bean, which are essential to the diets of millions of people worldwide.
To help protect crop-based food sources, a group of plant breeders, plant physiologists, agronomists and plant biotechnologists and experts from the IAEA, in cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), teamed up to develop new ‘climate proof’ crop varieties through a five-year IAEA coordinated research project.
The team began by studying how rice and common bean plants react to normal and aberrant – meaning any climate condition to which a variety of crop is not normally adapted to – climate conditions, and identifying genes related to heat tolerance and higher yields. With this information, they targeted plants with desired traits and bred for these traits using irradiation to speed up the natural process of mutation in plants. This breeding process increases diversity of plants’ traits, allowing scientists to more quickly test and select plants with the desired characteristics. The result was a series of ‘climate proof’ rice and common bean plants that can tolerate high temperature conditions better while producing higher yields compared to local varieties.
One of these new rice varieties called ‘Guillemar’, which is drought tolerant, is now being used in Cuba and has boosted crop yields by 10 per cent. Other countries such as India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Tanzania and Senegal, are also preparing to release new, high-yielding rice varieties suited to each countries’ temperature conditions, while experts in Colombia and Cuba have had success with new varieties of heat-tolerant, higher yielding common bean and tepary bean plants, which they expect to release to farmers by 2020-2021.

More food, more knowledge

Developing new plant varieties can help farmers grow more food and adapt to climate change, but they also help scientists learn more about how plants are affected by climate change and ways to refine and improve the plant breeding process.
Over the course of this five-year project, the team created methods for screening the physiological, genetic and molecular components of plants as well as for accurately assessing the plants’ genetic makeup to identify, select and breed plants with desired traits.
A pre-field screening technique, for example, was refined to help plant breeders accelerate the evaluation of plant varieties in controlled conditions such as a greenhouse or growth chamber. This approach allows them to effectively narrow down the number of possible plants for further field tests from a few thousand to less than 100. By slimming down the options, it can reduce research and development time from around three to five years to one year, which means new plant varieties can reach farmers more quickly to help them stay ahead of climate change and prevent food insecurity.
Many of the team’s methods and techniques are now being made accessible to other researchers to research further. They are being made available through IAEA coordinated research and technical cooperation projects with other teams of scientists, as well as through more than 40 publications, including a recently published open-access guidebook on Pre-Field Screening Protocols for Heat Tolerant Mutants in Rice.
“Climate change is identified as one of the major challenges faced by the planet, and crop adaptation to variations in climate is critical to ensure food and nutrition security,” said Fatma Sarsu, an IAEA scientist and the lead officer of the project. “Interdisciplinary research involving plant breeders, physiologists and molecular biologists is key to the development of new varieties adapted to extreme environments such as drought and high temperatures. Our collaborative research is taking a major step towards addressing crop adaptation to climate change through the development of these rice and bean varieties.“

Politicians create problems, scientists solve them

The economic system of the world measures GDP growth as a measure of success. GDP growth is, however, an extractive process; it extracts natural resources which God has created over millions of years. In so extracting, or over-extracting, it creates another set of problems, namely, climate change, which are, and will continue, to have, natural, social and economic consequences.
In their must-read book, ‘Natural Capitalism’, authors Paul Hawkin, Amory Lowins and Hunter Lowins, suggest that instead of GDP growth as a measure of success, we should concentrate on ‘natural’ capitalism.
For example, the P&L of, say, a coal mining company would, under its expense side, debit the ‘royalty’ paid and not the replacement cost of the extracted coal.
This results in wastage. In order to boost GDP growth, China overbuilt homes. The construction of these resulted in a demand for steel, cement, glass and other things, all extracted. GDP growth touched double-digits. Was that cause for celebration?

Empty homes of China

No. A fifth of China’s homes, or 50 million homes, are empty. What this means is that credit for GDP growth was taken earlier, but the assets created remain unused. The resources, though, have been extracted from the earth, with consequences for the environment.
What consequences?
Greenpeace, for example, points to disappearing glaciers in western China’s provinces of Qinghai and Gansu. These glaciers are the source of rivers that supply drinking water to 180 crore people. A fifth are already gone.
The problems created by politicians’ penchant for GDP growth, irrespective of the cost to future generations, are solved by scientists. Israel leads in water management. The country recycles 80 per cent of its sewage waste water, using the recycled water for agriculture and public works. This compares to only 30 per cent in India.

Looming food crisis

Shortage of water will, obviously, affect food production, and thanks to myopic economic policies, humankind is also hurtling towards a food crisis.
Here, too, science is coming to the rescue. Some 350 crore people use rice as a staple food. Rice production cannot keep pace. Now agri scientists have made breakthroughs in ‘scuba rice’, which survives long periods of flooding, and alkaline resistant ‘sea rice’ already growing on China’s northern coast. China plans to plant ‘sea rice’ on 20 million hectares in its northern Shandon province, which is alkaline, after which it can feed 80 million people.
Natural gas is now a fuel of choice, for environmental reasons. ONGC and OIL can increase production of natural gas by a third, from 90 mmscmd if they get a higher price for it. Achieving the increase would require a capex of $10 billion. However, the government has arm-twisted OIL to spend 1,085 crore to buy back 4.45 per cent of its stock, in order to reduce the government’s fiscal deficit.
The global stock market will get a boost from the statement of Fed Chairman Jeremy Powell, that the US Fed may make fewer than the expected three rate hikes in 2019. The Indian stock markets would be influenced by the election results of five States, due on December 11. Investors should lie low till then, unless they can read electoral crystal balls.
(The writer is India Head — Finance Asia/Haymarket. The views are personal.)

More research needed for climate resilience
VietNamNet Bridge – Climate change is the biggest challenge to Vietnam and the agricultural sector, and farmers and the poor are the most vulnerable. In response, a number of measures have been taken by the country to mitigate climate change.
Description: Climate resilience, more research, Vietnam economy, Vietnamnet bridge, English news about Vietnam, Vietnam news, news about Vietnam, English news, Vietnamnet news, latest news on Vietnam, Vietnam
Low water levels at Ta Trach Lake in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue. This is due to unusually low rainfall in the middle of the rainy season. Experts said there are many challenges in agricultural production techniques to adapt to climate change in Vietnam. — VNA/VNS Photo Ho Cau
Le Quoc Doanh, deputy minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, made this statement at a workshop on research for the development of a climate-resilient Southeast Asia held in Hanoi on Wednesday.
“Vietnam has implemented a programme to reduce greenhouse gases by 2020,” he said.
Doanh emphasised the need for concrete measures, focusing on forestry, cultivation and husbandry so farmers could see positive results from changes in technology and farming practices. Only then could the efficiency of the programme be boosted.
Many new cultivation techniques adaptive to climate change have been transferred to farmers including rice intensification systems, a water saving rice production technology and planting grass to prevent erosion as well as providing food for cattle.
Studies have shown that good water management solutions lessen emissions of methane (CH4) by 25-30 per cent while increasing rice productivity by 3-5 per cent.
It is estimated that 65.3kg of greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced per hectare each year if farmers adopt water saving technology.
In husbandry, many families in rural areas are building biogas digesters to manage waste and access clean energy. One digester produces enough methane to provide energy for cooking. By reusing methane from the waste, biogas digesters reduce greenhouse gas emissions that is harmful to the environment and help improve living conditions of farmers.
However, experts have pointed out obstacles that hinder agricultural production’s adaptation to climate change. For example, when farmers often hesitate to invest in new farming techniques, it would increase production cost and slow the return of capital. Good production practices could increase productivity and income but could not help farmers escape poverty. Therefore, these practices should be supplemented by other interventions.
According to Leo Sebastian, regional programme leader of Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security in Southeast Asia (CCAFS SEA), the workshop is a good platform to discuss with all stakeholders on how to integrate climate change adaptation and mitigation in regional and national development plans.
Since its inception in Southeast Asia in 2013, CCAFS has been working with its partners to integrate climate change adaptation and mitigation in regional and national development plans with the goal of ensuring food security.
The Department of Crop Production under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has worked with CCAFS in developing Climate-Smart Maps and Adaptation Plans (CS MAP) which is being implemented in 13 provinces in the Mekong Delta in Vietnam.
CS MAP serves as a guide for provinces to develop their own risk maps and adaptive plans, which suit to their respective local contexts.
To serve as a testing ground for climate-smart agriculture (CSA), CCAFS piloted the Climate-Smart Villages (CSV) model across the region.
There are several CSVs in five Southeast Asian countries. Cambodia has one, Laos has two, Myanmar has four and the Philippines has one. Vietnam has three villages in Yen Bai, Ha Tinh and Bac Lieu provinces.
In Southeast Asia, CSVs have brought evidence of the effectiveness of CSA technologies and practices.
The CSV model also provided the framework for establishing climate-resilient communities in the Philippines and Myanmar.
To pursue CCAFS’s vision for Southeast Asian agriculture, Sebastian said, more research for development activities should be carried out responsive to the needs of the countries in coping with climate change. 

Gov’t grants farmers P10-B under the Rice Tarrification Bill

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Friday, November 30th, 2018

MANILA, Philippines – The Senate on Wednesday (November 28) ratified the report of the bicameral conference committee on the rice tariffication bill.
The bill aims to lift quantitative restrictions on rice imports.
Instead, importers will be required to pay 35% levy or tariff on rice imports.
“Talagang we have to liberalize because it’s the provision of our agreement with the WTO so we have to tariffy to protect our farmers. Kasi kapag walang tariff, mas mura talaga ang import and the tariff proceeds will go to them for programs that make them competitive,” explained Senator Cynthia Villar, the Senate chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food.
The measure aims to prevent another shortage of rice supply and to ensure that the low price of commercial rice is maintained in local markets.
Critics of the bill argue that with restrictions on rice importation being lifted under the bill, there will be an oversupply of imported rice in local markets and the ones to suffer the burden first would be the local farmers.
But Villar allayed the farmers’ fears on the matter, saying the government has allotted a P10 billion fund to help them.
“Magbibigay po ang gobyerno ng sampung bilyong piso every year sa susunod na anim na taon para kayo ay maging competitive against import,” Villar assured.
On November 22, the bicameral committee approved the allocation of P10 billion to the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund or Rice Fund.
This will be utilized for the improvement of farm machinery and equipment, seed production, training for rice farming, and loan programs among other means to help the local farmers.
Several farmers expressed gratitude to the efforts of government to help them sustain their livelihood.
“Iyon po ang pinakagusto kong natalakay ni Ma’am Senator Cythia Villar na magkakaroon ng farm school dahil karamihan ng mga farmers ay wala pang sapat na edukasyon tungkol sa crop production, inter cropping, multicrop production,” said Association of San Felipe Farmers president Joely Reguidon.
“Malaking bagay, dahil nagbibigay sila ng mga traktora, hindi masyadong mahal ang upa, pero mas maganda kung gagabayan ng gobyerno yung upa ng traktora. Kasi sa amin wala na kaming kalabaw, hindi namin naaaffordan yung traktora,” added Rolan, also a member of the farmers’ group.
As of press time, the Rice Tariffication Bill is awaiting the signature of President Rodrigo Duterte before it fully becomes a law. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Leslie Huidem)

Disqualification threatens 3rd telco Mislatel Consortium

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Tuesday, November 27th, 2018

PASAY CITY, Philippines – Losing bidders PT&T and Sear Telecom have brought their complaints to the Senate against the country’s winning third telco Mislatel Consortium.
Sear Telecom’s chairman and president Chavit Singson argued that Mislatel still has an existing contract with them which bars Mislatel from entering into another deal.
Sear Telecom together with PT&T wants the government to disqualify Chinese-owned Mislatel from being awarded as the country’s third telco.
“From the beginning disqualified ang Mislatel dahil may kontrata sa amin ang Mislatel,” Sison said during Tuesday’s (November 27) inquiry on the matter.
On the other hand, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said the process of awarding the contract to the winning bidder will continue unless the court issues its decision on the complaints of the losing bidder.
However still, the agency admitted that the legal battle will surely affect or delay the entry of the third telco.
Nevertheless, DICT Undersecretary Eliseo Rio said they will still “abide by the decision of the court.”
On issues of security, Senator Grace Poe questioned National Security Adviser Secretary Hermogenes Esperon on the possible implication to national security of the reported “hijacking” incident of China Telcom on internet traffic that affects even powerful countries.
The incident is up for investigation by the National Intelligence and Coordinating Agency (NICA).
“We have read about that report. It is subject to validation on our part. We have the 90 days period to do that. The winning provisional NMP will have to be undergo a background check by the National Intelligence and Coordinating Agency,” said Esperon.
The DICT maintained that they see no threat to national security with the entry of the Chinese telecom firm in the country.
“So the threat of Chinese product, Chinese people, really operating our telecommunication are really here,” Rio said,
For its part, Mislatel assured that the rights of the Filipino people will be protected.
“We are a Filipino company. We will not allow national interest and national security to be undermined,” assured Atty. Adel Tamano, Mislatel’s spokesperson.
But Poe insisted that a thorough scrutiny on the background of the third telco should still be conducted.
“Pero iba pa rin siyempre yung mismong korporasyon ang pagmamayari ay taga ibang bansa,” said the chairperson of the Senate Committee on Public Services, Senator Poe.
Meanwhile, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV requested the presence of Mislatel’s owner Dennis Uy in the next inquiry.
Uy was a no-show in today’s Senate inquiry. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Nel Maribojoc)

MoFA receives support to boost rice production

Date: Nov 30 , 2018 , 14:42
BY: Severious Kale-Dery
Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto (3rd right) being taken through some certified seeds by Dr Agnes Kalibata (3rd left), President of AGRA, while Mr Christoph Retzlaff and other officials look on

The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) has entered into a 2.5 million euro Public Private Partnership (PPP) agreement to boost rice production in the country.

The agreement, known as “Ghana Rice Initiative”, is expected to last 36 months beginning this month, November 2018.

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It is being championed by the German Government and implemented by AGRA and other partners.
Dubbed “Public private partnership for competitive and inclusive rice value chain development: Planting for Food and Jobs – Rice Chapter,” the project is aimed at increasing rice production, strengthening and expanding access to output markets among others.

Useful links Ghana news | Ghana Business News | News in Ghana
It also intends to adopt a two-tier approach on short, medium and long-term solutions to enable the government achieve its sub-sector goal of becoming self-sufficient in rice production to improve the livelihoods of 128,763 farmers by 2020.
The project will be implemented in the Ashanti, Brong Ahafo, Northern, Central and Volta regions.

Already, about 130,000 farmers from 110 districts in the beneficiary regions have been supplied with subsidised certified seeds under the project.
for current Ghana news | Ghana Business News | News in Ghana
The sector minister, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, said the project was in line with the government’s flagship ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ programme.
He stated that a recent tour of some regions revealed that the Central Region had the capacity to produce double the rice requirements of the country.
Dr Akoto said the rice that would be produced would be of high quality comparable to international standards.
According to him, the rice currently produced in the country was good. “It is just that the milling capacity is low and cannot cope with the increasing rice production in the country,” he added.
The minister also stated that the Planting for Food and Jobs programme was yielding results, and added that besides rice, millet, soya beans, maize and vegetables, the programme also extended support to groundnut and cassava farmers this year.
He further announced that his outfit was to receive a $220 million facility from Brazil and India for the importation of machinery from those countries to “take away the drudgery of farmers”.
German Ambassador
For his part, the German Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Christoph Retzlaff, expressed the hope that their partnership with AGRA on the project would be fruitful.
He said the initiative could pave the way for more domestic rice production and less dependence on imports to help achieve the “Ghana beyond aid” agenda.
Mr Retzlaff also said the initiative would offer an opportunity to align and leverage resources on existing programmes such as Competitive Rice Initiative (CARI), Green Innovation Centre (GIC) and existing bilateral agricultural activities in the country.

Romero bats for rice tariffs to ease high inflation

Last updated Nov 29, 2018
1-PACMAN Partylist Rep. Mikee Romero urged to Duterte Administration to hasten the implementation of the Rice Tariffication Act once it passes scrutiny in the bicameral conference committee.
Romero said the swift implementation of the Rice Tarrification Act will further push country’s inflation rate down with economic managers’ projecting a lower inflation rate this month.
Romero explained that the proposed liberalization of the rice supply in the country was designed to bring local rice prices down by removing all rice import quotas and allowing more entities to import.
“With NFA rice shortages continuing to plague various parts of Metro Manila and other areas, Congress will make sure the bicameral committee-approved rice tariffication bill is swiftly sent to the Office of the President so its signing can happen in the remaining weeks of this year,” said Romero.
The solon said the Department of Agriculture, National Economic and Development Authority and the Bureau of Customs could start formulating the implementing rules and regulations while the bill awaits signature of President Rodrigo Duterte.
“Daig ng maagap ang masipag. Makatotohanang kasabihan nating mga Pilipino ‘yan. The sooner those new regulations are approved, the sooner the Filipino people will feel the beneficial impact of the removal of import quotas,” Romero said.
1-PACMAN partylistDuterte administrationMikee RomeroRice Tariffication Actt Rodrigo Duterte
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Koko defends Imelda’s right to post bail: Let’s be fair to the Marcoses
On Dec 1, 2018
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Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III has asked the public to be “fair” to the Marcoses after the Sandiganbayan allowed former First Lady and now Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos to post bail while pursuing legal remedies to her graft conviction.
In an interview aired over dwIZ radio Saturday (December 1), Pimentel said the Constitution allows all accused to post bail for their charges except if the supposed violation is so severe as to merit life imprisonment.
“Kung naging unfair sa atin ‘yung mga Marcoses, maging fair tayo sa kanila para makita naman nila na ang laban natin ngayon ay patas unlike sa panahon nila na hindi patas and laban,” he said.
The Sandiganbayan found Marcos guilty of seven counts of graft in connection with her financial interests in foundations based in Switzerland while her husband, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, was President.
While the court sentenced Marcos to prison for her conviction, it recently released a resolution allowing her to post a P300,000 bail and enjoy temporary liberty while she appeals the ruling.
Marcos recently informed the Sandiganbayan she has decided to take her case to the Supreme Court instead of waiting for the anti-graft court to decide on her appeal

End of Japanese rice ban sign of warming ties 08:21:33Global TimesEditor : Li Yan
The move by China to lift the import ban on Niigata rice from Japan has more political than economic significance, and it's a sign of warming bilateral ties between two major economies in Asia amid worsening trade wars, experts said. 
The General Administration of Customs of China said it would lift the import ban on rice grown in Niigata, a production center of agricultural goods in Japan, according to a document released on Wednesday. Imports should be in line with China's food safety, plant hygiene laws and regulations, customs noticed. 
In 2011, China's quality supervision agency banned imports of farm products from several prefectures including Niigata following the Fukushima nuclear disaster. 
Niigata prefecture is one of Japan's major rice production areas. In particular, the Uonuma region in the prefecture is nationally famous for its koshihikari rice, according to a local travel website. 
Ryuichi Yoneyama, the former governor of Niigata, visited China to discuss the ban on imports of farm products from the prefecture with China's quality supervision bureau and exchanged opinions, he said in a Tweet posted on April 2. 
"It's a great opportunity for Japanese farmers and traders once China lifts the import ban. As Abenomics encourages exports, Japanese rice products will tap into a large consumption base," said Zhang Jifeng, a research fellow with the Institute of Japanese Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.
Exports of Japanese rice, including sake and other processed products, stood at some 11,800 tons in 2017, far less than the government's target of 100,000 tons a year, according to the Japan Times. 
Considering that the agricultural sector accounts for only about 1.4 percent of Japan's GDP, the move by China to allow more of these imports has a lot of political significance but little economic benefit, Zhang noted. 
"As support for the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan lies mainly in rural areas, it's important to make farmers happy," he said. 
The move also reflects a warming of bilateral ties after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe paid a visit to China in October. These ties will play an important role amid heightened U.S.-China trade tensions, the expert added. 
China's further opening-up to Japanese rice products is also likely to benefit the whole supply chain, including products such as rice cake and sake, said Chen Yan, executive director of the Japanese Corporations (China) Research Institute.
"It will also drive up Japan's overall exports to China," he said.

China Homelife/ MachinexExpo Strengthens Business Relations between India & China

Published on November 29, 2018

By Sachin Murdeshwar
Mumbai: After receiving an overwhelming response in 2017, India’s largest China Sourcing B2B exhibition, ‘China Homelife/ Machinex’ India is slated to take place in the financial capital – Mumbai from 17th to 19th December, 2018at the BOMBAY CONVENTION & EXHIBITION CENTRE..
The exhibition source directly from over 1500 Leading Suppliers from China dealing in Furniture, Home Appliances, Textiles and Garments, Kitchen and Bathroom, Garden and Leisure, Gifts as well as Lights and Lamps under the Home life Trade Fair.
The Machinex Trade fair will cater to buyers looking at top quality and a wide variety of products from Machinery, New Energy, Hardware & Power Tools, Automobiles & Motorcycles, Printing Machinery, Chemicals, Food Processing, Plastic Machinery, Packaging Machinery, Machine Parts & Accessories and High & Low Voltage Electricals.
Ashish Gupta, Managing Director, Winmark Exhibitions said, “Every year, we see an increase in the business partnerships at China Homelife and China Machinex 2018. As a part of the management team, I’m honoured to contribute to the development of the Indian economy and play a vital role in building sustainable business relationships between China and India”
The current edition of ‘China Homelife/ Machinex’ will have a dedicated focus on twenty product segments: Building Materials, Consumer Electronics, Furniture, Home Appliances, Textiles and Garments, Home Products, Gifts as well as Lights and Lamps featuring leading manufacturers and suppliers.
In China Homelife/ Machinex India 2018, Top 100 Chinese exporting companies will be showcasing high quality products as well as new innovations and designs at the most competitive price. The exhibition is also a lucrative opportunity for importers, traders, buyers and exhibitors to build social connections and interact with the industry’s key decision makers.
It is organized by Meorient International Shanghai, and managed by Winmark Exhibitions, Mumbai. This event is certified by the International Exhibition Association UFI Paris and itis one of the major international exhibitions in the world.
This year, China Homelife and China Machinex India 2018 has collaborated with an organization Guangdong BFC Technology Co., Ltd.. They are an equipment manufacturing exporter & holistic solution provider, built in July, 2012, andhave created  “Buy From China” (hereinafter referred to as BFC)brand.
BFC is a cross-border B2B platform, which has set out to export a whole factory, inclusive of machinery from China to the required area. From providing whole equipment services, production line planning to handling any export services, they are an end to end factory set-up and solutions provider.
BFC will help not only diverge out a path for investors, but also would help MSME organizations in becoming large-scale by acting as consultants and set-up experts.
At the China –Economic Forum being held on 17thDecember, 10 am, delegates representing BFC, will discuss this in-depth and showcase case-studies of successful BFC projects.
At the show, technical specialists from 16 sectors at the ‘Buy Factory from China’stall would be present to help you out and provide in-depth knowledge. They would represent the following sectors :Bottle Blowing Production Fruit Package, Suction Moulding, Furniture Coating Processing Injection Moulding and Die Casting Machine LED Bulbs Office Chair Pipe Winding Machinery, PV Solar Panel Production, PVC Slipper Manufacturing, Rice Cooker Production
The CEO of BFC would be present at the show to provide insights in the following sectors : Top of FormBottom of Formagricultural and food processing ,furniture , appliances, leather goods ,sporting goods ,metal products, non – metallic mineral products,medical ,chemical  , environmental recycling,handicrafts ,plastic, rubber products industry, transportation equipment, agricultural machinery,plastic molding equipmentdie casting equipment,cncmachining equipment, mechanical processing equipment, industrial robotand automation equipment.

Senator: R&D to strengthen mechanization

November 29, 2018
RESEARCH and development (R&D) in the agriculture sector must be prioritized in order to fast-track mechanization, Senator Cynthia Villar said.

Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food chair Villar underscored the importance of strengthening mechanization through research in order to increase productivity among Filipino farmers.ARTICLE_MOBILE_AD_CODE

Villar said the National Economic Development Authority (Neda) has acknowledged the need to invest in R&D to fast-track the growth and development of the agriculture sector.

The senator added mechanization is crucial in gearing Filipino farmers to be competitive in the agriculture sector especially in the Asean Economic Community (AEC).

Villar cited the low production cost of rice in Vietnam with only P6 per kilograms (kg) compared to the Philippines’ P12 production cost per kg.

With the passage of the Rice Tarrification Act, which is yet to be signed by President Rodrigo Duterte, a huge budget is allocated for mechanization.

“Under the bill, the excess rice tariff revenues and the P10 billion fixed appropriation for the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund shall be used for providing direct financial assistance to rice farmers. The bill is very specific as to where the funds will be spent, in securing that the intended beneficiaries of the program can receive the funding,” Villar said Thursday, November 29, during her speech at the 1st Manufacturers’ Forum by Mindanao Agricultural Machinery Industry Association at Apo View Hotel, Davao City.

The P10-billion rice fund will be allocated to the following: half of the amount will be for providing rice farm machineries under the Philippine Center for Post-Harvest Development and Modernization (PhilMech); 30 percent of the budget will be given to Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) to be used for the development, propagation and promotion of inbred rice seeds to rice farmers; 10 percent for credit facilities with minimal interest rates; and another 10 percent to fund extension services by PhilMech, Agricultural Training Institute, and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority

Romero bats for rice tariffs to ease high inflation

Last updated Nov 29, 2018
1-PACMAN Partylist Rep. Mikee Romero urged to Duterte Administration to hasten the implementation of the Rice Tariffication Act once it passes scrutiny in the bicameral conference committee.
Romero said the swift implementation of the Rice Tarrification Act will further push country’s inflation rate down with economic managers’ projecting a lower inflation rate this month.
Romero explained that the proposed liberalization of the rice supply in the country was designed to bring local rice prices down by removing all rice import quotas and allowing more entities to import.
“With NFA rice shortages continuing to plague various parts of Metro Manila and other areas, Congress will make sure the bicameral committee-approved rice tariffication bill is swiftly sent to the Office of the President so its signing can happen in the remaining weeks of this year,” said Romero.
The solon said the Department of Agriculture, National Economic and Development Authority and the Bureau of Customs could start formulating the implementing rules and regulations while the bill awaits signature of President Rodrigo Duterte.
“Daig ng maagap ang masipag. Makatotohanang kasabihan nating mga Pilipino ‘yan. The sooner those new regulations are approved, the sooner the Filipino people will feel the beneficial impact of the removal of import quotas,” Romero said.
Indonesia notifies unilateral concession on 20 tariffs to Pakistan
November 29, 2018
File photo
Indonesia has notified unilateral concession on twenty tariffs to Pakistan to provide it more market access through expansion of Preferential Trade Agreement between the two countries.
This was stated by Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce, Textiles and Investment, Abdul Razak Dawood, while addressing a press conference in Islamabad.
The Adviser said the concession will provide market access to Pakistan's textile and agriculture items including rice, mangoes and citrus, ethanol, home textile and towel.
He said after this trade facility, there would be a further increase of around one hundred fifty million dollars in Pakistan's exports to Indonesia.
Abdur Razak Dawood said the government is committed to narrow the trade deficit and in this regard a comprehensive strategy is being initiated to get market access to potential markets of the world.
He said the Ministry of Commerce has evolved a comprehensive National Tariff Policy, which would be presented before the Cabinet for approval today.
NFA met suppliers’ price to ensure Dec. delivery
November 29, 2018 | 10:20 pm
Description: NFA rice warehouseNational Food Authority warehouse in Quezon City -- MICHAEL VARCAS
MEMBERS of the National Food Authority (NFA) Council had reservations about pursuing a government-to-government (G2G) rice procurement deal under which the Philippines had to pay a higher price to ensure delivery of Thai and Vietnamese rise by the end of 2018.
Ruth B. Castelo, NFA Council Member and an undersecretary at the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), said in a text message: “Some had reservations but we had to prioritize bringing in the rice by year’s end.”
Ms. Castelo added: “G2G [is] a little more expensive but [the] Council fixed it to match the G2G price.
The initial reference price of the NFA was $447.88 per metric ton (MT) which resulted in failed consecutive bids after the agency declined to meet the offers from Thailand and Vietnam.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said earlier announced that the NFA Council has decided to adjust the price after the failed biddings, noting that the $447.80 reference price reflected the price of rice in Pakistan and India — which were not involved in the auctions.
The latest G2G procurement exercise covered 203,000 MT, part of the 750,000 MT approved by the Council for this year.
“DTI supported the G2G scheme for now just to make sure that we have enough supply of rice in the country. It is faster and will ensure arrival within the year,” Ms. Castelo said.
“The bidding was completed yesterday [Nov. 28] and arrival of rice by tranches is assured to be completed by Dec. 31, 2018,” Ms. Castelo added.
Mr. Piñol said last week that the Department of Agriculture (DA) is projecting a rice buffer stock of 134 days, moving toward 2019, incorporating inventory held by NFA, commercial entities, and households. — Reicelene Joy N. Ignacio

Can basmati exports meet new EU norms? What export stakeholders need to ensure

By: Sandip Das | Updated: November 30, 2018 4:48 AM

Basmati export stakeholders need to ensure the produce doesn’t have traces of pesticides and retains its world-class quality

Description: basmati exports, EU norms, maximum residue limit, AIREA, MRL norms, rice industry
The EU had cut the maximum residue limit (MRL) for Tricyclazole, a fungicide used in India to protect the paddy crop from a disease called ‘blast’, from 1 PPM to 0.01 PPM from December 31, 2017.
Since the beginning of the year, exporters of India’s aromatic and long-grained basmati rice and officials from the commerce ministry have been deliberating on the issue arising out of stringent import norms imposed by the European Union (EU), which sharply slashed the level of a commonly used fungicide, Tricyclazole, in the rice imported into the continent.
The EU had cut the maximum residue limit (MRL) for Tricyclazole, a fungicide used in India to protect the paddy crop from a disease called ‘blast’, from 1 PPM to 0.01 PPM from December 31, 2017. This has put basmati rice exporters in a tough and challenging position.
Despite Indian authorities’ several communications to the EU stating that the fungicide can be phased out gradually over the next three years, the EU has stuck to its stand. This is expected to slow down India’s basmati rice exports to the EU in the current fiscal. It is likely to help India’s main competitor Pakistan, as it exports aromatic long-grained rice to the EU and its farmers do not use Tricyclazole. It has to be noted that farmers in Spain and Italy also use Tricyclazole on their paddy crop.
Officials from the All India Rice Exporters’ Association (AIREA) have stated that EU’s stringent MRL norms are unrealistic to meet. “At least two crop cycles are required to effect the desired change. Moreover, there is no scientific evidence that it is harmful to human health,” Vijay Setia, president, AIREA, said. The EU and the US are high-value markets for basmati rice exporters, although a major chunk of aromatic and long-grained rice is shipped to mostly Gulf countries including Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.
Commerce ministry officials said, on an average, India annually exports 3.4-4 lakh tonnes of basmati rice to the EU (mainly to the UK, the Netherlands, Italy, Belgium and France). The volume of annual basmati rice exports to the EU is around 10% of the country’s annual aromatic rice shipment. In anticipation of enforcement of stringent pesticides norms, in the last fiscal (2017-18), India exported more than 4.5 lakh tonnes of basmati rice to the EU, and in the current fiscal the shipment would be lower.
In the case of MRL for Tricyclazole, rice-importing countries do not have uniform tolerance limits. The US and Japan has fixed MRL at 3 PPM. However, the US does not allow the presence of pesticide residue like Isoprothiolane beyond 0.01 PPM.
Despite the absence of uniformity in global pesticide standards concerning food products, officials from the commerce and agriculture ministries, and rice industry, acknowledge the fact that India has to put its house in order as far as the use of pesticide usage is concerned. “We have started to screen our consignments (for possible pesticide traces) before being exported. We need regulatory support in terms of judicious use of pesticides by farmers. Educating farmers does take time,” a commerce ministry official said.
Pre-shipment testing of pesticide residues for export of basmati rice to the EU from the Basmati Export Development Foundation (BEDF) laboratory in Modipuram, Uttar Pradesh, or other National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL), have been made mandatory by the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA). There has to be greater thrust on promoting farming practices that reduce pesticide application by farmers and ensure that farmers have adequate knowledge about proper usage of pesticides.
Official data says that there are 16 lakh farmers, mostly in Punjab, Haryana, western Uttar Pradesh and few pockets of Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir, engaged in basmati rice cultivation. It is grown in around 16 lakh hectares. India exports key varieties such as Pusa Basmati 1 and Pusa Basmati 6 to the EU, and these are cultivated by around 6 lakh farmers.
In the just-concluded kharif season (2018), to curb the use of fungicides, AIREA, in association with APEDA, conducted campaigns among basmati rice growers in many districts of Punjab, including Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Gurdaspur, Ferozepur and Pathankot. Punjab’s agriculture department has recruited volunteers to reach out to farmers about the negative impact of pesticides. The thrust of the campaign has also been to educate farmers against using pesticides especially four weeks prior to harvesting.
Agriculture ministry officials said farmers should use those pesticides that are recommended by state agricultural universities. “There has to be prescription for all kinds of chemical pesticides to be used for dealing with specific pests. Chemical shops must display the list of banned chemicals so that farmers make informed choices,” an official said.
As all the pesticides sold in the market are registered with the Central Insecticide Board and Registration Committee, under the Directorate of Plant Protection, Quarantine and Storage of the agriculture ministry, the central government should be proactive, ensuring that banned pesticides are not in circulation.
All key players in the basmati rice value chain need to work together with farmers for ensuring good agricultural practices and exporters have to create a backward-linkage programme especially with farmers to ensure that traces of pesticides are eliminated in the production process itself. Minimum or judicious use of pesticides would improve and expand export potential of not only basmati rice, but also of all other agricultural products.
Senior consultant, ICRIER. Views are personal
The researcher who created CRISPR twins defends his work but fails to quell controversy
Chinese scientist Jiankui He publicly explains his research
3:54PM, NOVEMBER 28, 2018
Description: Jiankui He
DATA DELIVERY  On November 28, researcher Jiankui He gave scientists their first glimpse of data from the creation of two gene-edited babies. Many in the scientific community have decried the work.
A Chinese researcher who helped create the world’s first gene-edited babies publicly disclosed details of the work for the first time to an international audience of scientists and ethicists, and revealed that another gene-edited baby is due next year.
Lulu and Nana, twin girls whose DNA was edited with CRISPR/Cas9 to disable the CCR5 gene involved in HIV infections, may soon be joined by another child, Jiankui He said on November 28. Another woman participating in a gene-editing trial to make children resistant to HIV infection is in the early stages of pregnancy, He noted in a presentation at the second International Summit on Human Genome Editing, held in Hong Kong.
He performed the experiments largely in secret — not even the Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, China, where He worked until taking an unpaid leave in February was aware of the study. He apologized that information about his work “leaked unexpectedly,” a puzzling claim because He had granted interviews to the Associated Press and had recorded several online videos. A manuscript describing the work is under review at a scientific journal, He said.
Contentious experiments
In the presentation, He claimed that his experiments to disable the CCR5 gene might help susceptible children, especially in the developing world, avoid HIV infection. “I truly believe this is not only just for this case, but for millions of children that need this protection since an HIV vaccine is not available … I feel proud.”
But He’s first public explanation failed to quell the controversy over his actions (SN Online: 11/27/18).
Producing babies from gene-edited embryos is “irresponsible,” and runs counter to a consensus researchers reached in 2015 after the first international human gene-editing summit, said David Baltimore after He’s presentation. “I personally don’t think it was medically necessary,” said Baltimore, a Nobel laureate who has been influential in setting policy on DNA research and is chair of the summit’s organizing committee.
There are lots of ways to avoid to HIV infection that don’t require risky tinkering with DNA. And scientists aren’t convinced that editing human embryos with CRISPR/Cas9 is safe or ethical.
Scientists in the audience lined up to question He about how he recruited patients for the study, informed them of the risk and consequences of the research and why he did the work in the first place.
“I assume you’re well aware of this redline,” said Wensheng Wei of Peking University in Beijing, echoing more broadly the sentiment of many in the scientific community. “Why did you choose to cross it? And hypothetically if you didn’t know, why did you do all these clinical studies in secret?” He did not answer the question.
Drilling into the details
He said he and his colleagues began experimenting with mice, monkeys and nonviable human embryos to hone the editing technique. In that preliminary work, CRISPR editing of the CCR5 gene didn’t produce any unwanted changes to other genes, which scientists call “off-target” edits. Of 50 human embryos edited in one experiment, only one had a potential off-target edit. Researchers can’t tell if that off-target edit was caused by CRISPR/Cas9 or is a genetic tweak inherited from one of the embryo’s parents.
Lulu and Nana’s parents were one of seven couples recruited from an HIV patient group to take part in He’s study. A consent form posted to his website bills the research as an HIV vaccine development project. The baby’s father has HIV, but the virus is at undetectable levels in his blood. The mother is not infected.
He and colleagues performed in vitro fertilization after washing the sperm to remove any remaining traces of the virus. CRISPR/Cas9 protein and an RNA that guides the protein to the CCR5 gene were injected into the egg along with the sperm. When the resulting embryos had developed into a blastocyst, a stage just before implantation in the womb when the embryo is a ball of about 200 cells, researchers removed several cells. The team examined, or sequenced, three to five of those cells’ DNA for evidence of editing. In total, 31 embryos from the seven couples reached the blastocyst stage. Of those, about 70 percent had edits of the CCR5 gene, He said. 
The embryo that developed into Lulu contained an edit that mimics a naturally occurring mutation that helps protect some people from HIV. Initial testing also revealed evidence of an off-target edit far from any genes in that embryo, He said. The embryo that developed into Nana had a small deletion in the CCR5gene that would remove five of 352 amino acids from the protein produced by the gene. Scientists don’t know whether that change would prevent HIV from getting into cells. Nana’s embryo had no discernible off-target edits, He said.
He left it up to the parents to decide whether to implant the edited embryos, knowing that one may have extra edits and the other may not be resistant to HIV. The couple decided to implant both embryos. 
After the girls were born, He and colleagues sequenced DNA from cells from the babies’ umbilical cord blood and determined that Lulu doesn’t have any off-target edits after all.
Unanswered questions
But researchers who saw He’s presentation aren’t convinced that he has presented enough evidence to verify that the editing was successful and didn’t damage other genes. Previous research has indicated that some cells in embryos may be incompletely edited or escape editing entirely, creating a “mosaic” embryo (SN: 9/2/17, p. 6).
There would be no way to determine if every cell in an embryo is edited equally without examining each cell’s DNA separately, says molecular geneticist Dennis Eastburn, who was not at the summit. Additionally, traditional sequencing methods can’t detect all the possible off-target changes CRISPR/Cas9 editing might produce in an embryo’s DNA, says Eastburn, cofounder and chief science officer of Mission Bio in South San Francisco. To find rearrangements of DNA, for example, researchers would need to do what’s called long-read sequencing that could span large portions of a chromosome.
Far more troubling is that He chose to implant the embryos to establish pregnancies, all without consulting scientific experts, ethicists and government regulators, says chemical biologist David Liu.
The moment He decided to implant an edited embryo to create a human pregnancy was “the critical juncture when his study went from being an eyebrow-raising, but not unprecedented human embryo study similar to other ones done in China and other countries, to a deplorable calamity,” says Liu, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at Harvard University and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.
He claims he consulted with several other experts, including some in the United States, before moving ahead with his study. He’s university and Chinese authorities have launched investigations of his work. Rice University in Houston is investigating the role one of its researchers, Michael Deem, may have played in the research.

China lifts ban on Niigata rice in place since nuclear disaster
November 29, 2018 at 18:40 JST
China on Nov. 28 lifted its import ban on rice produced in Niigata Prefecture but maintained restrictions imposed since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster on other food from 10 prefectures.
During their summit in October, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe urged Chinese President Xi Jinping to lift the import restrictions on Japanese agricultural and other products.
China apparently examined the distances and wind directions from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant and decided to remove the ban on Niigata rice.
Japanese private companies have long hoped to resume rice exports to China, which accounts for about 30 percent of the world market for the staple food.
The Japanese government plans to ask the Chinese government to further ease restrictions on other food products.
The Abe administration has been promoting overseas sales of Japanese food products. It has set a goal of 1 trillion yen ($8.8 billion) as the annual export amount of agricultural, forestry and fishery products, as well as processed food.
But after the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, 54 countries and regions imposed restrictions on food imports from Japan.
Although the restrictions have been gradually eased, eight countries and regions--China, the United States, South Korea, Singapore, the Philippines, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau--still ban imports of certain products from certain areas of Japan, according to the agricultural ministry.
(This article was compiled from reports by Ayumi Shintaku and Takashi Funakoshi in Beijing and Tetsushi Yamamura in Tokyo.)

Statistics reveal need to boost self-sufficiency for food security

|     James Kon     |
RICE imports to Brunei Darussalam were consistent from 2013 to 2018, with the exception of 2017, during which there was a drop in imports due to a shortage in supply, according to statistics from the Treasury Department.
This has shown that it is a risk for Brunei Darussalam to subsist mainly on rice supplies from overseas.
The need to boost self-sufficiency for food security was raised yesterday at the Knowledge Convention 2018 by Haji Yusop bin Haji Mahmud, the Acting Accountant General at the Treasury Department of the Ministry of Finance and Economy (MoFE), in his working paper, ‘Food Security and Consumer Safety Guarantee’.
“The Treasury Department plays a vital role in supporting the aspirations of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam in assuring sufficient food security for the nation, especially with rice as our basic food,” he said.
He also revealed that the Treasury Department was given the mandate to import the country’s rice needs, with an import target of as much as 34,000 metric tonnes per year, from Thailand and Cambodia.
Acting Accountant General at the Treasury Department of the MoFE Haji Yusop bin Haji MahmudAttendees at the event. – PHOTOS: RAHWANI ZAHARI
This amount includes an additional six months of safety stock, together with the country’s actual needs.
Meanwhile, the Department of Agriculture and Agrifood under the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT) has also come up with strategies to achieve self-sufficiency in stages, to address and reduce the reliance on rice imports.
Haji Yusop said, “To make sure that the imported rice is safe for consumption, all rice imports into the country must have a Phytosanitary Certificate from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Cambodia and the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperative in Bangkok. The certification is a mandatory requirement. Without it, the rice would not be transported to Brunei.
“In addition, a certificate of quality is also needed from the import country, to meet the quality standards. All the requirements are stipulated within the contract.
“To further ensure its quality and safeness for consumption, the department will send samples of the imported rice to the scientific lab services under the Ministry of Health for an analysis.”
Haji Yusop iterated that food security and consumer safety is the responsibility of all. “The development plans in the agriculture sector must be sustainable to ensure the survivability of the people and the nation,” he said

NCDEX Soyabean likely to move in a range of 3293-3451
Commodity Online | November 30 2018
UPDATED 09:00:12 IST

Technically NCDEX Soyabean is getting support at 3324 and below same could see a test of 3293 level, And resistance is now likely to be seen at 3403, a move above could see prices testing 3451.

Soyabean on NCDEX settled down by 1.29% at 3355 as buying by crushers was limited in the physical market in the absence of any significant demand for soyoil and soymeal. Reports of higher arrivals and bumper crop hope weighed on prices.

India's 2018-19 soybean production is projected at 13.46 million tons up 22.5% over previous year, agriculture ministry data showed. According to senior government officials, China is likely to open its doors to soybean from India after allowing the import of no basmati rice and raw sugar.

As per SOPA, India's soymeal exports in 2018/19 could jump as much as 70% from a year ago, buoyed by expected purchases from the world's biggest soybean buyer China. Moreover, govt. plans to procure 44 lakh tonnes of oilseeds and pulses from farmers at MSPs in the ongoing kharif marketing season.

India's 2018-19 soybean production is projected at 13.46 million tons up 22.5% over previous year, agriculture ministry data showed. Further, Soybean Processors Association of India (SOPA) has projected an increase of 70% in soymeal exports during 2081-19 on expectations of fresh demand from China.

Arrivals of soybean in Madhya Pradesh are lower than expected and any significant increase in supplies is unlikely till the assembly polls.

USDA indicated that 1.056 mt of soybeans were inspected for export in the week that ended on November 15, down 22.13% from last week and less than half of the same week in 2017.  At the Indore spot market in top producer MP, soybean gained  17 Rupees to 3431 Rupees per 100 kgs.

Trading Ideas:
--Soyabean trading range for the day is 3293-3451.
--Soyabean prices dropped as buying by crushers was limited in the physical market in the absence of any significant demand for soyoil and soymeal.
--India's 2018-19 soybean production is projected at 13.46 million tons up 22.5% over previous year, agriculture ministry data showed.
--NCDEX accredited warehouses soyabean stocks gained by 1364 tonnes to 124797 tonnes.
--At the Indore spot market in top producer MP, soybean gained  17 Rupees to 3431 Rupees per 100 kgs.