Friday, March 08, 2019

8th March,2019 Daily Global Regional Local Rice E-Newsletter


Asia Rice-India, Vietnam attract fresh buying; supply weighs on Thai market
Rice export prices rose for both the Indian and Vietnamese varieties this week, bolstered by a pick up in demand, while fresh supply and a lack of interest from overseas buyers weighed on Thai rice prices. Prices for top exporter India’s benchmark 5 percent broken parboiled variety rose for the first time in four weeks to $383-$386 per tonne from last week’s $378-$383 range. “Demand is good, especially in containers from west Africa market,” Nitin Gupta, vice president, rice business at Olam India, said. Also supporting the Indian variety, the rupee was at its firmest since the start of the year, slashing exporters’ returns from foreign sales and prompting them to raise prices. Vietnam, the world’s third-largest shipper of the grain after Thailand, also saw prices for its 5 percent broken rice variety gain to $355 a tonne from $345 last week. “The government said it would buy rice from farmers for stockpiling, and demand is also seen rising,” a trader based in Ho Chi Minh City said. “However, increasing supplies from an ongoing harvest will likely keep prices from rising further.” The winter-spring harvest in the Mekong Delta will peak at the end of this month. The country’s central bank earlier this week asked local commercial banks to lower their lending rates to 6 percent for short-term loans to farmers, rice processors and exporters to help absorb the winter-spring output. “Malaysia is buying, and we have also been approached by customers from China and the Philippines, who are seeking to buy Vietnamese rice,” another trader said.
In Thailand, benchmark 5 percent broken rice prices eased to $380-$390, free on board Bangkok, from last week’s $383-$398. Fresh supply and the weakening of the domestic currency  contributed to the price dip, while demand remained flat, traders said. “There are now talks that there could be a drought during this dry season and that could impact supply next quarter,” a trader said. “Exporters are still looking to the Philippines for a possible deal, but so far things have remained quiet.” Meanwhile, summer rice output in Bangladesh is expected to hit 19.62 million tonnes from 19.57 million tonnes last year, Mizanur Rahman, a senior official of Department of Agriculture Extension, told Reuters. The summer-sown crop, also known as ‘Boro’, usually contributes more than half of Bangladesh’s typical annual rice production of around 35 million tonnes. Bangladesh, the world’s fourth largest producer, saw imports surge in 2017 after floods wrought havoc on local crops, prompting the country to act to shore up domestic reserves.



Asia Rice: India, Vietnam attract fresh buying; supply weighs on Thai market

·       MARCH 7, 2019 / 5:10 PM / UPDATED 21 HOURS AGO
·        
·        
(Reuters) - Rice export prices rose for both the Indian and Vietnamese varieties this week, bolstered by a pick up in demand, while fresh supply and a lack of interest from overseas buyers weighed on Thai rice prices.
Workers unload sacks of rice from a Vietnam cargo ship carrying some 12, 700 tonnes of rice, at the port in Manila July 5, 2014. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco/Files
Prices for top exporter India’s benchmark 5 percent broken parboiled variety rose for the first time in four weeks to $383-$386 per tonne from last week’s $378-$383 range.
“Demand is good, especially in containers from west Africa market,” Nitin Gupta, vice president, rice business at Olam India, said.
Also supporting the Indian variety, the rupee was at its firmest since the start of the year, slashing exporters’ returns from foreign sales and prompting them to raise prices.
Vietnam, the world’s third-largest shipper of the grain after Thailand, also saw prices for its 5 percent broken rice variety gain to $355 a tonne from $345 last week.
“The government said it would buy rice from farmers for stockpiling, and demand is also seen rising,” a trader based in Ho Chi Minh City said.
“However, increasing supplies from an ongoing harvest will likely keep prices from rising further.”
The winter-spring harvest in the Mekong Delta will peak at the end of this month.
The country’s central bank earlier this week asked local commercial banks to lower their lending rates to 6 percent for short-term loans to farmers, rice processors and exporters to help absorb the winter-spring output.
“Malaysia is buying, and we have also been approached by customers from China and the Philippines, who are seeking to buy Vietnamese rice,” another trader said.
In Thailand, benchmark 5 percent broken rice prices eased to $380-$390, free on board Bangkok, from last week’s $383-$398.
Fresh supply and the weakening of the domestic currency contributed to the price dip, while demand remained flat, traders said.
“There are now talks that there could be a drought during this dry season and that could impact supply next quarter,” a trader said.
A seller displays rice bags for sale at a store in Danang city, Vietnam March 14, 2018. REUTERS/Kham/Files
“Exporters are still looking to the Philippines for a possible deal, but so far things have remained quiet.”
Meanwhile, summer rice output in Bangladesh is expected to hit 19.62 million tonnes from 19.57 million tonnes last year, Mizanur Rahman, a senior official of Department of Agriculture Extension, told Reuters.
The summer-sown crop, also known as ‘Boro’, usually contributes more than half of Bangladesh’s typical annual rice production of around 35 million tonnes.
Bangladesh, the world’s fourth largest producer, saw imports surge in 2017 after floods wrought havoc on local crops, prompting the country to act to shore up domestic reserves.
Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav in Mumbai, Panu Wongcha-um in Bangkok, Khanh Vu in Hanoi; Editing by Arpan Varghese and David Evans
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As rice sales slow, sellers go premium
With Koreans diversifying their eating habits, rice sommeliers cater to quality seekers with high-end cultivars
·       Published : Mar 7, 2019 - 17:38
·       Updated : Mar 7, 2019 - 17:38
Rice is under attack like it has never been before.

With growing health worries about the intake of refined carbohydrates and gluten, Koreans are eating less and less rice.

But at the same time, there is a growing number of rice lovers seeking out better taste, texture and nutrition.

Catering to the positive trend, a rice-only shop opened at Hyundai Department Store’s branch in Pangyo, in the southern suburbs of Seoul, in December.

The shop, one of four to open at the department store’s branches last year, specializes in high-end rice, or rice cultivars of fine quality that are 15 to 20 percent more expensive than ordinary ones. Well-known Japanese rice varieties such as Koshihikari are on the shelf.

Also waiting for guests at these stores are “rice sommeliers.”

Certified by a Japanese association, the experts make recommendations to consumers depending on their varying needs and explain the cultivars’ history, taste and characteristics. They also create rice blends.

At the Pangyo shop, a 5-kilogram sack of rice goes for around 30,000 won ($26.60).

The department store saw a growing market for premium rice despite the overall decline in rice consumption in Korea.

An average Korean consumed around 61.8 kilograms of rice in 2017, according to data from Statistics Korea, which translates to just about 170 grams a day. That is equivalent to just one package of Haetban instant white rice a day.

“Although the growth rate of total rice sales has been falling, consumers’ interest in premium rice is definite,” the company said in a press release.

Village Rice Mill is another high-end rice boutique. Located at Seongsan-dong, western Seoul, the establishment mills rice grains. 
Description: http://res.heraldm.com/content/image/2019/03/07/20190307000828_0.jpg
Various rice varieties are on sale at Village Rice Mill in Seongsan-dong, Seoul. (Im Eun-byel / The Korea Herald)

Description: http://res.heraldm.com/content/image/2019/03/07/20190307000829_0.jpg
(Im Eun-byel / The Korea Herald)

Rice mills, which remove the husk and “polish” the grains, have been disappearing across the country as most people purchase milled rice at huge retail stores now. It is even harder to spot a rice mill in Seoul, as its residents live a highly industrialized life.

But Village Rice Mill opened its doors next to the busy Hongdae area in December 2017, hoping to revive rice’s status on the table.

Kim Dong-kyu, one of the owners of the store, calls himself a “rice curator.”

“We eat rice every day, but we know nothing about it,” Kim said. “This rice mill is about reviving the value of rice -- we should at least know something about what we are eating every day,” he said.

The rice mill also sells rice of various cultivars, packaged in small sizes under 450 grams. The packages cost around 3,000 won. They are all produced by independent farmers, small agricultural enterprises or co-ops.

To suggest a lifestyle, the rice mill also has a restaurant that serves steamed rice from its collection. The meal does not provide a fancy dining experience, but functions to show the importance of choosing the right rice.

With growing popularity, it opened another branch in the neighborhood in September.

“We hope more people can realize the importance of being aware of what you eat. The rice at supermarkets is labeled by the origin. Some even mistake the origins as the cultivars,” Kim said. “It is a process of finding taste. Like coffee, wine -- there are characteristics to each rice breed.”

For locavores, or those preferring local food over mass-produced products of multinational agricultural giants, native rice cultivars can be an optimal choice.

Woobo Farm is a community farm on the northwestern outskirts of Seoul that exclusively deals with native rice. Farmers cultivate around 100 native rice breeds at the 9,917-square-meter farm. The amount of harvest may not be as great as expected, though, as the native cultivars lack productivity.

According to farm owner Lee Geun-yi, the number of native rice cultivars rapidly dropped during Japanese occupation, as Japan enforced that farmers only cultivate highly productive breeds for rice exploitation.

“In the 1910s, it is recorded, there were about 1,500 native rice varieties cultivated across the Korean Peninsula. But by the time of the liberation (in 1945), the number had greatly decreased to around 450. Also, due to the government’s agriculture policies for rapid growth in the 1970s, most native rice seeds disappeared,” he said.

Most of the rice varieties on sale at supermarkets are crossbreeds. Imported seeds have been adapted to be usable under any circumstances. Nowadays, much of the rice consumed in Korea is white rice, which is sweet and high in carbohydrates.

But native rice varieties generally contain less carbs and more vitamins. They have distinctive flavors and mouthfeels. They can be mixed or cooked on their own. 
Description: http://res.heraldm.com/content/image/2019/03/07/20190307000830_0.jpg
At Project Rent in Seongsu-dong, Seoul, 27 native rice varieties from Woobo Farm are currently on display. The exhibition continues until Monday. (Im Eun-byel / The Korea Herald)

“Native rice has this natural beauty. It cannot be tamed. It is difficult to use machines when cultivating native rice cultivars. You have to use your hands,” Lee said.

Rice varieties from Woobo Farm are currently on display at Project Rent, a cultural space in Seongsu-dong, eastern Seoul. The exhibition showcases 27 native rice cultivars from Woobo Farm. It continues until Monday.

By Im Eun-byel (silverstar@heraldcorp.com)


Cheap NFA rice to stay available under new law

MARCH 07, 2019
·       CHEAP NFA RICE TO STAY AVAILABLE UNDER NEW LAW
State-subsidized rice at P27 per kilo will remain available despite the implementation of the Rice Tariffication Law, a Cabinet official said.
This has been assured under implementing rules and regulations (IRR) approved on Tuesday by the the National Food Authority Council, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said.
Piñol, chair of the NFA Council, said the agency would adopt “rolling buffer stocking” and buy palay (milled rice) from local farmers all-year round with an optimal buffer stock level good for 30 days.
Once the NFA reaches the optimal level, it will be allowed to release the “aged stocks” to prevent spoilage as milled rice cannot be kept beyond six months, Piñol added.
This overrides a provision of the law that allows the release of stocks only during calamities and emergencies.
Description: https://s14255.pcdn.co/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/3_Cheap-NFa.jpgWorkers carry a sack of rice at the NFA warehouse in Quezon City. PHOTO BY RUY MARTINEZ
Piñol said this would ensure that the NFA will continue supplying retailers with low-priced rice despite losing its authority to license them in the domestic market.
Current imported rice stocks of the NFA stand to last until August this year.
“We still have stocks… and since these supplies were acquired at a lower price then we will have to sell it P27 [per kilo]. By the end of August or before that, the NFA Council will determine what will be the right price for the purchased local palay,” Piñol told reporters.
He explained that the NFA palay buying price would have to be adjusted “to ensure that the agency does not lose money” since it will be limited to buffer-stocking agency under the new law.
“Since our buying price for local palay is a lot higher compared to the price of imported rice, we will have to recompute. So there will be adjustments but we will determine that in the future NFA Council meetings,” Piñol said.
By September, the NFA will start buying local farmers’ produce which will be released to the markets as cheap priced NFA rice.
“We would like to let the farmers know that NFA will buy your palay. It will be continuous; we will not stop,” Piñol assured.
It was also agreed during the NFA Council meeting yesterday that requirements on “collaterals” in the P1-billion credit facility under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) be eliminated.
This means that the RCEF Credit Program will impose interest that is 1/3 of the prevailing rates of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to farmers who wish to avail the loan.
Also, the new IRR ruled that machinery and farm equipment and seeds will be given to the rice farmers as grant.
The NFA Council has also approved a draft resolution of other minor revisions of the IRR based on inputs gathered in consultations conducted last week.
The paper, Piñol said, will then be endorsed to the Department of Agriculture, National Economic and Development Authority, and the Department of Budget and Management, whose secretaries will sign it to signal the official transition to a new rice regime.
The Rice Import Liberalization law replaces quantitative restrictions that had hindered imports of the grain.
Under Republic Act 11203, the country will apply a 35 percent tariff for rice shipments from Asean member states, 40 percent for in-quota or within minimum access volume (MAV) shipments from non-Asean sources, and 180 percent for out-quota and non-Asean shipments.
It also calls for the establishment of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF), to be endowed with P10 billion a year for six years, which will be utilized to provide different forms of assistance to rice farmers.



Rice export market risky, Vietnamese farmers suffer constant anxiety

07/03/2019
VietNamNet Bridge - Vietnam is one of the biggest rice exporters in the world, but it remains highly dependent on the Chinese market.

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Vietnam had a bountiful rice export season in 2018


Vietnam had a bountiful rice export season in 2018 and its rice products were exported to 150 markets. About 6.15 million tons of rice were exported in the year, estimated to bring $3.15 billion in turnover, or 5.7 percent higher in export volume, and 19.6 percent higher in export turnover compared with 2017.

In early 2018, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) reported that the average export price soared to $475 per ton from $435 per ton in 2016 and $450 in 2017. This is the highest export price in the last three to four years, which even exceeded Thai rice prices.

It was thus a surprise that rice exports would decline in the first months of 2019. MARD reported that Vietnam only exported 373,000 tons in January 2019, or 24.2 percent lower than January 2018, worth $167 million, or 30 percent lower.
MARD reported that Vietnam only exported 373,000 tons in January 2019, or 24.2 percent lower than January 2018, worth $167 million, or 30 percent lower.
Analysts explained that exports to some markets were low because some markets still had rice carried forward from 2018.

Farmers in the Mekong Delta, the rice granary of Vietnam, are nervous as the rice prices have dropped dramatically while the harvest of the winter-spring crop has begun.

According to Luu Van Hai in An Giang province, IR50504 unhusked rice is now selling at VND4,550 per kilogram, or VND500 lower than the previous winter-spring crop. This means that farmers can pocket VND300,000-400,000 for every 1,000 square meters.

Trang Van Hoang in Dong Thap province also complained that IR50404 rice price has dropped from VND4,800 per kilogram in pre-Tet days to VND4,300 per kilogram. Meanwhile, the merchants who promised to buy his rice have not turned up yet.

The Soc Trang Industry and Trade department confirmed that Soc Trang’s people are worried as rice remains unsold. The businesses which promised to collect rice from farmers have “run away”.

Vietnamese rice farmers are experiencing tough days because of the weak demand, which is attributed to fluctuations of the Chinese market, Vietnam’s biggest rice consumer.

Nguyen Ngoc Nam, chair of the Vietnam Food Association (VFA), said that China has raised the import tariff on Vietnam’s rice to 50 percent since June 2018.

MARD also warned of difficulties in exporting rice to China which has raised taxes and tightened control over imports.

Only 21 out of 156 rice exporters have licenses from Chinese agencies to export rice to China.

In 2017, Vietnam exported 5.89 million tons.


VN central bank urges more support for rice farmers
07/03/2019
The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) has told commercial banks to provide continued support for the rice sector in the Mekong Delta by offering loans to rice farmers and trading firms to beef up their rice production and consumption.

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Farmers harvest rice in the Mekong Delta region 

Under the central bank's Document 1289, commercial banks should boost the deployment of the credit policy for agricultural and rural development in line with the Government’s decrees 55 and 116.
Besides this, the central bank asked lenders to focus on giving loans geared toward developing the connectivity model from production to consumption and to implement Decision 68 on supportive policies on the reduction of losses in agriculture.
In addition, commercial banks should order their branches in the Mekong Delta to guarantee sufficient loans for farmers, traders and producers so that they can purchase, store and export the rice grown in the 2019 winter-spring crop.
This aims to remove financial difficulties and create favorable conditions for rice-trading firms to apply for loans, including extending debt payments, offering new loans and speeding up loan disbursement.
Further, SBV requested commercial banks to offer medium- and long-term loans to support enterprises in beefing up their rice production and processing activities.
Commercial banks, apart from simplifying their lending procedures, should diversify credit products and make credit terms flexible to aid rice trading firms.
Moreover, SBV required strict enforcement of the regulation on the cap on interest rates for Vietnamese dong-denominated short-term loans for agricultural and rural development, especially for the growth of the rice industry. Based on the borrowers’ financial capability, the interest rate can be adjusted downward.
SBV governor Le Minh Hung said that as of end-December 2018, the country saw the outstanding loans for the agricultural and rural sector amount to VND1.73 quadrillion, up 21.4% year-on-year, with the Mekong Delta region accounting for 17.24% of the total, at VND298,000 billion.
Of the total outstanding loans reported at the end of January, amounting to VND1.75 quadrillion, VND300,000 billion was offered to the Mekong Delta, Hung said.
Hung added that for the rice industry, the country’s outstanding loans reached VND99 trillion in 2018, growing by VND29.8 trillion against the figure seen at end-2017, adding that the Mekong Delta made up 50% of the total VND100 trillion by end-January.

Prices of rice to increase from April : Minister P. Harrison

 7 March 2019

In today's News



The prices of rice will be increased following the Yala harvesting season from April, Minister of Agriculture P. Harrison said today (Mar 07).
Accordingly, a kilogram of Nadu rice will go up to Rs 40 while a kilo of  Samba rice will increase to Rs 43.
A kilogram of Nadu and Samba are currently priced at Rs 38 and Rs 41 respectively.
Minister Harrison while addressing a ceremony today opined that he was dissatisfied over the current prices of rice.


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So, Nigeria’s now highest rice producer in Africa?

. .Published Date Mar 7, 2019 1:05 AM
Description: https://cdn.dailytrust.com.ng/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Rice-farm-600x357.jpg
I’m not sure anyone saw it coming. Yes, we all know there’s a rice revolution going on in the country in the last three years. We heard plenty of that on the campaign trail before the February 23 presidential election. But many have thought, like me, that it was all campaign stunts.
But it became real when Dr Harold Roy-Macauley, the Director-General, Africa Rice Center, Benin Republic, was quoted as saying Nigeria is now the largest rice producer in Africa, overtaking Egypt which had held the title, in the last one year.
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We now know that Nigeria is the largest rice producer in Africa because it produces 4 million tonnes out of the Africa average of 14.6 million tonnes of rice annually. Egypt, which Nigeria has edged out of the lead, used to produce 4.3 tonnes annually but suffered a decline of almost 40 percent in the last one year. The reduction in production was attributed to the Egyptian government decision to limit cultivation to preserve water resources.
But while Egypt’s production is on decline, Nigeria’s has been on the rise in the last three years to reach the current level. The good news in the rice sector may not be surprising to stakeholders already familiar with developments in the nation’s agricultural sector. But for others, it will encourage interest in what’s going on and how to be part of it.
The success in rice production would lead to renewed interest in the partnership between the Ministry of Agriculture and the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN since 2015.
It is a fact that attempts have been made by past governments to recreate agriculture through various schemes such as ‘’Operation Feed the Nation” and the ‘’Green Revolution” initiative of the Shehu Shagari administration during the second republic, among others. But none of the previous efforts created the desired impact largely due to inadequate financing.
This is a gap which has now been closed by the CBN under Godwin Emefiele. In keeping with his promise to run a central bank that would serve the growth and development needs of the country, Emefiele has ensured the CBN becomes a strategic driver of economic growth of the country. The CBN under him has introduced various initiatives for concessionary funding of agriculture, which is widely recognized as the sector that has the potential to drive economic growth.
These initiatives and intervention schemes can broadly be classified under sectors of agriculture, manufacturing, micro, small and medium scale enterprises, power and energy and banking. But nowhere have these interventions yielded more so quickly as in the agriculture sector where rice production has received the most focus.
CBN development finance initiatives like the Agricultural Credit Guaranty Scheme, Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme and Anchor Burrowers programme (ABP), among others have tremendously helped to reposition the agriculture sector in the country.
The ABP, one of the initiatives of the CBN which has made very positive impact, was launched by President Muhammadu Buhari on November 17, 2015 to create a linkage between anchor companies involved in the processing and small holder farmers of the required key agricultural commodities. The programme has focused primarily on rice production.
The thrust of the ABP is the provision of farm inputs in kind and cash (for farm labour) to small holder farmers to boost production of these commodities, stabilize inputs supply to agro processors and address the country’s negative balance of payments on food. The objective is to boost agricultural production and non-oil exports in the face of unpredictable crude oil prices and its resultant effect on the revenue profile of Nigeria.
The programme empowered rice farmers and processors in the country and resulted in a significant boost in rice production in the country. Statistics from the CBN indicate that the ABP has added two million metric tons to rice supply in the country and created 500,000 jobs. This is clearly a revolution in rice production in the country which succinctly confirms that agriculture financing is key to a faster growth of the economy.
There is no other sector of the economy that had employed similar number of people within the same period. But that is not to say we are where we should be; it is just an acknowledgement of the mileage covered. But the road to self-sufficiency in food production still stretches further.
Reports show that Nigeria is still an importer of rice, despite the laudable progress made. The volume of rice importation into Nigeria has declined drastically, but we’re still insufficient in rice production. Export figures obtained from  India and Thailand, which are dominant rice exporters to Nigeria, indicate that as at September, the latter had so far exported about 5,161 metric tonnes of rice to Nigeria, while the former sold only a paltry 426 tonnes as at July 2018.It is a long walk away from the over 400,000 metric tons of rice previously imported into the country.
As Roy- Macauley said ,  the African rice value chain needs to be better integrated and be capable of competing with imported rice in terms of quality. He stressed that the goal to achieving rice self- sufficiency is not just about on farm assistance but also involves introducing rice varieties that fit the diverse African agro-ecologies, improve irrigation facilities and disseminate rice growing techniques to farmers.
The CBN and the Ministry of Agriculture must continue this partnership and sustain the various initiatives to reposition the entire Agric sector. The efforts that created the rice revolution must be extended to other agriculture commodities if Nigeria is to achieve self-sufficiency in food production. These targeted schemes and programmes for the real sector development also have potentials for employment generation, wealth creation and poverty reduction.
It has been noted that a nation can hardly sustain its economic growth without a strong agricultural base and the reasons are obvious. Agriculture provides food, raw materials and employment and it is bandied that agriculture is the largest provider of employment, and it is estimated that more than 65 per cent of industries and business activities are supported by agriculture at primary and secondary levels.
Agriculture is also important in international trade; it helps to reduce balance of trade, reduce import, increase export, generate foreign exchange, impacts transportation, help to improve standard of living of the people. Many advanced economies developed on the back of agriculture.
Emefiele must remain focused on his mission at the CBN. Although his tenure, which is renewable, expires June this year, what he started must not be allowed to fizzle out. It is critical that we sustain the momentum.
Ms. Ating wrote this piece from Abuja

Report of Nigeria topping Africa contradicts FG’s claims on local rice production


 On Mar 6, 2019
Description: https://i0.wp.com/www.icirnigeria.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Rice-farmers.jpg?zoom=1.5&resize=674%2C387&ssl=1File photo: Rice farmers in Nigeria
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IN JULY 2014, Akinwumi Adesina, then minister of agriculture and rural development, predicted that Nigeria would become Africa’s largest rice exporter ‘in five years’, that is 2019, based on investments in farming and milling.
But recent news about Nigeria becoming the largest producer of rice on the continent cannot be said to be a  fulfilment of this forecast, but a contradiction that has exposed as lie the previous claims by the federal government.
Audu Ogbeh, the current minister of agriculture and rural development, said in May that the country’s rice paddy production is between 5.8 and 6 million tonnes, which had led the government to save up to five million dollars every day. He also said the population of rice farmers in the country has risen from 5 to 12.2 million.
“By the end of this farming season we should be approaching 8 million tons of paddy which will give us roughly 6.5 million tonnes of processed rice and we hope that by this time next year we should be targeting 9 million tonnes of paddy,” Ogbeh said.
A year earlier in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, president of the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Aminu Goronyo, credited the FG’s Anchor Borrowers Programme for the increase in production.
“The consumption rate now is 7.9 million tonnes and the production rate has increased to 5.8 tonnes per annum,’’ he said.
AfricaRice gives a much lower figure
The Africa Rice Centre, a pan-African intergovernmental association and agricultural research organisation, has provided a much lower figure of the quantity of rice produced in Nigeria annually.
The centre has disclosed that Nigeria only produces 4 million tonnes of rice a year in contrast to 5.8 and 6 million tonnes claimed from the federal government and RIFAN.
Speaking to The Nation Newspaper earlier this week, Harold Roy-Macauley, Director-General of AfricaRice, revealed this fact and said Nigeria has supplanted Egypt in its position as Africa’s largest rice producer.
Egypt, he explained, was producing 4.3 tonnes annually but deliberately reduced production by nearly 40 per cent in 2019 in order to “preserve water resources”.
“We cannot do anything else in light of the limited amounts of water we have. We have to grow less rice to save the water for other uses. Egypt is water-poor already and it cannot keep growing crops that need huge amounts of water,” Abdelatif Khalid, Egypt’s head of the irrigation department, had clarified in March 2018.
AfricaRice isn’t the only int’l organisation that has given rice production figures for Nigeria, which contradict the stats by the Nigerian government officials.
Latest figures, according to the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE), state that Nigeria produces 3.78 million metric tonnes—not far from AfricaRice’s 4 million, and imports 3 million metric tonnes. The WASDE report is prepared regularly by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and approved by the World Agricultural Outlook Board.
In November, information minister Lai Mohammed described the USDA’s report as “fake” and “absolutely false”, while making reference to figures from the Thailand Rice Exporters Association.
The minister also said “the records are very clear as to the importation of rice”, but the federal government has not made public comprehensive, official reports detailing how much rice is imported from different countries, how much is locally produced and where, and how much is smuggled into Nigeria.
Misinterpreted and celebrated
As soon as it was published, the report from The Nation Newspaper was latched onto by various individuals and organisations.
The headline reads: ‘Nigeria overtakes Egypt as the largest rice producer in Africa’, but many interpreted it to mean Nigeria’s local rice production has improved thanks to government policies, not Egypt’s decision to cut down production.
The link was shared on Twitter, for instance, by @APCNigeria, a “support account” for the ruling party and President Muhammadu Buhari.
Also, sharing the same link on the social media platform, media aide to the president, Lauretta Onochie, commented: “Nigeria overtakes Egypt as ‘largest rice producer in Africa’ And we have not entered that #NextLevel we just voted for. Hmmm, #SaiBabaBuhari.”
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Egypt's central bank excludes rice, beans, lentils imports from cash cover

MENA , Thursday 7 Mar 2019
Description: CBE
A file photo of the Central Bank of Egypt in Cairo (Photo: Ahram Arabic)
The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) excluded imports of rice, beans and lentils from the 100 percent cash cover granted on import orders for one year.
In a statement, the bank said the exemption from full import payments in advance will continue until 15 March 2020.
The bank said the decision comes as part of efforts to secure the needs of the local Egyptian markets and facilitate import order procedures.
The decision is applicable to all import orders submitted by companies after taking into consideration the credit study conducted by each bank.


Green tea, rice compounds show promise against Alzheimer’s: Study

Edited By Odishatv Bureau | On Mar 7, 2019 - 23:22:44
Description: https://s3-ap-south-1.amazonaws.com/cdn.odishatv.in/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Alzheimers-700x430.jpg
New York: A diet containing compounds found in green tea and carrots reversed Alzheimer’s-like symptoms in mice genetically programmed to develop the disease, an advance that could one day pave the way for treatment of dementia in humans, say researchers.
The study, led by the University of Southern California in the US, supports the idea that combination therapy, rather than a single magic bullet, may offer the best approach to treating people living with Alzheimer’s.
Combination treatment is already the standard of care for diseases such as cancer, HIV infection and rheumatoid arthritis.
The findings, published in the journal Biological Chemistry, showed that a combination of EGCG, or epigallocatechin-3-gallate – found in green tea; and FA, or ferulic acid – found in carrots, tomatoes, rice, wheat and oats, completely restored spatial working memory.
After three months of treatment, the Alzheimer’s mice performed just as well as the healthy comparison mice.

Rice may drop to P25 per kilo as imports flood market – NEDA exec


Description: https://www.panaynews.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Rice-3-696x464.jpg A child is seen hauling a sack of rice over his shoulder at a public market in Metro Manila. ABS-CBN NEWS
MANILA – Rice may cost as low as P25 per kilo once imports start arriving in markets, an official of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said Tuesday.
NEDA undersecretary Rosemarie Edillon allayed concerns that poor people may no longer have access to cheap rice once the National Food Authority stops selling subsidized rice priced at P27 to the public.
The NFA is supposed to stop selling subsidized rice in adherence to the Rice Industry Modernization Act, which takes effect Tuesday, March 5.
Edillon, however, said that imported rice will push prices lower than the NFA’s selling price.
Pwedeng maging mas mura pa,” Edillon said.
She said the landed cost of cheap rice from Vietnam is currently around P18 per kilo.
Adding the 35 percent tariff to this would push the cost of imported rice to P24.30.
Factoring in traders’ profits would put rice prices at around P25 to P26, assuming that there is no collusion among traders, said Edillon.
Ang importante lang dito ay marami ang magko-compete sa merkado. Dapat talaga walang maging monopolya,” said Edillon.
The NEDA official also assured that there would be competition in the market as there are already a number of players interested in the rice trade.
She added that the Philippine Competition Commission can also come in if there are signs that the rice market is not seeing competition.
Edillon also said that farmers will also benefit from the new law as the tariffs collected will go used to modernize the rice industry through the Rice Competitiveness Enhance Fund.
Farmers groups have called for the scrapping of the Rice Industry Modernization law, saying cheap imported rice will drive local rice farmers out of business. (ABS-CBN News)

Opinion: So, Nigeria’s now highest rice producer in Africa?

 by Ating 18 hours ago 4243 views by  Nnenna Ibeh Editor's note: Ms. Ating an Abuja-based analyst writes on the recent news that Nigeria's has become the highest producer of rice in Africa surpassing Egypt which has a low turnout in production due to the country's decision to preserve its water resources. Ating says reports also show that Nigeria is still an importer of rice, despite the laudable progress made. Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Legit.ng. Your own opinion articles are welcome at info@corp.legit.ng— drop an email telling us what you want to write about and why. More details in Legit.ng’s step-by-step guide for guest contributors. We’re ready to trade your news for our money: submit news and photo reports from your area using our Citizen Journalism App. Contact us if you have any feedback, suggestions, complaints or compliments. We are also available on Twitter. I’m not sure anyone saw it coming. Yes, we all know there’s a rice revolution going on in the country in the last three years. We heard plenty of that on the campaign trail before the February 23 presidential election. But many have thought, like me, that it was all campaign stunts. But it became real when Dr Harold Roy-Macauley, the Director-General, Africa Rice Center, Benin Republic, was quoted as saying Nigeria is now the largest rice producer in Africa, overtaking Egypt which had held the title, in the last one year. We now know that Nigeria is the largest rice producer in Africa because it produces 4 million tonnes out of the Africa average of 14.6 million tonnes of rice annually. Egypt, which Nigeria has edged out of the lead, used to produce 4.3 tonnes annually but suffered a decline of almost 40 percent in the last one year. The reduction in production was attributed to the Egyptian government decision to limit cultivation to preserve water resources. But while Egypt’s production is on decline, Nigeria’s has been on the rise in the last three years to reach the current level. The good news in the rice sector may not be surprising to stakeholders already familiar with developments in the nation’s agricultural sector. But for others, it will encourage interest in what’s going on and how to be part of it. The success in rice production would lead to renewed interest in the partnership between the Ministry of Agriculture and the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN since 2015. READ ALSO: Atiku calls on supporters to vote PDP in coming elections It is a fact that attempts have been made by past governments to recreate agriculture through various schemes such as ‘’Operation Feed the Nation” and the ‘’Green Revolution” initiative of the Shehu Shagari administration during the second republic, among others. But none of the previous efforts created the desired impact largely due to inadequate financing. This is a gap which has now been closed by the CBN under Godwin Emefiele. In keeping with his promise to run a central bank that would serve the growth and development needs of the country, Emefiele has ensured the CBN becomes a strategic driver of economic growth of the country. The CBN under him has introduced various initiatives for concessionary funding of agriculture, which is widely recognized as the sector that has the potential to drive economic growth. These initiatives and intervention schemes can broadly be classified under sectors of agriculture, manufacturing, micro, small and medium scale enterprises, power and energy and banking. But nowhere have these interventions yielded more so quickly as in the agriculture sector where rice production has received the most focus. CBN development finance initiatives like the Agricultural Credit Guaranty Scheme, Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme and Anchor Burrowers programme (ABP), among others have tremendously helped to reposition the agriculture sector in the country. The ABP, one of the initiatives of the CBN which has made very positive impact, was launched by President Muhammadu Buhari on November 17, 2015 to create a linkage between anchor companies involved in the processing and small holder farmers of the required key agricultural commodities. The programme has focused primarily on rice production. The thrust of the ABP is the provision of farm inputs in kind and cash (for farm labour) to small holder farmers to boost production of these commodities, stabilize inputs supply to agro processors and address the country’s negative balance of payments on food. The objective is to boost agricultural production and non-oil exports in the face of unpredictable crude oil prices and its resultant effect on the revenue profile of Nigeria. The programme empowered rice farmers and processors in the country and resulted in a significant boost in rice production in the country. Statistics from the CBN indicate that the ABP has added two million metric tons to rice supply in the country and created 500,000 jobs. This is clearly a revolution in rice production in the country which succinctly confirms that agriculture financing is key to a faster growth of the economy. There is no other sector of the economy that had employed similar number of people within the same period. But that is not to say we are where we should be; it is just an acknowledgement of the mileage covered. But the road to self-sufficiency in food production still stretches further. Reports show that Nigeria is still an importer of rice, despite the laudable progress made. PAY ATTENTION: Read the news on Nigeria’s #1 news app The volume of rice importation into Nigeria has declined drastically, but we’re still insufficient in rice production. Export figures obtained from India and Thailand, which are dominant rice exporters to Nigeria, indicate that as at September, the latter had so far exported about 5,161 metric tonnes of rice to Nigeria, while the former sold only a paltry 426 tonnes as at July 2018.It is a long walk away from the over 400,000 metric tons of rice previously imported into the country. As Roy- Macauley said , the African rice value chain needs to be better integrated and be capable of competing with imported rice in terms of quality. He stressed that the goal to achieving rice self- sufficiency is not just about on farm assistance but also involves introducing rice varieties that fit the diverse African agro-ecologies, improve irrigation facilities and disseminate rice growing techniques to farmers. The CBN and the Ministry of Agriculture must continue this partnership and sustain the various initiatives to reposition the entire Agric sector. The efforts that created the rice revolution must be extended to other agriculture commodities if Nigeria is to achieve self-sufficiency in food production.
 These targeted schemes and programmes for the real sector development also have potentials for employment generation, wealth creation and poverty reduction. It has been noted that a nation can hardly sustain its economic growth without a strong agricultural base and the reasons are obvious. Agriculture provides food, raw materials and employment and it is bandied that agriculture is the largest provider of employment, and it is estimated that more than 65 per cent of industries and business activities are supported by agriculture at primary and secondary levels. Agriculture is also important in international trade; it helps to reduce balance of trade, reduce import, increase export, generate foreign exchange, impacts transportation, help to improve standard of living of the people. Many advanced economies developed on the back of agriculture. Emefiele must remain focused on his mission at the CBN. Although his tenure, which is renewable, expires June this year, what he started must not be allowed to fizzle out. It is critical that we sustain the momentum. NAIJ.com (naija.ng) -> Legit.ng We have updated to serve you better.


Coco farmers protest low copra prices

Philippine Daily Inquirer / 05:20 AM March 07, 2019
Farmers from southern Luzon have set up a weeklong camp in Quezon City to protest the new rice law and lower prices of copra that peasant groups said could turn the Philippines into a “hungry and food-insecure” agricultural country.
Represented by peasant groups Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, Kampuhang Magsasaka Laban sa Kahirapan, Kagutuman at Pasismo (Kasama-TK) and Bantay Bigas, farmers from Quezon, Laguna and Batangas provinces said they would camp outside the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) until Friday to oppose the Rice Import Liberalization Law, or Republic Act No. 11203.
The groups said RA 11203, which took effect on Wednesday, stripped the National Food Authority (NFA) of its regulatory functions over the grains industry, including the granting of licenses to rice traders, inspecting warehouses, and seizing hoarded and smuggled rice.
Eddie Billiones of Kasama-TK said the unrestricted importation and liberalization of the rice industry would lead to hunger especially among local farmers.
The groups urged the government to strive for rice sufficiency and food security, instead of depending on rice imports.
During a protest dialogue at the PCA on Tuesday, coconut farmers also asked the coconut agency, the Department of Agriculture, and the NFA for an immediate food aid of three sacks of rice for each coco farming family affected by the steadily declining price of copra and whole coconut in southern Luzon provinces.
The groups also demanded the standardization of copra prices at P50 per kilo and coconuts at P12 each, and asked that the wages of farm workers be raised to P300 a day for every 1,000 coconuts harvested.
“Copra prices have declined by 66 percent from P38 per kilo in 2017 to the latest February 2019 price of P12 per kilo. This amount is not even enough to buy half a kilo of rice,” said Agaton Bautista of Bakasan at Lakas ng mga Magniniyog sa Batangas.
“Coco farmers earn even less because of long-standing antifarmer practices of resicada, resiko or moisture content,” Bautista added.
PCA OIC-Administrator Glen Santos assured the farmers during the dialogue that the agency would review the resicada system.

Breaking up the rice cartel
COMMONSENSE - Marichu A. Villanueva (The Philippine Star) - March 8, 2019 - 12:00am
Now nearing the halfway mark in the term of President Rodrigo Duterte, this administration should, by this time, already learned its bitter lessons from unnecessary delays in the implementation of key government programs that are part and package of newly signed laws. A particular example was the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion or the controversial TRAIN Law under Republic Act (RA) 10963 signed in December 2017.
When the TRAIN Law took effect starting on Jan. 1, 2018, the personal income taxes of those receiving fixed salary and wages got hefty cuts. This translated to extra money from the lowering of withholding taxes deducted from the monthly take-home pay. The resulting revenue losses of the government were more than offset by the imposition of new revenue sources such as specific taxes on gasoline and other refined oil products, and tax on sweetened beverage products among them. 
As the TRAIN Law was being implemented by tax collecting agencies, it took a long while for the rest of the government to roll out the social protection programs to cushion the impact of the new and higher taxes. The various programs for the “social safety nets” included the unconditional cash transfers for indigent families under the 4Ps (Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program); the jeepney fuel vouchers or Pantawid Pasada Program; the National Food Authority (NFA) rice subsidies; and free skills training for minimum wage earners and the unemployed.
The TRAIN Law set aside 30 percent of the annual incremental revenue to these programs which are intended to offset the effects of higher taxes on disadvantaged sectors of the population. While these “social safety nets” languished at the bureaucracy, the full impact of the TRAIN law was already pushing up prices of rice, jeepney fares, electricity and other basic commodities sensitive to oil price hikes. 
Inflation rose to 5.2 percent last year from 2.9 percent, overshooting the two to four percent target of the economic managers who blamed it on higher oil and food prices as well as on a weak peso. When inflation broke the 6 percent rate, frantic calls to repeal the TRAIN Law ensued and the bleeding hearts poured out from the halls of Congress.
Lawmakers from both administration allies and opposition leaders lashed at the government’s slow action to carry out these social mitigation measures. Although funded in the 2018 national budget such as the P25-billion allocation for 4Ps and P900 million on fuel vouchers for public jeepney drivers/operators, they were belatedly rolled out to cushion the projected impact of the TRAIN Law on prices. This triggered populist calls for the 17th Congress to amend, if not repeal, the TRAIN Law, especially on gasoline prices.
To prevent a repeat of this, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) issued joint guidelines for all government agencies as early as Aug. 31 last year for the identification of qualified beneficiaries and implementation arrangements of social welfare and benefits program for 2019 as mandated by the TRAIN Law.
With the social intervention programs finally rolled out, inflation eased for four straight months to an 11-month low of 3.8 percent in February after peaking at 6.7 percent in September and October last year.
The TRAIN Law debacle should remind economic managers of President Duterte to ensure this won’t happen again in yet another landmark legislation by the 17th Congress on rice tariffication law. From reports of the Department of Agriculture (DA) headed by Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, there seem to be foot-dragging attempts in implementing RA 11203 that President Duterte signed on Feb. 15.
RA 11203 replaces the quantitative restrictions imposed by the government on the country’s rice imports with a 35 percent tariff as required by the World Trade Organization. The law also allocated P10 billion annually for the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) for six years to be extended to farmers for various initiatives including mechanization, education, and provision of choice fertilizers and seeds.
Effectively, NFA has been officially stripped of its powers over the import and export of rice and its functions over the domestic rice industry as the rice liberalization law takes effect. This includes the licensing and registration of persons and entities engaged in the grains business, collection of regulatory fees, issuance of negotiable warehouse receipts, warehouse inspection, authority to seize hoarded stocks and enforce rules and regulations in the grains business, among others.
For this year, the local rice industry is set to receive P22 billion. The law is expected to lead to a reduction of rice prices in the market by at least P2 to P7 per kilo.
Despite all of these provisions spelled out clearly in this law, it would not matter if the implementing rules and regulations (IRR)) are not issued. The drafting of the IRR of RA 11203 was placed entirely on the shoulders of an inter-agency body called the NFA Council (NFAC). However, Piñol disclosed the NFAC failed to approve the IRR of RA 11203 during the special meeting he convened last Tuesday.
According to the DA Secretary, the NFAC has finalized and endorsed the IRR for rice tariffication “with amendments.”
Piñol was earlier warned by lawmakers not to delay nor derail the implementation of the landmark rice tariffication law. Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, chairman of the economic affairs committee and one of the authors of RA 11203, defended the law as a major solution to the problem on price and supply of rice in the country amid the strong opposition of rice traders’ groups and the NFA, the employees’ union of which threatened to question the legality of RA 11203 before the Supreme Court.
Gatchalian also vowed to scrutinize the IRR that the NFAC was mandated to issue within 90 days from effectivity of RA 11203. The legislators, he cited, would ensure the IRR would remain faithful to the intent of the law in ensuring stable rice supply and lower prices while supporting the local farmers as well as enhancing the country’s competitiveness in producing the country’s staple.
Piñol himself has not made secret his stiff objection against the rice tariffication measure when it was being deliberated in Congress. Last minute efforts from purported rice farmers’ groups tried but failed to appeal for vetoing the enrolled bill that was submitted for signing into law by President Duterte.
President Duterte himself kept admonishing Piñol in public to stop fooling the Filipinos in telling us the Philippines will become self-sufficient in producing rice. Despite repeated presidential rebuke, Piñol appears unperturbed. It would take more than the IRR in breaking the back of the rice cartel.


Who is afraid of cheaper rice?

A NEW LAW signed recently have been the butt of a few criticisms from government detractors.
They believe that the rice tariffication law will “kill” the “rice industry” and displace millions of farmers because cheap rice will now flood our markets. Should we be afraid of cheap rice?
Instead of allowing more imports, they insist on providing more subsidies and supports to make rice competitive, to reprise the decades-long dream of rice “self sufficiency”.
The main criticism I have of this old strategy is that any claims to sufficiency means that we have enough rice for the population. It may not consider the capacity of those who cannot afford to buy and eat rice every day – which excludes 20% of the population living below poverty.
Any claim to self-sufficiency must include them, not only those who can afford. More important than sufficiency, therefore, is rice affordability for all.
Before we entertain such discussions, it is helpful to first examine why Vietnamese rice, for example costs almost twenty pesos cheaper than local well-milled rice.
In a five-country study by Flordeliza Bordey of PhilRice, in 2013, Vietnamese rice is half as expensive due to the fact that, among other things like more mechanization that lowers labor costs, they can produce three crops a year due to abundant rainfall and sunshine in many of the vast plains. Labor costs are the single biggest cost. Mechanized farming will lower labor costs.
Their case study comparing five rice-producing regions in five countries shows that in the Philippine case in Nueva Ecija, rice costs almost 13 pesos to produce while the Vietnamese cost is about 7 pesos.
The fact is that our rice is much more expensive, and we are not surprised why that 20% remain poor. At those socio economic levels, rice prices alone account for almost half their food expenses on a daily basis. Even many rice farmers cannot afford to buy the rice they produce.
Don’t the poor deserve a break?
It is time we let go of that old mentality seeking self-sufficiency in rice. It is time to let more people eat.
Allowing cheaper rice to enter the market will allow the poor to buy rice.
Now, what about the rice farmers? As long as the funds from tariffs can be channelled to projects to make the rice sector more competitive like mechanization initiatives, they will be okay. It will come to a point where the competitiveness of local rice farmers can increase, and lower the cost of local rice as well.

Cheap NFA rice to stay available under new law

MARCH 07, 2019

·       CHEAP NFA RICE TO STAY AVAILABLE UNDER NEW LAW
State-subsidized rice at P27 per kilo will remain available despite the implementation of the Rice Tariffication Law, a Cabinet official said.
This has been assured under implementing rules and regulations (IRR) approved on Tuesday by the the National Food Authority Council, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said.
Piñol, chair of the NFA Council, said the agency would adopt “rolling buffer stocking” and buy palay (milled rice) from local farmers all-year round with an optimal buffer stock level good for 30 days.
Once the NFA reaches the optimal level, it will be allowed to release the “aged stocks” to prevent spoilage as milled rice cannot be kept beyond six months, Piñol added.
This overrides a provision of the law that allows the release of stocks only during calamities and emergencies.
Description: https://s14255.pcdn.co/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/3_Cheap-NFa.jpgWorkers carry a sack of rice at the NFA warehouse in Quezon City. PHOTO BY RUY MARTINEZ
Piñol said this would ensure that the NFA will continue supplying retailers with low-priced rice despite losing its authority to license them in the domestic market.
Current imported rice stocks of the NFA stand to last until August this year.
“We still have stocks… and since these supplies were acquired at a lower price then we will have to sell it P27 [per kilo]. By the end of August or before that, the NFA Council will determine what will be the right price for the purchased local palay,” Piñol told reporters.
He explained that the NFA palay buying price would have to be adjusted “to ensure that the agency does not lose money” since it will be limited to buffer-stocking agency under the new law.
“Since our buying price for local palay is a lot higher compared to the price of imported rice, we will have to recompute. So there will be adjustments but we will determine that in the future NFA Council meetings,” Piñol said.
By September, the NFA will start buying local farmers’ produce which will be released to the markets as cheap priced NFA rice.
“We would like to let the farmers know that NFA will buy your palay. It will be continuous; we will not stop,” Piñol assured.
It was also agreed during the NFA Council meeting yesterday that requirements on “collaterals” in the P1-billion credit facility under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) be eliminated.
This means that the RCEF Credit Program will impose interest that is 1/3 of the prevailing rates of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to farmers who wish to avail the loan.
Also, the new IRR ruled that machinery and farm equipment and seeds will be given to the rice farmers as grant.
The NFA Council has also approved a draft resolution of other minor revisions of the IRR based on inputs gathered in consultations conducted last week.
The paper, Piñol said, will then be endorsed to the Department of Agriculture, National Economic and Development Authority, and the Department of Budget and Management, whose secretaries will sign it to signal the official transition to a new rice regime.
The Rice Import Liberalization law replaces quantitative restrictions that had hindered imports of the grain.
Under Republic Act 11203, the country will apply a 35 percent tariff for rice shipments from Asean member states, 40 percent for in-quota or within minimum access volume (MAV) shipments from non-Asean sources, and 180 percent for out-quota and non-Asean shipments.
It also calls for the establishment of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF), to be endowed with P10 billion a year for six years, which will be utilized to provide different forms of assistance to rice farmers.

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Price of rice imports to hold steady despite weak peso–economists

Description: rice import
Last updated on March 7th, 2019 at 07:58 am
A WEAK peso will not have much of an impact on the domestic price of rice for now as imports from traditional sources, such as Vietnam, remain relatively low, economists said on Wednesday.
The National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) acknowledged that the foreign-exchange rate will be a major factor in determining the cost of rice imports following the effectivity of the rice trade liberalization law. The law, which replaced the quantitative restriction on rice with tariffs, is expected to significantly hike demand for cheap imports.
As the Philippines is a net-food importing country, Philippine Institute for Development Studies Senior Research Fellow Roehlano Briones said a strong peso will be beneficial for the country, but this will hurt exporters and make them less competitive.
In 2007 Briones said the peso was at parity with the Indian rupee at around 47 to the dollar. While both currencies have depreciated against the greenback, the rupee’s depreciation was far greater and allowed exports to boom.
“I suppose in terms of that narrow concern of being able to buy affordable food, yes [a strong peso is beneficial],” Briones told the BusinessMirror in an interview on Wednesday.
“But where do we find the balance between getting affordable food from abroad and dollar-earning activities? My answer to that is, as usual, let the market decide. Let the market determine the exchange rate,” he added.
Reports indicated that Vietnam rice prices have been on the decline. The price of 5-percent broken rice is around $340 to $345 per metric ton, which is lower by $105 per MT compared to the average price last year.
Briones also noted that data from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) showed that international rice prices have significantly dropped to around $400 per MT in 2017.
If rice prices remain steady at these rates or even decline, Briones said there is a “good chance” that the landed cost of imports would settle at P18 per kilogram to P19 per kg, or around P18,000 to P19,000 per container.

Forex

Neda Undersecretary for Planning and Policy Rosemarie G. Edillon told the BusinessMirror that the government expects the landed cost of rice to reach P18 per kg.
However, this price and the resulting retail price are dependent on factors such as the exchange rate and the “resourcefulness” of traders in procuring the most affordable quality rice from countries like Vietnam and Thailand.
“For now, yes [the landed cost will be P18 per kg but] it will not always be that way. It also depends on the exchange rate. The price may even be higher. But there can be a different program to address access of poor consumers,” Edillon said.
“Given the very low price of P27 per kg, it is not surprising that some upper middle class families buy [rice sold by the National Food Authority or NFA], not for their own food consumption but for other purposes,” she added.

‘For the dogs’

On Wednesday, officials and employees of the NFA took offense at Edillon’s remark in a local radio program that some households buy NFA rice “for the dogs.”
NFA’s OIC Administrator Tomas Escarez said this remark was “a slap in the face of more than 10 million poor Filipinos who have, through the years, relied on the low-priced, good-quality NFA rice for their daily meals.”
“This is the highest form of arrogance, an insult to the more than 10 million Filipinos who eat NFA rice, not to mention the more than 4,000 NFA employees who risk their lives to reach far-flung areas and islands to serve the poor,” Escarez said in a statement.
The rice trade liberalization law, which took effect on March 5, amended the two-decade-old Republic Act (RA) 8178, otherwise known as the Agricultural Tariffication Act of 1996.
Under the new rice importation regime, legitimate rice traders can now import rice without NFA permits, provided they secure a sanitary and phytosanitary import clearance from the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Plant Industry (DA-BPI) and pay the appropriate tariff to the Bureau of Customs.
The NFA will focus on ensuring sufficient buffer stocks to address emergency situations. As there is a need to periodically replenish the buffer stocks, NFA can still sell cheap rice, but to targeted markets.



RCPP Deadlines Approaching for Texas and Louisiana 

ARLINGTON, VA -- Rice producers in Texas have until March 15 to apply for a special Regional Conservation Partnership (RCPP) Environmental Quality Incentives (EQIP) program, while rice producers in Louisiana have until April 19 to apply for two RCPP EQIP programs. 

The Texas Gulf Coast Water and Wildlife RCPP EQIP sign-up is available to producers in 12 counties until March 15, 2019, with priority emphasis placed on Colorado, Wharton, and Matagorda counties where surface water conservation is critical.  In addition to the special funding opportunity through RCPP, supplementary EQIP funding is also available in all eligible counties.  Practices such as irrigation land levelling and water-control structures are the highest priority practices for rice farms using surface water.  

The Louisiana Gulf Coast Water and Wildlife RCPP EQIP sign-up is available to producers in 11 parishes until April 19, 2019.  Surface water irrigation to replace groundwater use is the targeted result to be supported by this special sign-up.  For example, a re-lift pump along a bayou with plentiful flow and annual water availability could be used to irrigate rice and crawfish operations.  Surface water irrigation practices commonly used include CP 533 pumping plant, CP 430 irrigation pipeline, CP 587 structures for irrigation water control, and supporting practices, all to increase surface water irrigation to reduce groundwater use.  

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Cypress brake as potential water supply
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The Northeast Louisiana's Cultivating Water Conservation (aka Cypress Brake Project) RCPP is available to producers in 10 parishes until April 19, 2019.  This project is designed to pilot cypress brakes or old river oxbow lakes as surface water irrigation sources, with the opportunity to improve the natural waterbody as well.  For example, a re-lift pump aside a cypress brake or oxbow lake with annual water availability could be used to irrigate rice, corn, and/or other crops.  Approximately $400,000 in financial assistance to producers is anticipated for this specific RCPP sign-up.  


Go here to learn more about eligibility and contact information for each program.

26 Fantastic Female Scientists

 These 26 female scientists are all movers and shakers in their chosen fields, from mathematics to materials science. SHARE SHARE TWEET SHARE AsianScientist (Mar. 8, 2019) – Here at Asian Scientist Magazine, we are committed to raising the profile of scientists living and working in Asia—regardless of their gender. The fact remains, however, that women remain under-represented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, particularly at the leadership levels. To mark International Women’s Day, we highlight 26 outstanding female scientists featured on our annual Asian Scientist 100 list. These women are breaking new ground across every scientific discipline and making the world a better place one research study at a time. 1. Tamal Lata Aditya Photo: Bangladesh Rice Research Institute Aditya received the 2018 Senadhira Rice Research Award for her contribution to rice genetics in Bangladesh. 2. Amitha Bentota Photo: Department of Agriculture, Sri Lanka Bentota received the 2018 Senadhira Rice Research Award for her contribution to rice genetics in Sri Lanka. 3. Chanchao Lorthongpanich Photo: Siriraj Center of Excellence for Stem Cell Research Lorthongpanich won the 2018 L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science National Fellowship for her work on using stem cells to produce donor-independent platelets. 4. Varisa Pongrakhananon Photo: Chulalongkorn University Pongrakhananon was recognized for her research on lung cancer with the 2018 L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science National Fellowship. 5. Wan Yue Photo: Genome Institute of Singapore In 2018, Wan was named a CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar in the Molecular Architecture of Life program. The program funds and supports researchers within five years of their first academic position by helping them build research networks and develop essential skills needed to become leaders in global research. Wan was recognized for her work on the role of RNA structures in human health and infectious diseases. Previously, Wan was elected as an EMBO Young Investigator in 2017 and received the L’Oréal Singapore for Women in Science National Fellowship in 2016. 6. Witri Wahyu Lestari Photo: Sebelas Maret University Lestari, who was previously featured on the AS100 2017 list, makes a second appearance for winning the 2018 OWSD-Elsevier Foundation Award for Early-Career Women Scientists in the Developing World. 7. Rosalinda Torres Photo: Department of Science and Technology, the Philippines For her research on the larvicidal ability of Philippine medicinal plants, Torres received the 2018 Gregorio Zara Award for Basic Science Research. 8. Chularat Wattanakit Photo: Vidyasirimedhi Institute of Science and Technology Wattanakit won the 2018 L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science National Fellowship for her work on the synthesis of chiral molecules. 9. Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay Photo: Indian Statistical Institute Bandyopadhyay received the 2018 The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) Prize for Engineering Sciences. Bandyopadhyay, the first woman director of the Indian Statistical Institute, previously appeared on the AS100 list in 2018. 10. Surapa Thiemjarus Photo: National Electronics and Computer Technology Center Thiemjarus received the 2018 L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science National Fellowship for her research on Internet of Things (IoT) technology for the elderly. 11. Gay Jane Perez Photo: University of the Philippines Diliman Perez is the first Filipino to win the ASEAN-US Science Prize for Women, an award to encourage promising female scientists working in Southeast Asia. She was recognized for her research using satellite data to improve agriculture for precision farming. Perez, who did her postdoctoral studies at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, was responsible for leading the Department of Science and Technology’s microsatellite program that successfully sent the Philippines’ first microsatellite—Diwata-1—into space in 2016. 12. Kusala Rajendran Photo: Indian Institute of Science Rajendran received the inaugural National Award for Women Scientists from the Indian Ministry of Earth Sciences for her work on understanding earthquakes in India. 13. Toshiko Terakawa Photo: Nagoya University Terakawa received the 38th Saruhashi Prize for developing a new method to rationally estimate the pattern of stress fields that cause earthquakes. 1 2 » #AS100 #Bangladesh #China #Editor's Pick #Gender Equality #Gender Parity #Indonesia #Japan #Malaysia #People #Philippines #Singapore #South Korea #Sri Lanka #Thailand #Vietnam #Women in Science Read more from Asian Scientist Magazine at: https://www.asianscientist.com/2019/03/features/26-fantastic-female-scientists/https://www.asianscientist.com/2019/03/features/26-fantastic-female-scientists/

Gates Foundation team studies seed production

THE HANS INDIA |    Mar 07,2019 , 02:30 AM IST
      

Description: Gates Foundation team studies seed production
Gates Foundation team studies seed production
 Rajendranagar:  A delegation from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) visited the Professor Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University (PJTSAU) and interacted with the Vice Chancellor Dr V Praveen Rao at the administrative office here on Wednesday.

The delegation led by Lauren Good, Senior Program officer, BMGF,  visited the Rice Section at ARI where they interacted with the Director of Research, Dr Jagadeeshwar, Director of Indian Institute of Rice Research, Dr SR Oleti, and other scientists of the rice section. Later, they visited the administrative office along with Kishore Rao, Senior Associate, Context Global Development, Aline O’Connor, Director, Agri Experience Ltd, USA, Jason Nickerson, Program Manager, Context Global Development, USA. They held talks with Vice Chancellor Dr Praveen Rao, Registrar Dr Sudheer Kumar and Dr Jagadheeshwar and other university officials. The delegation of BMGF sought to mainly about the rice seed production. Addressing the delegation, the VC explained about the agricultural conditions of the state and rice seed production, and new rice varieties development in Telangana State in the last five years. He briefed them on newly released rice varieties and their popularity in the state as well as in neighboring states.
Dr Rao informed them that productivity levels increased tremendously, and the duration of the crop was brought down to 125 days from the 150 days. With the release of new varieties, there had been great saving of water, which amounted to a medium irrigation project storage, he said. The new rice varieties were accepted by farmers as they were more suitable for Telangana climatic conditions, and their present acreage covers about 80 per cent rice area.  He observed that Telangana state has best environment for seed production and storage, and as many as 400 companies are involved in the seed production.

Life-Saving Golden Rice Finally Gets to Poor Farmers Despite Environmentalist Opposition

Bangladesh announces that it will allow its farmers to plant this genetically improved crop

Ronald Bailey|Mar. 7, 2019 5:55 pm
  Description: GoldenRiceIRRIIRRIGolden Rice which has been genetically engineered to have higher levels of the vitamin A precursor beta-carotene is finally about be to approved for planting by poor farmers in Bangladesh. This a big step toward improving the health of some of the poorest people on the planet. Vitamin A deficiency causes blindness in between 250,000 and 500,000 children each year, half of whom die within 12 months, according to the World Health Organization. A study by German researchers in 2014 estimated that activist opposition to the deployment of Golden Rice has resulted in the loss of 1.4 million life-years in just India alone.
Environmentalist ideologues have fought fiercely for two decades to prevent this crop from being offered to poor farmers in developing countries. Among other things, they hired thugs to rip up test fields of the grain at the International Rice Research Institute in the Phillippines.
In 2016, an open letter signed by 100 Nobel Laureates directly called on "Greenpeace to cease and desist in its campaign against Golden Rice specifically, and crops and foods improved through biotechnology in general." The laureates pointed out that "scientific and regulatory agencies around the world have repeatedly and consistently found crops and foods improved through biotechnology to be as safe as, if not safer than those derived from any other method of production. There has never been a single confirmed case of a negative health outcome for humans or animals from their consumption. Their environmental impacts have been shown repeatedly to be less damaging to the environment, and a boon to global biodiversity."
"A committee of the Ministry of Environment will give the clearance for the production of Golden rice. We will be able to start cultivation of the rice in Bangladesh within two-three months upon getting ministry clearance," told Bangladeshi Agriculture Minister Abdur Razza to the Dhaka Tribune. He noted, "Golden rice is more important than the other varieties of rice as it will be helpful to fight the vitamin A deficiency."
Sadly, local activists spurred on by international groups are still trying to stop farmers from growing this beneficial crop. One tactic is to spread lies claiming that an eggplant variety genetically engineered to resist insect pests (Bt) approved by the Bangladeshi government in 2013 has not resulted in promised benefits.
In fact, a 2018 study published in Bangladesh Journal of Agricultural Research reported that the biotech varieties boosted yield by about 10 percent. But more signficantly, the biotech crops dramatically lowered their costs of production while increasing their incomes. Net returns per hectare were $2,150 for Bt eggplant as compared to $360 for non-Bteggplant. Pesticides were applied 11 times to Bt eggplant where as it was 41 times to non-Bt eggplant for controlling sucking pests. The Bt eggplant farmers saved 61 percent of the pesticide cost compared to non-Bt eggplant farmers, experienced no losses due to fruit and shoot borer, and received higher net returns.
The activists also claim that Bangladeshi farmers are abandoning the biotech eggplant, but the study actually reported, "All Bt and 86 percent non-Bt farmers wanted to cultivate Bt eggplant in the next year if they can obtain the seeds/seedlings from the research station."
Shame, shame on the activists who so successfully delayed the deployment of golden rice. But hooray that it's finally getting to the poor people whom it will benefit most.

Diet reverses Alzheimer’s-like symptoms in lab model

The findings — focused on components contained in green tea and carrots — lend credence to the idea that certain readily available, plant-based supplements might offer protection against dementia in people.

MARCH 6, 2019
Description: Diet and Alzheimer’s: Green teaUSC researchers are studying plant-derived substances, like green tea, that inhibit production of the sticky amyloid beta plaques known to cause Alzheimer‘s disease. (Photo/Pixabay)
A diet containing compounds found in green tea and carrots reversed Alzheimer’s-like symptoms in mice genetically programmed to develop the disease, USC researchers say.
Researchers emphasize that the study, published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, was in mice, and many mouse discoveries never translate into human treatments. Nevertheless, the findings lend credence to the idea that certain readily available, plant-based supplements might offer protection against dementia in humans.
“You don’t have to wait 10 to 12 years for a designer drug to make it to market; you can make these dietary changes today,” said senior author Terrence Town, a professor of physiology and neuroscience at the Keck School of Medicine of USC’s Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute. “I find that very encouraging.”

Diet and Alzheimer’s: Combination therapy

What’s more, the study supports the idea that combination therapy, rather than a single magic bullet, may offer the best approach to treating the 5.7 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s. Combination treatment is already the standard of care for diseases such as cancer, HIV infection and rheumatoid arthritis.
For this study, the researchers took a look at two compounds, EGCG, or epigallocatechin-3-gallate, a key ingredient in green tea, and FA, or ferulic acid, which is found in carrots, tomatoes, rice, wheat and oats.
The researchers randomly assigned 32 mice with Alzheimer’s-like symptoms to one of four groups with an equal number of males and females. For comparison, each group also included an equal number of healthy mice. For three months, the mice consumed a combination of EGCG and FA, or EGCG or FA only, or a placebo. The dosage was 30 milligrams per kilogram of body weight — a dosage well-tolerated by humans and easily consumed as part of a healthy diet.

Diet and Alzheimer’s: Testing results

Before and after the three-month special diet, scientists ran the mice through a battery of neuropsychological tests that are roughly analogous to the thinking and memory tests that assess dementia in humans. Of particular note was a maze in the shape of a Y, which tests a mouse’s spatial working memory — a skill that humans use to find their way out of a building.
Healthy mice instinctively explore each arm of the Y maze, looking for food or a route to escape and entering the three arms in sequence more often than by chance alone. Impaired mice can’t do this as well as their mentally healthy counterparts.
“After three months, combination treatment completely restored spatial working memory and the Alzheimer’s mice performed just as well as the healthy comparison mice,” Town said.
How did it work? Town says one mechanism appeared to be the substances’ ability to prevent amyloid precursor proteins from breaking up into the smaller proteins called amyloid beta that gum up Alzheimer patients’ brains. In addition, the compounds appeared to reduce neuroinflammation and oxidative stress in the brain—key aspects of Alzheimer’s pathology in humans.
Town said he and his lab will continue exploring combination treatment, with a focus on plant-derived substances that inhibit production of the sticky amyloid beta plaques.

In addition to Town, other authors of the study are first author Takashi Mori and Naoki Koyama of Saitama Medical Center and University in Japan; Jun Tan of University of South Florida; and Tatsuya Segawa and Masahiro Maeda of Immuno-Biological Labs Co. in Japan.
The study was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (2R01NS076794-06A1, 1RF1AG053982-01A1, 5P01AG052350-03 and 5R21AG053884-02), the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (KAKENHI JP26430058), an Alzheimer’s Association Sex and Gender in Alzheimer’s disease grant, Cure Alzheimer’s Fund, Coins for Alzheimer’s Research Trust.
More stories about: Alzheimer's DiseaseResearch

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Negros loses P6M in rice crops to El Niño

By: Emme Rose Santiagudo
NEGROS Occidental has lost more or less P6.11 million worth of rice crops due to the dry spell brought about by the El Niño phenomenon, according to the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC)-6.
As of March 5, 2019, seven barangays in Cauayan, Negros Occidental with 253 farmers are currently affected by the dry spell.
The weather condition affected 143 hectares of farm lands with rice plantation, according to the RDRRMC-6 report.
The Climate Outlook by Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration – Department of Science and Technology (PAGASA-DOST) recently reported that the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is expected to hit the country between March to August 2019 in the Philippines.
Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) Chairman Governor Alfred Marañon Jr. already sent a request for cloud seeding operation to Department of Agriculture (DA) Regional Executive Director Remelyn Recoter, the report added.
Aside from allocating funds for logistical support for cloud seeding operation, the PRDRRMC also provided funds for the procurement of water pumps to mitigate the effects of the dry spell.
Meanwhile, Department of Agriculture (DA) in Western Visayas is currently conducting damage assessment of areas affected by the dry spell.
Rene Famoso chief of DA- 6 Operations Division said that reports from local government units will be subjected to validation.
“As of now, we are still conducting damage assessment and we are still validating ang mga data nga gina-feed sa amon,” he said.
According to Famoso, apart from Negros, the dry spell also hit areas in Southern Iloilo and Antique which are considered with Type I climate or a distinct wet and dry season.
Kalabanan nga affected areas may Type 1 climate meaning may distinct wet and dry. Mostly affected are Southern Iloilo and Antique,” he said.
Since the second semester, DA-6 has been conducting information campaign on El Niño through coordination meetings with provincial and municipal/city agriculturists and other stakeholders.
“We advised them to plant other crops rather than rice that needs more water,” Famoso said.
DA assured that they have enough buffer stocks of rice, corn and high-valued commercial crop available positioned at respective provinces ready for distribution for farmers who will be affected by the dry spell.
“Farmers can always visit the nearest municipal agriculture’s office because we have allocations for high value crop, corn and even rice,” he said.
The agriculture department is also set to issue an advisory regarding El Niño encouraging local government units (LGUs) to take necessary actions on how to mitigate its impacts to vulnerable agricultural commodities.
Cloud seeding for Negros Occidental as requested by the provincial government will also be subjected to pre-assessment protocols by the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) and DA-6.

Nigeria overtakes Egypt as Africa’s Largest Rice Producer with 3.8 million tonnes local demands

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Description: https://naija247news.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/RICE-696x391.jpg
Nigeria has taken over from Egypt as no1 in rice production in Africa, having satisfied local rice demands with about 3.8 million tonnes and leaves the rest for export.
Egypt has been Africa’s largest rice producer cultivating over 445,000 hectares of farmland to produce 4.4 million tonnes annually for both local consumption and exports.
Director General of the Africa Rice Centre in Benin Republic, Harold Roy-Macauley, had told The Nation recently that Nigeria is now Africa’s largest rice producer.
According to Roy-Macauley, Nigeria now produces four million tonnes of rice annually, which is 400,000 tonnes smaller than Egypt’s annual production.
Although, the Nigerian government has made efforts to boost local rice production in recent times, Nigeria was only able to surpass Egypt at this time because the North African country voluntarily reduced rice production in 2018.
In March 2018, Abdelatif Khalid, head of the irrigation department at Egypt’s ministry of irrigation and water resources, said the country reduced cut rice production by 40% to save water.
“We cannot do anything else in light of the limited amounts of water we have. We have to grow less rice to save the water for other uses,” he said.
“Egypt is water-poor already and it cannot keep growing crops that need huge amounts of water.
“Growing crops like rice and exporting it is akin to exporting water, which should not be allowed for a country like Egypt.”
Data made available by the Thai Rice Exporters Association website shows that Nigeria’s rice imports from the country have reduced.
At present, the Central Bank of Nigeria provides support to smallholder farmers by providing loans and linking them with companies in the processing of key agricultural commodities.

Rice millers at wits' end over Bernas' monopoly

Bernama  |  Published: Today 6:43 am  |  Modified: Today 6:43 am
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The Malay Rice Millers’ Association of Malaysia has urged the government to be more concerned about their plight, especially being forced to deal with the monopoly of Padiberas Nasional Bhd (Bernas) in the sector.
Its president, Mohamad Termizi Yop, said that, of the 203 mills which were operating prior to this, only 15 were still operational in Perak, Kedah and Perlis.
He said that the Malay rice millers who were still operating, however, faced various issues including being shackled with debts with banks and Bernas, in addition to dealing with court actions from Bernas for failing to settle their debts.
“Private rice mills sell rice to Bernas at RM2,000 per tonne while the cost borne by the mills is RM2,080 per tonne. We suffer losses and are forced to borrow to continue operating.
“The situation of the rice millers is getting worse following the issue of the Bernas monopoly... we propose that a special neutral committee be set up to ensure the continuity of the mills," he told a press conference in Alor Setar.
Mohamad Termizi said the government also needed to investigate transparently and in detail matters related to the issue of the Bernas monopoly which was seen as oppressing the other millers.
He said a special programme also needed to be created to help and revive the bumiputera rice millers for the sake of the continuity of their operations in the long term.
On Jan 22, Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Salahuddin Ayub said the government would not be hasty in deciding over the issue of monopoly as Bernas' contract with the government would only end in 2021.
He said the cabinet had agreed to break the Bernas monopoly and a special committee, chaired by the Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali and comprising eight ministries, was trying to draw up a new model to replace Bernas.
- Bernama
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Published on Mar 6, 2019
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We are going to learn how to talk like a farmer in this episode of Shop Talk! In last week's video I asked my farming audience to give me one of their favorite farming phrases. I received a lot of great answers regarding to things farmers say. I want to share them with you so you can use them, whether you're a farmer or not! Also I'm running a contest where you can when a Rice Farming TV cap. Just draw, paint, design me a Rice Farming TV related image (could be my logo, a cartoon version of me or anything related to one of my videos). Drawings due before the next episode of Shop Talk! I hope you enjoyed learning how to talk like a farmer! 🔴 Subscribe! Stay updated with California rice production: https://goo.gl/pOjVfO Please share this episode if you found it entertaining and/or educational. 🔴 Recommended Playlist "Rice Farming TV | Starting at Episode 1": https://goo.gl/j25ujs Please contact me with any questions or feedback. I will make an effort to respond within 24 hours.

Ralston Family Farms

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3 min read
In Atkins, Ralston Family Farms is growing sustainable rice, a crop more commonly grown in the Delta.
Tim Ralston has called the River Valley home for years.  “We’ve been farming here since 1999,” he says.
The area around his farm was predominantly dry land. But Ralston says things changed in 2006. A water district was established, and that brought irrigation from the Arkansas River. It also developed a winter water habitat for migratory birds.
Irrigation from the Arkansas River has advantages for farms using well water, according to Ralston. For one, it’s much more cost effective and easier to pump. The supply is also much more abundant.
Description: https://amppob.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Screen-Shot-2019-02-27-at-1.33.49-PM-300x276.png
Tim Ralston and his family are growing a unique variety of rice in a region not known for rice production.
The new water district opened the door to farming rice, Ralston says. In 2006, the farmer started precision leveling the land. It wasn’t long before he had 1,000 acres of rice production. Now he says he has about 3,000 acres.
The River Valley location offers some advantages over rice grown in the Delta. Irrigation is one benefit. Without having to pump well water 100 feet vertically out of the ground, less electricity and diesel is used, lowering costs. Irrigation also means more water stays underground. 
Precision leveling also saves water. 
“It’s been proven; precision level land uses 30 to 35 percent less water than any other option,” Ralston says.
Having a slightly different climate is another advantage. Ralston says it gets a little cooler at night in the River Valley, which lends the area to producing good quality rice.
Most of the problems and challenges Ralston faces have to do directly with farming, he says. It’s a tricky business to be in, with strategies and plans changing every year due to factors like climate and prices. 
“It’s kind of a moving target,” he says.
But he’s had help. 
Description: https://amppob.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Screen-Shot-2019-02-27-at-1.33.34-PM-201x300.png
“We’ve had a lot of help from the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service. I can’t say enough good things about them,” Ralston says. “They were instrumental in helping us get information and gather the facts we needed to make the decision if the farm would be viable.”
The Dale Bumpers National Rice Research Center in Stuttgart also helped with the farm’s technology, according to Ralston. 
Ralston Family Farms benefits from growing a unique variety of rice for a niche market. Ralston says this means he doesn’t go head-to-head with big rice mills.
Getting rice from the elevator to the mill to packaging and distribution and finally to the market is a long process, with intermediaries each making money along the way. Ralston says his farm is working to capture all those different opportunities.
The wave of the future for farms like Ralston’s will be in recapturing those opportunities, he says. In most cases, when customers purchase rice at a store, they don’t know from where it came. Ralston says he sees real value in customers being able to identify the farms that grow the rice they consume.
Looking to the future, Ralston says he looks forward to his farm expanding distribution with stores like Harps.
For more information, visit ralstonfamilyfarms.com.
https://amppob.com/ralston-family-farms/