Thursday, April 04, 2019

4th April,2019 Daily Global Regional Local Rice E-Newsletter


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New Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Meets for First Time  

4th April,2019
Daily Global Regional Local Rice E-Newsletter
www.riceplusmagazine.blogspot.com
 
WASHINGTON, DC -- Last week the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee assembled for the first of five public meetings to begin the process of examining the science related to the topics and questions on nutrition and health identified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Health and Human Services (HHS), and the public that will help inform and guide the development of the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

The two-day meeting included an overview of the issues the Committee is investigating, presentations on the evidence-based approaches for reviewing scientific findings, and plans for next steps along with opportunities for public engagement.

The 2020 edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans will continue to focus on what the nation eats and drinks to help prevent disease and keep Americans healthy.  New to the guidelines will be recommendations for pregnant women and children from birth to 24 months.

"We know the valuable role rice plays in American diets and commend the USDA for its commitment to public engagement and transparency during this process," said Cameron Jacobs, USA Rice manager of domestic promotion.  "As in years past, we have submitted peer-reviewed research to develop these recommendations and guidelines and look forward to the committee reviewing our submissions."

With the first meeting mostly concerned with the process behind the formation of the dietary guidelines, future meetings will focus on the evaluation and systematic review of the science as well as public engagement.  The public comment period opened on March 12 and will run through the Committee's tenure to ensure public feedback is received.  Two future advisory meetings will allow for in-person comments to the Committee.

"USA Rice will continue to be an active participant in the Dietary Guidelines process," said Jacobs.  "We will attend all future meetings and submit scientific research and comments, and work within the Grain Chain Coalition and Food and Beverage Industry Alliance to ensure the U.S. rice industry voice is heard by the Committee as they make recommendations for the 2020 guidelines."

The next meeting of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee takes place here July 10-22
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In Egypt, rice import samples are judged in the kitchen
·       23 hours ago
Description: Egypt1
Food scientists taste samples of rice to make sure they fit Egyptian standards.
CAIRO/DUBAI: With steaming plates of rice and freshly sliced apples on the side, a group of Cairo-based food scientists work in their lab to decide whether the foreign grains will suit Egyptian palates.
The scientists cook and taste samples of rice on offer at state tenders before they are accepted. The process, which began late last year, has so far eliminated Indian origin rice and approved of Chinese and Vietnamese offers.
Egypt has spent $46.8 million on Chinese rice in two tenders since November. A third is ongoing.
Egyptians are major rice consumers and take pride in the quality of their local crop. But after planting less local rice in 2018 to conserve water, Egyptian tapped the international market in November, requesting samples for a cooking test.
Rice is a heavily discounted staple on Egypt's subsidy programme, under which the state purchases foodstuffs that are offered to subsidy card holders, currently around 60 million people.
A food scientist tastes samples of rice to make sure they fit Egyptian standards.
Samples of cooked rice are displayed for testing by food scientists.
A research centre affiliated with Egypt's agriculture ministry in Cairo.
A lab technician hands a taster a plate of rice for a taste test.
A food scientist tastes samples of rice to make sure they fit Egyptian standards.
Samples of cooked rice are displayed for testing by food scientists.
A research centre affiliated with Egypt's agriculture ministry in Cairo.
A lab technician hands a taster a plate of rice for a taste test.
A food scientist tastes samples of rice to make sure they fit Egyptian standards.
Samples of cooked rice are displayed for testing by food scientists.
A research centre affiliated with Egypt's agriculture ministry in Cairo.
A lab technician hands a taster a plate of rice for a taste test.
The scientists' role is to ensure that the rice bought by the state is suited to familiar cooking methods and tastes.
"Here, as a unit, we are all (academic) doctors as well as mothers in our homes," said Nahed Lotfy, director of the test kitchen. "We are all trained judges who have completed training courses."
Samples are anonymized, said Nasra Ahmed, one of the taste testers. "We get a sample on which we have almost no information at all," she said. "Everything arrives with a code."
Researchers inspect grains for water absorption, colour and smell. After cooking, the rice is presented to the tasters.
"We evaluate the product based on colour, taste, aroma, flavour, as well as general response," Lotfy said.
Researchers cannot wear perfume or smoke cigarettes. Sliced apples and water act as palate cleansers.
PUSHING UP COSTS
Traders say the taste test drives up costs by forcing them to keep their offers open indefinitely while it takes place. They say the testing process is unique to Egypt.
"It is something that doesn't happen globally. In other countries, the cooking instructions are simply written on the packet.
On the private market, importers have contracted to bring in 150,000 tonnes of Indian rice from October until end April, with no complaints from Egyptian consumers.
Naggari, who buys Indian rice to supply Egypt's private market, said he was not clear why Indian samples had failed the test.
"These are the rules of the tender and we will respect it, but I am happy selling rice on the private market."
But Nomani Nomani, an advisor to the supply minister, said the cooking tests were necessary to avoid the rice piling up in subsidy stores like it did three years ago when Egyptians refused to buy it.
"Of course if an Indian rice sample that suits Egyptian taste is presented we will accept it, but the cooking test is necessary to make sure the rice we are importing suits consumers," he told Reuters.

Chinese 'Green Super Rice' promotes sustainable agriculture development in Asia and Africa

Xinhua, April 3, 2019

Description: http://images.china.cn/site1007/2019-04/03/67e4d18f-4cb4-4161-8f6e-d62b999fa6fc.jpgThe project has bred 78 GSR varieties for 18 countries with a total growing area of 6.12 million hectares since its launch in 2008, hoping to benefit 30 million resource-poor smallholder rice farmers in Asia and Africa. [Photo/cctv.com]
Chinese agriculture scientists have bred new rice varieties named "Green Super Rice (GSR)" for developing Asian and African countries to reduce hunger and increase the income of farmers.
Supported by the Chinese government and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the project has bred 78 GSR varieties for 18 countries with a total growing area of 6.12 million hectares since its launch in 2008, hoping to benefit 30 million resource-poor smallholder rice farmers in Asia and Africa.
GSR varieties are superior rice varieties that can produce high and stable yields. They need less chemical fertilizers, pesticides and water, and are more tolerant to pests, diseases, drought, salinity, submergence and other abiotic or biotic stresses, said Li Zhikang, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Agriculture Sciences.
The target regions of the project includes nine other Asian countries (Philippines, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan) and nine African countries (Mozambique, Tanzania, Rwanda, Liberia, Ethiopia, Uganda, Nigeria, Mali and Senegal). In addition, Sichuan, Yunnan, Guizhou provinces, and Guangxi Zhuang and Ningxia Hui autonomous regions of China are included.
The research team led by Li has developed an efficient molecular breeding strategy by which the selecting period of new varieties can be cut down from 8-10 years to 4-6 years.
Scientists upgraded the varieties, which were grown in a temperate zone in China to adapt to a tropical climate. The target countries choose from abundant varieties with diverse superiority according to their local agriculture conditions including drought, submergence and problematic soils.
With a stronger tolerance for tough conditions, GSR varieties can achieve an average 0.89-1.83 tonnes increase per hectare, which is worth 230.9 dollars per hectare for a rice farmer, according to a survey conducted in the Philippines.
When super Typhoon Haiyan devastated the central Philippines in 2013, most coconuts in the area, on which local farmers depended for their livelihood, were destroyed. A silver lining to their gloomy situation came in the form of GSR seeds they received several months before the typhoon came.
"I like GSR because its grains are good and are considerably heavier than previous rice grains I tried in the past," said Montano, one of the first farmers to grow the tough variety GSR 8. "The crop is tolerant to pests and diseases."
"Even though we were badly affected by the typhoon, we were able to improve our livelihoods and get back on our feet because of GSR 8," said Lazarte, another typhoon survivor.
"I have seen significant change and tremendous potential also in African countries," said Li Zhikang. When he investigated in Africa five years ago, the total amount of rice planting area in Africa was a bit more than 100,000 hectares, but the number climbed to 1.2 million until 2018.
Since 2012, the GSR project has supported an international effort for sequencing a collection of 3,010 diverse rice accessions from 89 countries which represent 95 percent of the genetic diversity of global rice seed resources, believed to be the world's largest project in plant genome resequencing.
The results have been published in the journal Nature. The free availability of all data generated from this effort and seeds of all sequenced rice germplasm accessions have contributed tremendously to global efforts in rice functional genomics, and advanced the global rice breeding in the era of genome-based breeding by design, according to the research team.
Under frequent extreme weather and climate events, scientists are facing serious challenge to enhance rice productivity of resource-poor fields in Asia and Africa.
"China has a very strong rice breeding and rice genetics effort, and the GSR project has shared germplasm resources from Chinese research institutes to many Asian and African countries," said Gary Atlin, senior program officer of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "China has provided really wonderful support for rice research and development all over the developing world."
As the Belt and Road Initiative has become popular among more and more countries, a lot of advanced technology and products from China will go abroad and play a key role in promoting food security in resource-poor areas, said Li Zhikang.
China's rice project benefits nations in Asia and Africa | #AsiaNewsNetwork
Description: https://elevenmyanmar.com/sites/news-eleven.com/files/styles/news_detail_image/public/news-images/china_rice.jpeg?itok=xLF_qW5P
PUBLISHED 3 APRIL 2019
(China Daily/ANN) — Chinese scientist says resilient varieties boost harvests, minimize use of fertilizers
 
A decadelong agricultural project spearheaded by Chinese scientists has helped alleviate poverty for more than 1.6 million farming households in 18 Asian and African countries through cultivation of high-yield and resilient rice strains.
The Green Super Rice project, led by the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, has generated 78 rice varieties that boast an average 20 percent increase in harvest per hectare while minimizing the use of fertilizers, pesticides and irrigation, said Li Zhikang, a professor and researcher of rice breeding at the academy and a leading member of the project, on Tuesday.
The total area planted with the varieties in participating countries had expanded to 6.12 million hectares by the end of last year, including around 3.4 million hectares in the Philippines, 1.3 million hectares in India and 1.1 million hectares in Vietnam, he said.
"Instead of solely emphasizing high yields, the Green Super Rice project is geared to guarantee stable yields while beefing up crops' resistance against drought, flooding and diseases," Li said.
"Thus, farmers are able to save a large amount of resources, such as fertilizers or irrigation water, to fight those issues," he added.
The sustainability of the approach is welcomed by Philippine agricultural researchers and farmers, according to Jose Yorobe, a consultant with the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines. He attended a meeting in Beijing on Tuesday, along with dozens of representatives from participant countries, that marked the project's conclusion.
"Because of climate change and population growth, developing countries are now pressured to increase rice productivity," he said. "Some high-yield modern varieties are still vulnerable to inclement weather, pests and disease."
Yorobe said on-site studies have shown that the varieties introduced to the Philippines through the Green Super Rice project are capable of thriving in harsh environments and maintaining steady yields.
"After Typhoon Haiyan swept through Leyte Island in the central Philippines in November 2013, we found that the Green Super Rice variety was one of the few that was still growing when submerged in saline water," he said. "Local farmers were elated and regained hope."
In West Africa, six Green Super Rice varieties with high-yield potential and strong tolerance to drought, salinity and iron toxicity have been developed, and about 14.5 metric tons of such seeds were distributed to local rice breeders, according to Baboucarr Manneh, a researcher with the African Rice Center in Cote d'Ivoire.
"Moreover, about 500 scientists, technicians and farmers have been trained in fields such as breeding, seed production and crop management through the project. The training helps increase their capability and achieve sustainable growth in the future," he said.
According to Li, the project drew to a close recently as sponsorship from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation ended as scheduled. "However, more green super rice species are expected to be rolled out, thanks to funds from the bilateral collaborations under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative and South-South Cooperation."
Gary Atlin, a senior program officer for the Gates Foundation, said the project demonstrates a new collaboration model in which rice scientists from different countries can work together to understand local needs and develop solutions on a global basis.
"Expertise of Chinese scientists in rice breeding and cultivation is a tremendous resource for the developing world," he said. "I believe it will continue to have an impact for years to come."
 http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/201904/03/WS5ca3bdc2a3104842260b4090.html

China’s ‘Green Super Rice’ Aims To Reduce Hunger And Build Up Farmers’ Income

Apr 03, 2019 07:58 PM
Description: RiceA vendor rests in her market stand that sells rice in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines, September 5, 2018.(Photo: REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez/File Photo)
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has partnered with Beijing to spearhead a joint project that supports Chinese agriculture scientists in their study of new rice varieties called "Green Super Rice." The rice varieties are expected to offer sustainable agriculture practices for farmers in Africa and Asia.
According to Xinhua, "Green Super Rice" or GSR is expected to help Asian and African regions reduce hunger while helping farmers boost their income through sustainable farming practices.
Since GSR varieties have been bred for sustainability, these can bring forth stable produce. Compared to other rice types, these varieties require less water and fertilizers. They are also more tolerant in extreme weather conditions and can withstand some diseases.
Green Super Rice varieties were grown in a temperate zone in China as part of the initiative's goal of supplying demand in tropical regions. Since they have been bred to withstand tough conditions, these varieties can reach an average of 0.89 to 1.83 tonnes of increase per hectare.
"I like GSR because its grains are good and are considerably heavier than previous rice grains I tried in the past. The crop is tolerant to pests and diseases," one of the first few farmers who tried growing the Green Super Rice variety, Montano, said.
Ever since the project kicked off, it has yielded 78 GSR varieties for a total of 18 countries. These countries make up a growing area of 6.12 million hectares. Among the Asian countries that will receive these varieties are the Philippines, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Vietnam, Pakistan, and more. Nine African states are also part of the target countries.
Meanwhile, Technology Times Pakistan reported that a team of Chinese researchers led by Professor Yang Donglei of the State Key Laboratory of Crop Genetics and Germplasm Enhancement and NAU in East China's Jiangsu Province developed a rice gene that offers high yields.
The rice gene has been coded as the Ideal Plant Architecture1 (IPA1) and is said to be disease resistant. According to the outlet, the new rice train yields thicker stems and larger spikes compared to current strains in the global market.
China's work on sustainable agriculture has been booming over the past years. A case study jointly conducted by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, McGill University, and Stanford University, found out that farmers who considered environmental effects of agriculture practices yielded more income.
The study revealed that China's new approach in agriculture can help farmers manage their lands and crops efficiently for environmental and economic benefits. 

Rice project benefits nations in Asia, Africa

China Daily, April 3, 2019
A decadelong agricultural project spearheaded by Chinese scientists has helped alleviate poverty for more than 1.6 million farming households in 18 Asian and African countries through cultivation of high-yield and resilient rice strains.
Description: http://images.china.cn/site1007/2019-04/03/234697bd-7280-4a55-bd47-72149158ebdf.jpegLi Zhikang, a leading member of China's Green Super Rice project, visits a rice field in Nigeria with local agricultural researchers in October 2017. [Photo/China Daily]
The Green Super Rice project, led by the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, has generated 78 rice varieties that boast an average 20 percent increase in harvest per hectare while minimizing the use of fertilizers, pesticides and irrigation, said Li Zhikang, a professor and researcher of rice breeding at the academy and a leading member of the project, on Tuesday.
The total area planted with the varieties in participating countries had expanded to 6.12 million hectares by the end of last year, including around 3.4 million hectares in the Philippines, 1.3 million hectares in India and 1.1 million hectares in Vietnam, he said.
"Instead of solely emphasizing high yields, the Green Super Rice project is geared to guarantee stable yields while beefing up crops' resistance against drought, flooding and diseases," Li said.
"Thus, farmers are able to save a large amount of resources, such as fertilizers or irrigation water, to fight those issues," he added.
The sustainability of the approach is welcomed by Philippine agricultural researchers and farmers, according to Jose Yorobe, a consultant with the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines. He attended a meeting in Beijing on Tuesday, along with dozens of representatives from participant countries, that marked the project's conclusion.
"Because of climate change and population growth, developing countries are now pressured to increase rice productivity," he said. "Some high-yield modern varieties are still vulnerable to inclement weather, pests and disease."
Yorobe said on-site studies have shown that the varieties introduced to the Philippines through the Green Super Rice project are capable of thriving in harsh environments and maintaining steady yields.
"After Typhoon Haiyan swept through Leyte Island in the central Philippines in November 2013, we found that the Green Super Rice variety was one of the few that was still growing when submerged in saline water," he said. "Local farmers were elated and regained hope."
In West Africa, six Green Super Rice varieties with high-yield potential and strong tolerance to drought, salinity and iron toxicity have been developed, and about 14.5 metric tons of such seeds were distributed to local rice breeders, according to Baboucarr Manneh, a researcher with the African Rice Center in Cote d'Ivoire.
"Moreover, about 500 scientists, technicians and farmers have been trained in fields such as breeding, seed production and crop management through the project. The training helps increase their capability and achieve sustainable growth in the future," he said.
According to Li, the project drew to a close recently as sponsorship from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation ended as scheduled. "However, more green super rice species are expected to be rolled out, thanks to funds from the bilateral collaborations under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative and South-South Cooperation."
Gary Atlin, a senior program officer for the Gates Foundation, said the project demonstrates a new collaboration model in which rice scientists from different countries can work together to understand local needs and develop solutions on a global basis.
"Expertise of Chinese scientists in rice breeding and cultivation is a tremendous resource for the developing world," he said. "I believe it will continue to have an impact for years to come."

Over 70% of Rice in Nigerian markets are foreign-
 Investigations ON APRIL 3, 20194:57 PMIN BUSINESS, NEWS5 COMMENTS …. Customs, CBN Reacts Despite concrete and visible interventions of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) via the Anchors Borrowers Programme (ABP) on the rice sub-sector of the Nigerian economy, over seventy percent (70%) of rice in Nigeria markets are foreign or imported. Smuggled rice seized by Ogun Command In a three-week survey on the rice market across the six geopolitical zones in the country, Economic Confidential team observed that foreign rice such as Mama Gold, Royal Stallion, Rice Master, Caprice, Falcon Rice and Basmati are sold alongside Nigerian rice namely: Umza and Fursa Crown from Kano, Mama Happy from Niger, Labana Rice from Kebbi, Olam Rice from Nasarawa, Abakaliki Rice from Ebonyi, Ofada Rice from Ogun State, Swomen Dama from Plateau, Lake Rice of Lagos/Kebbi States among others. The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and the CBN have reacted to the latest report. Stakeholders in the rice subsector, namely, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Rice Millers Association of Nigeria (RIMAN) and Rice Processors Association of Nigeria(RIPAN) however gave kudos to the apex bank for the timely intervention and banning of rice since 2015, a development that has seen alarming growth in local production of rice and serious saving of foreign exchange. The stakeholders in separate interviews laid the blame for the inflow of the banned commodity on the doorsteps of the Nigeria Customs Service(NCS), adding that for the federal government to make meaningful impact in its fight against smuggling of the commodity, serious attention must be paid to the various porous borders which the Nigeria Customs Service has the constitutional responsibility to man. The development is coming almost four years after the federal government banned the importation of the commodity through land, sea and air. As part of efforts to reach different markets across the six geopolitical zones of the country, the investigative team spread its dragnet to Singer Market Kano; Utako Market, Abuja; Terminus Market Jos; Mile 3 Market Port-Harcourt; , Main Market, Onitsha; Ogbete Market in Enugu, G-Cappa Market, Lagos and Jimeta Main Market – Yola. On-the-spot checks by this intelligence magazine show the preponderance of foreign rice in these markets by merchants who said that profits coming from foreign rice far out-weigh the local rice whom majority of those interviewed believed has more nutritional value than the foreign rice. The dealers buy local rice at about N13,000 per 50kg bag, while they sell it customers for between N15,500 to N16, 000. The same merchants pay about N11,000 for the smuggled foreign rice and sell to consumers between N17,500 and N19,000 per bag. Speaking on the disparity between the cost of local rice and smuggled foreign rice, Paul Nwadike, a rice distributor at Ogbete market in Enugu said “My brother, let me tell you that gains we receive from selling foreign rice are more than the local rice because local rice is more costlier.” Auwal Mukhtar a merchant in Singer Market Kano said: “There is more market for us in foreign rice because it’s cheaper..” Nwadike said. ‘tell them to bring the cost of local rice down” he pleaded. Another rice merchant Mustafha in Utako Market Abuja noted that “I try as much as possible to buy foreign rice because my customers prefer them and they are cheap’, he said. Asked whether the quantity of local rice in the market more than the foreign rice is, they said no! The same go for Terminus Market Jos, Mile 3 Market Port-Harcourt, Main Market, Onitsha. They were reluctant to disclose how they got large supplies of foreign rice. One of them said: “Bros (short for brother) you want to spoil our business? How can we tell you the source of our business?” The rice traders in separate interviews attributed the upsurge of rice smuggling to the ineffectiveness of customs service urging the government to take necessary steps to overhaul the Customs and its strategies to combat the menace. When contacted, the spokesperson of the Nigeria Customs Service, Mr. Joseph Attah lamented the deadly activities of rice smugglers in Nigeria. Attah said: “How much efforts are really enough. All our warehouses and available places are filled up with seized smuggled rice. The smugglers are becoming so deadly as a number of death have beeng recorded from our confrontations with them. “In fact the Federal Government recently gave a directive that rice and other relief materials in the warehouses should be distributed to orphanages and Internally Displaced People Camps to address the plights of the victims as well as to free the warehouses.
“We now urge the major stakeholders to join us in the campaign against the deadly activities of smugglers through advocacy and sensitizations that will lead to attitudinal changes in the part of the smugglers.” Also speaking on the same vein, the Central Bank Director of Corporate Communications, Mr Isaac Okorafor said while agreeing with many Nigerians that local rice has more nutritional value than foreign rice however disagreed with our survey that the quantity of foreign rice in Nigerian market far outweigh the local arguing that the apex bank through its intervention has put smiles on the faces of rice farmers and other stakeholders in the value chain .
“I don’t know the parameters used in your survey in terms of quantity of rice both foreign and local. But I can assure you that Nigerians would not like to go back to the dark days of rice importation”, the CBN spokesperson said. However, late last year, Economic Confidential recalls that the federal government and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) debunked the report by the United States Department of Agriculture World Markets and Trade that Nigeria imported three million metric tons of rice in 2018. The US report had said the import figure is 400,000 metric tonnes higher than the quantity of the product that was imported in 2017. Customs aims to surpass N887bn FG’s revenue for 2019 The report also stated that Nigeria’s local rice production dropped from 2016 to 2018 compared to the situation in 2015. Meanwhile, Nigeria’s neighbour, Republic of Benin however recorded an increase in rice imports from Thailand, from 805,765mt in 2015 to 1, 647,387mt as at November 2017. Though government had claimed a reduction in the importation of the commodity, existing statistics should be a cause for concern as only Nigeria consumes parboiled rice while Benin prefers white rice, an indication that rice imported Description: https://i1.wp.com/www.vanguardngr.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/smuggled-rice.gif?zoom=1.5&resize=412%2C309&ssl=1to Benin are being smuggled to Nigeria through the land borders. Making CBN’s palm oil boost package work Economic Confidential wholly agree that while legally imported rice continue to decline, majority of rice in the Nigerian markets are imported smuggled rice for which the country loses huge revenue that should have accrued to it. Despite the ban, smuggling of rice has continued to thrive as huge quantities of the commodity flood the local market daily. Related Nigeria to begin rice exportation by 2017 — CBN November 29, 2016 CBN expands Anchor Borrowers’ Programme November 9, 2017 CBN pledges more support for rice farming November 6, 2016 ADEKUNLE View all posts by adekunle → PREVIOUS POST APC women demand key appointments in Buhari’s cabinet NEXT POST Just in: 34 prisoners regain freedom in Delta Disclaimer Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.





Over 70% of Rice in Nigerian Markets are Foreign Investigations, NCS, CBN React
By PRNIGERIA -
Description: imported rice
imported rice
Over 70% of Rice in Nigerian Markets are Foreign- Investigations
…. Customs, CBN React
Despite concrete and visible interventions of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) via the Anchors Borrowers Programme (ABP) on the rice sub-sector of the Nigerian economy, over seventy percent (70%) of rice in Nigeria markets are foreign or imported.
In a three-week survey on the rice market across the six geopolitical zones in the country, Economic Confidential team observed that foreign rice such as Mama Gold, Royal Stallion, Rice Master, Caprice, Falcon Rice and Basmati are sold alongside Nigerian rice namely: Umza and Fursa Crown from Kano, Mama Happy from Niger, Labana Rice from Kebbi, Olam Rice from Nasarawa, Abakaliki Rice from Ebonyi, Ofada Rice from Ogun State, Swomen Dama from Plateau, Lake Rice of Lagos/Kebbi States among others.
The Nigeria Customs service (NCS) and the CBN has reacted to the latest report.
Stakeholders in the rice subsector, namely, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Rice Millers Association of Nigeria (RIMAN) and Rice Processors Association of Nigeria(RIPAN) however gave kudos to the apex bank for the timely intervention and banning of rice since 2015, a development that has seen alarming growth in local production of rice and serious saving of foreign exchange.
The stakeholders in separate interviews laid the blame for the inflow of the banned commodity on the doorsteps of the Nigeria Customs Service(NCS), adding that for the federal government to make meaningful impact in its fight against smuggling of the commodity, serious attention must be paid to the various porous borders which the Nigeria Customs Service has the constitutional responsibility to man.
The development is coming almost four years after the federal government banned the importation of the commodity through land, sea and air.
As part of efforts to reach different markets across the six geopolitical zones of the country, the investigative team spread its dragnet to Singer Market Kano; Utako Market, Abuja; Terminus Market Jos; Mile 3 Market Port-Harcourt; , Main Market, Onitsha; Ogbete Market in Enugu, G-Cappa Market, Lagos and Jimeta Main Market – Yola.
On-the-spot checks by this intelligence magazine show the preponderance of foreign rice in these markets by merchants who said that profits coming from foreign rice far out-weigh the local rice whom majority of those interviewed believed has more nutritional value than the foreign rice.
The dealers buy local rice at about N13,000 per 50kg bag, while they sell it customers for between N15,500 to N16, 000. The same merchants pay about N11,000 for the smuggled foreign rice and sell to consumers between N17,500 and N19,000 per bag.
Speaking on the disparity between the cost of local rice and smuggled foreign rice, Paul Nwadike, a rice distributor at Ogbete market in Enugu said “My brother, let me tell you that gains we receive from selling foreign rice is more than the local rice because local rice is more costlier.”
Auwal Mukhtar a merchant in Singer Market Kano said: “There is more market for us in foreign rice because it’s cheaper.”
Nwadike said. ‘tell them to bring the cost of local rice down” he pleaded.
Another rice merchant Mustafha in Utako Market Abuja noted that “I try as much as possible to buy foreign rice because my customers prefer them and they are cheap’, he said.
Asked whether the quantity of local rice in the market more than the foreign rice is, they said no!
The same go for Terminus Market Jos, Mile 3 Market Port-Harcourt, Main Market, Onitsha.
They were reluctant to disclose how they got large supplies of foreign rice.
One of them said: “Bros (short for brother) you want to spoil our business? How can we tell you the source of our business?”
The rice traders in separate interviews attributed the upsurge of rice smuggling to the ineffectiveness of customs service urging the government to take necessary steps to overhaul the Customs and its strategies to combat the menace.
When contacted, the spokesperson of the Nigeria Customs Service, Mr. Joseph Attah lamented the deadly activities of rice smugglers in Nigeria.
Attah said: “How much efforts are really enough. All our warehouses and available places are filled up with seized smuggled rice. The smugglers are becoming so deadly as a number of death have beeng recorded from our confrontations with them.
“In fact the Federal Government recently gave a directive that rice and other relief materials in the warehouses should be distributed to orphanages and Internally Displaced People Camps to address the plights of the victims as well as to free the warehouses.
“We now urge the major stakeholders to join us in the campaign against the deadly activities of smugglers through advocacy and sensitizations that will lead to attitudinal changes in the part of the smugglers.”
Also speaking on the same vein, the Central Bank Director of Corporate Communications, Mr Isaac Okorafor said while agreeing with many Nigerians that local rice has more nutritional value than foreign rice however disagreed with our survey that the quantity of foreign rice in Nigerian market far outweigh the local arguing that the apex bank through its intervention has put smiles on the faces of rice farmers and other stakeholders in the value chain .
“I don’t know the parameters used in your survey in terms of quantity of rice both foreign and local. But I can assure you that Nigerians would not like to go back to the dark days of rice importation”, the CBN spokesperson said.
However, late last year, Economic Confidential recalls that the federal government and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) debunked the report by the United States Department of Agriculture World Markets and Trade that Nigeria imported three million metric tons of rice in 2018.
The US report had said the import figure is 400,000 metric tonnes higher than the quantity of the product that was imported in 2017.
The report also stated that Nigeria’s local rice production dropped from 2016 to 2018 compared to the situation in 2015.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s neighbour, Republic of Benin however recorded an increase in rice imports from Thailand, from 805,765mt in 2015 to 1, 647,387mt as at November 2017.
Though government had claimed a reduction in the importation of the commodity, existing statistics should be a cause for concern as only Nigeria consumes parboiled rice while Benin prefers white rice, an indication that rice imported to Benin are being smuggled to Nigeria through the land borders.
Economic Confidential wholly agree that while legally imported rice continue to decline, majority of rice in the Nigerian markets are imported smuggled rice for which the country loses huge revenue that should have accrued to it. Despite the ban, smuggling of rice has continued to thrive as huge quantities of the commodity flood the local market daily.

DA ready to sign IRR for Rice Tariffication Law this week

Published April 3, 2019, 10:00 PM
By Madelaine B. Miraflor
The Department of Agriculture (DA) has made last-minute comment on the draft of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Rice Tariffication Law, delaying further the implementation of the much awaited liberalization of rice importation.
Description: Dept. of Agriculture
But Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said that after making such comments, he should be able to sign the law’s IRR this week.
The Rice Tariffication Law, which will replace the volume restriction on rice imports with tariff, was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in February.
National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) was the lead agency tasked to collate comments on the law’s IRR and come up with its final version.
Piñol said that upon receiving the supposed final draft of the IRR, DA’s legal team immediately subjected it to “legal scrubbing.”
“We made comments,” Piñol said. “Some NFA [National Food Authority] employees expressed their concern over the low remuneration for those employees who will be retrenched and retiring.”
A source from NFA said that once the Rice Tariffication Law is on the roll, 25 percent of the agency’s employees are set to avail of the retirement package offered to them by the government.
This, as the law stripped away some of the agency’s major functions, including its mandate to regulate and stabilize market prices as well as the importation of rice for buffer stocking.
Piñol said he already returned the draft IRR to NEDA, including the comments they made.
The release of the IRR of the Rice Tariffication Law will pave the way for the law’s actual implementation, which will effectively open up the Philippine market to more imported rice.

Over 70% of Rice in Nigerian Markets are Foreign Investigations, NCS, CBN React
By PRNIGERIA - 
Description: imported rice
imported rice
Over 70% of Rice in Nigerian Markets are Foreign- Investigations
…. Customs, CBN React
Despite concrete and visible interventions of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) via the Anchors Borrowers Programme (ABP) on the rice sub-sector of the Nigerian economy, over seventy percent (70%) of rice in Nigeria markets are foreign or imported.
In a three-week survey on the rice market across the six geopolitical zones in the country, Economic Confidential team observed that foreign rice such as Mama Gold, Royal Stallion, Rice Master, Caprice, Falcon Rice and Basmati are sold alongside Nigerian rice namely: Umza and Fursa Crown from Kano, Mama Happy from Niger, Labana Rice from Kebbi, Olam Rice from Nasarawa, Abakaliki Rice from Ebonyi, Ofada Rice from Ogun State, Swomen Dama from Plateau, Lake Rice of Lagos/Kebbi States among others.
The Nigeria Customs service (NCS) and the CBN has reacted to the latest report.
Stakeholders in the rice subsector, namely, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Rice Millers Association of Nigeria (RIMAN) and Rice Processors Association of Nigeria(RIPAN) however gave kudos to the apex bank for the timely intervention and banning of rice since 2015, a development that has seen alarming growth in local production of rice and serious saving of foreign exchange.
The stakeholders in separate interviews laid the blame for the inflow of the banned commodity on the doorsteps of the Nigeria Customs Service(NCS), adding that for the federal government to make meaningful impact in its fight against smuggling of the commodity, serious attention must be paid to the various porous borders which the Nigeria Customs Service has the constitutional responsibility to man.
The development is coming almost four years after the federal government banned the importation of the commodity through land, sea and air.
As part of efforts to reach different markets across the six geopolitical zones of the country, the investigative team spread its dragnet to Singer Market Kano; Utako Market, Abuja; Terminus Market Jos; Mile 3 Market Port-Harcourt; , Main Market, Onitsha; Ogbete Market in Enugu, G-Cappa Market, Lagos and Jimeta Main Market – Yola.
On-the-spot checks by this intelligence magazine show the preponderance of foreign rice in these markets by merchants who said that profits coming from foreign rice far out-weigh the local rice whom majority of those interviewed believed has more nutritional value than the foreign rice.
The dealers buy local rice at about N13,000 per 50kg bag, while they sell it customers for between N15,500 to N16, 000. The same merchants pay about N11,000 for the smuggled foreign rice and sell to consumers between N17,500 and N19,000 per bag.
Speaking on the disparity between the cost of local rice and smuggled foreign rice, Paul Nwadike, a rice distributor at Ogbete market in Enugu said “My brother, let me tell you that gains we receive from selling foreign rice is more than the local rice because local rice is more costlier.”
Auwal Mukhtar a merchant in Singer Market Kano said: “There is more market for us in foreign rice because it’s cheaper.”
Nwadike said. ‘tell them to bring the cost of local rice down” he pleaded.
Another rice merchant Mustafha in Utako Market Abuja noted that “I try as much as possible to buy foreign rice because my customers prefer them and they are cheap’, he said.
Asked whether the quantity of local rice in the market more than the foreign rice is, they said no!
The same go for Terminus Market Jos, Mile 3 Market Port-Harcourt, Main Market, Onitsha.
They were reluctant to disclose how they got large supplies of foreign rice.
One of them said: “Bros (short for brother) you want to spoil our business? How can we tell you the source of our business?”
The rice traders in separate interviews attributed the upsurge of rice smuggling to the ineffectiveness of customs service urging the government to take necessary steps to overhaul the Customs and its strategies to combat the menace.
When contacted, the spokesperson of the Nigeria Customs Service, Mr. Joseph Attah lamented the deadly activities of rice smugglers in Nigeria.
Attah said: “How much efforts are really enough. All our warehouses and available places are filled up with seized smuggled rice. The smugglers are becoming so deadly as a number of death have beeng recorded from our confrontations with them.
“In fact the Federal Government recently gave a directive that rice and other relief materials in the warehouses should be distributed to orphanages and Internally Displaced People Camps to address the plights of the victims as well as to free the warehouses.
“We now urge the major stakeholders to join us in the campaign against the deadly activities of smugglers through advocacy and sensitizations that will lead to attitudinal changes in the part of the smugglers.”
Also speaking on the same vein, the Central Bank Director of Corporate Communications, Mr Isaac Okorafor said while agreeing with many Nigerians that local rice has more nutritional value than foreign rice however disagreed with our survey that the quantity of foreign rice in Nigerian market far outweigh the local arguing that the apex bank through its intervention has put smiles on the faces of rice farmers and other stakeholders in the value chain .
“I don’t know the parameters used in your survey in terms of quantity of rice both foreign and local. But I can assure you that Nigerians would not like to go back to the dark days of rice importation”, the CBN spokesperson said.
However, late last year, Economic Confidential recalls that the federal government and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) debunked the report by the United States Department of Agriculture World Markets and Trade that Nigeria imported three million metric tons of rice in 2018.
The US report had said the import figure is 400,000 metric tonnes higher than the quantity of the product that was imported in 2017.
The report also stated that Nigeria’s local rice production dropped from 2016 to 2018 compared to the situation in 2015.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s neighbour, Republic of Benin however recorded an increase in rice imports from Thailand, from 805,765mt in 2015 to 1, 647,387mt as at November 2017.
Though government had claimed a reduction in the importation of the commodity, existing statistics should be a cause for concern as only Nigeria consumes parboiled rice while Benin prefers white rice, an indication that rice imported to Benin are being smuggled to Nigeria through the land borders.
Economic Confidential wholly agree that while legally imported rice continue to decline, majority of rice in the Nigerian markets are imported smuggled rice for which the country loses huge revenue that should have accrued to it. Despite the ban, smuggling of rice has continued to thrive as huge quantities of the commodity flood the local market daily.

Exports of milled rice up 6 pct in Q1

May Kunmakara / Khmer Times 

Exports of milled rice rose by 6 percent during the first quarter of the year compared to the same period in 2018, according to the latest report from the Ministry of Agriculture.
While China was the top buyer, exports of the commodity to the European Union declined slightly, clear sign tariffs imposed earlier this year by the EU are having an effect on trade.
From January to March, Cambodia exported 170,821 tonnes of milled rice compared to 161,115 tonnes during the same months last year.
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Song Saran, Amru Rice president, said they have been receiving a lot of orders from countries across Asia, while those from the EU have declined slightly.
“Our company exported a lot to the Asian market, particularly China and some Asean countries like Thailand and Vietnam,” he said.
“After China increased its import quota for Cambodian rice, demand in that market has increased. From January to March, which is low season, we sent there 20,000 to 30,000 tonnes a month.
“I believe that during the second half of the year the number of orders will double because it is peak season, and I think we will meet our quota of 400,000 tonnes in the Chinese market.”
Mr Saran said Cambodia’s fragrant rice is popular among Chinese and Vietnamese consumers. “They trust our quality very much. I believe exports there will continue to grow.”
. .
In January, the Chinese government agreed to increase its import quota for Cambodian rice by 100,000 tonnes for 2019. The Vietnamese government in February also expanded its quota for Cambodian rice to 300,000 tonnes a year.
By contrast, exports to the EU have decreased, Mr Saran lamented. “In the EU we lost a little bit of market, particularly for white rice and parboiled rice.
“I do hope that, given the quality of our fragrant rice, European consumers will continue to buy our products.”
Chan Sokheang, chairman and CEO of Signatures of Asia, also reported a decline in shipments to the European market.
“Since the EU imposed the tariffs, demand for our rice has diminished, particularly for white rice. This doesn’t mean we don’t export there anymore. People in Europe still buy our products because our rice has a great reputation, particularly our fragrant variety.”
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Mr Sokheang said he was satisfied with their performance in the Chinese market. “Our milled rice is growing in popularity in China, especially our fragrant rice. I hope we can continue to expand our presence in that market.”
In January, the EU imposed tariffs on rice imports from Cambodia and Myanmar that, it says, were hurting farmers in the European Union.
The European bloc believed a significant increase in shipments of Indica rice from Cambodia and Myanmar into the EU caused economic damage to producers in Europe.
During the first year, 175 euros ($199.5) per tonne will be levied, 150 euros ($171) in the second year, and 125 euros ($142.5) in the last.
Last year, Cambodia exported 626,225 tonnes of rice to international markets, a drop of 1.5 percent compared to 2017. The largest market for Cambodian rice was the EU, which imported almost 270,000 tonnes, equivalent to 42.9 percent of total exports.

Floor price set for rice as demand plummets
YU WAI 04 APR 2019
Description: Workers at a rice warehouse in Yangon. Aung Htay Hlaing/The Myanmar Times
Workers at a rice warehouse in Yangon. Aung Htay Hlaing/The Myanmar Times
The price per pack of long grain rice has been set at a floor of K19,500, said U Aung Than Oo , president of Myanmar Rice and Paddy Traders’ Association. Traders arrived at the decision on Monday.
Prices dived to around K19,000 per pack after the EU in January reinstated tariffs on rice imports from Myanmar and Cambodia. Meanwhile, demand from China has also tapered. At this time last year, long grain rice prices were trading at K26,000 per pack.
“The rice market has cooled because the EU resurfaced the import tariffs and traders are seeing lower demand from China at the border. As such, stockpiles of rice have been accumulating domestically, prompting us to purchase these inventories at a minimum price,” U Aung Than Oo said.
“Right now, most traders believe rice prices will continue falling in the future so they have stopped buying rice. We have set a floor price to contain the fall in prices,” he added.
Long grain rice, or 90-day rice, is mainly harvested in Ayeyarwady and Bago. Since the start of the year, stockpiles have accumulated at the Rice and Paddy Wholesale Depot in Ayeyarwady, said U Kyaw Naing, a local trader.
 For the industry to be more sustainable over the long term, traders are lobbying for China to raise its official rice import quota from Myanmar to 400,000 tonnes annually from 100,000 tonnes currently.
According to data from the Ministry of Commerce, over 50 percent of Myanmar-produced rice is sold to China via the border.
Myanmar exported 1.7 million tonnes of rice and broken rice worth US$ 578 million between April and December last year, according to the Ministry of Commerce.  Around 52pc was exported by sea, while the rest was sold at the border to China. 
At those levels, rice exports have decreased by over a third from 2.5 million tonnes worth US$780 million in the same period the year before. The main reason for the recent fall in exports is lower demand from China.

ADB cuts PHL outlook on budget, global woes

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Description: https://39byfk2z09ab1y1bzj1l5r82-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/ADB.jpg
THE delay in the passage of the national budget, as well as the slowdown in the global economy, are some of the reasons that forced the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to cut its growth forecast for the Philippines this year.
Based on its Asian Development Outlook report, the Ma-nila-based multilateral development bank now forecasts the Philippine economy to grow at 6.4 percent, slower than the 6.7 percent it estimated in the ADO Supplement released in
December 2018.
In terms of inflation, the ADB said commodity prices will be slower than expected this year at 3.8 percent from the initial estimate of 4 percent. In 2020, the ADB estimates that GDP growth will also be at 6.4 percent, while inflation will likely average 3.5 percent.
“Yes, the delay in the approval of the budget has slowed expenditure but the government will have opportunities to catch up.
So once it is approved, we think it [spending]  will catch up,” ADB Philippines Country Director Kelly Bird said.
The delay in the approval of the budget and decision of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to grant exceptions to big-ticket infrastructure projects from the election ban could affect growth this year.
However, ADB said its growth estimate for the Philippine economy is still higher than the 6.2-percent GDP growth posted in 2018. The ADB said the country is one of three Southeast Asian countries that are expected to outpace its growth in 2018 this year.
The report stated that in half of the 10 subregional economies in Southeast Asia, growth is forecast to slow this year, while Indonesia and the Lao PDR will be unchanged; and Brunei Darussalam, Myanmar, and the Philippines will post higher growth.
“There are two reasons. One, you are least vulnerable to a sharp slowdown in exports. A lot of the other countries are very export-intensive. Second is the government public spending on infrastructure. It has a large infrastructure program, it has increased last year on infrastructure, it reached 6 percent of GDP [and] we expect that to continue above 6 percent. And that’s a bit different from its neighboring countries. The Philippines has a major infrastructure program,” Bird explained.
The rollout of priority public investments in infrastructure, such as bridges, expressways, ports, and railways nationwide will ensure that prospects for private investment remain bright, given better access to markets and job opportunities. Momentum in private construction is expected to be sustained by continued strong demand for office and retail space and housing.
In addition, the services and manufacturing sectors will also be the main growth drivers in the near term. Strong retail trade and expansion in business-process outsourcing will continue to spur growth in services.
“The Philippine economy is on a healthy growth trajectory, with public and private investment sustaining strong growth for the economy this year and next. The risks to the growth outlook are tilted on the downside, with rising local investments likely offsetting any impact from a faster-than-expected slowdown in the global economy,” Bird said.
Inflation is expected to ease to 3.8 percent in 2019 and 3.5 percent in 2020 as global oil prices moderate, food supply improves with a recent law replacing quantitative restrictions on rice imports with tariffs, and last year’s monetary tightening continues to be effective, according to the report.
A major policy challenge is the structural and policy impediments to agriculture growth, the report said. Agriculture has been underperforming for the past two decades, growing by an average of 1.5 percent annually from 2011 to 2018.
With half of the country’s population residing in rural areas and agriculture providing a quarter of the country’s total employment, farm and off-farm income generating activities are critical for fostering inclusive growth.
The law liberalizing rice importation and establishing the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund provides a unique opportunity to lift rural incomes by enhancing farm productivity and helping farmers to produce higher-value crops.
More needs to be done, however, such as investing in rural infrastructure, better irrigation, crop insurance, and innovation that engage private sector providers of extension services to farmers. At the same time, it is important for the government to support emerging growth industries in rural areas, like tourism, that generate off-farm income.

China’s ‘Green Super Rice’ Aims To Reduce Hunger And Build Up Farmers’ Income

Apr 03, 2019 07:58 PM
Description: RiceA vendor rests in her market stand that sells rice in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines, September 5, 2018.(Photo: REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez/File Photo)
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has partnered with Beijing to spearhead a joint project that supports Chinese agriculture scientists in their study of new rice varieties called "Green Super Rice." The rice varieties are expected to offer sustainable agriculture practices for farmers in Africa and Asia.
According to Xinhua, "Green Super Rice" or GSR is expected to help Asian and African regions reduce hunger while helping farmers boost their income through sustainable farming practices.
Since GSR varieties have been bred for sustainability, these can bring forth stable produce. Compared to other rice types, these varieties require less water and fertilizers. They are also more tolerant in extreme weather conditions and can withstand some diseases.
Green Super Rice varieties were grown in a temperate zone in China as part of the initiative's goal of supplying demand in tropical regions. Since they have been bred to withstand tough conditions, these varieties can reach an average of 0.89 to 1.83 tonnes of increase per hectare.
"I like GSR because its grains are good and are considerably heavier than previous rice grains I tried in the past. The crop is tolerant to pests and diseases," one of the first few farmers who tried growing the Green Super Rice variety, Montano, said.
Ever since the project kicked off, it has yielded 78 GSR varieties for a total of 18 countries. These countries make up a growing area of 6.12 million hectares. Among the Asian countries that will receive these varieties are the Philippines, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Vietnam, Pakistan, and more. Nine African states are also part of the target countries.
Meanwhile, Technology Times Pakistan reported that a team of Chinese researchers led by Professor Yang Donglei of the State Key Laboratory of Crop Genetics and Germplasm Enhancement and NAU in East China's Jiangsu Province developed a rice gene that offers high yields.
The rice gene has been coded as the Ideal Plant Architecture1 (IPA1) and is said to be disease resistant. According to the outlet, the new rice train yields thicker stems and larger spikes compared to current strains in the global market.
China's work on sustainable agriculture has been booming over the past years. A case study jointly conducted by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, McGill University, and Stanford University, found out that farmers who considered environmental effects of agriculture practices yielded more income.
The study revealed that China's new approach in agriculture can help farmers manage their lands and crops efficiently for environmental and economic benefits. 
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Customs rakes in N3.2bn, seizes 12,270 bags of rice in Ogun

Description: Some of the vehicles intercepted by Operatives of Nigeria Customs Service, Ogun Area Command. PHOTOS BY: Peter Moses.
Some of the vehicles intercepted by Operatives of Nigeria Customs Service, Ogun Area Command. PHOTOS BY: Peter Moses.
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Ogun Area Command says it had generated N3,258,628,190 revenue in the first quarters of 2019.
The Area Comptroller, Michael Agbara who spoke with newsmen at the State Operational Headquarters, Idi – Iroko, Ogun state, hinted that the revenue shows difference of N1.9bn in comparison to the fund raked in the first quarters of 2018.
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Agbara equally disclosed that the command seized 12,720 bags of foreign rice, 83 units of “tokunbo” vehicles, 446 kegs of vegetable oil, 4 units of motorcycle and 778 pairs, three jumbo and six sacks of used foot wears, within the period.
Description: Some of the bags of rice intercepted by Operatives of Nigeria Customs Service, Ogun Area Command. PHOTOS BY: Peter Moses.Some of the bags of rice intercepted by Operatives of Nigeria Customs Service, Ogun Area Command. PHOTOS BY: Peter Moses.
He added that operatives of the command intercepted 1.8 tons of cannabis sativa (Indian hemp) and have handed over the exhibit to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in the spirit of “inter-agency cooperation.”
The Customs boss, however, said the anti-smuggling activities of the command had led to various clashes with smugglers, leading to death of an officer, Hamish Sani in January.
He vowed that the Command would not chicken out in its bid to rid the state off the activities of the smugglers.
Agbara said “However, the above activities were ravelled with series of clashes between Officers of the Command and some dare-devil smugglers/accomplices leading to loss of lives and properties.
Description: Some of the vehicles intercepted by Operatives of Nigeria Customs Service, Ogun Area Command. PHOTOS BY: Peter Moses.Some of the vehicles intercepted by Operatives of Nigeria Customs Service, Ogun Area Command. PHOTOS BY: Peter Moses.
“It is pertinent to reiterate the fact that while the Service will continue to dialogue, engage, sensitize and educate the public on social/economic implication of smuggling, we will not relinquish our statutory functions of enforcing compliance with strict adherence to rules of engagement.”
He applauded the synergy among sister agencies, opinion leaders, head of traditional institutions, eminent personalities and other law abiding members of the public, saying: “We will continue to count on your support in protecting the economic and social well-being of our dear nation.”
dtonline@dailytrust.com

Police seize more than 1,000 bags of contraband white rice

By Amina WakoApril 4th, 2019  1 min read
Description: Rice-II
A sample of the suspected contraband white rice which was seized by the police in Kirinyaga County, Mwea East. PHOTO | COURTESY

Detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations have confiscated more than 1,000 bags of suspected contraband white rice.
During an operation conducted on Wednesday night in Kirinyaga County, Mwea East, a trailer, which was ferrying the rice, was also impounded.
The police believe the rice originated from Pakistan.
The rice is under police custody as officers continue with investigations.




Last night, an operation to clamp down on contraband goods led @DCI_Kenya Detectives based in #Kirinyaga to a residence in Mwea East where a search was conducted. The search resulted in the confiscation of more than a thousand bags of suspected contraband white rice & a Trailer

The past week has seen an assortment of counterfeit products confiscated by detectives from DCI and the Anti Counterfeit Agency (ACA).
Among the goods which have been seized are fake fragrances and cosmetic products, estimated to be Sh1.5 million, which were impounded at Madora store and two suspects arrested.
In another incident, two suspects were arrested on suspicion of selling counterfeit medicines. The suspects were found in possession of several packs of suspected anti-snake venom “Puff Udder”.
Meanwhile, in yet another incident, counterfeit phones valued at Sh8million were recovered from several shops situated along Luthuli Avenue within Nairobi’s CBD and six suspects arrested.

'Erasing the poor': Pakistanis feel crunch of rising prices

A vendor arranges different types of rice, with their prices displayed, at his shop in a wholesale market in Karachi, Pakistan April 2, 2019. (Photo: REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro)
04 Apr 2019 04:35PM

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's surging petrol prices have more than halved the income of taxi driver Yasir Sultan, just one of many consumers whose faith in a government elected last year on a pledge to help the poor has been shattered.
Inflation at its highest in more than five years has shocked many Pakistanis who voted for Prime Minister Imran Khan and his promise to eradicate poverty, create jobs and build an Islamic welfare state.
"Imran Khan has said big things about getting rid of poverty, but he isn't erasing poverty. He is erasing the poor," Sultan, 30, said.
"Sometimes I think I should set this taxi on fire," he said from behind the wheel of his rundown 1980s-era Suzuki Mehran.
Wrestling with a ballooning current account deficit as it seeks a 13th bailout package from the International Monetary Fund, the government has a hard choice - impose pain now or face a balance of payments crisis that could crash the economy.
Foreign reserves of US$8.5 billion are better than the start of the year, but barely cover two months' worth of imports.
"Demand compression is part of stabilisation to bring down current account and trade deficits," said Asad Sayeed, an economist at the Collective for Social Science Research.
Inflation was over 9.4 per cent in March, its highest since November 2013, with strong increases in food and energy, the two most sensitive items for most consumers.
The central bank forecasts growth at 3.5-4 per cent in the 12 months to end June, well off a government target of 6.2 per cent.
With a large pool of surplus labour keeping wage rises in check, living standards will suffer, Sayeed said.
"I voted for PTI believing in Khan's slogan for the change. Now, I am repenting," said Sara Salman in the bustling eastern city of Lahore, referring to the prime minister's party, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf.
With the rupee losing over a quarter of its value in the past year, the squeeze is acute in the creaking power sector where the government is under pressure to cut subsidies cushioning consumers against sharp price hikes.
Authorities on Monday hiked petrol prices by 6 rupees to 98.88 rupees (£0.5307) a litre, bringing pain to skilled workers who earn 1,000-1,300 rupees (US$7.08-US$9.20) a day and labourers who make up to 600-800 rupees.
The price hikes will keep consumers away from all but essential items, economists say.
"The fiscal trajectory now depends on what extent the government is going to adjust energy prices," said Saad Hashmey, chief economist at Topline Securities, adding it has to fix the energy deficit and bring earnings in line with production costs.
"If they are to go the full extent they need to plug the gap, then inflation in a few months will go into double digits," he said.
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Finance Minister Asad Umer has said an IMF deal could be agreed by May, its 13th bailout since the late 1980s and the last one needed by Pakistan, the government says.
While talks continue, Pakistan has sought help from China, its partner in the US$60-billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, part of Beijing's vast Belt and Road infrastructure initiative.
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have also extended about US$11 billion in loans and credit arrangements on oil deliveries in recent months.
The government says it is stepping up efforts to replace imports with domestic production and build up an export sector that has traditionally relied on textiles with special economic zones designed to attract new investment.
It is also trying to widen the tax net to boost collections, but has struggled on both fronts.
Rising oil prices and a currency devaluation "were bound to happen", Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said this week, adding, "God willing, a better time will be coming."     
For a government that promised an "Islamic welfare state" focused on uplifting the poor, the forecast is uncomfortably vague, observers say.
"They have to undertake a very painful economic adjustment," said Khurram Hussain, business editor of Pakistan's Dawn Newspaper. That means higher taxes and interest rates, lower imports and government spending, and a devalued rupee, he said.
"In that environment it is extremely difficult to deliver on welfare oriented promises," Hussain said.
While economists believe Pakistan has no choice but to cut spending and raise prices, consumers' patience is wearing thin.
"The current financial policies and price-hike shows contempt for the people," said Muhammad Waqas, a Lahore school teacher. "If the PTI government cannot resolve these problems, it should step down."


Karandaaz Pakistan, NRSP sign agreement to scale up APCL

·      RECORDER REPORT

·      APR 3RD, 2019

·      LAHORE
Karandaaz Pakistan and National Rural Support Programme (NRSP) signed an equity investment agreement for scaling up Agriculture Processing Company Limited (APCL) as an Agriculture value chain proposition for small holding farmers. APCL aims to scale up opportunities for warehousing, financial inclusion, and the incidence of rural industrialization for small holding farmers in the rice value chain. The model has already been tested and successfully implemented by NRSP over the last few years under the Innovation Challenge Fund administered by State Bank of Pakistan. The agreement signing ceremony was jointly attended by Board members and senior management of both the organizations.

Speaking at the occasion, Shoaib Sultan Khan, Founder and Chairman NRSP congratulated the management of both Karandaaz and NRSP for rolling out a project that will help the small holding farmers without compromising the principles of sustainability. Dr Rashid Bajwa, CEO NRSP expressed his firm belief and confidence in the success of the initiative for achieving scale, profitability, and better opportunities for small holding farmers.

Speaking at the occasion, Ali Sarfraz, CEO Karandaaz said, "This investment from Karandaaz is expected to contribute toward scaling up of business opportunities in the agricultural economy, food security, and reap better rewards for Pakistani rice farmers. Raising equity and debt financing is a key challenge for SMEs and Karandaaz is strategically placed to fill this gap as a long-term investor with a focus on SME infrastructure development. Additionally, Karandaaz's investment in APC is expected to successfully demonstrate value chain services including warehousing at scale for the first time in the country."

ISO accredits 21 Ayub agri labs

BY SHAHAB OMER , (LAST UPDATED 20 HOURS AGO)
Description: https://cache.pakistantoday.com.pk/feature-image-agricultural-technology-png.jpg
–Institute fails to outreach people due to non-commercial status 
LAHORE: Ayub Agricultural Research Institute (AARI) Faisalabad has successfully completed the project titled ‘Accreditation of AARI Laboratories for ISO-17025’ in 21 different laboratories as the institute struggles to reach stakeholders due to the unavailability of commercialisation status.
Only a few of laboratories out of 21 are directly providing services to general farmers, importers and exporters, it was learnt on Wednesday.
Pakistan Today learnt that the Punjab government had started the project in December 2016 to enable the international accreditation of ISO 17025 ((ISO/IEC 17025:2005 is internationally recognised standard for the independent accreditation of laboratories) at 21 AARI laboratories.
The other intentions of the project were to improve the working and services delivery of fibre testing laboratory, rice technology laboratory, biotechnology laboratory, cereal technology laboratory, soil and water testing laboratories and pesticide quality control laboratories.
It was also aimed that the analytical services will be provided to the stakeholders at par with international standards.
A report, copy available with Pakistan Today, states, “All 21 laboratories has successfully achieved ISO 17025 accreditation, which demonstrates that laboratories have qualified staff, precise equipment, adequate quality assurance … accurate recording and reporting and controlled lab environment.”
As per PC-I the project would have been commenced on 01 July 2016 but it actually started on 19 December 2016, with at least 5 months delay, it said, adding the difference between financial demand (Rs120.614 million) and actual expenditure (Rs74.861m) shows lack of proper planning”.
The project completed within timelines on 30 June 2018.
“Only a few of laboratories are directly providing services to general farmers, importers and exporters due to the unavailability of commercialization status,” the report stated, citing delays in recruitment process for some posts.
The management explained that the recruitment was delayed because of revision of eligibility criteria for the said posts, which was approved in minutes of the DDSC meeting held on June 12, 2017,” it concluded.
Faisalabad Genetically Modified Organisms Testing Laboratory Director Zafar Iqbal said, “Authenticated information generates reliable results. Accreditation is a kind of guarantee that the laboratories have international test methods, qualified personals, precise equipment and required infrastructure.
Description: Shahab Omer

Shahab Omer

The writer is a member of the staff. He can be reached on Twitter: @shahab_omer, and on email: shahab.omer@gmail.com

Rising Trend Of E-Grocery In Pakistan

On Apr 3, 2019  40 0
You have just added the bag of rice, being the last item on your month’s grocery list, to your shopping cart and then head towards the checkout. It has been a long tiring day but you didn’t mind doing the entire shopping yourself. Unlike your previous grocery ventures, this has been quite relaxing and fun as you sit before the TV screen on your couch. This time you didn’t have to stand in long, seemingly never-ending queue as you checkout in a couple of minutes with a few clicks on your mobile phone. This is the modern age of online grocery shopping.
If this were to be imagined a decade ago, it might have seemed a fantasy to many people. However, now every 4 out of 10 people can relate to this experience as they have been exposed to the wonders of online grocery shopping.
Pakistan has evolved itself in terms of e-commerce. The rapid growth of 3G and 4G technology has opened new horizons for e-commerce. Few years ago, online shopping became quite a trend in Pakistan however there has been a particular inclination towards grocery shopping through the internet.
Online shopping websites serve as a platform where the consumer can avail local as well as imported items at reasonable rates. The wide range of choices has undoubtedly lead to better decision-making. Many people now are opening up to the idea of grocery shopping from the comfort of their homes and there is a range of reasons contributing to it.
Today, people religiously abide by the saying, ‘Time is money’. Online shopping has always served as a time savior. Struggling amongst the crowd with a trolley, avoiding peak hours and standing in long queues can be tiring and people with long office hours find it very convenient to shop a myriad of things at a few clicks. In many desi households, the women are in charge of the groceries but now many of them are career-orientated and simply shop online from their offices. Perhaps the most convenient aspect is that shopping online doesn’t have time restrictions. You can easily place an order in the middle of the night.
Just like many supermarkets, there are now a variety of websites namely, QnE, RashanLelo, GoMart and Aaram Shop to name a few; catering to only online grocery shopping. Another perk of online shopping is it helps in budgeting, contrary to the generally accepted belief of higher rates on online portals. When you have a range of websites, you can compare prices of items and purchase the one most feasible. Not just that, you don’t have to pull out your cars, thus saving gas and petrol bills too. You will also have an online invoice recorded on your gadget which would help keep you a track of your expenses.
Many of our society’s middle class families have bikes as their only mode of transport. Online shopping satisfies such families as well who would be unable to carry heaps of shoppers on their motor bikes. Instead of balancing families on their way to the departmental stores, you have groceries right at your doorstep.
The online world has always been a mysterious portal open to frauds and piracy. Many people claim to think twice buying products online which they would grab instantly standing in a supermarket aisle. But now public reviews below each product give a hands-on account on their experience with the product, guiding customers.
Breadwinners who are constantly travelling can get groceries delivered at their homes as they pay from one of the many online payment methods. E-commerce in Pakistan has a value of up to $30 million which holds a considerable share of e-grocery, doing business in millions. This trend is only expected to rise in Pakistan as people realize the importance of convenience and time over traditional shopping.
DCI Detectives Impound 1000 Bags of Suspected Contraband Rice In Kirinyaga
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Detectives drawn from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) have impounded more than 1000 bags of suspected contraband rice and a trailer in Kirinyaga County.
The DCI reports that detectives carrying out an operation on contraband goods, found the rice at a residence in Mwea East on Wednesday night.
The origin of the rice has been established as Pakistan.
The rice is currently on police guard as investigations continue.


 · 4h

Last night, an operation to clamp down on contraband goods led @DCI_Kenya Detectives based in #Kirinyaga to a residence in Mwea East where a search was conducted. The search resulted in the confiscation of more than a thousand bags of suspected contraband white rice & a Trailer
Description: View image on Twitter

The rice whose origin is Pakistan is currently being guarded by police officers as investigations into the continues.

The operation comes barely two weeks after police shut down a home baking flour factory in Runyes, Embu county.
This is after the officers busted the factory manufacturing counterfeit home baking flour.
During the incident, ACA impounded 25 tonnes of the counterfeit flour and 23,500 packaging material, both worth over Sh10 million.
Email your news TIPS to news@kahawatungu.com 

Governor Sindh appreciates modern wholesale market proposal

 -
 
Pulses, Rice, Sugar, Spices, wheat and other commodities wholesale traders, Importers and Exporters ‘s representative body Karachi Wholesale Grocers Association (KWGA) presented their Proposal for “Wholesale Modern Market” to Governor Sindh.
Under one roof all traders can get state of the art facility. Association’s Patron in Chief, Anis Majeed and Chairman, Malik Zulfiqar met Imran Ismail, Governor Sindh and presented their proposal for 100 years plan for a “Modern Food Grain market”, on this occasion initial layout was also discussed. Anis Majeed and chairman, Malik Zulfiqar informed the Governor that a “Modern Food Grain market” will require at least 500 acre land, in which 35% of the land will be utilized in amenities and road networks, while warehouse for Importer and exporters of Pulses, Rice, Sugar, wheat and other commodities will also be there.
Small processing units of Pulses, Rice, flour and other commodities will also be part of this modern market. Truck stands for better transportation of goods and railway tracks will also be part of this plan.

Exhibition Of Pakistani Products In Somalia Planned

 
Description: Exhibition of Pakistani products in Somalia planned

Somalian Government is planning to hold a Single Country Exhibition of Pakistani products in Somalia during the month of June of this year

LAHORE, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - APP - 3rd Apr, 2019 ) :Somalian Government is planning to hold a Single Country Exhibition of Pakistani products in Somalia during the month of June of this year.
It was revealed by the Deputy Commercial Attache of Somalia Abdifitah AbdulKadir Osman while talking to businessmen here at LahoreChamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI) Wednesday. LCCI Vice President Faheem-ur-Rehman Saigal also spoke on the occasion, while Mian Zahid Javed, Shahzad Azam Khan, Rehmatullah Javed were also present.
Deputy Commercial Attache said that no international exhibition has been held ever in Somalia. He said that there is no Expo Centre there in Somalia and for local exhibitions they book hotels. So that, they want guidance from the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry as it is a largest & leading chamber of Commerce in Pakistan. There is a need to remove the interaction gap between the business communities of the two countries. Pakistani business community has not yet explored the potential in Somalian Market due to lack of information. He said that Pakistani products are coming in Somalia via other countries. He said that direct trade would be equally beneficial for the both countries.
He said that a large number of Somalis are getting education in Pakistan. At present, 25 members in Parliament of Somalia are graduated fromPakistani Universities.
LCCI Vice President Faheem-ur-Rehman Saigal suggested establishment of 'Pakistan Somalia Business Council' that would help business to business interactions of people of both sides and would help hold this exhibition.
He said that Pakistan has huge export potential in sports good, textile items, Surgical equipment, rice, processed food and pharmaceutical sectors. It is worth noticing that bilateral trade between Pakistan and Somalia is following an increasing trend and it is also in favour of PakistanFrom 2017 to 2018, the level of bilateral trade went up from Dollar 50.2 million to dollar 57.7 million due to 15 per cent rise in exports of Pakistan to SomaliaPakistan's exports to Somalia consist of rice, sugar and pharmaceutical products etc.
LCCI Vice President said, "We have the capacity to meet the demands of Somalia for home appliances, electrical items, motorbikes, articles of apparel and plastics etc."

Agricultural cooperation with China to be enhanced under CPEC

ByAPP

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ISLAMABAD: Planning, Development and Reform Minister Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar said on Wednesday that the government was focused on developing the agriculture sector on modern lines in order to improve the livelihoods of small farmers and to enhance the sector’s contribution to the national economy.
“In this regard, agriculture cooperation with China will be enhanced under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) framework,” the minister said while talking to National Food Security and Research Minister Sahibzada Mehboob Sultan.
Planning Secretary Zafar Hasan, National Food Security Secretary Dr Muhammad Hashim Popalzai and CPEC Project Director Hassan Daud were also present on the occasion.
The planning minister said efforts were underway to initiate joint ventures with leading Chinese agriculture companies so as to enhance agricultural output and value addition of agricultural products.
He highlighted that there was a lot of scope for cooperation between the two countries, particularly in areas of livestock, fisheries, citrus, mango, rice, potatoes and horticulture sectors.
Bakhtiar said that a CPEC Business Advisory Council has been constituted which would have representation from leading companies dealing in various sectors, including agriculture. The purpose of the council would be to identify new areas for future collaborations with China under CPEC, he added.
During the meeting, deliverables in different areas of agriculture for the proposed visit of the prime minister to China to participate in the second Belt and Road Forum this month came under discussion.
It was discussed that a memorandum of understanding on foot and mouth disease was also expected to be signed during the prime minister’s visit.

IRRI opens rice research hub in Indonesia

Photo: Adobe stock
04.03.2019
BOGOR, INDONESIA — The International Rice Research Institute on April 1 opened an office in Indonesia that will help accelerate rice initiatives under way in the country.
The office opening comes on the heels of a host country agreement between the IRRI and the Indonesian Agency for Agricultural Research and Development (IAARD).
The agreement called for the accelerated sharing of research innovations, expertise, and policy support to help Indonesia attain its rice self-sufficiency goals and boost its rice research, training capacity, rice production, and rice-based livelihoods, in the face of climate change and undernutrition in Indonesia.
“We are grateful for the trust the Indonesian government has shown in IRRI’s technologies and expertise,” said Matthew Morell, director general of the IRRI. “We are committed to working with IAARD and national partners to foster future-ready research and policy collaborations and help them deliver their vision of a lasting positive impact in the lives of the farmers and the country’s economy.”
Indonesia has faced declining water resources, labor shortages, changes in land use patterns, and a growing population.
The IRRI estimated that Indonesia will need 38% more rice in the next 25 years, which means that either the average yield of 4.6 tons per hectare must rise to more than 6 tons per hectare to fill the gap or alternate solutions need to be developed.
In his new role leading IAARD as director general, Fadjry Djufry plans to address this gap through the use of precision farming technologies and program collaborations.
“These challenges have been affecting Indonesia’s farmers and consumers for years and have been keeping us from fully attaining our goals for the rice sector,” he said. “For the past 50 years, IRRI’s interventions have helped us overcome these to a significant extent. We want to continue exploring other potential benefits from this partnership and I hope this office can further accelerate our joint efforts to achieve our set targets.”
While in Indonesia, Morell also will participate in the national consultation at IAARD for the ASEAN+3 - IRRI initiative in Indonesia on “Rice Genetic Solutions for Climate Resilience and Value Addition in ASEAN.” This rice germplasm evaluation and testing initiative is expected to generate $0.5 billion a year for ASEAN countries.
“A fresh approach and a recalibration of research and development programs will require the sustained inputs and backing of IRRI’s Indonesia counterparts,” Morell said. “We’re very committed to bringing this to fruition with our partners in Indonesia.”
IRRI’s rice varieties have significantly improved Indonesia’s rice production. The most recently released rice varieties include the Inpari 30 Ciherang Sub1, Inpari 34, 35, 42-43 GSR and INPARI IR NutriZinc. Released in 2018, the INPARI IR NutriZinc, is considered Indonesia’s first variety of zinc rice to address the country’s stunting problem.
It is a high yielding, brown planthopper-resistant variety that provides up to 50% of daily zinc needs and can potentially help reduce the effects of the $2.6 billion annual gross domestic product losses of Indonesia due to micronutrient deficiencies.

Gambia: NAMs Engage New Agric. Minister On Rice Production

Tagged:
By Awa B. Bah
Deputies at the National Assembly on Thursday March 2019, engaged the new Minister of Agriculture at the National Assembly Chambers in Banjul, on the revised rice cultivation and production at Sapu, under her Ministry's preview.
The Minister in her response said Sapu Agric. Station is a hub for research, and it is where the National Agricultural Research Institute NARI, the department of agricultural extension and the National Seed Secretariat (NSS) are hosted; that for rice research purposes, a total of 20 hectares of swamp rice is dedicated to NARI research and the seeds secretariat for activities such as rice breeding, adaptive research, varietal maintenance, foundation and certified seed production, for the past forty years.
The Minister said the Chinese Government is a partner in this area and that experts from China are expected early in April this year, for fortified rice production and productivity; that the rice value chain development project of her Ministry, aims to increase the production of rice on a private sector led approach; that they will be working with Government officials and local farmers to provide technical support in rice cultivation.
The Minister of Agriculture said presently, ten hectares out of twenty, is under routine cultivation for research and rice production, whilst the remaining ten hectares is out of production for the past years, due to severe damage of the thirty year old irrigation canal. The new Minister said actions taken by her Ministry include the continued engagement of FAO Gambia's country office in rehabilitating damaged irrigation canal(s) from its project funds on agriculture for economic development and growth; that the Ministry is in close collaboration with the Chinese Government and will conduct demonstration trials on high yielding rice varieties in an area of about five or ten hectares in swamp rice growing areas, for onward multiplication at farmer levels.
The rice value chain development project she said, has been signed and will be based in Sapu; that this project is co-funded by the Africa Development Bank (ADB), Islamic Development Bank (IDB), and the OPEC fund, and will rehabilitate and develop 3,000 Ha of rice.
On her Ministry's plans in providing ploughing for rice growing communities for the coming 2019 rainy season, the Minister said in Janjanbureh in particular, the Nema/CHOSSO project under her Ministry, is currently providing free ploughing services of 500 hectares to farmers the Jahally Pacharr. This she said is aimed to facilitate the 2019 dry season rice production, as was done during the 2018 dry season rice production; that it is a procedure for the Nema project that all newly developed areas be supported with free ploughing services in order to give a good start to farmers during their first year of crop production; that the Ministry is aware of the risks in rice production as it is included in the attainment of the National Development Plan (NDP). Farmers the Minister said, will be timely advised on any risk that may affect their production and productivity through extension service and research officers.
The Minister further said that the Ministry of Agriculture is working on proposals regarding the formulation of a National Agricultural Mechanization Policy for the country; that they will support all mechanization programs for the sector, especially ploughing services.
On the assessment of the 2018-2019 rainy season concerning agricultural production, and a buffer to mitigate shortcomings, the Minister said the NSS will facilitate access to good quality seeds to vulnerable rural farmers for 2019 cropping season under its activities; that NSS has completed developing a proposal to embark on a dry season certified rice seed production using rice seed producer groups in the tidal irrigated perimeters of Jahally Pacharr, in CRR south and Niani Sukuta in CRR north; that FAO's Gambia office will purchase 100 tons out of the anticipated 400 tons from this activity.
Government she said has received 2,700 metric tons from the People's Republic of China, which will be distributed to vulnerable farmers and households to help mitigate the short comings of the last rainy season.

NAMs Engage New Agric. Minister On Rice Production

Description: http://foroyaa.gm/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/National-Assemble....-696x387.jpgNational Assembly front view
By Awa B. Bah
Deputies at the National Assembly on Thursday March 2019, engaged the new Minister of Agriculture at the National Assembly Chambers in Banjul, on the revised rice cultivation and production at Sapu, under her Ministry’s preview.
The Minister in her response said Sapu Agric. Station is a hub for research, and it is where the National Agricultural Research Institute NARI, the department of agricultural extension and the National Seed Secretariat (NSS) are hosted; that for rice research purposes, a total of 20 hectares of swamp rice is dedicated to NARI research and the seeds secretariat for activities such as rice breeding, adaptive research, varietal maintenance, foundation and certified seed production, for the past forty years.
The Minister said the Chinese Government is a partner in this area and that experts from China are expected early in April this year, for fortified rice production and productivity; that the rice value chain development project of her Ministry, aims to increase the production of rice on a private sector led approach; that they will be working with Government officials and local farmers to provide technical support in rice cultivation.
The Minister of Agriculture said presently, ten hectares out of twenty, is under routine cultivation for research and rice production, whilst the remaining ten hectares is out of production for the past years, due to severe damage of the thirty year old irrigation canal. The new Minister said actions taken by her Ministry include the continued engagement of FAO Gambia’s country office in rehabilitating damaged irrigation canal(s) from its project funds on agriculture for economic development and growth; that the Ministry is in close collaboration with the Chinese Government and will conduct demonstration trials on high yielding rice varieties in an area of about five or ten hectares in swamp rice growing areas, for onward multiplication at farmer levels.
The rice value chain development project she said, has been signed and will be based in Sapu; that this project is co-funded by the Africa Development Bank (ADB), Islamic Development Bank (IDB), and the OPEC fund, and will rehabilitate and develop 3,000 Ha of rice.
On her Ministry’s plans in providing ploughing for rice growing communities for the coming 2019 rainy season, the Minister said in Janjanbureh in particular, the Nema/CHOSSO project under her Ministry, is currently providing free ploughing services of 500 hectares to farmers the Jahally Pacharr. This she said is aimed to facilitate the 2019 dry season rice production, as was done during the 2018 dry season rice production; that it is a procedure for the Nema project that all newly developed areas be supported with free ploughing services in order to give a good start to farmers during their first year of crop production; that the Ministry is aware of the risks in rice production as it is included in the attainment of the National Development Plan (NDP). Farmers the Minister said, will be timely advised on any risk that may affect their production and productivity through extension service and research officers.
The Minister further said that the Ministry of Agriculture is working on proposals regarding the formulation of a National Agricultural Mechanization Policy for the country; that they will support all mechanization programs for the sector, especially ploughing services.
On the assessment of the 2018-2019 rainy season concerning agricultural production, and a buffer to mitigate shortcomings, the Minister said the NSS will facilitate access to good quality seeds to vulnerable rural farmers for 2019 cropping season under its activities; that NSS has completed developing a proposal to embark on a dry season certified rice seed production using rice seed producer groups in the tidal irrigated perimeters of Jahally Pacharr, in CRR south and Niani Sukuta in CRR north; that FAO’s Gambia office will purchase 100 tons out of the anticipated 400 tons from this activity.
Government she said has received 2,700 metric tons from the People’s Republic of China, which will be distributed to vulnerable farmers and households to help mitigate the short comings of the last rainy season.

Rice project benefits nations in Asia, Africa

China Daily, April 3, 2019
A decadelong agricultural project spearheaded by Chinese scientists has helped alleviate poverty for more than 1.6 million farming households in 18 Asian and African countries through cultivation of high-yield and resilient rice strains.
Description: http://images.china.cn/site1007/2019-04/03/234697bd-7280-4a55-bd47-72149158ebdf.jpegLi Zhikang, a leading member of China's Green Super Rice project, visits a rice field in Nigeria with local agricultural researchers in October 2017. [Photo/China Daily]
The Green Super Rice project, led by the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, has generated 78 rice varieties that boast an average 20 percent increase in harvest per hectare while minimizing the use of fertilizers, pesticides and irrigation, said Li Zhikang, a professor and researcher of rice breeding at the academy and a leading member of the project, on Tuesday.
The total area planted with the varieties in participating countries had expanded to 6.12 million hectares by the end of last year, including around 3.4 million hectares in the Philippines, 1.3 million hectares in India and 1.1 million hectares in Vietnam, he said.
"Instead of solely emphasizing high yields, the Green Super Rice project is geared to guarantee stable yields while beefing up crops' resistance against drought, flooding and diseases," Li said.
"Thus, farmers are able to save a large amount of resources, such as fertilizers or irrigation water, to fight those issues," he added.
The sustainability of the approach is welcomed by Philippine agricultural researchers and farmers, according to Jose Yorobe, a consultant with the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines. He attended a meeting in Beijing on Tuesday, along with dozens of representatives from participant countries, that marked the project's conclusion.
"Because of climate change and population growth, developing countries are now pressured to increase rice productivity," he said. "Some high-yield modern varieties are still vulnerable to inclement weather, pests and disease."
Yorobe said on-site studies have shown that the varieties introduced to the Philippines through the Green Super Rice project are capable of thriving in harsh environments and maintaining steady yields.
"After Typhoon Haiyan swept through Leyte Island in the central Philippines in November 2013, we found that the Green Super Rice variety was one of the few that was still growing when submerged in saline water," he said. "Local farmers were elated and regained hope."
In West Africa, six Green Super Rice varieties with high-yield potential and strong tolerance to drought, salinity and iron toxicity have been developed, and about 14.5 metric tons of such seeds were distributed to local rice breeders, according to Baboucarr Manneh, a researcher with the African Rice Center in Cote d'Ivoire.
"Moreover, about 500 scientists, technicians and farmers have been trained in fields such as breeding, seed production and crop management through the project. The training helps increase their capability and achieve sustainable growth in the future," he said.
According to Li, the project drew to a close recently as sponsorship from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation ended as scheduled. "However, more green super rice species are expected to be rolled out, thanks to funds from the bilateral collaborations under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative and South-South Cooperation."
Gary Atlin, a senior program officer for the Gates Foundation, said the project demonstrates a new collaboration model in which rice scientists from different countries can work together to understand local needs and develop solutions on a global basis.
"Expertise of Chinese scientists in rice breeding and cultivation is a tremendous resource for the developing world," he said. "I believe it will continue to have an impact for years to come."

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India Won’t Get as Much Rain This Year During Monsoon Season, Forecast Says

By 
Pratik Parija
April 3, 2019, 1:45 PM GMT+5 Updated on April 3, 2019, 2:10 PM GMT+5
Photographer: Karen Dias/Bloomberg
Go inside the global economy with Stephanie Flanders in her new podcast, Stephanomics. Sign up here.
India’s June-September monsoon, which delivers more than 70 percent of the country’s annual rainfall, is likely to be below normal this year as the El Nino weather pattern may impact rain, Skymet Weather Services Pvt. said on Wednesday.
·       Precipitation during the rainy season is forecast to be 93 percent of the long-term average of about 89 centimeters (35 inches), said Jatin Singh, managing director of the New Delhi-based private forecaster. That compares with a preliminary prediction for normal showers. El Nino is likely to be the reason for below-normal showers, Skymet said.

Key Insights

·       The annual four-month rainy season is critical to the country’s agricultural sector as it affects summer and winter crop sowing and waters more than half of all farmland.
·       In the event of too little rain, farming suffers, families go hungry and power plants go dark.
·       India is the world’s second-biggest producer of rice and wheat, the top grower of cotton and the biggest importer of palm oils.

Get More

·       The forecast has a 5 percent margin of error, Skymet said.
·       India has a 55 percent chance of a below-normal monsoon, 30 percent probability of normal showers and a 15 percent chance of a drought.
·       The Pacific Ocean has become strongly warmer than average. The model projections call for an 80 percent chance of El Nino during March-May, dropping to 60 percent for June to August, the forecaster said.
·       “The savior factor could be Indian Ocean Dipole, which is likely to be in the neutral or positive phase during the Monsoon. Thus, it may be able to absorb some of the El Nino blues and possibly would support rainfall during the second half of monsoon."
·       June is likely to have a “very sluggish start” and deficit rains are likely to spill into July, Skymet said, adding that the second half of the season would see better rainfall.
·       East India is likely to be at a higher risk of getting deficient rain, especially during the first half of the monsoon season.
·       Showers are expected to be 77 percent of the long-term average in June, 91 percent in July, 102 percent in August and 99 percent in September.
(Updates to add details in ‘Get More’ section.)

Nagpur Foodgrain Prices Open- April 03, 2019

Jowar CH-5 (100 INR/KG) 2,050-2,250 2,050-2,250 WEATHER (NAGPUR) Maximum temp. 41.3 degree Celsius, minimum temp. 23.0 degree Celsius Rainfall : Nil FORECAST: Mainly clear sky. Maximum and minimum temperature likely to be around 41 degree Celsius and 23 degree Celsius. Note: n.a.—not available (For oils, transport costs are excluded from plant delivery prices, but included in market prices)

Govt to d

 

Discuss strategy to boost exports to China

Amiti Sen  New Delhi | Updated on April 02, 2019  Published on April 02, 2019
Description: https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/mxkv81/article26714024.ece/alternates/WIDE_435/BL03P4INDIACHINA
Export growth to China plummeted 28.6 per cent to $15 billion in the April-February period   -  daboost

Commerce & Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu is expected to chair the meeting scheduled on April 4.

To increase exports to China in order to make a substantial dent in the trade imbalance, the Commerce Ministry has scheduled a brainstorming meeting this week with other line ministries and export promotion organisations to identify sectors and strategies to step up performance.
“Exports to China have increased but not to the extent India was hoping for. Commodities such as sugar and soyabean, which hold a lot of promise, haven’t delivered yet. However, there are farm items such as grapes and pomegranate where there is a big scope to increase exports. The meeting will focus on bringing together stakeholders so that the right strategy can be adopted,” a government official told BusinessLine.
Commerce & Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu is expected to chair the meeting scheduled on April 4. While India’s exports to China increased 36.87 per cent to $11.10 billion in the April-November 2018-19 period, performance decelerated in the next three months and export growth in April-February 2018-19 slowed 28.6 per cent to $15 billion.
India’s trade-deficit with China in 2017-18 was a whopping $63 billion, which prompted Chinese President Xi Jinping to promise to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi at the Wuhan Summit last April, that his country would take steps to increase Indian imports of items such as rice, sugar, fruits, soyabean and pharmaceuticals.

Disappointment for India

What has come as a big disappointment for India is the fact that it has not been able to export commodities where it thought it had a clear advantage. For instance, although there was substantial scope for India to export soyabean due to China’s stand-off with the US, a primary supplier of soyabean, it did not materialise into business for Indians as imports were made from other countries such as Argentina.
Similarly, while China had promised to buy sugar from India, it instead decided to release quota for Pakistan in March.
“In the meeting, participants will analyse what more can be done from the Indian side to increase exports to China. Inputs will also be sought from the Indian Embassy in China on how to deal with Chinese officials on the matter,” the official said.
On the positive side, export shipments of grapes from India has already been sent to China and exports of pomegranates, too, is expected to begin soon. Commerce Ministry is also positive that with a little diplomatic effort, India can resume selling tobacco to Beijing.


SDG5: Rice as a path to prosperity for women in Senegal

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BNP Paribas' Sire meeting female rice farmers in Senegal | Credit: BNP Paribas
·       Description: Madeleine Cuff
·       Madeleine Cuff
·      

BNP Paribas is supporting a UN Women project in Senegal that aims to help female rice growers scale their businesses
Land across the northern regions of Senegal, nearing the border Mauritania, is some of the driest on earth. It lies in the Sahel region of Africa, as the dunes of the Sahara make way for the savannas in the South. In recent years, as the rains have become scarcer and more unpredictable, the young men of these northern regions of Senegal have given up trying to farm, and instead headed to the capital Dakar to try their luck. Many fail to find work, and instead become migrants headed for Europe.
But there's life in the land yet. Enterprising women have established rice growing collectives working the land left by the departing men. The women in the north of Senegal now contribute to about a third of the country's annual rice consumption, and with the country working on a plan to become self-sufficient in rice production in the coming years, there's a real business opportunity there for the female farmers.

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Yet climate change is taking its toll on agriculture in the region. In rural Senegal the amount of rainfall has dropped by 30 per cent in the last 40 years, and the women farmers are struggling to deliver the two harvests a year needed to make the businesses viable, explains Oulimata Sarr, acting regional director for West and Central Africa at UN Women. "They have to do an irrigated season, and then a rain-fed season," she explains to BusinessGreen. "And they were telling us that the yields for the rain-fed season are so much lower than the irrigated one. So we want them to be able to produce, rain or no rain."
The women farmers face other challenges too. Many are part of a 16,000-strong collective called REFAN, but they still struggle to access the land rights, buyers and finance needed to secure and scale their operations.
In September last year UN Women launched a new project called PAFAD, which aims to address some of these barriers, in order to empower Senegal's female farmers to produce more rice with a lower environmental impact. French banking giant BNP Paribas announced it was coming on board last month, and would provide $1.8m in grant funding for the next four years towards the $5m project.
That money will help tackle issues across four main pillars: land rights, climate-resilient farming skills, access to finance, and access to markets.
Trained lobbyists are being sent in to the local villages to negotiate with the chiefs about land access rights, which are traditionally passed to men in Senegalese culture, says Antoine Sire, director of company engagement at BNP Paribas. "The first part of the programme to help the women is to bring in people who are specialist lobbyists in dealing with village chiefs, who can educate them and explain to them what is at stake," he tells BusinessGreen. "They can mentor the women and help them to negotiate with the chiefs of villages to help get better rights of the land."
Teams from the UN are also working with the women to train them in the use of technology such as drones, and the latest climate-resilient farming techniques, to cut down the volume of pesticides, fertiliser and water used on the land.
Expanding the women's access to the domestic market is also crucial, says Sarr. Part of that is getting the marketing of the rice right - moving to a unified brand name and helping the women identify their unique selling point. It also means connecting the women with the kind of powerful bulk buyer that can give them a guaranteed income, agreed in advance, for their crop. "Rice used to be bought by intermediaries, who go to the rural areas, buy the rice at a cheap price and bring it to Dakar as a city and sell it for double," Sarr says. "And the women were telling us that they want to sell their rice themselves."
UN Women has introduced the farmers to the UN's Buy from Women platform, which connects growers directly to buyers and helps facilitate bulk orders. "It allows us to have a dashboard of the quantities we are expecting in June and December, and then the purchasers are able to buy," explains Sarr. 
The app is also crucial for helping the women build a formal credit record that will be recognised by banks, she adds. "If they are selling the rice on the side of the road or informally, no one will know what they are worth." With a credit record, she says, "if they want small equipment like a dryer or a processor they will be able to access the finance because somebody has the track record of sale."
In fact, access to formal financial markets is one of the major focuses of the project, which is targeting farmers who are ready to scale their business beyond the level of microfinance. "For the longest time women have been confined to the ghetto of microfinance," Oulimata explains. "And these women farmers in rural areas are telling us 'we don't need microfinance, we need credit lines with guaranteed funds that allow us to grow to scale. Otherwise we are still confined to very small amounts that are not helping build our resilience'."
Sire, from BNP Paribas, agrees. "For the moment these women are completely under the radar in terms of finance," he says. "They do not have the financial structure that will allow them to borrow money, they do not have individual bank accounts - they are simply out of the system. So before we try to have them as clients, the first thing we have to do is go through a financial education process with them. We help them with what they need to be inside the system, because for the moment their economies are developing outside the economic system. But if they want to grow much further they have to be more structured."
Sarr's hope is that once the women have established a firm foothold in the formal financial market BNP Paribas' subsidiary BICIS, which operates in Senegal, will be able to create a "gender-sensitive" credit line for the women. As their operations grow, the benefits will trickle throughout the rural communities they live in, she points out. "These are rural women, and they believe in the collective effort, and they are rural entrepreneurs," she says. "With the money they make as a co-operative they are able to pay for school fees, to pay for health services, and try to grow up the value chain."
The project is expected to last for four years, with a clear exit strategy in place to ensure the women can go on to thrive without needing ongoing support from the UN. 
It's this focus on long-term viability that convinced BNP Paribas to join the project, explains Sire. "We believe that in Africa it is important to be able to do things that are in the very long term. And sometimes we can see projects that rely on grants, but that in the long run can really drive to a much better economy and a much more inclusive life. We don't believe that the women will be clients of the bank in the next six months. But we believe that in the long run it will help to create a virtuous and sustainable economy, an economy that is sustainable ecologically and financially."

Pakistan consulate holds biryani rice tasting event
Description: http://saudigazette.com.sa/uploads/images/2019/04/01/1207246.jpgJEDDAH — Pakistan Consulate in Jeddah held Pakistani Rice Tasting Dinner (Biryani Night)’ organized at the Park Hyatt Hotel (Al Andalusia Restaurant) Al Hamra area. The event coincided with the visit of a 17-member Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) delegation to Saudi Arabia as part of trade promotion activities to increase the export of rice to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The delegation is headed by Ali Hussam Asghar, Senior Vice Chairman of REAP. Sheikh Mahzen Batterjie, Vice Chairman, Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI), who was chief guest at the occasion, welcomed the delegation to Jeddah. He also appreciated the efforts of the consulate in developing a good relationship between business communities of both countries. He said Jeddah Chamber is playing a pivotal role in increasing the bilateral trade, commerce and investment between the countries Shehryar Akbar Khan, Consul General of Pakistan, said the consulate appreciates the initiatives taken by the Rice Exporters of Pakistan, which would support our efforts to increase the exports of rice to the Kingdom. He shared that the consulate has made an extensive program for the delegation which includes meetings, business to business networking session and meetings/visits to the leading supermarkets and hypermarkets in the Western Region.
Asghar, Senior Vice Chairman REAP, said this visit is under the vision of Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, deputy premier and defense minister, and Prime Minister Imran Khan which they underlined during their recent bilateral visits. He expressed satisfaction and appreciated the arrangements of the visit by the Pakistan Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Embassy in Pakistan and Pakistan Consulate and commercial section in Jeddah. He said Pakistan basmati rice has already a very good market in Saudi Arabia due to its good quality while pesticide issue with rice of other regional producers provides it more space. We need to grab that space, he added. He told that Saudi Arabia imports over $1 billion worth of rice every year making a great opportunity for REAP to further increase the export of rice. The delegation had a quite good response in Riyadh and hope to have good interaction with rice leading Importers in Jeddah as well, he added. After their interaction with their Saudi counterparts, the members of the delegation were very confident that they will meet their objective and the visit will be successful. They were hopeful of tremendous scope for the export of Pakistani basmati rice to Saudi Arabia, because of its supreme quality, unique aroma and taste.

IRRI variety increases Indonesia’s rice production

THERESIA SUFA
THE JAKARTA POST
Bogor, West
Uncooked white rice sits with a rice field in the background. (Shutterstock/DONOT6_STUDIO)
Indonesia welcomed the new country office of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) on Monday in Bogor, West Java.
IRRI director general Mathew Morell, together with the head of the Agriculture Ministry’s Research and Development Agency, Fadjry Djufry, inaugurated the IRRI country office on Monday. The office, located in the same area as the research agency’s head office on Jl. Merdeka, is expected to speed up knowledge and technology transfer on rice.
Description: Director general of IRRI Mathew Morell together with the head of Agriculture Ministry’s Research and Development Agency (Balitbangtan) Fadjry Djufry officiated IRRI country office in IndonesiaDirector general of IRRI Mathew Morell together with the head of Agriculture Ministry’s Research and Development Agency (Balitbangtan) Fadjry Djufry officiated IRRI country office in Indonesia (JP/Theresia Sufa)
#BreakingNews: New IRRI country office inaugurated in !
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Morrel said on behalf of the IRRI, he was thankful to be trusted by the government of Indonesia in applying the technology and skills of the IRRI. He also expressed the IRRI’s commitment to partnership with the research agency and national partners to encourage research in the future.
During his visit to Indonesia, Morrell also participated in national consultation between the agency and the IRRI, for the ASEAN + 3 initiative in Indonesia on “Rice genetic solution for climate resilience and value addition in ASEAN”.
Meanwhile, Djufry said partnership between the Indonesian government and the IRRI had been ongoing since 1972, and that the IRRI’s rice varieties had significantly increased Indonesia’s rice production.
He went on to say that the Ciherang rice variety, which came about 10 years ago, was the result of collaborative work between the government and the IRRI. The Ciherang variety was a marriage between local rice and the IRRI’s rice seed. It is the most planted variety in Indonesia.
“We already have around 300 varieties of new superior rice, and most of them are the result of cooperation with the IRRI. Ninety percent of superior rice variety planted in Indonesia are from the agency, and in 2019 we also released superior rice variety to overcome stunting, namely Inpari IR NutriZinc,” said Fadjry.
Inpari IR NutriZinc is the first rice variety in Indonesia that contains zinc, created to help put an end to stunting in Indonesia. It is a superior rice variety resilient to brown planthopper, and is able to provide up to 50 percent of daily zinc requirements. (mut)