Wednesday, April 10, 2019

10th April,2019 Daily Global Regional Local Rice E-Newsletter


Rice prices to go down, sugar stable, trade dept says

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News
Apr 10 2019 03:57 PM
Description: https://sa.kapamilya.com/absnews/abscbnnews/media/2019/news/04/10/20180918-dti-suki-outlet-3207-md.jpg?ext=.jpgVarious basic goods sell at lower prices at the Department of Trade and Industry's recently-launched Suking Outlet in Quezon City on September 18, 2018. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/file
MANILA -- The price of rice should go down in May under a new liberalized regime, but the price of sugar should remain stable due to sufficient supply, a trade official said Wednesday.
The price of the staple grain should go down to P32 per kilo from P39 while sugar prices should stay at P50 to P55 per kilo, Trade Undersecretary Ruth Castello said.
President Rodrigo Duterte in February signed a law putting tariffs on rice imports instead of quotas, a measure aimed at lowering prices after inflation hovered at near 10-year highs in 2018.
Once rice prices go down, there might be no need for a suggested retail price or SRP on the staple, Castello said.
Implementing rules of the Rice Tariffication Law were finalized last April 7. Under the law, private traders can import grain freely as long as they secure the needed permits and pay the right dues.
Castello said the price of sugar should not increase since the country has enough supply
Some sugar traders may be manipulating prices, said Sugar Regulatory Administration chief Hermenegildo Serafica.Data from the SRA showed that the country had 1,152,422 metric tons as of sugar as of March 31 compared to 800,587 metric tons as of April 1 last year.
The SRA report showed that the prevailing price of sugar is P45 per kilo as of Tuesday.

No choice but to invest in rice industry’

APRIL 10, 2019
‘NO CHOICE BUT TO INVEST IN RICE INDUSTRY’
(Second of three parts)
Last year, Sen. Cynthia Villar said the liberalization of rice imports was required by the World Trade Organization and resistance to it could result in trade sanctions for the Philippines, leaving the country with no other choice but to abolish quotas and pass the rice tarrification bill.
Villar, who heads the Senate Committee on Food and Agriculture, was one of the legislators who actively pushed Republic Act (RA) 11203 or the “Rice Tariffication Law.” Economists say that with rice imports, prices of the staple would stabilize or be reduced, tempering inflation and helping poor households purchase more food.
Description: https://s14255.pcdn.co/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/rice.jpgFarmers thresh newly harvested rice in Bulacan. FILE PHOTO
Besides imposing tariffs ranging from 35 to 50 percent on imported rice, one of the features of RA 11203 is the creation of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF).
RCEF will be funded by collections from tariffs slapped on rice imports, with at least P10 billion allocated annually from this year to 2024.
The P10 billion will be spent as follows: P5 billion for farm mechanization primarily providing post-harvest equipment for drying and milling palay (unmilled rice); P3 billion for the production and distribution of high-yielding seeds; P1 billion for upgrading the capabilities of rice farmers; and P1 billion for credit support.
Various government agencies will be involved in developing and implementing the programs and project under RCEF including the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech), Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), and Agricultural Training Institute that are under the Department of Agriculture (DA); and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.
Agri chief still optimistic
PhilMech documents showed it was possible to reduce the average cost of producing palay in the Philippines by P1.50 to P3. This is by addressing issues related to planting and harvesting, two procedures that are still largely done by manual labor in most rice farms.
The agency intends to address the issue with funding from RCEF by dispersing various types of farm equipment like combine harvesters, mechanical transplanters, farm tractors and mechanical threshers.
With a P1.50- to P3-reduction through mechanization measures, the average cost of producing palay in the Philippines could theoretically go down to P9.72 to P11.22 based on the current average of P12.72. That range brings it closer to Thailand’s average palay production cost of P8.86 per kilo but still far from Vietnam’s P6.22 per kilo.
“Properly used, the RCEF could actually increase the productivity of Filipino rice farmers, because farm mechanization alone will increase production efficiency and reduce post-harvest losses estimated at 16 percent of total production,” Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said in a Facebook post commenting on the effects of RA 11203 on the country’s rice industry.
“The P3 billion intended for high-yielding seeds developed by IRRI (International Rice Research Institute) and PhilRice are also expected to increase average farm yield by at least 2 MT (metric tons) in 1 million hectares (of rice lands) for the first year of implementation,” he added.
PhilRice has developed seeds that could yield as much as 6 to 8 MT of palay per hectare.
‘Don’t lower guard’
William Dar, a former Agriculture secretary, said the country must maintain its rice-self sufficiency level at the present 93 percent or higher.
He said only 5 percent of world rice production was traded internationally and challenges like growing population and extreme weather disturbances could affect even the top exporters of rice, reducing available worldwide stocks of the staple.
The prospect of big countries like China and India buying every available kilogram of rice in the world market cannot be discounted, particularly if both countries experience shortfalls in their own rice supplies, he added.
“Let’s not lower our guard. We need to increase the productivity, sustainability and competitiveness of our rice industry,” he said.
“Even if we have the money to buy rice from the international market, we cannot do anything if there are no stocks to buy from abroad,” Dar said.
Dar, who took the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics from out of the doldrums during his leadership of the institution from 2000 to 2014, also proposes that rice farmers, who could no longer compete with imports, shift to high-value crops that have export potential like coffee, cacao, rubber, cassava and tropical fruits.
Dar also believes in the wider application of technology in rice farms that could help push the current average for palay production at 4 MT/ha to as much as 6-8 MT/ha.

Weedy Rice Retains On Evolving Roots That ‘Cheat’

Description: https://tecimages-1tmxd3aba43noa.stackpathdns.com/data/thumbs/full/352851/650/0/0/0/weedy-rice-cheater-roots.jpg
Scientists have decoded how weedy rice, an aggressive variant of rice, out-compete other crops and take over an entire field.
A team from Washington University in St. Louis and the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center revealed that weedy rice has evolved “cheater” roots that minimize below-the-ground contact with other plants and exploit the nutrient-sharing quality of the soil in fields. The “cheater” roots give weedy rice an unfair advantage over competing crops.
“We tend to think of competition occurring above ground because that’s the part of the plant we see,” said Kenneth M. Olsen,” professor of biology at Washington University and senior author of the study. “But that’s only half the plant.”

Weedy Rice’s Cheater Roots

In the study published in the journal New Phytologist, the researchers demonstrated how the weedy rice take root in a field and take over. The team focused on two evolved types of weedy rice often found in the same fields in the southern United States.
They used new imaging techniques, including a semi-automated optical tomography approach, the team took photographs of the root system of 671 weedy rice plants, modeled the photos in 3-D, and created 360-degree models of weedy rice roots.
They also used an algorithm to record 98 physical traits of the root system, including depth and width, and genetic analysis to track the history of the weeds.
They found that both types of weedy rice evolved similar traits, but through different genetic mechanisms. The study proves that there is more than one way to evolve a weed, both above the ground and below.
“In other words, it’s disconcertingly easy to evolve a weed from a domesticated crop,” added Olsen. “This can occur multiple times independently from different crop varieties.”

Below The Ground Competition

The study is one of the first to study a plant’s root system, including growth and interaction that affect how it competes for nutrients found in the soil. Olsen explained that the “hidden half” of the plants is sometimes more important for survival than the above-ground part. The root system is responsible for essentials such as water and nutrients.
Especially for weedy rice, root growth is more important for competition than above-ground growth.

CRI develops new rice varieties to increase local production


Tuesday 9th April, 2019

By Kwabia Owusu-Mensah, GNA
Description: Crop Research Institute (CRI) GhanaFumesua (Ash), April 09, GNA – The Crop Research Institute (CRI), of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), at Fumesua near Kumasi is using science and technology innovations to boost commercial production of local food crops, especially rice in the country.
This is part of CRI’s move to execute its mandate as a research hub for crops, in a bid to position itself at the forefront of leveraging on scientific and technological innovations, that would ensure phenomenal increase in the cultivation of rice and other food staples in the country.   
CRI is doing this by increasing the accessibility and availability to farmers its newly-improved quality, high yielding and disease resistant crop seeds.
The goal is to support the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) initiative and other major agricultural interventions, being pursued by the government to improve food security, as a catalyst for the Ghana Beyond Aid agenda.
To demonstrate this, crop scientists and breeders from the Institute have for the first time developed and released six new rice varieties to scale up the commercial production of quality rice.  
The development of the varieties, four of which were from local crosses of the CRI, is seen as an unprecedented and a major milestone for national crop research in Ghana.
 It is aimed at boosting food security and a resultant reduction in rice importation into the country.
 The 2017 annual scientific report made available to the Ghana News Agency in Kumasi indicated that the six new varieties were expected to respond to the industry challenges of low production, low average yield and poor grain quality and  to “satisfy the strong demand for high-yielding jasmine and conventional US long grain rice types, the most preferred rice choices in Ghana.
“The six new varieties, which have been accepted and approved by the National Varietal Release Committee, are CRI-Dartey, CRI-Kantinka, CRI-Emopa, CRI-Mpuntuo, CRI-Oboafo and CRI-Aunty Jane,” the report indicated.   
Ghana’s rice import bill is said to be about $600 million, regardless of the country’s potential to produce to meet local and international demands and according to the report, besides maize, rice is the second most important cereal and major staple in Ghana.
The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) estimates that the annual per capita consumption of rice is about 40kg per person and is expected to increase to 63kg by the end of 2019.  
The Institute believes that all the six varieties, suitable for lowland and irrigated ecologies, with their potential for higher yields, tolerance to Rice Yellow Mottle Virus Disease and Iron toxicity, will boost acceptability by farmers as they have high raising, easy cooking and aromatic qualities.
GNA

Food-system collapse, sea-level rise, disease. In his new book “Falter,” Bill McKibben asks, “Is it Too Late?”

Corn stalks ruined by heat and lack of rain in Nebraska, 2012. "In the human game, the single most important question is probably 'What’s for dinner?' writes McKibben. "And when the answer is 'Not much,' things deteriorate fast."
Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images
Excerpted from “FALTER: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?” by Bill McKibben. Published by Henry Holt and Company April 16th 2019. Copyright © 2019 by Bill McKibben. All rights reserved.

Oh, it could get very bad.
In 2015, a study in the Journal of Mathematical Biology pointed out that if the world’s oceans kept warming, by 2100 they might become hot enough to “stop oxygen production by phyto-plankton by disrupting the process of photosynthesis.” Given that two-thirds of the Earth’s oxygen comes from phytoplankton, that would “likely result in the mass mortality of animals and humans.”
A year later, above the Arctic Circle, in Siberia, a heat wave thawed a reindeer carcass that had been trapped in the permafrost. The exposed body released anthrax into nearby water and soil, infecting two thousand reindeer grazing nearby, and they in turn infected some humans; a twelve-year-old boy died. As it turns out, permafrost is a “very good preserver of microbes and viruses, because it is cold, there is no oxygen, and it is dark” — scientists have managed to revive an eight-million-year-old bacterium they found beneath the surface of a glacier. Researchers believe there are fragments of the Spanish flu virus, smallpox, and bubonic plague buried in Siberia and Alaska.
Or consider this: as ice sheets melt, they take weight off land, and that can trigger earthquakes — seismic activity is already increasing in Greenland and Alaska. Meanwhile, the added weight of the new seawater starts to bend the Earth’s crust. “That will give you a massive increase in volcanic activity. It’ll activate faults to create earthquakes, submarine landslides, tsunamis, the whole lot,” explained the director of University College London’s Hazard Centre.  Such a landslide happened in Scandinavia about eight thousand years ago, as the last Ice Age retreated and a Kentucky-size section of Norway’s continental shelf gave way, “plummeting down to the abyssal plain and creating a series of titanic waves that roared forth with a vengeance,” wiping all signs of life from coastal Norway to Greenland and “drowning the Wales-sized landmass that once connected Britain to the Netherlands, Denmark, and Germany.” When the waves hit the Shetlands, they were sixty-five feet high.
Midwestern Towns Prepare to Navigate More Flooding (and a Climate-Denying President)

There’s even this: if we keep raising carbon dioxide levels, we may not be able to think straight anymore. At a thousand parts per million (which is within the realm of possibility for 2100), human cognitive ability falls 21 percent. “The largest effects were seen for Crisis Response, Information Usage, and Strategy,” a Harvard study reported, which is too bad, as those skills are what we seem to need most.
I could, in other words, do my best to scare you silly. I’m not opposed on principle — changing something as fundamental as the composition of the atmosphere, and hence the heat balance of the planet, is certain to trigger all manner of horror, and we shouldn’t shy away from it. The dramatic uncertainty that lies ahead may be the most frightening development of all; the physical world is going from backdrop to foreground. (It’s like the contrast between politics in the old days, when you could forget about Washington for weeks at a time, and politics in the Trump era, when the president is always jumping out from behind a tree to yell at you.)
But let’s try to occupy ourselves with the most likely scenarios, because they are more than disturbing enough. Long before we get to tidal waves or smallpox, long before we choke to death or stop thinking clearly, we will need to concentrate on the most mundane and basic facts: everyone needs to eat every day, and an awful lot of us live near the ocean.

FOOD SUPPLY first. We’ve had an amazing run since the end of World War II, with crop yields growing fast enough to keep ahead of a fast-rising population. It’s come at great human cost — displaced peasant farmers fill many of the planet’s vast slums — but in terms of sheer volume, the Green Revolution’s fertilizers, pesticides, and machinery managed to push output sharply upward. That climb, however, now seems to be running into the brute facts of heat and drought. There are studies to demonstrate the dire effects of warming on coffee, cacao, chickpeas, and champagne, but it is cereals that we really need to worry about, given that they supply most of the planet’s calories: corn, wheat, and rice all evolved as crops in the climate of the last ten thousand years, and though plant breeders can change them, there are limits to those changes. You can move a person from Hanoi to Edmonton, and she might decide to open a Vietnamese restaurant. But if you move a rice plant, it will die.
A 2017 study in Australia, home to some of the world’s highest-tech farming, found that “wheat productivity has flatlined as a direct result of climate change.” After tripling between 1900 and 1990, wheat yields had stagnated since, as temperatures increased a degree and rainfall declined by nearly a third. “The chance of that just being variable climate without the underlying factor [of climate change] is less than one in a hundred billion,” the researchers said, and it meant that despite all the expensive new technology farmers kept introducing, “they have succeeded only in standing still, not in moving forward.” Assuming the same trends continued, yields would actually start to decline inside of two decades, they reported. In June 2018, researchers found that a two-degree Celsius rise in temperature — which, recall, is what the Paris accords are now aiming for — could cut U.S. corn yields by 18 percent.  A four-degree increase — which is where our current trajectory will take us — would cut the crop almost in half. The United States is the world’s largest producer of corn, which in turn is the planet’s most widely grown crop.
Corn is vulnerable because even a week of high temperatures at the key moment can keep it from fertilizing. (“You only get one chance to pollinate a quadrillion kernels of corn,” the head of a commodity consulting firm explained.) But even the hardiest crops are susceptible. Sorghum, for instance, which is a staple for half a billion humans, is particularly hardy in dry conditions because it has big, fibrous roots that reach far down into the earth. Even it has limits, though, and they are being reached. Thirty years of data from the American Midwest show that heat waves affect the “vapor pressure deficit,” the difference between the water vapor in the sorghum leaf’s interior and that in the surrounding air. Hotter weather means the sorghum releases more moisture into the atmosphere. Warm the planet’s temperature by two degrees Celsius — which is, again, now the world’s goal — and sorghum yields drop 17 percent. Warm it five degrees Celsius (nine degrees Fahrenheit), and yields drop almost 60 percent.
It’s hard to imagine a topic duller than sorghum yields. It’s the precise opposite of clickbait. But people have to eat; in the human game, the single most important question is probably “What’s for dinner?” And when the answer is “Not much,” things deteriorate fast. In 2010 a severe heat wave hit Russia, and it wrecked the grain harvest, which led the Kremlin to ban exports. The global price of wheat spiked, and that helped trigger the Arab Spring — Egypt at the time was the largest wheat importer on the planet. That experience set academics and insurers to work gaming out what the next food shock might look like. In 2017 one team imagined a vigorous El Niño, with the attendant floods and droughts — for a season, in their scenario, corn and soy yields declined by 10 percent, and wheat and rice by 7 percent. The result was chaos: “quadrupled commodity prices, civil unrest, significant negative humanitarian consequences . . . Food riots break out in urban areas across the Middle East, North Africa, and Latin America. The euro weakens and the main European stock markets lose ten percent.”
At about the same time, a team of British researchers released a study demonstrating that even if you can grow plenty of food, the transportation system that distributes it runs through just fourteen major choke-points, and those are vulnerable to — you guessed it — massive disruption from climate change. For instance, U.S. rivers and canals carry a third of the world’s corn and soy, and they’ve been frequently shut down or crimped by flooding and drought in recent years. Brazil accounts for 17 percent of the world’s grain exports, but heavy rainfall in 2017 stranded three thousand trucks. “It’s the glide path to a perfect storm,” said one of the report’s authors.
Five weeks after that, another report raised an even deeper question. What if you can figure out how to grow plenty of food, and you can figure out how to guarantee its distribution, but the food itself has lost much of its value? The paper, in the journal Environmental Research, said that rising carbon dioxide levels, by speeding plant growth, seem to have reduced the amount of protein in basic staple crops, a finding so startling that, for many years, agronomists had overlooked hints that it was happening. But it seems to be true: when researchers grow grain at the carbon dioxide levels we expect for later this century, they find that minerals such as calcium and iron drop by 8 percent, and protein by about the same amount. In the developing world, where people rely on plants for their protein, that means huge reductions in nutrition: India alone could lose 5 percent of the protein in its total diet, putting 53 million people at new risk for protein deficiency. The loss of zinc, essential for maternal and infant health, could endanger 138 million people around the world. In 2018, rice researchers found “significantly less protein” when they grew eighteen varieties of rice in high–carbon dioxide test plots. “The idea that food became less nutritious was a surprise,” said one researcher. “It’s not intuitive. But I think we should continue to expect surprises. We are completely altering the biophysical conditions that underpin our food system.” And not just ours. People don’t depend on goldenrod, for instance, but bees do. When scientists looked at samples of goldenrod in the Smithsonian that dated back to 1842, they found that the protein content of its pollen had “declined by a third since the industrial revolution — and the change closely tracks with the rise in carbon dioxide.”
Bees help crops, obviously, so that’s scary news. But in August 2018, a massive new study found something just as frightening: crop pests were thriving in the new heat. “It gets better and better for them,” said one University of Colorado researcher. Even if we hit the UN target of limiting temperature rise to two degrees Celsius, pests should cut wheat yields by 46 percent, corn by 31 percent, and rice by 19 percent. “Warmer temperatures accelerate the metabolism of insect pests like aphids and corn borers at a predictable rate,” the researchers found. “That makes them hungrier[,] and warmer temperatures also speed up their reproduction.” Even fossilized plants from fifty million years ago make the point: “Plant damage from insects correlated with rising and falling temperatures, reaching a maximum during the warmest periods.”
JUST AS PEOPLE have gotten used to eating a certain amount of food every day, they’ve gotten used to living in particular places. For obvious reasons, many of these places are right by the ocean: estuaries, where rivers meet the sea, are among the richest ecosystems on Earth, and water makes for easy trade. From the earliest cities (Athens, Corinth, Rhodes) to the biggest modern metropolises (Shanghai, New York, Mumbai), proximity to saltwater meant wealth and power. And now it means exquisite, likely fatal, vulnerability.
Throughout the Holocene (the ten-thousand-year period that began as the last ice age ceased, the stretch that encompasses all recorded human history), the carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere stayed stable, and therefore so did the sea level, and hence it took a while for people to worry about sea level rise. The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicted in 2003 that sea level should rise a mere half meter by the end of the twenty-first century, most of that coming because warm water takes up more space than cold, and while a half meter would be enough to cause expense and trouble, it wouldn’t really interfere with settlement patterns. But even as the IPCC scientists made that estimate, they cautioned that it didn’t take into account the possible melt of the great ice sheets over Greenland and Antarctica. And pretty much everything we’ve learned in the years since makes scientists think that those ice sheets are horribly vulnerable.
Paleoclimatologists, for instance, have discovered that in the distant past, sea levels often rose and fell with breathtaking speed. Fourteen thousand years ago, as the Ice Age began to loosen its grip, huge amounts of ice thawed in what researchers call meltwater pulse 1A, raising the sea level by sixty feet. Thirteen feet of that may have come in a single century. Another team found that millions of years ago, during the Pliocene, with carbon dioxide levels about where they are now, the West Antarctic Ice Sheet seems to have collapsed in as little as a hundred years. “The latest field data out of West Antarctica is kind of an OMG thing,” a federal official said in 2016 — and that was before the really epochal news in the early summer of 2018, when eighty-four researchers from forty-four institutions pooled their data and concluded that the frozen continent had lost three trillion tons of ice in the last three decades, with the rate of melt tripling since 2012. As a result, scientists are now revising their estimates steadily upward. Not half a meter of sea level rise, but a meter. Or two meters. “Several meters in the next fifty to 150 years,” said James Hansen, the planet’s premier climatologist, who added that such a rise would make coastal cities “practically ungovernable.” As Jeff Goodell (who in 2017 wrote the most comprehensive book to date on sea level rise) put it, such a rise would “create generations of climate refugees that will make today’s Syrian war refugee crisis look like a high school drama production.”
What’s really breathtaking is how ill-prepared we are for such changes. Goodell spent months reporting in Miami Beach, which was literally built on sand dredged up from the bottom of Biscayne Bay. He managed to track down Florida’s biggest developer, Jorge Pérez, at a museum opening. Pérez was not, he insisted, worried about the rising sea because “I believe that in twenty or thirty years, someone is going to find a solution for this. If it is a problem for Miami, it will also be a problem for New York and Boston — so where are people going to go?” (He added, with Trump-level narcissism, “Besides, by that time I’ll be dead, so what does it matter?”) To the extent that we’re planning at all, it’s for the old, low predictions of a meter or less. Venice, for instance, is spending $6 billion on a series of inflatable booms to hold back storm tides. But they’re designed to stop sea level rise of about a foot. New York City is building a “U-Barrier,” a berm to protect Lower Manhattan from inundation in a storm the size of Hurricane Sandy. But as the sea level rises, winds like Sandy’s will drive far more water into Manhattan, so why not build it higher? “Because the cost goes up exponentially,” said the architect. The cost is already starting to mount. Researchers showed in 2018 that Florida homes near the flood lines were selling at a 7 percent discount, a figure growing over time because “sophisticated buyers” know what is coming. Insurance companies are balking: basements from “New York to Mumbai” may be uninsurable by 2020, the CEO of one of Europe’s largest insurers said in 2018.

SOME OF the cost of climate change can be measured in units we’re used to dealing with. Testimony submitted by climate scientists to a federal court in 2017, for instance, said that if we don’t take much stronger action now, future citizens would have to pay $535 trillion to cope with global warming. How is that possible? Take one small county in Florida, which needs to raise 150 miles of road to prevent flooding from even minimal sea level rise. That costs $7 million a mile, putting the price tag at over $1 billion, in a county that has an annual road budget of $25 million. Or consider the numbers from Alaska, where officials are preparing to move one coastal village with four hundred residents that’s threatened by rising waters at a cost of up to $400 million — $1 million a person. Multiply this by everyone everywhere, and you understand why the costs run so high. A team of economists predicted a 12 percent risk that global warming could reduce global economic output by 50 percent by 2100 — that is to say, there’s a one-in-eight chance of something eight times as bad as the Great Recession.
But some things can’t be measured, and the damage there seems even greater. For instance, the median estimate, from the International Organization for Migration, is that we may see two hundred million climate refugees by 2050. (The high estimate is a billion.) Already “the likelihood of being uprooted from one’s home has increased sixty percent compared with forty years ago.” The U.S. military frets about that because masses of people on the march destabilize entire regions. “Security will start to crumble pretty quickly,” said Adm. Samuel Locklear, former chief of U.S. Pacific Command, explaining why climate change was his single greatest worry.
The biggest worry for people losing their homes is . . . losing their homes. So, let me tell you about a trip I took last summer, to the ice shelf of Greenland. I was with a pair of veteran ice scientists and two young poets — a woman named Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, from the Marshall Islands in the Pacific, and another named Aka Niviana, who was born on this largest of all the Earth’s islands, a massive sheet of ice that, when it melts, will raise the level of the oceans more than twenty feet.
And it is melting. We landed at the World War II–era airstrip in Narsarsuaq and proceeded by boat through the iceberg-clogged Tunulliarfik Fjord, arriving eventually at the foot of the Qaterlait Glacier. We hauled gear up the sloping, icy ramp of the glacier and made camp on an outcrop of red granite bedrock nearly a kilometer inland. In fact, we made camp twice, because the afternoon sun swelled the stream we’d chosen for a site, and soon the tents were inundated. But after dinner, in the late Arctic sunlight, the two women donned the traditional dress of their respective homelands and hiked farther up the glacier, till they could see both the ocean and the high ice. And there they performed a poem they’d composed, a cry from angry and engaged hearts about the overwhelming fact of their lives.
The ice of Niviana’s homeland was disappearing, and with it a way of life. While we were on the ice sheet, researchers reported that “the oldest and thickest sea ice” in the Arctic had melted, “opening waters north of Greenland that are normally frozen even in summer.” Just up the coast from our camp, a landslide triggered by melting ice had recently set off a hundred-foot tsunami that killed four people in a remote village: it was, said scientists, precisely the kind of event that will “become more frequent as the climate warms.”
The effect, however, is likely to be even more immediate on Jetnil-Kijiner’s home. The Marshalls are a meter or two above sea level, and already the “king tides” wash through living rooms and unearth grave- yards. The breadfruit trees and the banana palms are wilting as saltwater intrudes on the small lens of fresh water that has supported life on the atolls for millennia. Jetnil-Kijiner was literally standing on the ice that, as it melts, will drown her home, leaving her and her countrymen with, as she put it, “only a passport to call home.”
So, you can understand the quiet rage that flowed through the poem the two women had written, a poem they now shouted into a chill wind on this glacier that owed up to the great ice sheet, silhouetted against the hemisphere’s starkest landscape. It was a fury that came from a long and bitter history: the Marshalls were the site of the atom bomb tests after the war, and Bikini Atoll remains uninhabitable, just as the United States left nuclear waste lying around the ice when it abandoned the thirty bases it had built in Greenland.
The very same beasts
That now decide
Who should live
And who should die . . .
We demand that the world see beyond
SUVs, ACs, their pre-packaged convenience
Their oil-slicked dreams, beyond the belief
That tomorrow will never happen
But, of course, climate change is different, the first crisis that, though it affects the most vulnerable first and hardest, will eventually come for us all.
Let me bring my home to yours
Let’s watch as Miami, New York,
Shanghai, Amsterdam, London
Rio de Janeiro and Osaka
Try to breathe underwater . . .
None of us is immune.
Science can tell us a good deal about this crisis. Jason Box, an American glaciologist who organized the trip, has spent the last twenty-five years journeying to Greenland. “We called this place where we are now the Eagle Glacier because of its shape when we first came here five years ago,” Box said. “But now the head and the wings of the bird have melted away. I don’t know what we should call it now, but the eagle is dead.” He busied himself replacing the batteries in his remote weather stations, scattered across the ice. They tell one story, but his colleague Alun Hubbard, a Welsh scientist, conceded that there were limits to what instruments could explain. “It’s just gobsmacking looking at the trauma of the landscape,” he said. “I just couldn’t register the scale of how the ice sheet had changed in my head.”
But artists can register scale. They can transpose the fact of melting ice to inundated homes and bewildered lives, gauge it against long history and lost future. Science and economics have no real way to value the fact that people have lived for millennia in a certain rhythm, have eaten the food and sung the songs of certain places that are now disappearing. This is a cost only art can measure, and it makes sense that the units of that measurement are sadness and fury — and also, remarkably, hope. The women’s poem, shouted into the chill wind, ended like this:
Life in all forms demands
The same respect we all give to money . . .
So each and every one of us
Has to decide
If we
Will
Rise
And so, we must — in fact, this book will end with a description of what that rising might look like. But if, as now seems certain, the melt continues, then the villages of the Marshalls and the ports of Greenland will be overwhelmed. And we will all be a little poorer, because a way of being will have been cut off. The puzzle of being human will have lost some of its oldest, most artful pieces.
“The loss of Venice,” Jeff Goodell writes, wouldn’t be about just the loss of present-day Venetians. “It’s the loss of the stones in the narrow streets where Titian and Giorgione walked. It’s the loss of eleventh- century mosaics in the basilica, and the unburied home of Marco Polo, and palazzos along the Grand Canal. . . . The loss of Venice is about the loss of a part of ourselves that reaches back in time and binds us together as civilized people.”
We all have losses already. Where I live, it’s the seasons: winter doesn’t reliably mean winter anymore, and so the way we’ve always viscerally told time has begun to break down. In California, it’s the sense of ease: the smell of the fire next time lingers in the eucalyptus groves. There are many ways to be poorer, and we’re going to find out all of them.
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Fin24.com | Wandile Sihlobo: Zimbabwe needs SA farming skills

Cross-border knowledge between the South African and Zimbabwean farming sectors is critical for socioeconomic stability in the Southern Africa region.The collapse of Zimbabwe’s agricultural sector from the early 2000s is well and largely attributed to ill-conceived land reform policies.
But I had hoped that the new administration would use agriculture as one of the sectors to drive the economy, as it makes up over of the country’s gross domestic product. Improvement in system would be an essential part of the reform process. But the approach to production would be to look at what agricultural products Zimbabwe imports in large quantities and whether import substitution would be a possibility in the near to medium term.
This would not only improve the country’s trade balance but also bring much-needed job opportunities. In 2016 Zimbabwe spent $1.04bn on agricultural and food imports, up 5% from the previous year. According to data from Trade Map, nearly a third of this import bill was due to maize, with soya bean oil and rice accounting for 12% and 11% of the overall import bill, respectively. The other notable products the country imported included wheat, milk, palm oil, sugar, animal and vegetable oils, pasta, bottled water and so on.
In the case of rice, Zimbabwe’s reliance on imports is not a unique phenomenon, as South Africa also imports all of its rice. The key reason is that South Africa and Zimbabwe are not agro-ecologically endowed for rice production. But Zimbabwe could become self-reliant in the case of other food products or commodities, such as maize, wheat and soya beans, among others if favourable and stable policy conditions were established.
After all, Zimbabwe was once self-sufficient in the production of maize (not to be confused with being a “bread basket”, as Zimbabwean politicians have in the past).
If we look at the country’s maize data for the two decades prior to Robert Mugabe’s presidency, that is from 1960-1980, Zimbabwe’s maize production outpaced consumption by an average of 400,000 tons a year, making it a net exporter. This continued into the first half of Mugabe’s rule, from 1980-2000, albeit with a gradually declining maize trade balance. Wheat presented a somewhat similar trend, before the drastic decline in production from 2001. Since then, the country has remained a net importer of the commodity.
SA potential
The countries that have been key suppliers to Zimbabwe in the recent past are South Africa, Zambia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Malawi, Thailand, the UK, the US and China. In value terms, about half of 2016’s $1bn imports originated in South Africa. I highlight this not only because of its magnitude but to make the point that agro-ecologically speaking, products that are produced in South Africa can generally also be produced in Zimbabwe.
While Zimbabwe continues to its land reform set-backs, the agriculture ministry under the leadership of Perence Shiri should take advantage of South Africa’s agricultural capabilities. This could be done by either collaboration in development projects or encouraging and incentivising South African agribusinesses to open operations in Zimbabwe and promote the transfer of skills between South Africa and Zimbabwean farmers. I am mentioning this cognisant of the current foreign exchange liquidity issues, but assuming that over time things will be resolved.
An improvement in the Zimbabwean agricultural sector would not only boost its trade balance but also improve livelihoods.
Data from the World Bank show that Zimbabwe’s agricultural employment as a percentage of total employment was at 67% in 2014. So an improvement in agricultural yields would have far-reaching positive spin-offs.
Over time, the other industry the Zimbabwean authorities need to think about is agro-processing. To this end, there is a lot that can be learnt from South Africa and the technology it uses.
Cross-border knowledge sharing is critical to Zimbabwe’s efforts to rebuild itself after decades of ill-conceived policies. From a South African perspective, the success of Zimbabwe is critical for regional economic and social stability.
Wandile Sihlobo, an agricultural economist, is head of agribusiness research at the Agricultural Business Chamber of South Africa (Agbiz). Follow him on

Revised benchmark values: Importers access actual figures on goods

Business News of Tuesday, 9 April 2019
Dr Bawumia announced the reduction in import duties on April 3
Description: Import DutiesCalculation and payment of new benchmark values on imports have been made easier following the publication of detailed documents by the valuation agencies at Ghana’s ports.The Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia on April 3, 2019 announced cabinet’s decision to slash the benchmark values by fifty percent (50%) for all imports and thirty percent (30%) for vehicles.

The document which is available to citibusinessnews.com, covers imports categorized into over seventy series.

The product categories range from cooking oil, canned tomatoes, ethanol, aluminium, frozen foods, rice, footwear, amongst others.

Following the announcement of the policy on Wednesday, the GRA commenced its implementation subsequently with a directive to the valuation agencies to adjust their valuation figures.

For example, an initial benchmark value on a carton of imported canned which ranged from 4 dollars seventy cents [$4.70] to fifteen dollars, fifty cents [$15.50] will now attract benchmark value of between 2 dollars, thirty-five cents [$2.35] and 7 dollars thirty-five cents [$7.35].

Again, importers of frozen products such as chicken have had their benchmark values slashed from sixty-one cents [$0.61] to thirty-one cents [$0.31].

Those products imported from Europe will attract the equivalent of 0.31 Euros, down from 0.61 Euros.

Meanwhile, an importer bringing in rice which used to fetch between $298 and $1290, will now be paying benchmark value of between $149 and $645 per metric tonne.In addition, benchmark values on a kilogram of imported paper fall between $0.36 and $0.42.



Rice prices to go down, sugar stable, trade dept says

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News
Apr 10 2019 03:57 PM
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Description: https://sa.kapamilya.com/absnews/abscbnnews/media/2019/news/04/10/20180918-dti-suki-outlet-3207-md.jpg?ext=.jpgVarious basic goods sell at lower prices at the Department of Trade and Industry's recently-launched Suking Outlet in Quezon City on September 18, 2018. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/file
MANILA -- The price of rice should go down in May under a new liberalized regime, but the price of sugar should remain stable due to sufficient supply, a trade official said Wednesday.
The price of the staple grain should go down to P32 per kilo from P39 while sugar prices should stay at P50 to P55 per kilo, Trade Undersecretary Ruth Castello said.
President Rodrigo Duterte in February signed a law putting tariffs on rice imports instead of quotas, a measure aimed at lowering prices after inflation hovered at near 10-year highs in 2018.
Once rice prices go down, there might be no need for a suggested retail price or SRP on the staple, Castello said.
Implementing rules of the Rice Tariffication Law were finalized last April 7. Under the law, private traders can import grain freely as long as they secure the needed permits and pay the right dues.
Castello said the price of sugar should not increase since the country has enough supply
Some sugar traders may be manipulating prices, said Sugar Regulatory Administration chief Hermenegildo Serafica.
Data from the SRA showed that the country had 1,152,422 metric tons as of sugar as of March 31 compared to 800,587 metric tons as of April 1 last year.
The SRA report showed that the prevailing price of sugar is P45 per kilo as of Tuesday.

Food-system collapse, sea-level rise, disease. In his new book “Falter,” Bill McKibben asks, “Is it Too Late?”
By 
Corn stalks ruined by heat and lack of rain in Nebraska, 2012. "In the human game, the single most important question is probably 'What’s for dinner?' writes McKibben. "And when the answer is 'Not much,' things deteriorate fast."
Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images
Excerpted from “FALTER: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?” by Bill McKibben. Published by Henry Holt and Company April 16th 2019. Copyright © 2019 by Bill McKibben. All rights reserved.

Oh, it could get very bad.
In 2015, a study in the Journal of Mathematical Biology pointed out that if the world’s oceans kept warming, by 2100 they might become hot enough to “stop oxygen production by phyto-plankton by disrupting the process of photosynthesis.” Given that two-thirds of the Earth’s oxygen comes from phytoplankton, that would “likely result in the mass mortality of animals and humans.”
A year later, above the Arctic Circle, in Siberia, a heat wave thawed a reindeer carcass that had been trapped in the permafrost. The exposed body released anthrax into nearby water and soil, infecting two thousand reindeer grazing nearby, and they in turn infected some humans; a twelve-year-old boy died. As it turns out, permafrost is a “very good preserver of microbes and viruses, because it is cold, there is no oxygen, and it is dark” — scientists have managed to revive an eight-million-year-old bacterium they found beneath the surface of a glacier. Researchers believe there are fragments of the Spanish flu virus, smallpox, and bubonic plague buried in Siberia and Alaska.
Or consider this: as ice sheets melt, they take weight off land, and that can trigger earthquakes — seismic activity is already increasing in Greenland and Alaska. Meanwhile, the added weight of the new seawater starts to bend the Earth’s crust. “That will give you a massive increase in volcanic activity. It’ll activate faults to create earthquakes, submarine landslides, tsunamis, the whole lot,” explained the director of University College London’s Hazard Centre.  Such a landslide happened in Scandinavia about eight thousand years ago, as the last Ice Age retreated and a Kentucky-size section of Norway’s continental shelf gave way, “plummeting down to the abyssal plain and creating a series of titanic waves that roared forth with a vengeance,” wiping all signs of life from coastal Norway to Greenland and “drowning the Wales-sized landmass that once connected Britain to the Netherlands, Denmark, and Germany.” When the waves hit the Shetlands, they were sixty-five feet high.

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There’s even this: if we keep raising carbon dioxide levels, we may not be able to think straight anymore. At a thousand parts per million (which is within the realm of possibility for 2100), human cognitive ability falls 21 percent. “The largest effects were seen for Crisis Response, Information Usage, and Strategy,” a Harvard study reported, which is too bad, as those skills are what we seem to need most.
I could, in other words, do my best to scare you silly. I’m not opposed on principle — changing something as fundamental as the composition of the atmosphere, and hence the heat balance of the planet, is certain to trigger all manner of horror, and we shouldn’t shy away from it. The dramatic uncertainty that lies ahead may be the most frightening development of all; the physical world is going from backdrop to foreground. (It’s like the contrast between politics in the old days, when you could forget about Washington for weeks at a time, and politics in the Trump era, when the president is always jumping out from behind a tree to yell at you.)
But let’s try to occupy ourselves with the most likely scenarios, because they are more than disturbing enough. Long before we get to tidal waves or smallpox, long before we choke to death or stop thinking clearly, we will need to concentrate on the most mundane and basic facts: everyone needs to eat every day, and an awful lot of us live near the ocean.

FOOD SUPPLY first. We’ve had an amazing run since the end of World War II, with crop yields growing fast enough to keep ahead of a fast-rising population. It’s come at great human cost — displaced peasant farmers fill many of the planet’s vast slums — but in terms of sheer volume, the Green Revolution’s fertilizers, pesticides, and machinery managed to push output sharply upward. That climb, however, now seems to be running into the brute facts of heat and drought. There are studies to demonstrate the dire effects of warming on coffee, cacao, chickpeas, and champagne, but it is cereals that we really need to worry about, given that they supply most of the planet’s calories: corn, wheat, and rice all evolved as crops in the climate of the last ten thousand years, and though plant breeders can change them, there are limits to those changes. You can move a person from Hanoi to Edmonton, and she might decide to open a Vietnamese restaurant. But if you move a rice plant, it will die.
A 2017 study in Australia, home to some of the world’s highest-tech farming, found that “wheat productivity has flatlined as a direct result of climate change.” After tripling between 1900 and 1990, wheat yields had stagnated since, as temperatures increased a degree and rainfall declined by nearly a third. “The chance of that just being variable climate without the underlying factor [of climate change] is less than one in a hundred billion,” the researchers said, and it meant that despite all the expensive new technology farmers kept introducing, “they have succeeded only in standing still, not in moving forward.” Assuming the same trends continued, yields would actually start to decline inside of two decades, they reported. In June 2018, researchers found that a two-degree Celsius rise in temperature — which, recall, is what the Paris accords are now aiming for — could cut U.S. corn yields by 18 percent.  A four-degree increase — which is where our current trajectory will take us — would cut the crop almost in half. The United States is the world’s largest producer of corn, which in turn is the planet’s most widely grown crop.
Corn is vulnerable because even a week of high temperatures at the key moment can keep it from fertilizing. (“You only get one chance to pollinate a quadrillion kernels of corn,” the head of a commodity consulting firm explained.) But even the hardiest crops are susceptible. Sorghum, for instance, which is a staple for half a billion humans, is particularly hardy in dry conditions because it has big, fibrous roots that reach far down into the earth. Even it has limits, though, and they are being reached. Thirty years of data from the American Midwest show that heat waves affect the “vapor pressure deficit,” the difference between the water vapor in the sorghum leaf’s interior and that in the surrounding air. Hotter weather means the sorghum releases more moisture into the atmosphere. Warm the planet’s temperature by two degrees Celsius — which is, again, now the world’s goal — and sorghum yields drop 17 percent. Warm it five degrees Celsius (nine degrees Fahrenheit), and yields drop almost 60 percent.
It’s hard to imagine a topic duller than sorghum yields. It’s the precise opposite of clickbait. But people have to eat; in the human game, the single most important question is probably “What’s for dinner?” And when the answer is “Not much,” things deteriorate fast. In 2010 a severe heat wave hit Russia, and it wrecked the grain harvest, which led the Kremlin to ban exports. The global price of wheat spiked, and that helped trigger the Arab Spring — Egypt at the time was the largest wheat importer on the planet. That experience set academics and insurers to work gaming out what the next food shock might look like. In 2017 one team imagined a vigorous El Niño, with the attendant floods and droughts — for a season, in their scenario, corn and soy yields declined by 10 percent, and wheat and rice by 7 percent. The result was chaos: “quadrupled commodity prices, civil unrest, significant negative humanitarian consequences . . . Food riots break out in urban areas across the Middle East, North Africa, and Latin America. The euro weakens and the main European stock markets lose ten percent.”
At about the same time, a team of British researchers released a study demonstrating that even if you can grow plenty of food, the transportation system that distributes it runs through just fourteen major choke-points, and those are vulnerable to — you guessed it — massive disruption from climate change. For instance, U.S. rivers and canals carry a third of the world’s corn and soy, and they’ve been frequently shut down or crimped by flooding and drought in recent years. Brazil accounts for 17 percent of the world’s grain exports, but heavy rainfall in 2017 stranded three thousand trucks. “It’s the glide path to a perfect storm,” said one of the report’s authors.
Five weeks after that, another report raised an even deeper question. What if you can figure out how to grow plenty of food, and you can figure out how to guarantee its distribution, but the food itself has lost much of its value? The paper, in the journal Environmental Research, said that rising carbon dioxide levels, by speeding plant growth, seem to have reduced the amount of protein in basic staple crops, a finding so startling that, for many years, agronomists had overlooked hints that it was happening. But it seems to be true: when researchers grow grain at the carbon dioxide levels we expect for later this century, they find that minerals such as calcium and iron drop by 8 percent, and protein by about the same amount. In the developing world, where people rely on plants for their protein, that means huge reductions in nutrition: India alone could lose 5 percent of the protein in its total diet, putting 53 million people at new risk for protein deficiency. The loss of zinc, essential for maternal and infant health, could endanger 138 million people around the world. In 2018, rice researchers found “significantly less protein” when they grew eighteen varieties of rice in high–carbon dioxide test plots. “The idea that food became less nutritious was a surprise,” said one researcher. “It’s not intuitive. But I think we should continue to expect surprises. We are completely altering the biophysical conditions that underpin our food system.” And not just ours. People don’t depend on goldenrod, for instance, but bees do. When scientists looked at samples of goldenrod in the Smithsonian that dated back to 1842, they found that the protein content of its pollen had “declined by a third since the industrial revolution — and the change closely tracks with the rise in carbon dioxide.”
Bees help crops, obviously, so that’s scary news. But in August 2018, a massive new study found something just as frightening: crop pests were thriving in the new heat. “It gets better and better for them,” said one University of Colorado researcher. Even if we hit the UN target of limiting temperature rise to two degrees Celsius, pests should cut wheat yields by 46 percent, corn by 31 percent, and rice by 19 percent. “Warmer temperatures accelerate the metabolism of insect pests like aphids and corn borers at a predictable rate,” the researchers found. “That makes them hungrier[,] and warmer temperatures also speed up their reproduction.” Even fossilized plants from fifty million years ago make the point: “Plant damage from insects correlated with rising and falling temperatures, reaching a maximum during the warmest periods.”
JUST AS PEOPLE have gotten used to eating a certain amount of food every day, they’ve gotten used to living in particular places. For obvious reasons, many of these places are right by the ocean: estuaries, where rivers meet the sea, are among the richest ecosystems on Earth, and water makes for easy trade. From the earliest cities (Athens, Corinth, Rhodes) to the biggest modern metropolises (Shanghai, New York, Mumbai), proximity to saltwater meant wealth and power. And now it means exquisite, likely fatal, vulnerability.
Throughout the Holocene (the ten-thousand-year period that began as the last ice age ceased, the stretch that encompasses all recorded human history), the carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere stayed stable, and therefore so did the sea level, and hence it took a while for people to worry about sea level rise. The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicted in 2003 that sea level should rise a mere half meter by the end of the twenty-first century, most of that coming because warm water takes up more space than cold, and while a half meter would be enough to cause expense and trouble, it wouldn’t really interfere with settlement patterns. But even as the IPCC scientists made that estimate, they cautioned that it didn’t take into account the possible melt of the great ice sheets over Greenland and Antarctica. And pretty much everything we’ve learned in the years since makes scientists think that those ice sheets are horribly vulnerable.
Paleoclimatologists, for instance, have discovered that in the distant past, sea levels often rose and fell with breathtaking speed. Fourteen thousand years ago, as the Ice Age began to loosen its grip, huge amounts of ice thawed in what researchers call meltwater pulse 1A, raising the sea level by sixty feet. Thirteen feet of that may have come in a single century. Another team found that millions of years ago, during the Pliocene, with carbon dioxide levels about where they are now, the West Antarctic Ice Sheet seems to have collapsed in as little as a hundred years. “The latest field data out of West Antarctica is kind of an OMG thing,” a federal official said in 2016 — and that was before the really epochal news in the early summer of 2018, when eighty-four researchers from forty-four institutions pooled their data and concluded that the frozen continent had lost three trillion tons of ice in the last three decades, with the rate of melt tripling since 2012. As a result, scientists are now revising their estimates steadily upward. Not half a meter of sea level rise, but a meter. Or two meters. “Several meters in the next fifty to 150 years,” said James Hansen, the planet’s premier climatologist, who added that such a rise would make coastal cities “practically ungovernable.” As Jeff Goodell (who in 2017 wrote the most comprehensive book to date on sea level rise) put it, such a rise would “create generations of climate refugees that will make today’s Syrian war refugee crisis look like a high school drama production.”
What’s really breathtaking is how ill-prepared we are for such changes. Goodell spent months reporting in Miami Beach, which was literally built on sand dredged up from the bottom of Biscayne Bay. He managed to track down Florida’s biggest developer, Jorge Pérez, at a museum opening. Pérez was not, he insisted, worried about the rising sea because “I believe that in twenty or thirty years, someone is going to find a solution for this. If it is a problem for Miami, it will also be a problem for New York and Boston — so where are people going to go?” (He added, with Trump-level narcissism, “Besides, by that time I’ll be dead, so what does it matter?”) To the extent that we’re planning at all, it’s for the old, low predictions of a meter or less. Venice, for instance, is spending $6 billion on a series of inflatable booms to hold back storm tides. But they’re designed to stop sea level rise of about a foot. New York City is building a “U-Barrier,” a berm to protect Lower Manhattan from inundation in a storm the size of Hurricane Sandy. But as the sea level rises, winds like Sandy’s will drive far more water into Manhattan, so why not build it higher? “Because the cost goes up exponentially,” said the architect. The cost is already starting to mount. Researchers showed in 2018 that Florida homes near the flood lines were selling at a 7 percent discount, a figure growing over time because “sophisticated buyers” know what is coming. Insurance companies are balking: basements from “New York to Mumbai” may be uninsurable by 2020, the CEO of one of Europe’s largest insurers said in 2018.

SOME OF the cost of climate change can be measured in units we’re used to dealing with. Testimony submitted by climate scientists to a federal court in 2017, for instance, said that if we don’t take much stronger action now, future citizens would have to pay $535 trillion to cope with global warming. How is that possible? Take one small county in Florida, which needs to raise 150 miles of road to prevent flooding from even minimal sea level rise. That costs $7 million a mile, putting the price tag at over $1 billion, in a county that has an annual road budget of $25 million. Or consider the numbers from Alaska, where officials are preparing to move one coastal village with four hundred residents that’s threatened by rising waters at a cost of up to $400 million — $1 million a person. Multiply this by everyone everywhere, and you understand why the costs run so high. A team of economists predicted a 12 percent risk that global warming could reduce global economic output by 50 percent by 2100 — that is to say, there’s a one-in-eight chance of something eight times as bad as the Great Recession.
But some things can’t be measured, and the damage there seems even greater. For instance, the median estimate, from the International Organization for Migration, is that we may see two hundred million climate refugees by 2050. (The high estimate is a billion.) Already “the likelihood of being uprooted from one’s home has increased sixty percent compared with forty years ago.” The U.S. military frets about that because masses of people on the march destabilize entire regions. “Security will start to crumble pretty quickly,” said Adm. Samuel Locklear, former chief of U.S. Pacific Command, explaining why climate change was his single greatest worry.
The biggest worry for people losing their homes is . . . losing their homes. So, let me tell you about a trip I took last summer, to the ice shelf of Greenland. I was with a pair of veteran ice scientists and two young poets — a woman named Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, from the Marshall Islands in the Pacific, and another named Aka Niviana, who was born on this largest of all the Earth’s islands, a massive sheet of ice that, when it melts, will raise the level of the oceans more than twenty feet.
And it is melting. We landed at the World War II–era airstrip in Narsarsuaq and proceeded by boat through the iceberg-clogged Tunulliarfik Fjord, arriving eventually at the foot of the Qaterlait Glacier. We hauled gear up the sloping, icy ramp of the glacier and made camp on an outcrop of red granite bedrock nearly a kilometer inland. In fact, we made camp twice, because the afternoon sun swelled the stream we’d chosen for a site, and soon the tents were inundated. But after dinner, in the late Arctic sunlight, the two women donned the traditional dress of their respective homelands and hiked farther up the glacier, till they could see both the ocean and the high ice. And there they performed a poem they’d composed, a cry from angry and engaged hearts about the overwhelming fact of their lives.
The ice of Niviana’s homeland was disappearing, and with it a way of life. While we were on the ice sheet, researchers reported that “the oldest and thickest sea ice” in the Arctic had melted, “opening waters north of Greenland that are normally frozen even in summer.” Just up the coast from our camp, a landslide triggered by melting ice had recently set off a hundred-foot tsunami that killed four people in a remote village: it was, said scientists, precisely the kind of event that will “become more frequent as the climate warms.”
The effect, however, is likely to be even more immediate on Jetnil-Kijiner’s home. The Marshalls are a meter or two above sea level, and already the “king tides” wash through living rooms and unearth grave- yards. The breadfruit trees and the banana palms are wilting as saltwater intrudes on the small lens of fresh water that has supported life on the atolls for millennia. Jetnil-Kijiner was literally standing on the ice that, as it melts, will drown her home, leaving her and her countrymen with, as she put it, “only a passport to call home.”
So, you can understand the quiet rage that flowed through the poem the two women had written, a poem they now shouted into a chill wind on this glacier that owed up to the great ice sheet, silhouetted against the hemisphere’s starkest landscape. It was a fury that came from a long and bitter history: the Marshalls were the site of the atom bomb tests after the war, and Bikini Atoll remains uninhabitable, just as the United States left nuclear waste lying around the ice when it abandoned the thirty bases it had built in Greenland.
The very same beasts
That now decide
Who should live
And who should die . . .
We demand that the world see beyond
SUVs, ACs, their pre-packaged convenience
Their oil-slicked dreams, beyond the belief
That tomorrow will never happen
But, of course, climate change is different, the first crisis that, though it affects the most vulnerable first and hardest, will eventually come for us all.
Let me bring my home to yours
Let’s watch as Miami, New York,
Shanghai, Amsterdam, London
Rio de Janeiro and Osaka
Try to breathe underwater . . .
None of us is immune.
Science can tell us a good deal about this crisis. Jason Box, an American glaciologist who organized the trip, has spent the last twenty-five years journeying to Greenland. “We called this place where we are now the Eagle Glacier because of its shape when we first came here five years ago,” Box said. “But now the head and the wings of the bird have melted away. I don’t know what we should call it now, but the eagle is dead.” He busied himself replacing the batteries in his remote weather stations, scattered across the ice. They tell one story, but his colleague Alun Hubbard, a Welsh scientist, conceded that there were limits to what instruments could explain. “It’s just gobsmacking looking at the trauma of the landscape,” he said. “I just couldn’t register the scale of how the ice sheet had changed in my head.”
But artists can register scale. They can transpose the fact of melting ice to inundated homes and bewildered lives, gauge it against long history and lost future. Science and economics have no real way to value the fact that people have lived for millennia in a certain rhythm, have eaten the food and sung the songs of certain places that are now disappearing. This is a cost only art can measure, and it makes sense that the units of that measurement are sadness and fury — and also, remarkably, hope. The women’s poem, shouted into the chill wind, ended like this:
Life in all forms demands
The same respect we all give to money . . .
So each and every one of us
Has to decide
If we
Will
Rise
And so, we must — in fact, this book will end with a description of what that rising might look like. But if, as now seems certain, the melt continues, then the villages of the Marshalls and the ports of Greenland will be overwhelmed. And we will all be a little poorer, because a way of being will have been cut off. The puzzle of being human will have lost some of its oldest, most artful pieces.
“The loss of Venice,” Jeff Goodell writes, wouldn’t be about just the loss of present-day Venetians. “It’s the loss of the stones in the narrow streets where Titian and Giorgione walked. It’s the loss of eleventh- century mosaics in the basilica, and the unburied home of Marco Polo, and palazzos along the Grand Canal. . . . The loss of Venice is about the loss of a part of ourselves that reaches back in time and binds us together as civilized people.”
We all have losses already. Where I live, it’s the seasons: winter doesn’t reliably mean winter anymore, and so the way we’ve always viscerally told time has begun to break down. In California, it’s the sense of ease: the smell of the fire next time lingers in the eucalyptus groves. There are many ways to be poorer, and we’re going to find out all of them.
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The 9 Best Foods to Eat Before Bed

Getting good sleep is incredibly important for your overall health.
It may reduce your risk of developing certain chronic illnesses, keep your brain and digestion healthy and boost your immune system (123).
It's generally recommended to get between 7 and 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night, though many people struggle to get enough (45).
There are many strategies you can use to promote good sleep, including making changes to your diet, as some foods have sleep-promoting properties (6).
Here are the 9 best foods you can eat before bed to enhance your sleep quality.

1. Almonds

Description: Woman Holding Almonds in Palm of HandShare on Pinterest
Almonds are a type of tree nut with many health benefits.
They are an excellent source of many nutrients, as one ounce contains 14% of your daily needs for phosphorus, 32% for manganese and 17% for riboflavin (7).
Also, eating almonds regularly has been associated with lower risks of a few chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. This is attributed to their content of healthy monounsaturated fat, fiber and antioxidants (89).
It has been claimed that almonds may also help boost sleep quality.
This is because almonds, along with several other types of nuts, are a source of the sleep-regulating hormone melatonin (10).
Almonds are also an excellent source of magnesium, providing 19% of your daily needs in only 1 ounce. Consuming adequate amounts of magnesium may help improve sleep quality, especially for those who have insomnia (111213).
Magnesium’s role in promoting sleep is thought to be due to its ability to reduce inflammation. Additionally, it may help reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which is known to interrupt sleep (1114).
Yet despite this, research on almonds and sleep is sparse.
One study examined the effects of feeding rats 400 mg of almond extract. It found that the rats slept longer and more deeply than they did without consuming almond extract (15).
The potential sleep-promoting effects of almonds are promising, but more extensive human studies are needed.
If you want to eat almonds before bed to determine if they impact your sleep quality, a 1-ounce (28-gram) serving, or about a handful, should be adequate.
SUMMARY:Almonds are a source of melatonin and the sleep-promoting mineral magnesium, two properties that make them a great food to eat before bed.

2. Turkey

Turkey is delicious and nutritious.
It is high in protein, providing 4 grams per ounce (28 grams). Protein is important for keeping your muscles strong and regulating your appetite (1617).
Additionally, turkey is a good source of a few vitamins and minerals. A 1-ounce (28-gram) serving contains 5% of your daily needs for riboflavin, 5% for phosphorus and 9% for selenium (16).
Many people claim turkey is a great food to eat before bed due to its ability to promote sleepiness, although no studies have examined its role in sleep, specifically.
However, turkey does have a few properties that explain why some people may become tired after eating it. Most notably, it contains the amino acid tryptophan, which increases the production of the sleep-regulating hormone melatonin (1819).
The protein in turkey may also contribute to its ability to promote tiredness. There is evidence that consuming moderate amounts of protein before bed is associated with better sleep quality, including less waking up throughout the night (20).
More research is necessary to confirm turkey’s potential role in improving sleep.
However, eating some turkey before bed may be worth trying, especially if you have trouble falling asleep.
SUMMARY:Turkey may be a great food to eat before bed due to its high content of protein and tryptophan, both of which may induce tiredness.

3. Chamomile Tea

Chamomile tea is a popular herbal tea that may offer a variety of health benefits.
It is well known for its content of flavones, a class of antioxidants that reduce inflammation that often leads to chronic diseases, such as cancer and heart disease (21222324).
There is also some evidence that drinking chamomile tea may boost your immune system, reduce anxiety and depression and improve skin health. In addition, chamomile tea has some unique properties that may improve sleep quality (21).
Specifically, chamomile tea contains apigenin, an antioxidant that binds to certain receptors in your brain that may promote sleepiness and reduce insomnia (2125).
One study in 34 adults found those who consumed 270 mg of chamomile extract twice daily for 28 days fell asleep 15 minutes faster and experienced less nighttime wakening, compared to those who did not consume the extract (26).
Another study found that women who drank chamomile tea for two weeks reported improved sleep quality, compared to non-tea drinkers.
Those who drank chamomile tea also had fewer symptoms of depression, which is commonly associated with sleep problems (27).
Drinking chamomile tea before going to bed is certainly worth trying if you want to improve the quality of your sleep.
SUMMARY:Chamomile tea contains antioxidants that may promote sleepiness, and drinking it has been shown to improve overall sleep quality.

4. Kiwi

Kiwis are a low-calorie and very nutritious fruit.
One medium kiwi contains only 50 calories and a significant amount of nutrients, including 117% of your daily needs for vitamin C and 38% for vitamin K.
It also contains a decent amount of folate and potassium, as well as several trace minerals (28).
Furthermore, eating kiwis may benefit your digestive health, reduce inflammation and lower your cholesterol. These effects are due to the high amount of fiber and carotenoid antioxidants that they provide (2930).
According to studies on their potential to improve sleep quality, kiwis may also be one of the best foods to eat before bed (31).
In a four-week study, 24 adults consumed two kiwifruits one hour before going to bed each night. At the end of the study, participants fell asleep 42% more quickly than when they didn’t eat anything before bedtime.
Additionally, their ability to sleep through the night without waking improved by 5%, while their total sleep time increased by 13% (32).
The sleep-promoting effects of kiwis are thought to be due to their content of serotonin, a brain chemical that helps regulate your sleep cycle (32333435).
It has also been suggested that the antioxidants in kiwis, such as vitamin C and carotenoids, may be partly responsible for their sleep-promoting effects. This is thought to be due to their role in reducing inflammation (323336).
More scientific evidence is needed to determine the effects that kiwis may have in improving sleep. Nevertheless, eating 1–2 medium kiwis before bed may help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
SUMMARY:Kiwis are rich in serotonin and antioxidants, both of which may improve sleep quality when eaten before bed.

5. Tart Cherry Juice

Tart cherry juice has some impressive health benefits.
First, it’s high in a few important nutrients. An 8-ounce (240-ml) serving contains 62% of your daily needs for vitamin A, 40% for vitamin C and 14% for manganese (37).
Additionally, it is a rich source of antioxidants, including anthocyanins and flavonols. Antioxidants may protect your cells from harmful inflammation that can lead to chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease (383940).
Tart cherry juice is also known to promote sleepiness, and it has even been studied for its role in relieving insomnia. For these reasons, drinking tart cherry juice before bed may improve your sleep quality (618).
The sleep-promoting effects of tart cherry juice are due to its high content of melatonin, which is a hormone that regulates your internal clock and signals your body to prepare for sleep (61841).
In two studies, adults with insomnia who drank 8 ounces (237 ml) of tart cherry juice twice a day for two weeks slept about an hour and a half longer and reported better sleep quality, compared to when they did not drink the juice (4243).
Although these results are promising, more extensive research is necessary to confirm the role tart cherry juice has in improving sleep and preventing insomnia.
Nevertheless, drinking some tart cherry juice before bed is certainly worth a try if you struggle with falling or staying asleep at night.
SUMMARY:Due to its content of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin, tart cherry juice may help induce a good night’s sleep.

6. Fatty Fish

Fatty fish, such as salmon, tuna, trout and mackerel, are incredibly healthy.
What makes them unique is their exceptional vitamin D content. For example, a 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of salmon contains 525–990 IU of vitamin D, which is over 50% of your daily needs (44).
Additionally, fatty fish are high in healthy omega-3 fatty acids, specifically EPA and DHA, both of which are known for reducing inflammation. Omega-3 fatty acids may also protect against heart disease and boost brain health (45464748).
The combination of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D in fatty fish have the potential to enhance sleep quality, as both have been shown to increase the production of serotonin, a sleep-promoting brain chemical (495051).
In one study, men who ate 300 grams of Atlantic salmon three times a week for six months fell asleep about 10 minutes faster than men who ate chicken, beef or pork (52).
This effect was thought to be due to the vitamin D content of the salmon. Those in the fish group had higher levels of vitamin D, which was linked to a significant improvement in sleep quality (52).
Eating a few ounces of fatty fish before bed may help you fall asleep faster and sleep more deeply, but more studies are needed to make a definite conclusion about the ability of fatty fish to improve sleep.
SUMMARY:Fatty fish are a great source of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, both of which have properties that may improve the quality of your sleep.

7. Walnuts

Walnuts are a popular type of tree nut.
They are abundant in many nutrients, providing over 19 vitamins and minerals, in addition to 2 grams of fiber, in a 1-ounce (28-gram) serving. Walnuts are particularly rich in magnesium, phosphorus, copper and manganese (53).
Additionally, walnuts are a great source of healthy fats, including omega-3 fatty acids and linoleic acid. They also provide 4 grams of protein per ounce, which may be beneficial for reducing appetite (535455).
Walnuts may also boost heart health. They have been studied for their ability to reduce high cholesterol levels, which are a major risk factor for heart disease (9).
What’s more, eating walnuts has been claimed to improve sleep quality, as they are one of the best food sources of the sleep-regulating hormone melatonin (95657).
The fatty acid makeup of walnuts may also contribute to better sleep. They provide ALA, an omega-3 fatty acid that’s converted to DHA in the body. DHA may increase production of serotonin, a sleep-enhancing brain chemical (515859).
Unfortunately, the claims about walnuts improving sleep are not supported by much evidence. In fact, there have not been any studies that focus specifically on walnut’s role in promoting sleep.
Regardless, if you struggle with sleep, eating some walnuts before bed may help. About a handful of walnuts is an adequate portion.
SUMMARY:Walnuts have a few properties that may promote better sleep, including their content of melatonin and healthy fats.

8. Passionflower Tea

Passionflower tea is another herbal tea that has been used traditionally for many years to treat a number of health ailments.
It is a rich source of flavonoid antioxidants, which are known for their role in reducing inflammation, boosting immune health and reducing heart disease risk (6061).
Additionally, passionflower tea has been studied for its potential to reduce anxiety.
This is attributed to its content of apigenin, an antioxidant that produces a calming effect by binding to certain receptors in your brain (61).
There is also some evidence that drinking passionflower tea increases the production of GABA, a brain chemical that works to inhibit other brain chemicals that induce stress, such as glutamate (62).
The calming properties of passionflower tea may promote sleepiness, so it may be beneficial to drink it before going to bed.
In a seven-day study, 41 adults drank a cup of passionflower tea before bed. They rated their sleep quality significantly better when they drank the tea, compared to when they did not drink the tea (63).
More research is needed to determine the ability of passionflower tea to promote sleep, but it is certainly worth trying if you want to improve your sleep quality.
SUMMARY:Passionflower tea may influence sleep due to its content of the antioxidant apigenin, as well as its ability to increase GABA production.

9. White Rice

White rice is a grain that is widely consumed as a staple food in many countries.
The major difference between white and brown rice is that white rice has had its bran and germ removed, which makes it lower in fiber, nutrients and antioxidants.
Nevertheless, white rice still contains a decent amount of a few vitamins and minerals. A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of white rice provides 14% of your daily needs for folate, 11% for thiamin and 24% for manganese (64).
Also, white rice is high in carbs, providing 28 grams in a 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving. Its carb content and lack of fiber contribute to its high glycemic index, which is a measure of how quickly a food increases your blood sugar (6566).
It has been suggested that eating foods with a high glycemic index, such as white rice, a few hours before bed may help improve sleep quality (1867).
In one study, the sleep habits of 1,848 people were compared based on their intake of white rice, bread or noodles. Higher rice intake was associated with better sleep, including longer sleep duration (68).
It has also been reported that white rice may be most effective at improving sleep if it is consumed at least one hour before bedtime (18).
Despite the potential role that eating white rice may have in promoting sleep, it is best consumed in moderation due to its lack of fiber and nutrients.
SUMMARY:White rice may be beneficial to eat before bed due to its high glycemic index, which may promote better sleep.


These bugs are survivors’ Tick, Lyme expert Pfeiffer speaks at Rice Creek

·      


OSWEGO — Investigative journalist Mary Beth Pfeiffer this weekend led a talk at the Rice Creek Field Station about Lyme disease and the dangers of getting bitten by a tick this spring season.
The award winning author in 2018 published her book, “Lyme: The First Epidemic of Climate Change,” and talked during Saturday’s session about her research, myths of the disease, issues with treatment, and how to take precautions.
According to Pfeiffer’s investigations, rates of infection of Lyme disease are on the rise Oswego County and 50 percent of adult Nymph ticks are infective in this area. It can take as few as sixteen hours to contract the infection, she said.
Pfeiffer explained some of the pitfalls in the mainstream medicine’s response to Lyme disease and issues with getting accurately tested for the disease. In 2017, 10 to 20 percent of people diagnosed with early-stage Lyme disease still experience symptoms fifteen years later. The longer the waiting time, the higher the possibility of contracting it chronically, Pfeiffer said.
“These bugs are survivors. By disabling germinal centers, they shut off key mechanisms of the immune system and send false signals through shedding proteins,” Pfeiffer said.  
The antibody test is currently the most commonly used form of identifying the disease, however it is not specific and remains indirect. Although many trials have been conducted to fabricate new treatments, there is a significant lack of funding, Pfeiffer said, and independent researchers like her are attempting to make progress.
Going forward, Pfeiffer advised her Rice Creek audience of some ways to be vigilant as temperatures warm and ticks become more active. Wearing light colors, avoiding tall weeds, and considering Permethrin-treated clothing can eliminate the chances of attracting ticks, she said. Anyone developing a rash with a bull’s eye pattern on their bodies should immediately seek medical attention.


International team identifies cross-boundary solutions for wicked weeds

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·       Apr 9, 2019 Updated 15 hrs ago


Kochia or tumbleweeds are a landscape-scale weed spread issue. Kochia or tumbleweeds can spread across fields by the tumbling action and get caught in fence lines. This is an example of landscape-scale weed spread issues. (Photo by Muthu Bagavathiannan, Texas A&M AgriLife.)
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Weed species continue to spread and management costs continue to mount, in spite of best management practices and efforts by research and extension personnel who promote them to land managers, said Muthu Bagavathiannan, Texas A&M AgriLife Research weed scientist in the Texas A&M soil and crop sciences department, College Station.
The issue is weeds aren’t just a problem for the landowner where they grow, Bagavathiannan said. They are collectively everyone’s problem because they don’t recognize property lines, and that is how they must be managed.
Jointly with Sonia Graham, a social scientist at the University of New South Wales, Australia, doing a research fellowship at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain, Bagavathiannan led a team of 15 researchers representing entities around the world in a study that looks at weed control through a cross-boundary lens.
The team recently published their findings, Considering Weed Management as a Social Dilemma Bridges Individual and Collective Interests, in the journal Nature Plants. The article can be found at rdcu.be/bvoa7.
The paper, they say, is a call to action for scholars and practitioners to broaden their conceptualization and approaches to weed management problems, beginning with evaluating the “public good” characteristics of specific weed management challenges and applying context-specific design principles to realize successful and sustainable weed management.
“The public-goods lens highlights the broader social vision required for successful weed management,” Graham said. “Public goods like weed management are best achieved with the help of many people living and working across landscapes. We need to make the most of the diverse interests, knowledge and skill sets of those involved in managing weeds.”
Agricultural and natural landscapes worldwide are affected by weeds, but management techniques have primarily been developed for individual landowners. The practices rarely look at how control from a collective perspective would improve overall weed management outcomes.
“We suggest that a major limitation of current best management practices is an underappreciation for the complex, multi-scale and collective nature of the weed problem,” he said. “We believe practices will be more effective if they are complemented by landscape-scale design principles that encourage cross-boundary coordination and cooperation.”
Graham added that the team framed the landscape-scale weed management issue as a social dilemma, where trade-offs occur between individual and collective interests. Combining perspectives from biologists and social scientists, the team applied a transdisciplinary systems approach to four pressing landscape-scale weed management challenges:
Plant biosecurity—The protection of plant resources from alien pests is a key policy and regulatory tool governments use to limit intentional or accidental spread of weeds, locally and globally. Plant biosecurity includes quarantine, inspection of freight at ports and certified treatment schemes such as bulk fumigation of certain types of cargo. Some governments fail to make these necessary investments to protect global biodiversity.
Weed seed contamination—Weeds, especially those closely related to crops, are common contaminants of crop seeds and can spread through equipment sharing. For example, weedy rice is a noxious weed that threatens global rice production. Due to its propensity for seed shattering and long seed dormancy, weedy rice is an efficient invader that can cause up to 80 percent yield loss in rice and substantially reduce marketable grain quality.
Herbicide susceptibility—Herbicide-resistant weeds are proliferating exponentially, threatening farm productivity and profitability. At least 60 countries have reported herbicide-resistant weeds, including about 500 species-herbicide group combinations. Treating herbicide-resistant weeds costs around $4 billion annually in the U.S. alone.
Weed biological control—Classic weed biological control employs host-specific arthropods or pathogens from a weed’s native environment to reduce weed populations in invaded systems. These strategies can have high benefit-to-cost ratios due to long-lasting, low-input costs, and provide management options where other tools are unavailable or impractical.
Bagavathiannan said that across these challenges, the public goods nature of weeds requires active contributions and development of shared goals, and approaches must respect the unique perspectives and diverse capacities of contributors.
“Achieving such an agreement requires good working relationships, or at least shared values, where contributors are willing to transparently demonstrate their efforts and contribute shared resources to help those who are least able to contribute,” he said.
Describing their findings, Graham outlined four new principles for landscape-scale weed management: clearly articulate shared goals and secure commitments from contributors; establish good working relationships and shared values among contributors; make individual contributions transparent; and generate pooled resources to support weakest-link problems or address asymmetries in the public good.
“These principles emphasize the importance of recognizing the cross-boundary nature of different weed management challenges and embracing the appropriate cross-boundary solutions,” said contributor Alexander Metcalf, a professor of human dimensions at the University of Montana.

Slump in rice farm-gate prices due to import liberalization?

ABS-CBN News
 Apr 09 2019 06:23 PM
Description: https://sa.kapamilya.com/absnews/abscbnnews/media/2018/news/05/01/20180501-farmers-lucban-mh-1.jpg
MANILA - An official of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said it was "too early to say" if the entry of imported rice was causing a slump in rice farm-gate prices. 
NEDA Assistant Secretary Mercy Sombilla said on Tuesday that based on data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), there were some areas where farm-gate prices of rice had fallen to P13 or P14 per kilo. 
Some farmers also complained that millers were no longer buying their harvest amid the slump in prices. 
But, on the average, Sombilla said, farm-gate prices were still at a healthy level of P18.50 per kilo.
"We really don't know if it really is, it's too early to say if it's really the law impacting this," Sombilla said referring to the Rice Trade Liberalization law, which removes import quotas on rice and replaces them with tariffs. 
"We take the observation of farmers with concern, but we're really trying to determine if that's the case, or if there's reluctance of millers to be going to the farmers to buy their produce," Sombilla said.
Several farmers groups had been protesting the law, saying the entry of cheap imported rice may kill the local rice industry. 
The NEDA official, meanwhile, urged the National Food Authority (NFA) to help farmers by buying harvests in areas where farm-gate prices were slumping. 
"We're trying to push NFA, this is the time the farmers need them. You need to go to these places where they are experiencing these kinds of problems and buy already because you need to beef up your buffer stocks. Especially with PAGASA's projection of El Niño being extended beyond May or June."
She said the NFA can still buy rice from local farmers at P20 per kilo.
The NEDA is also proposing to have a cash transfer program for rice farmers, to protect them in case prices plunge to very low levels. - Report from Bruce Rodriguez, ABS-CBN News

Tuesday 9th April, 2019

CRI develops new rice varieties to increase local production

Description: Crop Research Institute (CRI) Ghana
By Kwabia Owusu-Mensah, GNA
Fumesua (Ash), April 09, GNA – The Crop Research Institute (CRI), of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), at Fumesua near Kumasi is using science and technology innovations to boost commercial production of local food crops, especially rice in the country.
This is part of CRI’s move to execute its mandate as a research hub for crops, in a bid to position itself at the forefront of leveraging on scientific and technological innovations, that would ensure phenomenal increase in the cultivation of rice and other food staples in the country.   
CRI is doing this by increasing the accessibility and availability to farmers its newly-improved quality, high yielding and disease resistant crop seeds.
The goal is to support the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) initiative and other major agricultural interventions, being pursued by the government to improve food security, as a catalyst for the Ghana Beyond Aid agenda.
To demonstrate this, crop scientists and breeders from the Institute have for the first time developed and released six new rice varieties to scale up the commercial production of quality rice.  
The development of the varieties, four of which were from local crosses of the CRI, is seen as an unprecedented and a major milestone for national crop research in Ghana.
 It is aimed at boosting food security and a resultant reduction in rice importation into the country.
 The 2017 annual scientific report made available to the Ghana News Agency in Kumasi indicated that the six new varieties were expected to respond to the industry challenges of low production, low average yield and poor grain quality and  to “satisfy the strong demand for high-yielding jasmine and conventional US long grain rice types, the most preferred rice choices in Ghana.
“The six new varieties, which have been accepted and approved by the National Varietal Release Committee, are CRI-Dartey, CRI-Kantinka, CRI-Emopa, CRI-Mpuntuo, CRI-Oboafo and CRI-Aunty Jane,” the report indicated.   
Ghana’s rice import bill is said to be about $600 million, regardless of the country’s potential to produce to meet local and international demands and according to the report, besides maize, rice is the second most important cereal and major staple in Ghana.
The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) estimates that the annual per capita consumption of rice is about 40kg per person and is expected to increase to 63kg by the end of 2019.  
The Institute believes that all the six varieties, suitable for lowland and irrigated ecologies, with their potential for higher yields, tolerance to Rice Yellow Mottle Virus Disease and Iron toxicity, will boost acceptability by farmers as they have high raising, easy cooking and aromatic qualities.
GNA
More USA Rice Success at Wanis Trade Day  
 LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM -- Wanis, the largest U.K. wholesaler catering to the growing Afro-Caribbean market, hosted another popular 'Trade Day' event here last month, and USA Rice was keen to participate in the historically successful promotion.  

"Trade Day happens twice each year in spring and autumn, and is very popular with the more than 3,000 Wanis customers who range from individuals to shops and foodservice operations," said Eszter Somogyi, USA Rice director for Europe, Middle East, and Africa.  "Wanis is a $92 million per year business and their Trade Days are a great way for products to get exposure and increase direct sales."

Two participating U.S. rice brands, Peacock Easy Cook Rice from S&B Herba Foods and Wanis' own Tropical Sun USA Easy Cook Rice, were on display, touted by crowd favorite Chef Gayle Love who cooked a variety of Caribbean dishes for shoppers using U.S.-grown rice.  Sales were supported by secondary placements and Point of Sale materials featuring the participating brands.  



"Wanis customers really responded to this U.S. rice promotion," said Somogyi.  "Chef Love is a natural spokesperson for U.S. rice as shoppers can see for themselves the quality and consistency of U.S. rice by sampling his delicious dishes."

USA Rice has plans to participate in upcoming Wanis Trade Days to help drive sales of U.S. rice to more new customers.



WASDE Report Released  

WASHINGTON, DC -- The outlook for 2018/19 U.S. rice this month is for reduced exports, unchanged domestic and residual use, and higher ending stocks.  All rice exports are lowered 4 million cwt to 94 million.  Long grain exports are reduced by 1 million cwt to 67 million on lower than-expected milled exports.  Medium and short grain exports are decreased by 3 million cwt to 27 million on a slow sales pace to several export markets.  Total domestic and residual use is unchanged at 135 million cwt.  Long grain use is raised 1 million cwt but this increase is completely offset by an equivalent reduction in medium and short grain.  These revisions are based on the latest NASS Rice Stocks report.  Projected all rice ending stocks are raised 4 million cwt to 53.6 million.  This is 82 percent higher than last year and would be the first time stocks have reached 50 million cwt since 1986/87.  The projected 2018/19 all rice season-average farm price is reduced by $0.10 per cwt at the midpoint to $12.10 with the range narrowed to $11.80 to $12.40.  All of the reduction is due to a decrease in the projected California medium and short grain price.

Global 2018/19 rice supplies are decreased by 400,000 tons to 663.8 million with lower carrying stocks and production.  Global production is down as reductions for Indonesia, Pakistan, and the Philippines are not completely offset by higher production for Sri Lanka.  World 2018/19 consumption is raised 400,000 tons to 492.4 million on higher expected use in Pakistan and Sri Lanka more than offsetting reduced use in Laos and Mexico.  Global 2018/19 trade is lowered marginally to 47.3 million tons as reduced exports by Pakistan, the EU, and the United States are not completely offset by higher exports from Cambodia, Peru, and Uruguay.  Projected world ending stocks are adjusted lower this month to 171.4 million tons but remain record large.

Go here to read the full report.   

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Arkansas rice production bounced back in 2018

Prevented planting in 2019 will likely impact overall Arkansas rice acreage this year.
Ryan McGeeney | Apr 09, 2019

High temperatures reduce rice, sorghum yield in Karnataka

A recent study reveals that during kharif and rabi seasons the state is exposed to a high number of days when mercury climbs above 33 degrees Celsius
By Shagun Kapil
Last Updated: Tuesday 09 April 2019
Exposure to extreme heat is consistently and significantly reducing crop yield in Karnataka, according to a recent study. There are a significant number of extreme degree days (EDD) in a cropping season, when the daily temperature is above the critical threshold, suggested data analysed by experts from Tata Institute of Social Sciences and Indian Statistical Institute.
North Karnataka, in particular, is exposed to a higher number of days hotter than the threshold, found the study that considered rice, sorghum, finger millet, and pigeon pea.
The study commissioned by Karnataka Agricultural Price Commission to investigate the impact of exposure to high temperature on crop yields, divided Karnataka into three meteorological sub-divisions — north interior, south and coastal.
In the case of rice in kharif season, a per cent increase in EDD above 33 degrees Celsius decrease rice yield by 5 per cent, says Madhura Swaminathan, professor, Economic Analysis Unit, Indian Statistical Institute, and one of the co-authors of the study. When it comes to sorghum, while rainfall and GDD (growing degree days) had a positive impact on crop yield in both rabi and kharif seasons, EDD had a negative impact of 1.89 per cent in rabi and 3.16 per in kharif season.
“Exposure to an extreme temperature that exceeds the critical threshold of the crop has a strong negative effect on yield. This study is perhaps the first of its kind in southern India and for crops other than wheat. It focuses on climate and climate variability, and clearly shows that exposure to extreme heat is the most important effect of climate change on agriculture that can be currently observed in Karnataka,” the paper said. 
In case of pigeon pea and finger millet, only EDD was negative and significant. Also, the negative impact of EDD was much stronger than the positive effects of seasonal rainfall. While extreme temperatures resulted in yield decrease of 5.72 per cent in finger millet, the negative impact for pigeon pea was 4.43 per cent.
“Long-term data on annual average temperatures indicates a statistically significant increasing trend, with a range of 0.6 to 0.7 degree Celsius per century for different subdivisions of the state. A rising trend in temperatures in Karnataka points to the possibility of warmer growing seasons and greater likelihood of extreme temperatures in the future. These are matters of serious concern for agricultural productivity in the region,” it said.
Nagpur Foodgrain Prices Open- April 10, 2019
APRIL 10, 2019 / 1:34 PM Nagpur Foodgrain Prices – APMC/Open Market-April 10, 2018 Nagpur, April 10 (Reuters) – Gram and tuar prices reported higher in the auction of Nagpur Agriculture Produce and Marketing Committee (APMC) on increased buying support from local traders amid weak supply from producing regions. Good rise on NCDEX in gram and fresh hike in Madhya Pradesh pulses also boosted sentiment. About 5,800 bags of gram and 1,300 bags of tuar reported for auction, according to sources.

GRAM
* Desi gram recovered marginally in open market on good seasonal demand from local

traders.

TUAR
* Tuar varieties ruled steady in open market here on subdued demand from local

traders amid ample stock in ready position.

* Major rice varieties firmed up in open market on increased demand from local

traders amid weak supply from producing belts.

* In Akola, Tuar New – 5,300-5,400, Tuar dal (clean) – 7,800-8,100, Udid Mogar (clean)

– 6,500-7,500, Moong Mogar (clean) 7,800-8,400, Gram – 4,400-4,550, Gram Super best

– 5,600-5,900 * Wheat and other foodgrain items moved in a narrow range in

scattered deals and settled at last levels in weak trading activity.

Nagpur foodgrains APMC auction/open-market prices in rupees for 100 kg

FOODGRAINS Available prices Previous close

Gram Auction 3,800-4,200 3,800-4,150

Gram Pink Auction n.a. 2,100-2,600

Tuar Auction 4,500-5,160 4,500-5,100

Moong Auction n.a. 3,950-4,200

Udid Auction n.a. 4,300-4,500

Masoor Auction 2,200-2,500 2,600-2,800

Wheat Lokwan Auction 1,700-1,850 1,700-1,840

Wheat Sharbati Auction n.a. 2,900-3,000

Gram Super Best Bold 5,800-6,000 5,800-6,000

Gram Super Best n.a. n.a.

Gram Medium Best 5,500-5,700 5,500-5,700

Gram Dal Medium n.a. n.a

Gram Mill Quality 4,300-4,400 4,300-4,400

Desi gram Raw 4,200-4,300 4,150-4,250

Gram Kabuli 8,300-10,000 8,300-10,000

Tuar Fataka Best-New 8,100-8,300 8,100-8,300

Tuar Fataka Medium-New 7,700-7,900 7,700-7,900

Tuar Dal Best Phod-New 7,300-7,500 7,300-7,500

Tuar Dal Medium phod-New 7,000-7,200 7,000-7,200

Tuar Gavarani New 5,350-5,450 5,350-5,450

Tuar Karnataka 5,500-5,650 5,500-5,650

Masoor dal best 5,300-5,500 5,300-5,500

Masoor dal medium 5,000-5,200 5,000-5,200

Masoor n.a. n.a.

Moong Mogar bold (New) 8,000-8,800 8,000-8,800

Moong Mogar Medium 6,500-7,200 6,500-7,200

Moong dal Chilka New 6,500-7,800 6,500-7,800

Moong Mill quality n.a. n.a.

Moong Chamki best 8,000-9,000 8,000-9,000

Udid Mogar best (100 INR/KG) (New) 7,000-7,800 7,000-7,800

Udid Mogar Medium (100 INR/KG) 5,500-6,500 5,500-6,500

Udid Dal Black (100 INR/KG) 4,000-4,200 4,000-4,200

Batri dal (100 INR/KG) 5,600-5,700 5,600-5,700

Lakhodi dal (100 INR/kg) 4,550-4,850 4,550-4,850

Watana Dal (100 INR/KG) 5,300-5,500 5,300-5,500

Watana Green Best (100 INR/KG) 6,600-6,800 6,600-6,800

Wheat 308 (100 INR/KG) 2,100-2,200 2,100-2,200

Wheat Mill quality (100 INR/KG) 2,000-2,050 2,000-2,050

Wheat Filter (100 INR/KG) 2,500-2,600 2,500-2,600

Wheat Lokwan best (100 INR/KG) 2,500-2,600 2,500-2,600

Wheat Lokwan medium (100 INR/KG) 2,200-2,400 2,200-2,400

Lokwan Hath Binar (100 INR/KG) n.a. n.a.

MP Sharbati Best (100 INR/KG) 3,400-4,000 3,400-4,000

MP Sharbati Medium (100 INR/KG) 2,800-3,200 2,800-3,200

Rice Parmal (100 INR/KG) 2,100-2,200 2,100-2,200

Rice BPT best (100 INR/KG) 3,200-3,850 3,400-3,600

Rice BPT medium (100 INR/KG) 2,700-3,000 2,500-3,000

Rice BPT new (100 INR/KG) 2,900-3,200 2,900-3,200

Rice Luchai (100 INR/KG) 2,900-3,000 2,900-3,000

Rice Swarna best (100 INR/KG) 2,600-2,800 2,600-2,800

Rice Swarna medium (100 INR/KG) 2,500-2,600 2,500-2,600

Rice HMT best (100 INR/KG) 4,200-4,600 4,100-4,400

Rice HMT medium (100 INR/KG) 3,700-4,000 3,500-3,900

Rice HMT New (100 INR/KG) 3,600-3,800 3,600-3,800

Rice Shriram best(100 INR/KG) 5,500-5,700 5,400-5,600

Rice Shriram med (100 INR/KG) 4,800-5,200 4,600-5,000

Rice Shriram New (100 INR/KG) 4,200-4,400 4,200-4,400

Rice Basmati best (100 INR/KG) 8,500-13,500 8,500-13,500

Rice Basmati Medium (100 INR/KG) 5,000-7,000 5,000-7,000

Rice Chinnor best 100 INR/KG) 6,600-6,900 6,500-6,800

Rice Chinnor medium (100 INR/KG) 6,300-6,500 6,200-6,400

Rice Chinnor New (100 INR/KG) 4,700-5,000 4,700-5,000

Jowar Gavarani (100 INR/KG) 2,350-2,550 2,350-2,550

Jowar CH-5 (100 INR/KG) 2,050-2,250 2,050-2,250 WEATHER (NAGPUR) Maximum temp. 44.1 degree Celsius, minimum temp. 23.1 degree Celsius Rainfall : Nil FORECAST: Partly cloudy sky. Maximum and minimum temperature likely to be around 44 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) ATTN : Soyabean mandi, wholesale foodgrain market of Nagpur APMC and oil market in Vidarbha will be closed tomorrow, Thursday, on the occasion Lok Sabha election here.


Tenured N.F.A. employees to challenge constitutionality of rice trade liberalization law


Description: https://39byfk2z09ab1y1bzj1l5r82-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/top02-040919-696x450.jpg A man carries a sack of commercial rice in a store in Parañaque City as the market starts feeling the possible impact of the new law, which liberalizes the importation, exportation and trading of rice. The rice tariffication law has been signed, but tenured employees of the National Food Authority (NFA) are questioning its inclusion of provisions that overhaul the agency, displacing hundreds.
By Jasper Emmanuel Y. Arcalas & Cai U. Ordinario
TENURED employees of the National Food Authority (NFA) will soon file a petition before the Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of the new rice trade liberalization law, which could cause thousands of NFA workers to lose their jobs.
NFA Employees Association (NFAEA) Central Office President Maximo M. Torda told the BusinessMirror the group will file the petition by May.
Torda said the NFAEA will question the legislative history of the law, which started at first as a rice tariffication bill. The bill sought to convert the country’s quantitative restriction (QR) on rice imports into ordinary customs duties.
He said the initial bill had evolved into a measure that affected government safeguards against imports and included the deregulation of the food agency.
“The rice trade liberalization law eventually removed all the effective safeguard measures for controlling and supervising the country’s food security,” Torda said in an interview.
“From the simple objective of removing the QR, it evolved into an encompassing law which resulted in major changes, such as the revamp and reorganization of the NFA that would now lead to thousands of layoffs,” he added.
Torda said NFAEA’s Supreme Court case is only part of a series of legal challenges that will be made by various rice-industry stakeholders against the new law in the coming weeks.
“Our petitions would have different bases and reasons. We want to be apolitical,” Torda said. “Our petition is more of protecting our agency and our employees. We want to protect what is left of the NFA, with our security of tenure being only secondary.”

Election ban

Torda said that no NFA employee could be displaced until June due to the election ban. This, he said, will give the NFA more time to discuss the reorganization and restructuring of the grains agency to fulfill its new mandate under the new law.
“Things are still complicated. There are still a lot of gray areas even in the signed implementing rules and regulations [IRR], particularly the reorganization of the NFA,” he said.
Torda cited the commissioning of an independent study that would outline the NFA’s buffer-stocking role under the new trade regime as the basis for the agency’s reorganization.
This, he said, would allow the NFA to determine how many workers will be displaced. “We think that study would be the basis of a concrete plan for the NFA reorganization. It’s just sad that [the national government] is rushing things and wants to railroad everything.”
Torda said some 1,000 employees will be affected by the NFA reorganization mandated by the new law, higher than the initial estimate of 400 made by government officials.
The 400 NFA employees that may be displaced are from the industry services department and security services and investigation department, which are directly involved in the NFA’s previous regulatory functions of licensing importers and retailers and monitoring the country’s rice trade.

‘Not true’

The National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) said the reorganization of the NFA will affect less than 500 employees.
Neda Regional Development Office Assistant Secretary Mercedita A. Sombilla told the BusinessMirror these employees are involved in the importation and licensing functions of the NFA.
The importation and licensing function of the NFA has been repealed under Republic Act 11203. Under the new law, the NFA’s functions have been limited to buffer stocking.
“Only 400 plus employees will be affected, those involved in licensing and importation as these are the only functions that were changed in the new law,” Sombilla said. “Their number will not even reach 500,” she added, disputing claims by NFA employees that over a thousand will be affected by the reorganization.
Sombilla said the number was based on a survey of employees who wanted to avail themselves of the “retirement package” to be offered by the government. This means the number includes both the affected employees and those who want to leave NFA. The survey was done prior to the signing of the law’s IRR.
Under the IRR, NFA employees will receive up to 1.5 times their monthly basic salaries (MBS), depending on their years of service.
Initially, Sombilla said this was not the computation offered by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM). She said determining the compensation package was one of the reasons the IRR was not signed immediately after the law was passed.
“I went to DBM to haggle. I asked if they can add to the compensation package since the NFA is considered a state-owned corporation. So finally, after four to five days that the DOF [Department of Finance], Treasury and DBM debated, they finally came up with a rate which is 1.25 and 1.5,” Sombilla said.
Under Rule 3.4.1.2, the package of employees who are in their first 20 years of service will be equivalent to their MBS multiplied by their years of service.
However, those who have reached 20 years and one day to 30 years of employment will receive a package that is equivalent to 1.25 times their MBS for every year of service.
Those who stayed longer at 30 years and one day or more, will receive 1.5 times their MBS for every year or service.

Egypt’s strategic rice reserves at six months after latest purchase - ministry

by Reuters
Monday, 8 April 2019 16:54 GMT


Rice rebounds in 2018 after 2017 flooding woes

by George Jared (gjared@talkbusiness.net)  
After a brutal 2017 in which spring flooding cost Arkansas growers an estimated $175 million in lost production and damaged acreage, rice growers saw higher production in 2018 than in any of the three previous years, according to an April 4 report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
In the report, produced by the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, rice growers harvested more acres, and yield and production throughout the state were higher. Most of the largest increases in yield, percentagewise, were seen in eastern Arkansas counties that suffered flooding losses most acutely in 2017.
Phillips County, which suffered between $400,000 and $1 million in crop loss in 2017, saw its rice production more than double from 1 million hundredweight to about 2.13 million hundredweight. Increases of similar proportions were reported in Lawrence, St. Francis, Ashley and Desha counties, according to the report.
While the county-by-county acreage estimates provided in the NASS report often differ from estimates provided by the Farm Service Agency, also part of the USDA, the statewide numbers are typically very similar.
Jarrod Hardke, extension rice agronomist for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, said that while the higher production numbers are welcome, the higher rice acreage in 2018 wasn’t necessarily a surprise, as it followed the natural cycle of shifting acreage, crop rotation and prospective planting in response to relative commodity prices.
Hardke said with the window for much of the state’s planned early planted rice closing for 2019, shifts in acreage are an open question.
“Until a week ago, I’d maintained my expectation that we’ll remain close to flat, at 1.4 million acres of rice,” Hardke said. “But we’ve seen what’s happened with this spring. After a week of dry weather, we saw rains again over the weekend, with more pointed our way. 1.4 million acres is still the target, but if this pattern doesn’t give, we’ll possibly head down toward 1.2 million acres. At this point, we’re staring at a downward trend, but we have a while to go yet before we start losing rice acres.”

PM Imran to sign FTA 2nd phase with China in last week of April: Envoy

  Last Updated On 09 April,2019 11:25 pm
Description: https://img.dunyanews.tv/news/2019/April/04-09-19/news_big_images/486279_87788131.jpg
China would continue its efforts to expand regional trade in SAARC countries
FAISALABAD (APP) – Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing said Tuesday that Prime Minister Imran Khan would visit China in last week of April to sign the second phase of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) which would help Pakistani products to get free access to 95 percent Chinese markets.
Addressing the businessmen at Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI) Complex, he said that in the second phase of FTA, both countries would extend their cooperation in agriculture, manpower, health and education sectors as well as elimination of poverty. In this connection, a roadmap would be discussed to enhance cooperation in social sector, besides evolving framework for assistance in agro-industrial sector, he disclosed.
He said that FTA would also help in removing hurdles in bilateral trade between the two countries by providing 95 percent market access to Pakistani products, whereas, Chinese exports would get 68 percent market access in Pakistan.
The Chinese envoy further said that during the visit, Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) would arrange a B2B Forum on April 28 in China. During the event, businessmen of the two countries would negotiate feasible projects along with technology transfer, he said.
Yao Jing mentioned previous visit of PM Imran Khan to China in November last and said that China would import rice, sugar and yarn from Pakistan to increase its import volume. Though Pakistan has a huge quantity of surplus wheat yet its sale in Chinese markets was very low. Therefore, China will procure 300,000 ton rice and in this connection, negotiation has already been started, he added.
Regarding cooperation in industrial sector, the Chinese Ambassador said that Chinese companies had reservations over taxation policy of Pakistan, however, these companies would be convinced and provided incentives for investment in Pakistani industry in order to enhance its production capacity up to demand of the day.
Commenting ASEAN like investment and incentives in Pakistan, Chinese Ambassador told that this region is traditionally, historically and culturally very close to China. Moreover, a sizable number of Chinese are also living in this region. Hence, they prefer to invest in this region because of their natural affiliation. He told that this regional bloc is consisting of 10 countries.
He said that China had made serious efforts to promote regional trade among SAARC Countries but could not succeed due to the complex regional situation. However, China would continue its efforts to expand regional trade in SAARC countries, he added.
About the production of manmade fiber in Pakistan, he said that Chinese government will encourage its investors to setup manmade fiber plant in Pakistan but government will not compel anybody.
Regarding visas, he said that this task is being entrusted to Gerry’s. He said the company had its offices in Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore while he would recommend its branch in Faisalabad to facilitate the business community of this city.
The Chinese envoy also termed Punjab as a growth engine of national economy and said that development of Pakistan was directly linked with the progress and prosperity of Punjab province.
Earlier, Federal Parliamentary Secretary for Railways Mian Farrukh Habib welcomed the Chinese Ambassador and termed Pakistan and China as iron brothers. He said that technicalities between Pakistan and China regarding Free Trade Agreement (FTA) had been signed today which would open new avenues of cooperation between the two countries.
He said that he wanted to transform Faisalabad as an international city of this region. He proposed that Faisalabad and a Chinese city may be declared as sister cities to promote socio-economic and cultural links between the two metropolises.
He also stressed the need for launching joint ventures with Chinese collaboration and said that it would help Pakistan to promote a culture of environment friendly and green industries in this city.
He termed the CPEC (China Pakistan Economic Corridor) as the flagship of Chinese ‘One Belt-One Road’ project and said that its scope would be further expanded by including agriculture and other sectors in it.
Farrukh Habib also proposed a Pak-Chinese Textile Research center in Faisalabad.President FCCI Syed Zia Alumdar Hussain, Former President FCCI Mian Javed Iqbal, Shahid Nazir, Khurram Mukthar Engineer Rizwan Ashraf, Kashif Zia, Engineer Ahmad Hasan and Haleem Akhtar also addressed the function.
Chinese Consul General Mr. Long Dingbin, Attache Mr. Chen Yongpei, Attaché Mr. Liu Zhan Embassy of China were also present on the occasion. Federal Parliamentary Secretary for Railways Mian Farrukh Habib and Shahid Nazir presented FCCI shields to Chinese Ambassadors Mr. Yao Jing and Chinese Consul General Mr. Long Dingbin respectively.
Chinese Envoy Mr. Yao Jing also presented giveaways to FCCI President Syed Zia Alumdar Hussain while Vice President FCCI Engineer Ehtisham Javed presented memento to Federal Parliamentary Secretary Mian Farrukh Habib.
Pakistan’s Trade Deficit dips 14-23bn in 9 month
Workers unload rice sacks at a wholesale market in Karachi. Pakistan government’s battle against bloated trade deficit is finally bearing fruit as it shrank by 14% to $23.45bn in the first nine months of the current fiscal year from $27.29bn in the corresponding period last year.
Description: . Internews /Islamabad
Pakistan government’s battle against bloated trade deficit is finally bearing fruit as it shrank by 14% to $23.45bn in the first nine months of the current fiscal year from $27.29bn in the corresponding period last year.
The decline in deficit – down $3.84bn in the July-March period – is estimated to be in the range of $5bn-$6bn at the end of the ongoing fiscal year.
This contraction is mainly attributable to a steep fall in overall import bill even though export proceeds posted a mixed trend during the period under review.
On a month-on-month basis, the trade deficit fell by 37.74% to $1.93bn in March from $3.1bn over the corresponding month last year.
Official figures show that the country’s exports fell by 4.54% in March; making it the second consecutive month in which export proceeds have posted a decline.
In absolute terms, the exports fell to $2.1bn in March from $2.2bn over the corresponding month last year.
In February, exports edged lower by 0.37% year-on-year to $1.88bn.
The massive 33% rupee devaluation since July, 2018 coupled with cash assistance to major sectors, mainly textile and clothing wasn’t enough to boost the country’s exports as they grew by a marginal 1.05% to $17.21bn during the July-March period 2018-19, from $17.03bn in the corresponding period last year.
The government had earlier claimed that the impact of currency devaluation will be visible in the export trajectory, anticipating a pickup in foreign sales and a steep decline in imports during the months ahead.
The value of imported goods in the nine-month period was recorded at $40.66bn, down 8.25%, from $44.32bn.
The decline was even steeper in March, falling by 23.96% to $4.03bn, from $5.3bn in the same month last year.
According to the government reports, the decline in imports is mainly due to the imposition of regulatory duties on luxury items and automobiles.
Moreover, the government also slapped a ban on import of furnace oil last month.
The Commerce Division also claimed that imports have begun their downward journey due to a number of policy interventions by the government such as improved energy supply, import substitution drive, economic stabilisation, and currency devaluation.
The curtailment in import flows is manifest in the statistics that the twenty-foot equivalent unit, an approximate unit of cargo capacity used to describe the capacity of container ships and container terminals, has dropped by almost 10% between July-March 2018-19 from a year ago. The trend of compression is even more pronounced in imports under regulatory duty regime, where the value has declined from $7.9bn in July-March to $6.6bn in July-March 2018, showing a contraction of 16%.
The government has imposed regulatory duties on around 1,194 tariff lines.
The decline in deficit shows that the government’s interventions have started bearing fruits.
Data indicates that measures taken in the two supplementary Finance Acts have firmly taken hold and are now effectively curtailing imports as per the policy regime of the
government. 

PM Imran to visit China for signing second phase of FTA

April 10, 2019
Description: The envoy said the FTA would help remove the imbalance in bilateral trade between the two countries.

PHOTO: FILE
The envoy said the FTA would help remove the imbalance in bilateral trade between the two countries. PHOTO: FILE
FAISALABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan will visit China in the last week of current month to sign the second phase of a free trade agreement (FTA) between Pakistan and China, revealed Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing.
Addressing the business community at the Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI) on Tuesday, the envoy said in the second phase of FTA, both the countries would further extend cooperation in the fields of agriculture, manpower, health and education in addition to making efforts to eliminate poverty.
In this connection, a road map will be discussed to cover the social sector besides evolving a framework for assistance in the agro-industrial sector. The envoy said the FTA would help remove the imbalance in bilateral trade between the two countries.
“China will provide 95% market access to Pakistani products at zero duty whereas China will get 68% market access to Pakistan,” he disclosed.
He pointed out that during the visit of PM Imran, the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) would arrange a B2B Forum on April 28. During this event, businessmen of the two countries will negotiate feasible projects along with technology transfer.
Referring to the previous visit of the prime minister, Yao said China had agreed to import rice, sugar and yarn from Pakistan to bridge a widening import-export gap. “Though Pakistan has a huge quantity of surplus rice, its sale in Chinese markets is very low. Therefore, China will purchase 300,000 tons of rice and in this connection, negotiations have already started,” he added.
Regarding cooperation in the industrial sector, the Chinese ambassador said Chinese companies had reservations about the taxation policy of Pakistan. However, these companies will be convinced and provided incentives for investment in the industrial sector of Pakistan in order to enhance its production capacity.
Commenting on Asean-like investment and incentives in Pakistan, the ambassador said “this region is traditionally, historically and culturally very close to China. Moreover, a sizable number of Chinese are also living in this region. Hence, they prefer to invest in this region because of their natural affiliation.”
He shared that China had made serious efforts to promote regional trade among Saarc countries, but it could not succeed due to the complex regional situation. However, he added that China would continue its efforts to expand regional trade.
He said the Chinese government would encourage its investors to set up a man-made fibre plant in Pakistan, but it could not compel anyone.
Speaking on the occasion, Federal Parliamentary Secretary for Railways Mian Farrukh Habib welcomed the Chinese ambassador, saying the technicalities regarding the FTA between Pakistan and China had been agreed, which would open new avenues of cooperation between the two sides.
He stressed the need for launching joint ventures with the Chinese, which would help Pakistan to promote environment-friendly and green industries in Faisalabad.
FCCI President Syed Zia Alumdar Hussain welcomed the establishment of new industrial units with Chinese investment in the M-3 Industrial City, but said China should also help Pakistan to launch joint ventures for the local production of 10 major import goods.
“It will not only help Pakistan bridge its import and export gap, but will also open new business opportunities for Chinese investors,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 10th, 2019.

Two-day parleys on CPFTA-II begin today

·      MUSHTAQ GHUMMAN

·      APR 9TH, 2019

·      ISLAMABAD
Pakistan and China are holding a two-day (April 9-10, 2019) parleys in Beijing to finalise second phase of China Pakistan Free Trade Agreement (CPFTA), which is expected to attract criticism from domestic industry, well-informed sources told Business Recorder. Pakistani team comprises Secretary, Commerce, Sardar Ahmad Nawaz Sukhera, Secretary Finance, Younus Dagha (who negotiated at least three or four rounds as Secretary Commerce) and other officials from Commerce Division, Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), Ministry of Industries and Production and Textile Division.

The sources said both sides will finalise the CPFTA-II during the 11th round and the long negotiated pact is expected to be signed during the visit of Prime Minister, Imran Khan in the last week of current month. Chinese ambassador to Pakistan, in a letter to the Prime Minister has stated that Chinese President XI Jinping and Prime Minister Li Keqiang are looking forward to his visit to China as a guest of honour in the second Belt & Road Forum in late April.

"Prime Minister Imran Khan''s able leadership is bringing changes to Pakistan and the Chinese business community is very much encouraged to establish joint ventures with local partners. Such policies like the ease of doing business, pro-investment initiatives and taxation restructuring will greatly help promote investment," he added. China has already provided market access to Pakistan in sugar, rice and yarn amounting to $ 1 billion. However, Pakistan has sought market access in wheat, potato, onion and cherry to the tune of $ 1 billion.

On overall liberalization level, China has offered exemption on 75 per cent tariff lines, 67 percent in trade value in addition to Margin of Preference (MoP) at 5 per cent. Current offer in Tariff Exemption stands at 74.2 per cent in tariff lines, 67.8 percent in Trade Value (TV) and Preference of 5.2 per cent in tariff lines.

The sources said the market access of trade in goods as final offer by Pakistan has been divided into three categories. Category 1- Entry Into Force (EIF) will be on 45 percent tariff lines. The EIF in Category 2 will be on 15 per cent tariff lines to be implemented in 7 years. Category 3 which will comprise 15 percent in tariff lines will be implemented in 15 years. Pakistan''s current offer-(C1) Entry Into Force is 44.5 percent in tariff lines, C2- 14.9 per cent in tariff lines and C3 is 14.7 percent in tariff lines in 15 years.

Starting year of tariff concession for C2 and C3, China''s offer for EIF( year-1) and C3, year 3. However, Pakistan wants C2 EIF in year 2 and C3- year 3. China''s final offer on overall liberalization level is as follows: (i) Trade Exemption- 75 percent in tariff line and 90 per cent in trade value and preference of 5 percent in tariff lines. Current offer- Trade Exemption 75 percent in tariff lines, 90.3 percent in trade value and preference of 5 per cent in tariff lines.

According to sources, replacement of certain tariff lines from the current offer if new tariff lines are to be included in the final offer. The tariff lines to be removed from the current offer shall not be from Pakistan''s 1059 tariff lines list and 651 tariff lines list.

The sources further stated that 57 tariff lines from Pakistan''s 313 tariff lines prioritized request list. EIF on 8 agriculture tariff lines is excluded. The sources said 256 tariff lines from Pakistan''s 313 tariff lines prioritized request list EIF, China will make best efforts to accommodate the tariff lines on which China has offered zero duty to the ASEAN. However, the remaining tariff lines (not included in the 313 list) from Pakistan''s 1059 tariff lines request list, China will maintain its current offer on the remaining tariff lines.

Pakistan is still insisting on Clawback on five tariff lines i.e. bus truck tyres, glass, steel bars and rods, mobiles and led Lights, but China is not agreed.

On Electronic Data Exchange between Customs, both sides have agreed to implement the MoU in true spirit. Both sides will ensure implementation of the existing MoU on electronic data exchange which was signed on November 3, 2018 and endeavor to take further steps including a suitable mechanism to address the concern on export price information.

FPCCI President, Daroo Khan maintains that Pakistan may enter into second phase of FTA with China but not at the cost of closing down our local industries and adversely affecting the economy at large. He further stated that in the first phase, trade deficit with China has increased to $ 17 billion. President FPCCI added that Pakistan has already liberalized 60% of its trade with China, suggesting that Ministry of Commerce takes policy reforms to eliminate under-invoicing and settles an agreement with China on removal of Sanitary and phytosanitary measures (SPS), Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) and barriers other than tariffs.

HELPFUL HINTS

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DEAR HELOISE: Where does wild rice come from these days?
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DEAR READER: What we call “wild rice” isn’t really rice, but a grain-producing grass. It’s native to North America, mainly Wisconsin and neighboring states. Like rice, wild rice grows in water and has a very similar taste. Wild rice can grow in lakes and ponds but must be harvested by hand because it is too delicate for machinery.
DEAR HELOISE: If you want a moist turkey, try this: Rub the turkey all over with a generous amount of mayonnaise before cooking. Make an aluminum tent over the turkey and bake at 325 degrees for the calculated time. Remove the aluminum about 30 minutes before the turkey is done.
— Renee C., Colorado
DEAR HELOISE: Please reprint the recipe for microwave fudge.
— Melissa H., Roswell, N.M.
DEAR READER: I’d love to, Melissa. You’ll need:
1 pound powdered sugar
½ cup cocoa
¼ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter or margarine
4 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
Combine all ingredients except the nuts in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high until all the ingredients in the mixture are melted and smooth. Remove and stir periodically. When the mixture is smooth, remove from microwave and stir in nuts. Spread into a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan and allow to cool completely before cutting into bite-size pieces.
DEAR READERS: It’s well-known that lemons contain a high dose of vitamin C, but did you also know:
Lemons are good for your liver. Fresh lemon added to a large glass of water in the morning is a great liver detoxifier.
Lemons can help cleanse the intestinal track. Drink a glass of warm water with the juice of one lemon in the morning.
Sprinkle lemon juice on fresh veggies for a delightful, new taste to foods.
Lemons contains anti-cancer compounds.
Do not suck on fresh lemons because it can damage your tooth enamel. After eating foods with lemon juice, rinse your mouth with water to reduce any possibility of tooth damage.
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