Saturday, April 27, 2019

27th April,2019 Daily Global Regional Local Rice E-Newsletter

Bangladeshi wild variety rekindles hope for breakthrough in global rice yield boost

Reaz Ahmad

Published at 01:25 am April 27th, 2019
Description: Bangladeshi scientists Md Sazzadur Rahman
Bangladeshi scientists Md Sazzadur Rahman at IRRI’s C4 Rice Project research facility in Los Banos, the Philippines Dhaka Tribune

IRRI-led multinational efforts on for 11 years to engineer rice for 50% extra gain
For the past 11 years, scientists have been trying to convert paddy into a photosynthesis-efficient plant, which would produce up to 50% more grains using the sunlight, without requiring more land and water.
The idea came from the concern that the traditional research, which results in just 1% rise in the yearly yield, would not be enough to meet the ever-growing demand.
The plan was to engineer paddy in a way that its leaf anatomy permits greater efficiency in photosynthesis thereby, dramatically boosting the yields in one of the world’s most consumed cereal.   
Now a wild rice – Uri dhan (Porteresia coarctata) – that grows in saline estuaries of Bangladesh rekindled hope for a possible breakthrough in changing rice plant architecture.   
Bangladeshi scientists have found elements of greater photosynthesis efficiency in Uri dhan. 
Scientists at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines, who are working in tandem with researchers drawn from 12 institutions in eight countries on a 20-year ‘C4 Rice Project’ are now seeking to take the Uri dhan samples to Los Banos, the IRRI headquarters, for a fusion.   
“We’re working out an MTA (material transfer agreement) to receive Uri dhan samples from Bangladesh,” Principal Scientist and Head of the C4 Rice Project, William Paul Quick told the Dhaka Tribune during this writer’s recent visit to the IRRI. 
An MTA is a contract that governs the transfer of tangible research materials between two organizations, when the recipient intends to use it for research purposes.
Prof Zeba Islam Seraj, who teaches biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Dhaka and has a long experience of salt-tolerant rice breeding employing Uri dhan, told the Dhaka Tribune that her lab is ready to provide the IRRI with the material.  
During photosynthesis, plants take carbon dioxide, water, and light, and turn them into sugar and oxygen. The sugar is then used by the plants for food, and the oxygen is released into the atmosphere.
Rice uses the C3 photosynthetic pathway, which in hot and dry environments is much less efficient than the C4 pathway used by other plants such as maize, sugarcane and sorghum. Scientists thought that if rice could "switch" to use C4 photosynthesis, its productivity would increase by 50 percent.
Prof Zeba Islam Seraj explained, "Maize, sorghum and sugarcane are C4 photo-synthesisers, while rice is C3. The C4 photo-synthesisers are more efficient in energy uptake." She said C4 plants such as maize and sorghum are more efficient at carbon assimilation than C3 species, and in addition they display greater water use efficiency, better nitrogen use efficiency and higher-temperature tolerance. 
The C4 Rice Project, often dubbed as "grand challenge" of the 21st century, is an international collaboration between 18 research groups, from 12 institutions in eight countries. The institutions are: Australian National University (Australia), University of Toronto (Canada), Chinese Academy of Sciences (China), Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology and Heinrich Heine University (Germany), International Rice Research Institute(the Philippines), Academia Sinica Institute of Molecular Biology (Taipei), University of Cambridge and University of Oxford (UK), Donald Danforth Center, Washington State University, and University of Minnesota (USA).
Over three billion people, including 160 million in Bangladesh, depend on rice for survival, and owing to predicted population increases and a general trend towards urbanisation, land that provided enough rice to feed 27 people in 2010 will need to support 43 by 2050.
Talking to the Dhaka Tribune, William Paul Quick said, “Its well over 10 years now and we’re still studying how to regulate the leaf anatomy (to make rice plant more efficient photo- synthesizer). Zeba is working (on Uri dhan) in Bangladesh. We’re looking forward to acquire the material.”   
Dr Paul Quick, also a plant physiology professor of the University of Sheffield, UK, said his team, where two Bangladeshi rice scientists (Md Sazzadur Rahman and Dr Hisam Al Rabbi) are also working now, has been screening as many as 4,500 rice accessions for this photosynthesis trait. 
“We’ve established joint lab in China and works are going on in different locations,” said Dr Paul Quick adding that in the process they’ve applied gene editing techniques and ended up getting some water-efficient rice lines.
“If successes come our way we’ll have rice varieties in the future requiring half the water they do require now. We’re now examining the advanced lines to see whether there is ‘yield penalty’ – meaning whether we’re getting less grains.”  
The C4 Rice Project was first conceived by John Sheehy, a plant physiologist who was the head of the Applied Photosynthesis Group at the IRRI from 1995 to 2009. The costs of the project were estimated to be about $5m per year. In October 2008, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation awarded IRRI a grant of $11.1 million to begin the research. Currently the project is into its phase-III (2015-2019).
Experts noted that successful completion of engineering rice into a C4 plant would be a "game-changer" since the '60s of last century when scientists had first developed semi-dwarf rice varieties heralding the famous "Green Revolution".

The coffee you buy could produce more birds at your feeder

Capital News Service
LANSING — Blackpoll warblers are on a 12,400-mile trip to their breeding grounds in Canada and Alaska from the Amazon Basin and northern South America — with tiny backpacks.
What sort of luggage did they take? Tiny backpacks with geolocators given to them by researchers hoping to understand their migration paths and the pit stops they make to refuel.
They’ll be here in the Great Lakes Basin, a crucial stop, around mid-May, according to a recent study, “A Boreal Songbird’s 20,000 km Migration across North America and the Atlantic Ocean, published March 19 in “Ecology.”
Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Ontario are the only substantial stopover points that blackpoll warblers make during their spring migration, according to William DeLuca, one of the researchers on this study and an assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts. The warbler stops here in early and mid-May to indulge in insects before making the final push to Alaska and northern Canada, DeLuca said.
If you want to see them while they rest up around here, check out Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge in Michigan, Indiana Dunes National Park, Magee Marsh in Ohio and Thunder Cape Bird Observatory in Ontario.
But look fast.
Until recently the lives of blackpoll warblers have remained a mystery as they only spend two to three months of the year in North America, DeLuca said. This lack of knowledge made it difficult to conserve the bird, one of the fastest declining songbird species in North America.
“Once we understand where and what it is they’re doing then we can start to figure out where those populations are limited,” DeLuca said. “Then you can start to target your conservation efforts.”
DeLuca suspects them to be most limited in South America. The birds are threatened there because palm oil corporations destroy many ecosystems for their plantations, he said. Palm oil is found in many processed foods.
If you want to preserve birds, avoid palm oil, DeLuca said “It’s a direct connection between the choices we make as consumers and what’s happening with our biodiversity.”
Choosing which coffee to drink also impacts many migratory bird species, DeLuca said. In the 1960s during the Green Revolution many countries in South America began to use chemicals in agricultural management and reducing shade trees on their coffee farms.
The removal of shade trees makes the farm less suitable for bird habitat, according to Robert Rice, a researcher at the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center.
Research in Peru has demonstrated this. Coffee grown in the sun with very few or no shade trees provides habitat for about 60 bird species, Rice said.
That may sound like a lot, but many birders flock to Peru in pursuit of seeing more than 1,800 species that spend at least some of their lives there, according to Field Guides.
Just a small number of shade trees on coffee farms increases the number of bird species present to 170, Rice said. But it’s when you put in a great number of diverse trees that you start finding a lot of birds.
“When you put in a diverse system that would qualify as bird friendly, you get upwards of 240 species of birds,” Rice said.
Encouraging coffee producers in South America to provide adequate shade and shade tree diversity for bird habitat on their farms is the goal of the Bird Friendly® coffee certification created by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center.
Coffee grown under that certification not only protects bird habitat but also allows for the shade trees to sequester carbon and fight climate change, according to the center.
Regardless of other benefits, such as a certification increasing their profits by as much as 50 cents per pound, it’s difficult to get larger coffee farms to manage for bird habitat, Rice said.
The trees on many larger farms are often only one to three species and uniform in height, Rice said. Even if these trees provide a lot of shade they do not provide good habitat for a diversity of birds and other wildlife.
“Some birds like to hang out way up top, high in the canopy,” Rice said. “Others like to run up and down the trunk. Others like to hang out closer to the ground.”
Different species of trees will attract different types of insects and grow different fruit that birds feed on.
“Any given tree has its own little micro ecosystem,” Rice said.
Conserving bird habitat in South America doesn’t mean we can ignore the land here. One way homeowners can provide habitat for birds like the blackpoll warbler is by planting native plants, DeLuca said. Much of what these birds prefer to eat can be found on native plants, whether that be berries or insects.
“Insect diversity and abundance is highest on native plants,” DeLuca said. “Those native plants are also the ones providing food in the form of berries and fruit in the fall.”
People can also provide data to scientists by putting their observations oneBird. The project headed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology is currently looking forward to the Global Big Day on May 4 when organizers hope to set a new record for the number of bird species reported in one day. Last year, users of the site reported 7,025 species. This count occurs within the range of dates when blackpoll warblers could be making their stopovers across the Great Lakes Basin.
This May 4 sitting back with a cup of environmentally minded coffee and watching the birds flock around your bird feeder could be both the most relaxing and scientifically significant thing you could do.
If you’re lucky you might just see a warbler returning from South America with some luggage.

Indonesia Steps Up Science Techno Park Initiative To Support Local Innovators

Description: Indonesia motor show
A staff member cleans a Toyota Alphard Hybrid on display at the Indonesia International Motor Show in Jakarta, April 25, 2019.(Photo: REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan)
Indonesia has announced the addition of three more technoparks that should help support the work of local innovators. The country already has 18 parks as part of the "Riset Pro" initiative.
According to Antara News, Secretary General of Indonesia's Ministry of Research, Technology, and Higher Education Ainun Naim revealed on Thursday that the Research and Innovation in Science Project or Resit Pro will push through this year with three more technoparks planned.
Originally, the government planned to establish 100 science technoparks. The scheme was labeled as a national program priority but the inadequate number of scientists helping with the program stalled the process.
To address the lack of scientists and tech experts working on the program, the ministry tapped non-ministerial groups and public universities to achieve this year's target. Among the agencies and institutions involved is the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) and the National Nuclear Energy Agency (BATAN).
Naim explained that collaboration will pave the way for innovative domestic products to penetrate the Indonesian market. The list of products includes an electric scooter created by the Sepuluh Nopember Institute of Technology (ITS) that will soon hit the market.
Bogor Institute of Agriculture (IPB) already has its own science technopark. It focuses on several segments including bio-science, food production, and tropical agriculture. Products from the park will be sold to the market with assistance from the Indonesian government.
Meanwhile, the Indonesian government continues to encourage innovative projects and strategies in sectors across the country and recently, a breakthrough in agriculture was achieved by scientists.
As part of Indonesia's national scheme of promoting innovation in various sectors, scientists worked together to develop new crops through the use of nuclear science. Researchers used radiation mutation engineering to come up with improved seeds that farmers can use.
The scientific research program has since bred 35 new crop varieties including rice and soybeans. The new varieties are said to bring about higher yields, are resistant to strong climate changes, and also less susceptible to diseases.
In other industries, the Indonesian electric vehicle sector is preparing to accept battery-grade nickel products from the country's first lithium battery manufacturing plant. While it may take months before an environmental permit is released, EV firms are optimistic about the project.
If all goes well with the GEM Co. Ltd. and Tsingshan Group joint venture, the $700-million plant is expected to encourage innovation in the EV industry. It is also expected to boost the sector's sales and revenue.
Trade Mission to Taiwan as U.S. Brand Set to Debut in Retail Market  
TAIPEI, TAIWAN -- USA Rice joined the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service's Administrator Ken Isley and more than 50 companies, trade associations, and state departments of agriculture on a USDA-led trade mission to Taiwan earlier this week.  Additionally, USA Rice met with the four largest U.S. rice importers there and reported that two identified U.S. rice brands will soon be available in local retail markets.

"USA Rice's promotion program has traditionally focused on foodservice and rice processors so retail is an exciting new area for us to promote U.S. origin rice," said Sarah Moran, USA Rice vice president international, who was on the trip. 

U.S. medium grain from the south and California is exported to this market as part of their World Trade Organization (WTO) commitment to import 64,634 MT annually from the U.S.  It is imported in one of two ways:  either through Taiwanese government purchases or through a Simultaneous Buy Sell (SBS) tender where private importers can bid on the ability to import a set amount of U.S. rice. 

When purchased by the Taiwanese government, the rice goes into warehouses or rice stocks here, which include both domestic and imported rice.  That total has reached more than 800,000 MT and thus the government is beginning to aggressively look to export it.  Taiwan's rice exports increased 214 percent last year, with the majority of the rice headed to China. 

"It's through SBS tenders that identified U.S. rice is more prevalent and shows up at the retail level, in restaurants, and as part of rice cakes and snacks," said Chris Crutchfield, chair of the Asia Promotion Subcommittee.  "There is a demand for American rice here by both the importers and consumers, and we'd love to see that need met."

The itinerary also included briefings by the American Institute in Taiwan and meetings with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the China Grain Products Research and Development Institute, the most authoritative institution on rice research in Taiwan.  
USA Rice Daily

Prices of over 500 items reduced for Ramadan

  26 Apr 2019 - 7:00

The Peninsula

Giving  good news to residents preparing for the holy month of Ramadan, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry announced yesterday its discounted consumer goods initiative on more than 500 products.
The initiative, which is being launched in cooperation with major shopping malls, came into effect from yesterday and will remain applicable until the end of the holy month. According to the list issued yesterday by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, 503 items will be sold at reduced prices across the country during Ramadan.
The initiative comes within the framework of the ministry’s efforts over the past years to meet citizens and residents’ needs of consumer goods at reduced prices during the holy month, when spending on food commodities traditionally increases.
The initiative covers basic commodities consumed during Ramadan, such as flour, sugar, rice, pasta, Harees, oil, milk, and other food and non-food items whose consumption increases during the holy month.
As per the list, Baladna UHT milk full fat - 1 litre will be available at QR5, Al Waha fresh chicken - 800gm at QR13.25, Doux frozen whole chicken – 1 kg at QR11 and Punjab Garden basmati rice - 5kg pack will be sold at QR29. New prices of Yara Sunflower oil - 1.8 litre will be QR11.75 and QFM hareesh - 2kg will cost QR6.25 and QFM flour number 1 - 5kg will be available at QR16.
Al Waha eggs 30pcs will be available at QR13, Rayyan Water 6x1.5 litre at QR6.25, QFM Flour 5kg pack at QR16 and Kuwait Flour for all purpose 5kg pack will cost at QR21. Kohinoor everyday Basmati rice 5kg pack will cost QR29, Best Choice Tomato Ketchup 335gm will be priced at QR2, Delicio Ketchup 500gm at QR6.25, Nezo salt 1kg pack at QR2.25, Pearl Dishwash 1 liter bottle at QR7 and Al Douha salt 1kg pack will cost QR1.5.
The Ministry has been communicating and coordinating with suppliers to identify commodities that witness increased demand during the holy month in a bid to offer these goods at the most appropriate prices.
The list of discounted consumer goods has been circulated to all major shopping malls in the country, and is accessible to consumers through the Ministry’s website and social network pages. The Ministry stressed that it will not tolerate any violations of the Consumer Protection Law and its regulations, and will intensify its inspection campaigns to crack down on violations. The Ministry said it will refer those who violate laws and ministerial decrees to competent authorities, who will in turn take appropriate action against perpetrators in order to protect consumer rights.
The Ministry urged the public to report any violation of the resolution’s provisions, and said it receives complaints and suggestions through its various channels.

Prices of 500 plus consumer goods slashed for Ramadan

  25 Apr 2019 - 16:35
Description: Prices of 500 plus consumer goods slashed for Ramadan
Customers shopping during a promotional event. (file photo)

The Peninsula / QNA

Doha: The Ministry of Economy and Industry issued Thursday a list comprising of more than 500 commodities that will be sold at reduced prices on the occasion of the holy month of Ramadan.
The initiative is done in coordination with major supermarkets and will start from today until the end of Ramadan. This comes in line with the Ministry's commitments that to initiatives that help provide the needs of citizens and residents of consumer goods at reduced prices during this holy month, where spending on these items typically increases.
As per the list 503 items will be available for reduced price.
Under the revised price list, Baladna UHT milk full fat - 1 litre will be available at QR5, Al Waha fresh chicken - 800G at QR13.25, Doux frozen whole chicken – 1 kg at QR11, Punjab Garden basmati rice - 5kg at 29.
New prices of Yara Sunflower oil - 1.8 litre will be QR11.75 and QFM hareesh - 2kg will cost QR6.25 and QFM flour number 1 - 5kg will be available at QR16.  (The full MEC Price list here)
This year's list includes all essential consumer goods consumed during this holy month, such as flour, sugar, rice, macaroni, rice, milk, and other commodities, food and non-food items that are consumed in the holy month.
The Ministry said in a statement today that it communicated with all suppliers and agreed with them on the types of goods that see increase in demand in the holy month and provide them with the best and most appropriate prices. It noted that the list was provided to all major supermarkets in the State and posted on the ministry's website and all its social networking sites.The ministry will hold intensive and surprise inspection campaigns before and during Ramadan.

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah Orders Enforcement Of Ban On Rice Cultivation

Description: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah orders enforcement of ban on rice cultivation

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has directed all divisional commissioners to ensure implementation of complete ban on Rice Cultivation on perennial canals so that the area could be saved from waterlogging, salinity and seepage

KARACHI, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - APP - 26th Apr, 2019 ) :Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has directed all divisional commissioners to ensure implementation of complete ban on Rice Cultivation on perennial canals so that the area could be saved fromwaterlogging, salinity and seepage.
This he said while presiding over a high-level meeting here at Chief Minister House, said a statement on Friday.
The chief minister said that the cultivation of rice on perennial canals such as Ghotki Feeder, Rohri Canal and Nara Canal was causing waterlogging, salinity, seepage and damage to land. He said that a notification on this had already been issued.
He said that rice was a high delta crop with water requirement of 70-acres inches compared to cotton and other Kharif crops.
He further said that water requirement for cotton crop was 36-acre inches compared to cotton crop the rice cultivation need about 94 percent more irrigation water for one acre.
It was pointed out in the meeting that North-Western canal and Dadu canal were designed for dry crops but cultivation of rice had been allowed there for food security.
The chief minister directed Commissioner Hyderabad Abbas Baloch to talk to the growers of Dadu Canal and convince them to switch over to low delta crops.
This is the time they have to switch over to low delta and high yield crops due to water shortage and waterlogging issue, he said.
It was pointed out that cotton sowing in Sindh starts in May and rice cultivation starts in June, the chief minister directed the Irrigation department to release water to the perennial canals in May so that they start sowing cotton.
If water supplies are delayed then the growers would opt for rice, he added.
The chief minister constituted a committee of Irrigation, Agriculture and Revenue Departments' Secretaries to work out a detailed plan for release of irrigational water and launch a drive to convince growers to switch over to low delta crops.
Moreover, the Agriculture Department was directed to guide and facilitate the growers for switching over to other crops.
It may be noted that rice is the second largest cereal crop of Sindh in terms of area and production. Sindh contributes 23.6 percent in area and 38 percent in production of rice at national level.
The meeting was specially attended by MNA Khursheed Shah while Agriculture Minister Ismail Rahu, Irrigation Minister Nasir Shah,Sepcial Assitant to Chife Minister Ashfaq Memon, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Sajid Jamal Abro, Secretary Irrigation Jamal Shah, Secretary Agriculture Special, Special Secretary Irrigation Aslam Ansari and Commissioner Karachi Iftikhar Shahlwani were also present.

Iran oil sanctions may hit India’s basmati rice industry

Given the scale of basmati rice exports to Iran, a disruption in sales to this market can have a severe adverse impact on the basmati rice industry.

By Sutanuka Ghosal, ET Bureau|
Apr 25, 2019, 05.59 PM IST
Description: Basmati-getty-1200BSE
Kolkata: The recent announcement of withdrawal of waiver, which allowed India to continue to import crude oil from Iran despite imposition of trade sanctions on Iran, by the US government in the first week of May has led to uncertainty over India importing crude oil from Iran. This can in turn skittle the exports of commodities including basmati rice. Given the scale of basmati rice exports to Iran, a disruption in sales to this market can have a severe adverse impact on the basmati rice industry, observed ICRA on Thursday. Deepak Jotwani, Assistant Vice President, ICRA said: “Iran has remained a major export destination for Indian Basmati rice and the industry’s concentration on Iran has only magnified in FY2019. Discontinuation of crude oil imports from Iran can lead to issues on recovery of outstanding dues for the Basmati rice shipments already made, hampering the financial position of such exporters. Moreover, this issue can impact the industry as a whole and even the players who do not export to Iran. Given the share of Basmati rice exports to Iran, any moderation in sales to this market can have a depressing impact on the Basmati rice prices globally. This can severely impact the industry performance, especially considering that prices of the raw material i.e. Basmati paddy have firmed up in recent times, resulting in industry participants carrying high cost inventory. Additionally, the government’s policy stance on trade with Iran, post withdrawal of the waiver, will have a strong bearing on the prospects of the Basmati rice industry in the current fiscal.”

Iran has remained the largest importer of basmati rice from India in recent years, accounting for 32% of the total basmati rice exports from India in 11 month of FY19. During this period, Iran has imported basmati rice worth Rs. 9,204 crore (12.7 lakh MT), significantly higher than Rs. 5,830 crore (8.8 lakh MT) during FY2019. This surge in demand from Iran is explained, to some extent, by pre-emptive buying by Iran due to the uncertainty over its global trade in light of the imposition of trade sanctions by United States in November 2018.

The US government had parallelly granted waivers to eight countries including India, allowing them to continue to import crude oil from Iran. The Indian government, in order to comply with the condition that forbids direct fund transfers to Iran, introduced the rupee payment mechanism and identified two banks – IDBI Bank and UCO Bank for the same.
 Under this mechanism Indian refiners who import crude oil from Iran, deposit the payment for the same in rupee terms in escrow accounts held with these banks. The banks use these funds to release payments to Indian exporters, which are exporting essential commodities such as agro products, pharmaceuticals, etc. As a result, uncertainty (specially related to payments) regarding trade between India and Iran eased to some extent, leading to a surge in Basmati rice exports to Iran from December 2018 onwards - Rs. 3,680 crore in three-month period (December-February) as against Rs. 5,528 crore for eight-month period (April-November) in FY2019.

However, the US government has recently announced that the waiver extended earlier will be withdrawn in the first week of May. India is trying to push for an extension of the waiver; however, in case the same does not materialize, it may discontinue import of crude oil from Iran. In absence of sufficient imports from Iran, payment recovery for exports of commodities like Basmati rice, faces high uncertainty. It may be noted that Indian crude oil imports from Iran were to the tune of Rs. 70,000 crore in FY2018 against which total exports were around Rs. 17,000 crore.
Iran oil sanctions may hit India’s basmati rice industry
Given the scale of basmati rice exports to Iran, a disruption in sales to this market can have a severe adverse impact on the basmati rice industry.  Kolkata: The recent announcement of withdrawal of waiver, which allowed India to continue to import crude oil from Iran despite imposition of trade sanctions on Iran, by the US government in the first week of May has led to uncertainty over India importing crude oil from Iran. This can in turn skittle the exports of commodities including basmati rice. Given the scale of basmati rice exports to Iran, a disruption in sales to this market can have a severe adverse impact on the basmati rice industr ..
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Agri chief reaffirms rice self-sufficiency goal
Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - April 26, 2019 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines — Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol has not given up on his dream of seeing the Philippines achieve 100 percent rice self-sufficiency.
“I still believe and am deeply convinced that we can still be able to achieve rice sufficiency,” Piñol said during the Department of Agriculture (DA)’s second quarter national management committee meeting.
“Our  adoption rate of hybrid at inbred seeds is only 60 percent, but we are already hitting 19 million metric tons,” he said.
Apart from this, Piñol is optimistic the country will be able to produce enough rice because farmers are provided with good seeds, irrigation and fertilizer.
It would be recalled in February, Piñol conceded that the country would not achieve 100 percent rice self-sufficiency rate during his term.
Based on latest government data, the country’s rice self-sufficiency rate was 93.44 percent in 2017, while import dependency ratio was 6.56 percent.
Piñol is banking on the annual P10 billion Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) from the tariffication system. It also gets  P7 billion from the regular fund to achieve the required sufficiency production volume of 21 million MT of palay.
The DA will utilize P3 billion of the RCEF for the procurement of good seeds which will be given for free to the farmers.
According to Piñol, 1.2 million hectares of farmlands will be planted to good seeds, while an additional 600,000 hectares to hybrid rice.
Local rice production declined to 19.05 million MT last year due to the series of typhoons that hit the country.
Industry stakeholders warned that with the liberalization of rice, import dependency may further spike to as much as 20 percent in the long run.

China to sign MoU on expanding Cambodian rice import quota

April 26, 2019
Sum Manet / Khmer Times 

China will agree to buy 400,000 tonnes of Cambodian rice in a memorandum of understanding that will be signed tomorrow in Beijing, according to the Cambodian Ministry of Commerce.
The agreement will be signed by local company Green Trade, who will be representing the Cambodian Ministry of Commerce, and COFCO, China’s largest food processor, during a forum on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
“Led by Prime Minister Hun Sen, the two sides will sign a MoU at the second forum of the Belt and Road Initiative to be held in Beijing on April 27,” the statement reads.
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According to the ministry’s statement, China agreed to buy 400,000 tonnes of jasmine, fragrant, and white rice from Cambodia from August 2019 to December 2020.
It adds that the memorandum will become effective after the two parties implement a previous agreement, signed on Jan 2018, to sell 300,000 tonnes of rice.
Hun Lak, vice president of the Cambodia Rice Federation, said the agreement is great news for the sector.
“It will allow us to expand trade with China,” he said.
“In 2018, we signed a similar MoU with China to export 300,000 tonnes of rice,” he said, noting that Cambodia was not able to fulfill that quota.
. .
“Because we exported to other countries, we did not have enough rice to supply China to meet the quota,” he said.
“This time, we will try to save more rice to send to China so that we can meet that quota.”
The expansion of the import quota for Cambodian rice was announced by Chinese president Xi Jinping during a meeting with Mr Hun Sen in January.
The announcement came a few days after the European Union imposed tariffs on Cambodian Indica rice.
Mr Xi also said China will strive to boost trade with Cambodia to $10 billion by 2023. Bilateral trade is currently at $5.6 billion.
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Cambodia exported 75,214 metric tonnes of milled rice to China during the first quarter of 2019, a 59 percent rise compared to the same period last year, according to the Secretariat of One Window Service for Rice Export Formality.
From January to March, China was the biggest buyer of Cambodian rice. It accounted for 44 percent of Cambodia’s total rice exports.

Increased Chinese rice exports MoU to be signed at 2nd BRF

 | Publication date 26 April 2019 | 09:08 ICT
Prime Minister Hun Sen is greeted upon arriving in Beijing, China on Thursday as he leads a delegation to attend the 2nd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. HUN SEN’S FACEBOOK
Prime Minister Hun Sen is set to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on increased rice quotas with China at the 2nd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing, according to a statement on Wednesday from the Ministry of Commerce.
Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak, through state-owned rice exporter Green Trade Company, discussed rice quotas with Chinese firm China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corporation on April 12, the statement said.
The purpose of the talks was to promote Cambodian rice exports to the international market in line with government policies and strengthen bilateral trade cooperation between Cambodia and China.
The statement said the MoU, scheduled to be signed on Saturday, is set to outline that China has agreed to buy jasmine rice, fragrant rice, white rice and broken rice from the Kingdom at a 400,000-tonne quota starting August 2019 until the end of December 2020.
The Kingdom’s previous quota of 300,000 tonnes of rice exports to China will be completed by the end of this year, the statement added.
Cambodia Rice Federation vice-president Hun Lak told The Post on Thursday that the MoU is good news for the sector as Cambodian rice exports to the EU have become subject to tariffs this year.
“The additional quota provided by China will help balance Cambodian rice exports to the international market,” he said.
A Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries report shows that the Kingdom’s rice exports in the first quarter of this year was 170,821 tonnes, up six per cent compared to the same period last year.
Lak expects rice exports this year to be higher than last year due to two significant factors – the additional quota from China and an undeterred export volume to the EU despite the recently imposed taxes.
China has become a major market for Cambodian rice, made only more significant with the Kingdom losing its access to duty-free rice exports to the EU on January 17 for a three-year period following complaints from Italian and Spanish rice producers.
Ministry of Commerce spokesman Long Kemvichet said the new quota will only start once Cambodia has fulfilled the old quota.
“If we complete the existing [300,000-tonne quota] before schedule, the new [quota] will come into effect immediately without having to wait until the end of the year,” he said.
According to Kemvichet, China is currently the only country that the Kingdom can export rice to duty-free.
Cambodia only managed to export 170,154 tonnes of rice to China last year – just more than half of the 300,000-tonne quota – while it exported 269,127 tonnes to the EU.
The Kingdom’s total rice exports last year amounted to 626,225 tonnes, a slight decrease from 2017’s 635,679 tonnes.
Contact author: Hin Pisei
Nagpur Foodgrain Prices Open- April 26, 2019
APRIL 26, 2019 / 12:52 PM * * * * * *
Nagpur Foodgrain Prices – APMC/Open Market-April 25, 2018 Nagpur, April 25 (Reuters) – Gram and tuar prices reported higher in Nagpur Agriculture Produce and Marketing Committee (APMC) on good demand from local millers amid weak supply from producing regions. Fresh hike in Madhya Pradesh gram prices and enquiries from South-based millers also helped to push up prices here. About 2,800 bags of gram and 1,300 bags of tuar reported for auction, according to sources.

* Desi gram raw recovered in open market here on increased buying support from local


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

traders amid ample stock in ready position.

* Moong Chamki firmed up in open market on good buying support

from local traders amid weak arrival from producing belts.

* In Akola, Tuar New – 5,300-5,450, Tuar dal (clean) – 7,800-8,100, Udid Mogar (clean)

– 6,500-7,500, Moong Mogar (clean) 8,000-8,600, Gram – 4,400-4,550, Gram Super best

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

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

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

FOODGRAINS Available prices Previous close

Gram Auction 3,820-4,280 3,800-4,240

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

Tuar Auction 4,400-5,460 4,400-5,400

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

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

Masoor Auction n.a. 2,200-2,500

Wheat Lokwan Auction 1,750-1,876 1,700-1,870

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

Gram Super Best Bold 5,800-6,200 5,800-6,200

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 4,500-4,600 4,500-4,600

Desi gram Raw 4,500-4,600 4,450-4,550

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

Tuar Fataka Best-New 8,100-8,200 8,100-8,200

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

Tuar Dal Best Phod-New 7,500-7,700 7,500-7,700

Tuar Dal Medium phod-New 7,000-7,400 7,000-7,400

Tuar Gavarani New 5,700-5,800 5,700-5,800

Tuar Karnataka 5,800-5,950 5,800-5,950

Masoor dal best 5,500-5,600 5,500-5,600

Masoor dal medium 5,100-5,300 5,100-5,300

Masoor n.a. n.a.

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

Moong Mogar Medium 6,800-7,500 6,800-7,500

Moong dal Chilka New 6,900-7,800 6,900-7,800

Moong Mill quality n.a. n.a.

Moong Chamki best 8,100-9,000 8,000-9,000

Udid Mogar best (100 INR/KG) (New) 7,500-8,500 7,500-8,500

Udid Mogar Medium (100 INR/KG) 6,000-7,000 6,000-7,000

Udid Dal Black (100 INR/KG) 4,300-4,500 4,300-4,500

Mot (100 INR/KG) 5,550-7,050 5,550-7,050

Lakhodi dal (100 INR/kg) 4,800-5,000 4,800-5,000

Watana Dal (100 INR/KG) 5,600-5,800 5,600-5,800

Watana Green Best (100 INR/KG) 6,700-6,900 6,700-6,900

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

Wheat Mill quality (100 INR/KG) 1,900-2,000 1,900-2,000

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) 3,300-3,800 3,300-3,800

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

Rice BPT new (100 INR/KG) 3,000-3,300 3,000-3,300

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) 2,400-2,500 2,400-2,500

Rice HMT best (100 INR/KG) 4,300-4,800 4,300-4,800

Rice HMT medium (100 INR/KG) 3,800-4,100 3,800-4,100

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

Rice Shriram best(100 INR/KG) 5,500-5,800 5,500-5,800

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

Rice Shriram New (100 INR/KG) 4,400-4,600 4,400-4,600

Rice Basmati best (100 INR/KG) 9,000-14,000 9,000-14,000

Rice Basmati Medium (100 INR/KG) 5,000-7,500 5,000-7,500

Rice Chinnor best 100 INR/KG) 6,600-7,500 6,500-7,200

Rice Chinnor medium (100 INR/KG) 6,400-6,600 6,200-6,400

Rice Chinnor New (100 INR/KG) 4,800-5,000 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. 44.3 degree Celsius, minimum temp. 28.5 degree Celsius Rainfall : Nil FORECAST: Partly cloudy sky. Maximum and minimum temperature likely to be around 45 degree Celsius and 29 degree Celsius. Note: n.a.—not available (For oils, transport costs are excluded from plant delivery prices, but included in market prices)

Boro harvest begins amid falling rice price

12:00 AM, April 25, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:06 AM, April 25, 2019
Prices have been falling for the last several months due to good harvests in the previous three crop seasons. Star/file

Farmers have started harvesting the biggest paddy crop, boro, in various parts of the country but the declining prices of the staple have stoked concerns of losses.
The prices of rice have been falling for the last several months owing to good harvests in the previous three crop seasons.
On April 22, the wholesale price of coarse grain of boro rice was Tk 26-Tk 28 per kg in Dhaka Sadar, down from Tk 27.50-Tk 29 a month earlier. Three months ago, it was selling for Tk 30-Tk 32, according to the Department of Agricultural Marketing.
This time last year, the coarse boro grain was selling at Tk 37-Tk 38 a kg at the wholesale level.
And millers say the prices are likely to fall further once the freshly harvested rice is added to the existing stock of 12.68 lakh tonnes.
“There is plenty of stock of rice and appetite for the cereal from traders is low,” said Nirod Boron Saha, a rice and paddy wholesaler and commission agent at Naogaon, a major rice trading hub in the northwest.
Amid the scenario, farmers in northeast Bangladesh, particularly those regions marked by backwater swamp, have recently started harvesting paddy as a precautionary measure to sudden onrushes of water, which is expected soon.
“The market is down and the presence of buyers is still low,” said Jyotimohon Das, a farmer in Sunamganj, located in northeast Bangladesh.
At present, the just-harvested coarse paddy is selling for about Tk 500 per maund, which is less than last year.
Take the case of Rajib Talukder, a grower in Netrokona, who could bag only 16 maunds of paddy from nearly two acres of land. He sold each maund of paddy for Tk 475, which is almost 21 percent lower than last year.
Farmers have planted paddy on 49.33 lakh hectares area in the current boro season, according to the Department of Agricultural Extension.KM Layek Ali, general secretary of the Bangladesh Auto Major and Husking Mills Association, expects the overall yield would be good this season if there is no natural disaster.
In such a scenario, the prices of paddy are unlikely to cross Tk 500 a maund, he said, while demanding the government allow export of two lakh tonnes of fine rice.
“Otherwise, the government will have to buy more rice to protect growers from losses this season,” he said.
The government earlier announced it would purchase 12.50 lakh tonnes of rice during the current boro season.
However, Saha said the government could export rice instead of allowing the private sector to do the job.

Asia Rice-Vietnam rates gain on fears Mekong water woes may hurt crops

Shoaib Ur RehmanApril 26, 2019
BENGALURU: Rice export prices in Vietnam rose for the first time in six weeks as domestic buying picked up and fears of water scarcity in the country’s rice bowl grew, while weaker local currencies weighed on rates in other top Asian exporting hubs.In Vietnam, rates for 5 percent broken rice rose to $360-$370 a tonne on Thursday from $360 last week.
“Demand is higher and exporters are rushing to buy rice from farmers to fulfil the orders signed earlier this year,” a trader based in Ho Chi Minh City said.
Prices also rose because the Mekong Delta provinces are facing water shortages as farmers start sowing for the summer-autumn crop, another trader said.
In India, the world’s leading exporter, the 5 percent broken parboiled variety  fell to around $375-$378 per tonne this week from last week’s $377-$380 range.
“Demand is weak from African, as well as Asian buyers, even after reducing prices,” said an exporter based at Kakinada in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.
The aggressive selling of old inventories by China to African buyers was also weighing on prices, exporters said. A dip in the rupee, which fell to a seven-week low on Thursday, was another factor prompting exporters to cut prices.
India’s rice exports for April-February dropped 9.4 percent from a year earlier to 10.57 million tonnes, as leading buyer Bangladesh trimmed its purchases due to a bumper local harvest, a government body said.
Meanwhile, faced with falling prices, officials in Bangladesh reiterated that the country was considering a review of its long-standing ban on rice exports.
“We need to protect farmers’ interests, at the same time we can’t let the prices rise,” a senior official at the country’s food ministry said.
Bangladesh, traditionally the world’s fourth biggest rice producer, banned overseas shipments of some common rice varieties in May 2008 after a spike in domestic prices. It banned all rice exports a year later.
Thailand’s benchmark 5-percent broken rice  prices were quoted at $385-$388 a tonnes, free on board Bangkok, from $393-$411 last week, mainly due to the weakening of the baht against the US dollar.
“Despite the drop in prices, Thai rice remains less competitive compared with other exporters like India and Vietnam,” a Bangkok-based trader said.
With the potential for a drought this year, supply remains a concern for Thai rice traders.