Monday, May 06, 2019

6th May,2019 Daily Global Regional Local Rice E-Newsletter

Eating rice prevents obesity, new study says
A new study revealed that eating rice prevents obesity. The findings showed that an increase in rice intake could reduce the global prevalence of obesity by 1%, according to the Ndtv Food website.
“The associations observed suggest that the obesity rate is low in countries that consume rice as a staple food. Therefore, Japanese food or an Asian-style diet based on rice can help prevent obesity. Given the rising levels of obesity worldwide, eating more rice should be recommended to protect against obesity even in Western countries,” explained Tomoko Imai, lead author of the study presented at the European Congress on Obesity.
The results indicated that those who include more dietary fiber and grains have less body weight, cholesterol and fewer noncommunicable diseases compared to those who have lower levels of consumption of these foods.
The team examined the relative consumption and energy consumption of all rice products in the diets of 136 countries with more than 1 million people using data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
Data were analysed along with obesity prevalence, average number of years spent on education, percentage of population over 65, gross domestic product (GDP) per capita and health expenditure, and countries were divided between low and high consumption groups.
The analysis revealed that the information studied was significantly lower in countries that consumed high levels of rice (Bangladesh, Lao PDR, Cambodia, Vietnam and Indonesia) compared to countries with lower rice consumption (France, United Kingdom, United States, Spain, Canada and Australia).
The scientists then noted that eating rice can prevent weight gain and that the fiber, nutrients and plant compounds in whole grains increase the feeling of fullness and help avoid eating fattening foods.
“Rice is also low in fat and has a relatively low postmeal blood glucose level that suppresses insulin secretion. However, there are also reports that people who overeat rice are more likely to develop metabolic syndrome and diabetes. Therefore, an adequate amount of rice intake can prevent obesity,” Imai said.
They concluded by stressing that the study was observational only and that the topic needs more research.
·       MAY 6, 2019 0
·       MAY 6, 2019 0
·       MAY 6, 2019 0
Top of Form
 Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.
Bottom of Form

Cambodian rice manufactures find buyers in China as EU increases pressure

Updated: 06-05-2019 12:40 IST 
The EU in January imposed tariffs for three years on rice from Cambodia and Myanmar to curb an increase in imports from those two countries. Image Credit: Pixabay
Cambodian rice exports to Chinahave surged after the European Unionimposed duties on imports of the grain from the Southeast Asian nation, the World Banksaid on Monday.
The EU in January imposed tariffs for three years on rice from Cambodia and Myanmar to curb an increase in imports from those two countries and to protect EU producers such as Italy. Cambodia has filed a challenge with the European Court of Justice against the duties, saying the so-called "safeguard" measure did not relate to any unfair behaviour and was based on broad generalisations and flawed use of data.
After the tariffs were imposed, Cambodia's milled rice exports to the EU in February reached only 10,080 tons, a 57.8 per cent decline from the previous month, the bank said in its country economic update. Cambodia exported 270,000 tones or 43 per cent of its total milled rice exports to the EU in 2018, the World Bank said.
"Overall, the decline of Cambodia's rice exports to the EU was more than offset by the increase in the country's rice exports to the Chinese market," the bank said in its report. Cambodia's rice exports to China grew by 45.6 per cent, the bank said, and it managed to increase its overall exports of rice by 2 per cent during the first two months of the year.
Cambodia at present gets a trade preference from the EU known as Everything But Arms (EBA), making all Cambodian exports duty free except arms. The EU accounts for more than one-third of Cambodia's exports, including garments, footwear and bicycles.
In February, the EU started an 18-month process that could lead to a suspension of Cambodia's EBA status over its record on human rights and democracy. The World Bank said if the EBA is suspended, Cambodia would see a maximum decline in exports to the EU of $654 million.
(With inputs from agencies.)

Re- Rice Smugglers Are PatrioticPublished 6 hours ago on 6 hours ago By Ilyasu Nazifi I have read with consternation and bewilderment, the shockingly disgusting article written by one Feyi Fawehinmi and published in the Guardian newspaper edition of 30 April 2019, titled ‘Rice Smugglers are patriotic’. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t have wasted a second of my valuable time responding to Fawehinmi’s bunkum if not because the writer made desperate attempt to mislead the public. Obviously, the greedy, lazy and wicked rice smuggling cartel in Nigeria did a very bad job of hiring Mr Fawehinmi to defend their evil and nefarious agenda of destroying the country’s economy and harming public health through the importation of toxic rice. I wouldn’t want to dissipate my energy joining issues with Fawehinmi because his article failed to provide any cogent reasons to justify his blind support for rice smugglers but there is need to set the records straight for a number of reasons:One. Research has shown that Nigeria spends at least $22 billion on food importation annually out of which about $1.6 billion or roughly N576 billion is spent on rice importation alone. This humongous amount is being churned out to foreign countries particularly India and Thailand at a time Nigeria is still struggling to rebuild its foreign reserves. Any sensible Nigerian would understand that instead of wasting our hard-earned forex to enrich countries that do not have our best interests at heart, the federal government ought to re-channel the forex to support millions of local rice farmers and millers to produce enough rice that can feed the entire country. Afterall, Nigeria has more than 84 million hectares of arable lands from which at least five million hectares are suitable for growing rice. Out of this number, only 3.2 million hectares are being utilized to produce 3.7 million metric tons of rice yearly which covers 50 percent of total rice consumption across the country. But instead of encouraging the federal government to deploy more funds to increase the utilization of the remaining 1.8 million hectares or even more lands to boost rice production, people like Fawehinmi, clearly out of stark ignorance are asking the government to open borders to enable the importation of toxic rice that ends up killing us gradually. Second. Does Mr. Fawehinmi know that in 2010 Nigeria spent over $1 billion to import 10-year-old expired rice from India while its own rice harvest was allowed to rot away due to lack of roads to markets and processing plants, according to Economist magazine? If, God forbid, Mr Fawehinmi or any of his family members were to be afflicted by one of the numerous deadly diseases associated with consumption of toxic foreign rice, we wouldn’t hear him defending smugglers, but would instead turn around and blame the government for not protecting the country’s citizens by allowing smugglers to have a field day importing poison through porous borders! ? But now that patriotic Nigerians are working to prevent such undesirable occurrences by establishing rice processing plants in order to ensure Nigerians consume healthy nutritious rice, some people are fighting such noble efforts due to selfish interest and the lustful desire to accumulate wealth effortlessly by simply smuggling rice into Nigeria. Only in April this year the government of Ivory Coast destroyed over 18,000 MT of foreign rice after test confirmed it was unfit for human consumption. The rice which was exported from Myanmar (Thailand’s neighbour) was refused entry by coastal countries of guinea, Ghana and Togo. It is such kind of ‘cheap’ rice that even poorer African countries are destroying that Fawehinmi wants smugglers to bring to the tables of Nigerians destroying present and all future generations with unnamed diseases Third. Talking about the financial support being extended to rice farmers and other crop producers by the federal government through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), like the N150 billion anchor-borrower’s scheme, it is out of genuine concern over the dangers of rice smuggling and the need to boost employment and reduce poverty that the government conceived the plan. Perhaps, Mr Fawehinmi did not know that Nigeria saved a total of $800 million in foreign exchange as a result of its efforts to boost rice production locally and empower farmers instead on senselessly giving away the money to India or Thailand in return for expired toxic rice imports. It is because of these laudable efforts that the rice smuggling syndicate who used to make money at the expense of our collective health and development are fighting the government. But my advise to them is to invest in rice production so as to enjoy whatever government support they can get instead of fighting everyone else to protect their illegal and unpatriotic smuggling business. Do they ever imagine that India, Thailand or any other country would part with their hard-earned forex to import anything from Nigeria? Certainly not. Fourth. Fawehinmi in his article accused Nigerian rice millers and processors of selling their product at higher rates than the foreign but what he does not understand is extent of wickedness of the rice smugglers he is defending so passionately. What he does not know is that these evil and morally bankrupt smugglers would smuggle toxic rice and then repackaged it in bags of local rice millers and sell them at higher price giving buyers the impression that they are buying local rice! Haba, how can you in good conscience defend this wickedness? Whatever Mr Fawehinmi and his smuggling friends think, rice production in Nigeria has come to stay and no amount of propaganda can stop that. Even if there are differences in prices of local and foreign rice, it is pertinent to note that while rice production and processing are heavily subsidized in rice exporting countries, that is yet to happen in Nigeria. And what less do you expect from price crash by the exporting countries in order to get rid of old unhygienic stock of rice that has been stored for ages in silos and warehouses under indescribably horrible conditions. Our rice industry is at infancy stage in an unregulated market and such markets develop through the cycles of availability (at premium prices), competition (at competitive prices) and subsequently regulations of competition and consumer protection by authorities. It’s a natural trend for any ‘emerging’ market and must be allowed to take its course. Afterall, rice processors have created and are creating millions of jobs that are helping to take jobless youths off the streets, while also safeguarding our health through production of rice in a healthy and hygienic environment. Besides, I know many of them who out of sheer patriotism build factories in remote paddy production areas and had to bring infrastructures such as roads, drainages, electricity and other amenities to the communities with zero government support. If the Rice Processors Association of Nigeria (RIPAN) is a cartel, it certainly must be a patriotic one! When Nigerian plunged into recession in 2016 due to low oil prices and the mind-blowing mismanagement of public funds, only a few people knew the monumental role agriculture played in lifting the country out of its economic woes two years later.  In March 2018, the African and European diplomats commended Nigeria’s agricultural sector for its role in drawing the country out of recession. According to Mr Ibi Ikpoki, representing the European Union trade delegation, the Nigeria agriculture sector has played a huge role in the country’s exit from recession. “The Nigerian agricultural sector has also played a crucial role in job creation, women and youth empowerment and contributed immensely to poverty alleviation. “Therefore, I am delighted today that agriculture in Nigeria is gradually evolving from being seen as a mere activity to a business, moving primary production to value addition. “This is why this annual exhibition continues to be relevant for the development of the agri-business and packaging sectors among others,” he had said.   –Nazifi sent this piece from Kano RELATED TOPICS:

Read More at:

Bioengineering Increases Rice Yield By 30 Percent

AsianScientist (Jan. 16, 2019) – A new bioengineering approach for boosting photosynthesis in rice plants could increase grain yield by up to 27 percent, according to a study in Molecular Plant. The approach, called GOC bypass, enriches plant cells with CO2 that would otherwise be lost through a metabolic process called photorespiration.
Bioengineering improvement of rice, a staple food crop worldwide, has high practical importance, particularly in light of the need for increased crop productivity due to world population growth and the reduction of cultivable soils. But increases in yield for rice and several other major crops have been sparse in recent years and crop yield seems to be reaching a ceiling of maximal potential.
The main genetic approach for increasing the yield potential of major crops focuses on photosynthesis, the biochemical process in which CO2 and water are converted into O2 and energy-rich sugar compounds that fuel plant growth.
One way to increase photosynthesis is to bypass photorespiration, a light-dependent process in which O2 is taken up and CO2 released. Abolishing photorespiration could result in up to a 55 percent increase in photosynthesis, placing photorespiration on center stage in attempts to improve photosynthetic efficiency and yield.
Over the past few years, three photorespiratory bypasses have been introduced into plants, and two of these led to observable increases in photosynthesis and biomass yield. But most of the experiments were carried out using the model organism Arabidopsis, and the increases have typically been observed under environment-controlled, low-light, and short-day conditions.
“To the best of our knowledge, our study is the first that tested photorespiration bypass in rice,” said co-author Professor He Zheng-Hui of San Francisco State University, US.
In the present study, the researchers developed a strategy to essentially divert CO2 from photorespiration to photosynthesis. They converted a molecule called glycolate, which is produced via photorespiration, to CO2 using three rice enzymes: glycolate oxidase, oxalate oxidase and catalase (GOC). To deploy GOC bypass, the researchers introduced genes encoding the enzymes into rice chloroplasts, organelles where photosynthesis takes place in plant cells.
As a result, the photorespiratory rate was suppressed by 18–31 percent compared to normal and the net photosynthetic rate increased by 15–22 percent, primarily due to higher concentrations of cellular CO2 used for photosynthesis. Compared to plants that were not genetically engineered, the GOC plants were consistently greener and larger, with an above-ground dry weight that was 14–35 percent higher. Moreover, starch grains grew in size by 100 percent and increased in number per cell by 37 percent. In the spring seeding season, grain yield improved by 7–27 percent.
Moving forward, the researchers plan to optimize the performance of the engineered plants in the field by putting the same metabolic bypass in other rice varieties. They would also like to apply the same approach to other crop plants such potatoes.
“Our engineered plants could be deployed in fields at a larger scale after further evaluations by independent researchers and government agencies,” said senior study author Professor Peng Xin-Xiang of South China Agricultural University, China.
“Although we don’t expect this approach would affect the taste of these plants, both the nutritional quality and taste are yet to be comprehensively evaluated by independent labs and governmental agencies.”

The article can be found at: .
Source: ; Photo: Shutterstock.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.

15,000-year-old rice
By Kim Ji-myung
In a lecture on Korean history for foreign CEOs in 2011, I showed a photo of a few samples of the earliest cultivated rice grains which were discovered in 1998 at Soro-ri, a small village in central Korea. Common sense had it then, and still in 2019, that rice farming moved from China to Korea and Japan.  At that time, I was unaware that "Archaeology: Theories, Methods and Practice," a popular archaeology textbook by professor Colin Renfrew and writer Paul Bahn, had already revised the source of rice for mankind from China to Korea since its 2004 edition.  The Soro-ri discovery was first reported by Lee Yung-jo, a professor at Chungbuk National University, and other Korean archaeologists. Radioactive dating of the 59 unearthed burnt grains of rice had pushed back the date for the earliest known cultivation of the plant to somewhere between 14,000 and 15,000 years ago.  Lee claimed the discovery challenged the accepted view that the world's oldest rice was found at the Yellow and Yangtze rivers in China, dating between 10,500 and 11,000 years ago.  The discovery of Soro-ri rice was first reported at local and international conferences in 1999, 2000 and 2001 and at the Fifth World Archaeology Conference (WAC-5) held in 2003 in Washington, D.C. After WAC-5, the theory was widely covered by SCI/TECH, BBC News and the Discovery Channel. The excavations were made between 1997 and 1998 and again in 2001. The area was first noticed in 1994 by a team from the Chungbuk National University Museum during a survey of Paleolithic tools buried in the surface soil.  The samples from the Soro-ri site and three peat layers were sampled and analyzed at both Geochron Lab in the U.S. and AMS Lab at Seoul National University immediately after recovery.  Two recent surprises brought my attention back to the ancient rice of Soro-ri.  The first was that it took 15 years to translate and update the Korean version of the Archaeology textbook, covering the fourth (2004) to seventh (2016) editions.  The second was that the Soro-ri ancient rice story has been largely negated by some of the academic community including Koreans. Most notably, it is bluntly denied in a paper by Korean scholar Ahn Sung-mo.  "(The) argument for the earliest evidence of domesticated rice at the Soro-ri site, 15,000 years ago, is invalid," he claims. He thinks rice appears to have been introduced from China's Liaodong region. Probably because of the continued argument, new radiocarbon measurements for Soro-ri samples were made at the NSF Arizona AMS Laboratory in 2009. Both the ancient rice samples and surrounding peat from the Soro-ri site were dated. The AMS results confirmed that the ages of the rice and peat soil were 12,520±150 and 12,552±90 BP, respectively, according to Lee.  Without much publicity, I found, Lee was honored by the Alumni Association of Yonsei University for his prominent contributions to the world archeology studies by shedding light on the earlier origin of rice.  However, it should be mentioned here that despite all the scholarly communications and media coverage, including the information printed in the textbook, theories and arguments seem to conflict with each other on the origin of rice.  In 2011, a study of the rice genome published in PNAS (Proceedings of National Academy of Science) suggests that the crop was domesticated only once, rather than at multiple times in different places.  The study argues that all known varieties of rice are represented by two distinct sub-species and that rice was first cultivated in China some 9,000 years ago. Another research work, based on genetic data and a "molecular clock" technique, reports on results matching with existing belief of rice domestication in China's Yangtze Valley about 8,000 to 9,000 years ago and in India's Ganges region about 4,000 years ago. It is surprising that this continues to be a controversy a full two decades after the discovery of the Soso-ri rice. Do Korean scholars need better and effective strategies in presenting the validity and credibility of their research to global academia? 
Date: 05-May-2019

Rice-mad Myanmar eyes diversification of crops
Description: A Myanmar woman works to maintain a rice crop in a paddy field on the outskirts of Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, on Wednesday. Photo: IC Opening the lid of her rice cooker, a luxury bought when power finally came to their village in central Myanmar three years ago, Tin Aye scooped out two fat ladles for breakfast. "I cannot go without eating rice. Since the start of the day, all my stomach asks for is rice," said the 52-year-old mother of three, laughing. Myanmar is a nation obsessed with rice. Its people eat an average of 155 kilograms a year, according to a 2016 survey by the country's rice federation and Yezin Agricultural University, ensuring Myanmar has one of the world's highest rates of rice consumption. For half a century, successive leaders anchored agriculture policies on rice. The government used loans, infrastructure, and services to push farmers to grow it and people to eat it, so rice is now woven into the fabric of daily life. In place of "Hello," people greet each other by asking, "Have you had rice?" It wasn't always this way in Myanmar, where diets were once seasonal, diverse - and much more healthy.  But a rice-centric policy that began in the 1960s during the socialist era led people to grow and consume more, said Tin Htut Oo, who has worked in the agricultural ministry and chaired an advisory body to the government. "Our diets, especially in urban areas, are becoming like Western diets. It has become more monotonous," he said. Rice - a starchy, high-calorie grain - accounted for at least one-third of cultivated land in 2017-18 and nearly two-thirds of diets, government data shows. But faced with malnutrition and worsening obesity and dietary-related diseases, the Southeast Asian nation of 54 million people is trying to diversify what it grows and eats. Smart future The problem is not Myanmar's alone. Experts say if the world is to fight a growing malnutrition crisis, agriculture must shift from producing calories, through staples such as rice, to growing nutrients, such as fruits, nuts, vegetables and pulses. Poor diet has overtaken smoking as the world's biggest killer, according to the latest Global Burden of Disease study, causing 20 percent of deaths globally in 2017. Myanmar has embarked on a five-year nutrition plan to alter the nation's eating habits, which includes the need to diversify the nation's agriculture so consumers can access a varied food basket and farmers can increase their income. This includes growing pulses, vegetables and fruits, using better fertilizer and improving livestock production, said Kyaw Swe Lin, director-general at the agricultural ministry's planning department. It would also increase incomes in a country where two-thirds of households work in agriculture. Decades of economic sanctions have affected food quality, safety, and nutrition - and reversing this requires outside help, said Kyaw Swe Lin. In February, Myanmar's government signed an agreement with the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), with agricultural diversification as a major goal. Myanmar observers - from aid workers to economists - said poor infrastructure, resistance to change, laws that encourage rice production, and insecure land tenure all pose challenges. But Kyaw Swe Lin said there was no other choice. "If we don't tackle this now, the impact is going to be very big and very negative." Government support Myanmar's emergence from nearly half a century of military rule less than a decade ago brought glitzy malls, smart phones, fast food, and Western hotel chains. Yet for the country's women and children, particularly in ethnic and border areas, malnutrition persists. One in four children under 5 and one in four adolescent girls are stunted due to chronic malnutrition, according to a government survey. One in three adolescent girls are anemic, mainly due to iron deficiency, while more than one in five women are overweight, said the report published in February. All of this "poses severe risks to diabetes, hypertension, and overall health," said Anna-Lisa Noack, FAO's food security and nutrition policy specialist in Myanmar. A lack of diversified diets is a significant factor. Emerging evidence suggests more than half of the population cannot afford nutrient-rich foods, while consumption of oil, sugar, and processed foods is increasing, she said. In Myanmar, many of the 18,000 plant species so far recorded could be highly nutritious but are neglected, said Min San Thein, deputy director at the agricultural ministry. One of them is zee phyu thee - Burmese gooseberry - which grows wild in the forests and is rich in Vitamin C but is not cultivated, he said. "Nowadays, if you go to villages, you won't see these trees anymore," said Min San Thein, who heads the Myanmar Seed Bank. There are now plans to breed and distribute them in villages, but much more needs to be done to conserve, use, and raise awareness of such species to fight malnutrition, he said. The Seed Bank is also working to expand its conservation work to reflect Myanmar's rich biodiversity, he added. Currently, more than half of the 13,000 seeds stored are rice. Education and innovation, including new ways of consuming protein-laden beans and pulses, are key, said Tin Htut Oo, who now heads the agriculture group in Myanmar's Singapore-listed conglomerate Yoma Strategic Holdings. Farmers, however, have voiced reluctance to grow other crops, citing government support for rice. "We get loans of 150,000 kyats ($99) per acre for rice. We don't get it for other crops," said Kyaw Lin, Tin Aye's husband. Another barrier to growing nutrient-rich but perishable fruits and vegetables is the lack of infrastructure such as refrigeration and transport networks, said Debbie Aung Din, whose company Proximity Designs make low-cost farm products. Tin Aye, the farmer in Thar Yar Su, has no intention of cutting her rice intake but said many villagers, herself included, have started to eat more vegetables after reading warnings about bad diets on social media on their smart phones. "There is more knowledge and awareness now," she said. Newspaper headline: Healthier diet
Date: 05-May-2019

Scientists discovers which cereals our ancestors cultivated

Devdiscourse News Desk Washington Dc India 
Updated: 05-05-2019 19:04 IST 
After mapping the genome of wheat, scientists have reconstructed its breeding history. They examined the genetic diversity of wheat varieties and discovered which cereals our ancestors cultivated, where today's wheat comes from, and what the Cold War has to do with it all. The study 'WHEALBI' was published in the journal Nature Genetics. Image Credit: Wikipedia
After mapping the genome of wheat, scientistshave reconstructed its breeding history. They examined the genetic diversity of wheat varieties and discovered which cereals our ancestorscultivated, where today's wheat comes from, and what the Cold War has to do with it all. The study 'WHEALBI' was published in the journal Nature Genetics.
As the population grows and climate change progresses, food resources could become scarce in future. In view of the impending scenarios, plant breeders are faced with the challenge of improving the yield of crop plants. Scientists analysed the genomes of 480 wheat varieties, including wild grasses, ancient grains and modern high-performance types. To learn about the evolution and cultivation of today's bread wheat, the geneticists also linked the development of wheat to geographic and geopolitical events in human history.
Modern bread wheat originated around 10,000 years ago in the region of modern-day Turkey from a cross between durum wheat and a wild grass (Aegilops tauschii), while the grain we call spelt stems from cultivated emmer and various types of bread wheat. "The occurrence of cultivated plants is closely linked to human migrations over the millennia," said bioinformatician Michael Seidel, along with Daniel Lang one of the lead authors of the study. Both researchers work in the Plant Genome and Systems Biology group (PGSB).
The PGSB team identified three gene pools in the bread-wheat varieties used today that are closely linked to historical events: one from high-yielding varieties domesticated in the near east that spread as part of the green revolution and two separate gene pools from Western and Central Europe. They diverged between 1966 and 1985 as a result of geopolitical and socio-economic separation during the Cold War. With the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989, the wheat lines gradually admixed again, as their genomes reveal.
Even the emergence and expansion of the European Union can be seen in the genome of today's wheat. Wheat lines that used to be cultivated mainly in Central Europe are now used throughout Europe. "These examples demonstrate the influence of humans on the distribution and evolution of crop plants- beyond their actual development into cultivated plants," said Lang.
Knowledge of the genetic diversity of wheat is a prerequisite for optimising modern wheat varieties. Familiarity with the key characteristics for breeding is the essential precondition for rendering future varieties more productive and meeting the demands of a growing world population and imminent climate change. Together with corn and rice, wheat ranks as one of the world's three most important staple foods. Growing wheat in spite of dwindling soil and water resources in potentially challenging climatic conditions could become vital in the future.
Consequently, the researchers involved in the WHEALBI study identified previously unknown genes that influence the yield, flowering time, height and stability of wheat plants. For the corresponding author Georg Haberer of the PGSB, this is just the beginning: "We expect a large number of further studies that will make good use of these findings for breeding research."

Growing rice with less water

Muhammad Abbas ZiaUpdated May 06, 2019

After wheat, rice is the second most important staple of Pakistan. Through exports, it contributes significantly to the country’s exchequer. This is especially true for basmati rice which is known for its aroma and quality, and is a specialty of the country. Rice is grown in all provinces on an area of 7,164 thousand acres. However, it is a water guzzler.

Transplanted puddled rice (TPR) is the preferred mode for growing the crop in Pakistan. A puddled field is one where the soil is ploughed under 10-12 inches of standing water. In TPR, rice seedlings are raised in nurseries till they are 4-6 weeks old, before being transplanted to puddled fields.
Rice is a water loving cereal. It takes about 3,000 to 5,000 litres of water to produce one kilogram of rice. 93.6 per cent of fresh water in Pakistan is consumed by agriculture of which rice accounts for 35pc.
Due to declining water resources and high water requirement of TPR, it is the need of the hour to enhance water-use efficiency and water productivity. Among various technologies, dry direct seeded rice (DSR) is the best option for water conservation.
It takes about 3,000 to 5,000 litres of water to produce one kilogram of rice
In the DSR sowing method, paddy seed is sown directly in well prepared fields through DSR drill, removing the need for seedlings to be raised in a nursery. Through this method, 25-30pc of the water consumed can be saved while using 30pc less fuel. Furthermore, less labour and time is required and optimum plant population can be obtained easily.
In Pakistan, especially in Punjab, DSR sowing method in rice crop is getting popular day by day, with area under DSR gradually increasing. Last year, estimated area under DSR was 114 thousand acres, out of which 104 thousand acres were in Punjab alone.
Factors such as severe water shortage and expensive labour due to industrialisation and urbanisation, has led the rice farming community of Pakistan to want to shift from TPR to DSR sowing technology. But they are unable to do so effectively because of the menace of weeds infestation in DSR.
Weeds are undesirable plants whose removal is essential because they compete with the crop for sunlight, water and nutrients. Weed infestation adversely impacts rice by 15-20pc and can go up to 50pc.
A DSR crop badly infested with weeds can fail entirely. Weeds in rice crop can be categorised into three classes: broad leaved, sedges and grasses weeds.
In the TPR sowing system, weed control is easy as the puddled soil inhibits weeds germination. Whereas, in DSR sowing technology, weed control is very difficult. Since weeds germinate at the same time as rice seedlings, they compete for light and nutrients. Weed competition in DSR is at its peak during the first three weeks.
No doubt, DSR technology is the future of rice in Pakistan. But this future depends on proper weed management, especially from noxious weeds like ghora, madhanas and kallar or bansi grass.
Integrated weed management is a systematic approach in which the control of weeds is achieved by keeps its infestation below economic injury level. This can be done by combining any two or more preventive, cultural and herbicidal weeds management methods.
Crop rotation, mulching of sesbania (jantar) and stale seed bed or double rouni (creating a seedbed weeks before it is due to be sown) are the best methods of cultural control of weeds in DSR system.
However, use of herbicide, such as application of glyphosate, is indispensable. Without herbicidal weed management, appropriate control can’t be achieved.
The writer is an agri services officer at Fauji Fertiliser Company
Published in Dawn, The Business and Finance Weekly, May 6th, 2019

Rice exporters urged to pursue case
KARACHI: The Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (UNISAME) has urged the rice exporters to promptly pursue matters relating to basmati geographical indications (GI) and trademark in the light of the Delhi High Court orders, setting aside pretentious restrictions imposed by the Indian government, a statement said on Saturday.
UNISAME President Zulfikar Thaver said that the judgement of the Delhi High Court had set aside the Indian government's decision to restrain production of basmati only to the Indo-Gangetic plains on the pretense of maintaining the quality and purity of seeds.
The basmati’s geographical indication (GI) was restricted to the Indo-Gangetic region in seven states, which meant that only the rice grown in these specified regions would be termed basmati and the seeds so produced for basmati cultivation could not be grown outside have also been set aside by the Delhi HC.
The State of Madhya Pradesh had claimed that the 13 districts in the Madhya Pradesh state should also be included in the GI for basmati.
Since the Madhya Pradesh had contended that the Indian government’s move was against the provisions of the Seeds Act, the court also carefully examined the scope and the ambit of the act, Thaver said.
The Delhi HC has negated the Indian government’s move to recognise only rice grown on the foothills of the Himalaya mountains as basmati, disregarding the other aspects, namely, the features of the purity of the seeds and its germination, which inherit the aroma, taste, length and look.
Fortunately, in Pakistan the best selected seeds are used to grow basmati, which for centuries have earned the reputation across the world for its taste, aroma, length and look and Pakistan’s super basmati is the banquet rice in royal families.
Latest News
·       Description:
·       Description:
·       Description:
·       Description:
·       Description:
·       Description:
·       Description:
·       Description:
·       Description:
·       Description:
·       Description:

Area farmers study cover crop profit

Description: mix of ryegrass, clover and radish interseeded into corn in Faribault. Photo by Jim Purfeerst
Alan Kraus is the conservation program manager with the Cannon River Watershed Partnership
After all the rain we've had recently, as you drive around you might wonder what that bright green crop is on some farm fields. More than likely, what you're seeing out the car window is a field planted with cover crops. Cover crops are plants such as annual ryegrass, winter rye, oats, clovers, radish and turnips that are planted either early in the growth stage of corn or after corn and soybean harvest. These plants keep living cover on the landscape until the following spring's planting of cash crops. Cover crops improve water quality by keeping nutrients in the soil and by keeping the soil in the field.
While there are also many soil quality improvements farmers are realizing by including cover crops, there is also much to learn. For example, key to growing cover crops profitably is to use the vegetative growth of the cover crop (the biomass) as forage for livestock. Cover crops interseeded into corn provides a source of forage that is immediately available for livestock after the corn is harvested. Planting corn in wider rows may produce more cover crop biomass growth, but it may also reduce corn yield dramatically and therefore reduce total profit. To learn about this question, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture awarded the Cannon River Watershed Partnership and the University of Minnesota a Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grant to work with three Goodhue County farmers and one Rice County farmer to research the effects that corn row width has on cover crop biomass and corn grain yield.
Each of these farmers will plant 20 acres of corn in five replicated plots using three different row widths and then interseed a cover crop mix into the corn in late June for the 2019, 2020 and 2021 planting seasons. Cover crop biomass quantity and quality along with corn grain yields compared between treatments will determine the corn row width that optimizes cover crop biomass production and corn grain yield and ultimately, profit.’s research team discovers new method which reduces arsenic in rice

May 5, 2019

Description: ARSENIC RICE RI Farm
CONTAMINATION of rice with arsenic is a major problem in some regions of the world with high rice consumption. Researchers at Queen’s University Belfast have found a new way to reduce inorganic arsenic in rice by modifying processing methods at traditional, small-scale parboiling plants in Bangladesh. This new method also has the added benefit of increasing the calcium content of rice, the researchers say.
People in Bangladesh eat about a pound of rice per person per day, according to statistics from the International Rice Research Institute. This consumption is among the highest in the world, placing Bangladeshis at risk for elevated exposure to inorganic arsenic, a toxic substance and cancer causing agent that can enter rice from the soil of flooded paddies.
After harvest, most rice in the country is parboiled, a process that involves soaking the rough rice (with husk intact) in water and then boiling it, followed by other steps to produce polished white rice.
The research, published in ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology was led by Professor Andrew Meharg from the Institute for Global Food Security at Queen’s University.
He wondered if parboiling wholegrain rice (with the husk removed) would reduce the levels of different forms of arsenic compared with parboiling rough rice. That’s because the husk can have high levels of inorganic arsenic, and it could also act as a barrier, preventing arsenic species from leaving the rest of the grain during parboiling.
Professor Meharg said: “There has long been a search for ways to remove arsenic from rice that is both low tech and can be widely adapted.
“Our research findings show that arsenic removal can be readily conducted using this post-harvest processing of rice.”
The researchers tested their new processing method in 13 traditional, small-scale parboiling plants throughout Bangladesh. The team used ion chromatography interfaced with inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry to analyze arsenic species in rice.
They found that in untreated rough rice, inorganic arsenic is highly elevated in the bran compared with the husk. Parboiling wholegrain rice instead of parboiling rough rice reduced levels of inorganic arsenic by about 25 percent in the final polished grain, while increasing calcium by 213 percent. However, the new method reduced potassium by 40 percent. The researchers say that the potassium loss must be balanced with the advantages of reduced arsenic and increased calcium.
·       TAGS
·       2 May 2019
·       Belfast University
·       Family News
·       farm Family
·       High Rice Consumption
·       Inorganic Arsenic
·       Page 33
·       Queens University

Description: Robert Irwin

News Briefs: May 5, 2019

Philippine Daily Inquirer / 05:04 AM May 05, 2019
CIDG probes if politician owns seized firearms
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines — Authorities are now investigating if a local politician is the real owner of the cache of firearms and ammunition seized on Friday from a house rented by a woman in Lanao del Norte.
The suspect was identified by the Criminal and Investigation Detection Group in Northern Mindanao (CIDG-10) as Mary Ann Canoy, 36, married, and a resident of Barangay Labuay in Maigo town, Lanao del Norte.
CIDG-10 said Canoy, a former overseas Filipino worker, was arrested by a joint team of police and military operatives when they found firearms and ammunition under the bed inside her rented house.
Confiscated were a shotgun, three M16 rifles, two M1 Garand rifles, six pieces bandolier, a .45-caliber  pistol and two clips of ammunition, a holster, and three boxes of assorted ammunition.
Maj. Napoleon Carpio, CIDG-10 deputy regional chief, said the suspect might be working for someone else.
Carpio said that Canoy’s employer was a political figure whom he declined to identity. —Jigger J. Jerusalem
Palay prices fall due to rice imports
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Philippines — Palay prices have fallen across the country as more rice stocks are imported due to Republic Act No. 11203 (the Rice Tarrification Act), the group Bantay Bigas said.
Palay prices dropped from P14 per kilo to P13 in Nueva Ecija province, and from P15 to P14 in Laguna. A kilo of palay now sells for P16 in Isabela province and P14 in South Cotabato, according to Cathy Estavillo, Bantay Bigas spokesperson.
Estavillo said the falling prices showed the “destructive impact” of RA 11203 which imposed tariffs on foreign grains that enter the country after fully liberalizing rice importation.
Estavillo said around 2.6 million metric tons of imported rice have entered the local market this year, citing government
data. —Tonette Orejas

Don't miss out on the latest news and information.Description: Description:
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

Climate extremes play crucial role in global crop yield: Study

Washington: Researchers have calculated the effect of extreme climatic conditions such as drought or heat waves on the yield of staple crops worldwide.
Overall, year-to-year changes in climate factors during the growing season of maize, rice, soy and spring wheat accounted for 20 per cent-49 per cent of yield fluctuations, according to research published in Environmental Research Letters.
Climate extremes, such as hot and cold temperature extremes, drought and heavy precipitation, by themselves, accounted for 18 per cent-43 per cent of these interannual variations in crop yield.
To get to the bottom of the impacts of climate extremes on agricultural yields, the researchers used a global agricultural database at the high spatial resolution and near-global coverage climate and climate extremes datasets. They applied a machine-learning algorithm, Random Forests, to tease out which climate factors played the greatest role in influencing crop yields.
“Interestingly, we found that the most important climate factors for yield anomalies were related to temperature, not precipitation, as one could expect, with the average growing season temperature and temperature extremes playing a dominant role in predicting crop yields,” said lead author Dr Elisabeth Vogel.
The research also revealed global hotspots – areas that produce a large proportion of the world’s crop production, yet are most susceptible to climate variability and extremes.
“We found that most of these hotspots – regions that are critical for overall production and at the same time strongly influenced by climate variability and climate extremes – appear to be in industrialised crop production regions, such as North America and Europe,” Vogel added.
For climate extremes specifically, the researchers identified North America for soy and spring wheat production, Europe for spring wheat and Asia for rice and maize production as hotspots.
But, as the researchers pointed out, global markets are not the only concern. Outside of these major regions, in regions where communities are highly dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods, the failure of these staple crops can be devastating.
“In our study, we found that maize yields in Africa showed one of the strongest relationships with growing season climate variability. In fact, it was the second highest explained variance for crop yields of any crop/continent combination, suggesting that it is highly dependent on climate conditions,” Vogel said.
“While Africa’s share of global maize production may be small, the largest part of that production goes to human consumption – compared to just 3 per cent in North America – making it critical for food security in the region.”
“With climate change predicted to change the variability of climate and increasing the likelihood and severity of climate extremes in most regions, our research highlights the importance of adapting food production to these changes,” Vogel said.
“Increasing the resilience to climate extremes requires a concerted effort at local, regional and international levels to reduce negative impacts for farmers and communities depending on agriculture for their living,” Vogel added.

Nellore: Civil supplies department not paying milling charges

PublishedMay 5, 2019, 2:26 am IST
UpdatedMay 5, 2019, 2:26 am IST
Millers are losing Rs 24k for every 270 quintals of paddy.
Description: This is because of 3 per cent difference between the rate being offered by civil supplies and actual realisation of  paddy after converting as rice. While the benchmark for the department is 67 per cent realisation rice millers argue that the tangible output is only 62 to 64 per cent.
 This is because of 3 per cent difference between the rate being offered by civil supplies and actual realisation of paddy after converting as rice. While the benchmark for the department is 67 per cent realisation rice millers argue that the tangible output is only 62 to 64 per cent.
Nellore: While paddy growers are blaming rice millers for anomalies in the collection of harvested paddy, millers have been passing on the buck to the civil supplies department citing unreasonable conditions imposed on them.
They allege that the department is not paying milling charges after supplying rice from a longtime. Moreover they are losing Rs 24,000 for every 270 quintals of paddy (a wagon load) being supplied to them.

This is because of 3 per cent difference between the rate being offered by civil supplies and actual realisation of  paddy after converting as rice. While the benchmark for the department is 67 per cent realisation rice millers argue that the tangible output is only 62 to 64 per cent.
Referring to department stance that millers are compensated through other items such as brokens, rice bran, small brokens and husk after milling the paddy, the millers maintain that still they lose 2 percent while pointing to foreign matter in the paddy.
“We have to bear the cost of transportation of paddy from collection point to rice mill from 0 to 8 km. The civil supplies department makes payment at the rate of 0.32 paise as transport charge if the distance is above 8 km and it is not even 25 per cent of the amount we are spending. Moreover transport charges also not paid regularly citing sanction issues,” a rice miller and president of rice millers and dealers association, Nagireddy Subhramanyam Reddy said.  
Reacting to an allegation that millers are not supplying gunny bags to the farmers to supply paddy, he said they are buying them for Rs 25 each where as the government pays only Rs 14.66 per bag.
He said there are many instances where farmers take gunny bags under the pretext of supplying paddy but never turn up.
When asked about some miller’s failure to offer bank guarantees (BGs) to procure paddy, he said the bank charges including legal opinion and engineer estimation cost anywhere between Rs 3 to Rs 3.50 lakhs to obtain BG of Rs 1 crore but the expenditure is no match to the meager income.
He has also alleged that paddy purchase centres are ill equipped to assess the quality of rice and moisture levels. We have been appealing the government from years to ensure sufficient number of godowns, yard and trained technical personnel at paddy purchase centres, but in vain.
He said that service charges are not being paid since several years and the outstanding to the millers is to the extent of Rs 2.50 crore. Responding to miller’s failure to pay Rs 50 crore towards paddy supplied to them for custom milling during 2011-12, he said that their association forced some of them to pay and insisting others also to fall in line.

It became known, what a mess can save from obesity


Description: Стало известно, какая каша может спасти от ожирения Regular consumption of rice can be associated with a lower risk of obesity.
To such conclusion scientists from Japan. Experts from women’s College of Humanities, Doshisha (Kyoto) analyzed data on diet, lifestyle and bad habits of the inhabitants of 136 countries.
The study showed that the obesity rate was significantly lower where people on average eat 150 grams of rice a day. But people have. which this product didn’t eat or ate very little, the level was much higher.
In addition, consideration was given to such factors as the prevalence of obesity, average education level, share of population older than 65 years, GDP per capita and expenditure on health.
The conviction of scientists, fiber, nutrients and phytochemicals contained in whole grains that may increase the feeling of satiety and prevents overeating.
Rice also contains little fat and after ingestion maintains a relatively low level of glucose in the blood, which inhibits the secretion of insulin.

Rice scientist and academician appointed as new Searca director


Dr. Glenn B. Gregorio has been appointed as new director of the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (Searca) for a three-year term. He assumed office on May 1.
Gregorio is the 11th to hold the top Searca post since its establishment in November 1966 by the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (Seameo). Searca is an intergovernment treaty organization hosted by the Philippine government on the campus of the University of the Philippines-Los Baños (UPLB),
Gregorio is an academician at the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) of the Philippines and is currently a professor at the Institute of Crop Science of the UPLB College of Agriculture and Food Science.
A distinguished rice scientist, he served the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) for almost 30 years, including a five-year stint as IRRI’s rice breeder in Africa based at Africa Rice Centre station at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture in Nigeria from 2004 to 2009.
Throughout his career, he has bred more than 15 rice varieties,  most of  which are salt-tolerant  varieties that have greatly helped farmers in Bangladesh, India, Nigeria and the Philippines.
He also led efforts to develop micronutrient-dense rice varieties to address anemia and malnutrition in Bangladesh, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam.
But rice breeding is not Gregorio’s only forte. Prior to his appointment as Searca director, he also served as Crop Breeding manager for Corn at the East-West Seed Co. Inc. from 2015 to 2018 where he was the global lead of the sweet corn and waxy corn breeding programs for South and Southeast Asia, the Latin Americas and Sub-Saharan Africa.
He has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Outstanding Young Scientist Award (OYS 2004) and Outstanding Publication Award given by NAST; The Outstanding Young Men (TOYM 2004) in the field of Agriculture-Plant Breeding and Genetics; the Ho Chi Minh Medal Award for great contribution to the cause of agriculture and rural development in Vietnam; Ten Outstanding Youth Scientists (TOYS 1981) of the Philippines given by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) of the Philippines; Honorary Scientist, Rural Development Administration (RDA), Korea; and other awards for his outstanding research  and research  management achievements.
He has authored and coauthored at least 90 articles published in various scientific journals, chapters on rice breeding in 14 books and five scientific manuals and bulletins.
He mentored and supervised 20 PhD and 27 MS graduate students and more than 40 BS students in plant breeding and genetics at UPLB and other universities in Asia, Africa, Europe and North America; and he continues to hone scientists and future scientists as a mentor and teacher.
Gregorio obtained his PhD in genetics, MS in plant breeding and BS in agriculture at UPLB.
·       Home
·       Pakistan
·       News
Rice And Obesity: Is There A Link?
 Muhammad Irfan  2 days ago  Sat 04th May 2019 | 11:10 AM
Description: Rice and obesity: Is there a link?
Obesity in the Western world and beyond is on the rise. However, some countries are not facing the same challenge.According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 39.8% of people in the United States now have obesity
ISLAMABAD (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News / Online - 04th May, 2019) Obesity in the Western world and beyond is on the rise. However, some countries are not facing the same challenge.According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 39.8% of people in the United States now have obesity.In Japan, however, the figure is just4.3%, say the World Health Organization (WHO).The array of factors that could be involved in differences such as this are dizzying so where would one begin?According to one group of researchers, a good place to start might be rice.The average food intake of someone in the United States is very different to that of someone in any country outside of the Western world.
However, diets in some of the countries with low obesity rates share a common staple: rice.Researchers from Doshisha Women's College of Liberal Arts in KyotoJapan, decided to take a closer look.
They recently presented their findings at the European Congress on Obesity (ECO2019) in GlasgowUnited Kingdom.To investigate, the scientists took data from 136 countries. They found that countries where people ate an average of at least 150 grams (g) of rice per day had significantly lower rates of obesity than countries where people ate less than the global average amount of rice, around 14 g per day.The researchers attempted to take into account as many confounding variables as they could, including average education level, smoking rates, total calories consumed, money spent on healthcare, percentage of the population over 65, and gross domestic product per capita.All of these variables were significantly lower in the countries whose residents ate the most rice; however, even after accounting for this in their analysis, the researchers found that the positive influence of rice over obesity persisted.
From their data, they estimate that an increase of just one-quarter of a cup of rice per day (50 g per person) could reduce global obesity by 1%.
That equates to a change from 650 million to 643.5 million adults.When considering exactly why rice might influence obesity rates, Prof. Imai says: "Eating rice seems to protect against weight gain.
It's possible that the fiber, nutrients, and plant compounds found in whole grains may increase feelings of fullness and prevent overeating."Prof. Imai adds, "Rice is also low in fat and has a relatively low postprandial blood glucose level, which suppresses insulin secretion."The researchers know that distinguishing between cause and effect is incredibly challenging when looking at diet especially on such a large scale.Though they accounted for as many confounding variables as possible, it is still likely that they did not consider many other important factors in the analysis.They also explain that they used country-level data, rather than person-level data.
This has several drawbacks; for instance, certain regions of some countries might eat substantially more rice than others. Also, obesity rates can vary within a country from region to region.Another concern is the use of body mass index (BMI); although it is a standard measure that researchers use widely, it is not a measure of overall health.
The scientists did not ascertain how many people have, for instance, an unhealthily low BMI, which would skew the data by bringing the country's average BMI down.It is also worth pointing out that the researchers have not published these findings in a journal and, therefore, they have not been through a peer-review process.
The Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (UNISAME) has invited the attention of the major basmati rice stakeholders namely the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP), the Basmati Growers Association, the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) and the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA) to promptly pursue matters relating to basmati rice geographical indications (GI) and trademark  in light of the Delhi High Court orders setting aside pretentious restrictions imposed by the Indian government.
President  UNISAME Zulfikar Thaver said the wise judgement of the Delhi HC  has set aside the Indian government's decision to restrain production of basmati rice only to the Indo-Gangetic plains on the pretense of maintaining the quality and purity of seeds.
He said the Geographical Indication (GI) of Basmati was restricted to the Indo-Gangetic region in seven states which meant that only the rice grown in these specified regions would be termed as basmati rice and the seeds so produced for Basmati cultivation could not be grown outside have also been set aside by the Delhi HC 
The State of Madhya Pradesh had claimed that the thirteen districts in the State of Madhya Pradesh should also be included in the GI for Basmati Rice. Since the Madhya Pradesh had contended that the Indian governments move go against the provisions of the Seeds act, the court also carefully examined the scope and the ambit of the act.
The Delhi HC has negated the tricky designs of the Indian government to recognize only rice grown on the foothills of the Himalaya mountains as basmati disregarding the other aspects namely the features of the  purity of the seeds and its germination which inherit the aroma, taste, length and look. 
Fortunately in Pakistan the best selected seeds are used to grow basmati rice, which for centuries have earned the reputation all over the globe for its taste, aroma, length and look and Pakistan's super basmati rice is the banquet rice in royal families. The Indians stole our seeds and could not match Pakistan's variety due to the inherent qualities of the Pakistan fertile land and nature's blessings.
Thaver said in view of the Delhi HC's decision the Intellectual Property Rights Organization (IPRO) needs to expedite the GI and TM matters and remove all hurdles in the basmati definition, rights and ownership to allow genuine basmati growers and exporters to promote basmati rice all over the globe.
It is pertinent to note that basmati rice is exported mainly by the SMEs and the value addition to the grains is also done by the SMEs. 
UNISAME is confident the concerned authorities will act fast in the best interest of justice and make efforts to get the best decisions from the honourable courts where the suits are pending since long

New SEARCA director named
Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - May 6, 2019 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines — The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) has named Glenn Gregorio as its new director.
SEARCA, an inter-government treaty organization, said Gregorio would serve for a three-year term until 2022.
Gregorio, an academician at the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) of the Philippines,  is the 11th to hold the top SEARCA post since its establishment in November 1966 by the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization.
He is currently a professor at the Institute of Crop Science of the UPLB College of Agriculture and Food Science.
Gregorio served the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) for almost 30 years, including a five-year stint as IRRI’s rice breeder in Africa based at the Africa Rice Centre station at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture in Nigeria from 2004 to 2009.
Throughout his career, Gregorio has bred more than 15 rice varieties, most of which are salt-tolerant varieties that have greatly helped farmers in Bangladesh, India, Nigeria, and the Philippines.
He also led efforts to develop micronutrient-dense rice varieties to address anemia and malnutrition in Bangladesh, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam.
Prior to his appointment as SEARCA director, Gregorio served as crop breeding manager for corn at the East-West Seed Co. Inc. from 2015 to 2018 where he was the global lead of the sweet corn and waxy corn breeding programs for South and Southeast Asia, the Latin Americas, and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Gregorio obtained his doctorate in Genetics, masters in Plant Breeding, and bachelor’s in Agriculture, all in UP Los Banos.

Vitale raising millions for pediatric cancer research
Posted: May 05, 2019 04:54 PM CDT
Updated: May 05, 2019 04:54 PM CDT
For all the accolades he's received as a college and professional basketball coach and an even longer career in broadcasting, Dick Vitale insists his greatest accomplishment has been raising money for pediatric cancer research.
It's an obsession, he says, that one night each spring transforms his adopted home of Sarasota, Florida, into the Vitale-proclaimed "sports capital of the nation" because of an all-star cast of sports and entertainment celebrities that support his annual charity event.
Over the past decade-plus, the Dick Vitale Gala has raised $25.2 million through the V Foundation for cancer research, formed by the late North Carolina State basketball coach Jim Valvano, who died of cancer in 1993.
The event attracted more than 900 guests and raised a record $3.7 million last year. The target for this year's sold-out edition Friday is $4 million.
"It should be a great night," Vitale said. "Most of all, a night really dedicated to young people battling a disease that is so vicious."
Honorees this year include Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney, former NBA star and coach Avery Johnson, college football analyst and ex-coach Lee Corso, and broadcasters Chris Fowler and Holly Rowe of ESPN.
Guests who have committed to attending include college basketball coaches Leonard Hamilton (Florida State), Mike White (Florida), Johnny Dawkins (UCF) and Tom Crean (Georgia); Florida football coach Dan Mullen; Murray State point guard and projected top five NBA draft pick Ja Morant, and former NFL players Warren Sapp, Simeon Rice and Dexter Jackson, who helped the Tampa Bay Buccaneers win their only Super Bowl title.
"We've got a who's who coming ... personalities galore," Vitale said. "They all come free. They all pay their own expenses."
The one-time Detroit Pistons coach said the real stars of the night of the night, though, will be the "10 kids who have battled cancer big time" and will be recognized, along with their families.
"I'm obsessed with this. I get to know these kids. These are not just people I meet at my gala. ... They become part of me," Vitale said.
"What frustrates me, to be honest with you, is if you went to the campuses of any elite football power ... if they wanted to raise 60, 70, 80 million for football facilities, they could do it in no time," he added. "I have to beg and plead continually trying to get $4 million to help kids battling disease."
It's well worth the effort, the 79-year-old added.
"The greatest feeling to me is the one I'll get (Friday) when they say we're getting close to that goal," Vitale concluded. "It's like winning the national championship game when they give me that final number."
More AP college basketball: and

ESA launches project to empower women in rice value chain

06May 2019
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
ESA launches project to empower women in rice value chain
THE East and Southern Africa Breeding Network over the weekend launched the accelerated genetic gain in rice (AGGRI) project aiming at empowering women involved in rice value chain in the region.
Description: C:\Users\Mujahid\Downloads\ESA launches project to empower women in rice value chain_files\MPUNGA MPUNGAAA.jpg

The launch of the project was on the sideline of the just-concluded three-day 11th East and Southern Africa Breeding Network meeting held here.
Speaking soon after launching the initiative, representative of International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) for Eastern and Southern Africa, Abdelbagi Ismail said that the beneficiaries will be unified by a set of standards developed to make breeding decisions consistent with the demand of regional farmers, consumers and processors.
Funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), the initiative is also aimed at expanding International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)'s variety testing network into a globally aligned, modernized, rice breeding 'community’ of practice'.
In another development, IRRI's targets over the next three years will be to support Tanzania in achieving rice self-sufficient and becoming an exporter of the commodity in the region.
The number and diversity of IRRI staff deployed in the country will at least double; rice production technologies that increase yield by at least 0.5 tonnes per hector will be delivered and adopted by farmers in pilot sites; and farmers, extension staff, seed technicians and researchers will be trained in various aspects of rice research.
He, however urged rice growers to embrace modern farming methods to increase production per acreage hence improve the  country’s food security.
He said that reports have it that most rice growers have   been growing using traditional methods, with no application of fertilizer  and use of archaic farming tools, ending up getting little.
“It is high time for farmers in the region to venture into the effective use of improved seeds and agricultural inputs to increase productivity,” he said.
Dr Hans Bhardwaj, plant breeding management leader at IRRI suggested the need for Africa to stop importing rice from outside the continent and instead increase production locally.
“Experts and decision makers should encourage farmers to venture into growing improved seeds and use modern farming practices.”
The meeting involved a number of stakeholders and rice breeders from eastern and southern countries such as Tanzania, Kenya, Burundi, and Mozambique.