Wednesday, June 19, 2019

19th June 2019 Daily Global Regional Loca Rice E-Newsletter

Ensuring PHL food security

June 19, 2019

The Philippines will once again reclaim its title as one of the top importers of rice this year, thanks to the removal of the quantitative restriction on rice. Traders can now freely import rice following the implementation of Republic Act (RA) 11203,
which removed the QR, starting March 5. Because of this, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) projected that the country’s purchases this year will make it the second-largest buyer of the staple, just behind China (See, “Rice imports this year seen reaching 3 MMT,” in the BusinessMirror, June 13, 2019).
The same USDA report noted the increase in traders’ purchases of the staple, particularly from Vietnam, a traditional source of imported rice for the Philippines. More orders could be placed in the coming months, as there is now an incentive for traders to bring in more rice. The National Food Authority (NFA) is no longer selling rice as the new law has reduced its role to buffer stocking.
The entry of more imports will benefit consumers, as this would ensure stable prices. Latest data from the Philippine Statistics Authority  showed that despite the end of the harvest season in May, there was no dramatic swing in rice prices. In previous years, the staple becomes more expensive after farmers have harvested their crop. This was not the case this year, as prices remained stable in almost all regions, according to the PSA’s survey of regional centers.
While the data is encouraging for consumers, it does not bode well for local rice planters. In a report, the PSA said the average farm-gate price of unhusked rice fell by 13.7 percent to P18.20 per kilogram, from last year’s P21.08 per kg during the fourth week of May. There are reports that the decline is steeper in some areas, as farmers claimed that traders bought their crop at only P14 per kg. This, at a time when prices should have recovered as farmers have concluded harvest and the El Niño phenomenon slashed output in some rice-producing areas.
By now, the government should have been helping local planters prepare for the influx of rice imports. As it is, the hands of agencies mandated by RA 11203 to help make the sector competitive are tied because the national government has yet to beef up the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund. The RCEF is supposed to be made up of tariffs collected from imports. Pending the collection of these tariffs, the national government has agreed to front-load P10 billion so agencies could start rolling out interventions for the sector.
Delays in implementing the necessary interventions to help planters could drive them away from farming and encourage them to accept construction jobs, which guarantee a minimum wage. Particularly vulnerable are small farmers who are always at the mercy of loan sharks. For a 1-hectare farm, planters need to spend P49,745, according to the latest data from the PSA. To plant twice a year, farmers need to raise some P100,000 for fertilizer, pesticides, hired labor, seeds and other costs.
Raising production capital is particularly difficult for planters tilling a 1-hectare farm, as the return on investment is pegged at P23,000 per cropping season. This is why small farmers turn to loan sharks, so they can continue planting palay. With the NFA now out of the local rice trade and the private sector importing more, planters can no longer rely on the government to help stabilize farm-gate prices.
Allowing more imports via the rice trade liberalization law is good for consumers but could spell doom for farmers, particularly if the government can’t put in place the necessary safety nets. Inflation has eased in recent months and there are indications that it will continue to decelerate as food prices have stabilized. The only way to ensure that inflation will continue to fall within the government’s target is to have a steady supply of staples, which is why we need to strengthen local food production. The Philippines should not just rely on other countries for its food security

NFA welcomes new administrator

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Wednesday, June 19th, 2019
Description: Carol L. Dansal
The National Food Authority (NFA) council member Judy Carol L. Dansal took her oath as the new NFA Administrator on Tuesday afternoon (June 19). Dansal will replace Jason Laureano Y. Aquino.
NFA Officer-in-Charge Administrator Tomas R. Escarez welcomed the new NFA administrator on his Facebook. He also announced that he will revert back to his position as deputy administrator.
Dansal previously served as NFA deputy administrator for marketing operations.

Piñol orders NFA to purge co-ops list, probe erring workers

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Monday, May 6th, 2019
Description: Secretary Manny Piñol
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture (DA) has started probing farmers’ cooperatives accredited by the National Food Authority (NFA).
Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol on his social media post on Thursday (May 3) said that some farmer leaders in Central Luzon are complaining against traders who are using the names of inactive cooperatives to be able to sell paddy rice to the NFA.
According to the Secretary, traders in Central Luzon buy fresh palay to farmers at P15 per kilogram then sell them to NFA at P20.70 including the incentives.
Piñol emphasized that under the Rice Tariffication Law, the NFA is mandated to buy palay from legitimate farmers and not from traders, that’s why he wants to know if there are bogus cooperatives included in the NFA’s list.
Meanwhile, the Secretary said the price of NFA rice in the market remains— and should stay— at P27 per kilogram.
“The president has given a directive that NFA should continue selling at P27 even if the rice that we will be using were already be the local rice,” Piñol said.
He said the NFA’s buffer stock of imported rice will be enough until September.
By then, local farmers will supply rice and low-priced rice will remain in local
The NFA has already purchased up to three million bags of palay from January to April this year.
The agency targets to procure up to 30 million bags of palay through the entire year. – Marje Pelayo (with details from Rey Pelayo)

Researchers Develop Two-Step Method for Green Fuel

Tuesday, 18 June 2019
An international collaboration led by scientists at Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology in Japan has developed a two-step method to more efficiently break down carbohydrates into their single sugar components, a critical process in producing green fuel.
The researchers published their results on April 10th in the American Chemical Society journal, Industrial & Engineering Chemical Research.
The breakdown process is called saccharification. The single sugar components produced, called monosaccharides, can be fermented into bioethanol or biobutanol, alcohols that can be used as fuel.
"For a long time, considerable attention has been focused on the utilization of homogenous acids and enzymes for saccharification," said Eika W. Qian, paper author and professor in the Graduate School of Bio-Applications and Systems Engineering at the university. "Enzymatic saccharification is seen to be a reasonable prospect since it offers the potential for higher yields, lower energy costs, and it's more environmentally friendly."
The use of enzymes to break down the carbohydrates could actually be hindered, especially in biomass such as rice straw. A byproduct of rice harvest, rice straw consists of three complicated carbohydrates: starch, hemicellulose and cellulose. Enzymes cannot approach hemicellulose or cellulose, due to their cell wall structure the and surface area, among other characteristics. They must be pre-treated to become receptive to the enzymatic activity, which can be costly.
One solution is the use of solid acid catalysts, which are acids that cause chemical reactions without dissolving and becoming a permanent part of the reaction. They're particularly appealing because they can be recovered after saccharification and reused.
In order to maximize the resulting yield of sugar from rice straw, the researchers developed a two-step process - one step for the hemicellulose and another for the cellulose. The first step requires a gentle solid acid at low temperatures (150 degrees Celsius and below), while the second step consists of harsher conditions, with a stronger solid acid and higher temperatures (210 degrees Celsius and above).
Overall, the two-step process not only proved effective, it produced about 30 percent more sugars than traditional one-step processes.
"We are now looking for a partner to evaluate the feasibility of our two-step saccharification process in rice straw and other various materials such as wheat straw and corn stoke etc. in a pilot unit," Qian said. "Our ultimate goal is to commercialize our process to manufacture monosaccharides from this type of material in the future."
The other authors are Luh Putu Pitrayani of the Anglo Chinese School Jakarta in Indonesia; Xiuhui Wang and Thanh Tung Nguyen, both of the Graduate School of Bio-Applications and Systems Engineering at the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology in Japan; Sen Li of the Shanghai Research Institute of Chemical Industry Co. Ltd. in China; and Jianglong Pu of the College of Biological, Chemical Sciences and Engineering at Jiaxing University in China.

Climate change affects major crops in India: Study

NEW YORK, June 18: India’s grain production is vulnerable to climate change, say scientist who have found that the yield of the country’s rice crop can significantly decline during extreme weather conditions.
Researchers from Columbia University in the US studied the effects of climate on five major crops in India: finger millet, maize, pearl millet, sorghum and rice.
These crops make up the vast majority of grain production during the June-to-September monsoon season — India’s main grain production period — with rice contributing three-quarters of the supply for the season.
Taken together, the five grains are essential for meeting India’s nutritional needs, researchers said.
The study, published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, found that the yields from grains such as millet, sorghum, and maize are more resilient to extreme weather.
Their yields vary significantly less due to year-to-year changes in climate and generally experience smaller declines during droughts.
However, yields from rice, India’s main crop, experience larger declines during extreme weather conditions.
“By relying more and more on a single crop — rice — India’s food supply is potentially vulnerable to the effects of varying climate,” said Kyle Davis, an environmental data scientist.
“Expanding the area planted with these four alternative grains can reduce variations in Indian grain production caused by extreme climate, especially in the many places where their yields are comparable to rice,” Davis said.
“Doing so will mean that the food supply for the country’s massive and growing population is less in jeopardy during times of drought or extreme weather,” Davis.
Temperatures and rainfall amounts in India vary from year to year and influence the amount of crops that farmers can produce.
With episodes of extreme climate such as droughts and storms becoming more frequent, it is essential to find ways to protect India’s crop production from these shocks, Davis said.
The team combined historical data on crop yields, temperature, and rainfall.
Data on the yields of each crop came from state agricultural ministries across India and covered 46 years (1966-2011) and 593 of India’s 707 districts.
The researchers also used modelled data on temperature and precipitation. Using these climate variables as predictors of yield, they then employed a modelling approach to estimate whether there was a significant relationship between year-to-year variations in climate and crop yields.
“This study shows that diversifying the crops that a country grows can be an effective way to adapt its food-production systems to the growing influence of climate change,” said Davis.
“And it adds to the evidence that increasing the production of alternative grains in India can offer benefits for improving nutrition, for saving water, and for reducing energy demand and greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture,” he said. (PTI)


Farmers call for review of Anchor Borrower’s loan scheme

June 18, 2019
Description: Farmers call for review of Anchor Borrower’s loan scheme


Rice farmers in Anambra state have called for the review of Central Bank of Nigeria’s anchor Borrower’s loan scheme.
The Farmers commended the initiative created by the Central Bank of Nigeria that affords registered farmers to access the loan facility but called for an overhaul of the process to ensure rice farmers have access to the loan at the appropriate time.
The rice producers acknowledged the fact that the CBN is creating massive intervention funds for farmers, but insists that the biggest challenge remains that the farmers are not able to assess this facilities.
This, according to experts and farmers say it remains the bane to one of the major policies of the current administration towards moving the country away from a mono economy to multi-dimensional one.
President Muhammadu Buhari has continued to hint that the priority accorded would be accorded to agric production in his administration which he said would remain primarily in a bid to achieve food self-sufficiency, economic revival and jobs’ creation.
These development hence the need that the chairman of the Anambra Rice producer and millers Association states some of the challenges farmers undergo in the process of trying to assess the CBN loan facility through the financial institutions.
He lamented that the CBN initiate was laudable but got impeded by the operations of most financial institutions that exercise what they call
artificial scarcity and delay before the fund are disbursed to right farmers.
He urged government to explore the opportunity of massive employment creation which farming creates in the society by providing support in the acquisition of machinery as it is practice in other parts of the world

Scientists develop 'super spud' in a bid to prevent stunting
Description: Potatoes on a conveyer beltCould a 'super' potato, fortified with iron and zinc, tackle malnutrition? CREDIT: BLOOMBERG
·        Anne Gulland 
17 JUNE 2019 • 11:39AM
Scientists are creating a “super potato”, fortified with iron and zinc, in a bid to tackle malnutrition in developing countries.
Millions of people around the world suffer micronutrient deficiencies – a lack of essential vitamins and minerals. This can lead to stunting in children, who then go on to suffer cognitive delays, weakened immunity and disease. Pregnant women who lack micronutrients are more likely to have babies with defects or low birthweight.
Potato is a staple crop in many parts of the world and researchers at the International Potato Centre (CIP) in Peru believe that a biofortified variety could have an important role to play in improving diets.
After rice and maize potato is the third most consumed food in the world so increasing its micronutrient content would make a significant difference to people’s health around the globe, said Dr Oscar Ortiz, director of the CIP.
“Potato already has proteins, iron, zinc and vitamin C and it is also an extremely good source of fibre. It’s a well balanced food if consumed boiled or baked. But we can make it even better,” he said.
Potatoes may have developed an image problem in recent years with the move to “low carb” diets but Dr Ortiz believes this is mainly because of the way they are consumed as chips or fries.
Work on biofortification of the potato began in 2004 as researchers looked through a gene bank of around 200 varieties from countries around the Andes - where the potato originated.
Researchers identified 16 native varieties with high levels of iron, zinc and vitamin C and then spent more than a decade crossing these types with each other to produce varieties with even higher levels of micronutrients.
These were then crossed with other types of potato with high yields and good resistance to disease such as blight. These varieties have 40 to 80 per cent more iron than types currently grown in the Andes.
Now these potatoes are being tested to see if they grow in other parts of the world: clones are being grown in Rwanda and Kenya and will soon be introduced to Bhutan, Bangladesh and Nepal.
Researchers are also conducting bioavailability testing to see whether the increased iron content of the potato is absorbed by the human body. Once this is confirmed Dr Ortiz believes that the new varieties will be available within the next two years.
“If we can confirm this, which is a critical milestone, the potato will be available in 2021,” he said.
Studies show that consuming 600g of these potatoes a day, as is common in most areas of the Peruvian highlands, could provide up to 75 per cent of the recommended daily allowance of iron and zinc.
“We are not saying only eating potato will solve the iron deficiencies of the world but it will be part of a diverse diet where other sources of nutrients are needed,” he added.
CIP’s approach has already been tested with sweet potato fortified with vitamin A – groundbreaking work which in 2016 won the World Food Prize, the “Nobel prize” for food.
New research has shown that since 2013 more than 2.3 million households in Africa and Asia have been given sweet potato cuttings to grow themselves.
“Their work has shown that 120g of sweet potato a day can provide 100 per cent of a child’s daily vitamin A intake. It’s a really good example of how biofortification can contribute to reducing micronutrient deficiency,” said Dr Ortiz.
The biofortified sweet potato also contains high levels of vitamins B6 and C, manganese and potassium.
Dr Ortiz added that fortifying food at source was better than doing it during the production process. The UK government has announced it intends to fortify flour with folic acid to reduce the number of babies born with spina bifida or anencephaly, where the majority of the brain never develops.
“If it becomes part of the diet and is consumed every day it is a much more sustainable way of accessing micronutrients. Sweet potatoes and potatoes are cultivated by vulnerable people who are far away from governments so having these crops is a better option for them,” he said.
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Dispelling falsehoods about GM crops

By: Vivian Fernandes | 
Updated: June 17, 2019 11:20:19 AM

What India can learn from the Philippines, which set up a Biotech Program Office in 2000 to promote the responsible use of agri-biotechnology to sustain food security

Description: GM crops, genetically engineered crops, brinjal, cotton, GM mustard, UPA, NDA, NDA government, HT cotton, GM corn, Biotech Program Office, GM crops, financial express opinion, financial expressDispelling falsehoods about GM crops
With Prakash Javadekar taking charge of the environment ministry from the inert Harsh Vardhan, and hopes kindling of genetically-engineered brinjal and mustard being approved for cultivation, one wishes the government had a specialised communication agency for advocacy and outreach to create public opinion favourable for agri-biotechnology.
Although India approved Bt cotton, genetically-engineered to be toxic to the American bollworm, in 2002, and permitted another variant in 2006 (both of which farmers have embraced enthusiastically), those opposing these have been so successful in demonising the technology that no other crop—Bt brinjal, herbicide-tolerant (HT) cotton, or GM mustard—have got the nod for cultivation.
Javadekar is known to be in favour of the science. In December 2015, he told me that he was “determined” to approve GM mustard. But before he could take a decision, he was shifted to the ministry of human resource development. Any positive moves he makes now will be met with strong opposition from anti-GM activists, including the Swadeshi Jagaran Manch, one of the 36 organisations affiliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the mentor of the ruling party.
Over the past 15 years, both the UPA and NDA governments stalled; they did not approve new GM crops. Only a few political leaders support the technology. But farmers are restive. They’ve planted large tracts with illegal HT cotton. In May, a farmer in Haryana was forced to destroy his illegal Bt brinjal crop, which he found profitable because it required very few sprays against the fruit and shoot borer. On June 10, the Shetkari Sanghatana, founded by the pro-market and pro-technology Sharad Joshi, defied the law and planted illegal HT cotton and Bt brinjal near Akola in Maharashtra, demanding time-bound approvals and certainty in access to agri-biotechnology.
The government could learn from the Philippines, which set up a Biotech Program Office in 2000 to promote the responsible use of agri-biotechnology to sustain food security. It was educative to meet its director-coordinator Annalyn Lopez during a visit to Manila in April at the invitation and expense of CropLife Asia, which represents the agri-biotechnology industry in this part of the world.
Apart from overseeing research and development in biotech, developing skills in officials to regulate GM crops, and promoting policy research and advocacy, the Biotech Program Office strives for public understanding and acceptance of agri-biotechnology. “Communicating health and safety to laypeople is difficult as biotech is sophisticated,” says Lopez. “We are communicating to people who may not have a background in science.”
Both India and the Philippines are democracies, although the latter has a history of military dictatorships. India was first off on GM crops. It approved Bt cotton in 2002. The Philippines permitted GM corn resistant to the Asiatic corn borer in 2003. About 70% of yellow corn (there is a white variety, too) grown in the Philippines is GM corn, says Lopez. From 50,000 hectares in 2004, it now covers 642,000 hectares, with 470,000 farmers planting it. That’s 46% of the Philippines’ corn area. In India, 93% of the cotton planted in 2017 was of the GM kind.
Both India and the Philippines have strong anti-GM groups. In the Philippines, they have vandalised Golden Rice trials. Greenpeace moved its Supreme Court against Bt brinjal trials, which, in 2013, halted the trials, nullified the 2002 biosafety regulations, and temporarily halted all applications for authorisation of GM crop trials, commercialisation and imports. In 2016, it lifted its injunctions and recognised the newly-issued biosafety regulations. India’s Supreme Court is also quite adversarial.
Lopez says partnerships are important. Her office has enlisted TV broadcasters and print media journalists. It gives awards for biotech journalism since 2006. It publishes a biotech magazine with uplifting testimonials. In 2011, it teamed up with the network of rural radio broadcasters. Many towns have declared their support for biotechnology. Lopez says her office has developed courses to educate their chief executives. In association with the Biotechnology Coalition of the Philippines, it pushes for regulation based on science and evidence. The International Rice Research Institute and the Philippine Rice Research Institute are partners for Golden Rice bio-fortified with pro-Vitamin A beta carotene.
The Biotech Program Office encourages high school and college students to opt for biotechnology courses. It has developed curricula for them. It holds short films, jingle-making and public-speaking contests on biotech for them. A computer game—biotech crops vs zombies—has been developed. Students participated in a fashion show with clothes made of GM corn kernels and cobs.
Lopez says her office reaches out to politicians who are neutral or don’t have a stand on GM crops. They may be the chairperson of a committee in Philippines’ Congress or influential in their political party. Once an appointment is secured, she makes sure that good communicators are fielded. These need not be scientists. They may be farmers who have a good story to tell about how GM corn has benefited them. Politicians are taken to farms so they can see for themselves that GM corn is no different from the non-GM variety. Regulators are also invited to engage with politicians; they explain the regulatory process and but don’t do advocacy so their integrity is not doubted.
Since the Philippines is strongly religious, Lopez says her office engages with religious leaders, too. Because of its outreach, a Catholic priest has become a member of a technical advisory committee on biosafety. A representative was also sent to an international halal conference, which said GM food is kosher because it does not contain pork.
In fact, through a presidential proclamation back in 2005, the National Biotechnology Week is also being regularly celebrated.
But well-funded NGOs pose a challenge, says Lopez. There are legislative proposals to disallow GM crops. Resolutions against them have been passed by local bodies. There is fake news in the social media. Consumers have low exposure to factual information. “We have our own voice, make our own choice, and assert the right to technology. That is what we are driven by,” says Lopez.
In India, there is strong support for GM crops in scientific circles. The National Academy of Agricultural Sciences (NAAS) has passed a resolution in favour of the technology. It has supported GM mustard and even written to the Prime Minister not to withhold approval.
The apex regulator, the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC), has recommended release of Bt brinjal and GM mustard for commercial cultivation. It has asked the Indian Institute of Horticultural Research (IIHR) in Bengaluru to study and report Bangladesh’s experience with Bt brinjal, so it can revisit the moratorium on release imposed in 2010.
The English national dailies have favoured GM crop technology through their editorials, though their reporters tend to support the activists. But support for agri-biotechnology is diffused. The Department of Biotechnology has not invested in advocacy and outreach, though it funnels money to agricultural universities, almost all of which have departments of agri-biotechnology. At last year’s National Eligibility Test (NET), which is a gateway for assistant professorships in state agricultural universities, the most number of candidates were from the discipline of agri-biotechnology. But the choke on regulatory approvals makes all that teaching and research a humongous waste.
In 2015, Karnataka’s expert committee on agricultural biotechnology had advised the state government to set aside Rs 10 crore to support NGOs with acceptable proposals on public outreach so that correct information about the safety and benefits of GM crops could be communicated to the public and misinformation spread by anti-GM activists could be countered. The committee was headed by M Mahadevappa, a well-known rice scientist and former vice-chancellor of the University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad. It also wanted public outreach cells in agricultural universities for creation of awareness about biotechnology. The BJP’s recent Lok Sabha election campaign is a case study in marketing. Javadekar could take some cues from it.
The author blogs at

Paddyy To Be Sown On 3.17 Lakh Acres In Sialkot

Faizan Hashmi  

SIALKOT, June 16 (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - APP - 16th Jun, 2019 ) ::Over 3.17 lakh acres of land would be brought under paddy crop in four tehsils of SialkotDaskaPasrur and Sambrial of Sialkot district during the Kharif crop season.
Sources in Agriculture Department told APP on Sunday that the department had chalked out a well-knitted plan for attaining the fixed target of the crop.
The Agriculture department had initiated a training programme for the paddy growers about preparation of nurseries and cultivation of paddy crop aimed at attaining the fixed target in Sialkot district.
Special training will be imported to the paddy growers in 1,442 villages of SialkotDaskaPasrur and Sambrial tehsils of Sialkot district.
Special training teams were visiting all villages for imparting training to the rice growers for enhancing per acre yield, sowing of paddy nurseries, utilisation of irrigation water, pesticides and fertilizers as well as about different verities of paddy in the district

Export reforms make way, apparently we need automation first
The new NSW system may be all the rage, but with Pakistan's epidemic export system rot, do we have the cart before the horse?

In December 2018, erstwhile finance minister Asad Umar, while chairing the first meeting of the steering committee, approved the implementation of the National Single Window (NSW) system in Pakistan by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Customs’ Wing. On May 28 2019, FBR Chairman Shabbar Zaidi revealed to a group of journalists and development partners that the NSW will become operational by 2021.
The announcements were met with great enthusiasm at a gathering of officials and stakeholders including  Member Customs Operations Dr Jawwad Uwais Agha, World Bank Country Director Patchamuthu Illangovan, Project Director Imran Mohmand, and economists and resident officials from the Asian Development Bank. Everyone present touted the idea that the NSW will be helpful in improving trade and “provide a comprehensive solution for imports, exports, transit trade, trade through border customs stations and air cargo.” But what actually is the NSW? How it is expected to work? What is the likelihood of it working in Pakistan? And can it be expected to impact Pakistan’s export sector woes in any positive way?
The project is to be completed at an approximate cost of $163 million (around Rs 25 billion or 25,000 million Pak Rupees). This is clearly a major undertaking. For context, the amount is equivalent to the money allocated for the Green Line Bus project (Rs 24.6 billion), approximately 5 times the funds given for the Karachi water supply scheme (Rs 9.6 billion), and almost three times the Prime Minister’s National Health Programme (Rs 8.179 billion). But where these projects, with their significantly lower funding, have clear goals for the public, the NSW still wades murky waters regarding exactly what it is supposed to do.
It is pertinent to mention here that the establishment of NSW system by 2022 is a basic requirement under the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement to which Pakistan is a signatory. The question, therefore, is not whether to establish such a system or not, but what are the prerequisites that need to be included in the business plan before its formal approval to avoid it becoming another PSM or PIA, and what will its impacts be once it is in place.
Operational and Business model of NSW
The business model for execution and operations as well as alignment of participating departments had been approved by the Steering Committee back in April, 2019. The draft legislation for NSW has been prepared while the functional, revenue and technical models are expected to be finalized by June, 2019. Though the government has allocated funds in the upcoming PSDP, however, customs is currently providing funds from its GD (goods declaration) service fee to fast track the NSW implementation.
The operational model of NSW is such that 48 trade regulators have been, or are being, taken on board whereby all their operations will be conducted through the NSW. Under the new system, all 48 regulatory bodies are to retain their respective powers while their functions will be carried out through electronic access to the NSW. What will happen to the payments being made by the traders, whether they will go to the respective bodies, stay with NSW, or be divided in some specific proportion, is yet to be determined. Whether there will be a registration cost payable by the traders wishing to join NSW, and if so how much, is also to be decided. The details shared by those spearheading the project about how NSW is expected to earn were also hazy at best.
To understand how the business model of NSW might work – if decided and established properly – we can take the example of a similar single window operation from Singapore, which has proven to be a success story.
Singapore’s one window model is known as TradeNet and has been operational since January 1989. Back in 1987, it cost north of 20 million Singapore Dollars in direct capital costs for TradeNet (USD 10 million as per the exchange rate back in the day); [For NSW these are estimated to be $163 million today]. The business model then dictated that any company wanting to join TradeNet had to pay a monthly fee of S$20 (approximately USD 14) and per transaction cost of S$2.88 (approximately USD 1.99). (This has been a transition of a one-time connection fee of S$750 and a monthly charge of S$30 around the turn of the decade).
Assuming ceteris paribus for factors above and beyond the subscription fee, in Pakistani currency, this would amount to approximately Rs 2,000 monthly subscription fee and about Rs 300 per transaction, such as permit applications, origins applications and so on. NOCs (No objection certificates), licenses and other statutory requirements are a different game altogether, but they will certainly cost more than this. In a bird eye’s view, therefore, NSW does seem to have the potential to bring cost advantages for traders in Pakistan, since Rs 2,000 is surely far less than the logistical costs it takes for importers and exporters to travel to Karachi, Islamabad, and provincial capitals for clearances and permit applications.
However, as of now the financial model of National Single Window is unclear – perhaps even to the organizers and managers themselves. During the event where the FBR chairman updated concerned parties with the progress of the project, Customs member Agha claimed that this one window operation will reduce the costs for every department involved, and will also bring about reduction in the costs paid by the traders. But his presentation only mentioned “cutting costs through reducing delays and informal payments”. At the same time, Project Director Imran was of the opinion that the fees charged to those facilitating from the NSW will make this model a self-sufficient one. The running cost estimates as given by the FBR are $22.5 million per annum, amounting to approximately Rs 3.3 billion. It is interesting to note here, that WB Country Director Patchamuthu Illangovan did not shy away from raising his concerns over another public sector entity being formed in Pakistan despite so many examples available of public sector projects bleeding money. He suggested that the FBR outsource NSW to a third party to prevent yet another organization dependent on state cash. Needless to say, the suggestion was not taken kindly by the Customs member or the FBR officials present at the time, but that does not discount the very real risks attached to the implementation of this new system. It is also notable that the Singaporean example is also a public-private partnership. In 2007, the Singapore customs adopted a public-private partnership model for the revamping of TradeNet. NSW can learn from its own mistakes from other projects, or learn from other countries for exact same projects and avoid all the financial ditches. However, if precedent is an indicator, it is likely to do neither.
The malady of exports
That’s about it for the future of NSW as an entity itself, but what is important to look at is the impact i will have on the public as well as the economic dynamics of the country. NSW from the very beginning has been dubbed a breakthrough in improving the trade climate of Pakistan. And that climate hasn’t always been very productive.
For starters, Pakistan’s imports are relatively inelastic. According to trade data report released by the Pakistan Business Council, one-fourth of our imports constitute petroleum products, (23.18% in FY2018 and 26.17% in FY2019), followed by machinery, chemicals, and food. Together, these categories constitute about 70% of our imports. Unfortunately, our exports also seem to have an inelastic demand with textiles making up approximately 60% of total exports. Why? Because for decades the overvaluation of Pakistan Rupee has been blamed as the cause of lack of competitiveness of Pakistan’s products in the international market. However, despite the devaluation of PKR, and even with incentives being offered by the government, the export figures showed an 11.13 percent decline in March 2019, as shown by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics. From a value of $2.227 billion in March 2018, exports fell to $1.979 billion in march 2019. This happened despite Pakistani currency losing almost one-third of its value against the dollar since December 2017, when our exports seemed to have hit the hardest blow. The problems are much rooted much deeper than just the currency value and the delays in the clearances – important as these factors may be.
Pakistan is lagging behind its neighbors and trading partners in economic growth. South Asia continues to be the fastest growing region with 7 percent growth projected for 2019, according to the World Bank’s economic update. However, Pakistan’s economic growth is expected to decelerate to 3.4 percent in the same time period, and even more so, by 2.7 percent, in the fiscal year 2020. The trade deficit is also projected to remain elevated during 2019., June 16 (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - APP - 16th Jun, 2019 ) ::Over 3.17 lakh acres of land would be brought under paddy crop in four tehsils of SialkotDaskaPasrur and Sambrial of Sialkot district during the Kharif crop season.
Sources in Agriculture Department told APP on Sunday that the department had chalked out a well-knitted plan for attaining the fixed target of the crop.
The Agriculture department had initiated a training programme for the paddy growers about preparation of nurseries and cultivation of paddy crop aimed at attaining the fixed target in Sialkot district.
Special training will be imported to the paddy growers in 1,442 villages of SialkotDaskaPasrur and Sambrial tehsils of Sialkot district.
Special training teams were visiting all villages for imparting training to the rice growers for enhancing per acre yield, sowing of paddy nurseries, utilisation of irrigation water, pesticides and fertilizers as well as about different verities of paddy in the district
Pakistan mangoes recently obtained permission for export to China

According to the economic attache of the Chinese embassy in Pakistan the second phase of the Sino-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement comes into effect this month. After negotiations in the second phase are concluded, many more top-quality Pakistan fruits will enter the vast Chinese market. The first shipment from Pakistan to China mainly consists of agricultural products. Aman Ullah Khan, CEO of Pakistan Gelutong Trade and Commerce Co., Ltd., stated that Pakistani mangoes will likely enter the Chinese market soon.
Aman Ullah Khan also explained that the duty free project worth 1 billion USD mainly applies to agricultural products, including sugar, rice, and fruit. The Pakistan Foreign Trade Association will benefit from this agreement, and the competitive position of Pakistan products in the Chinese market will grow stronger.

Louisiana Makes Truth in Labeling the Law
By Kane Webb

BATON ROUGE, LA -- With final passage and signature of SB152 - Truth in Labeling, Louisiana has made it official and joins the growing list of states protecting consumers from mislabeling of products and demanding manufacturers adhere to "truth in labeling." 

"It is our responsibility to protect the consumer and the integrity of the agriculture food product," said the state's Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain.  "The consumer has the right to know what they are buying and the public has entrusted us to let them know they are being told the truth about the product they are buying."

The new law takes effect on October 1, 2020.

"We want to thank the bill's co-sponsors, Senator Thompson and Representative Stefanski, along with Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry Dr. Mike Strain for their leadership," said Jackie Loewer, Louisiana rice farmer and chair of the Louisiana Producers Group.  "They reached out to us [Louisiana rice producers] and the other agricultural commodities, to make sure this legislation was beneficial to both the farmer and the consumer in addressing the issues we face with the increasing mislabeling trend."

While the legislation covers a wide range of commodity products, the establishment of a "standard of identity" for rice and the other commodities, is a significant step in the efforts to get the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to adopt similar standards for the American consumer. Description: C:\Users\Mujahid\Downloads\5\unnamed (2).jpg

Ross Thibodeaux, a rice farmer from Midland, testified about rice pretenders before the state's House Ag Committee, saying, "We are proud of our stellar reputation as an industry, and it should be no wonder that anyone in the food business would gladly want to tout this marketing message that consumers have come to trust and respect.  Various food companies have become increasingly emboldened in their marketing and sales strategies to advertise their vegetable products as if they were rice.  Let me be clear, rice is a grain."

USA Rice has been raising the issue of rice pretenders and the need for a federal Standard of Identity (SOI) for rice with FDA for several years.  USA Rice maintains that an SOI is needed to combat deceptive and misleading advertising of these non-rice products and will continue to press the issue. 

"The Louisiana law just adds to our arsenal of tools to press for more action against offending products and as more states join the ranks of Arkansas and Louisiana it helps shine a light on the issue at a national level." said USA Rice President & CEO Betsy Ward.

Webinar Registration

Conservation Program Opportunities for Rice - UAEX Food & Agribusiness Webinar
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Presenter: Josh Hankins is the Director of Grower Relations and Rice Stewardship Partnership for USA Rice. Josh is headquartered in Arkansas and leads efforts to deliver on-the-ground conservation initiatives, assisting rice producers with increased on-farm energy and nutrient use efficiencies, water and soil conservation and wildlife management. His efforts through public-private partnerships have helped bring in over $50 million of conservation funding to the rice farming industry.

Josh has wide-ranging work experience in the fields of agriculture, finance, and medicine. Josh grew up in Faulkner County, AR, received his degree from Pepperdine University in California, and lives in Little Rock with his wife and two daughters.
Jun 20, 2019 10:00 AM in Central Time (US and Canada)

Fuel for the Fight, Rice Drives One of Thailand's Most Famous Muay Thai Kickboxers

PR NewswireJune 18, 2019
BANGKOKJune 18, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Department of Foreign Trade, Ministry of Commerce, Thailand has introduced a project called "Think RICE, Think THAILAND" to encourage international community to pay attention to consumer health and to raise awareness on the national crop by providing a wider range of knowledge, ranging from national agricultural history, standards and Thai rice quality. Buakaw Bunchamek, one of Thailand's most famous Muay Thai kickboxers who fought in both Muay Thai and K-1 kickboxing all over the world, shared how Thai rice has always fueled him for every fight.
Description: Fuel for the Fight, Rice Drives One of Thailand’s Most Famous Muay Thai Kickboxers
Fuel for the Fight, Rice Drives One of Thailand’s Most Famous Muay Thai Kickboxers
Hailing from the rural Thai province of Surin, his source of energy lies in the rice fields that surround his training camp. He planted them himself too. "As a farmer's child, I definitely have a strong connection with rice. Looking at the paddies makes you feel at home, closer to nature. You can let go physically and mentally after you've tired yourself out from training, and don't have to always focus on being exhausted from practice," says Buakaw.
Thai Hom Mali rice is Buakaw's go-to rice. A single of bowl of Thai Hom Mali rice provides roughly 200 calories -- it's why Buakaw estimates rice to make up 70- 80% of his diet. "Rice is a staple that everyone in Thailand eats. Boxers in training need carbohydrates," he says.
What's more, Thai Hom Mali rice is the ideal complement to Thai food. "The rice that I grow now is from my parents' fields," says Buakaw. "It goes well with Kaprow (stir-fried Thai basil and minced meat) and many other Thai dishes. After a fight, I usually go back home for some downtime and ask my family to make Nam prik pla thu (mackerel with shrimp paste chili paste), Pla ra (fermented fish), and vegetables."
In a world where fighters are exploring the boundaries of nutrition and sports science, Buakaw demonstrates the importance of simplicity and tradition. "Based on my own experience, Thai Hom Mali rice is the best strain of rice from this region. I have tried rice from other countries, but nothing can beat Thai Hom Mali rice," says the champion.
Think Rice, Think Thailand.

Thai Hom Mali Rice's Unrivalled Quality Keeps People Coming Back for More

PR NewswireJune 18, 2019
BANGKOKJune 18, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Department of Foreign Trade, Ministry of Commerce, Thailand, has introduced a project called "Think RICE, Think THAILAND" to encourage international community to pay attention to consumer health and to raise awareness on the national crop by providing a wider range of knowledge, ranging from national agricultural history, standards and Thai rice quality. Mr. Saminder Bedi, Business Head for Rice in Thailand for Phoenix Global, shared how Thai Hom Mali rice's unrivalled quality became a global favourite.
Description: Mr. Saminder Bedi, Business Head for Rice in Thailand for Phoenix Global
Mr. Saminder Bedi, Business Head for Rice in Thailand for Phoenix Global
"Our business operations bring us into contact with customers globally," says Mr. Saminder Bedi. "Exports to Africa alone count for as much as 45% of Thailand's total exports of rice. It is, therefore, the region of focus and a key to our geographical segmentation, along with the US, Europe and key countries in the Middle East and Asia. All these regions have a very large consumer base for Thai Hom Mali Rice. As one of the dominant players in the rice business, we cater to their demand."
"Thai Hom Mali Rice is a global favourite because of two reasons. One, it's pleasing to the taste. Two, it's pleasing to the eye. Our clients are confident we can deliver the product, because Thailand is known to consistently produce good quality Thai Hom Mali Rice."
This dependability is the result of the high standards set by the Thai government. The government ensures that only certified Thai Hom Mali Rice seeds are used and only planted in the regions where the weather and soil conditions are perfect for growing Thai Hom Mali Rice.
Once the rice is ready for export, there is a rigorous inspection and approval process. Every inspection agency and inspector in Thailand needs to be licensed, Before the rice is shipped, samples are collected at Thai ports and the rice is tested to ensure quality control. QR codes are also used for traceability.
"The consistent track record of quality has resulted in a large customer base who are loyal to Thai Hom Mali Rice. And the number of customers continues to grow worldwide. Customers will not opt for other brands of rice. There is no substitute for the delicious taste, soft texture or fragrant aroma of Thai Hom Mali Rice."
Think Rice, Think Thailand.
Start the conversation

Rice Prices

as on : 18-06-2019 11:18:14 AM

Arrivals in tonnes;prices in Rs/quintal in domestic market.
Published on June 18, 2019

op-end rice prices on the boil

Vishwanath Kulkarni  Bengaluru | Updated on June 17, 2019  Published onJune 17, 2019
Prices of preferred non-basmati rice varieties such as Sona Masuri and Kolam have risen by up to a fifth over the past few weeks on supply squeeze. This is mainly on account of reduced output in the previous cropping season in the drought-affected regions of eastern Karnataka and Vidarbha, where these varieties are mostly grown.
Also the tardy progress of southwest monsoon and concerns over projection of rainfall this year has aided the upward price trend with farmers and millers holding back their stocks, sources said.

Water crisis

Scanty rainfall last year coupled with lack of canal water for irrigation had impacted the paddy cultivation in districts such as Bellary, Koppal, Raichur and Yadgir in Eastern Karnataka.
“While the kharif transplantation was hit by the delay in release of water last year, farmers could not take up paddy cultivation during the rabi season as there was hardly any water in the canals,” said Chamras Malipatil, President of Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha - Hasiru Sene.
However, there’s no dearth of paddy stocks, he said. “Large farmers, stockists and millers are holding the stocks from previous crops,” Malipatil said, adding that newer storage techniques, including improved fumigation, are helping them hold the stocks.
Traditionally, the prices of the preferred varieties go up during this time of the year by about 2 per kg as the supply slows down. However, the extent of increase has more than doubled to around 5 per kg this year, says RC Lahoti, President, Bengaluru Wholesale Food Grain & Pulses Merchants’ Association.
Interestingly, the prices of other varieties such as Salem Idly has also gone up this year. “Prices may come down when the farmers start releasing the stocks in October-November,” Lahoti said.
Srikar Nag of Raichur Rice Mills Association, blamed the unplanned release of water for irrigation from the dams on the Tungabhadra and the Krishna rivers in the region for the shortfall in the crop. “Though the Tungabhadra dam got filled up, farmers could hardly take advantage of it due to the unplanned release of waters by the government,” said Nag.

Abysmal water levels

Water levels have reached the dead storage levels in Tungabhadra reservoir, where accumulation of silt has reduced the storage capacity. While the shortfall in last year’s kharif crop was estimated at 30-40 per cent, farmers could hardly harvest a tenth of the rabi crop, he said.
As a result, the supplies to the rice mills in Raichur have drastically reduced, forcing some mills to fetch paddy from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, Nag said. Consecutive droughts in Nagpur region, where the Kolam variety is grown, has also hit the supplies of the premium variety, he added.
Vikram Shreeram of Shriya Rice Mills in Raichur said the price correction ranged between 2-6 per kg at the mill, depending on the varieties. The shortage of paddy has hit the processing of 70-odd rice mills in Raichur, which have reduced their production by half. “The 70-odd mills used to load about 400-500 tonnes of processed rice every day. Presently, we are not even loading 150-200 tonnes a day,” he added.
Srinivas Jayanthi, a trader in Bengaluru said the price fluctuation continues on a daily basis.
The steamed variety of sona masuri has seen the highest increase from around 33 a kg a month ago to aound 41-42 per kg now. “Prices could ease depending on the progress of monsoon,” he added.
India’s rice production for 2018-19 is seen at a record 115.63 million tonnes. Bulk of the paddy produced in India is that of common variety, which is used for supply of rice through the public distribution system. Trade sources estimate that about a fourth of rice produced in India is of premium variety including basmati. However, the production figures for preferred varieties like sona masuri and kolam were not readily available.

Odisha seeks more time for rice supply to FCI

OSCSCL has urged the Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Department to move the FCI for extension of the time limit for delivery of rice procured during kharif marketing season 2018-19.
Published: 18th June 2019 07:14 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th June 2019 07:14 AM   |  A+A A-
Paddy cultivation in Cuttack. (File Photo | EPS)
By Express News Service
BHUBANESWAR: The state government is likely to move the Centre for extending delivery period of Custom Milled Rice (CMR) as the supply of the food grain to the Food Corporation of India (FCI) is likely to be delayed.
Odisha State Civil Supplies Corporation Limited (OSCSCL) has urged the Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Department to move the FCI for extension of the time limit for delivery of rice procured during kharif marketing season 2018-19.
The delay in delivery of rice by September 30 may not be possible due to various factors including damage to rice mills caused by cyclone Fani.
In a communication to Secretary of Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Department, Managing Director of OSCSCL Saroj Kumar Samal stated that mill premises in coastal districts of Khurda, Puri and Jagatsinghpur have been ravaged by the cyclone damaging the stock of paddy and rice.
The corporation has also cited inadequacy of space to stock rice of record procurement of paddy during the kharif season.
The state government has procured 62 lakh tonne of paddy during the period.
Some of the godowns, which usually accommodate the rice, have also been damaged.
Since repair work is underway, it will be difficult to stock huge quantities of rice in absence of store houses.
Stay up to date on all the latest Odisha news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
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/ 2:09 PM / A DAY AGO

Nagpur Foodgrain Prices Open- JUNE 18, 2019

Nagpur Foodgrain Prices – APMC/Open Market-June 18, 2018 Nagpur, June 18 (Reuters) – Gram and tuar prices reported down in Nagpur Agriculture Produce and Marketing Committee (APMC) on lack of demand from local millers amid increased supply from producing belts. Sharp fall on NCDEX in gram, downward trend in Madhya Pradesh pulses and high moisture content arrival also pushed down prices in limited deals. About 850 bags of gram and 350 bags of tuar reported for auction, according to sources.


* Gram varieties ruled steady in open market here but demand was poor.


* Tuar gavarani declined further in open market here on lack of demand from local
* Udid varieties reported weak in open market on poor buying support from local
* In Akola, Tuar New – 5,900-6,100, Tuar dal (clean) – 8,400-8,600, Udid Mogar (clean)
– 6,700-7,600, Moong Mogar (clean) 7,700-8,400, Gram – 4,500-4,600, Gram Super best
– 6,200-6,400 * Wheat, rice and other foodgrain items moved in a narrow range in
scattered deals and settled at last levels in limited trading activity.
Nagpur foodgrains APMC auction/open-market prices in rupees for 100 kg
FOODGRAINS Available prices Previous close
Gram Auction 3,900-4,150 3,900-4,210
Gram Pink Auction n.a. 2,100-2,600
Tuar Auction 4,900-5,685 4,850-5,700
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 1,800-1,895 1,800-1,895
Wheat Sharbati Auction n.a. 2,900-3,000
Gram Super Best Bold 6,400-6,600 6,400-6,600
Gram Super Best n.a. n.a.
Gram Medium Best 6,000-6,200 6,000-6,200
Gram Dal Medium n.a. n.a
Gram Mill Quality 4,300-4,400 4,300-4,400
Desi gram Raw 4,450-4,550 4,450-4,550
Gram Kabuli 8,300-10,000 8,300-10,000
Tuar Fataka Best-New 8,700-8,800 8,700-8,800
Tuar Fataka Medium-New 8,300-8,500 8,300-8,500
Tuar Dal Best Phod-New 8,000-8,200 8,000-8,200
Tuar Dal Medium phod-New 7,500-7,800 7,500-7,800
Tuar Gavarani New 5,750-5,950 5,800-6,000
Tuar Karnataka 6,100-6,300 6,100-6,300
Masoor dal best 5,400-5,600 5,400-5,600
Masoor dal medium 5,200-5,300 5,200-5,300
Masoor n.a. n.a.
Moong Mogar bold (New) 7,800-8,500 7,800-8,500
Moong Mogar Medium 6,800-7,200 6,800-7,200
Moong dal Chilka New 6,500-7,600 6,500-7,600
Moong Mill quality n.a. n.a.
Moong Chamki best 8,000-9,000 8,100-9,000
Udid Mogar best (100 INR/KG) (New) 7,000-7,800 7,200-8,000
Udid Mogar Medium (100 INR/KG) 5,600-6,500 5,800-6,500
Udid Dal Black (100 INR/KG) 4,000-4,400 4,200-4,600
Mot (100 INR/KG) 5,100-6,600 5,100-6,600
Lakhodi dal (100 INR/kg) 4,500-4,700 4,500-4,700
Watana Dal (100 INR/KG) 5,450-5,650 5,450-5,650
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) 2,100-2,200 2,100-2,200
Wheat Filter (100 INR/KG) 2,500-2,600 2,500-2,600
Wheat Lokwan best (100 INR/KG) 2,400-2,500 2,400-2,500
Wheat Lokwan medium (100 INR/KG) 2,200-2,300 2,200-2,300
Lokwan Hath Binar (100 INR/KG) n.a. n.a.
MP Sharbati Best (100 INR/KG) 3,000-3,500 3,000-3,500
MP Sharbati Medium (100 INR/KG) 2,600-2,900 2,600-2,900
Rice Parmal (100 INR/KG) 2,100-2,200 2,100-2,200
Rice BPT best (100 INR/KG) 3,000-3,500 3,100-3,500
Rice BPT medium (100 INR/KG) 2,400-2,900 2,500-3,000
Rice BPT new (100 INR/KG) 2,800-3,200 2,800-3,200
Rice Luchai (100 INR/KG) 2,900-3,000 2,900-3,000
Rice Swarna best (100 INR/KG) 2,500-2,700 2,500-2,700
Rice Swarna medium (100 INR/KG) 2,300-2,400 2,300-2,400
Rice HMT best (100 INR/KG) 4,100-4,600 4,100-4,600
Rice HMT medium (100 INR/KG) 3,600-3,900 3,600-3,900
Rice HMT New (100 INR/KG) 4,000-4,400 4,000-4,400
Rice Shriram best(100 INR/KG) 5,600-5,800 5,600-5,800
Rice Shriram med (100 INR/KG) 4,600-5,000 4,600-5,000
Rice Shriram New (100 INR/KG) 5,000-5,500 5,000-5,500
Rice Basmati best (100 INR/KG) 8,500-13,500 8,500-13,500
Rice Basmati Medium (100 INR/KG) 5,000-7,000 5,000-7,000
Rice Chinnor best 100 INR/KG) 6,500-7,200 6,500-7,200
Rice Chinnor medium (100 INR/KG) 6,200-6,400 6,200-6,400
Rice Chinnor New (100 INR/KG) 4,800-5,000 4,800-5,000
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. 41.4 degree Celsius, minimum temp. 28.3 degree Celsius Rainfall : Nil FORECAST: Partly cloudy sky. Maximum and minimum temperature likely to be around 41 degree Celsius and 28 degree Celsius respectively. Note: n.a.—not available (For oils, transport costs are excluded from plant delivery prices, but included in market prices)

Year's 1st rice harvest
Posted : 2019-06-18 16:15
Updated : 2019-06-18 16:15
A farmer harvests rice with a combine harvester at a greenhouse in Icheon, Gyeonggi Province, Tuesday. The harvest came much earlier than the usual time of fall, as rice planting also took place earlier thanks to warm temperatures in the greenhouse. Yonhap

Heat, rain delay leave rice growers worried

CHANDIGARH, JUNE 17, 2019 23:10 IST
UPDATED: JUNE 17, 2019 23:11 IST

Farmers seek more than 8 hours of uninterrupted power supply to sustain crops

With the advent of the paddy transplantation season in Punjab and Haryana, an expected delay in monsoon and the ongoing heatwave have left farmers worried.
Monsoon is likely to hit the two States by the first week of July, five-six days later than its usual onset, according to the India Meteorological Department.

Water-guzzling crop

“Paddy is a water-guzzling crop and hence a delay in the rains would mean an increase in the cost of cultivation for the farmers. Dependency on the groundwater would also rise,” said Surinder Pal, director, IMD-Chandigarh.
“Also, this year the temperatures have been slightly higher than previous year. On an average, between mid-April and mid-June, the region has seen a 0.5 degree Celsius rise in temperature against last year. Besides, the summer has been abrupt. The water levels in the dams are good, which could ease the situation,” he added.
Fearing adverse impact of the changes in the climatic conditions on the crops, farmers’ unions in Punjab are now demanding an uninterrupted supply of electricity beyond eight hours that the State government has assured to provide.
“The eight-hour power supply to run tube wells for paddy won't help farmers this year. The government needs to provide electricity beyond that. With temperatures on the rise and a delay in the rains, the cost to sustain the crop is all set to go up for the farmers,” said Harmeet Singh of Bharatiya Kisan Union (Kadian).
“A minimum of 10 hours of uninterrupted water supply is required, only then would the farmers be able to sustain their crops. In the absence of power supply, the farmers will have to irrigate their fields with diesel-operated generators, which would raise the cost of inputs,” he said.
The State government has made arrangements for 14,000 MW, with the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited anticipating the demand to be around 13,500 MW.

BKU demand

Bharatiya Kisan Union (Rajewal) president Balbir Singh said, “First of all, the government needs to develop a mechanism to provide uninterrupted power supply. There have been instances when as soon as the power demand peaks, the system trips. The government should ensure 10 hours of electricity for the paddy crop otherwise the farmers would suffer losses this season.”

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Economist sees favorable rice price outlook



Description: Economist sees favorable rice price outlook

LSU AgCenter rice specialist Dustin Harrell, far left, tells farmers at the Vermilion Parish rice field day on June 11 about fertilizer strategies they should consider for their rice crop.
Description: Economist sees favorable rice price outlook

At stop on the field tour during the Acadia Parish rice field day on June 12, LSU AgCenter weed scientist Eric Webster talks about a study of herbicide effectiveness on aquatic weeds.
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LAKE ARTHUR — An LSU AgCenter economist had good news for rice farmers at the Vermilion Parish rice field day on June 11.
“Optimism is high that with recaptured market share in core markets, the outlook for rice is positive from a price standpoint,” Michael Deliberto said.
He told farmers American rice has become more competitive, which could allow the U.S. to regain market share in Latin America.
The improved trade outlook combined with decreased U.S. rice acreage has led the U.S. Department of Agriculture to increase its projected long-grain price to $10.50 per hundredweight and the medium-grain price to $11 cwt., a 50-cent increase from the previous USDA estimate, Deliberto said.
Iraq has agreed to buy 120,000 metric tons of U.S. rice, but it’s unclear if that country will consistently be an American customer.
The prospect of selling rice to China remains viable, but no deals have been reached yet, Deliberto said.
China has been selling rice in Puerto Rico, and China has become taking away U.S. market share in the Mediterranean.
At the Acadia Parish rice field day on June 12, farmers heard about extensive weed research being conducted at the South Farm of the AgCenter H. Rouse Caffey Rice Research Station. AgCenter weed scientist Eric Webster showed farmers several herbicide studies he is conducting with his graduate students.
Graduate student Sam Rustom has a study of mixing Loyant with Provisia.
One study is looking at the rates of Loyant that can damage soybeans from drift. Small droplets of Loyant, 2,4-D and dicamba can damage nearby crops. “If you’re putting Loyant out next to a soybean field, be very careful. It takes only a small amount to get activity,” Webster said.
Another study is being conducted to see if rice seed germination is affected by late-season herbicide applications.
Testing also is being conducted on herbicide timing and rates for a wide range of products, said graduate student Connor Webster.
AgCenter rice breeder Adam Famoso said two Clearfield lines are possible candidates for release as varieties.
The line 2097 has a yield increase over CL153 by 5%, but the grain quality is an issue with a higher amount of chalk. Another line, 2195, has 3% to 5% less yield than CL153 but with better grain quality than 2097, he said.
Foundation seed is being grown for both lines, Famoso said, so if either is released at the end of this year, seed production could start in 2020. “At the end of the season, we’ll make a final decision,” he said.
A new Provisia variety was approved this year, but work continues on more possibilities with the Provisia technology. “We’ve got plenty of other lines in the Provisia pipeline,” Famoso said.
AgCenter plant pathologist Don Groth said he has received sheath blight disease reports. “It’s actually getting a later start compared to previous years,” he said.
Fungicide-resistant sheath blight can be controlled with Elegia. Amistar Top didn’t work as well as expected last year, but more research is being done to see if its effectiveness can be improved, Groth said.
It appears this won’t be a bad year for Cercospora. But Cercospora will become apparent earlier on late-planted rice, he said.
AgCenter rice specialist Dustin Harrell said heavy rainfall this spring has created more challenges for growing rice. Most of it was planted the third week of March. “We were fighting the weather from the get-go,” he said.
The last big rain probably claimed 200 acres of rice, and one farmer has had his crop submerged three times after heavy rains this year.
“It’s all been about fighting the water,” said Andrew Granger, AgCenter agent in Vermilion Parish.
Some uneven emergence of rice plants has occurred on some fields, probably from cool soil temperatures, Harrell said.
AgCenter entomologist Blake Wilson said the seed treatment Fortenza used with Cruiser Maxx has been as effective as Dermacor against rice water weevils, but it has no activity on stem borers.
Stem borers can take away as much as 5% to 10% of crop yield.
Dermacor can even be effective on stem borers in the ratoon crop, Wilson said.
AgCenter plant pathologist and soybean specialist Boyd Padgett said research is being done to find flood-tolerant soybean varieties.
Soybeans can survive flooding for 48 to 96 hours, depending on conditions.
Padgett recommended farmers wait four to five days before deciding whether they will replant a soybean field that has flooded.

Engineers for social good to be recognized

Manila Water Foundation
Posted at Jun 19 2019 05:32 PM | Updated as of Jun 19 2019 05:33 PM

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Dr. Ricardo Orge works as an agricultural engineer from the Philippine Rice Research Institute. His most recent work, a machine for processing rice hull, has enabled farmers from Nueva Ecija and Bulacan to speed up their income-generating activities and address environmental and climate change concerns.
Thanks to engineers like Orge, more communities are able to experience innovative engineering solutions to various developmental problems in the areas of water, sanitation, sustainability, and the environment.

In line with this, Manila Water Foundation (MWF) collaborates with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Philippine Technological Council (PTC) to highlight Filipino engineers who work for the social good through its biennial award-giving body – the MWF Prize for Engineering Excellence.
Now on its third run, the MWF Prize for Engineering Excellence continues its search for engineers whose projects have created positive social impact and enabled change in marginalized communities and sectors. Since 2015, the Prize has awarded six engineers, including Orge.
As the country’s first and only recognizing body that acknowledges Filipino engineers from all disciplines, the winners will receive a cash prize of P500,000, a special medal, and a trophy. 
The awardees will also get an opportunity to promote their projects to possible end-users and partners.

Interested nominees and nominators may download the entry forms by clicking here. The deadline for the submission of entries is on June 28, 2019.
Watch this video to know more:
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