Saturday, August 31, 2019

31st August,2019 Daily Global Regional Local Rice E-Newsletter

Export surge registered outsidethe five supported sectors
LAHORE: Export data for July 2019 on the State Bank of Pakistan website shows that exports increased by 11 percent, but this surge was outside the five exporting sectors – textile exports increased by only 4 percent.

Government of Pakistan provides power and energy at subsidised rates to the textile sector, leather goods, sports and surgical goods and carpets. Besides other export incentive like rebates on additional exports from last year are also provided.

The other exporting sectors buy power at 25 percent tariff and gas (in Punjab only) at 70 percent higher tariff. There are no other incentives to these sectors.

These sectors were able to boost their exports on the strength of weaker rupee that has lost almost 40 percent of its value in last 18 months. These sectors are also bearing the brunt of regular increase in power and gas tariff.

There is nothing to rejoice on the performance of five major exporting sectors that are being facilitated by the state. Most of these sectors have inherent weaknesses relating to technology, efficiency, management and marketing skills.

The inability of these sectors to benefit even nominally from the massive devaluation speaks volumes of the trouble they are in.

Textile accounted for almost 55 percent of the total exports of the country in July 2019. Out of total exports of $2.23 billion the textile exports were $1.226 billion. These exports were 4 percent higher than the exports of $1.189 billion achieved by the sector in July 2018.

Had the textile exports increased even in line with the national export increase, they would have gone up to $1.32 billion and the national exports would have registered an increase of 14 percent to $2.29 billion.

This export figures coincide with Prime Minister’s Advisor on Commerce Razzak Dawood’s announcement in the second week of August that the total exports have surged 14 percent in July.

In reality, the increase was only 11 percent which perhaps is the reason that the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics has not posted the export figure for July on its website.

In case of textiles it is worth noting that the exports of cotton yarn declined from $121 million to $11 million. The export of fabric similarly registered a nominal decrease.

These two sub sectors of textiles are the largest beneficiaries of subsidised gas and power. Power and energy in fact is their costliest input after cotton.

Exports of knitwear increased by little over five percent, while bed-wear exports increased by seven percent, and towel exports increased by three percent. Readymade garment was the only sub-sector of textiles where the exports increased above the national average of 11 percent to over 13 percent.

The performance of other favoured sectors was also largely disappointing. No impact of devaluation was seen in their exports.

There was decline of over 25 percent in the export of tanned leather, leather manufactures’ exports also declined by above 20 percent, while footwear exports registered 20 percent increase; surgical goods went up around seven percent, and sports goods exports increased by nine percent.

Among the non-traditional sectors, the exports of engineering goods went up by more than 200 percent, jewellery 100 percent, Basmati rice 50 percent, meat and meat preparation 50 percent, rice by petroleum group surged by over 20 percent, and general chemicals by 14 percent.

Economic planners should analyse the past one year performance of each exporting sector and find out which sectors benefited from the decline in rupee value. These are the sectors that seem to have attained competitiveness.

Then find out the impact of high power and gas rates on the products exported by these sectors. Moreover, they should also find out as to how many sectors do not claim refund of sales tax they pay at various stages of production.

The surge in their exports despite this drawback demands that they should be properly facilitated to benefit from the competitiveness they have achieved without any government support.

The traditional exports would not go up without technology upgrade. Government would be wasting its resources in trying to keep these sectors afloat.

Philippines delegates visit

Posted at: Aug 31, 2019, 7:12 AM; last updated: Aug 31, 2019, 7:12 AM (IST
Ludhiana: A team of the Direct Seeded Rice Consortium (DSRC) members, led by Varinder Kumar, IRS, International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), the Philippines, and scientists from the IRRI South Asia Regional Centre, Varanasi, visited Punjab Agricultural University (PAU). The delegates discussed water, soil health, labour, environment, energy and food security issues in north-western states, and the sustainability of rice cultivation. They explored all available options (crop diversification, water use efficient varieties (non-basmati versus basmati), crop establishment methods and irrigations methods) to sustain the production. The progress and problems related to direct seeded rice in Punjab was also discussed. The team visited the DSR experiments in the department of plant breeding and genetics, department of agronomy and School of Agricultural Biotechnology.
23 farm women attend training programme
A four-day training programme for the farmers and farm women of Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh, began at the Skill Development Centre of the university under the guidance of JS Mahal, director of extension education. A total of 23 participants attended the course, which provided technical know-how of vegetable and fruit cultivation, beekeeping and mushroom growing. TS Riar, associate director (Skill Development), said the centre aimed at making farmers, farm women and the rural youth self-reliant.
Lecture on baking skills
The department of food science and technology organised a lecture-cum-demonstration on commercial functional bakery products by professional baker Alpna Gupta from M/s Maple Foods. Students from BTech food technology and other courses attended the lecture. Gupta demonstrated the preparation of soft dough cookies using different functional ingredients such as multigrain flour, oats, millets, cookies utilising low GI sugar for diabetics. TNS

Villar says RCEF a must in tariffication

posted August 30, 2019 at 10:10 pm by Macon Ramos-Araneta

Senator Cynthia Villar on Friday warned that without the Rice Competitive Enhancement Fund, farmers will lose more under a tariffied system.
“Now that Philippine authorities can no longer limit the entry of imported rice, we impose tariffs and collect the amount to spend for programs that will help improve our farmers’ productivity and profitability under the RCEF,” Villar said.
He reminded parties opposing the law enacted as government’s response to the expiration of the quantitative restriction on rice importation to also consider the plight of local farmers who stand to lose more as cheap rice imports start flooding the market without any support program in place.
Villar, chairman of the Committee on Agriculture and Food, noted that after becoming a member of the World Trade Organization in 1995, the Philippines secured a preferential trade deal in the form of the quantitative restriction on rice importation. 

Villar says RCEF a must in tariffication

posted August 30, 2019 at 10:10 pm by Macon Ramos-Araneta

Senator Cynthia Villar on Friday warned that without the Rice Competitive Enhancement Fund, farmers will lose more under a tariffied system.
“Now that Philippine authorities can no longer limit the entry of imported rice, we impose tariffs and collect the amount to spend for programs that will help improve our farmers’ productivity and profitability under the RCEF,” Villar said.
He reminded parties opposing the law enacted as government’s response to the expiration of the quantitative restriction on rice importation to also consider the plight of local farmers who stand to lose more as cheap rice imports start flooding the market without any support program in place.
Villar, chairman of the Committee on Agriculture and Food, noted that after becoming a member of the World Trade Organization in 1995, the Philippines secured a preferential trade deal in the form of the quantitative restriction on rice importation. 

Posted at: Aug 31, 2019, 6:55 AM; last updated: Aug 31, 2019, 9:32 AM (IST)WHAT OUR READERS SAY

Cow dung everywhere in Narwana

Narwana: There are 26 large and 72 small dairies spread across all sides and within the residential areas of Narwana. The dairy owners throw cow dung anywhere or everywhere causing unbearable stink and unhygienic conditions throughout the city. They block the entire sewerage by dumping cow dung in manholes. Officials of the MC and public health are aware of their nefarious activities but they are too scared to take action against them. If this was not enough, the safai karamcharis have gone on indefinite strike, thus paralysing the whole cleanliness drive. Ramesh Gupta

Sheets of iron bridge broken 
Karnal: For the convenience of lawyers, the multi-storey judicial complex and buildings of the lawyers chamber complex in Sector-12 were connected by an iron bridge. It was covered to protect people from rain and sunlight, but now, all its sheets are broken. The upper part of the bridge is totally without cover and the lawyers face a lot of trouble moving from their chambers to the courts during rain and sunshine. The government should immediately cover this bridge with sheets of good quality. Shakti Singh 

Paddy cleaning causing pollution
Karnal: The unnecessary cleaning of paddy is causing health problems in Taraori grain market. The paddy crop is sold by farmers with the help of commission agents in September and November. The harvested crop is already cleaned properly by farmers with innovative machinery and techniques and does not require further cleaning. Despite this, the rice millers insist that the paddy grain be cleaned again when it is brought to the grain market. So, commission agents/farmers use fans to clean the harvested crops. That creates particulate matter and dust which spread far and wide in the nearby environment and become a cause of pollution. We have requested the National Green Tribunal to depute a team to stop the dispersion of pollutants in the air. Progrowers Producer Company Ltd  

Quota for single girl child
Ambala: To save the girl child and improve the sex ratio, the government should implement reservation for the single girl child. The Centre had started “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” campaign on January 22, 2015 from Haryana. Though the sex ratio has improved as per government statics, there are a lot of people in India who don’t send their daughters for higher studies. The government has made some efforts in this regard. Himachal Pradesh has reserved 1 per cent of the total seats in their government medical and dental colleges for single girl child. On August 17, 2018, the High Court had given instructions to PU Chandigarh to keep few seats reserved for the single girl child. Accordingly, PU has kept 1 seat reserved for single girl child in some courses. When Himachal can reserve some seats, why can’t other states? Deepak 

Is a civic issue bothering you? Are you agitated over the lack of concern? Is there something heartening that you feel needs to be highlighted? Or a picture which in your opinion ought to be seen by many, and not just you? 
The Tribune invites its readers to have their say. Please write to us at:

Workers, distributor protest seizure of 704 bags of local rice by Customs
By Demola Akinyemi Ilorin
No fewer than 1000 workers  and sympathizers   of a major distributor of local rice in Nigeria, Mount Olive Nigeria limited based in “Oja tuntun”(new market) Kwara State, yesterday trooped into the major streets of Ilorin to protest perceived illegal seizure of 704 bags of rice from the company by officials of the Nigerian Customs Service, NCS. Bags of Rice (This image is used to demonstrate the story) Chairman of the company, Ademola  Julius, who was moved to tears while addressing journalists during the protest, also accused   Kwara State command of NCS of unlawful arrest and detention of his workers. He recalled that two years ago over 200 bags of rice were also illegally seized, but later released to him after they had been damaged by rain because they were kept inside a leaking warehouse.. New Enugu Immigration boss lauds Ugwuanyi on security(Opens in a new browser tab) According to him,,” In the last four years I have been supporting the cause of Nigeria rice to grow the economy but unfortunately men of the Nigerian Customs have been threatening my business. Men of the Nigerian Customs Services came to my warehouse around 2am and broke my door, tied my security man down and carted away  704 bags of Nigerian rice. I have over 10 trailers of purely local rice inside my warehouse. “Ask producers of local rice in Nigeria, Mount Olive Nigeria Ltd has been supporting them because I am the distributor of Nigerian rice in the whole South West. Nigeria customs just came to frustrate me. I have 480 staff working for me. I don’t know what they want from me. I pay my tax regularly. If they are saying I’m not doing my business in the proper way, what is the proper way they want me to follow?” “I have reported to the police that Customs men attacked my company unlawfully. That is why I’m protesting with my staff for Nigeria government to come to my aid. They said I should come and see the AGC today and when I got to their office they said he was not around. Three of my staff were locked up and they collected N50, 000 from me before they were released. One of my friends who also came was locked up.” “Nigerian Customs Service, Kwara State command should release all my rice unconditionally. Presidency should look into the matter, I have branches all over the country. My company is in 23 locations across the country. They should come and investigate. We are ready to cooperate with whoever want to come and investigate us. Contacted, the Public Relations Officer of the Nigerian Customs Services, Kwara State Command, S.S. Okpo, confirmed that some rice were seized, but added that investigation was still on going on the matter. She said members of the press would be addressed at the end of the investigation.

Metrology Department told to check weights of packed rice Hans News Service

  |  31 Aug 2019 12:12 AM
IST Civil Supplies Corporation Vice-Chairman and Managing Director Surya Kumari conducting a review meeting in Kakinada on Friday. HIGHLIGHTS Civil Supplies vice-chairman and MD Surya Kumari on Thursday reviewed the paddy procurement in Khriff season in East Godavari, supply of sortex variety of rice to Srikakulam district, starting of paddy purchase caters in East Godavari and allied issues. Kakinada: Civil Supplies vice-chairman and MD Surya Description: Metrology Department told to check weights of packed riceKumari on Thursday reviewed the paddy procurement in Khriff season in East Godavari, supply of sortex variety of rice to Srikakulam district, starting of paddy purchase caters in East Godavari and allied issues. At the meet organized at district collectorate, the MD directed the legal metrology department to check the correctness of weight in packed rice meant for supplies to Srikakulam for the pilot project of rice supply in 5, 10, 15 and 20 kgs bags. In this connection, Surya Kumari asked the rice millers to supply 14,000 MT of rice to Srikakulam before the stipulated date. Joint Collector Dr G Lakshmisha, DM, civil supplies Jayaramulu , DD legal metrology MNS Madhuri and others attended.

Nigeria: Border Closure Boosts Production, Say Rice Producers

30 AUGUST 2019
By James Emejo
Abuja — The Rice Processors Association of Nigeria (RIPAN) Thursday supported the recent decision by President Muhammadu Buhari to close Nigerian borders with its neighbours to stem the activities of smugglers.
The association said the closure, which was long overdue, was in the best interest of the economy, adding that the action had suddenly returned life to the rice value chain as the hitherto subdued mills have resumed operations within one week of the border closure.
RIPAN said but for the prompt response by the government, the country would have lost about $400 million (about N150 billion) to smuggling, stressing that intelligence showed that from January to date, over one million metric tonnes of rice was brought into Benin Republic from mostly Thailand and India.
Chairman of RIPAN, Alhaji Mohammed Abubakar Maifata, at a press briefing in Abuja, urged Nigerians to support Buhari in his efforts to reposition agriculture and diversify the economy.
"We came to let the whole world know that we support this action and we are with government in this journey. We will support them with all what we can, in terms of information, statistics- whatever they need from us; we are ready to do it
"We want the whole nation to support the government in this fight; it is for the benefit of Nigeria. I want you to know that the insinuation that we cannot feed ourselves with rice is not true.
"We as an association met yesterday and tasked ourselves to produce massively to that we can fill the gap that will be created by the stoppage of smuggling. And we are up to the task and determined to do it," he added.
The RIPAN chairman, who spoke alongside his deputy, Mr. Paul Eluhaiwe, also said the local mills were now optimised to meet the challenges resulting from the closure of the borders.
"By this action of government, it has opened up many things within this week of closure of the borders.
"All the mills are now open, producing at almost 100 per cent capacity. Procurement of paddy has resumed by the millers and farmers are happy because they are expecting new harvest in November," he added.
He also said the association had further resolved not to take undue advantage of the situation to hike the price of rice.
"In terms of pricing and supply, we also agree that we are not going to take advantage of this action for ourselves by hiking the price of rice.
"As such, we all agreed that we are going to sell our rice from now on at N13, 300 minimum and maximum, because for some, their location is very far from the paddy and so very difficult for them to operate- but upon that, there is no Nigerian rice that will be sold above N14, 000 at factory.
"This is the commitment we made to government and we are determined and we are willing to keep to our words, God willing. Any contrary activities are not from us as we expect saboteurs to take advantage of the situation. But we assure you that this will be our price.
"Already, an order for half a million tonnes was placed by those smugglers in anticipation of the Christmas period and which they hope to bring in November. They are things we already know; a lot others come in containers.
"The implications is that everything that comes to Benin Republic comes to Nigeria because no other country in the West Coast eat parboiled rice; it is only Nigeria.
"Benin Republic itself eats white rice and going by their population, they require not more than 300 metric tonnes per annum. So, why do they bring in two million tonnes of parboiled rice in this case not even the white rice that they eat?
"This action cripples most of the local rice mills as we cannot operate because of the massive inflow of this rice into our economy.
"Most of the mills are working half capacity while others have even closed. Our farmers are now stock with paddy rice because millers cannot buy and you know the massive campaign by government for them to go back and produce this commodity," he said.

Local firm to double rice production from September

An indigenous milling company in Kano, Amarava Rice Mill has said that it will double its rice production capacity from 250 metric tonnes to 500 metric tonnes daily from next month. The Chairman of Fullmark Group, parent company of Amarava Agro Processors Limited, Sriram Venkateswaran, noted that the company had decided to boost local rice production in the country, in line with the Federal Government’s local rice policy. He added that the company had invested heavily to expand its millers.

The chairman stressed that the rice mill was the first end-to-end made-in-Nigeria rice mill, conceived, designed, manufactured, executed and installed using only Nigerian materials and human resources.

He noted that the mill was commissioned in 2017 by President Muhammadu Buhari. Venkateswaran stated that the drive to boost capacity was geared towards promoting government diversification efforts, reduce independence on the importation of rice and improve food security.

He said: “Not only that, we are engaging more farmers who will be directly involved in the cultivation process thereby boosting the agricultural productivity of the Nigerian economy.” The chairman explained that the expansion of the millers beyond its current capacity was bound to generate more jobs both directly and indirectly across the country. Venkateswaran urged the government at all levels, particularly, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to support the agricultural revolution by giving more funding to agricultural investors and instituting enabling policies for local farming.

Prices of rice, grains soar as Customs moves against smugglers



Following the clampdown on illegal imports by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), the price of half bag of rice has gone up by 36.4 per cent as a bag that cost N7,000 is now sold for N11, 000. Also, the price of a bag has gone up by 16.8 per cent from N15, 000 to N18, 000 in some markets in Lagos. Saturday Telegraph had last week exclusively reported the rise in the price of the commodities after the closure of the Seme border.

A further confirmation of the price with a visit to Abesan, Ipaja and other markets in Lagos, showed that rice dealers have increased the prices from N14, 500 to N17, 500, N18, 000 and N19, 300, depending on the size, brand and quality. This is coming as President Muhammadu Buhari disclosed in Japan, a few days ago, that smuggling around the borders was threatening Nigeria’s agricultural policies.

The President had told his Beninoise counterpart, Patrice Talon, on the sideline of the seventh Tokyo International Conference for African Development (TICAD7), in Yokohama, Japan that he would not allow smuggling of the grain at such alarming proportions to continue. Findings by Saturday Telegraph from a global trade portal, Index Mundi, revealed that a total of 2.2 million tonnes of the grains are expected to be shipped into Nigeria through the neighbouring borders before the end of 2019. However, because of the presence of security operatives, a lot of the imports have been trapped at the border communities and routes.

It was learnt that Customs officials, acting on intelligent information, were moving from one community to another to evacuate rice stacked in some houses. Findings by our correspondent show that the Service and other security agencies at the border have stopped petty traders and individuals from crossing the border with bags of rice, especially smugglers from Gbagi in Benin Republic.

To further stop the influx of other agricultural produce, the NCS Ogun State Command, Idiroko, has also convened a meeting with the Association of Tomato Farmers (ATF) at Idiroko, on how to curb illegal importation of tomatoes into the country. At the meeting, the association said it would cooperate with the Service to produce a list of all farms and their addresses for onward inspection through a joint sub-committee comprising Plant Quarantine, Customs Intelligence Unit, Directorate of State Security (DSS) and the police, among others.

According to the group’s Public Relations Officer (PRO), Abdullahi Maiwada, the association also promised to produce invoices for all their members in order to distinguish smuggled tomatoes from the locally produced tomatoes, pepper and other perishable goods. Maiwada said: “The implementation of the deliberations has been fully enforced, as smooth passage of locally produced products is being expedited within Ogun State.”

He noted that some tomatoes and pepper smuggled from neighbouring Benin Republic were intercepted, saying that significant quantity of the seizures were successfully auctioned openly to the public in the presence of relevant agencies.

He said: “A team comprising resident officers of the Command and joint officers of other sister security agencies operating under the border drill code named, ‘Ex- Swift Response’ intercepted five buses suspected to contain fresh tomato and pepper at Ilara/meko and Ijoun axis of Ogun State, the items were suspected to have been smuggled into Nigeria from Benin Republic. “Therefore, considering the perishable nature of the items, the goods were presented to public auction, in line with Customs and Excise Management Act CAP 45, LFN (2004), as amended.”

8 entries from Soccsksargen vie for nat’l Gawad Saka awards

By Roel Osano  August 30, 2019, 8:51 pm
KORONADAL CITY -- Eight farmers, researchers, and groups from Region 12 (Soccsksargen) will vie for the top awards in this year’s national Gawad Saka search.

Milagros Casis, Department of Agriculture (DA) 12 director, said Friday the eight were among the 12 regional Gawad Saka winners who have been chosen as national finalists of the prestigious annual awards.

Casis said six of them were nominated in the individual category while the other two were for the group category.

“Some of them already underwent an intensive assessment by evaluators from the DA central office while the others are scheduled to be visited next month,” she said in a statement.

The six individual nominees are Jesus Horlador of  Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat for the outstanding rice-based farmer award; Bienvenido Nebres of Tacurong City for outstanding aquaculture farmer; Gerwin Galinato of Antipas, North Cotabato for outstanding young farmer; Dr. Onofre Corpuz, a professor of the Cotabato Foundation College of Science and Technology in Arakan, North Cotabato for outstanding agricultural scientist; Aldrin Cantila of Philippine Rice Research Institute - Midsayap for  outstanding agricultural researcher; and Jesus Dignadice of Polomolok, South Cotabato for outstanding coconut farmer.

The two entries in the group category are the Provincial Agriculture and Fishery Council (PAFC) of Sultan Kudarat, headed by Aurelio Betque, for the Outstanding PAFC; and the family of Victoria Motril of Tupi, South Cotabato for the outstanding farm family.

Region 12’s Gawad Saka winners were formally recognized by DA-12 during its Gabi ng Parangal 2019 held at the Paraiso Verde Resort Hotel and Waterpark here Wednesday night.

The four other regional winners are Renato dela Cruz of this city as outstanding organic agriculture farmer; Kablon Farm Foods Corp. of Tupi, South Cotabato as outstanding entrepreneur; Rogelio Genosas of Kidapawan City as outstanding high value crops farmer; and General Santos City Food Terminal, Inc. as outstanding barangay food terminal in the non-local government unit operated category.
Casis said the 12 winners received a plaque of recognition and cash incentives of PHP50,000 for the individual and PHP75,000 for the group categories.

She expressed hope that the region would produce more national winners in this year’s national Gawad Saka awards.

The Gawad Saka search is an annual award program of the DA that aims to recognize the achievements of local farmers, fisherfolk, agricultural scientists, and researchers, as well as farm-based organizations. (PNA)

Lab-grown mini-brains produce signals just like those in pre-term babies

AUG 31, 2019, 5:00 AM SGT
Researchers at the University of California San Diego (UC San Diego) have cultivated miniature brains that produce electrical patterns indistinguishable from those of a premature baby. These "mini-brains" are brain organoids, tissue cultures made from human stem cells.
The team was led by Dr Alysson Muotri, professor of paediatrics and cellular and molecular medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine, and Dr Bradley Voytek, associate professor of cognitive science at UC San Diego's Division of Social Sciences.
They used electroencephalogram recordings of babies born up to 31/2 months premature to train a machine learning algorithm. This algorithm, after being fed data from real babies, could estimate the ages of given brain patterns, the university said in a statement.
The scientists grew hundreds of pea-sized brain organoids, optimising their construction over time to promote cell organisation. After about two months, the mini-brains began producing signals comparable to those of pre-term babies.
The researchers found that the brain waves of their young organoids were of the same frequency and similarly sparse.
As the organoids continued to grow, they began forming new neurons and creating a neural network. At 10 months old, the laboratory-grown brains had patterns similar to those of a premature infant who had reached full term (40-week gestation).
The team published their findings in the Aug 29 issue of the journal Cell Stem Cell. They believe their work in producing organoids could aid in research about brain development. Dr Muotri said: "The level of neural activity we are seeing is unprecedented in-vitro."
Description: A cross-section of a brain organoid showing the initial formation of a cortical plate. Each colour marks a different type of brain cell. A cross-section of a brain organoid showing the initial formation of a cortical plate. Each colour marks a different type of brain cell. PHOTO: MUOTRI LAB/UCTV
Cerebral organoid research at UC San Diego has already helped prove that the Zika virus can cause severe birth defects, and also helped develop drugs for a rare, inherited neurological disorder. Recently, Dr Muotri and his team sent their samples to the International Space Station to study how microgravity affects the human brain.
Similar research has been done in Singapore. In 2016, researchers at the National Neuroscience Institute, A*Star's Genome Institute of Singapore, and Duke-NUS grew mini-brains the size of a rice grain to study Parkinson's disease.
Dr Muotri's mini-brains can survive for years in the laboratory. Due to an absence of blood vessels and limitations in their size, their development tapers at around nine months. "They are far from being functionally equivalent to a full cortex, even in a baby," he said.
However, his research lies in a grey ethical zone in science research. There are concerns that, as lab-grown cultures become increasingly indistinguishable from a human brain, researchers could violate ethical codes of conduct around stem cell experimentation.
But Dr Muotri highlights that his research may have ethical benefits.
More sophisticated in-vitro models could replace the need to have animal models or human foetal tissue in future research

Border Closure Pushes Up Food Prices

Experts warn of food crisis over forex ban •‘Boko Haram, herdsmen have displaced farmers’

Description: food, hungry

THE closure of Nigeria’s borders with neighbouring Benin Republic is hurting the prices of staple foods in Lagos and its environs, Saturday Tribune findings have shown.
Survey showed that prices of both foreign and locally-produced rice have jumped up with traders citing the closure of the borders as the main reason for the hike.
Food items, particularly rice, imported frozen chicken (popularly known as Orobo), turkey and gizzard, were regularly smuggled into the country through the Seme border, the boundary between Nigeria and the Republic of Benin, before the closure.
The French-speaking nation is a major recipient of food importation from France, now serving as a major importation hub of goods into Nigeria.
Apart from foreign rice being not as available as it used to in the Ikeja (Lagos) axis, including Shangisha and Magodo, local rice also witnessed a jack-up in price.
The border closure is also taking its toll on various markets in the state with market women lamenting the scarcity of frozen foods and grains.
Traders who deal in food items imported from Benin Republic have lamented the closure of the borders, saying it has resulted in price increase of major food items and a slowing down of sales.
Some of the traders who spoke to Saturday Tribune on Friday said until Nigeria attained food sufficiency, closing the nation’s borders would put the poor masses under intense hardship.
A foodstuff seller at Bodija Market, Ibadan, Alhaji Umoru Kabir, told Saturday Tribune that before the closure of the borders, a 50kg bag of imported rice sold for N14,000 but it sold for between N17,000 and N18,000 as of Friday.
He said further that the development had affected the price of local rice, a 50kg bag of which used to be N12,000 but has now increased to between N14,000 and N15,000.
He noted that Nigeria was not yet ripe for such a policy as the country’s agriculture system was still developing and had not attained a level that could guarantee food security.
“I advise the Federal Government to review its decision and reverse it without wasting time,” he said.
Mrs Bunmi Owolabi, who sells vegetable oil and other groceries at Amunigun market, Ibadan, told Saturday Tribune on Friday that a 25-litre keg of imported vegetable oil which was sold for N9,400 before the border closure now sold for N12,500.
She stated that the border closure had also affected other food items such as frozen chicken, turkey and confectioneries.
At Alarape Market in Somolu Local Government Area of Lagos State, Ndubisi Eze, a trader, said there had been increase in the prices of food items due to the border closure.
According to him, there has been a N3,000 increase in the price of a bag of rice compared to what it was before the border closure.
“Honestly, the border closure has made life difficult for both traders and buyers due to the accompanying price hike of food items, especially rice.
“Only beans has not experienced a price increase as the price remains the same, compared to the preceding weeks. The selling price of a bag of beans remains N14,000.
“As of last week, a bag of rice sold for N14,500 but is now going for N17,500,” he said.
A rice seller at Bariga Market, Ishola Abiodun, gave a similar account, blaming the increase on the border closure.
“The border closure led to a hike in the price of the major staple food, rice, because we are not producing enough in the country. If we were producing enough locally, the closure would not have any impact on the price. For instance, the price of beans has not changed but for rice and vegetable oil, there has been an increase in their prices,” Abiodun said.
He, however, noted that the price might further go up if the borders remained closed for long

Proven consumer association Acdic initiates petition to limit rice imports

Friday, 30 August 2019 17:48
 (Business in Cameroon) - Association citoyenne de défense des intérêts collectifs (Acdic), an association of the defence of citizens’ interests, recently initiated a petition asking the government to force local importers to sell rice produced in the country.  
This petition was initiated after a visit to rice fields in the Far-north where most of the local production is stored awaiting potential buyers while more than XAF150 billion was spent in 2017 to import more than 800,000 tons of rice.
Let’s remind that Acdic illustrated itself in the early 2000s by obtaining the suspension of the importation of frozen chicken, which was destroying the local avian sector. This measure is still being implemented till now.

Goodyear advancing use of rice-ash silica in tires

August 30, 2019 01:53 PM 
Shahrzad Pourriahi, European Rubber Journal
AKRON — Goodyear has progressed with the use of rice husk ash silica in its tires as a bio-alternative to traditional sand-based silica, according to the firm's Corporate Responsibility Report.
The company started the production of rice-husk-based silica tires at its factory in Pulandian, China, in 2015, using silica, provided by Yihai Food and Oil Industry.
In its 2018 responsibility report, Goodyear noted that it had introduced RHA silica in several manufacturing plants globally and now is set to expand its efforts.
"We are working closely with our suppliers to explore further expanding the usage of RHA silica and have set a goal to double our use of it within the next two years," Goodyear said without providing further details.
According to Goodyear, the China Automotive Technology and Research Center conducted a detailed life cycle analysis to determine the climate impacts of RHA silica last year. The assessment found that in the time between planting and harvesting the rice, more CO2 is sequestered from the atmosphere than is generated during the RHA silica production process, Goodyear noted.
"In fact, for every kilogram of RHA silica used in our tires, a net 0.82 kg of CO2 is sequestered from the atmosphere," the company said.
Rice husk ash has been converted to silica for several years, but only recently has technology been developed to process it into tire-grade product.

NFA rice stockpile good for 13 days


A farmer sells his palay to the National Food Authority in Zamboanga del Sur in this NFA file photo.
The National Food Authority’s (NFA) said its current rice buffer stock, which consists of imports and palay bought from local farmers, is enough to fill the country’s rice requirement for 13 days.
The NFA said its warehouses have a total of 8.5 million bags, or 425,000 metric tons of rice. The food agency’s buffer stock consists of 4.5 million bags of milled rice (225,000 MT) and 6.4 million bags of unhusked rice (200,000 MT).
Of the 4.5 million bags of milled rice, 4.1 million were imported while the remaining 400,000 bags came from local farmers.
While the agency’s stockpile is good for 13 days, it is mandated to maintain a buffer stock of as much as 30 days during the lean months of July to September.
The country’s national daily consumption requirement (DCR) is pegged at 651,860 bags or about 32,593 MT.
Republic Act 11203, or the rice trade liberalization law, mandates the NFA to maintain a buffer stock for 15 to 30 days of DCR to meet contingencies during calamities
and emergencies anywhere in the country.
The NFA said it continues to buy palay from local farmers to further beef up its stocks and provide planters with a ready market for their produce at a “reasonable” price.
“We conduct procurement operations on a year-round basis. We have more than 300 buying stations across the country that are open daily where farmers can deliver their produce and avail of our support price and incentives,” NFA Administrator Judy Carol Dansal said in a statement.
The NFA currently buys palay at a support price of P17.70 per kg plus a buffer stocking incentive (BSI) of P3 per kg, P0.20 per kg drying incentive, P0.20 per kg delivery incentice, and P0.30 per kg cooperative development incentive fee. This brings the NFA’s maximum buying price for clean and dry palay to P20.70 per kg for farmer cooperatives and P20.40 per kg for individual farmers.
In the first half, the NFA procured 5.415 million bags of unhusked rice from farmers, surpassing its target of 4.649 million bags, due to its higher buying price.
With this, the NFA said it has already achieved 37.42 percent of its full-year procurement target of 14.46 million bags. The NFA was only able to buy 74,420 bags of palay from local farmers last year, as private traders bought local rice at a higher price.


The NFA clarified that all its rice stocks are in good condition as these are kept in “strategically located warehouses nationwide are maintained in good condition at all times and ready for release to calamity victims as required under the law.”
“We abide by what is dictated by our mandate. We store and handle our stocks following good warehouse-keeping protocols in all our warehouses across the country so that we can immediately respond to any need for rice supply during calamities and emergencies,” Dansal said.
“We assure the public that NFA is compliant with its mandate of maintaining a safe and sufficient buffer stock for any emergencies our countrymen may face anywhere in the country,” she added.
The NFA said it will not allow its rice stockpile to rot or deteriorate beyond what is fit for human consumption.

Despite normal monsoon, rice sowing continues to remain low; major cereals also down

By: FE Online | 
Published: August 30, 2019 5:19:53 PM

The lower rice sowing can be partly attributed to lesser rainfall in West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh, the CARE Ratings report said. These two states are the large producers of rice.

Description: sowing was 6.4% lower at 33.5 million hectares.
While the monsoon has been better than normal for the first time in the last five years, sowing for rice and all key cereals has been low this year, compared to the same period the previous year. “The sowing patterns across key crops as of 23 August 2019 has seen an improvement but the concern remains around the sowing of rice which has seen a contraction of around 20 lakh hectares from normal and a year ago,” a CARE Ratings report said on Friday. With the exception of bajra, the sowing is also down for key cereals including jowar, millet and maize. 
The same was also highlighted by another report which said that the total area sowed under Kharif crops as of the previous week of August was lower by 2.3%. “Rice sowing was 6.4% lower at 33.5 million hectares,” in August as compared to the same period last year, a Kotak Institutional Equities report said. The lower rice sowing can be partly attributed to lesser rainfall in West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh, the CARE Ratings report said. These two states are the large producers of rice.

Watch: How to file ITR-1 in less than 15 minutes

Further, pulses acreage also saw a slip by 3.1% at 12.5 million hectares and cotton acreage was down to 5.2 million hectares from the previous 5.5 million hectares last year. On the other hand, the total area sowed for certain crops has also witnessed a spike. “The sowing patterns across key crops as of 23 August, 2019 has seen an improvement,” the CARE Ratings report said. This includes, soybean and sugarcane. 
Inflation in food prices
Going ahead, as some regions have been receiving excessive, while the same could have a good effect on reservoir and groundwater level, the same could hit the production of certain crops, CARE Ratings observed. Further, the combination of excess rainfall and deficient rainfall in almost 40% of all the subdivisions is likely to cause food inflation in the coming time, the report added. 

Crisil sees 3-5 percent fall in Kharif output

By: FE Bureau | 
Published: August 30, 2019 5:36:42 AM

Rice production is likely to fall by 7% from 102.13 million tonne in 2018-19, Crisil said.

Description: Monsoon deficit, Kharif sowing season, Kharif output, NCML, export demand, Rice productionReleasing the Agriculture Report 2019, the agency said profits of farmers who cultivate foodgrain might increase 11-13% this year, which is lower than 15-16% growth in 2018-19.
Monsoon deficit in the crucial first one-and-half months of the Kharif-sowing season, coupled with excessive rains in August that inundated agricultural fields in several states, are likely to drag down production of foodgrain (rice, pulses and coarse cereals) this season by 3-5% from last year’s 141.71 million tonne, according to a report by Crisil Research.
Rice production is likely to fall by 7% from 102.13 million tonne in 2018-19, Crisil said. Private weather forecaster Skymet has pegged rice production at 88.66 million tonne, down 13%. The weighted average mandi prices of crops are seen to be 10% higher this year compared to last year, it said. Releasing the Agriculture Report 2019, the agency said profits of farmers who cultivate foodgrain might increase 11-13% this year, which is lower than 15-16% growth in 2018-19.
Watch Video: How To File ITR-1 for AY 2019-20 in less than 15 minutes
Delayed onset of monsoon has led to a 6% decline in paddy sowing as on August 22. Though the fall in acreage has narrowed down from a high of 24% on July 5, the below-normal rains in West Bengal, country’s largest rice producer, is not going to be compensated with the subsequent rains started from mid-July.
However, the area under cotton and maize cultivation would likely raise the output of their production from the previous season. The recent spate of rainfall that caused floods in many parts of Karnataka and Maharashtra could decrease the yield of the two crops by 2% in these states, Crisil, said. While Crisil has estimated the country’s maize output to increase by 1% from last season’s 19.04 million tonne, another private agency NCML has pegged it to grow by 5.8%.
Pulses, the prices of which are a major concern to the government, are likely to be at at par with last year’s 8.59 million tonne level, Crisil said, adding tur might witness a jump in output due to higher acreage. Among the cash crops, all the agencies have predicted higher cotton production, 19-25% against last year’s 28.7 million bales (one bale weighs 170 kg) thanks to a higher acreage.
Despite higher production, prices of cotton will be robust and farmers will receive around the MSP of Rs 5,255 per quintal due to export demand, Crisil said. There is little chance of cotton reaching Rs 6,000-level (highest in 2018-19 season), it added. However, Crisil has also expressed apprehension of a drop in yield of maize and paddy due to very high-intensity rainfall in August that makes prone to pest attacks.
“The quick catch-up in southwest monsoon has meant excess rains in August in a few sub-regions. This has affected Kharif crops, particularly paddy. But abundant rains have also improved chances of healthy rabi production because of recharging of groundwater resources and higher reservoir levels,” said Dharmakirti Joshi, chief economist of Crisil.
1.      HOME
2.      ECONOMY


Iraq issues tender to buy at least 30,000 tonnes rice – trade

30 AUGUST, 2019

The closing date for the tender is Sept. 5 and offers must remain valid up to Sept. 15
Description: Falling rice Grains of white rice falling through outstretched fingers into shallow glass bowl.
Falling rice Grains of white rice falling through outstretched fingers into shallow glass bowl.
REUTERS/ Allison Achauer
By Michael Hogan, Reuters News
HAMBURG  - Iraq's state grains buyer has issued an international tender to buy at least 30,000 tonnes of rice, European traders said on Friday.
The closing date for the tender is Sept. 5 and offers must remain valid up to Sept. 15, they said.
Iraq’s last reported rice purchase was 60,000 tonnes sourced from the United States on July 17.
(Reporting by Michael Hogan) ((; +49 172 671 36 54; Reuters Messaging:

RIPAN to begin sale of rice at N13,300 per bag

 August 29, 2019
Ifeanyi Onuba, Abuja
The Rice Processors Association of Nigeria on Thursday said the association has agreed to sell rice for between N13,300 and N14,000 per bag.
The association also expressed support for the Federal Government’s closure of the land border with Benin Republic and other neighboring countries.
President of RIPAN, Mohammed Maifata, said this during a chat with journalists in Abuja.
He said, “We are not going to take advantage of the border closure for ourselves by hiking the price of rice.
“As such, we all agreed that we are going to sell our rice from now on at N13, 300 minimum and maximum, because for some, their location is very far from the paddy and so very difficult for them to operate — but upon that, there is no Nigerian rice that will be sold above N14, 000 at factory.
“This is the commitment we made to government and we are determined and we are willing to keep to our words God willing. Any contrary activities is not from us as we expect saboteurs to take advantage of the situation. But we assure you that this will be our price.”
He commended the Nigeria Customs Service for its current fight against smuggling of the commodity, and called on various security agencies who are mandated by the current directive to intensify the fight to check the various porous borders.
Maifata said the move was needed to address the rising case of rice smuggling into Nigeria from neighbouring countries.
It described the border closure as “long overdue,” noting that it was done in the best interest of the economy.
The association said the action of the government had suddenly returned life to the rice value chain, as the hitherto subdued mills have resumed operations within one week of the border closure.

IFC gives Pakistan priority in agribusiness projects

Published: August 31, 2019
Description: PHOTO: EXPRESS
ISLAMABAD: The World Bank is ready to provide technical and financial advisory services to public and private sectors by assisting local and foreign companies entering manufacturing and agribusiness in Pakistan, announced International Finance Corporation (IFC) Regional Industry Director of Manufacturing Rana Karadshseh-Haddad.
In a meeting with Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce, Textile, Industries and Production, and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood, an IFC delegation deliberated on issues pertaining to manufacturing-cum-export in order to revitalise the economy of the country.
IFC is a member of the World Bank Group.
Heading the delegation, Haddad apprised the adviser that Pakistan was a priority country for IFC projects in agribusiness and services and the IFC had undertaken various projects in this area to attract investment.
The adviser highlighted that Pakistan possessed immense potential in food processing, power production, textile, leather and rice sectors, which had not been exploited optimally owing to a lack of value addition in these sectors.
He emphasised the need for attracting investment in the aforementioned sectors and urged the IFC to provide necessary assistance to public and private-sector companies.
“Businessmen are interested in investing in Pakistan owing to immense opportunities,” he said. “Big companies, both local and foreign, are interested in investing in different projects pertaining to value addition.”
He added that Pepsi and Cargill had started investing in the food processing business in Pakistan.
Dawood pointed out that the country had also launched a program titled ‘Regulatory Guillotine’ to ease business regulations.
Through this programme, two to three regulations were being removed every month in a bid to streamline business activities, the adviser highlighted.
“Pakistan has taken various effective steps to improve trade procedures by establishing a better trade facilitation regime,” he said.
The adviser informed the delegation about the enormous investment opportunities for technological upgrade in the textile sector as manufacturers were using outdated technology, which eroded their competitiveness in the global textile market.
He pointed out that Pakistan had taken a strategic decision through which it was going to enhance the share of renewable energy from 4% to at least 20% in the total energy mix.
“This particular initiative has offered massive investment opportunities in the power sector.”
He urged IFC to facilitate Pakistan in better allocation and utilisation of resources to uplift the economy of the country

"American Food Fair" Promotion in China Endorses U.S. Rice  

HONG KONG -- A new promotion, called "American Food Fair," began here in late July and runs through August at AEON, a large Japanese-owned holding company comprised of upscale general merchandise stores with locations all over Asia.  The chain already had two brands of U.S. rice on shelves, Chewy and Nishiki, and when USA Rice joined the promotion, another U.S. rice brand, Tamaki, was added to shelves.

Special USA point of sale materials were designed and decorated all participating stores.  AEON also advertised the food fair with posters at subway stations and issued newsletters as part of the promotion.

"In addition to the twelve AEON stores in Hong Kong, HKTVMall, a local online retailer opening a bricks-and-mortar store there, is also participating in the "American Food Fair," said Jim Guinn, USA Rice director of USA Rice Asia Promotion Programs.  "Unfortunately the promotion has coincided with ongoing protest demonstrations in Hong Kong, which may mute success."

According to the Global Trade Atlas, Hong Kong imported more than 4,000 metric tons of U.S. rice in the first six months of 2019, compared to 3,442 in the first half of 2018, a 24 percent increase.