Friday, September 13, 2019

13th September,2019 Daily Global Regional Local Rice E-Newsletter

Ghana: Improving Rice Production to Imports

The Senior Minister, Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo, was on Wednesday, quoted as saying that Ghana imported a whopping GH¢1.3bn worth of rice into the country in 2016/2017.
He was angry that Ghana could use such amount in importing rice when it could have been used for other essential things.
"This is, indeed, sad because we can grow rice anywhere in Ghana.
"The amount could have been used rather on the importation of machinery and medications in the better interest of the nation," he said.
The Senior Minister added "if you want to develop, produce food and do not import food".
The Ghanaian Times shares the view of Mr Osafo-Maafo which we believe many Ghanaians would agree with.
There is no one who would disagree with the fact that Ghana is naturally blessed with all the resources to produce food bountifully and in a massive way.
It is, therefore difficult to understand why we have remained uncompetitive in rice production and continue to import such large quantities into the country.
We agree that rice as a staple food, is one of the food commodities whose demand is rapidly growing. Rice consumption has increased tremendously and nearly every home consumes rice.
It is, not surprising therefore that; the volumes are increasing year on year. What is rather baffling is that, no effort is being made to increase domestic production of rice.
Rice is by far, the second most important cereal crop after maize, yet the country is unable to produce it locally in large quantities to feed the nation.

This situation has created conditions for the unbridled importation of rice at the expense of production locally.Ghana has the potential to produce rice everywhere in every part of the country and capable of producing yields that could feed the nation.
We find the current trend unhelpful for the country's economy. It is therefore time for the country to implement policies that would encourage domestic productivity and consumption of local rice.
That would save the country huge sums of foreign exchange which can be used for the importation of machinery or set up factories to provide employment for the youth.
We urge our policy makers to institute measures that would encourage our farmers to produce more and to make importation of rice unattractive.

Hungry nation

Description: by Dee Ayroso
Government officials have been offering band-aid solutions to the bankruptcy of Filipino farmers, missing out the elephant in the room.
President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the National Food Authority to purchase palay (unhusked rice) from farmers at a reasonable price. The NFA, however, only maintains  its current buffer stock level of 15 to 30 days based on a daily national rice consumption of 32,593 metric tons per day. Even if the agency buys the maximum volume of 978,000 metric tons of rice from local farmers, it would be equivalent to roughly 11 percent of the 8.4 million metric tons of rice produced locally in 2018.
The Department of Agriculture, meanwhile, plans to impose non-tariff measures, such as implementing sanitary and phytosanitary measures. That, of course, would not stop the influx of cheaper, subsidized rice from neighboring countries, estimated at about three million metric tons for the whole 2019.
The zero-interest P15,000 loan payable for eight years would further push our rice farmers deeper in debt. At P7 to P10 per kilo of palay, most of our rice farmers reaped debt instead of rice.
Even the P10-billion Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) does not have an allocation for direct subsidy for rice farmers. The law states that 50 percent goes to Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization for the purchase of farm equipment; 30 percent to the Philippine Rice Research Institute, 10 percent to the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI)/Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and another 10 percent to the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) and Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) for loans.
Nobody from the Duterte administration wants to admit that the Republic Act 11203, which has liberalized rice importation, is the culprit behind the miserable state of our farmers right now. Senator Cynthia Villar, main author of the law, even has the gall to blame every government agency but herself.
Farmers’ group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas has long warned that removing the quantitative restrictions on imported rice would seal the death of the country’s rice industry.  Not only it has caused further misery to our farmers, it has not resulted in lower prices. As of second week of August, the average retail price of well milled rice was pegged at P42.71 per kilo.
Since the country entered the World Trade Organization (WTO) and started trade liberalization in agriculture, the share of agriculture in the Philippine economy has declined, according to independent think tank Ibon Foundation.  Whatever safety nets promised purportedly to protect the local economy were mere empty rhetoric. In fact, agricultural trade deficit ballooned from $287 million in 1994 to over $6 billion in 2015.  With rice liberalization, the agricultural trade deficit would surely worsen.
To abate the crisis, the logical step would be to repeal Republic Act 11203.
The next step would be to provide direct subsidy to farmers in the form of irrigation services, farm inputs support, post-harvest facilities, among others, to lower the cost of production. A 2016 Philrice study reveals that the Philippines has higher production cost at P12.41 per kilo compared with Thailand (P8.85), Vietnam (P6.53) and Indonesia (P8.87).
The more comprehensive solutions are embodied in Makabayan bloc’s House Bill No. 555 or the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill and House Bill 8512 or the Rice Industry Development Act.  The twin bills seek to invest in the country’s agriculture, with the view of having food self-sufficiency.
Let’s not wait for our farmers to stop producing our staple food. The more dependent we become on food imports, the poorer and hungrier we become as a nation. 

Sultan Kudarat farm pilot-testing rice seed requiring reduced irrigation

By Carmelito Q. Francisco
DAVAO CITY — Climate-resilient rice seed is being developed in South Central Mindanao with reduced irrigation requirements for areas that receive limited water apart from rainfall.
The regional office of the Department of Agriculture has partnered with SeedWorks Philippines Inc. in establishing a 60-hectare demonstration farm for the propagation of Tatag Hybrid (TH) 82 rice, which is expected to help farmers reduce their use of inputs, particularly water.
The regional office, headed by Milagros Casis, established the demonstration farm in Lambayong, Sultan Kudarat to test the productivity of the variety, which uses Climate Smart Agriculture Technology through dry-seeding. The hope is to help farmers earn more from their rice farms.
DA’s point person for the program, Sheryl Daulo, told BusinessWorld that the department is seeking to expand the project to regular farms depending on the result of the trials.
“We are looking at how we can help farmers in the region increase their incomes, and the seed variety is among those that we are considering,” Ms. Daulo said, adding that the DA is still waiting for the National Food Authority to come up with an agreement with farmers to ensure they have a ready market.
Seedworks, a Philippine crop science company, belongs to the International Rice Research Institute’s (IRRI) Hybrid Rice Development Consortium. Many of the other companies are multinationals.
Remus S. Morandante, SeedWorks vice-president for Sales and Public Affairs, said dry-seeding is optimized for upland rice fields and those at the tail end of the irrigation supply line or those that rely heavily on rainfall.
Mr. Morandante told BusinessWorld that with dry-seeding, these farms which are only planted once a year can be planted twice a year.
“The challenge before was the absence of appropriate rice varieties that could withstand the pressure of dry culture,” he said.

DA to ‘flood’ market with cheap rice imports

Description: Top01 091219Different prices of rice are on display at a local store in San Andres, Manila.
THE Department of Agriculture (DA) announced on Thursday it will be “flooding” the market with the National Food Authority’s (NFA) cheap imported rice to cut down the prices of the staple.
In a press conference, Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar disclosed they will be selling 3.6 million bags of rice nationwide.
“This will be done up to next month starting today. Tomorrow [Friday] there will be trucks of NFA in most of the markets in Metro Manila delivering parts of the 3.6 million bags of imported rice,” Dar said.
He said the imported NFA rice will be sold at P25 per kilo to retailers and P27 per kilo to consumers.
The agriculture chief said another price-reducing measure they will enforce is the raising of the support price from P17 to P19 per kilo for clean and dry palay.
“The P2 increase in the palay price support will translate roughly to an P8,000 additional income per farmer based on current average yield of four bags per hectare,” Dar said.

More beneficiaries

However, he said they opted to remove the temporary P3.70 incentive, given by NFA last year, to farmers.
NFA Judy Dansal explained the NFA Council opted to remove the incentive so they could buy rice from more local farmers.
“The decision of the council is only for this procurement season, when we start to feel the effects of the new [rice] tariffication law,” Dansal said.
Dansal said the selling of the 3.6 million bags will allow NFA to generate about P5 billion so they could buy another 723,000 metric tons of rice from local farmers before the end of the year.
Dansal said the twin initiatives of DA are expected to bring down the market price of rice from P36 to P40 to just P32 to P34 benefiting consumers and farmers.

Sustainable supply and demand

Aside from NFA, Dar said 30 local governments will be given loans by LandBank to also buy rice from local rice farmers.
“We have secured the commitment of 30 provincial governments. They will now start buying palay or they will start doing this with the National Food Authority,” Dar said.
With the NFA rice supply assured, Dar said they are eyeing to sustain the demand for NFA rice by signing a new accord with the Department of Social Welfare and Development.  Under the proposed accord, DSWD will purchase NFA rice for distribution to beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).
Lastly, Dar said the NFA is now also conducting a study to craft “a more responsive and precise rice and play pricing policies.

DA now looking at list of possible ‘manipulators’ of imported rice

Published September 13, 2019 11:42am
The Department of Agriculture (DA) is now looking at a list of traders suspected of “manipulating” the release of imported rice in the market, Agriculture Secretary William Dar revealed on Friday.
With  Rice Tariffication law in place, the retail price of the staple should not go higher than P40 per kilo, Dar told reporters during DA’s on-site price monitoring at the Commonwealth Market in Quezon City.
The cheapest variety should sell for P27 per kilo and the well-milled variety for P35 to P37 per kilo, the Agriculture chief noted.
However, the DA found certain rice varieties were selling up to P45 per kilo at the Commonwealth Market, despite the drop in palay prices.
“Maraming imports pero ‘di pa masyadong naramdaman ang pagbaba,” Dar said.
The farmgate price of palay has plunged to as low as P7 per kilo after rice tariffication was implemented earlier this year, prompting farmers to ask for government intervention.
After the Rice Tariffication law was passed in February, up to 2.4 million metric tons of rice imported rice entered the country, the Agriculture chief noted.
But not all of the imported volume was released into the market. “We have more to see out,” Dar said.
He emphasized that several traders and importers are “managing the release” of imported rice.

“Kung nagma-manage sila at ‘di sapat sa merkado, there is some sort of hoarding,” he said.
The DA is now looking at those traders who are manipulating imported rice.
“Inaaral namin kung sino ‘yung potential na nagmamanipula,” Dar said.
He declined to divulge the names of suspected price and supply manipulator, other than saying the department has a list with their details on it.
“We have the list,” Dar said.
The DA is working closely with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) through an anti-hoarding, anti-rice smuggling taskforce.
The Rice Tariffication law removed the quantitative restrictions on rice and imposed a 35-percent tariff on imports from Southeast Asian neighbors.
The law created a Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) amounting to P10 billion, as a safety net for local farmers. The fund is supposed to equip farmers with better tools, seeds, and other interventions to improve productivity. —VDS, GMA News

Piñol: MinDA Thrust Includes Agri

By Featuresdesk (ICG) on September 12, 2019

Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) chair Emmanuel Piñol on Tuesday defended his move to make agriculture one of his focuses, even as critics were saying he was no longer the agriculture secretary.
“While Agriculture in Mindanao is only one of the concerns of MinDA, it is now focusing on the basic issues of giving fruit, coconut and rice farmers access to the market. Failure on the part of the government to address this basic issue could lead to economic woes, which could result in security problems in Mindanao,” Piñol said.
Criticisms were hurled against Piñol following MinDA’s fruits festivals in Luzon and his recent trip to Papua New Guinea, where he forged an agreement with Central Province Governor Robert Agarobe for the export of Mindanao rice to the Pacific nation. Under the agreement, PNG’s Central Province Government will become the importer of Mindanao rice.
“Not a few called the idea of exporting “dumb” because they could not seem to understand why Mindanao would export its rice while the rest of the Philippines is importing. The recent implementation of the Rice Liberalization Law, which resulted in the flooding of the local market with imported rice, has brought down the farm gate price of locally produced paddy rice to as low as P10 to P12 in many parts of Mindanao,” he said.
He said farmers also experienced being turned away by traders because it was more profitable to just import from either Thailand or Vietnam.
Piñol said the loan support, free seeds and implements and commitment by the local government units to buy farmers’ produce “do not address the problem of market denial.”
He said the export opportunities now being offered has opened the door for Mindanao farmers, especially when they started shifting to the production of premium rice varieties such as Dinorado, RC160, RC218 or Double Diamond, 7-Tonner or Banaybanay Rice, which command higher prices.
“This could (also) be the start of the shift to Organic Rice farming to serve the needs of a niche market of health-conscious consumers who prefer chemical-free rice,” he added.
Piñol said what he was doing at MinDA is plain & simple logical.
“MinDA will help Mindanao Rice farmers gain access to foreign markets with large Filipino communities with a marketing pitch, which would emphasize that by buying Mindanao Rice, they not only get a quality product but they will also help Filipino farmers survive the onslaught of unimpeded entry of imported rice. So, to those asking why Mindanao will export while the rest of the country imports, the answer is simple: Traders are importing a commodity while Mindanao is exporting a special product,” he added.
Piñol said the marketing strategy was to present Mindanao’s Premium Rice “as a special product to enable it to command a better price and ensure farmers a decent income.” (PNA)

Transforming rice sector for higher productivity

 by Dan Essiet

Description: Transforming rice sector for higher productivity

For many years, the country has not been able to meet the increasing demand for rice, which is augmented with high imports. To turn the tide, an agricultural firm, Olam Nigeria, is training and empowering rice farmers in some states to boost their productivity and income, DAN ESSIET reports.
Olam Nigeria is working   with some partners to boost the country’s rice industry through its agricultural transformation project, its Vice President, Corporate and Government Relations, Ade Adefeko, has said.
The partnership has seen local rice farmers given access to high-yielding  seeds and rice varieties that, in the long run, will help make production more sustainable and profitable for producers.
Adefeko said the organisation  was deploying rice varieties bred in higher yield, superior grain quality, improved pest and disease resistance, resilience to climate change-induced stresses, and higher seed production, traits that could help farmers increase their yields.
He said Olam aimed to improve rice production and productivity in a safe and sustainable manner and enhance the value of rice products to meet consumer standards and market demands.
According to him, Olam is working with public and private partners to transfer agricultural technologies to farmers.
He said Olam’s objective was to promote sustainable rice production, strengthen value chains, raise farmers’ income, develop capacity, and contribute to improved nutrition.
He said rice-growing communities in Nasarawa, Benue, Taraba and Kaduna states were supported by Olam with training and agri-input to improve their paddy yields and revenue with assured buy-back at prevailing market prices.
He said the company has developed a 13,500-hectare irrigated paddy farm on a greenfield site in Ondorie, Nasarawa State. The  multi-million dollar integrated rice mill in the state has the capacity to produce 36,000 metric tonnes of rice  yearly.
In the middle of the rice farm is a mechanised mill with milling and Italian parboiling technologies.
He said the Nasarawa plant has a capacity to mill 105,000 mts yearly.
Since 2011, he said the organisation has invested $120 million in the rice project and 1044 employees were working on the farm.
According to him, 4451 of 13,500 hectares, are under cultivation, with plan to add 3,000 hectares.
The yield, he  said, is about 10 mts per hectare, over two yearly crop cycles, based on four varieties, which include Faro44, Faro61, C-19, and C-20. They have been tested by the West African Rice Development Association.
He said the company has 6,967 outgrowers, adding that it is targeting 16,000.
Since October 2017, he said, the company has achieved additional milling capacity of 90,000 mts yearly at its Kano plant.
He said the company was ready to assist the Federal Government in its plan to advance the nation’s rice self-sufficiency goals through development projects.
According to analysts, the rice sector has been challenged by climate change, stagnated yields, high production and labour costs, low private sector investment, and poor mechanisation and technology adoption by its farmers.
Experts said the country’s rice productivity level was less than half of its potential. The plan, according to them, should be focused on developing high-yielding and climate resilient varieties with tolerance for biotic and abiotic stresses, nutritious and value-added rice, capacity building and mechanisation, among others.
They said improved access to financing, affordable agricultural insurance, technical advisory services for developing farmers and access to markets are some of the priorities that could create a more- friendly environment for rice farming.
Meanwhile, the President, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Alhaji Aminu Goronyo, said Nigeria had hit a yearly production of eight million metric tonnes of rice, with a target of 18 million metric tonnes by 2023.
He said: “The production as of today by RIFAN and other relevant agencies’ record is eight million metric tonnes, even Kebbi has hit almost two million metric tonnes, if not for the last flood that devastated the farms.
“It has been established by relevant agencies that Nigeria is the largest producer of rice in Africa as the population of rice farmers in the country has also risen.
“With the ever-increasing population and the ban on rice importation, RIFAN is targeting 18 million tonnes by 2023.’’

Truth-tellers are heroes

·       Sep 12, 2019
Sharpie-gate really matters.
Yes, President Trump’s erroneous insistence that Alabama would be hit by Hurricane Dorian — and his ham-handed alteration of an official map to support his mistake — has spawned countless hilarious memes. But the larger implications of this incident are far more serious. It starkly symbolizes this president’s ferocious war on any facts or findings that contradict his warped view of the world.
He’s single-handedly destroying the ability of his own government to make sensible policy because he refuses to accept the work of professionals — scientists and economists, intelligence analysts and agronomists — who remain dedicated to their standards of independent nonpartisanship.
Three former administrators of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) made this point about weather forecasting in the Washington Post, but their words apply to all information produced by government researchers.
“Even a hint that a forecast or warning was influenced by politics would undermine the public’s trust and the ability to respond quickly and effectively under potentially life-threatening conditions,” wrote Jane Lubchenco, D. James Baker and Kathryn D. Sullivan. “If political appointees overrule trained scientists, imposing political concerns on scientific matters, they endanger public safety as well as the credibility and morale of the agency charged with protecting that safety.”
When Trump inflates the size of his inaugural crowds, or denies hush-money payments to former girlfriends, he’s being outrageous, but not dangerous. But when his delusions undermine government policy, the consequences can be deeply damaging.
When he insists that trade wars are “easy to win,” or that tax cuts pay for themselves, the results can be fiscal disaster. When he denies that Russia tried to help him win the last election, he cripples our ability to protect the integrity of future elections.
No issue illustrates Trump’s war on facts better than climate change. Maria Caffrey was a climate scientist for the National Park Service who documented the potential danger to coastal parks from future sea level increases. After Trump took office, she writes in The Guardian, senior park service officials “tried repeatedly, often aggressively, to coerce me into deleting references to the human causes of the climate crisis.”
After a long battle, Caffrey’s report was published, but she was forced out of her job. “Politics has no place in science,” she writes. “I am an example of the less discussed methods the administration is using to destroy scientific research. ... The current administration may only last a matter of years, but its actions may potentially impact our planet for centuries.”
As an analyst in the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, Rod Schoonover produced a report “on the national security implications of climate change” for the House Intelligence Committee. But his superiors truncated his live testimony and blocked the submission of his written conclusions.
“The White House trampled not only on the scientific integrity of the assessment but also on the analytic independence of an arm of the intelligence community,” Schoonover writes in the Post, after resigning from “the institution I loved.”
Lewis Ziska, a plant scientist for the Department of Agriculture, documented “how rice is losing nutrients because of rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere,” writes Politico. Department officials tried to bury his findings, “which raised serious concerns for the 600 million people who depend on rice for most of their calories.”
“You get the sense that things have changed, that this is not a place for you to be exploring things that don’t agree with someone’s political views,” Ziska told Politico. “That’s so sad. I can’t even begin to tell you how sad that is.”
The political leadership at NOAA bent to the president’s pressure, contradicting their own analysts and issuing a statement supporting Trump’s fallacious claims about the risk to Alabama. But the professionals in the agency are fighting back and defending their integrity.
Craig McLean, NOAA’s chief scientist, said the heads of his own agency had acted “inappropriately and incorrectly” when they undermined their staff’s forecast that Alabama was not in danger. “My understanding is that this intervention to contradict the forecaster was not based on science, but on external factors including reputation and appearance — or, simply put, political,” Mclean wrote.
“I have a responsibility to pursue these truths,” he added. “I will.”
McLean speaks for a vast army of professionals — judges and journalists, analysts and researchers — who share his determination. The best way to constrain the Lord of the Lies is to pursue the truth, wherever it leads.
Steve and Cokie Roberts can be contacted by email at

Innovative model created for NASA to predict vitamin levels in spaceflight food

Mathematical tool from UMass Amherst researchers will ensure proper nutrition for astronauts on long missions

Date:September 12, 2019
Source:University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Summary:Food scientists have developed a groundbreaking, user-friendly mathematical model for NASA to help ensure that astronauts' food remains rich in nutrients during extended missions in space.

A team of food scientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has developed a groundbreaking, user-friendly mathematical model for NASA to help ensure that astronauts' food remains rich in nutrients during extended missions in space.
The new research, published in the journal Food Chemistry, gives NASA a time-saving shortcut to predict the degradation of vitamins in spaceflight food over time and more accurately and efficiently schedule resupplying trips. The investigation was funded with a $982,685 grant from NASA.
"There was no information available from literature to directly answer the questions and concerns that NASA had," says senior author Hang Xiao, professor and Clydesdale Scholar of Food Science. "We used real-time, real-life data in our study to train the mathematical model and to determine how predictive and reliable the model would be."
The researchers painstakingly prepared and stored 3,000-plus pouches of spaceflight food according to the exact NASA recipes, thermal processing and storage specifications that are used for astronauts' meals on the International Space Station.
Xiao and colleagues showed for the first time how thiamine (vitamin B1) degrades over two years in three crew menu options: brown rice, split pea soup and beef brisket. Xiao says it was "quite surprising" to find that while the brown rice and split pea soup stored at 20 C demonstrated resistance to thiamine degradation, the thiamine in beef brisket was much less stable, retaining only 3 percent of the vitamin after two years.
"Proving the model was as simple as comparing these measured values from two years of storage to what was predicted as early as 12 months prior," says lead author Timothy Goulette, who was a UMass Amherst food science Ph.D. student during the study period.
The model was found to be able to predict vitamin degradation over time with "high precision," Xiao says, which will enable NASA to provide astronauts with the nutrition they need without resorting to the use of supplements.
"NASA will be able to use a minimal amount of data to quickly and accurately predict the vitamin content of a given food at any given time at a reasonable temperature," Goulette says. "The tool can be used for several applications, not just vitamins but other biological compounds."
The modeling tool will be especially important as NASA plans for the first human mission to Mars. "On their longest duration missions, the need to understand the nutritional content of their foods is paramount," Goulette explains.
The researchers note that NASA emphasizes the importance of getting nutrients from food naturally. "It's preferred for better health," Xiao says. "More and more research shows that your body handles a pill of vitamins differently from real food like pea soup."
Maintaining their nutrition through familiar food has benefits for space crews beyond their physical health, especially on longer missions, Goulette notes. "NASA wants to make sure the crew gets that psychological edge of having a connection to back home on Earth. There's a great emotional and psychological pull to food when nothing around you reminds you of home."
The UMass Amherst research team, which also included co-authors Micha Peleg, David Julian McClements, Eric Decker and Mark Normand, hypothesizes that the surprisingly higher rate of vitamin degradation in the beef may be related to the lipid oxidation of fat during thermal processing or over time.
"Different foods have different physical and chemical properties that make thiamine more or less stable," Goulette says.

Story Source:
Materials provided by University of Massachusetts at AmherstNote: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:
1.     Timothy R. Goulette, Jiazhi Zhou, William R. Dixon, Mark D. Normand, Micha Peleg, David Julian McClements, Eric Decker, Hang Xiao. Kinetic parameters of thiamine degradation in NASA spaceflight foods determined by the endpoints method for long-term storageFood Chemistry, 2020; 302: 125365 DOI: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2019.125365

Cite This Page:
University of Massachusetts at Amherst. "Innovative model created for NASA to predict vitamin levels in spaceflight food: Mathematical tool from UMass Amherst researchers will ensure proper nutrition for astronauts on long missions." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 September 2019. <>.

Forum focuses on agricultural technologies

By Yuan Fang, September 12, 2019
Description: technology experts gather at a forum in Beijing Wednesday to review the achievements in agricultural technologies since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949 and look to the future. [Photo by Zhao Jinyue]
Yuan Longping, a Chinese agronomist known as the "father of hybrid rice," made another breakthrough last year as his team successfully grew rice in Dubai's desert areas with a top yield of 500 kilograms per mu.
Yuan's success in Dubai illustrates how agricultural technologies can transform agricultural production.
In China, a country that has managed to feed its 1.4 billion people with a level of per capita arable land area far below the world average, the role of agricultural technologies is undoubtedly also very evident.
As this year marks the 70th anniversary of the People's Republic of China (PRC), agricultural technology experts gathered at a forum in Beijing Wednesday to review the achievements in agricultural technologies since the PRC's founding in 1949 and look to the future.
Scientific and technological advances now contribute to nearly 60 percent of China's agricultural growth, said Wan Jianmin, a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and vice president of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), when speaking at the forum.
As a key player in organizing, leading and driving China's agricultural technology research and application, CAAS now hosts two national key science facilities - the National Key Facility for Crop Gene Resources and Genetic Improvement, and the National Center of Agricultural Biosafety.
CAAS will stay committed to innovation in ensuring food security, protecting the environment and increasing resources utilization efficiency, said Wan.
In response to a question regarding rice varieties, Wan, a prominent expert on rice breeding, said research has gone from simply focusing on how to raise yield and quality to also catering to various consumer needs such as those of diabetics and lung disease patients.
Speaking of China's international cooperation concerning agricultural technology, Mei Xurong, also CAAS vice president, said that so far, China has reached cooperation agreements with 140 countries and regions as well as international organizations.
While introducing advanced foreign technologies, China is also seeing its own agricultural technologies going out and being applied abroad in recent years, Mei added.
Mei also noted that China is increasingly participating in international agricultural technology governance, expecting China to play a bigger role in the future and become a rules setter instead of simply a game player.
When giving a detailed introduction about the National Key Facility for Crop Gene Resources and Genetic Improvement, Liu Chunming, director of CAAS' Institute of Crop Sciences, revealed that China is building a new seed bank that is set to be the world's largest with a designed storage capacity of 1.5 million seed samples, given that its current seed bank, with a capacity of 500,000 samples, is no longer sufficient.
Sun Tan, director of CAAS' Agricultural Information Institute, discussed the trending concept "Smart Agriculture" at the forum.
Sun believed that "Smart Agriculture," featuring the use of artificial intelligence, big data and cloud computing technologies, has the potential to make agricultural technology research more flexible and advance at a faster speed, and help agricultural growth cut costs, improve quality and increase efficiency.
Wang Jing, a professor with CAAS' Institute of Quality Standard and Testing Technology for Agro-Products, said her institute has formulated nearly 300 standards to ensure the quality and safety of agricultural products.
Wednesday's forum was the third of a series of dialogues between scientists and journalists to communicate science, organized by the China Association for Science and Technology.
Follow on Twitter and Facebook to join the conversation.

NFA twin orders: Import rice, hike palay farm price

posted September 13, 2019 at 01:25 am 

Agriculture Secretary William Dar announced Thursday a directive authorizing the National Food Authority to bring down rice prices to ₱27 per kilo by flooding the market with 3.6 million bags and raise palay support price to ₱19 from ₱17 per kilo.
The said measures were approved by the NFA Council during an emergency meeting on Tuesday.
Dar, who chairs the NFA Council, has given NFA Administrator Judy Carol Dansal to dispose of the stocks on or before Oct. 10.
When sold at retail price of ₱27 per kilo, the 3.6 million 50-kilogram bags would amount to ₱4.86 billion, which the NFA can readily use to procure palay or paddy rice from farmers.
During the meeting, the Council agreed to flood Metro Manila and other markets nationwide with ₱27 per kilo rice using its current stocks stored in NFA warehouses across the country.
The ₱2 increase in palay price support could translate to ₱8,000 additional income per farmer, based on current national average yield of 4 tons per hectare.
Earlier, Dar secured the commitment of 30 provincial governments to buy palay from their farmers directly.
Dar directed Dansol to flood Metro Manila and other markets nationwide with P27-per-kilo rice using its current stocks stored at the NFA warehouses across the country. 
The NFA shall also undertake a comparative palay production cost study per region to come up with basis for a more responsive and precise rice and palay pricing policies to be set by its council.
The P2 increase in palay price support could translate to an P8,000 additional income per farmer based on current national average yield of four tons per hectare.
The Agriculture department is set to forge an agreement with the Department of Social Welfare and Development for a grant of P600 cash to the beneficiaries of its Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or the conditional cash transfer.  
Dar said DWSD has the option to buy either from the provincial governments and the NFA, giving farmers an assured market for their produce. 
During the Council meeting, NFA was also directed to undertake a comparative palay production cost study per region to come up with basis for a more responsive and precise rice and palay pricing policies to be set by the NFA Council.
Meanwhile, millions of rice farmers on Thursday blamed the Rice Tariffication Law or Republic Act No. 11203 for the drop in the prices of palay or unhusked rice to their disadvantage.
In an interview, Danilo Ramos, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas chairperson, called for the repeal of the law that caused the influx of cheaper imported rice.
The rice trade liberalization is slowly killing the lowly farmers and the rice industry itself, he said, adding farmers are getting poorer and poorer.
“We went around to see if there was still NFA rice being sold in many markets. We saw none since over a week ago,” he told the Manila Standard.
Rice farmers are suffering and are losing a lot of income because of the law, he lamented.     
Even rice millers are hurting, he said.
According to Ramos, while President Rodrigo Duterte “has told the NFA to [directly] buy palay from the farmers,” the law “has removed NFA’s role of palay procurement.”
“I have just come from Central Luzon and found out that a kilo of palay is being bought at P6 to P7 compared against the price of ‘darak’ [rice husk] at P12,” he said.
“The Rice Tariffication Law must be repealed. On the other hand, Gabriela Party-list Arlene Brosas has filed House Bill No. 477 or the Rice Industry Development Act of 2019 to protect the both the welfare of the farmers and consumers,” he said.
KMP is composed of 65 organizations of local farmers in 15 regions in Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao, according to Ramos.
Silvestre Bonto, National Confederation of Irrigators Association Inc. with over 1.2 million rice farmers, said despite the influx of imported rice, the prices of commercial rice in the market still remain high.
“The NCIA is the most affected group since 67 percent to 70 percent of the rice supply come from us,” he told the Manila Standard.
He complained that prices of palay would range from P8 per kilo to P12 per kilo. 
“What is too disappointing is, retailers in the markets or stores sell rice at a high cost,” he said.
He partly blamed the retailers for the price increase of commercial rice, saying they sometimes dictate the prices of rice.
“Why is this so? A rice retailer sometimes could only sell two sacks of rice a day or at a maximum of five to 10 sacks a day. How do you expect them to earn for day if they do not raise their prices?” he asked. 

Rice traders petition Parliament over high taxes

Rice Cooperatives Petition Speaker Over Unfair Taxation (PHOTO/File)
KAMPALA – Rice growers, millers and traders have petitioned parliament over discriminative and unfair taxation seeking for equal treatment in this business, saying foreign companies have pushed locals out of the rice business.
The call was made yesterday where players in the rice business handed over their petition to Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga said that when the Value Added Tax Amendment Act 2014 came into effect attracted 18% on rice importation but 14 rice companies protested this tax and went to court where they lost the case in favour of URA and later appealed.
Led by Isaac Kashaija, Chairperson Rice Business Sector Association said that in appealing the case, the 14 companies refused to pay 18% VAT tax as they wait for the court case disposed off  yet others rice growers and traders are being compelled to pay 18% VAT creating unfair competition.
He said that as a result of temporary exemption to the 14 companies local rice production has gone down and farmers are switching to growing other crops which have fair taxation.
Kashaija explained, “This has impacted the sector when this rice is imported it is untaxed, it is sold at a cheaper price, 2500 yet our fellow farmers sell at 300, farmers are losing production has gone down by 60,000 metric tons we think it is going to go down more because most farmers have abandoned rice growing.”
Magdalene Nasolo who used to import rice through Mutukula border said the tax measure pushed a number of women into poverty, having lost their main source of income noting, “I have spent 10years trading in rice, it is because of taxes that I left business, the foreigners are exempted from VAT while Ugandans are forced to pay VAT. Women have been very hard working but women were have been left with no source of income something that has further dragged us down.”
The rice growers asked parliament to prevail over government to compel all companies importing white rice in Uganda to paying 18% VAT as per the current VAT Act and also asked to inquire why Court of Appeal has taken 5years without hearing their application.
The speaker promised to report the matter to parliament and request the Attorney General to explain why there is a delay to dispose of this case in court.
“This issue is a bit tricky, but what we shall do is have the petition presented on the floor of Parliament but at the same time demand an answer from the Attorney General on the temporary permanent injunction because 5years. We shall not be subjudice, we shall be asking what the way forward is,” said Kadaga.

Podcast: GMO rice could yield affordable treatment to stem HIV in developing world

Evangelia VamvakaKevin FoltaMichelle Wu | September 12, 2019
While HIV isn’t the menace it once was in the industrialized world, the virus remains a critical health threat in  developing countries, with 1.7 million new infections occurring each year worldwide. Designing treatments to prevent the spread of HIV is critical to disease containment, yet moving effective products into the afflicted nations is typically impractical and expensive.
Dr. Evangelia Vamvaka was part of an Innovative Genomics Institute research team that developed an ingenious solution to this logistical problem—adding anti-HIV proteins to rice. The rice produces a transgenic (GMO) protein that inhibits the virus, and does so with great efficacy in the presence of other compounds from the plant. The rice can be ground into a powder and potentially used as an HIV preventative wherever rice is grown, which includes many countries still plagued by the virus. In an August 2018 paper, the researchers laid out the importance of their work:
 [T]he crude seed extract [can] be used directly as a topical microbicide cocktail, avoiding the costs of multiple downstream processes. This groundbreaking strategy is realistically the only way that microbicidal cocktails can be manufactured at a cost low enough for the developing world, where HIV prophylaxis is most in demand.
University of Florida plant geneticist Kevin Folta and Lethbridge, Canada high school student Michelle Wu sit down with Vamvaka to learn more about how this potential treatment works and its prospects for improving public health in the world’s poorest countries.
Evangelia Vamvaka is a researcher at the Innovative Genomics Institute in Berkeley, California. Follow her on Twitter @VamvakaEv
Kevin M. Folta is a professor in the Horticultural Sciences Department at the University of Florida. Follow professor Folta on Twitter @kevinfolta and email your questions to

Millers All Day hosts Jackrabbit Filly dim sum pop-up Thurs. Sept. 26

...and then sum

Connor Simonson on Thu, Sep 12, 2019 at 1:03 PM

Description: Get some of chef Wang's dumplings at the Millers All Day pop-up - C/O JACKRABBIT FILLY
·     C/o Jackrabbit Filly
·       Get some of chef Wang's dumplings at the Millers All Day pop-up
While the city waits in anticipation for the opening of Shuai and Corrie Wang's newest venture, Jackrabbit Filly, dim sum lovers will be happy to hear that Millers All Day is collaborating with the Wangs Thurs. Sep. 26 from 5-8 p.m. for 'Millers All Day and Then Sum.' The pop-up is inspired by Shuai's heritage-driven new Chinese American cuisine, combined with the breakfast/brunch theme of Millers.
RELATED Jackrabbit Filly's Corrie Wang on opening their first restaurant: Numbers Game
Millers All Day chef Joe DiMaio will be serving a mash-up menu of Southern-American- Chinese inspired breakfast dishes including bacon, egg, and cheese steamed dumplings; Korean fried chicken on a pimento biscuit with pickles; breakfast sausage fried rice; crab omelet with scallion-garlic cream cheese; a waffle Croque Madame with Broadbent ham and hickory syrup; and a twist on shrimp and grits, with Geechie Boy grit cakes and spicy shrimp salad.  DiMaio says he and Wang "think the combination of Southern and American cuisine and Chinese influence would bring a lot of fun to this pop-up."

From chef Wang, expect sticky rice and pork shao mai, pork and cabbage dumplings, eggs and soldiers with Chinese crullers, and more. Yet another pop-up from the Jackrabbit Filly team, the excitement grows with every event, tempting diners with the future dishes of the Wangs' first brick and mortar.

DiMaio says he and Shuai "have always enjoyed collaborating" and Shuai adds that "the mix of cuisines and (his) heritage will make for a memorable night of exotic flavors."
EVENT DETAILSMillers All Day and Then Sum
@ Millers All Day
120 King St.
Charleston, SC
When: Thu., Sept. 26, 5 p.m.
Price: A la carte

Ag at Large: Weed upsurge threatens crops

Weeds can be ugly, but sometimes their ugliest characteristic is their persistence. Processing tomato growers and rice farmers recently have had to battle this feature in two menacing weed enemies.
For rice farmers in the Sacramento Valley, naming the recurring weed species has been straightforward, no hard-to-spell scientific designation. ”Weedy rice” is the culprit. It mimics the rice plant and likes to display its vigorous growth characteristic amidst established fields of rice plants. So disguised and embedded, it eludes mechanical or chemical weed control, requiring it to be pulled out of the ground by hand.
With California agriculture on the threshold of some remarkable technology, grubbing weedy rice by hand is out of character, as well as being slow, inefficient and costly. So rice growers, with the help of experts and researchers with the University of California’s Cooperative Extension Service began 20 years ago to establish procedures to exclude the weed from the 550,000 acres of rice grown in California, the country’s second largest rice producing state.
But the rascally weed persists in spite of a rigid and closely followed practice of planting only rice that has been certified as free from such outlaw seeds. Burning rice stubble in the fields after harvest helps, but the practice that used to envelop the state capitol in weeks-long smoke is tightly controlled now and not as flexible for use by growers.
The weed has been traced to 1917, and was probably present earlier, when a concerted effort began to control and hopefully eliminate it. In 1980 a university researcher wrote that the weed could no longer be found, but 23 years later it was reported in a field in Glenn County. Three years after that six fields in Glenn and Colusa Counties were reported as weedy and by 2016 five biotypes of the weed had spread to several thousand acres of Northern California rice fields.
The industry, university researchers and organizations of growers and sellers are focusing on prevention and control measures according to a recent article in the respected farm publication Western Farm Press. Other rice growing states, also troubled by the persistent weed are watching the California rice industry’s battle against the biological intruder.
For those who grow and handle(usually bottle) the 11.9 million tons of processing tomatoes the state produces have targeted an invasive weed with an ugly name – branched broomrape. It has made an invasive appearance after it was thought to be eliminated forty years ago.
So destructive that quarantine regulations require growers to disc under any crop where it is found, a grower is encouraged to rotate out of any crops that might host it. The California Department of Food & Agriculture oversees a zero-tolerance quarantine strategy against the weed.
Its recent detection in isolated fields in Yolo, Solano and San Joaquin Counties was reported by respected journalist Bob Johnson in an article in the August 7 issue of Ag Alert, the weekly farm publication published by the California Farm Bureau …..He found that the California Tomato Research Institute spent more than $1.5 million in a 10-year effort to achieve eradication levels of the pest beginning in 1973. But the weed persists.
A team of researchers is exploring different means of eradicating branched broomrape. As part of that process the members are learning if tomato plants can grow through low levels of the various herbicides they want to try experimentally. If plants can stand the herbicides the researchers hope they can be applied through irrigation systems like one they use in trials at the Davis campus.
These two treacherous weeds in rice and processing tomato fields remind us that weed cultures are tough to deal with – even foxtails, mare’s tails or a half dozen different types of spurge, which might be growing right now in your neighbor’s back yard, and tomorrow in yours.

Boosting Rice Production, Tackling Smuggling
By Abdulsalam Mahmud
5871 imported rice Boosting Rice Production, Tackling Smuggling The battle to end the importation of rice into the country through the illicit activities of smuggling may be far from been totally won. Yet, the determination on the part of the Federal Government to boost its production through massive local cultivation has since been unassailable. It would be recalled that the Federal Government (FG), sometimes in November 2018, approved the sum of N60 billion to support rice production in the country and crash its market price ahead of the last festive period.
Equally, as part of efforts to boost rice production and ban importation into the country, FG expressed readiness to partner with OLAM farm, in Nasarawa State. Speaking after inspecting facilities at the farm during a visit in 2016, Kebbi State Governor, Atiku Bagudu, who is the Chairman of the National Initiative for Stable Crop Production in Nigeria, congratulated Olam farm for its doggedness and self-determination in consolidating on FG’s policy of fighting importation of foreign rice into the country by encouraging local food production. The aim of the partnership, according to Gov. Bagudu then, was to support domestic food production and food security through scaling up rice cultivation. While responding, Vice president of the farm, Mr. Regi George, who stated that they had already developed a 10,000 hectare fully irrigated paddy farm on green field sites in Rukubi, Nasarawa State, expressed belief that the country would soon achieve self-sufficiency in rice production. He further disclosed that over 4,450 hectares were already under cultivation, with a further 3,000 hectares on target for 2017 and 2018 raining season.
 In February this year, the immediate past Agriculture Minister, Chief Audu Ogbeh, while declaring open a two-day ‘Farmers Forum and Exhibition’ workshop, jointly organised by the Kebbi Ministry of Agriculture and DailyTrust Newspapers, asserted that FG will train 100 rice farmers in Kebbi, as part of efforts to boost rice production in the country. Ogbeh added that the training of the 100 Kebbi farmers in commercial rice production was in recognition of the success which the state government had recorded in rice production under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Likewise, a one-time Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajia Aisha Al-Hassan, in March last year, during the 62nd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), disclosed that FG had released about N43.92 billion (122 million dollars) to 300,000 rice farmers to increase Nigeria’s rice production by additional two million tonnes in 2018.
But amidst the courageous steps and inspiring commitments shown by both the Federal Government and State Government to boost local rice production, activity of the smuggling of the staple crop seems to be burgeoning. As a matter of fact, the protracted smuggling of the commodity appears to have grown to the extent of dominating the market, even as it sucks away the foreign exchange by way of capital flight. Almost 70 percent of rice in the local market are foreign parboiled rice, while the locally-made rice have been overwhelmed and barely has little or no place in the market.
 Already, the Rice Processors Association of Nigeria (RIPAN) has said Nigeria lost over $400 million after about one million metric tonnes of the commodity was smuggled into the country from Benin Republic between January 2019 and August. The National Chairman of RIPAN, Alhaji Mohammed Abubakar Maifata, disclosed this to journalists on Thursday in Abuja, after an intensive border and port survey by the association.
The RIPAN boss explained that about half a million metric tonnes of the commodity have already been booked in Thailand for onward journey to Nigeria, preparatory to the forthcoming Christmas celebration and Yuletide season. This, according to the chairman, would no doubt have a ripple effect on rice processors in the country as their activities would be hampered if this impending illegal importation is not checked with the attendant colossal loss of over $400 million. He noted that the closure of the Nigerian Benin Republic border would go a long way to curb the menace of rice smuggling so that local producers would have a breather, adding that the association supports the current border closure by the government.
RIPAN and other stakeholders had in a three-week survey on the rice market across the six geopolitical zones in the country observed that foreign rice such as Mama Gold, Royal Stallion, Rice Master, Caprice, Falcon Rice and Basmati are sold alongside Nigerian rice. “We at RIPAN join other stakeholders in the rice subsector, namely, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), in commending CBN for the timely intervention and banning of rice since 2015, a development that has seen growth in local production of rice and serious saving of foreign exchange,” Alhaji Maifata said.
He applauded the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) for its current and rigorous fight against smuggling of the commodity and enjoined the various security agencies who are mandated by the current directive to raise the bar of the fight to check the various porous borders. There is no gainsaying that the activity of rice smuggling will automatically be curbed if locally-produced rice can compete evenly in terms of pricing and quality with its foreign counterpart. However, that will only happen, if the private sector is supported, and commercial rice farmers encouraged to invest in mechanized farming.
They should be advised to adopt cost-effective means of processing locally-produced rice to ensure optimality in quality, as well as price competitiveness. They also need to be supported with special intervention funds that are of single-digit interest rate and allow long term repayment tenure, together with providing easy access to land and infrastructure support for mechanized farming.
But to permanently tackle the menace of illegal importation of rice, FG must ensure that its anti-smuggling efforts are strengthened, while security officials caught aiding and abetting these economic saboteurs should be severely punished to serve as a deterrent to others. Abdulsalam Mahmud PRNigeria Office, Abuja

EPA Announces WOTUS Repeal   
By Ben Mosely 

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced long-awaited plans to repeal the Obama-era Waters of the United States rule that extended federal authority and protections to streams and wetlands through the Clean Water Act.

This rollback is the first in a two-step process to contain the reach of the Clean Water Act. The second of these steps is a replacement rule expected by the end of the year that would restrict the number of waterways that would be included in the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act.

This proposed replacement would divide US waters into six categories: traditional navigable waters, tributaries to navigable waters, ditches - those used for navigation or affected by the tide, certain lakes and ponds, impoundments, and wetlands that are adjacent to water covered by the rule. It would exclude groundwater; ditches, including roadside and farm ditches; prior converted cropland; stormwater control features, and wastewater and waste treatment systems.

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said this change in the rule "will result in significant cost savings" while protecting the nation's waterways and reducing "barriers to important economic and environmental projects."

The WOTUS rule has been of the utmost interest to rice producers recently, especially with policies in regards to Prior Converted Cropland (PCC) and the treatment of ditches. USA Rice submitted comments on the proposed revision of the Waters of the United States rule under the Clean Water Act earlier this year.

"Today's announcement from EPA signals a commitment towards providing certainty in uncertain times for rice producers," said David Petter, Arkansas rice farmer and Chairman of USA Rice Regulatory Affairs and Food Safety Committee. "America's rice farmers have continually proven themselves as the gold standard in stewardship of both water quality and quantity. In order for rice farmers to continue to invest in these practices that maximize environmental stewardship and improve our production capacity, we need clarity in order to plan and execute on strategy that makes best use of our water resources for our on-farm needs and those downstream.
usa Rice Daily
Food Show in Turkey Cooks with U.S.-Grown Rice   

ISTANBUL, TURKEY -- Last week, USA Rice joined 430 exhibitors from 29 countries to participate in the Worldfood Istanbul Show, an international meeting point for the regional food industry that attracts 20,000 visitors ranging from foodservice professionals, buyers, retail and wholesale managers, and traders.

USA Rice organized a special workshop at the show kitchen to present healthy and easy-to-prepare dishes featuring U.S.-grown rice.  The workshop was conducted by Emrah Fandakli, a young celebrity chef with more than 70,000 followers on Instagram.  During demonstrations, Chef Fandakli talked about the many health advantages and high quality of U.S.-grown rice, saying it is a perfect match for traditional as well as new and innovative dishes in the foodservice sector as well as for consumers.  USA Rice plans to develop a series of short cooking videos with Chef Fandakli that will be posted online and on social media channels in Turkey.

"Our goal with these types of activities in Turkey is to educate chefs about U.S. rice and create demand," said Eszter Somogyi, USA Rice director for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, who attended the tradeshow where she had several meetings with local importers to gather market insights.  

"Turkey has been a difficult market over the past two years," Somogyi explained.  "As a result of the ongoing trade war, Turkey imposed retaliatory tariffs of an additional 50 percent on all types of U.S. rice in the summer of 2018.  Even though the tariffs were reduced to 25 percent last month, these measures still limit U.S. rice sales potential to this market.  We feel certain that as soon as the trade disputes are resolved, U.S. rice sales will pick up again, as Turkey has been a loyal U.S. rice market for many years now."
USA Rice

Rice breeding, research aimed at boosting yields

Scientists at California facility developing new varieties.
Tim Hearden | Sep 10, 2019
The latest in rice research is focusing on maximizing yields, partly by building disease resistance, as growers seek to get the most out of every acre they plant.
Scientists at the Rice Experiment Station in Biggs, Calif., last year released foundation seed for a new variety – called M-210 – with a gene that promotes resistance to rice blast disease.
The gene was developed with marker-assisted selection provided by the DNA lab at the industry-funded station, which works with researchers from the USDA and University of California Cooperative Extension.
Other new varieties recently developed at the station include Calaroma-201, a long grain with jasmine cooking quality, and S-202, a short grain with a smooth hull and high yield potential, the researchers told growers at a recent field day.
“If Hollywood has its walk of fame, welcome to the walk of star rice,” plant breeder Teresa De Leon told about 350 growers at the Aug. 28 gathering at the station.
The quest for higher yields comes as rice planting in recent years has been complicated by two weather extremes – drought and abundant rainfall. During California’s historic drought from 2012-16, water uncertainties – including later-than-normal deliveries to leave water in the Sacramento River for fish – prompted many growers to plant only portions of their land.
In 2015, growers in the Golden State ended up planting about 423,000 overall acres of rice, down from 585,000 acres in 2011, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service. California’s planted acreage of all varieties rebounded to 506,000 last year, including 455,000 acres of medium grain, which is dominant in the state.
This year, NASS estimated that 485,000 overall acres would be planted in the state, but that was before late spring rains delayed or prevented planting in many areas. At the research station, some test plots weren’t planted until June 15, said Bruce Lindquist, a plant sciences specialist from UC-Davis.
“That’s the latest we’ve ever planted rice,” he said.
Scientists have been working for years to develop varieties with resistance to diseases like blast fungus, which is known to cause lesions on leaves, stems, peduncles, panicles, seeds and even roots, according to the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Research and Extension.
Scientists have a systematic way of naming rice varieties, with a letter for long, medium and short, followed by numbers for maturity and order of release, De Leon said. The researchers grow all three types at the Biggs facility, even though medium grain represents more than 90 percent of the rice planted in California.
“M-206 is still the reigning queen in California, although M-209 and M-210 are coming on now,” De Leon said.
M-206 is an early-maturing medium grain released for seed production in 2003, explains the California Rice Commission. It has been broadly adapted to California’s rice-growing regions, but newer varieties could provide growers with as much as 20 percent more yield, said Luis Espino, a UCCE rice systems advisor based in Oroville.
In 2005 and 2006, M-207 and M-208 were released with a gene for blast resistance, but the latter succumbed to a new race of blast, the station’s scientists explain. The setback prompted the breeders to try adding several blast-resistance genes to M-206, finally releasing M-210 in 2018.
M-209, released in 2015, has in recent years been the station’s highest yielding medium-grain variety, averaging 10,040 pounds per acre compared to M-206 and M-205 yields of 9,290 and 9,240 pounds per acre, respectively, the researchers note. M-209 is adapted to warmer areas and may not perform as well where it’s cooler, such as in the San Joaquin Valley, the scientists say.
The M-210 variety has registered an average yield of 9,090 pounds per acre at the station.
The breeding program was one of several topics covered at the annual field day, which is sponsored by the UC and the California Cooperative Rice Research Foundation. Rotating groups of growers also heard talks on managing nitrogen fertilizer and evaluation of new weed control methods.
Station scientists say they want to build on the success of their DNA marker laboratory by expanding its capability to include genetics and genomics research, which will be the foundation of a genetics lab that is under construction.
Research efforts will also continue seeking to improve and develop specialty varieties such as waxy rice, aromatic rice and others while also working on grain quality, yield and disease resistance, according to the center’s website.

See America's sushi rice being harvested right in our backyard

 SEPTEMBER 11, 2019 08:17 AM
It's that time of year where there's lots of action in Northern California fields as rice harvest begins. John Hannon drone video shot the work at SB&L LaGrande in Maxwell CA.

Visit on next link to Watch Video:

UP government wants to promote ''Kala Namak'' rice cultivation

13 SEPTEMBER 2019  Last Updated at 2:30 PM | SOURCE: IANS


UP government wants to promote ''Kala Namak'' rice cultivation
Gorakhpur, Sep 13 The Yogi Adityanath government is preparing to promote the cultivation of a special variety of rice called ''Kala Namak''.
Once known as the ''pride of Purvanchal'' , this rare variety of rice known for its rich aroma and exotic taste, has been shunned by farmers because of its low yield and non-profitability.
Ministry of Micro, Small &amp; Medium Enterprises'' Principal Secretary Navneet Sehgal recently visited Siddhartha Nagar and interacted with officials and farmers.
He assured farmers that they would be provided good quality seeds for the next sowing season and informed them about the government''s decision to promote cultivation of ''Kala Namak'' rice.
Sehgal said that this variety of rice contained zinc and iron in ample measure and could be consumed by diabetes patients too.
"If we can create awareness of this rice variety on an international level, the income of farmers can easily be doubled," he said.
The state government plans to consult the National Institute of Nutrition in Hyderabad on ways to preserve the aroma of the ''Kala Namak'' rice. Scientists have said that if organic fertilizer is used in rice cultivation, its aroma can be preserved up to three years.
The Principal Secretary said that the government was keen to increase the cultivated area of ''Kala Namak'' rice and set up special rice mills for this variety. "Talks are on with the private sector for this," he said.
Incidentally, the Kala Namak rice gets its name from the fact that its husk is black in colour.
Agricultural Scientist Dr S.K. Misra, meanwhile, said that four more varieties of the ''Kala Namak'' rice were being researched.
The state government has chosen 11 districts of Purvanchal that will apply for a GI tag and then export the rice.
At present, this variety of rice is being sold online at Rs 299 per kilogram and has customers from Chennai and Hyderabad too.

NFA to ‘flood’ markets with imported rice to lower price of commercial rice

UNTV News  
September 12, 2019  
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture (DA) is not satisfied with the current price of commercial rice in the market.
Based on reports, the lowest price of rice remains at P36/kg.
Thus, the National Food Authority Council has decided to release the remaining 3.6M bags of rice which the NFA previously imported.
The agency has one month to do it.
Agriculture Secretary William Dar believes that by doing so the price of commercial rice will drop to P32/kg.
“We would like to believe that by flooding the market with 3.6 million bags of imported rice will further have an impact in terms of lowering the prices in the market,” Dar said.
The DA is also coordinating with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in relation to the P600 monthly rice allowance being provided to the beneficiaries of the government’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.
Dar proposed that instead of cash, the DSWD may provide the beneficiaries rice package from NFA’s procurement of local farmers’ yield.
The DA chief said this will help the farmers given the DSWD’s P28B budget next year for rice allowance.
Meanwhile, the NFA has increased the support price for dried palay to P19/kg from P17/kg.
The NFA removed, however, the incentives that the farmers receive for drying their harvest which amounts to P3.70/kg.
Despite this, Dar is confident that the farmers’ income will increase by P8,000 for each hectare of harvest. — MNP (with details from Rey Pelayo)

Philippines Will Sell Imported Rice So It Can Buy Local Rice

By Ditas B Lopez
September 12, 2019, 11:11 AM GMT+5
Terms of Trade is a daily newsletter that untangles a world embroiled in trade wars. 
The Philippines’ National Food Authority will flood the market with imported rice to keep prices low, while buying more from local farmers hurting from a law that removed caps on overseas purchases.
NFA will sell 3.6 million of 50-kilogram bags of imported rice at 27 pesos ($0.52) a kilo until Oct. 10 to generate 4.86 billion pesos which the state-run agency will use to buy local farmers’ produce, Agriculture Secretary William Dar said at a briefing in Manila. It will raise its buying price for unmilled rice to 19 pesos a kilo from 17 pesos, he said.
The twin moves come amid mounting calls from farmers to amend or repeal the law that liberalized rice importation. Farmers have been complaining that the new tariff-based regime, which was the government’s solution to soaring inflation last year, is hurting their income.
Increasing NFA’s buying price of locally-produced rice by 2 pesos would mean 8,000 pesos in additional income per farmer, Dar said.

Vietnam rice prices plunge to near 12-year low as demand dries up

By K. Sathya Narayanan
ReutersSeptember 12, 2019
Description: Vietnam rice prices plunge to near 12-year low as demand dries up
FILE PHOTO: A farmer harvests rice by a paddy field outside Hanoi
By K. Sathya Narayanan
BENGALURU (Reuters) - Vietnamese rice export rates slumped to their lowest in nearly 12 years this week on sluggish demand, while an appreciating rupee helped rates for the Indian variety.
Vietnam's 5% broken rice prices fell to $325 per tonne, their lowest since November 2007, versus last week's $325-$330 range.
The lack of fresh deals, especially due to waning interest from the Philippines, amid expectations that the major buyer could cut down on imports to support local farmers, have squeezed the Vietnamese market, with prices now about 13% lower compared to the beginning of the year.
"Demand remains very weak this week," a trader based in Ho Chi Minh City said.
Meanwhile, only 82,450 tonnes of rice are scheduled to be loaded at Ho Chi Minh City ports during September 1-15, with most shipments bound for West Africa and Philippines, traders said. 
Top-exporter India's 5% broken parboiled variety rose to $370-$376 per tonne from $369-$374 a week ago, amid good demand from African nations and a resurgent rupee.
Local paddy supplies are limited and prices are firm, forcing exporters to increase rates, said an exporter based at Kakinada in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.
The rupee rose to an over three-week high on Thursday.
The country's rice exports in April-July, however, had plunged 26.5% from a year ago to 3.14 million tonnes, a government body said on Monday.
Meanwhile, prices for second-biggest exporter Thailand's benchmark 5% broken rice fell to $400-$418 a tonne on Thursday, from $410-$422 last week.
"There was new supply that entered the market last month after the harvest, but the flat demand means prices have been dropping," a Bangkok-based trader said.
However, concerns over supply still persist after flash floods caused by tropical storm Podul damaged over 240,000 hectares of agriculture land, months after a long drought hit the country's rice-growing region.
"Prices could fluctuate further as the extent of the impact from the drought and flood becomes clearer on rice supply," another trader said, adding "but even with this price drop, Thai prices are still higher than Vietnam and India."
Thai exporters have struggled since the start of the year as a strong baht kept prices high compared to competitors.
At an average of $409, Thai rice was still near its highest since June 2018.
Bangladesh, which was still recovering from a devastating flood, could lose more crops as its weather office has forecast more floods this month.
Floods in July washed away crops that would have yielded nearly 400,000 tonnes of rice, agriculture ministry estimates showed.
(Reporting by Khanh Vu in Hanoi, Panu Wongcha-um in Bangkok, Ruma Paul in Dhaka and Rajendra Jadhav in Mumbai; editing by Arpan Varghese and Elaine Hardcastle)

$120 m earned from exporting 455,000 tons of broken rice in 11 months

 12 SEPTEMBER 2019
 Myanmar earned more than US$120 million from exporting over 450,000 tons of broken rice in 11 months this fiscal year but the amount fell by over US$14 million when compared to the same period of last year as over 17,000 tons were reduced this year, said an official from the ministry of commerce. 
"From October 1 to August 30 in the current 2018-2019 fiscal year, 459,927.860 tons of broken rice worth US$122.392 million," said the official. 
In the same period of last fiscal year, US$136.510 million was earned from export of 477,017.635 tons of broken rice. 
Therefore, this year saw a fall of 17,089 tons worth over US$14.188 million. 
Myanmar exports broken rice mainly to Belgium, Indonesia, China, the Netherlands and Britain, according to Myanmar Rice Federation. 
Myanmar's rice and broken rice are exported by both maritime and border routes. Most rice and broken rice are exported to through Muse border trade camp. Rice and broken rice go to EU countries and African countries through maritime route.  

Rice Prices

as on : 13-09-2019 12:06:15 PM

Arrivals in tonnes;prices in Rs/quintal in domestic market.
Tamkuhi Road(UP)
Published on September 13, 2019

Rice Prices

as on : 12-09-2019 11:40:11 AM

Arrivals in tonnes;prices in Rs/quintal in domestic market.
Tamkuhi Road(UP)
Published on September 12, 2019