Thursday, September 19, 2019

19th September,2019 Daily Global Regional Local Rice E-Newsletter

Indonesia to prioritize imports of meat, rice, raw sugar from India in exchange for lower CPO tariff

The Jakarta Post
Jakarta   /   Thu, September 19, 2019   /   02:59 pm
Description: Indonesia to prioritize imports of meat, rice, raw sugar from India in exchange for lower CPO tariffTrade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita (right). (The Jakarta Post/Suherdjoko)
Indonesia will prioritizes imports of buffalo meat, rice and raw sugar from India after the South Asian country adjusted crude palm oil (CPO) tariffs for its top two importers, Malaysia and Indonesia, earlier this month.
“India has given us an opportunity to increase our CPO exports, it is only fair to give India access to our market as well,” Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita said during the India-Indonesia Multi Product Roadshow opening ceremony in Jakarta on Monday.
Previously, India had imposed a 50 percent import tariff on palm oil products coming from Indonesia, while Malaysia enjoyed a lower tariff of 45 percent as it has a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) with the country.
India is the largest palm oil market for Indonesia with an export share of about 20 percent, equivalent to 6.71 million tons last year. The EU, China and Pakistan follow India with exports of 4.78 million, 4.41 million and 2.48 million tons, respectively.
“Within six months, Indonesia will export CPO worth at least US$500 million to India,” Enggar said.
Despite prioritizing India as an import origin country, Indonesia would not increase its meat, rice and raw sugar imports from the current volume, he went on to say.
“We will only import what we need as long as the market can absorb the products,” Enggar stressed.
He added that India’s buffalo meat imports could fill in the gap of the 620,000-ton national meat demand as local producers can only provide around 450,000 tons.
As for raw sugar, Enggar stated the country had equalized India’s import duty with other countries, namely Australia and Thailand.
Meanwhile, when it comes to importing rice, Indonesia will prioritize India’s products, especially its basmati rice, Enggar said, adding that the two countries were also looking at other commodities for trade, such as textiles.
The bilateral trade plan was in line with the target set by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in April to reach a target of $50 billion worth of trade by 2025.
Indian Ambassador to Indonesia Pradeep Kumar Rawat said bilateral trade between the two countries from 2018 to 2019 was worth $21.11 billion and that finding a balance to reach the target was “not difficult.” (eyc)

Netizens troll Misbah-ul-haq after he bans biryani for Pakistan players; see tweets

THE ASIAN AGE
Published : Sep 18, 2019, 3:41 pm IST
Updated : Sep 18, 2019, 3:41 pm IST

Many questions were raised over Pakistan's team fitness and performance in the recently concluded ICC World Cup 2019.
Description: Sarfaraz and Co. were also allegedly spotted eating junk food before the much-anticipated clash against their arch-rivals India. (Photo: AFP)
 Sarfaraz and Co. were also allegedly spotted eating junk food before the much-anticipated clash against their arch-rivals India. (Photo: AFP)
New Delhi: Twitter was flooded with trolls as soon as Pakistan's newly appointed head coach Misbah-ul-Haq instructed the players to staw away from biryani and oil-based red meat food.
"Players have been asked to stay away from Biryani, Nihari, Korma as of now and they have been asked to focus on the diet," said an informed source.
Many questions were raised over Pakistan's team fitness and performance in the recently concluded ICC World Cup 2019. Moreover, Sarfaraz and Co. were also allegedly spotted eating junk food before the much-anticipated clash against their arch-rivals India. Hence, Misbah has taken the decision in order to notch up the fitness level in the team.However, netizens were not late in posting hilarious trolls and jokes on various social media platforms. Here are a few tweets:

Misbah-ul-Haq has banned biryani, red meat & dessert  from the diet of players who are taking part in Pakistan's national camp.If this were the case Inzy and Sarfraz would have NEVER made to Pakistan team .

End of biryani culture from Pakistan domestic cricket - Misbah gave strict suggestions to PCB to take good care of fitness of domestic cricketers. Pasta, boiled rice, beans, bar b q roast & less oily meals are now served to cricketers along bundle of fruits during #QEA19.Description: ­čĆĆ(GEO)
Description: https://pbs.twimg.com/profile_images/1168407172323012608/hn1lURJo_bigger.jpg
Misbah-ul-haq bans biryani and junk food for Pakistani team .

Meanwhile Ravi Shastri :
Description: View image on Twitter

Description: https://pbs.twimg.com/profile_images/618555802987597824/wH4Lk5SU_bigger.jpg
Misbah-ul-Haq has banned Biryani for the Pakistan Cricket Team. Expecting Sarfaraz to announce retirement soon.

Border Closure Leaves Rice-loving Nigerians Steaming



Badagry, Nigeria, Sept 19 (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 19th Sep, 2019 ) :The days of heaping 50-kilo sacks of rice across the saddle of their motorbike and slipping a few notes to a customs officer are now gone.
With Nigeria having snapped its borders shut, the legions of motorbike riders who used to satisfy the nation's hunger for imported rice are lucky at best to sneak through a few packets of Basmati.
The smugglers risk more than just jail time if they try force or sneak across the border.
"They shoot us and kill us like goats," said Adewole, who asked for his full name not to be published, stuttering with anger.
The some 3,000 sacks of rice per day that motorbike riders estimate they previously smuggled across the border from Benin have slowed to a trickle.
As a result, the price of rice has skyrocketed, from 9,000 nairas (22 Euros, $24) for a 50-kilo sack, to 22,000 nairas, a price higher than Nigeria's minimum monthly wage of 18,000 nairas.
The border closure is part of President Muhammadu Buhari's plan to end Nigeria's economic dependence on oil, by developing domestic agriculture and industry.
With cheap goods -- smuggled or imported -- long having hampered domestic producers, Buhari ordered a partial closure of the border with Benin in August.
This month, the borders with all neighbouring countries have been shut completely.
"The Nigerian borders will remain closed until the countries sharing borders with Nigeria" accept conditions put in place for the country's economic policies on what is imported, warned Hameed Ali, comptroller general of the Nigeria Customs Service.

Filipino firm to help Papua New Guinea build rice industry

SEPTEMBER 18, 2019 10:32 PM
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DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 18 September) – SeedWorks, an agricultural company engaged in the breeding and production of hybrid rice in the country, will provide farmers in Papua New Guinea with technical assistance and technology to capacitate them on rice farming, the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) said.
MinDA Secretary Emmanuel, former Agriculture Secretary, struck a deal with Robert Agarobe, Central Province Governor of the Papua New Guinea early this month in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea for the shipment of 5,000 metric tons of Mindanao rice, including RC-160, 7-Tonner, Banaybanay, Dinorado and organic rice amid the falling rice prices due to the Republic Act 11203 or the Rice Import and Export Liberalization Law.
Prices of rice have gone down due to the influx of imported rice in markets like the Matina Public Market in Davao City. When former Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Pi├▒ol assumed as head of the Mindanao Development Authority in August, he urged farmers of Mindanao to export their rice to Papua New Guinea to cushion the effect of the Rice Import and Export Liberalization Law, which allowed entry of more imported rice to the local market. MindaNews photo by GREGORIO BUENO
Remus Morandante, the company’s vice president for public and government affairs, in an interview on Wednesday said the firm wishes to replicate the good practices and the technology employed by rice farmers in Mindanao in Papua New Guinea.
He said Papua New Guinea has a vast potential for rice production but remains a net importer, averaging 400,000 metric tons annually from Australia, Thailand, and Vietnam.
He said SeedWorks, a company based in Laguna and a major supplier of hybrid seeds to rice farmers in Mindanao, has initiated a series of trainings with some farmers in Papua New Guinea. He said field trials are scheduled next month.
He said the company’s market share in Mindanao averages 40%.
Upon assuming as MinDA head in August, Pi├▒ol urged rice farmers of Mindanao to export their rice to Papua New Guinea instead to cushion the effect of the Rice Import and Export Liberalization Law, which allowed entry of more imported rice to the local market.
He said the consumers would prefer cheaper imported rice to local rice.
Pi├▒ol said MinDA and private groups, including an organic rice farmers’ cooperative, will hold a one-day forum on organic and premium rice and Adlai farming dubbed “Looking beyond Rice Liberalization: Growing and Marketing of Premium, Organic Rice and Adlai” at the Grand Regal Hotel here on Friday.
He said the forum marks a shift in the direction of “rice farming in Mindanao, as the massive inflow of imported rice has boxed out local farmers producing ordinary rice from the market resulting in very low farm gate prices, to as low as P10 to P12 in many parts in Mindanao.”
The shift to premium and organic rice farming in Mindanao is expected to open a niche market for health conscious consumers, a market opportunity for rice farmers affected by the rice liberalization, he said. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)

Solons seek P15-billion supplemental NFA budget to buy palay from local farmers

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News
 Sep 19 2019 04:00 PM
MANILA - Over 50 lawmakers in the House of Representatives on Thursday filed a resolution seeking a supplemental P15-billion budget to allow the National Food Authority (NFA) to buy palay from local farmers as prices plummet due to imports.
Joint Resolution No. 18 directs the NFA to use the amount for urgent procurement of at least 750,000 metric tons of palay from local farmers at P20 per kilo and to sell NFA rice to consumers at P27 per kilo, Gabriela Partylist Rep. Arlene Brosas told reporters.
Lawmakers estimate that the NFA could only purchase at least 350,000 metric tons or 7 million sacks of palay at a farm gate price of P20 per kilo with its current P7 billion budget for buffer stocking for 2019.
The measure is needed to save local farmers from the effects of the liberalization of rice imports, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate said.
"This is is a multi-partisan resolution ng (of the) House. Kailangan talaga isalba ang ating magsasaka sa napakasamang epekto ng import liberalization law," he said.
(We really need to save our farmers from the ill effects of the import liberalization law.)
The Federation of Free Farmers (FFF) said local farmers could have lost P40 billion in the first half of 2019 due to the steep drop in prices of rough rice.
NFA Administrator Judy Carol Dansal earlier admitted that its budget was inadequate to purchase and store all rough rice supply from local farmers.
Some farmers from Nueva Ecija earlier claimed that price dropped to as low as P7 per kilo.
Description: previewGIEWS Country Brief: Nigeria 18-September-2019
REPORT
Published on 18 Sep 2019 View Original

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
·       Favourable prospects for 2019 crops due to adequate cumulative rainfall amounts
·       Slightly above-average import requirements forecast
·       Higher food prices in northeast due to persisting conflict
·       Assistance needs will remain high in 2019
Favourable prospects for 2019 crops due to adequate cumulative rainfall amounts
 The rainy season was characterized by a timely onset in February/March in the south and in May/June in the north. Rains have been abundant across the season and cumulative precipitations were well above average in most areas, improving vegetation conditions and lifting crop prospects. The harvest of the main season maize crop was completed in August in the south, while the rice, millet and sorghum crops are at grain setting or maturity stages in the rest of the country. The aggregated crop production is expected at above‑average levels, despite some production shortfalls in the northeast region. In the three northeastern states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, there are significant constraints to crop production, including restrictions on movement and effective use of dry blended fertilizers.
Pastures and water availability for livestock have improved by early September compared to the previous months, ending the pastoral lean season in the main grazing areas of the country.
The animal health situation is overall stable. However, the conflict in the northeast and armed banditry, kidnapping and the farmer/herder conflict in northwest and north central parts of the country continue to limit the access to grazing land and veterinary services for pastoralists.
The aggregate cereal output in 2019 is forecast at 27.3 million tonnes, 3 percent lower than the 2018 record level, but still 4 percent higher than the previous five-year average. The overall favourable performance of the 2019 agricultural season mainly reflects adequate rainfall and continued support in terms of inputs by the Government and humanitarian actors across the country.
This has also benefited from the improved security conditions and a re-engagement of agricultural investors lost to the 2015/16 economic recession.
Slightly above-average import requirements forecast
Domestic demand for imported rice remains strong despite trade restrictions introduced in 2015 by the Government of Nigeria. The country is the largest rice producer and importer in Africa, importing on average about 2.6 million tonnes per year. Wheat imports account for 5.4 million tonnes per year. Despite the above-average 2019 production, cereal import requirements for the 2018/19 (November/October) marketing year are forecast at above-average 8 million tonnes, as traders wish to replenish their stocks.
High levels of food prices in the northeast Market supply has increased in September compared to previous months due to newly harvested maize, rice and tubers in the southern areas. Prices of coarse grains remained overall stable or declined slightly across most of the country in July as a result of well supplied markets. By contrast, in northeastern conflictaffected areas, disruptions to trade flows and marketing activities are resulting in high food prices.
Despite some improvements in security, over 2 million people remain food insecure
As of July 2019, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) identified over 1.9 million people that have been displaced, of which 92 percent by the insurgency in northeastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe. In addition, flash floods beginning in the month of August 2019 and expected to continue towards the end of September, have affected close to 1 000 hectares of farmlands and resulted in livestock losses. As of 30 August 2019, an estimated 21 000 households have been displaced across the three states as a result of flooding. Heightened tensions in recent months have triggered further displacements, with new arrivals mainly in Askira-Uba, Bama, Gwoza, Ngala and Damboa in Borno State. Most of the displaced households are heavily dependent on humanitarian assistance.
According to the March 2019 ‘’Cadre Harmonis├ę’’ analysis, about 2.05 million people were estimated to be in need of food assistance from March to May 2019, with a significant decrease from the 3.71 million food insecure people in March-May 2018.
The reduced caseload is largely due to the improved security conditions compared to last year. This number is expected to increase to 4.95 million people during the June to August 2019, if no mitigation actions are taken.

WTO starts probe on PH rice imports
 September 18, 2019 at 06:40 pm by Othel V. Campos
The World Trade Organization initiated a preliminary safeguard investigation on rice as requested by the Philippines.
Initiated by the Agriculture Department, the WTO investigation started on Sept. 11 upon receipt of the document and the notification from the Philippines.
The Agriculture Department, the author of the document, urged interested parties to submit comments through its Policy Research Service.
A safeguard investigation seeks to determine whether increased imports of a product are causing, or are threatening to cause, serious injury to a domestic industry. The reasons for the filing preliminary safeguard investigation included the continued increase in rice imports that coincidentally occurred with the drop in farmgate prices of palay resulting in income loss for farmers.
The WTO started circulating the communication to members of the WTO Committee on Safeguards on Sept. 12. 


Indonesia to prioritize imports of meat, rice, raw sugar from India in exchange for lower CPO tariff

The Jakarta Post
Jakarta   /   Thu, September 19, 2019   /   02:59 pm
Description: Indonesia to prioritize imports of meat, rice, raw sugar from India in exchange for lower CPO tariff Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita (right). (The Jakarta Post/Suherdjoko)

Indonesia will prioritizes imports of buffalo meat, rice and raw sugar from India after the South Asian country adjusted crude palm oil (CPO) tariffs for its top two importers, Malaysia and Indonesia, earlier this month.
“India has given us an opportunity to increase our CPO exports, it is only fair to give India access to our market as well,” Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita said during the India-Indonesia Multi Product Roadshow opening ceremony in Jakarta on Monday.
Previously, India had imposed a 50 percent import tariff on palm oil products coming from Indonesia, while Malaysia enjoyed a lower tariff of 45 percent as it has a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) with the country.
India is the largest palm oil market for Indonesia with an export share of about 20 percent, equivalent to 6.71 million tons last year. The EU, China and Pakistan follow India with exports of 4.78 million, 4.41 million and 2.48 million tons, respectively.
“Within six months, Indonesia will export CPO worth at least US$500 million to India,” Enggar said.
Despite prioritizing India as an import origin country, Indonesia would not increase its meat, rice and raw sugar imports from the current volume, he went on to say.
“We will only import what we need as long as the market can absorb the products,” Enggar stressed.
He added that India’s buffalo meat imports could fill in the gap of the 620,000-ton national meat demand as local producers can only provide around 450,000 tons.
As for raw sugar, Enggar stated the country had equalized India’s import duty with other countries, namely Australia and Thailand.
Meanwhile, when it comes to importing rice, Indonesia will prioritize India’s products, especially its basmati rice, Enggar said, adding that the two countries were also looking at other commodities for trade, such as textiles.
The bilateral trade plan was in line with the target set by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in April to reach a target of $50 billion worth of trade by 2025.
Indian Ambassador to Indonesia Pradeep Kumar Rawat said bilateral trade between the two countries from 2018 to 2019 was worth $21.11 billion and that finding a balance to reach the target was “not difficult.” (eyc)

SeedWorks steps up hybrid rice farming in CLuzon

SEPTEMBER 19, 2019
SEEDWORKS STEPS UP HYBRID RICE FARMING IN CLUZON
SEEDWORKS Philippines is intensifying efforts to increase production of high-quality rice, particularly its US-88 hybrid rice variety, in a move to boost productivity and income of farmers in Central Luzon (Region 3).
The company said the initial promotion of the said initiative was rolled out in Central Luzon, which accounted for about 20 percent of the country’s rice production in the first six months of 2019.
“We encourage more farmers especially in Central Luzon to choose US-88 hybrid rice, which is more ideal for the type of climate we have,” said SeedWorks Philippines Area Manager for North Luzon Simeon Bautista.
He said the hybrid rice variety is proven tolerant to typical crop diseases such as Bacterial Leaf Blight, which impede yield of rice varieties.
Description: https://s14255.pcdn.co/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Simeon-Baustista20190919.jpgSimeon Baustista, SeedWorks Philippines area sales manager for north Luzon, shows the healthy heads of the US-88 rice variety grown in Talavera, Nueva Ecija. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
“Aside from its proven resilience, US-88 brings about much better rice quality that consumers surely prefer,” he added.
Baustista explained the said variety produces long-grain rice that has excellent soft eating quality. Furthermore, its milling and head rice recovery is high, comparable to premium rice that millers look for.
As part of the company’s efforts to further push US-88 in the “rice bowl region,” it has launched a contest for qualified US-88 hybrid rice farmers across Central Luzon.
Dubbed as “Ang Hari sa Ani,” (The Harvest Hero) the campaign aims to motivate local farmers in the area to choose the hybrid rice variety when they till their land this coming dry crop season.
“Ang Hari sa Ani is also about choosing a variety that has high milling recovery and long grain that farmers can sell at a premium that is very timely with the influx of imported rice,” Seedworks said.
For an entry into the yield contest, the company said a farmer must have a hectare of land planted with the US-88 hybrid rice variety during the coming dry season, which begins in November and ends in April 2020. Sowing date must be between November 1 and December 31 of this year, it added.
As more and more rice has to be produced on less land and with less farm inputs, the government, particularly the Department of Agriculture (DA), continue its push for farmers to use hybrid rice seeds.
The Agricultural Training Institute, an attached agency of the DA, has recognized the benefits of good rice hybrids that have the potential of yielding 15-20 percent more than the best inbred varieties grown under similar conditions.
According to DA Assistant Secretary Andrew Villacorta, promoting hybrid rice technology is one approach of the DA’s catch up plan that will help increase the competitiveness of Filipino farmers’ who have been lagging behind compared to planters in neighboring countries like Thailand and Vietnam.


Artist and Researcher’s Book Explores World of Subversive Bioart

Art is in the eye of the beholder. But art made from DNA and living cells? Like it or not, says LiQin Tan, we are only at the beginning of a revolutionary fusion of art and living organisms.Tan notes that his book looks toward the future to consider how technological singularity’s impact on conceptual and live bioart raises many thought-provoking – and sometimes controversial – issues.
The Rutgers University–Camden artist and researcher explains that the future of bioart – art conceptualizing and/or incorporating biological elements – will continue to be impacted by technology at a meteoric rate.
“This is where art is going; no one can escape it,” says the art professor matter-of-factly.
Tan explores the unchartered world of bioart in his new book, Singularity: Subversive BioArt (Guangdong People’s Publishing House).
The book is a follow-up to his 2018 offering, Singularity Art: How Technology Singularity Will Impact Art (China Machine Press), which explores the impact of technological singularity, the notion that artificial superintelligence will trigger runaway technological growth, resulting in previously unforeseen changes to human civilization.
“Some people want to panic when they consider, for instance, art that merges living organisms with inanimate materials,” says Tan. “Of course, we always fear everything new.”
The Rutgers–Camden artist explains that there are two definitions as to what constitutes bioart. The first is “live art,” which uses genes, DNA, bacterium, algae, and living cells to create artworks.
“For instance, some artists are using DNA to create transgenic – genetically modified – plants and animals,” says Tan, citing the work of artist Eduarto Kac, who combined rabbit and jellyfish DNA to produce a bunny that glows green under blue light.
In another example, he notes, artist Li Shan changed the genes of pumpkins, resulting in the vegetables growing in an array of different shapes and sizes.
The Rutgers–Camden artist focused his art on ink-brush drawing on rice paper before being introduced to computers in the early 1990s.Tan explains that, although biologists will alter DNA for scientific purposes – for example, altering a vegetable to make it heartier or to taste better – artists change genes with artistic concepts or metaphors in mind.
“For instance, artists may try to represent social or political issues,” says Tan, who adds that it is still against international standards to change human embryo DNA. “People will ask, ‘Why do you create?’ It’s because artists need to express themselves.”
The other form, says Tan, is called “general bioart,” which includes anything made from biological elements or symbolizing bio concepts. For instance, he says, a bioart installation may use computer animation to make cells move.
“Some people would argue that this isn’t bioart, but others agree that it is because it presents biological movement and elements regardless of whether they are living or still,’” he says.
Tan describes how he created a conceptual bioart installation wherein he grew plants on the top of large central processing units – the electrical circuitry of computer systems – in the shape of a square. The creation didn’t use soil and relied on humidity in the air.
“My main concept is that the Earth’s soil is not the only mother carrier of the plant,” says Tan, who, for more than two decades, focused his art on ink-brush drawing on rice paper before being introduced to computers in the early 1990s. “CPU technology has the potential to replace it gradually. In other words, technology would be the carrier of life evolution in the near future.”
The Rutgers–Camden artist notes that, while previous books have defined and explored bioart, design, and education, his book looks toward the future to consider how technological singularity’s impact on conceptual and live bioart raises many thought-provoking – and sometimes controversial – issues.

Tan’s 2018 book explores the impact of technological singularity, the notion that artificial superintelligence will trigger runaway technological growth, resulting in previously unforeseen changes to human civilization.Among these points of discussion, Tan shares his personal philosophy that, as an artist and creator, technology shouldn’t be utilized solely to change the tools and media that artists employ, but to change the very nature of what it means to be human.
“Technology is going to change your life construction; the inside of your body,” he explains. “So if you change the human body, it will change one’s creativity as well.”
He adds that genetics for non-human species will be altered as well and a human-dominant view of life and civilization will be altered forever.
“Humans have dominated society for nearly 6,000 years and we treat animals as a lower species,” he says. “Technology will enable non-human species to have consciousness and creativity as well, and give animals the opportunities to change and become equal to humans. So then, how will we define beauty and what is considered art? Those definitions will totally reconstruct.”
He warns that no one person will be able to hold back technological progress and, with that, safeguard international, ethical standards that come along with these changes. With this inevitability, says Tan, it’s up to people everywhere “to the change the world responsibly.”
“That is a positive way that we can embrace these changes,” he says.
However, Tan readily admits, the debate as to what is considered a responsible and ethnical approach will continue. Some people, he notes, believe that a humanoid has already been programmed with “deeper learning.”
In the end, says the Rutgers–Camden artist and researcher, technological advances continue to be made at an unfathomable rate, so it’s up to people – as humans and artists – to realize their untapped potential.

Food Scientists Create Novel Food Model For Astronauts In Space
BY JESSICA BRANSON ON SEPTEMBER 18, 2019
Description: Food Scientists Create Novel Food Model For Astronauts In Space
Food scientists working at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have come up with a revolutionary, mathematical model for NASA. The mechanism is extremely user-friendly and will guarantee that foods meant for the astronauts will retain its customary nutrients, and hence food-value, even during long space missions.The new findings were published in the journal Food Chemistry. This latest development provides NASA, with an effect shortcut, when it comes to predicting the degradation and disintegration of vitamins during space flights. This will help them specify the extent of vitamin degradation of space foods over time, and hence, schedule the resupplying trips more effectively and accurately. The investigation was funded with the help of a NASA grant of $982,685.
During the research, the scientists meticulously prepared and stored over 3000 pouches of space foods that were prepared in perfect accordance with recipes provided by NASA. They also followed the thermal processing as well as the storage specifications that were set by NASA for the astronauts’ foods abroad the International Space Station.
Hang Xiao, professor as well as Clydesdale Food Science Scholar discovered how Vitamin B1 or Thiamin disintegrates over 2 years in three 3 separate menus – brown rice, beef brisket and split tea. He stated that brown rice, as well as split pea soup was stored at 20°C. It was found resistant to degradation of thiamin. However, thiamin in the beef brisket was comparatively unstable and could retain merely 3 percent vitamin at the end of the 2 years.
The model was able to pretty precisely provide information in advance in regards to vitamin disintegration. These new findings will help NASA to provide the astronauts with the necessary nutrients without using supplements.
The findings will be particularly important for NASA during its planned upcoming manned mission to Mars, which will be the longest space flight even taken up by mankind to date.

Content Editor At Pharma Industry Reports
Description: Jessica BransonJessica holds a degree in Astrophysics and has always been a true fanatic of the outer world, space, universe, and mysteries that lie within it. Taking this enthusiasm and dedication into consideration, Jessica seemed to be the apt choice to be given the responsibility of the Science domain. She has been working with this organization for 2 years now.
 Earlier, she worked as a Content Writer and Editor in Medical Device News organization. Jessica writes news articles, blogs, and reports pertaining to the Science domain that encompasses new findings & discoveries, alien life, new satellite & spacecraft liftoffs, space competitions, inventions & innovations, galaxies & outer space, planets & exoplanets, and much more.
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Climate Change Poses Serious Threats to India's Food Security

Planning for the long-term impacts of climate change on agriculture appears to be rather low on the government's priority list.

Climatic factors like increased temperatures and extreme rainfall will affect productivity by causing physiological changes. Photo: Reuters
Description: Siraj Hussain
Description: Climate Change Poses Serious Threats to India's Food SecurityIssues including the security clampdown in the Valley and slowdown in major sectors of the economy are dominating headlines. The agriculture ministry too would be occupied with formulating interventions to spur the economy of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Planning for the long-term impacts of climate change on Indian agriculture would, therefore, be rather low on the government’s priority list.
Climate change is no longer a distant threat. According to the Indian Meteorological Department, the annual mean temperature in the country has increased by 0.6 degrees Celsius between 1901 and 2018, when compared to pre-industrial levels. Eleven of the 15 warmest years have so far all been within the last 15 years with 2018 being the sixth warmest year in India’s recorded history.
The extent and degree of warming are going to get more severe. As carbon emissions continue and those which are built into the climate system take effect, temperatures across the world are expected to increase between 3-5 degree Celsius by 2100. India is among the countries which are likely to bear the worst of a warming planet due to its tropical location and relatively lower levels of income.
Agriculture and food production are likely to be significantly affected by climate change. According to one estimate, yields of major crops could decline by up to 25%. A recent IPCC report also warned that in the years to come, food security will stand threatened due to climate change coupled with increasing demands of the rising population.
The global population is expected to increase from 7.7 billion in 2019 to 8.5 billion by 2030 and 9.7 billion by 2050. According to the United Nation’s World Population Prospects (June 2019), the Indian population is projected to increase from 1.36 billion in 2019 to 1.5 billion by 2030 and 1.64 billion by 2050.
Providing food and nutritional security to an entire population needs some serious planning and effective implementation. And we need to start now. Climatic factors like increased temperatures and extreme rainfall will affect productivity by causing physiological changes. In addition, they will affect soil fertility, the incidence of pest infestation and the availability of water. This will impact crops, animal husbandry as well as fisheries.
Description: https://cdn.thewire.in/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/19130231/COW17.jpg
Crops, animal husbandry, as well as fisheries, are likely to be impacted. Photo: Reuters
The solution to climate change will come from science alone. In 2011, research on the impact of climate change on agriculture and possible ideas to mitigate the risk was started by the Union agriculture ministry, and the National Innovations on Climate Resilient Agriculture (NICRA) was launched through the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). The primary objective was to develop suitable technologies for production and risk management for crops, livestock and fisheries.
The research was undertaken at seven major institutions of ICAR across India. NICRA has identified 151 climatically vulnerable districts but politicians in many of these states may be oblivious to this.
Research on impact assessment on crops was conducted using simulation models for climate projections for 2020, 2050 and 2080. Simulations show that the yield of rice in irrigated areas may decrease by 7% in 2050 and 10% in 2080. The yield of maize in irrigated areas of kharif was projected to decline by 18% by 2020.
The yield of maize did decline in 2018-19 due to low rainfall in several maize growing areas but better rainfall in July and August 2019 may have ensured that the projection of decrease in maize yield may not happen again in 2019-20.
Research at the National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal has found that heat stress has a negative impact on the reproduction traits of cows and buffaloes and their fertility will be adversely impacted.
Scientists of the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute have found that fish species on the east coast may be much more vulnerable to climate change than fish varieties found on the west coast. Climate change will impact ocean current, acidification, temperature and food availability. All of this will affect the production of fish.
NICRA has projected that rice and wheat in Indo-Gangetic plains, sorghum and potato in West Bengal and sorghum, potato and maize in southern plateau are likely to see reduced productivity. The study also found that productivity of soybean, groundnut, chickpea and potato in Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh may go up.
Similarly, the productivity of apple in Himachal Pradesh may increase. Increase in temperature and rainfall pattern may also result in a lower yield of cotton in north India.
The government has made some efforts to formulate mitigation strategies to address the impact of climate change on agriculture. Under the NICRA project, ICAR has collected germ-plasm from various locations. These will be used as source material for breeding programmes to develop heat and drought-tolerant wheat and pulses and flood-tolerant rice.
Scientists have been working hard to breed varieties of different crops which are climate-resilient. One such success is Sahbhagidhan, a variety of paddy which was jointly developed by the International Rice Research Institute and Central Rainfed Upland Rice Research Station of ICAR at Hazaribagh. It was released in 2010 and since then, it has gained success in uplands in eastern India in drought conditions. It matures in 105 days while most other varieties take 120-150 days to maturity. Farmers can plant another crop after harvesting this.
IRRI is also breeding a flood-tolerant variety of paddy by manipulating genes to get better strains which can enable paddy rice to survive for up to 15 days of submergence in floodwater. It has identified such varieties in Odisha and Sri Lanka which have a Sub 1 gene. If and when this flood-tolerant variety is released either through breeding or through genetic modification, farmers in flood-prone regions would be keen to accept it, even if activists are opposed to the release of new GM varieties in India.
Research on climate-resilient varieties of wheat, mustard, lentil, chickpea, mung bean, groundnut and soybean is also under progress in various institutions of ICAR.
India policymakers cannot indefinitely wait for disastrous effects of climate change to hit farmers. In north-west Indian states of Punjab, Haryana and western UP, falling water table has posed the need for modification in cropping patterns.
Even after winning a decisive mandate, the government is still not confident of the direction Indian agriculture should take. The sense of urgency, shown to address the slowdown in the economy, in general, has not translated into dealing with challenges of agriculture.
Siraj Hussain retired as Union agriculture secretary. He is a visiting senior fellow, ICRIER.

What Should Young Children Drink? Mostly Milk and Water, Scientists Say

Infants and toddlers should not be given soda, chocolate milk or other sweetened drinks, according to strict new guidelines.
The new recommendations are among the most comprehensive, and restrictive, issued in recent years. Experts hope the guidelines will help curb childhood obesity.CreditCreditDustin Chambers for The New York Times
Published Sept. 18, 2019Updated Sept. 19, 2019, 5:58 a.m. ETA panel of scientists issued new nutritional guidelines for children on Wednesday, describing in detail what they should be allowed to drink in the first years of life. The recommendations, among the most comprehensive and restrictive to date, may startle some parents.
Babies should receive only breast milk or formula, the panel said. Water may be added to the diet at 6 months; infants receiving formula may be switched to cow’s milk at 12 months. For the first five years, children should drink mostly milk and water, according to the guidelines.
Children aged 5 and under should not be given any drink with sugar or other sweeteners, including low-calorie or artificially sweetened beverages, chocolate milk or other flavored milk, caffeinated drinks and toddler formulas.
Plant-based beverages, like almond, rice or oat milk, also should be avoided. (Soy milk is the preferred alternative for parents who want an alternative to cow’s milk.)
From the team at NYT Parenting: Get the latest news and guidance for parents. We'll celebrate the little parenting moments that mean a lot — and share stories that matter to families.
In what may come as a shock to parents with pantries full of juice boxes, the panel also said that young children should drink less than a cup of 100 percent juice per day — and that none at all is a better choice.
The new guidelines were produced by Healthy Eating Research, a nutrition advocacy group, and funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The recommendations are likely to be influential, as they were developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the American Heart Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. The cautions against sweetened beverages arrive amid persistent concerns about childhood obesity, which can set the stage for lifelong chronic illness. About 19 percent of children in the United States are obese.
“Close to half of all 2- to 5-year-olds in the U.S. drink sugary drinks every day, which we know increases their risk of obesity, diabetes and other health problems,” said Megan Lott, deputy director of Healthy Eating Research.
Children do not need juice and are better off eating fruit, the panel said. Excessive juice consumption can lead to dental decay and weight gain, and is linked to overall poor nutrition.
“When we talk about empty calories that are consumed through beverages and the number of calories people get from sugar-sweetened drinks, we’re not just talking about soda,” said Dr. Richard Besser, president and chief executive of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “Juice is another source of calories that nutritionally aren’t terrific.”
Recommendations to limit juice are not new: The pediatrics academy has long advised that babies not be given juice till they are a year old, and that the amount of juice be limited to four ounces per day for children between the ages of 1 and 3.
Plant-based milk beverages like almond, oat and rice milk often contain added sweeteners or artificial flavorings, and are less nutritious than cow’s milk, a glass of which contains eight grams of protein along with nutrients such as calcium.
With the exception of soy milk, plant-based milks are poor in protein. Though they are often fortified, scientists do not know whether people are able to absorb these nutrients as efficiently as those naturally present in other foods.
Formulas marketed for toddlers are usually unnecessary, since most toddlers eat solid food; the products tend to be expensive and often contain added sugars, Ms. Lott said.
There is no rigorous data from studies of children about the safety of artificially sweetened drinks and other low-calorie sweetened beverages, she said, and the products can condition a child to prefer sweet drinks generally.
A spokesman for the American Beverage Association, William M. Dermody Jr., said beverage companies agree that “it’s important for families to moderate sugar consumption to ensure a balanced, healthy lifestyle, and this is especially true for young children."
A spokesman for the Juice Products Association, however, said that for children with limited access to fresh produce, juice can help improve fruit intake. Federal dietary guidelines recognize three-quarters of a cup of 100 percent juice as equivalent to three-quarters of a cup of fruit.
But many products that appear to contain natural juice may actually contain only a small amount of real juice, experts cautioned, saying parents must read labels carefully.
Children develop preferences for foods and beverages at a young age, and the recommendations are made with an eye to shaping a healthy palate.
About a third of children and adolescents in the United States are overweight or obese, conditions that increase the risk of developing chronic illnesses, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and some cancers.
“The hope is that through this approach, you’ll help your child develop a taste for what’s good for them,” Dr. Besser said. Though the occasional glass of 100 percent juice is not going to be harmful, “what you want your children as they grow older to be drinking primarily is water.”
The new recommendations are broken down by age group:
Birth to six months: Infants should drink only breast milk or infant formula. They should not drink juice, milk, flavored milk, so-called transition or weaning formulas (also called toddler milks, growing-up milks or follow-up formula), low-calorie sweetened beverages (diet or “light” drinks, or those sweetened with Stevia or Sucralose).
These children also should not receive plant-based and nondairy “milks,” caffeinated beverages (soda, coffee, tea, energy drinks) or sugar-sweetened beverages (soda, fruit drinks and fruit-flavored drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, sweetened water, and sweetened coffee or tea).
6 to 12 months: Babies should still rely on breast milk or infant formula. Once they have begun eating solid food, they can start sipping water. Parents should avoid juice, milk, flavored milk, transition formulas, low-calorie sweetened beverages, plant-based and nondairy milks, caffeinated beverages, and sugar-sweetened beverages.
12 to 24 months: Children should drink one to four cups of water daily, and they can start drinking plain pasteurized whole milk. They should have no more than four ounces of 100 percent fruit juice per day; the juice may be watered down. Parents should avoid other drinks (flavored milk, transition formulas, caffeinated drinks, plant-based and nondairy milks, sugar-sweetened beverages and low-calorie sweetened beverages).
2 to 3 years old: Toddlers should drink one to four cups of water daily and transition to fat-free or low-fat (1 percent fat) milk. They should drink no more than four ounces of 100 percent juice and should not be given other drinks.
4 to 5 years old: These toddlers should drink 1.5 to five cups of water a day, skim or low-fat milk, and no more than four to six ounces of 100 percent fruit juice. They should not be given other drinks.

Arkansas Rice Industry Donates More Than 141,000 Pounds of Rice in Honor of National Rice Month


LITTLE ROCK, AR - The Arkansas rice industry donated 141,208 pounds of rice to the Arkansas Food Bank in honor of National Rice Month today. The donation from seven mills will provide nearly 1.5 million servings of rice to help feed families, children, and seniors all across the state.  

Participating rice mills are Windmill Rice Company of Jonesboro, Riceland Foods, Inc. of Stuttgart, Producers Rice Mill of Stuttgart, Riviana Foods of Carlisle, Anheuser Busch of Jonesboro, Ralston Family Farms of Atkins and Specialty Rice, Inc. of Brinkley. 

"The Arkansas rice industry is committed to being good stewards of our resources and helping to alleviate hunger in our state," Arkansas Rice Council President Dan Hosman said. "We take great pride in our partnership with the Arkansas Foodbank and appreciate their efforts to feed our hungry neighbors."

September is also Hunger Action Month. More than 549,000 Arkansans struggle with hunger and may not know where they'll find their next meal. That number includes one in four children who may not have enough to eat. This rice donation will go into weekend backpacks for children, food boxes for home-bound seniors, and will fill the shelves at food pantries for families in need.
 
The rice will be distributed across the state to the five Feeding America food banks: River Valley Regional Food Bank in Ft Smith; Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas in Jonesboro; Harvest Regional Food Bank in Texarkana; Arkansas Foodbank in Little Rock; and Northwest Arkansas Food Bank in Springdale.

"For so many Arkansans, rice is an important staple item on their dinner table," says Arkansas Foodbank CEO Rhonda Sanders. "With one in six in our state struggling with hunger, today's generous gift from Arkansas Rice farmers will ensure that our neighbors in need can enjoy many meals to come with their families. The total pounds donated on Rice Day and throughout the year will be divided evenly by the 75 counties within our state and distributed by each county's Feeding America food bank to fill backpacks for children, food boxes for home bound seniors, and shelves at pantry's for families in need."
USA Rice Daily

 

‘I Used to Wonder What My Karm

a Was That I Had to End Up in a Place Like This’

A Nepali TPS holder and domestic worker describes what it’s like to live in the US without papers and to fight for workers’ rights.

By John WashingtonTwitter

YESTERDAY 8:00 AM

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(Krystal Quiles)

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The borders of our world cut not only across international boundaries but also increasingly stretch deeply into the interior of nations—into our homes, cities, communities, courts, and everyday interactions. Citizenship status, visa status, vulnerability to deportation—these are just a few of the dividing lines increasingly separating our country into different communities with starkly different options for how or if its members become full participants in our national experiment.
As immigrants in the United States, both documented and not, are increasingly under attack—stripped of their status, arrested, and deported—it’s critical that their stories are heard across these borders. “Migrant Voices” is an oral testimony project from The Nation exploring, and listening to, a variety of immigrant voices: from recent arrivals to asylum seekers making their case in the courts, from the undocumented keeping under the radar to the DACAmented on the front lines—people from all over the world who have fled or left their homes and are looking to find, or keep, their place in America.
* * *
On a sweat-stained and overbright summer day, I found my way to Adhikaar, a Nepali community center in Woodside, Queens, one of the most ethnically and linguistically diverse neighborhoods on the planet. In the main room on the ground floor, seven women were preparing for a field trip to the Rubin Museum of Art, while in the back office, facilitators were going over plans for the trip and discussing syllabi for English for Empowerment classes. These are courses that, as Prarthana Gurung, Adhikaar’s campaigns and communications manager, explained to me, do much more than merely teach English to newly arrived members from Nepal. Following the popular education model developed by Paulo Freire, facilitators at Adhikaar help orient and empower new members of their community, helping them navigate the subways, taking them on “field trips” to the post office (as well as museums), and collaborating with them in know-your-rights workshops.

MIGRANT VOICES

Description: The Nation
‘THEY HAD FOUND OUT THAT I AM GAY, AND THEY WERE GOING TO KILL ME’
John Washington
“We don’t start with ABCs,” Gurung told me, “we start with $7.25”—the federal minimum wage. “We want them to understand practical needs, and learning English is a good medium to help them fight for their rights.” Led by women (and currently with an all-women board) members of Adhikaar, along with other organizations, have successfully pushed the passage of New York State’s Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights and have helped extend protections to nail salon workers. Buoyed by their success in activism, members of Adhikaar are also now party to a class action lawsuit that seeks to prevent the federal government from canceling Temporary Protected Status for Nepalis.
Temporary Protected Status is pretty much what it sounds like: relief from deportation for people already in the United States whose country of origin is suffering through some calamity, war, or natural disaster. It lets folks stay, live, and work in this country for a designated term—usually between six months and a year and a half, but extensions are common. Hondurans were originally granted TPS in 1999 after Hurricane Mitch devastated parts of the country, and Hondurans who were in the United States at the time have had, through a series of extensions, TPS ever since—20 years on. Currently, there are over 300,000 people with TPS in the United States, from 10 different countries.

CURRENT ISSUE

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Nepalis were offered temporary protection through TPS in the spring of 2015 after an earthquake shook parts of the country to pieces, killing almost 9,000 people and rendering over 3 million homeless. In the following months, thanks in part to Adhikaar’s quick mobilization and lobbying, 9,000 Nepalis in the United States became TPS holders. That number has since grown to 15,000.
But their status, along with that of all TPS holders, has been in question ever since Trump stepped into the White House. In the first year of the new administration, the Department of Homeland Security began canceling or not renewing TPS. First Haitians and Nicaraguans were targeted, then Hondurans, Salvadorans, and finally Sudanese and Nepalis. A series of lawsuits pushed back against those cancellations, and TPS holders currently have temporary reprieve as the courts weigh in. Meanwhile, the National TPS Alliance, among other groups, has been pushing the American Dream and Promise Act, which would pave the way for permanent status for qualifying TPS holders.
One of Adhikaar’s members, who has been organizing and advocating with the organization since 2007, is Brinda, who I met in a small upstairs office the first morning I visited. After a few hours of talking, Brinda and Gurung invited me for lunch in the kitchen: white basmati rice, daal, a stew of bitter gourds, mustard greens, and a mushroom and potato curry, with lemon and skinny little hot peppers as condiments. Dessert was thick, homemade yogurt.
A few weeks later—the morning after the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton—the three of us met again, at Sumnima Kitchen, Brinda’s favorite Nepali restaurant in Queens. For both meetings, Brinda wore her gray hair in a loose ponytail clasped by a dragonfly clip. She wore large eyeglasses and had bangles and string bracelets on both wrists. After I introduced myself and turned on the recorder, she joked that she was going to recount to me her personal Mahabharata—the ancient Indian epic. (Gurung translated for both of our conversations, though Brinda occasionally broke into English.)
BRINDA, 61 YEARS OLD
My name is Brinda. I’m 61 years old. I lived in Kathmandu, but I’m originally from a place called Bhojpur, a little town in eastern Nepal. It’s all hills over there. I was 21 or 22 when I moved to Kathmandu to live with my husband. I got married when I was really young, just 16, and I had two sons, my first at just 17. I was a child still. I saw all my friends having fun and being teenagers, and I had a kid already. Once my two sons started to grow up, around 2030, I took an exam to get my school certificate. Then, in 2033, I went back to school for 11th and 12th grades. Finally, I went for my bachelor’s in history and political science. Those are Nepali years. [Laughs.] Right now it’s 2076 in Nepali years. [Laughs again.] Sometimes it’s hard to keep it straight.
My husband was a policeman. It was an okay career for him. We had a lot of struggles, but we just had to make do. We weren’t hungry, but my parents had to help us. We lived in an apartment, one room, very small, like this room. [The office is about 12 by 15 feet.] The bathroom was outside, the kitchen indoors.
When I was growing up in Bhojpur, there were no roads, just paths, and you had to walk everywhere. There was no electricity either. We had to sit in the evenings with a lantern. There were a lot of orange trees by our house. And when it was in full bloom, it was so beautiful, and people used to come from all over town and buy oranges from us. We used to eat so, so many oranges.
The politics, well, we had a king back then. I didn’t mind the king. But now the king is gone, it should be better, but it’s not better. To create a better society is exactly why we went through the whole revolution, the struggles, the war. And, especially now, democracy is what works in the world. That’s the idea at least. In 2015 [1959 in Western years] there was the first elected government in Nepal, and my father was involved with the prime minister at the time, BP Koirala. But then the king didn’t want that form of government anymore, and so he had the military take a lot of people to jail, including my father, and instituted this system called Panchayat [roughly: locally elected committees] and my father was put in jail for eight years. I was very young then. Eventually, my father became a minister.
After I got my degree, I worked a little bit, but it was just four or five months at a time. My husband didn’t like me working. I was an office manager at a government office, and I worked at a school for a year, teaching primary school. But my husband wanted me sitting at home. That’s it. [Throws her head back and laughs.] Doing the household work. He passed away two years ago. We had to do what we could to make ends meet. We were eventually able to build a house, but that was a lot later, and only because my mother and brother helped us out. We wouldn’t have been able to do that on our own. I always had the mentality, “Let’s both work together and we can earn more,” but he just wanted me to be at home to do certain things and not do others.
It was many years later, my husband had retired, but he was the same as he was. He still didn’t allow me to work. Things got expensive. And my younger sister was the one who said maybe we should go abroad to find work. People in Nepal look at the US like it’s a dream country. Like gold is on the trees. That’s how people see it. I thought when I came here that the stones, the mud, the trees were going to be completely different, that they would look different. That’s what people say. America this, America that. All in this big way. And so I just imagined… I couldn’t imagine what would happen when I came here.

MIGRANT VOICES

Description: The Nation
‘“ARE YOU ILLEGAL?” I WILL NEVER FORGET THOSE WORDS.’

John Washington
If I had been able to work in Nepal, from the beginning, I would have been able to build a career there, to stay there. There are many people, women, who still can’t work. It’s getting better, but it’s still not like it is here, with the freedom.
When I first came to America, in 2007, I landed in Detroit. The family I was staying with lived in the suburbs, and the first day here I didn’t see a single soul, and I thought it was so strange. Is this what America is like? And then on the third day we went to the mall. My mom and I were both, like [throws her head back and laughs] is this what America is like? There’s nobody anywhere except at the mall? And then after a week we came to New York. I was so bewildered, because I thought suburban Detroit was America, and then after a week we came here to New York, straight to Jackson Heights, Queens, and I remember she took us to the train station on the first day, and the subway came and as soon as the doors opened all these people came out, and Oh my God! I was immediately [laughs] thinking I’m going to get so lost!
I wasn’t intending to stay so long at first. It seemed so… I didn’t know if I could stay for an entire year, it seemed like such a long time. I didn’t think I had it in me. I was thinking that I would only be here for a little while. But it’s like one-way traffic—to come to America. Everybody comes here, nobody wants to go back. Before I thought that I wanted to go back, but obviously I didn’t. I built a community here. Made friends, people who were like my brothers and sisters.
.At the very beginning I did housekeeping at a home in Long Island, for two or three weeks, but then after that I started working as a nanny. I was staying with my sister’s friend. She was the one who taught me everything. She taught me how to use my Metrocard. Then I moved to a live-in job as a nanny in Monroe Township, New Jersey, with an Indian family. They were a good family. The daughter was 3 months old. When I started nannying, I was making $400 a week. It was okay, pretty easy. I sent money back home to my younger son. Five days of work, and then Saturday and Sunday off. I did that for the rest of the time that I was here. After my six-month extension, I went back to Nepal for three months, but I couldn’t find any jobs again, so I came back.
I knew that you weren’t allowed to work in the US [without papers], but there were so many other people in our community who were working like that, so I wasn’t nervous. Because I trust in God, that he would take care of me. And because of my situation I had to work. There was a little pressure I felt sometimes. That’s a given I think, that you feel that way when you’re working. There would be instances where on Friday they would try to get me to do all this work so that it would cover the weekend. They would ask me to cook all this food, I had to cook so much on one day, they would ask me to clean more than normal, and I felt like I couldn’t say no.
I found a different job when I came back, but everywhere I work, my bosses like me. Why wouldn’t they like me? I don’t say anything and I just do the work. [Laughs.]
I started coming to Adhikaar in 2007. I was taking the [English for Empowerment] classes. I remember sitting in trainings on things like health and know your rights workshops. I still go. Just last Sunday I went to a know your rights training about what to do if ICE comes to your house. Basically [laughing], you tell them, Go away! Don’t come here!
It was in 2010 when we first started talking about the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights, and I started getting really involved. A lot of the work for Domestic Worker’s rights was learning how we could get something passed, and I remember we went on these trips to Albany. I probably went two or three times, or more, and we met all these elected officials and we told them our stories and why we needed this.
I started understanding what other domestic workers like me were going through. I heard of other sisters who only got one piece of bread to eat for an entire day, or had to work all through the night. There was one sister I know who was trafficked from India, and she didn’t get paid at all for years. There was another sister who was in a similar situation, and Adhikaar went and rescued her. We all went in a car, I remember, there were a bunch of us. We were actually in DC at the time, we were there at a rally, and she was working in a home there, and so we went to go get her. They had kept her passport. Her employers had kept it away from her so she couldn’t leave.
The employers I worked for always paid me, so I didn’t have as many problems as my sisters did. But what we did wasn’t just for myself, because I was suffering, but because there were so many other domestic workers like me who were going through so much worse.
So we started meeting with these officials to tell them our stories. I wasn’t just nervous, I didn’t even know how to say what I needed to say. Even now, even though I’ve had all this experience, even now when I tell my story I get emotional and teary-eyed. It’s also for myself in some ways. Even if I had the best employer, you can imagine how it feels to go work in someone else’s home. In the beginning I used to want to cry a lot. I came from Nepal and I was working for myself, and I was able to support myself in this way, but I think there’s something about coming here and living in someone else’s home that’s not yours, and working for them, that made me feel… I used to wonder what my karma was that I had to end up in a place like this, where I had to work in someone else’s home.
You can’t really find any other kind of work. This is the only option. If you come here and study here, then maybe you can get another job. But for people like us there’s no other option. What else could we do? I think it was in my karma. If it wasn’t written for me to have to migrate to the US, then how would I be here? Now, though, I’m happy. I made friends in the community, found a religious group, and it became more fun. The Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights passed in 2010. We didn’t get everything we asked for, maybe we got half of the things we asked for, but something passed, which is good.
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(Krystal Quiles)
I got a phone call at 2 am, April 25, 2015. My friend called and said, Did you know that this earthquake happened? This huge earthquake. I was so… I couldn’t feel my hands, or my feet. And I started trembling. I remember calling Nepal. I started calling home and nobody was picking up the phone. It was only maybe two or three days afterwards that I was able to get in touch with anyone. Oh my God, it was so terrible. My family was okay. Their homes were okay. They were lucky. But so many homes were broken, so many people died. People left, they started leaving, they came to the US, they went to Qatar, to Kuwait, to Malaysia. I have a friend who went to Cyprus. There are some villages where there are no men anymore, because they all migrated, they all left.
It was soon, it was in June, that we got TPS here. Not every country that goes through something bad gets TPS, there’s a process. First there was the petition. I got people to sign the petition. I made calls. I called politicians on the phone, I went around to the plaza nearby. We put everything on Facebook. We did outreach to the community to come [to Adhikaar], so they could understand what TPS was. I didn’t really know what it was before that. I think for humanitarian concerns, our country is so small, and also so poor, and so when such a large event like that happens, politicians see that there was a need for people like us who are here, for us to support the country economically.
Once we got TPS designated, we did legal clinics here, and we brought people in to apply. The lawyers would ask us questions and help us fill out the forms. We had to pay for both TPS and a work permit, I think it cost like three or four hundred dollars to get them both. I brought a lot of people and friends I knew who could benefit. I was finally able to get health insurance, which was a big relief for me. I lived for more than seven years without insurance. I could go to Elmhurst Hospital before, and I was able to get a reduced fee, but it was difficult. I could only go when I needed something, like an emergency, not for a regular check-up. God was looking out for me.
The earthquake was such a horrible event, but in some ways it was a small relief to be able to get TPS afterwards. Sometimes good things can come after really bad things, so this was something like that. I think my thoughts changed. I thought I could contribute a lot more if I stayed here. We raised so much money and sent it back. There was a day, in Jackson Heights there’s a plaza, and I remember staying there all day with just a little box to ask for money. We raised lots of money that day. Whoever was walking by, we would say, “Help us help Nepal. Help Nepal with us.”
Now I’m working in New Jersey, nannying for an Indian family. I don’t live with them. I go in the morning and I come home at night. I work seven hours, nine to four. I take care of a small baby, 4 months old. It’s easy. It’s easy to handle a small baby. I don’t cook or clean as much, just take care of the baby. I speak to the family in English and Hindi and make 15 dollars an hour. I have to send money to my son. I send two or three hundred dollars every few months.
We were afraid about what Trump was going to do after he won. We were OK for a year, and then we didn’t know what was going to happen. I think it was natural for us to be afraid. We would read in the paper or see in the news that Trump wants to deport all these people, so we felt afraid. Trump announced that he was going to cancel TPS [for Nepalis] in 2018. It was April 26 of last year that they announced they were terminating it. I was here, at Adhikaar. On the 25th we had had a vigil because of the earthquake, and I remember us talking about how it may not be renewed. As an individual, I wasn’t going to be able to do something alone, so we all rallied behind Adhikaar, and Adhikaar was working with other organizations to see what was possible, and I remember at the time there were discussions about the lawsuit for a few other countries with TPS, and I remember talking about doing something similar for us.
Description: The Nation
‘IT’S NOT SHAMEFUL TO WORK IN THE FIELDS. BUT IT’S HARD.’

John Washington
I feel like we’ll win. We’ll get green cards some day. That bill [the American Dream and Promise Act, HR 6] passed in the House. Maybe it will pass the Senate. I would feel free if I got a green card. I could go wherever I wanted. I have a cousin in Canada, or I could visit my sister in England. I don’t think so badly of America now, but if I got it, I would probably just give thanks, give so much thanks, I would bow down and thank this country ten times, over and over again. [Laughs.] There’s a word in Nepali: dhog—when you’re at temple, you bow down in front of God, or in front of your parents. It’s a sign of respect. You do like this, you bow down, or you could do it standing, a full bow, and the person you’re doing dhog to will give you blessings, they’ll accept the dhog, and touch your forehead. That’s what I would do for the USA.
I don’t think there is gold in the streets in America, not anymore. It’s not like that, but it’s still good here. This neighborhood is my home now. There are a lot of Nepalese restaurants on these blocks. Sumnima Kitchen is my favorite, my friend runs it. Everything is good there. Especially the momo.
Before TPS there was always a sense of fear, I remember thinking that if I went on a train, somebody told me I had to have an ID on me, but I didn’t have one. How could I have gotten one? Of course, I was always a little on edge. Now I am ananda. We have a lot of words in Nepali that are hard to translate. I can have fun now, and be free. It is like bindaas: I’m more carefree. It means you’re like a teenager. No worries. Now I’m bindaas. When I was a teenager, I felt so old. Now I feel like a teenager. People used to tell me I was a child who had children. I’m still a little nervous, yes, but whatever happens, happens. It’s not worth it to be depressed now. Plus, we’re still organizing.
Rice excluded from trade accord U.S. and Japan aim to ink soon
WASHINGTON/CHICAGO – U.S. rice growers won’t get increased sales under the current terms of a trade deal agreed by President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, people familiar with the accord said. While there are still details to be finalized, the people said there won’t be any expansion of Japan’s quotas for U.S.-grown rice. U.S. producers hope the issue will be dealt with in the second phase of negotiations between the two countries, according to one of the people.
Still, it’s unclear whether or when Trump and Abe will continue talks, given that any trade deal in Japan has to be approved by the Diet and the Trump administration is running out of time before the 2020 presidential election.
Japan is a key export market for U.S. rice farmers, who have been under pressure after the Asian nation signed trade agreements with other countries, including the revised 11-member Trans-Pacific Partnership. U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue had suggested the White House may make a concession on rice, which is “sort of a cultural issue in Japan,” local media have reported. “Although we are glad to see the bilateral agreement between the U.S. and Japan, we were disappointed to see that U.S. rice was not included,” said Stuart Hoetger, a rice trader and manager of Pinnacle Rice Coop in Chico, California. A spokesperson for the U.S. Trade Representative didn’t respond to a request for comment. Japan is required to import 682,000 tons of rice under World Trade Organization commitments, with the U.S. typically making up about half of that amount, according to USA Rice. Since Japan signed the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, there’s been more competition from Australian producers, the industry group said. Chris Crutchfield, president of rice miller and marketer American Commodity Company LLC in Williams, California, said the U.S. industry wants not only more volume but better quality access to the Japanese market. Much of the U.S. rice going to Japan is auctioned by the government and used to make noodles, beer or sake, with only a small amount sold as table rice. American rice should be allowed to be auctioned directly to private buyers and marked as being grown in the U.S. “We still believe the administration is going to get us something better than we currently have,” Crutchfield said by telephone.


Indonesia's Bulog says unlikely to import rice through end-2020
SEPTEMBER 18, 2019 / 9:49 AM

JAKARTA, Sept 18 (Reuters)
* Indonesia food procurement agency Bulog said it’s unlikely that the country will import rice through the end of next year due to high stockpiles, agency head Budi Waseso told reporters on Wednesday
* As of this week, the country has 2.6 million tonnes of rice stocks, which is more than sufficient until the main rice harvest in April, said Waseso
* “In April, rice harvest will start again, and we will absorb those. If the harvest can be optimized, we don’t need imports until end of 2020,” he said (Reporting by Bernadette Christina Munthe, Writing by Fransiska Nangoy)

Myanmar exports 88,500 tons of rice to China under agreement
Description: A rice whole sale center
A rice whole sale center
PUBLISHED 18 SEPTEMBER 2019

NILAR
Myanmar is exported 88,500 out of 100,000 tons of rice to China in line with an agreement with the COFCO and the rest will be exported in coming December, according to Myanmar Rice Federation (MRF).
The MRF had an agreement with China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corporation (COFCO) from China to export 100,000 tons of rice to China in 2019 and they will try to sign a new MoU with the COFCO to export more tons of rice to China for next FY, according to the MR.
Myanmar earned over US$650 million from more than 2.16 million tons of rice and broken rice in 11 months in this FY and it is less than over 780,000 tons of rice and broken rice exported in the same period in last year. Myanmar earned US$1.003 billion in the same period in last FY, said an official from Ministry of Commerce.
Myanmar is exporting rice through maritime trade to EU and Africa markets and to China via Muse border trade route.
Myanmar found new markets for its rice export in 2017-18 FY and about 3.6 million tons of rice are exported which broke the record in 50 years time.The rice export is declined in this FY as rice demand from EU and China is reduced.

Rice Federation to buy paddy at prices set by government
Description: Workers seen harvesting paddy with a harvester in Yathedaung Township
Workers seen harvesting paddy with a harvester in Yathedaung Township
PUBLISHED 18 SEPTEMBER 2019

NILAR

Myanmar Rice Federation has announced that three basic paddy prices for 100 baskets of paddy—K480,000, K500,000 and K520,000— will be set, promising to pay the same prices as set by the government, according to a statement released by MRF.   
The statement was issued during a meeting of the central executive committee of the federation held on September 14.
Discussion focused on measures to seek cooperation from the government in preventing sharp fall in paddy prices when harvest comes and strengthen cooperation among rice millers, exporters and merchants. The participants stressed the need to implement the project (2018) that calls for efforts to increase demand as paddy prices usually fall when the harvest comes due to imbalance between demand and supply and shortages of driers and warehouses.
According to the statement, basic paddy prices are to be in three types: K480,000 for 100 baskets of paddy in Type-1, K500,000 in Type-2 and K520,000 in Type-3.
Starting from October, November or December after the government has announced basic paddy prices, paddy and rice purchasing plans will be made in coordination with MRF, private merchants, rice millers, companies and relation associations.
Deputy Minister for Commerce Aung Htoo said those basic prices must benefit both farmers and merchants.
"Basic prices must be set after calculation of production cost. MRF and its brother associations need to give advice on basic prices, measures to maintain the set prices and measures to intervene with market to a certain extent. We need to consider market demand and supply. Basic prices must benefit farmers as well as merchants," said the deputy minister.  

Sri Lanka projects 0.5mn tonne rice surplus in 2019

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is projecting a 535,000 metric tonne rice surplus for 2019, after two seasons of good harvests, though the island’s paddy cultivators do not produce standard export grades of the grain unlike tea, rubber, coconut and spice farmers.
Sri Lanka’s Department of Agriculture said 3.07 million metric tonnes of paddy was produced in the main Maha season, which can be milled into 1.94 million metric tonnes of rice.
In the Yala minor cultivation season, the paddy crop is estimated at 1.54 million metric tonnes, which could be milled into 0.94 million metric tonnes of rice.
The annual rice availability is estimated at 2.88 million metric tonnes, when a total of 4.61 million metric tonnes of paddy is milled.
The agricultural department is forecasting a rice surplus of 535,870 million tonnes for 2019.
Sri Lanka’s large private milling companies have rice storage. It is not clear how much they have.
In 2015 a bumper harvest was also estimated to have produced a surplus and state rice purchasing agencies ran out of storage.
There is heavy state intervention in the paddy cultivation and price support, unlike other globally competitive farming sectors.Unlike Sri Lanka’s tea, rubber, coconut and spice farmers who earn foreign exchange in export markets there is no export market for rice, partly because the island does not produce international traded grades of rice, prices have ket high and there is no trade historical trade links.
Several businesses export small volumes of rice into markets where expatriate Sri Lankans live.
Sri Lanka’s rupee has fallen in recent year’s and domestic prices have stayed the same, bringing prices more in line with global prices.
In a related development, Sri Lanka’s price control agency has blocked a wheat miller from raising flour prices after the rupee fell, which would have been a market response to increase balance demand.
In the past, Sri Lanka has kept wheat prices up artificially with import taxes increase profits of rice farmers, at the expense food consumers, in another misguided state intervention in the opposite direction instead of dealing with the key problem of producing a non-traded good. (Colombo/Sept18/2019)

WTO starts probe on PH rice imports
posted September 18, 2019 at 06:40 pm
by Othel V. Campos
The World Trade Organization initiated a preliminary safeguard investigation on rice as requested by the Philippines.
Initiated by the Agriculture Department, the WTO investigation started on Sept. 11 upon receipt of the document and the notification from the Philippines.
The Agriculture Department, the author of the document, urged interested parties to submit comments through its Policy Research Service.
A safeguard investigation seeks to determine whether increased imports of a product are causing, or are threatening to cause, serious injury to a domestic industry. The reasons for the filing preliminary safeguard investigation included the continued increase in rice imports that coincidentally occurred with the drop in farmgate prices of palay resulting in income loss for farmers.
The WTO started circulating the communication to members of the WTO Committee on Safeguards on Sept. 12. 

Annamalai varsity inks MoU with rice research institute
CUDDALORE, SEPTEMBER 19, 2019 01:06 IST
UPDATED: SEPTEMBER 19, 2019 01:06 IST

Stress-resistant varieties to be developed under the pact

Annamalai University has inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Phillipines, for developing multiple stress-resistant rice varieties suitable for Tamil Nadu.
Matthew Morell, Director-General of IRRI, and N. Krishnamohan, Registrar, Annamalai University, signed the MoU on Tuesday. V. Murugesan, Vice-Chancellor of Annamalai University, was present.
According to a release, multiple stress-tolerant rice germ plasm of advanced breeding lines would be shared by IRRI with the faculty of agriculture, Annamalai University, to take up breeding programmes. This would enable development of multiple stress resistant rice varieties suitable for Tamil Nadu. The MoU would permit research activities, exchange of students and faculties for doing research in rice varieties. The main objective of the MoU was to cater to the needs of farmers of the State to alleviate problems such as salinity, drought and biotic stress.

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UH Hilo Students Test Grow Exotic Rice
By Big Island Now
September 18, 2019, 4:08 PM HST (Updated September 18, 2019, 4:08 PM)
Got rice?
Horticultural students at the University of Hawai╩╗i at Hilo are conducting trials on the potential economic viability of growing exotic rice cultivars in East Hawai╩╗i. The broad objective of the project, which runs through June 2020, is to evaluate the performance of selected exotic rice varieties cultivated in Hawai╩╗i. But an equally important part of the project is in using the trials as a way to educate undergraduate students on rice husbandry practice through experiential learning, according to a release from the University of Hawai‘i.
Students enrolled in agriculture and horticulture courses are mentored in growing rice and trained in the procedures of conducting experimental trials. The students learn about rice seed sowing, seedling transplanting, how to develop experimental pot and plot settings, labeling, fertilizer application, data recording, harvesting and data analysis. At the end of growing out the rice, soil samples will be taken, and the soil nematodes will be extracted, identified and correlated with the rice yield. The students will then assess the potential economic viability of rice production in East Hawai╩╗i, the release said.
The principal investigator of the project, titled Evaluation of rice (Oryza sativa) varieties for experiential education in Hilo, Hawai╩╗i, is Sharad Marahatta. Marahatta is an assistant professor of horticulture. Norman Arancon, associate professor of horticulture, is the co-investigator. Both teach and conduct research at the UH Hilo College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management and say the findings of this project could benefit the farmers and the entire agriculture community of Hawai╩╗i.
“This grant has encouraged us to continue rice research, involve undergraduate students in research and evaluate rice agronomic practices in Hawai╩╗i,” said Marahatta.
The project involves the rice varieties Carolina Gold, Koshihikari, White Basmati and Jefferson, which will be seeded separately in community pots in greenhouses. At one month, rice seedlings will be transplanted into pots and/or field plots. Each transplanted rice variety will be replicated at least four times and the transplanted pots and plots will be arranged in randomized complete blocks.
The trials are being conducted at the 110-acre UH Hilo Farm Laboratory located in Pana╩╗ewa, 5 miles south of Hilo. The farm is an experiential place of learning where students put classroom theory into practice with projects in hydroponics, floriculture, forestry, vegetable cultivation, sustainable agriculture, livestock production, equine science, beekeeping, tropical fruit and aquaculture.The project is funded by the County of Hawai╩╗i via the Big Island Resource Conservation and Development Council.

‘Disruptive technologies’ transform Asian agriculture

Innovations have brought about significant changes in agriculture. Copyright: Mitr Phol/IBM ResearchCC BY-ND 2.0

Speed read

·       Innovative technologies, such as plant genetics, have transformed agriculture
·       New practices involving sensors and robotics will lead the next round of change in farming
·       Asia will gain from these but a divide between rich and poor countries could develop

By: Paul Teng

[SINGAPORE] Agriculture has historically depended on disruptive discoveries and innovations to make big strides.

In the 20th century, four innovations brought about change in agriculturegenetics (seeds), mechanisation, fertilisers and pesticides. These four innovations allowed more food, feed and fibre to be produced from less and less land. These innovations disrupted the status quo and created immense benefit to farmers and consumers.

They fit what Clayton Christensen, a professor at the Harvard Business School, described in 1997 as a “disruptive technology” (DT) – one that displaces an established technology and shakes up the industry or a ground-breaking product that creates a completely new industry.

“In the 20th century, four innovations brought about change in agriculture: genetics (seeds), mechanisation, fertilisers and pesticides. These four innovations allowed more food, feed and fibre to be produced from less and less land. These innovations disrupted the status quo and created immense benefit to farmers and consumer”

Paul S. Teng, Nanyang Technological University

With the re-discovery of Mendel’s laws of genetic inheritance, modern plant breeding had a scientific and empirical basis, and started to produce new crop varieties with higher potential yield in the 20th century and hybrid seeds became the major driver of increase in maize yield in the US. Indeed, maize yield increased seven-fold between 1940 to 2000 because of hybrid technology and enabled the world to have increased animal feed to meet the growing demands for animal protein especially in Asia. Hybrid maize may be considered as one of the first disruptive technologies in modern agriculture.

Innovation spurs green revolution

Asian agriculture faces many challenges that lend themselves to technological solutions. Food demand-side challenges are those that are linked to population growth, urbanisation and demographic change and shifting diets. Supply-side challenges are related to labour (ageing farmers, rural to urban migration), capital (increased uncertainties and reduced access), natural resources (reduced freshwater supplies, reduced arable land, climate change phenomena like severe weather events, droughts and floods) and technology (appropriateness, technology divide).

While political and social solutions meet some of these challenges, experts generally agree that innovations, such as improved seed of new crop varieties, offer much potential. A perfect example of this is first “Green Revolution” which in the 1960s saw many large Asian countries increase yields with new rice and wheat varieties and agricultural inputs. China and India staved off mass starvation. If not for the positive impact of these disruptive innovations, Asia would not have had the food security necessary for economic development.

Admittedly, there have been instances where “Green Revolution” technologies have been over-zealously applied, resulting in over-use of pesticides and fertilisers, affecting the crop ecosystems they were supposed to benefit.  These happened in countries like Indonesia and the Philippines where over-use of insecticides in the 1980s and 1990s led to massive outbreaks of a rice pest, the brown planthopper (Nilaparvata lugens). Research led by the International Rice Research Institute and the Food and Agriculture Organization, however, developed solutions through ecology-based Integrated Pest Management.

Fourth industrial revolution

Agriculture is now strongly influenced by the so-called fourth Industrial Revolution digital technologies which started having an impact in the 2010s. The term “agtech,” or agricultural technology, has come to represent the milieu of exciting new technologies like drones, sensors and intelligent robots. These are joined by tools developed through “fintech” or financial technology to help farmers access credit and markets.

The new agtech is a set of powerful disruptive technologies that have already started to make a difference to small farmers in Asia. These include the following:


·       Agronomy and Agricultural Biotechnology to innovate inputs for crop and animal agriculture such as seeds, pest control, seeds with new genetics, microbiome and animal health
·       Mechanisation, robotics and equipment such as on-farm machinery, automation, drones guided by GPS or GIS systems, environmental sensors, and growing equipment
·       Farm management software, Internet of Things (IoT) systems with sensing and intervening – these include environmental, farming data capture devices, decision support software, big data analytics and miniaturised portable applications
·       Novel farming systems such as indoor farms, plant factories with controlled environment, aquaculture systems, and grow-out facilities for insects, algae and microbes
In countries like China, India and the Philippines, governments are already setting up access to the first disruptive technology in the form of digital agtech devices like sensors and drones for managing nutrition and pests in crops like wheat, maize and rice. Many of these are offered through young entrepreneurs to farmers as part of a consulting service to make profits and represent a form of “Smart Farming” in which up-to-date data on crop and environment are linked through IoT systems to provide timely action, an example of a positive impact from the so-called fourth Industrial Revolution.

In general, rice growers in favourable environments such as irrigated systems are among the first to benefit, with laggards in the marginal, rainfed farming areas.

A second disruptive technology is through biotechnology in the form of crop varieties developed using biotechnology, including genetic modification. Asia in 2018 grew 11 per cent of the world’s biotech (GM) crops, about 19 million hectares in nine countries. The crops are cotton, papaya, canola, maize, eggplant and sugarcane, benefiting millions of smallholders and in some cases, allowing crops to be grown in areas which hitherto had to be abandoned due to insect-pest pressure and the ineffectiveness of insecticides. Going forward, a new biotechnology called gene-editing is likely to have even greater impact.

Despite its documented benefits, Asian countries such as Japan and Korea are hesitant about planting biotech crops. These countries, however, import large quantities of GM produce for food, feed and processing while developing countries like Thailand and Malaysia import GM products but do not yet grow any GM crops.

Rise of indoor farming

A third disruptive technology has risen in response to urbanisation, climate change and increased demand by consumers to have vegetables grown close by – “Plant Factories with Artificial Light (or PFALs)” – which are essentially enclosed, environment-controlled greenhouses in which vegetables are grown in tiered trays. These plants grown indoors generally have no need to use insecticides and can produce many times more per unit area using LED lights.

In Asia, there were reportedly over 450 Plant Factories with Artificial Light as of 2016 and the number is growing in countries like China, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan. These will increase the FAO estimate of 20 per cent of food produced in urban areas.

However, Plant Factories with Artificial Light require large financial resources to set up and their produce is costlier than outdoor vegetables. The expectation, though, is that efficiency will improve and produce will become cheaper as the technology is scaled up.

Two other technologies that have potential to become disruptive technologies are alternative proteins (such as plant-based protein, cellular meat and insect protein), and blockchain technology that safeguards the integrity of food supply from farm to consumer. Blockchains are also spawning the development of techniques to quickly detect food fraud or guarantee food identity.

Many developing countries are already benefitting from disruptive technologies. However, many more are not even starting to use them, leaving much untapped potential to increase food production and promote entrepreneurship in Asia.

Care has to be taken to see that no “technology divide” is created between farmers because of affordability, as had happened in the early days of the Green Revolution when poor farmers in unfavourable lands could not afford the price of inputs like new seeds and fertilisers.

Professor Paul S. Teng serves as Adjunct Senior Fellow (Food Security) in the Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore, while serving as Dean and Managing Director of the National Institute of Education International Pte Ltd at NTU. He is also chair of the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications.

This piece was produced by SciDev.Net’s Asia & Pacific desk.

* This article was amended on 19 September 2019 to add the author's designation as chair of the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications.
Punjab: 6,400 farmer groups are on a mission to put an end to stubble burning
Every farmer group has at least eight members who have pooled in their financial resources to purchase all types of stubble management machines from the government.
Written by Anju Agnihotri Chaba |Jalandhar |Published: September 19, 2019 9:56:37 am
Dr Khem Singh Gill (1930-2019): One of the pioneers of Green Revolution, he helped develop 30 crop varieties
 A farmers’ group in Jalandhar; (below) Kulbir Singh Garcha with the machinery. (Express Photo)
With paddy harvesting in Punjab officially starting October 1, the issue of stubble burning has once again become a cause for concern. Over 29 lakh hectares are under rice crop, which will produce around 22 million tonnes of stubble, majority of which is usually burnt in the fields within three weeks time from mid-October to the first week of November.
However, this time, the state government is hoping that the situation will be different. Not only is every government department educating farmers against the practice, it has also mobilised a whopping 6,400 farmers’ groups, formed to reach stubble management machinery — at an 80 per cent subsidy for a group and 50 per cent for an individual — to other farmers across Punjab in order to stop this menace to a large extent.
These groups will supply ‘stubble management machines’ to fellow farmers at “reasonable rents”. Till date, the Punjab government had provided 50,609 stubble management machines, including 28,609 machines in 2018-19 and 22,000 machines in 2019-20 to individual farmers, farmers’ groups and others.
Every farmer group has at least eight members who have pooled in their financial resources to purchase all types of stubble management machines from government. Out of 6,400 farmers’ groups, 5,250 groups have been formed this year while 1,147 were formed last year.
“These groups are automatically covering more than 50,000 farmers, who are members of these groups and hence will not practice stubble burning,” said a senior agriculture department officer, adding that even if each group protects 700 to 1,000 acres, Punjab can prevent field fires on 18 to 26 lakh hectares (area under rice crop is 29.20 lakh hectares this year).
“Machinery should be utilised,” the officer said, adding that this “role reversal” of farmers can bring about a huge change.
Farmers speak
Amardeep Singh (23), a farmer whose family had been doing stubble burning till some years ago, spend Wednesday educating his fellow farmers to shun this practice absolutely and immediately. He told them that fire kills the soil’s fertility and also contributes to air pollution among other things.
Amardeep Singh of Lallian Khurd village, Jalandhar, has formed a group of nine farmers from his villages and surrounding areas. They have purchased paddy stubble management machinery worth Rs 18 lakh by pooling in their financial resources. The government returned 80 per cent of the amount as part of the subsidy later. Amardeep’s group had saved 900 fields of an acre each stubble burning last year. This year they are targeting around 1,200 fields. 
Jagjit Singh (46), sarpanch of Lallian Khurd, has also formed another group of nine farmers and purchased machinery worth Rs 25 lakh on subsidy and prevented stubble burning on 1000 acres of farmland last year. There was no stubble burning in his village.
Kulbir Singh Garcha (46), another farmer of Shadipur village in Jalandhar district, has convinced several farmers to avoid stubble burning. Garcha too had formed of 13 farmers and purchased stubble management machinery worth Rs 25 lakh.“The response from our fellow farmers is overwhelming when they see our fields where we grow the next crop without burning stubble,” said Jagjit Singh, adding that when stubble is mixed in the soil using the machinery, the yield of the next crop is excellent as farmers need lesser fertiliser.
Govt push
“We are encouraging everyone who can afford it to purchase this machinery at the highly subsidised rate. Farmers are purchasing the machinery by forming groups because it is more beneficial to them due to the 80 per cent subsidy on the machines,” said Punjab Agriculture Secretary Kahan Singh Pannu, adding that these farmers’ groups are able to convince fellow farmers easily by sharing their own experience about the benefits of not burning stubble.

 “Every such group will try hard to make the machinery viable by covering 800 to 900 acres area each,” said another officer in the agriculture department.
Under an ‘in situ’ scheme launched last year, the Centre had approved Rs 665 crore for 2018-19 and 2019-20 for Punjab to provide such machinery to farmers at highly subsidised rates to reduce stubble burning.
Under this scheme, individual farmers, farmers’ groups, cooperative societies and Custom Hiring Centres (CHSs) are getting these machines.
The subsidised machinery includes supply of ‘Happy Seeders’, Super-Straw Management Systems (S-SMS) — both major stubble management machines, RMB plough, paddy straw chopper/ mulches, zero till drill, Rotary slasher, rotavators and shrub cutter.
“The S-SMS is an attachment that can be fitted into any combine harvester. It ensures that any loose straw thrown by the combine is also cut and spread evenly on the field. Happy seeder can sow wheat without clearing the stubble spread by S-SMS. Together, the two machines not only dispense with the need for burning paddy residue, but actually allow wheat to be planted on fields without burning,” said Garcha.

Menan Stake Conference this weekend
Sep 18, 2019  0
MENAN — The Menan Stake Scout Leaders will meet at the Roberts Church at 7:30 p.m. tonight for Scout Roundtable.
The Menan Stake will be having Stake Conference 9 to 11 a.m. Sept. 22 at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Menan Stake Center. It will also be broadcast from the Grant and Menan church buildings.
The Rexburg Fourth Ward Young Single Adult Stake has Institute 7 to 9 p.m. every Wednesday at the Porter Park Building in Rexburg. There is also a Family History Class from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Porter Park building in Rexburg.
Pickleball is still going on. It is held 7 to 9 p.m. every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at the Menan City Park. Anyone is welcome to come join the group that plays.
The Midway Elementary School Lunch Menu for this week is: Sept. 18 – Mandarin Chicken, chicken flavored rice, groovy green beans, fruit snacks, fantastic fruits and milk; Sept. 19 – Rockin’ Chicken Sandwich, whole wheat bun, bandit pork and beans, fantastic fruits and milk; Sept. 20 – Marvelous Spaghetti, whole wheat breadstick, peas, fantastic fruits and milk; Sept. 23 –Crispy Corn Dog, bandit pork and beans, fantastic fruits and milk; Sept. 24 – Chef’s Chicken Fried Beef, spudzilla mashed potatoes, brown gravy, whole wheat bun, x-ray vision carrots, fantastic fruits and milk.If you have anything you’d like to tell the people of Menan, please contact Ashley Munns at 208-317-6518 or email at ashurs@hotmail.com.