Tuesday, September 24, 2019

24th September,2019 Daily Global Regional Local Rice E-Newsletter










Misguided reversal

Philippine Daily Inquirer / 04:06 AM September 24, 2019
Would imposing “safeguard measures” and doubling tariffs on rice imports be a good solution to current difficulties in our rice sector as it adjusts to the more open trade regime established by the Rice Tariffication Act (RTA)? Appealing as it may sound to many, it is not. It goes against the interests of the wider majority of Filipinos, is unlikely to help the intended beneficiaries of such a move, and to top it all, would reward the very people in the rice business who are instrumental to the current difficulties.
World Trade Organization (WTO) rules permit members to impose temporary emergency restrictions on imports such as higher tariffs to deal with a surge in imports that causes injury to domestic producers. The rules provide that safeguard measures may be applied only after an investigation conducted by competent authorities according to established procedures. Among the topics on which affected parties’ views are required to be sought is whether or not a safeguard measure would be in the public interest.
This is really the crux of the issue: Whether or not the rules allow us to do it, would imposing high import tariffs now, to the point of making them prohibitive (that is, stop imports altogether), actually be in the public interest? This would be tantamount to a complete reversal, albeit temporarily, of the RTA and what it seeks to achieve. Temporary or not, and whether or not WTO rules allow it, this would be an outright violation of the recently enacted law, hence cannot be done without an act of Congress. Let’s face it: Those who are pushing for the so-called safeguard measures are actually still hoping to reverse the law altogether.
As I have constantly argued, it would only mean a return to helping our rice farmers in a glaringly wrong way, via a perverse “shotgun” policy that imposes collateral damage of high rice prices on 104 million rice consumers, in order to help some 2 million rice farmers and their families—even as many of them could actually be competitive and thrive under a more open trading regime. Yet we could give them much more meaningful help in a more focused way. Taking rice trade out of government control was a move that had been overdue for decades, because it would bring domestic rice prices down and induce our rice industry into greater competitiveness. Meanwhile, we penalized our 22 million poor with expensive rice, leaving them little money left to buy other nutrient-rich foods.
It’s no surprise, then, that the incidence of severe malnutrition, especially among our young children, has been unduly higher than in most of our neighbors enjoying lower-priced rice. The result has been impaired brain and physical development in a large segment of our population, condemning them to low productivity and persistent poverty.
What we have long needed, and what RTA should be spurring us to do now, is to use a “rifle”-focused approach to helping our rice farmers. Right now, the rifle solution urgently needed is to give emergency cash support to the farmers badly affected by lower rice farmgate prices. The need for this had always been anticipated, yet we somehow failed to plan ahead for it. Even so, if there’s a will, there ought to be a way.
Moving forward, government must get its act together in helping rice farmers right, to raise productivity and lower their production costs where feasible, or to shift to other lucrative crops where not. There’s tremendous opportunity for this from the large tariff revenues already being collected for rice imports, but we must make sure that our past history of massive agriculture funds finding their way into the wrong pockets will not be repeated. We must also organize government’s technical support for farmers better, by enabling and empowering our provincial governments to coordinate farm support services within their jurisdictions, under close tutelage and supervision by the Department of Agriculture.
Restricting rice trade anew would be ill-advised. Rather than stop the hoarders who have so far arrested the fall in rice retail prices, we would only play into their hands and make them, once again, the big winners in this long mismanaged sector.



New study points the way to rice straw soaps

Make something out of nothing. Failing that, make soap out of straw.

Researchers at the University of Portsmouth have developed a novel way to make soaps — out of rice straw.
Rice straw is one of the most abundant, readily available, cheap, and underused resources. Now, an innovative research effort from the University of Portsmouth has shown that bails of rice straw could create a ‘biosurfacant’ (surfactants are basically soaps). The findings point the way towards non-toxic alternatives for petroleum-based materials used in a wide range of products.

Straw-scented soap

“Surfactants are everywhere, including detergent, fabric softener, glue, insecticides, shampoo, toothpaste, paint, laxatives and makeup,” explains Dr. Pattanathu Rahman, microbial biotechnologist from the University of Portsmouth and study co-author. “Imagine if we could make and manufacture biosurfacants in sufficient quantities to use instead of surfactants, taking the manmade chemical bonds out of these products.”

“This research shows that with the use of agricultural waste such as rice straws, which is in plentiful supply, we are a step closer.”
The team embarked on the project in an effort to find ways of reducing the need for artificial chemical compounds used in industry and daily life applications. They were aided in their research by members from the University of Portsmouth’s Centre for Enzyme Innovation, the Amity University in India, and the Indian Institute of Technology.
Their research focused on alternatives for chemical surfactants from day one, as this is a key chemical class in use today. Surfactants are the main active ingredient in the production of cleaning products, medicine, sunscreen, makeup, and insecticides. They’re so important because they can tie oil and water molecules together and lower the surface tension of liquids — i.e., they make it possible for us to wash oil and fats with water.
Dr. Rahman’s (who is also the Director of TeeGene Biotech Ltd in the UK) team sought to create a biosurfacant by brewing rice straw with enzymes. Rice straw was selected as it’s readily available waste produced in huge quantities every year. The team was also confident that the straw-based method could produce the kind of high-quality materials that manufacturing industries keep an eye out for. The method also has a number of positive ecological effects:
§  Rice straw is a natural byproduct of the rice harvest, with millions of tons created worldwide every year; the method would help put that waste material to productive use.
§  Tied to the previous point, farmers make a habit of burning rice straws to get rid of it. Finding an economic use for this material could help reduce emissions and potentially give farmers an extra source of income.
§  A biosurfactant would help appease concerns about the impact of chemical surfactants used in household products, most of which end up in the oceans.
“The levels of purity needed for biosurfactants in the industries in which they’re used is extremely high,” Dr. Rahman explains. “Because of this, they can be very expensive.”
“However, the methods we have of producing them make it much more economical and cost efficient. It’s a very exciting technology with tremendous potential for applications in a range of industries.”
The study reports that biosurfactants could be a viable alternative to synthetic ones, with a possible market value of $US2.8 billion by 2023. Among their comparative advantages, the study lists their low toxicity, biodegradable nature, and specificity — the last point would help them meet the European Surfactant Directive.
“Most people consider soap to be an effective means of removing bacteria from their skin. However, we have flipped this concept on its head by discovering a way to create soap from bacteria,” Dr. Rahman concludes.
“They have antimicrobial properties suitable for cosmetic products and biotherapeutics. This approach will channelise the majority of the waste management solutions and could create new job opportunities.”
The paper “Statistical and sequential (fill-and-draw) approach to enhance rhamnolipid production using industrial lignocellulosic hydrolysate C6 stream from Achromobacter sp. (PS1)” has been published in the journal Bioresource Technology.




Gov’t to raise tariff on imported rice

Move to address oversupply, plummeting prices
Philippine Daily Inquirer / 04:09 AM September 24, 2019
The Department of Agriculture (DA) is looking at raising tariffs on imported rice as early as mid-October to address an oversupply of the staple grain due to excessive importation.
Agriculture Secretary William Dar yesterday told reporters this would be done through the implementation of a general safeguard duty on imported goods, which was provided for in the rice tariffication law.
“We believe we have imported enough (rice) and additional imports should be looked at differently,” Dar said. “We have too much supply as we have already imported 2.4 million tons since March.”
The agriculture chief added that, considering that the Philippines was 93-percent self-sufficient in rice production, the country needed to import only 7 percent of its supply needs.
“This means that we need to import only 1.5 million to 2 million tons,” Dar said.
He said the DA was still determining how much to increase rice tariffs, but that this would be decided in early October.
“Doubling the rice tariff (to 70 percent as suggested by some economists) still is just a scenario,” Dar said. “There may be a slight delay, but the safeguard duty will be implemented on a probational basis for 200 days as the law allows, starting mid or late October.”
In a statement, the DA said the imposition of a safeguard duty on rice imports was one of the measures that the DA was banking on to stabilize the supply and price of rice.
The measure is in line with Republic Act 8752 (Anti-Dumping Act of 1999) wherein the government can impose antidumping duties on imports of any product, including rice and other basic food items, that are priced way below the current fair market value.
Another option is to impose more stringent sanitary and pythosanitary and inspection measures as requirements for rice importation.
“We will protect our small farmers by not allowing additional imports especially (during) this main harvest season,” Dar said. “We want them to benefit from the respectable farm-gate prices of palay set by the government through the National Food Authority (NFA).”
According to the NFA, it has never stopped buying palay from farmers even if it still has four million bags of imported rice in its warehouses as of August.
“The NFA’s procurement operations is a year-round activity. Our field personnel are always ready to receive palay deliveries from farmers through our more than 300 buying stations strategically located across the country,” NFA Administrator Judy Carol Dansal said.
For this year, as of Aug. 22, the NFA has bought 5.9 million bags of palay, which were 11 percent more than its target of 5.3 million bags for that period.
“(As early as August), NFA is already preparing for aggressive palay-buying starting October, although we continue to entertain farmers selling their stocks from sporadic harvests in between the summer and main cropping seasons,” Dansal said.



Telangana targets 50 lakh tonnes of paddy in kharif season

Our Bureau  Hyderabad | Updated on September 24, 2019  Published on September 24, 2019
the State saw a record area of 12.57 lakh hectares in paddy sowing as against 10.31 lakh hectares in the same period of the previous year
Despite late rains delaying the kharif season, the Telangana Government has targeted procuring 50 lakh tonnes of paddy in the kharif season. This is 10 lakh tonnes more than what it achieved in the last kharif season. The Civil Supplies Department, which takes care of paddy procurement, said that overall paddy procurement for the whole year would be more than last year.
Though it started on a dull note, the State saw a record area of 12.57 lakh hectares in paddy sowing as against 10.31 lakh hectares in the same period of the previous year. On an average, the State grows paddy on 9.64 lakh hectares.
In the 2018-19 season, the department procured 77 lakh tonnes of paddy from the kharif and rabi seasons, said Mareddy Srinivas Reddy, Chairman of the Civil Supplies Corporation.
He asked rice millers to help the State government in achieving the target by marshalling resources during the crucial procurement season.


Increasing Rice Yield through Japan’s GGP in Nasarawa

Igbawase Ukumba writes that Nasarawa State government recently entered into partnership with the Japanese government to supply 25 per cent of total rice production in Nigeria
Rice is one of the staple crops grown in Nasarawa State. This is plus given that the state has about 140,000 hectres of land that is suitable for rice cultivation. The state also has the capacity to produce over 350,000 metric tones of rice, which was one of the reasons that prompted the government to go into collaboration with the Japanese government to improve the quality of rice and perhaps enable it supply 25 per cent of the total rice production in Nigeria.
The partnership between the Nasarawa State government and the Japanese government dates back to the year 2011 when the rice post harvest and marketing pilot project was conceived. Through this project, 442 rice farmers were empowered and built to improve the rice production technology of parboiling, milling, marketing and business management. Similarly, 35 frontline extension agents have been trained on good agricultural practices for dissemination to other farmers.
In addition, 11 extension agents were trained in Japan on improved rice cultivation technology and research method. It is in this connection that the collaboration had resulted to the establishment of the 1.5 tones per hour capacity rice incubation plant for the production and marketing of improved quality rice that could compete with imported rice in Nasarawa State. The plant is currently leased out to rice millers and dealers who are producing good quality rice called ‘Mama’s Pride’ . In the same vein, 27 destoners were also given to the rice millers in Lafia for the improvement of quality rice which they produce.
Grassroots Scheme
It was against that backdrop that the Japanese government, under its Grant Assistant for Grassroots Human Security Project (GGP) scheme, recently donated 20 units each of reapers and threshers to some farming communities of Awe, Obi and Keana Local Government Areas of the state.
Flagging off distribution of the machines at Azara, in Awe Local Government area of the state, Governor Abdullahi Sule; in company of the Japanese ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Yutaka Kikuta said the occasion was yet another milestone in his determination to further strengthen the collaboration and partnership with the government of Japan towards achieving the desired import substitution of backward integration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The governor had therefore hoped that the partnership between the Nasarawa state government and Japan government will be sustained because the state is indeed an agricultural state, hence he commended the government of Japan for the choice of Nasarawa state farmers to benefit from the worthy collaboration considering the comparative advantage the state has in the rice value chain.
“Let me assure Your Excellency, the ambassador of Japan, that Nasarawa State government will continue to seek areas of further collaboration with the government and good people of Japan in various sectors including health and education geared towards improving the economy and livelihood of our people. I want to state that this intervention is in tandem with the vision and development objectives of this administration aimed at giving agriculture its right place as the major mover of our state economy.”
Frontline Rice Production
Sule continued that it was in furtherance of his administration’s commitment that he recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with IFAD/FGN for participation in the Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) additional financing which he said that he has already approved the release of N88 million, which is the counterpart by the state contribution to that effect.
Similarly, the governor told the ambassador of Japan that Olam Group was currently having over 10,000 hectres of land in Rukubi village of Doma Local Government Area for the rice value chain development, especially with the out growers scheme beneficiaries.
Sule who was vividly convinced with the Olam Group’s development said: “The manager of the out growers scheme told me that he has over 4,000 out growers at the moment, and that to me, is really a huge achievement especially with their target of between 10,000 to 12,000 out growers in this area. So I commend Olam for this and call on all the other commercial farmers who are coming to Nasarawa State to copy from Olam so that we can continue to empower our farmers in the state.”
“You will recall that some weeks ago, my administration also signed an MoU with Azman Group for cultivation and processing of 12,400 hectres of land for rice in Toto Local Government Area. This endeavour is aimed at placing Nasarawa state on a global map as a frontline rice producing state. In addition, we are also in negotiations with the Dangote Group to acquire 50,000 hectres of land; both in Doma and Nasarawa Local Government Areas, for further cultivation of rice. By the time we finish that, Nasarawa State should be producing at least 25 per cent of the total rice production in Nigeria.”
Japan’s Goodwill
It is pertinent to note that the Japan’s government development of Africa’s agricultural sector is in line with the goals of the 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development which was concluded in Yokohama, Japan recently. The Japanese ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Yutaka Kikuta, attested to this fact at the handing over ceremony of the reapers and thresher to the Nasarawa rice farming communities at Azara. Kikuta added that at the TICAD7conference, the government of Japan pledged to further support the economic transformation in Africa, particularly in agriculture to the promotion of Japan’s private sector’s investment in Africa.
Kikuta affirmed that: “The project we are commissioning today in Azara is one of the embodiments of the Tichan 7 commitment. Let me start by thanking Governor Sule for sparing his time to attend these important events for the commissioning and handover ceremony for the provision of rice reapers and threshers machines to farmers in Obi, Awe and Keana LGAs of the state. I wish to congratulate all the people of the communities and appreciate all the stakeholders for their unflinching support towards the process.
”Under the scheme of Grant Assistant for Grassroots Human Security Project (GGP), the embassy of Japan has so far in the course of the two decades, executed 170 projects in various regions and areas in Nigeria worth over S12 million. The project of provision of rice reapers and threshers falls under the GGP scheme and it is designed to provide mechanised rice farming equipment to help rice farmers for their work thereby fostering the social and economic development of the communities.
“In your communities, local rice farmers spend long time harvesting the rice incurring additional costs with carrying their manual labour in losing up to 20 per cent harvest rice due to damage in operation process. Manual operation is hard work, especially for women. With the introduction of 20 rice reapers and 20 threshers, it is our expectation that this project will reduce time and loss of rice from reaping and threshing which will increase income for155 farmers and their families. It is expected that the income increase will provide the opportunity to invest more for rice yield so that socio-economic wellbeing of the benefiting communities will be further enhanced,” the ambassador maintained.
It is worthy to state that the gesture from the Japanese government will, no doubt, let the benefiting communities have mechanised rice reapers and threshers that will reduce the burden of the farmers. The mechanisation of the rice production will change the communities significantly like change in quality and productivity.
These envisaged benefits derivable from the introduction of mechanised rice production into the selected Nasarawa communities consequently gladdened the heart of Ambassador Kikuta as he disclosed to the mammoth crowd that came out from the selected communities of the three local governments m to witness the memorable even saying that, “I am equally pleased to let you know that this is a Public, Private Partnership Project that the Olam Nigeria Limited which will closely monitor the communities by offering technical assistance. As you may know, Olam Nigeria Limited is a company that the Japanese company; Mitsubishi which has a strong presence and working relation with local farmers in Nigeria, is one of the main shareholders.”
Kikuta maintained that the machines were symbols and goodwill from the people of Japan to the people of Nasarawa State, hence the project will contribute to the better future of Nasarawa State and further strengthen the relationship between Japan and Nasarawa.
Suffice to acknowledge that the collaboration between the Nasarawa State government and the government of Japan in the area of agricultural development dates back to the year 2011 with the implementation of rice post harvest processing and marketing pilot project that promoted adoption of improved rice technology along all the value chain, the Permanent Secretary in the Nasarawa State ministry of agriculture, Naphtali Dachor, revealed during the commissioning of the Japanese donated machines at Azara.
According to Dachor, “the collaboration is aimed at improving the quality of domestic rice and the state’s yearn for import substitution. The collaboration had led to the establishment of 1.5 tonnes per hour capacity rice incubation plant in Lafia that has already been leased out to the Lafia Rice Millers and Dealers Association. This was then followed by the donation of 27 rice detoners for the improvement of rice quality. Today we are witnessing another milestone in our collaboration with the government of Japan through the grant of 20 threshers and 20 rice reapers to Olam Rice out growers in Awe, Obi and Keana Local Government Areas.
Nevertheless, the management of Olam Farm could be the most excited participant because the farmers who had gathered to celebrate the epoch making event at Azara happened to be members of Olam Farm out growers programme. This was attested by the vice president of the Olam Farm, Raji George, during the commissioning of the Japanese donated machines by Governor Sule, as he said that, “it was a short journey that has grown into a very big one. We are very excited and want to seize this opportunity to thank the government and the good people of Nasarawa State for the peace and the enabling environment we have enjoyed so far, and we urge the government not to relent”.
With profound gratitude, George thanked sincerely the good people of Japan for the kind gesture through their GGP programme which has really touched the lives of rural people positively. He continued that it wouldn’t have come at a better time when research has proven that rice farmers are currently losing 25 per cent of their produce during harvest and post harvest activities as a result of manual harvesting. He expressed optimism that with those equipment donated by the Japanese government, that gap will be significantly narrowed.
“To the farmers, to whom much is given, much is expected. We hope and believe that you will not let us down. Continue to do the good work and more is yet to come. Just to support you, Olam Farm, in collaboration with NADP and GIZ green revolution centre, has packaged a training that will speak to the need of the farmer groups on the uses, repairs and maintenances of these equipment. Already we have kicked started the process of selecting 34 young farmers from these groups who will be specially trained on the operation and management of these equipment,” the Olam vice president said.
The traditional rulers of the communities selected as beneficiaries of the Japanese benevolence could not hide their joy as they told the Japanese ambassador that they were very grateful for the reapers and threshers offered to Obi, Keana and Awe Local Government Areas in collaboration with the Nasarawa State government. They assured them that their subjects who are beneficiaries of the gesture were going to make use of those implements judiciously.
The words of appreciations from the royal fathers were conveyed by the Sarkin Azara, Dr. Kabiru, who told the ambassador that the choice of his community (Azara) to flag off the programme was not by mistake. “In Azara alone, we roll out not less than 250 trucks of rice yearly. And each truck is about 30 bags, multiply by 250 will give the numbers of bags turned out annually from this community. We are very grateful because with manual harvest, we lose a lot of the rice before it gets to the point of consumption. However, with your intervention with the mechanised implement, there will be increase in the yield of the commodity,” the paramount ruler said.



Telangana to procure 50 lakh tonnes of paddy



Poor quality of rice noticed during surprise checks in welfare hostels, says M. Srinivas Reddy

Telangana State Civil Supplies Corporation (TSCSC) has decided to procure 50 lakh tonnes of paddy this kharif season against 40.41 lakh tonnes procured in the last kharif.
The decision was taken at a meeting of the corporation with rice millers attended by Chairman M. Srinivas Reddy and Civil Supplies Commissioner Dr. Akun Sabharwal here on Monday.
Speaking at the meeting, Mr. Reddy said the production of paddy is increasing constantly following several farmer welfare and development measures initiated by Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao.
Implementation of investment support scheme (Rythu Bandhu), execution of irrigation projects, restoration of minor irrigation tanks, free supply of 24x7 power to agriculture and other steps are helping in increase of paddy cultivation, Mr. Reddy said. He noted that the TSCSC had procured 77 lakh tonnes of paddy during the kharif and rabi seasons last year and was behind only Punjab now.
Paddy has been cultivated in about 12.58 lakh hectares so far this kharif season in Telangana against 10.33 lakh hectares cultivated during the last kharif. Speaking to the rice millers, he sought their cooperation during the procurement season. He told them that the government will not compromise on the quality of superfine rice being procured from the millers for supplying it to welfare hostels and mid-day meal scheme. About 1.2 lakh tonnes of superfine rice is being procured from the millers for the purpose, he stated. He said that poor quality of rice has come to the government notice during the surprise checks conducted by the quality control and vigilance teams. Even the students and headmasters also complained about the quality of rice being supplied at some places, he noted, and said the district civil supplies officers and district managers of TSCSC were told to examine the quality of cooked rice frequently.

Problem of gunny bags

Commissioner Dr. Sabharwal said 12 crore gunny bags are required for procurement of 50 lakh paddy this season. He asked the rice millers to return the gunny bags in which paddy was supplied to them during the last procurement season.
Further, he stated that TSCSC has rice stocks required for public distribution scheme till 2020 and the corporation would take only 12 lakh tonnes of rice from the millers this kharif season. They had to supply the remaining rice to the Food Corporation of India as boiled and customed milled rice, he stated.
Transparency would be ensured in allocation of paddy to millers this season based on their performance last year, Dr. Sabharwal said.


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Crop yields at risk from rising temperature

Published: September 23, 2019
A Reuters file photo of an agricultural field.
ISLAMABAD: The agricultural scientists have said Pakistan’s average annual temperature will rise between 1.5-2 degrees Celsius by the end of this century, which will drastically affect crop yields of wheat, rice, and cotton.
Briefing the Senate Standing Committee on Climate Change presided over by Chairperson Munaza Hassan, the scientists said that rice-growing plains of Punjab will see the mercury rise up to 2.8 degrees Celsius between the years 2040 and 2060 following which monsoon rains will be cut by 25 per cent while winter rains will be cut by 12 per cent.
Consequently, they added wheat production would decrease between by six-10 per cent while rice yield will shrink by 15.2-17.2 per cent, which will be equal to 1.16 million tons of production amounting to Rs2.9 billion in losses.
The agro scientists suggested that the country needed to add up nitrogen content in the cultivation of rice and wheat by 15 and 25 per cent respectively to avert the negative impacts of climate change. They also suggested that irrigation water to the above-mentioned crops should also be cut in similar proportions to maintain the production.
Rice crop nursery should be shifted five days earlier and wheat must be sowed 15 days earlier than the existing time periods. The experts also stressed upon the role of agricultural scientists and university research to combat the probable decrease in crops.
On this, chairperson Hassan said: “Decrement of crops is dangerous for us. To fight this, we have to work with agro-scientists and agro-universities and come up with solid measures and ensure its full implementation.”
Presenting a briefing over the 10-billion tree project, Ministry of Climate Change Secretary Hasan Zafar Jami said the ministry intended to plant 3.29 trees during the next four years. He added the project has recently been approved by National Economic Council’s executive committee and “we have received first funding for the programme”.
Sindh’s forest secretary expressed his fear over the tree plantation campaign in the province, saying that funds have not been issued so far. “It is not feasible to carry out plantation drive during summers,” he the secretary added. In Sindh, “we have surpassed the target for mangrove plantation”.
It was highlighted that committee members must also extend their support to the provincial administration through the afforestation drive.
Zafar also briefed the committee over the collection and preparation of information pertaining to air pollution in Islamabad. He said the authorities information form round-the-clock monitoring of air pollution would be highlighted and shared on social media.


Celebration is Theme of Latest Issue of Whole Grain  

ARLINGTON, VA -- September National Rice Month is a time for celebration!  Harvest is here and so is the latest issue of the Whole Grain, USA Rice's newspaper, on its way to more than 24,000 readers throughout the six rice producing states and Washington, DC, chock-full of news about our greatest of grains.

The cover story is all about the creation of the USA Rice Federation and the long-term vision of the organization's "founding fathers," who 25 years ago forged a unified front capitalizing on the strength and resilience of each sector of the U.S. rice industry.  "To plot the path forward, it really helps to know exactly where we've been," said USA Rice President & CEO Betsy Ward.  "In this Whole Grain, you can see pretty clearly the power of industry cooperation in every aspect of USA Rice, from membership, to governance, to promotion, to leadership development.  We've stayed strong because we've stayed together."

You can read about another milestone worthy of celebration - the first sale of U.S. rice to China!  There's also news about the powerful impact of check-off programs, innovative promotion activities, and how you can get involved with USA Rice through our new Enterprise Partner membership category or by flying your own Think Rice flag.  And, there's more!

USA Rice appreciates all the advertisers in the Whole Grain past and present, and with one more issue this calendar year, urges advertisers to lock in 2019 rates for that issue and all of 2020 - because a rate hike is coming in January!  To inquire about advertising or receive additional copies of the Whole Grain, contact 
Deborah Willenborg

USA Rice Daily


Soap from straw: Scientists develop eco friendly ingredient from agricultural waste

Date:September 23, 2019
Source:University of Portsmouth
Summary:A scientist has discovered a way of using one of the world's most abundant natural resources as a replacement for humanmade chemicals in soaps and thousands of other household products.

A scientist has discovered a way of using one of the world's most abundant natural resources as a replacement for humanmade chemicals in soaps and thousands of other household products.
An innovative research project, published this month and led by the University of Portsmouth, has demonstrated that bails of rice straw could create a 'biosurfacant', providing an alternative non-toxic ingredient in the production of a vast variety of products that normally include synthetic materials which are often petroleum based.
The biotechnology project set out to solve one of the planet's most pressing environmental problems, looking for a way of reducing the amount of humanmade chemicals in everyday life. It has been co-supervised by the University of Portsmouth's Centre for Enzyme Innovation, working in conjunction with Amity University in India and the Indian Institute of Technology.
The study was looking for a natural replacement for chemical surfactants, a main active ingredient in the production of cleaning products, medicine, suncream, make-up and insecticides. The surfactant holds oil and water together, helping to lower the surface tension of a liquid, aiding the cleaning power and penetration of the product.
Dr Pattanathu Rahman, microbial biotechnologist from the University of Portsmouth and Director of TeeGene, worked with academics and PhD Scholar Mr Sam Joy from 2015 to create a biosurfacant by brewing rice straw with enzymes. The scientists believe this environmentally friendly method results in a high quality ingredient that manufacturing industries are crying out for.
Dr Rahman said: "Surfactants are everywhere, including detergent, fabric softener, glue insecticides, shampoo, toothpaste, paint, laxatives and make up. Imagine if we could make and manufacture biosurfacants in sufficient quantities to use instead of surfactants, taking the humanmade chemical bonds out of these products. This research shows that with the use of agricultural waste such as rice straws, which is in plentiful supply, we are a step closer."
Scientists behind the research believe the use of biosurfactants created from rice straw or other agricultural waste could have a positive ecological effect in a number of ways:
  • There is significant concern about the impact of the chemical surfactants used in household products, most of which ends up in the oceans.
  • Rice straw is a natural by-product of the rice harvest, with millions of tonnes created worldwide every year.
  • Farmers often burn the waste producing harmful environmental emissions. Using it to create another product could be an efficient and beneficial recycling process.
  • There could also be an economic advantage to using biosurfacants produced from agricultural waste.
Dr Rahman explains: "The levels of purity needed for biosurfactants in the industries in which they're used is extremely high. Because of this, they can be very expensive. However, the methods we have of producing them make it much more economical and cost efficient. It's a very exciting technology with tremendous potential for applications in a range of industries."
The study shows that biosurfactants could be a potential alternative for the synthetic surfactant molecules, with a market value of $US2.8 billion in 2023. The considerable interest in biosurfactants in recent years is also due to their low toxicity, biodegradable nature and specificity, which would help them meet the European Surfactant Directive.
Dr Rahman says the process of producing biosurfacants calls for new attitudes to soap and cleaning products.
He explains: "Most people consider soap to be an effective means of removing bacteria from their skin. However, we have flipped this concept on its head by discovering a way to create soap from bacteria. They have anti-microbial properties suitable for cosmetic products and biotherapeutics. This approach will channelise the majority of the waste management solutions and could create new job opportunities."
Story Source:
Materials provided by University of PortsmouthNote: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:
1.     Sam Joy, Pattanathu K.S.M. Rahman, Sunil K Khare, S.R. Soni, Shashi Sharma. Statistical and sequential (fill-and-draw) approach to enhance rhamnolipid production using industrial lignocellulosic hydrolysate C6 stream from Achromobacter sp. (PS1)Bioresource Technology, 2019; 288: 121494 DOI: 10.1016/j.biortech.2019.121494

St. Louis Chapter of Graduate Women in Science hosts presentation on gender bias in STEM

Last week, the Graduate Women in Science hosted a viewing of Professor Meg Urry’s talk, “Women in Science – Why So Few?” The viewing was followed by a discussion about the talk and bias in STEM fields. (Photos by Burk Krohe)
When scientists are presented with a problem, their natural reaction is to dig into the data and study it.
That’s how Meg Urry, Israel Munson professor of physics and astronomy at Yale University, came to investigate gender bias in STEM fields. In 2011, Urry presented her work in a talk titled, “Women in Science – Why So Few?”
Monday, the St. Louis chapter of Graduate Women in Science hosted a viewing of her talk followed by a discussion at the University of Missouri–St. Louis. It was attended by students from UMSL and other local universities. Sandra Langeslag, assistant professor of behavioral neuroscience at UMSL and GWIS member, coordinated the event.
Langeslag attended Urry’s presentation in 2011 and thought she effectively addressed the gender biases that persist in fields such as computer science, engineering and mathematics.
“I really love the presentation,” Langeslag said. “I think she really explains very clearly what the problem is and what potential solutions are to increase diversity in STEM fields. I really wanted to share this presentation with as many people as possible, and Graduate Woman in Science is the perfect platform to do that.”
Assistant Professor Sandra Langeslag addresses attendees at the viewing. (Photos by Burk Krohe)
Urry started her talk by recounting early experiences in her career. At the time, she didn’t think there was any discrimination in the sciences.
“It took me a long time to figure out that what I was seeing was a kind of subtle discrimination,” Urry said. “The light bulb went off for me in the early ’90s when I started reading social science literature. It turns out that we scientists are a species of great interest to them, and they understand very well why there are so few women.”
Urry included statistics illustrating the disparities in the presentation. Eight years later, there is some improvement. However, data from the National Science Foundation’s benchmark reports tells largely the same story:
  • Women received 59 percent of bachelor’s degrees in biological and agricultural sciences and 77 percent of bachelor’s degrees in psychology in 2015 but only 20 percent of bachelor’s degrees in engineering, 18 percent in computer science and 43 percent in mathematics and statistics.
  • From 2000 to 2015, the share of women receiving bachelor’s degrees in computer science dropped from 28 percent to 18 percent.
  • Minority women received 13 percent of bachelor’s degrees, 8 percent of master’s degrees and 5 percent of doctoral degrees in science and engineering in 2015.
  • Women only account for 28 percent of the science and engineering workforce despite making up about half of the U.S. college-educated workforce.
Urry doesn’t believe the discrimination is intentional, rather it’s unconscious bias. She subscribes to the theory of “gender schemas.”
Gender schemas are expectations of others people develop unconsciously based on their own experiences. Urry noted they are natural and something all people do – not just men. They’re not necessarily malicious but can lead to stereotyping instead of objective assessments.
“Gender schemas aren’t wrong,” Urry said. “It’s wrong when they affect how we evaluate people.”
Langeslag agreed with her assessment.
“Both men and women have those stereotypes, so this is a society-wide problem,” she said. “We need to not let stereotypes influence our judgements so that everyone can be the best version of what they want to be.”
There isn’t one catchall solution, but Urry believes there a number of things that can help.
She suggests women in STEM mentor other women and network. Additionally, they should “own their ambition,” prepare an elevator pitch about themselves and their research and insist on being credentialed properly in professional settings. STEM leaders should also work to learn about bias and to validate female colleagues and peers.
Alyssa Specht and Jazlen Rice, both juniors majoring in psychology, enjoyed the event. Rice was motivated to attend because Langeslag is her advisor.
“I just think she’s an awesome scientist,” she said. “She’s really inspiring to me.”
Rice found it informative and said she would be interested in attending another presentation on the subject. She also stressed that these discussions are beneficial for STEM fields as a whole.
“Even though this is called Women in Science, it’s actually inclusive of men and minorities as well,” she said. “It’s to help us all change as a culture.”
Specht said she was previously aware of the issues Urry addressed but believes it’s an important topic that should be talked about more. She also said she would take away one of Urry’s suggestions – practicing positive daily affirmations about her work to be more confident in the future.
“That’s just a little thing that you don’t really think about that much,” she said.
Langeslag has seen things change during her career in STEM but a lot of work still needs to be done.
“It’s just that the change is too slow,” she said. “At this rate, the question is, ‘Is this ever going to be resolved?’ Times are definitely changing and a lot of stuff is getting better. But we’re not there yet.”

Consumer Reports: Snack bars for kids

by Consumer Reports 
Monday, September 23rd 2019
CRTV Snack Bars for Kids
You’re seeing lots of snack bars for kids. They’re usually smaller and have more chocolate options than the bars you might grab on the go. The marketing makes it look like they’re healthy. But are they a good choice for your child? Consumer Reports’ nutritionists checked them out for you.
CR’s nutritional experts evaluated the ingredients and nutritional information for 12 different snack bars for kids. They looked for natural vs. added sugars, whole vs. refined grains, and natural protein sources, such as nuts and seeds or whole grains, rather than processed sources like isolated soy protein.
Ideally, snack bars should consist mainly of whole foods and less-processed ingredients.
What’s the difference between snack bars for grown-ups and ones for kids? The kids’ versions are smaller, and that’s about it. They have pretty much the same ingredients, and they’re not necessarily healthier.
One concern is that many of the bars contain rice ingredients, like brown rice flour or syrup. Rice can contain arsenic and should be limited in a child’s diet.
Consumer Reports’ two top picks don’t contain rice products and are rated Very Good. The Kids Chocolate Chip Protein Bar from RX Bar topped the list. It has no added sugars and no rice ingredients, inulin, or protein isolates. The sugars, protein, and fiber come from whole ingredients, like dates and nuts. It cost about $1.30 per bar.
Consumer Reports also recommends chocolate-flavored Quaker Kids Organic Whole Grain Bars. This snack bar has all organic ingredients: whole-grain oats along with dates and chocolate chips. The Quaker bar has just 3 grams of added sugars and come in boxes of five that cost $5.
CR’s take on how to pick the right one? Take a minute to check out the label to give your kids something you’ll BOTH like.
Consumer Reports says that when it comes to kids’ snacks, think outside the bar, too. Easy options include whole fruit, dried fruit, nuts, popcorn, carrot sticks, and bell pepper slices.

Without physical exertion, the human heart becomes a monkey’s rice


human heart becomes a monkey
Some adaptations help the endurance of the human body, and one of the keys is the unique structure of the heart. Thus, scientists at the University of British Columbia compared the shape and performance of hearts in gorillas, chimpanzees, as well as representatives of four groups of people: long-distance runners; athletes playing American football; peasants engaged in the economy, and ordinary citizens who lead an inactive lifestyle.
The authors note that gorillas and chimpanzees, in general, are not too mobile and sleep a lot, although they are capable of incredible bursts of activity and power for us. Their hearts are adapted to such loads: they have thick muscular walls and a rounded shape. The human heart is more elongated – primarily by enlarging the left ventricle, which pumps oxygenated blood to the body.
Also, with each stroke, the human heart twists slightly, allowing you to pump more blood with each contraction, as well as more to enter it in the ventricle while relaxing between them. According to scientists, the hearts of monkeys are so incapable, as a result of their ability to pump blood is quite limited. But they are better adapted to sudden bursts of activity and work at high blood pressure.
The hearts of people who are not accustomed to physical activity, gradually lose many “human traits” become more rounded and twist while working not as noticeable as in chimpanzees. Moreover, such effects have also been found in football players who have been training for explosive power performance for years: the muscular walls of their heart become thicker, but the adaptations associated with endurance appear weaker.

Dar assures safeguards in place on rice imports

MANILA – Agriculture secretary William Dar on Monday assured that safeguards are in place, such as increasing tariff on imports,  against over importation of rice as one of the measures to stabilize the supply and price of the commodity. 
This, as the Department of Agriculture (DA) has started the investigation on the excessive importation of rice particularly with the forthcoming main harvest season.
“We have started investigations and we expect to complete them by end of September or early October,” Dar said in a statement.
Currently, the Philippines could only produce 93 percent of its total national rice requirements, while the remaining seven percent is imported.
“We have to holistically and systematically protect the consuming public and much more, our small farmers,” Dar said.
“So, I have taken the necessary steps and the direction where we will enforce legal measures during these times when we have greatly exceeded the volume needed to fill up the slack in national rice supply, most particularly in Metro Manila and major urban rice consumption centers,” he added.
This measure is in line with Republic Act 8752 or Anti-Dumping Act of 1999, where government can impose anti-dumping duties on imports of any product, including rice and other basic food items that are priced way below the current fair market value.
Another option is to impose stringent sanitary and phytosanitary and inspection measures of rice imports.
Dar said that to date, some 2.4 million metric tons of rice has already been imported, which has gone beyond what is needed by the country.
“We will protect our small farmers by not allowing additional imports especially this main harvest season. We want them to benefit from the respectable farmgate prices of palay set by the government through the National Food Authority,” he said. 
Meanwhile, Dar assured farmers the delivery of high-quality equipment and machinery as part of the rice tariffication law.
“I am now directing the regional directors and the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization to see to it that the equipment, facilities, and machinery that we give as grants must be of high-quality standards,” he said.
“We have to be stricter on the standards and quality of the equipment that we are giving,” he noted.
Dar warned employees and officials of the DA that they would be dismissed if found guilty of corruption.
He also encouraged the agriculture stakeholders to report any incident of corruption.
“Write to us, so we can formally investigate this,” he said.(PNA)

ARBOs in Pangasinan receives P5 million worth of farm machinery, equipment

September 23, 2019, 10:55 PM
By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz
Agrarian reform beneficiaries’ organizations (ARBOs) in Pangasinan have received ₱5-million worth of farm machinery and equipment to help improve farmer’s efficiency and maximize their yield.
(Photo by Juan Carlo de Vela / MANILA BULLETIN)
Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR)-Region 1 Regional Director Leandro Caymo hopes to modernize farming in the province through the grant, which includes a four-wheel-drive tractor, five rice transplanters, five cultivators/tillers, and 14 irrigation water pumps.
Roberto Gavina, head of the Climate Resilient Farm Productivity Support (CRFPS) program, said because the machines are mechanized, it would make farming easier and faster for the farmers.
For her part, Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer Maria Ana Francisco said these farm implements will service more than 2,535 farmers in Pangasinan
She explained that the department, through its support services division, gives out machinery under the CRFPS program and the Agrarian Reform Community Connectivity and Economic Support Services project to improve farm productivity and increase the income of agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) in a sustainable manner through their organizations.
She encouraged the members of the cooperatives to be diligent in convincing farmers, especially ARBs, to become members of farm cooperatives.
“The DAR can only provide additional support services to an organization if there is a growing ARB membership that will justify the need to deliver more farm machinery and equipment,” Francisco said.
The tractor was handed over to Basing Farmers Irrigators and Livestock Raisers Association, Inc. from Brgy. Basing, Lingayen.
Meanwhile, the irrigation water pumps were distributed to seven ARBOs namely, Southern Binmaley Multipurpose Cooperative (MPC) in Binmaley, Casapigarean Farmers Association in Urbiztondo, Basing Farmers Irrigators and Livestock Raisers Association, Inc. in Lingayen, Sanlibo Farmers Association, Inc. in Bayambang, Home Along Coliling Farmers Association in San Carlos, Aliguas Dumaralos na Buenlag Association, Inc. in Calasiao, and Alitaya Mangin Irrigators Association, Inc. in Mangaldan.
The cultivators/tillers were given to Rang-Ay Upland Integrated Farmers Association in Bani, Sitio Mapita HVC Growers Association in Aguilar, Catablan ARC Credit Cooperative in Urdaneta City, Artacho Farmers Association in Bautista, and Bantog Samahang Nayon MPC in Asingan.
Five rice transplanters were given to Mangatarem MPC in Mangatarem, Women’s Unity for Progress and Farmers PMC in Mapandan, Alitaya Mangin Irrigators Association, Inc. in Mangaldan, Sto. Domingo MPC in San Miguel.
After the turnover of farm equipment, training sessions on using and maintaining them were conducted for the farmer-beneficiaries.
Two Weeks to Go for Sustainability Award Nominations  

ARLINGTON, VA -- Only two weeks remain to nominate yourself or someone you know for the third annual USA Rice Sustainability Award.

The award is open to individuals or entities with significant involvement in the U.S. rice industry and with a history of promoting and advancing sustainability through innovative practices and demonstrated leadership in the sustainability community.

"Putting sustainable practices into your operation is important, but just as important is telling people you are doing it," said Jennifer James, an Arkansas rice farmer and chair of the USA Rice Sustainability Committee that created the new award.  "This is about communicating to the public and our customers that we are being responsible and we are doing right by the environment.  If we don't show them that we are the good guys, how will they know?"
The award committee is now accepting nominations through October 25, and the award will be presented at the USA Rice Outlook Conference in Little Rock, Arkansas, on December 9, 2019.

The application form can be found 

USA Rice Daily

USA Rice Sustainability Award

The USA Rice Sustainability Award is open to individuals or entities with significant involvement in the U.S. rice industry and with a history of promoting and advancing sustainability through innovative practices and demonstrated leadership in the sustainability community.
Last year’s USA Rice Sustainability award went to American Commodity Company, a California rice mill that has incorporated sustainability at virtually all levels of their operations. This includes how they use and generate power using solar installations at their milling facility in Williams. They have also made major strides in the areas of water quality, waste reduction and recycling at their facilities.
The award committee is now accepting nominations through October 25, 2019 and the award will be presented at the USA Rice Outlook Conference in Little Rock, Arkansas on December 09, 2019.

Previous nominations can be re-submitted for consideration and individuals may self-nominate. 

Milled-to-Order Rice Has Arrived in New York

Scarsdale store offers variety of brands imported from Japan and polishes the grain based on a customer’s preference

By Charles Passy
Sept. 19, 2019 6:09 pm ET
New Yorkers may need little in the way of introduction to sushi or other facets of Japanese food. But a local business now aims to bring newfound attention to what is arguably the building block of the cuisine.
Namely, rice.
The Rice Factory, a 10-year-old global chain of stores devoted to the grain, opened a location last month in Scarsdale,...

Japanese Rice Production To Increase In MY 2019/20

Japanese Rice Production To Increase In MY 2019/20
September 23, 2019 8:39 IST | capital market
As per the latest update from United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the MY2019/2020 total planted area for rice for Japan is estimated to decrease slightly to 1.545 million ha, but total production is expected to increase to 7.8 million metric tons (MT) based on a projected yield improvement from last years crop. MY2019/20 production is expected to be similar to a normal year based on the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF)s August 15 crop progress report. A lack of sunshine and low temperatures in July delayed rice ear emergence, but improved weather conditions in August accelerated growth and improved the yield outlook. MAFF expects a slightly better or a normal yield for the major rice producing regions of Hokkaido, Tohoku, and Hokuriku as high temperatures and abundant sunshine in May contributed to the increase in the number of rice ears. Extremely high temperatures in Kanto in August and September may negatively affect quality and result in high ratios of immature smaller kernels, similar to MY2018/19.
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Govt losing the game of rice

SEPTEMBER 22, 2019
FOR decades, the Philippine government has assumed that management of the supply and market for rice is one of its critical responsibilities, but it seems that the harder it tries to meet this obligation to anyone’s satisfaction, the more spectacularly it fails to do so. It should be obvious to all concerned that a comprehensive rethink of the government’s entire approach needs to be undertaken.
The situation at the moment is this: Average retail prices of rice, despite the implementation of Republic Act 11203, or the “Rice Tariffication Act,” in early March, have hardly budged despite expectations that they would be reduced by P2 to P7 per kilo as a result of increased supplies of imported rice. As of the end of last month, the average retail price was between P38.38 and P42.71 per kilo; that was 7 to 9 percent (depending on the type of rice) lower than the average retail price year-on-year, but relatively unchanged from prices just prior to the start of import liberalization.
Meanwhile, palay (unmilled rice) prices from domestic farms have gone into a tailspin, and now average about P17.60 per kilo nationwide, with prices in some areas falling to as low as P7 to P8 per kilo, against an average production cost of P12 per kilo. For the six months ending August, the Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food Inc. (PCAFI) estimated that Filipino rice farmers have incurred P95 billion in financial losses as a result of falling prices, which the PCAFI attributes entirely to the new tariff scheme.
To try to counter the divergent yet simultaneous effects of crashing wholesale prices and stagnant retail prices, the Department of Agriculture, through the National Food Authority (NFA), has taken two steps. To address the low farmgate prices, it has boosted its buying price for palay to P19 per kilo, and to address elevated retail prices has ordered the release of 3.6 million bags of rice (180,000 metric tons) from the NFA’s imported stockpile at P25 per kilo, to be sold at a retail price of P27 per kilo.
The apparent reason for the high retail price and low domestic farmgate price of rice is the stockpiling of imported rice by large-scale traders — an estimated 2.5 million bags, or about 125,000 metric tons. What importers have evidently done is bought rice from export suppliers, primarily Thailand and Vietnam, at a time when supplies are at their highest in those places and wholesale prices are consequently lower. Those peaks of supply (periods immediately after harvests) roughly correspond to elevated supply in the Philippines, the climates of the countries being similar, and so the traders kept their stocks for release at a time when supplies are at their lowest here, which typically occurs toward the end of the year, when wet-season supplies are exhausted and the next dry-season crop is still in the fields.
If that rice had been released to the retail market as it arrived, which is what the post-tariffication price projections of the Department of Finance assumed, it would have lowered retail prices, but that would have made it unprofitable to the importing traders. By holding it back until domestic supply drops, they can be assured of earning a reasonable profit; from the consumer point of view, rice prices would appear to be relatively steady. Domestic farmers, however, lose out; their harvest, which would normally be bought by those traders to build up their inventories ahead of the low season, is now largely unneeded, and so the traders are only buying it at a discount.
Buy low, sell high: That’s the free market at work, and while “rice hoarders” and “middlemen” are regarded as demons, they are actually doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing, since their only mandate is to run their own businesses as efficiently and profitably as they can. The government, on the other hand, can only satisfy its mandate to support both suppliers and consumers by doing the impossible, working in the complete opposite direction — buy high, sell low.
Trying to operate in a hybrid space between a free market and a controlled one is obviously not working, and so the government ought to make a firm choice one way or the other: Either let the free market determine price and supply, or take full control of the rice market and manage both price and supply according to social, rather than economic, requirements.
Historically, the latter approach has never worked well or for very long, because it discourages production efficiency, and the result is either shortages or increasing poverty. On the other hand, a completely laissez faire approach risks abusive behaviors; the accusations of “hoarding,” which are misplaced now, might become self-fulfilling prophecies.
There is no easy answer, and there probably won’t be as long as rice is such a critical commodity. The difficulty the government has in managing it now, however, may have a positive effect: If rice continues to be such a headache to suppliers and consumers alike, it could encourage the diversification of crops and diets, which would alleviate many of the present difficulties. That is not, however, something anyone should expect to happen overnight, or even within a generation, unless the country collectively decides to take drastic action. Unfortunately, Filipinos, to their own detriment much of the time, have demonstrated they can absorb a lot of punishment before anything resembling drastic action to make it stop is even considered.
Relaxed requirements prompt more firms to enter rice industry
By Trung Chanh
Monday,  Sep 23, 2019,12:41 (GMT+7)
Farmers are seen harvesting crops in a file photo. Since the Government’s Decree 107/2018 on the rice export business replaced Decree 109/2010, 41 new rice traders have entered the market – PHOTO: TRUNG CHANH
CAN THO – After the Government’s Decree 107/2018 on the rice export business replaced Decree 109/2010, with many requirements relaxed, 41 new rice traders entered the market, said the Import and Export Department at the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
Before the decree took effect on October 1 last year, rice exporters had to meet the requirements of Decree 109 on warehouses and milling facilities, Tran Thanh Hai, deputy head of the department, told a recent workshop titled “Develop a value chain for Vietnam’s rice” in Can Tho City.
As such, the number of rice traders operating in the rice export did not exceed 140 at the time, Hai said, adding that since the adoption of Decree 107, some barriers for rice exports had been removed, so the figure soared by 41, taking the total number of rice exporters to 177.
Meanwhile, more localities, including the central region, saw a rise in rice traders.
Hai pointed out that since Decree 107 came into force, five new localities became home to new rice traders; they were Nghe An, Quang Tri, Binh Duong, Ha Tinh and Nam Dinh provinces, joining the provinces and cities of the Mekong Delta region and some provinces in the northern region.
Of the 41 new rice exporters, 12 have rented warehouses and milling facilities from other traders to meet the requirements for rice exports, while 29 others have invested in new facilities.
“Despite the relaxed requirements of Decree 107 allowing traders to rent warehouses and milling facilities, many have purchased new facilities,” he added.
Under the decree, the regulation requiring firms to own at least one warehouse and a milling facility to obtain a license to ship rice abroad has been lifted. Traders can rent these facilities instead.
Also, the new regulation allows traders who do not need rice export licenses to ship organic rice and parboiled rice abroad. Small firms that fail to meet requirements to export popular types of rice can now reach out to global markets if they focus on shipping specific types of rice.

Rice production surpasses 2.6m tons

September 22, 2019
TEHRAN- Iranian farmers have managed to produce 2.6 million tons of rice during the current Iranian calendar year (started on March 21), the Secretary of Iran Rice Association Jamil Alizadeh Shayeq announced.
As the official told IRNA, the country’s rice production stood between 2.2 and 2.3 million tons in the past Iranian calendar year (March 2018-March 2019) and the increase in the production could consequently decrease the imports of the commodity.
Iran’s annual rice consumption stands at about three million tons. That means nearly 400,000 tons of the product is required to be imported into the country, according to Shayeq.
However, customs data show that nearly 700,000 tons of rice was imported into the country in the first quarter of this year (March 21-June 21), and considering the previous year’s statistics, it can be concluded that there is no shortage of rice in the country for the current year.
The official noted that the rice production was estimated to reach 2.5 million tons this year and the production has exceeded the expectations.
According to Shayegh, more than 90 percent of the country's rice is produced in the provinces of Gilan and Mazandaran in northern Iran, and less than 10 percent of the commodity is produced in the provinces of Isfahan, Ilam, Kurdistan, Khuzestan and so on.
Based on official statistics, over 620,000 hectares of the country’s agricultural lands are under rice cultivation, of which 520,000 hectares are in Mazandaran, Gilan and Golestan provinces.

Non-availability of local rice threatens FG’s programme

 by Jill Okeke
Local rice traders, especially in Lagos and its environs, are lamenting the non availability of local rice as demand and price for the product increases due to the shutting down of land borders in order to curtail the influx of smuggled rice, which was already threatening the survival of the budding Nigerian rice industry.
The traders are warning that the continuous scarcity of the product will greatly undermine government’s efforts to groom Nigerians off imported foreign rice to our locally cultivated rice. Consumers most especially affected by the border closure are those in border towns who have for many years depended on the foreign par boiled long grain rice.
However, with the border closed and no more rice smuggled in, those consumers who hitherto consumed such rice have no option other than to turn to our very nutritious organic rice. But the problem is that we do not seem to have enough to go round everybody. The population of Lagos State alone according to the National Population Commission of Nigeria as at 2016 is over 21million.
Market survey in major rice markets in Lagos, like Daleko Mushin market, Iddo Terminus and G CAPPA Iddo, revealed the numerous rice brands in Nigeria. What more, no foreign rice was on display except what the traders dubiously refer to as the ‘Nigerian foreign rice’, whereby local rice is deceptively bagged in foreign branded rice bags like, Royal Umbrella, Caprice and for those consumers who still insist on buying foreign rice, the traders direct you to such bags. They sell for about N18,000 per 50kg bag while local rice branded Nigeria sells for between N14,500-N17,000. Though if they see you are ready to pay any high amount for the real foreign rice, they retreat inside the market and produce it for between N20,000-N23,000.
However, all the traders are complaining of lack of rice to sell to consumers. As at last week Tuesday and Wednesday when the reporter visited the markets, the traders disclosed that things have generated to the level that even rice manufacturers have stopped receiving money to supply rice to the traders.
In an interview with one of the big rice dealers at No. 1, Taylor Rd. G-CAPPA rice market, Idowu Omogbemi, he said manufacturers like Olam, Stallion, Big Bull, Umza, Famous, Tomato King, amongst others, declined to take money from traders explaining they had run short of rice.
“A majority of rice dealers who paid for truck load of rice since the last two weeks have not received their order. If you pay for 11 trucks, you get just one truck in order to make room for other traders. In fact at the moment, manufacturers are rationing the rice,” regretted the rice dealer.
“Rice manufacturers are overwhelmed by the demand. They cannot meet up. Labana, Three Brothers, Super Champion, Al-Hamsad, etcetera are no longer taking money from traders. I tried to pay them today for consignment of rice but they refused to accept money,” lamented Mrs. Nky Okoro at the Iddo Terminus rice market.
At Daleko market in Mushin, many traders were complaining bitterly that they could not find rice to buy. They complained that the major distributor of the product, Madam Jumilar, was not giving them enough to buy. She is rationing 10 bags to each trader daily through her agent, Tokunbo. If Tokunbo does not like your face, he will not sell to you. Those he does not sell to, patronise the traders he sells to at a higher price, resulting to un-uniformed rice price in the market. Besides, what is 10 bags of rice? One customer alone can buy them all and your shop becomes empty,” cried Mrs. Ethel of shop 409/416.
The same tales of demand and the same tales of scarcity were everywhere. Of course, this has greatly affected the price. Virtually all the local rice brands sell between N14,500-N17,000 per 50kg bag. “The price keeps escalating,” lamented Mrs Effiong Orji.
Acknowledging the scarcity and attributing the increasing price of rice to rice farmers who increased the price of Rice Paddy, President, Association of Rice Distributors in Nigeria, Mrs. Esther Akinsoye, said that government needs to stop owners of Paddy from hoarding the product and increasing the price.
“Rice millers are complaining that farmers are increasing the price of Paddy because of high demand and as such forcing the millers to also increase their price, resulting in further increase by the manufacturer,” regretted Mrs. Akinsoye. “They should make the Paddy or rough rice to be surplus for the manufacturers and millers.”
Reacting to the development, Nigeria’s leading rice merchant, the Iya Loja of Daleko Market, Chief Mrs. Ibilola Solaja popularly called Madam Jumlar,  appealed to Nigerians to be patient. “Rome was not built in a day. There is bound to be teething problems as we are just starting. In a few years time, we shall have more than enough rice to eat and export.”
Admitting the scarcity, she said it will soon be over as many farmers have gone back to farms and millers have also gone back to their business due to the demand for local rice now. “I encourage the consumption of local rice so that we can grow our economy. I give to traders on credit and they remit money back to me when they sell,” said the delectable lady.
However, in a telephone interview with the National President, Rice Millers Association, Arc Kabir, though he admitted that he heard of shortage of rice in some parts of the country, he said they were not experiencing much shortage in the north.
In Enugu State, another big player in the rice industry, Ogbonnaya, regretted that the price of local rice has gone slightly up since the closure of the border but added that consumers in the eastern part of the country were not feeling it. “People here prefer nutritious local rice to foreign rice. Price went up because there is increased demand from places like Lagos State.”
Another analyst, however, pointed out that majority of rice mills in the country are located within eastern and northern states. “It is only Olam that has a mill in Lagos State because consumers here preferred foreign rice. Rice farmers in the west send their rice Paddy to east and northern mills. Even Lagos State Lake rice is milled in Kebbi State. However, with the promise of Lagos State to open a mill in the state come March 2020, maybe we shall have enough rice for the residents.”
To ease the immediate problem of scarcity in major states, stakeholders should find cheaper ways to transport rice from the hither lands to the metropolis. Investigations revealed that a truck load of rice from Kano town to Lagos is about N350,000 and this price is deterring some people. All hands should please be on deck to make this government’s noble project to succeed.

TEHRAN- Iranian farmers have managed to produce 2.6 million tons of rice during the current Iranian calendar year (started on March 21), the Secretary of Iran Rice Association Jamil Alizadeh Shayeq announced.
As the official told IRNA, the country’s rice production stood between 2.2 and 2.3 million tons in the past Iranian calendar year (March 2018-March 2019) and the increase in the production could consequently decrease the imports of the commodity.
Iran’s annual rice consumption stands at about three million tons. That means nearly 400,000 tons of the product is required to be imported into the country, according to Shayeq.
However, customs data show that nearly 700,000 tons of rice was imported into the country in the first quarter of this year (March 21-June 21), and considering the previous year’s statistics, it can be concluded that there is no shortage of rice in the country for the current year.
The official noted that the rice production was estimated to reach 2.5 million tons this year and the production has exceeded the expectations.
According to Shayegh, more than 90 percent of the country's rice is produced in the provinces of Gilan and Mazandaran in northern Iran, and less than 10 percent of the commodity is produced in the provinces of Isfahan, Ilam, Kurdistan, Khuzestan and so on.
Based on official statistics, over 620,000 hectares of the country’s agricultural lands are under rice cultivation, of which 520,000 hectares are in Mazandaran, Gilan and Golestan provinces.
Strong baht battering rice shipments
published : 23 Sep 2019 at 06:44
newspaper section: Business

Thai rice exports are tipped to decline by 35% this year as a consequence of the stronger baht. (Bangkok Post photo)
Thai rice exports are likely to stay below targets as the strong baht weakens competitiveness in the world market.Chookiat Ophaswongse, honorary president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association, said Thai rice shipments may slip to as low as 8 million tonnes this year, led by a sharp drop in white rice exports.
He predicts that the continued strong baht -- which makes Thai rice more expensive than grains from other countries -- will lower white rice shipments by up to 35% from 5.49 million tonnes last year.
"Thai rice purchase orders look inactive now," Mr Chookiat said. "Exports totalled only 6 million tonnes at the end of September."
The free-on-board prices of Thai 5% white rice are quoted at US$400 a tonne, while those of Vietnamese rice are quoted at $320 a tonne.
Prices for paddy rice in Vietnam are also much lower at 5,600 baht a tonne, while Thai paddy rice prices are quoted at 7,500-7,800 baht a tonne.
Mr Chookiat said the Vietnamese currency has been quite stable since last year. "Given the strong baht, we expect buyers like the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia to switch to buying rice from Vietnam instead of Thailand," he said.
Normally Thailand's rice exports average 10 million tonnes a year, with white rice making up half the amount.
Mr Chookiat said white rice shipments may reach just 3 million tonnes this year.
In July, the association cut its target for annual rice exports from 9.5 million tonnes to 9 million. Of the total, white rice will account for 3.9 million tonnes, followed by parboiled rice at 2.8 million tonnes, hom mali rice at 1.3 million tonnes, aromatic rice at 600,000 tonnes and glutinous rice at 400,000 tonnes.
Key threats to Thai rice exports include the strong baht and lower purchase demand from China, which holds hefty rice stocks.
Major rice-importing countries have also changed their rice-buying policies.
For instance, the Philippines has allowed its private sector to play a greater role in rice imports, stiffening competition in the domestic market.
The drought will cut the country's overall rice production and may result in higher rice prices, according to the association.
"Given the strong baht, exporters themselves have yet to see a light at the end of the tunnel to raise export volume," Mr Chookiat said. "The stronger currency is killing us."
According to the latest report by the Commerce Ministry, Thailand's rice exports in the first eight months fell by 26.3% to 5.3 million tonnes. Export value slid 22% to $2.87 billion.
In a move to boost rice exports, the Trade Policy and Strategy Office will ask the commerce minister to pay a visit soon to Asian buyers like the Philippines and China.