Tuesday, October 01, 2019

1st October,2019 Daily Global Regional Local Rice E-Newsletter

In profile: Dr Samina Mehnaz, Pakistan's first Humboldt Ambassador scientist
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A part of Forman Christian College (A Chartered University), she's been researching new cures of cancer and tuberculosis

Professor and chairperson of the School of Life Sciences at Forman Christian College (A Chartered University), Dr Samina Mehnaz was born in Lahore with a dream to work for the field of medicine - cancer and tuberculosis in particular.
She discovered her passion for research while receiving higher education, and so signed up for a PhD at NIBGE (affiliated with Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad at the time) in 1995.
During her PhD, she was awarded the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Fellowship at the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium.

Dr Samina is the first Humboldt Ambassador Scientist of Pakistan. She completed her first tenure (2016-18) in December 2018 and has recently been awarded with another tenure of three years (2019-21).
Her research is contributing to new and improved methods for not just safe and healthy farming but is also finding new avenues for the cure of cancer and tuberculosis.
Her journey started from isolating bacteria from rice; she became an international researcher soon after, starting in October 2000 at Ohio State University where she worked till June 2003 and published papers in the field of Immunology.
In 2010, she received the Georg Foster Fellowship (Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Germany) to work on microbial metabolites and their antimicrobial activities at Bonn University in Germany.
After returning from Germany in 2012, she joined the Department of Biological Sciences (now School of Life Sciences) at Forman Christian College (A Chartered University) as a professor and is currently chairperson of the department.

After joining FCCU, she continued her research and set up the biotechnology lab with the funds from HEC, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and FCCU which not only met international standards but impressed the very professors who had once asked her to stay back in the west because of the limited opportunities they thought she would have in her home country.
The biotechnology labs set up at FCCU have now opened avenues for Dr Samina and the students pursuing research in this field to collaborate on international projects with their peers.
Over 28 years of research in Pakistan, North America and Europe and more than 12 years of teaching experience has made her one of the pioneers of bio-research in Pakistan. She is the co-editor of 'Environmental Sustainability' (Springer Nature since 2017) and editor of 'Archives of Phytopathology and Plant Protection' (Taylor & Francis, UK since 2015).
She has recently been declared an 'outstanding editor' for 'Archives of Phytopathology and Plant Protection'. She has also been ranked among the top 1% reviewers among the global reviewer’s data base by Publons Academy USA based on the number of research articles reviewed by her during 2017-18.
As a researcher, Dr Samina has published many research papers in international journals which have been cited more than 2300 times. She is an Editor of two books titled 'Bioformulations: For Sustainable Agriculture' and 'Rhizotrophs: Plant Growth Promotion to Bioremediation'.
She has also authored six book chapters, published by Springer.

Dr Samina has reviewed more than 140 research articles for more than 45 international journals including Microbial Ecology (Springer), the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology (SGM, UK), Frontiers in Microbiology, PLOS One, Microbial Cell Factory, BMC Microbiology and Canadian Journal of Microbiology.
Out of all the accolades and international recognition she has received, her favorite achievement is that her work has allowed her to help human kind and make Pakistan proud.
This content is a paid advertisement by Forman Christian College (A Chartered University) and is not associated with or necessarily reflective of the views of Dawn.com or its editorial staff.

Indonesian envoy for enhancing bilateral ties in trade, culture fields

FAISALABAD: Indonesian Ambassador to Pakistan Iwan Suyudhie Amri has said that academic, research, agriculture, food and trade ties between Indonesia and Pakistan will be further strengthened in future to get benefit from each other experiences.
He was talking to University of Agriculture Faisalabad Vice Chancellor Dr Muhammad Ashraf and students during his visit to the National Institute of Food Science and Technology UAF on Monday.
Faculty of Food, Nutrition and Home Sciences UAF Dean Dr Masood Sadiq Butt and NIFSAT DG Dr Nuzhat Huma and others were also present. The ambassador stressed the need to enhance bilateral relations particularly in the fields of trade, culture, education and people-to-people contacts.
He said that palm oil production was important to economy of Indonesia as the country was one of the biggest exporters. He said that Indonesian Bogor Agricultural University and University of Agriculture Faisalabad would further enhance research an academic ties to boost the academic and industrial linkages.
He said that both countries had the similarities in the culture and way of living. He said that Pakistan had been producing one of the best mangoes and rice and his county was importing it. He said that share of the Indonesian agriculture sector in the Gross Domestic Product was near to Pakistani share of agriculture sector to GDP.
Dr Muhammad Ashraf said that Indonesia and Pakistan’s relations would help address the common challenges and to get benefit from each other experiences. He said that Indonesia and Pakistan cemented educational and research relations would pave the way for the development and uplift. He said that the academia- industry strengthened ties would help raise income of people and way of living and to meet the challenges of the modern era.
He urged the researches to work on the real issues of the common man. He said that the food security was one of major concerns for both countries. He said that like Pakistan, Indonesia was also focusing on agricultural country.
Dean Faculty of Food, Nutrition and Home Sciences Dr Masood Sadiq Butt said that the UAF in collaboration with Indonesia particularly food industry would pave the way for further the prosperity. He added that his faculty was coming up with out-of-the-box solutions to the problems of the industry and common man.
Pasha elected PTEA chairman: Industrialist Sohail Pasha was elected chairman of Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA) for the year 2019/20.
Faisal Nisar of Karachi was elected senior vice chairman and Haris Yusuf as vice chairman. The names of new office-bearers of the PTEA were announced at the Annual General Meeting (AGM).
Addressing the AGM, outgoing chairman Khurram Mukhtar congratulated the new office-bearers and expressed hope that they would resolve problems confronted by the textile exporters pertaining to their decreasing exports and stuck-up of their Duty Draw Back Claims worth billions of rupees with the government.
He urged the minister for textiles to convene a meeting of the PTEA office-bearers to chalk-out a comprehensive policy to boost the textile exports as soon as possible.
He further demanded the government to pay back all the duty-draw-back claims to cloth exporters, enabling them to re-invest the amount in boosting the textile exports to foreign countries and thus help in re-capturing the lost foreign markets captured by our contemporary countries like India, Bangladesh and China.
potato cultivation: Growers have been advised to start cultivation of potato immediately and complete it by mid of October to get bumper yield.
A spokesman for the Agriculture (Extension) Department said here Monday that potato is a rich source of proteins, carbohydrates, potassium and sodium etc. He also advised the farmers to use approved varieties of potato for cultivation over maximum space.

Indonesian Ambassador to Pakistan Iwan Suyudhie Amri has said that academic, research, agriculture, food and trade ties between Indonesia-Pakistan will be further strengthened to get benefit from each other experiences.

He was talking to University of Agriculture Faisalabad Vice Chancellor Dr Muhammad Ashraf and students during his visit to National Institute of Food Science and Technology UAF. Faculty of Food, Nutrition and Home Sciences UAF Dean Dr Masood Sadiq Butt and DG NIFSAT Dr Nuzhat Huma and other spoke on the occasion.

The ambassador also stressed the need to enhance bilateral relations particularly in the fields of trade, culture, education and people-to-people contacts.

He said palm oil production was important to economy of Indonesia as the country was one of the biggest exporters. He said Indonesian Bogor Agricultural University and University of Agriculture Faisalabad would further enhance research an academic ties to boost the academic and industrial linkages.

He said both countries had the similarities in the culture and way of living. He said Pakistan had been producing one of the best mangoes and rice and his county is importing it. He said that share of the Indonesian agriculture sector in the Gross Domestic Product is near to Pakistani share of agriculture sector to GDP.

Dr Muhammad Ashraf said Indonesia and Pakistan strengthened relations would help address the common challenges and to get benefit from each other experiences. He said Indonesia and Pakistan cemented educational and research relations would pave the way for the development and uplift. He said the academia-industry strengthened ties would help raise income of people, and way of living and to meet the challenges of the modern era.He urged the researches to work on the real issues of the common man. He said that the food security was one of major concerns for both countries. He said like Pakistan, Indonesia is also focusing on agricultural country.

Dean Faculty of Food, Nutrition and Home Sciences Dr Masood Sadiq Butt said that UAF in collaboration with Indonesia particularly food industry would pave the way for further the prosperity. He added that his faculty is coming up with out-of-the-box solutions to the problems of the industry and common man.

Indonesia-Pakistan Ties To Be Further Strengthened: Ambassador

FAISALABAD, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 30th Sep, 2019 ) ::Indonesian Ambassador to Pakistan Mr. Iwan Suyudhie Amri has said that academic, research, agriculturefood and trade ties between Indonesia-Pakistan will be further strengthened to get benefit from each other experiences.
He was talking to University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF) Vice Chancellor Dr. Muhammad Ashraf and students during his visit to National Institute of Food Science and Technology UAF here Monday. Faculty of Food, Nutrition and Home Sciences UAF Dean Dr Masood Sadiq Butt and DG NIFSAT Dr Nuzhat Huma and others spoke on the occasion.
The ambassador stressed the need to enhance bilateral relations particularly in the fields of trade, culture, education and people-to-people contacts.
He said that palm oil production is important to economy of Indonesia as the country is one of the biggest exporters of palm oil.
He said that Indonesian Bogor Agricultural University and University of Agriculture Faisalabad will further enhance research and academic ties to boost the academic and industrial linkages.
He said that both countries have the similarities in the culture and way of living. He said that Pakistan has been producing one of the best mangoes and rice and his county is importing it.
UAF Vice Chancellor Dr. Muhammad Ashraf said that Indonesia and Pakistan relations would help address the common challenges. He said that Indonesia and Pakistan should cement their educational and research relations which would pave way for the development and uplift of both countries.
Cheap imports may drive up rice consumption’
October 1, 2019

Description: Top03 091619This file photo shows various rice varieties are on display in a market in San Andres, Manila. The Philippine government has formally notified the World Trade Organization that it has launched an investigation into the surge in rice imports to determine whether the application of safeguard measures is warranted.
THE influx of cheaper imported rice with the opening up of the domestic market will drive up the country’s total requirement of the staple by 14.16 percent to nearly 16 million metric tons  by 2030 from the current 13.91 MMT.
This is one of the projections of the Department of Agriculture (DA) under the latest draft of the Philippine Rice Industry Roadmap (PRIR), a copy of which was obtained by the BusinessMirror.
The draft blueprint has yet to be approved by the Agriculture Secretary and will still undergo further contextual analysis. The latest draft was based on previous consultations with rice industry stakeholders.
The draft blueprint stipulated that the wholesale price of rice is expected to drop to P35 per kilogram from P40 per kg  last year as a result of higher volume of imported rice.
The DA estimated that the wholesale price of 25-percent broken rice would be about P35.31 per kg. Due to this, the country’s annual per capita rice consumption will increase by 3.63 percent from 110 kg to 114 kg, according to the draft document.
“Given the 2018 domestic wholesale price of around P40 per kg, the reduction to P35 per kg will encourage the consumption of more rice. Thus, the annual per capita rice consumption is expected to increase from 110 [kg] to 114 [kg],” the document read.
“Assuming no further increase in other uses of rice, the total rice use is projected to increase from 13.91 [MMT] in 2019 to 15.88 [MMT] in 2030,” the document added.
Based on the latest survey of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the country’s per capita consumption in 2015 to 2016 declined to 109.875 kg from 114.265 kg in 2012.
Latest PSA figures showed that both the average wholesale prices of well-milled rice (WMR) and regular-milled rice (RMR) are down by as much as 20 percent from their last year’s quotations.
The average wholesale quotation of WMR in the first week of September fell by 16.23 percent to P38.61 per kg from P46.10 per kg last year, PSA data showed. This is now the latest average wholesale price of WMR since the third week of May 2017, when the variety posted a quotation of P38.61 per kg.
Likewise, the average wholesale price of RMR declined by 20.72 percent to P34.40 per kg from P43.39 per kg last year, PSA data showed. The latest figure is the lowest since the fifth week of December 2017, when average wholesale price of RMR was at P34.35 per kg.
The draft blueprint indicated that the country’s total rice requirement would increase to 14.45 MMT by 2022 and 15.18 MMT by 2026.
Caveat: other factors at play
However, the draft roadmap pointed out that the projections made by the DA “preclude other factors that can affect consumption.”
It read:  “Rise in per-capita income may initially result in higher expenditure in food, including rice.”
Experiences in other countries, it added, “showed that further increase in income also triggers a shift in diet from foods high in carbohydrates to those rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals. With higher income level, consumers also prioritize food quality and nutritional value over quantity.”
The draft road map said the above-mentioned factors would “affect the future of rice supply and demand in the Philippines.”  
Jasper Emmanuel Y. Arcalas is a graduate of the UST Journalism School (Batch 2016). He currently covers agribusiness for the BusinessMirror. He joined the news outfit in August 2016.

Domoguen: Save the nation's rice farmers
Mountain Light
September 30, 2019
(Conclusion of a three series article)

IN OUR previous article, we mentioned some of the projects and activities of the Cordillera Heirloom Rice Project (CHRP) that played well into the “New Thinking in Agriculture” strategy of Dr. William D. Dar, the current Secretary of the Department of Agriculture (DA).

The CHRP’s projects and activities came to mind, in light of the ongoing rice crises and the need for all regions given their agro-ecological zones to contribute to the nation’s quest for food security and profitable livelihood for the farmers.

The CHRP is a joint initiative of the USA-based Eighth-Wonder, Inc. and RICE, Inc., a Filipino non-governmental organization (NGO). Its operations spotlighted the multifunctional roles of the rice terraces to economic and rural development, including environmental quality in northern Luzon.

One of the CHRP’s activities, the processing of heirloom rice for export to niche markets abroad, generated attention from the government for the development and continued conservation of the rice terraces and heirloom rice varieties.

I believe so because, before the CHRP, the rice terraces and the farmers were largely left on their own. When the Project ceased its operations in the latter part of 2016 until today, many government development interventions (independent and dispersed) were already being implemented to address development issues and concerns involving the rice terraces.

Before they decided to withdraw from the Cordillera, I met with Mary Hensley, founder of Eighth Wonder, Inc. and Vicky Garcia, Director of RICE, Inc., last September 24, 2016, at the Café by the Ruins Restaurant, Baguio City.

During our meeting, Ms. Hensley gave me a copy of the “Stanford Social Innovation Review,” a reputable publication by the Stanford University that is read by livelihood innovators, researchers, and business and government leaders, around the world.

I recall scanning the publication and saw an article by Liz Carlisle, entitled “The Terrace Keepers” of the Cordillera.

The article summarized the efforts done towards the industrialization of heirloom rice farming through the CHRP.

A value chain study conducted by researchers from a university in New York, USA guided the initial steps in organizing the operation of the enterprise. It started with community organization and empowerment activities for members of the heirloom rice producers’ cooperatives towards the consolidation of resources, inputs, and outputs.

This was soon followed by on-site training, coaching, and mentoring on production, processing, and packaging of rice to meet export quality standards.

Some farmers were also sent by the Eighth Wonder Inc., to train in India on System of Rice Intensification (SRI). The NGO also financed the market exposition and familiarization tour of heirloom farmers and local government technicians to the USA and Europe.

Modernization of heirloom rice farming was yet enhanced through research (it was through Mary Hensley’s request to ATI-CAR and BSU that the characterization of rice was started), and she also commissioned the design and production of a customized heirloom rice milling machine. The project also experimented on drying and storage packing and materials to protect the quality and value of heirloom rice from the source to the market.

Through the CHRP and the efforts of Ms. Hensley, the Cordillera heirloom rice varieties were registered and prominently heralded in the “World’s Ark of Taste,” and gained respectability in niche markets in USA and Canada.

Some people voiced the idea that the enterprise is making money at the expense of the farmers. The reverse is true. Throughout their operation, Ms. Hensey has been giving not only cash to the farmers from the income made by the enterprise aside from the agreed buying price of their rice. The rest of the income was yet invested for training, procurement of equipment, and related development expenses.

As it was then and obviously today, the dire lack of volume remains as a primary problem towards developing this industry that government research and development effort must address through technology, area expansion, and extension services, that helps or unite with what the private sector can best do in behalf of the farmers.

Today, the vision to develop a heirloom rice industry that truly benefits the rice terraces farmers and their communities; enhance and improve the farmers’ economic livelihoods, sustain best cultural and traditional practices on rice terraces farming; and, sustain the region’s role as watershed of northern Luzon in tandem with the private sector, has been aborted.

As suggested in the eight paradigms of Secretary Dar’s “New Thinking in Agriculture” strategy, the vision for the profitability of the rice terraces can yet be born and attained through modernization, industrialization, export, consolidation, roadmap development, infrastructure, higher budget and investment, and legislative support.

During his recent visit to the Cordillera, Secretary Dar suggested that a Cordillera Rice Terraces Commission, if not a corporation can be formed to consolidate resources and undertake appropriate interventions to pursue the full potentials and benefits of the rice terraces in the Cordillera, Northern Luzon, and the nation as a whole.

Cambodian farmers switch from rice to vegetables

They say a farmer's work starts before dawn, but in Cambodia’s Battambang province, farmers work together late into the night to prepare their vegetable harvest for the overnight bus ride to the capital city’s markets.
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Photo by Max Fannin
A metal barn that was empty hours ago is now filled with colorful crates, buckets and bags of fresh produce — leafy greens, nubby roots and heads of cabbage — and neighbors bustling to fill boxes. This is a vegetable packinghouse, where members of the Tasey Samaki Agricultural Cooperative collectively market their horticultural crops to wholesale distributors and specialty retail stores.
These small-scale farmers have been working with researchers from the University of California, Davis, and Cambodia’s Royal University of Agriculture (RUA) to test new methods, like the packinghouse, for growing and selling produce locally. Their work is part of the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Horticulture,  a global network focused on fruit and vegetable research that is led by UC Davis and funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development.
“The impact of these innovations in Cambodia has been huge,” said Karen LeGrand, a UC Davis researcher whose work focuses on food safety and security. “Since we started working here 10 years ago, we’ve seen such a change in the food system.”
These innovations are helping farmers benefit from growing and selling horticultural crops, amid rising recognition that fruits and vegetables are not only critical to meet human nutrition needs, but can help farmers in developing countries lift themselves out of poverty.
A creative solution for growing high-quality vegetables
More than 75 percent of Cambodians live in rural areas, and agriculture accounts for about a quarter of gross domestic product. Even so, the country currently imports more vegetables than it harvests.
“After the Khmer Rouge, the main farming focused only on rice,” said Borarin Buntong, director of RUA’s Division of Research and Extension. “But now people are not just thinking about rice anymore. They're thinking about vegetables, they're thinking about fruit. Many families now can have this kind of produce in their daily life. This is a big change for Cambodia.”
Converting rice fields into vegetable fields has allowed farmers to diversify their operations with high-value crops. Studies have shown that profits from vegetables can be 3-14 times higher per hectare than from growing rice.
To strengthen vegetable supply chains, the international researchers introduced farmers to using nets to protect their crops from pests. The idea came from Horticulture Innovation Lab researchers and French CIRAD scientists working in Kenya, where farmers use mosquito nets to cover vegetable plants. In Cambodia, the concept transformed into “nethouses” so farmers could walk inside to care for their crops. The nethouses reduce the need for costly pesticides and protect crops from torrential rain, allowing farmers to grow vegetables year-round, even in the rainy season.
Click here to read the full press release. 
For more information:
Amy Quinton
UC Davis
Tel: +1 530 752 9843
Email: amquinton@ucdavis.edu

This wheat seed holds much promise

Sandip Das  | Updated on October 01, 2019  Published on October 01, 2019
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HD3226, an indigenously developed seed, has higher protein and is more resistant to pest attack than other varieties

A new variety of wheat seed developed by the country’s premier Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) comes at a critical time when farmers, mostly across northern India, have to deal with increasing incidents of pest attacks which threaten to impact yield.
Two of the key wheat varieties — HD2967 and HD3086 — also developed by IARI a few years back and grown widely by farmers mostly in the north-western plains, have become susceptible to yellow and brown rust along with Karnal bunt (a fungal disease) in recent years. IARI has released a new wheat seed, HD3226, which has shown resistance to these pests and is reported to have higher protein content than the existing varieties.
In the next rabi (winter) season for which sowing is expected to commence in November, farmers are expected to sow HD3226, also referred as Pusa Yashasvi, whose protein content (average 12.6 per cent) is higher than those of the two prevalent varieties — HD2967 (12.3 per cent) and HD3086 (11.3 per cent).
According to scientists at IARI, a key institute under India Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) especially in development of rice and wheat varieties, the new wheat variety is superior to others varieties in terms of dry and wet gluten content. HD3226, developed after three years of field trials at various locations, has also shown potential for higher yield compared to other varieties.
To deal with rusts that affect yield, HD3226 was released by the central sub-committee of crop standards (under the Agriculture Ministry) in April 2019. This variety is recommended for cultivation in the north-western plains — Punjab, Haryana and parts of Rajasthan, western Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand — and in the coming rabi season, farmers are expected to take up the new variety for cultivation in larger areas.
IARI has signed MOUs with 40 private seed producers in Haryana and Punjab who would multiply the seeds for the farmers in the next rabi season. “The new variety, because of higher protein content, could push up exports of wheat from India,” Rajbir Yadav, Principal Scientist, Division of Genetics, IARI, said.
According to Agricultural and Processed Food Development Authority (APEDA), in 2018-19, India exported 44 lakh tonne of basmati rice and 75 lakh tonne of non-basmati rice while wheat export was only to the tune of 2.36 lakh tonne.
At present, around 95 per cent of the wheat produced in the country is suitable for ‘bread’ quality, which requires less than 12 per cent protein content, while only about 4 per cent is of ‘durum’ quality (with protein content of more than 12 per cent), which is mostly grown in central India.
According to Indian Institute of Wheat and Barley Research (IIWBR), affiliated to ICAR, ‘durum’ wheat, which is extensively used for making instant foods such as macroni, noodles and snack foods, have export potential. With the HD3226 variety giving a protein content of more than 12 per cent in field trials, this could boost India’s wheat exports in the next few years.
IIWBR, over the last few years, has been cautioning farmers against the spread of fungus that causes yellow rust in wheat crop. The widely cultivated HD2967 and HD3086, grown mostly in the north-western plains, have became susceptible to yellow and brown rust. These two varieties are estimated to occupy around 12 million hectare (mh) out of the total estimated wheat area of around 30 mh.
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Fungus attack

Yellow rust disease in wheat crop is caused by fungus Puccinia found in cold wheat-growing regions such as the north-western plains and northern hills. This infection, which causes reduction of kernel numbers per spike and decreases the weight of wheat kernels, is capable of causing a huge decline in wheat yields.
Fungicides such as propiconazole, tebuconazole and triadimefoan are being used to combat yellow rust in wheat crop — the building of inherent genetic resistance in plants to fight diseases is a method which lead to the development of HD3226.
The new wheat variety is found to be resistant to Karnal bunt, a disease which results in yield reduction and decrease in quality of grains by imparting a fishy odour and taste to the wheat crop.
Yadav of IARI said that in field trials HD3226 was found to be resistant to Karnal bunt, with its incidence being 63.67 per cent lower than in HD3086. Its grains possess high protein (12.8 per cent) content, high wet (30.85 per cent) and dry gluten (10.10 per cent) content and a perfect Glu-1 score (10). This variety is thus suitable for both bread and chapatti-making. The new variety is also suitable for early seeding under zero till condition.
Meanwhile, the IARI, in major breakthrough, has also developed two other wheat varieties — HD-CSW18 and HD3117 — which can be transplanted directly to the soil (in northern India) soon after the harvesting of kharif paddy. Yadav said that this would prevent farmers from burning their field post paddy harvest and, thereby, help in dealing with environmental pollution.
IARI, in the last three decades, has developed more than 45 varieties of wheat seed and 20 varieties of basmati rice varieties. The basmati rice variety, Pusa Basmati 1121, developed by the institute, has earned a cumulative value of 50 lakh crore during 2008-2016. Last year, an improved version, Pusa Basmati 1718, was developed with inbuilt resistance to bacterial blight disease.
The writer is a senior consultant with ICRIER. Views are personal

Ebonyi rice: Contractor alleges threat to life

 October 1, 2019
Edward Nnachi, Abakaliki
An internally generated revenue contractor at the Abakaliki Rice Mill,  Nwabueze Ununu, on Monday, raised the alarm over alleged threat to his life.
The mill had hitherto been riddled with divergent issues, and The PUNCH, gathered that fresh crisis had erupted at the rice industry on Monday, over who oversees sales of bags used in packaging processed rice at the mill.
It was further learnt that the new leadership of the industry recently banned individuals from selling the rice bags to buyers and had announced that only it (leadership) and the union would superintend over the sales.
According to him, the new leadership of the rice mill unlawfully removed him as its IGR-collector and replaced him with unauthorised persons, when according to him, he had remitted N1.3m monthly into the state government’s account as specified by the contract terms (paper).
The new Caretaker Committee Chairman of the Abakau Rice Mill, Samuel Ogodo, dismissed attacks on Ununu, and claimed Ununu was the one who, rather attacked him.
“Nobody attacked Ununu; he was the one that attacked me when I was going  round the mill sensitising the millers and workers about new development in the industry that bordered on sales of rice bags which did not go down well with Ununu ,” he said.

Abakaliki Rice Mill crisis: Revenue collector alleges threat to life.

By Mbam Ogodo, Abakaliki
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Following the renewed crisis over the sales of bags used in packaging processed rice from Abakaliki Rice Mill Industry, an Internally Generated Revenue agent at the Mill industry, Comrade Nwabueze Ununu has raised the alarm over alleged threat to his life.
The new leadership of the industry recently banned individuals from selling the bags to buyers and announced that only the leadership and union will be in charge of the sales.
Some millers including Ununu allegedly kicked against it leading to the crisis. Some of the millers were allegedly injured.
Ununu who was contracted by the state government to collect revenue from millers and buyers at the mill alleged that he was attacked by thugs.
He accused new leadership of the mill of unlawfully removing him as the mill IGR collector and replacing him with unauthorized persons when according to him, he has been remitting N1.3million monthly into the state government account as specified by the contract paper.
He alleged that last weekend; over 50 thugs invaded his shops in the mill, beat him up and destroyed his goods and other valuable properties. “Policemen were the ones that rescued me, without policemen I would have been a dead person. Thugs invaded my shop, attacked me and destroyed my things. Some persons approached me and pleaded with me to bring the matter out of police for amicable resolution which I did.
“Today being Monday, thugs came to where I stay to collect IGR of which I am remitting N1.3million monthly into the government account.
I have paid for two months I have worked. So, the thugs chased away all my 15 staff and took over the collection. The thugs threatened that if I come there, they will kill m
“My life is in danger because these thugs are boasting that they will kill me. I have gone into hiding, I cannot walk freely on the streets”, he alleged.
Caretaker Committee Chairman of the Rice Mill Samuel Ogodo, dismissed attack on Ununu saying he was rather attacked by Ununu when he was going round the mill sensitizing the millers and workers about new development in the industry over the sales of rice bags which did not go down well with Ununu.
Arkansas scientists investigate effects of high nighttime air temperatures on rice quality
Sep 30, 2019Top of Form
Bottom of Form
By Abbi Ross
University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture
Arkansas scientists are working to develop rice varieties that are tolerant of Arkansas’ frequent high nighttime air temperatures, a condition that can significantly reduce yields and post-harvest quality.
Paul Counce, a University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture professor and rice physiologist, is leading the high nighttime air temperature rice research in the division’s Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station.
“We began to do work about twenty years ago to pin these issues down,” Counce said. “We started a series of experiments at the Rice Research and Extension Center and in Fayetteville with Dr. Terry Siebenmorgen.”
The team’s current objective is to identify genes associated with resistance to high night temperatures, Counce said.
Prolonged high night air temperatures during critical physiological stages can reduce the quality and yield of rice, Counce said. Years with unusually warm seasons, like 2010 and 2016, can result in almost catastrophic losses due to reduced pollination and fertilization of rice flowers. At later stages of development, high night temperatures decrease the milling quality of rice.
“It’s not just that there are high night temperatures that cause quality degradation, it is that they occur when the rice is at a certain physiological stage,” said Terry Siebenmorgen, distinguished professor of food science for the Division of Agriculture. “That is when those temps are so impactful, they alter the way the starch is put together in the kernel.”
Siebenmorgen said the result is that rice kernels that are normally translucent become chalky and prone to breakage during milling. The kernels that remain intact do not cook properly for meals or when making cereals and other food products.
Markets are determined by rice quality to a large extent, and when quality decreases it makes marketing difficult, Counce said. In some years, farmers’ profits decline from both lower yields and price markdowns resulting from poor milling quality.
After working for years to determine the physiological and chemical bases of the problem, Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station scientists are now evaluating cultivars for their nighttime heat susceptibility, Siebenmorgen said.
Growth chambers that can control environmental conditions are used to simulate high nighttime air temperatures to test rice breeding lines and varieties for their tolerance or susceptibility, Counce said. The growth chambers also allow researchers to control the light and carbon dioxide levels, which also play roles in rice plant and seed development. The growth chambers were funded by the Arkansas Rice Checkoff program.
“What we are trying to do is improve our understanding of the varieties and the yield and quality responses of the rice we have to the high temperatures,” Counce said.
This stage of the investigation focuses on identifying breeding lines with genetic tolerance of high nighttime air temperatures, Counce said. “Division rice breeders can then cross those tolerant lines with high-yielding and disease resistant lines to develop improved varieties,” he said.
“This is an excellent step forward in our efforts to find, develop and breed rice that will tolerate high nighttime air temperatures,” said Bob Scott, Rice Research and Extension Center director.

Kiên Giang increases rice output

Update: September, 30/2019 - 07:00
Description: http://image.vietnamnews.vn/uploadvnnews/Article/2019/9/29/40736_th092616.jpg
A large-scale rice field of the Kênh 4A Co-operative in Kiên Giang Province. – VNA/VNS Photo Lê Huy Hải
KIÊN GIANG – The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Kiên Giang, the country’s largest rice producer, is expected to produce 4.3 million tonnes of paddy this year, up more than 35,200 tonnes against last year, according to its Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
For the ongoing summer – autumn crop, the province has planted more than 290,000ha of rice, up about 9,000ha compared to the province’s target. The rate of certified rice seeds accounts for more than 77 per cent of the crop’s total area. 
The ongoing harvest is expected to end in late September, with an additional 1.5 million tonnes of paddy.
Đỗ Minh Nhựt, deputy director of the department, said the yield had met the province’s target, but inclement weather conditions and disease had affected output.
Heavy rains and whirlwinds flattened more than 17,470ha of rice which had nearly ripened, mostly in Tân Hiệp and Giồng Riềng districts.
Disease from brownplant hoppers during prolonged hot weather affected more than 57,230ha of rice. 
The rate of high quality rice varieties accounts for 72 per cent of the crop’s total area, according to the department. The rice varieties are mostly OM5451, Đài Thơm 8, OM4900 and OM 6976.
The province has developed 17 large-scale rice fields on a total of 3,215ha.
Many companies are working with farmers to implement large-scale rice fields under the Vietnamese Good Agricultural Practices (VietGAP).
The province’s Co-operative Alliance is working with companies to produce organic rice. In July, the alliance signed an agreement with the Long An Organic Agriculture Company Limited to implement an organic rice production chain.
Under the agreement, the company will supply material inputs and guarantee outlets for co-operatives to plant rice on 20,000ha.
The company will also provide techniques for growing organic rice to co-operative members.
The province has about 92,000ha of rice fields in which rice is grown in the rainy season and shrimp are bred in the dry season, according to the department. Few chemicals are used for the rice and shrimp breeding models.
In the province’s U Minh Thượng area, farmers have been shifting to organic standards for the rice-shrimp model.
The U Minh Thượng area has 80,000ha of fields using the rice-shrimp farming model. – VNS
Rice exports jump 48.64pc to $322.8mln in July-Aug
ISLAMABAD: Country’s rice exports in the first two months of the current financial year jumped 48.64 percent over the same period last year, on a strong demand for varieties other than basmati, latest figures showed on Saturday.
Data released by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) presented that 590,053 tons of rice, valuing $322.836 million, was exported in July-August 2019, as compared to 399,633 tons sold overseas for $223.918 million in the corresponding period last year. During the period under review, country earned $135.249 million by exporting about 148,772 tons of basmati rice as against $101.851 million fetched by exporting 99,287 tons of the same variety in the same period a year ago, an increase of 32.79 percent.
The exports of other rice varieties grew 61.87 percent as about 441,281 tons of this food grain other than basmati, valuing $197.587, was sent abroad as against the exports of 300,346 tons earning $122.067 million in the same period last year.
During the period, 16,652 metric tons of fish and fish preparations, valuing $36 million were exported along with 13,150 metric tons of meat and meat products worth $48.174 million.
The PBS data further revealed that food exports rose 14.27 percent year-on-year to $650.257 million in the July-August period due to significant 48.64 percent growth in rice exports.
Except wheat, sugar and oil seeds, all other exports under the food group increased during the July-August period.
Wheat exports tapered off 78.28 percent to $10.590 million as the government continued to slap ban on exports of wheat and wheat flour to control price hike in the country.
Sugar exports also fell 66.03 percent to $17.352 million during the period under review. Leather sector’s exports increased 5.88 percent to $90.543 million in the July-August period.
Pakistan’s trade deficit sharply narrowed 35.86 percent year-on-year to $3.924 billion in the first two months of the current fiscal year of 2019/20 as imports considerably decreased on regulatory measures and slowdown in oil shipments, but exports slightly increased during the period.

Turkish investors sign $275 million Sierra Leone rice farming deal

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 28 September 2019:
The government of Sierra Leone early this week, signed a $275M investment deal with the Turkish SALA Group, for the resumption of largescale Torma Bum rice farming, which is expected to create more than twenty thousand jobs in Sierra Leone.
This will also help alleviate food poverty in the country as well as increase export.
Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security last Monday, signed this important deal with the Turkish food producing giant (SALA) in Freetown.
It is understood that during the first phase of the project, about 54,000 hectares of rice will be cultivated, using the Wanje and the Sewa rivers for sustainable irrigation.
According to reports, the Government of Sierra Leone will not incur any cost in the development and delivery of the project.
This investment will help Sierra Leone achieve food self-sufficiency and save the country more than $200 million in rice importation annually. It will create more than 20,000 jobs for local people.
SALA’s Managing Director, Cemal Dogoa said they are pleased to have signed the deal work with the Government of Sierra Leone.
Highest Indian monsoon rains in 25 years to boost winter crops
Rajendra Jadhav
OCTOBER 1, 2019 / 1:46 AM
MUMBAI (Reuters) - Monsoon rains in India were 10% above average in 2019 and the highest in 25 years as seasonal rainfall continued longer than expected, the weather department said on Monday.

Commuters walk on a flooded railway track after a heavy rainfall in Mumbai, India, September 4, 2019. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas
Extra June-September monsoon rainfall will help farmers expand areas under winter-sown crops such as wheat, rice rapeseed and chick peas, improving their earning potential and helping revive tepid rural demand that has stung Indian economic growth.

The longer monsoon could also restock reservoirs and help replenish ground water, helping assuage water shortages in pockets of the country of 1.3 billion people.

But heavy rainfall in some areas has damaged summer-sown crops like cotton, soybean and pulses that are close to harvest.

The monsoon delivers about 70% of India’s annual rainfall and determines the yield of rice, wheat, sugarcane and oilseeds, such as soybeans.

Farming accounts for about 15% of India’s $2.5 trillion economy but employs more than half of its people.
“Even in the first half of October, above average rainfall is expected due to a delay in the withdrawal of the monsoon,” said an official with the India Meteorological Department (IMD), declining to be named as he was not authorized to speak with media.

The monsoon generally begins in June and starts to retreat by Sept. 1, but rains have lasted longer this year, triggering fatal floods and killing hundreds of people.
Rains are unlikely to start receding before early October, more than a month later than usual, the head of the weather office said on Friday.
“Excessive rainfall wasn’t of much benefit to summer crops due to erratic weather patterns, but it will help winter crops. Reservoirs are holding more water than normal,” said Harish Galipelli, head of commodities and currencies at Inditrade Derivatives & Commodities in Mumbai.
The 2019 monsoon season got off to a bleak start with the driest June in five years and below-average precipitation in July, suggesting an initial prediction for lower than normal rainfall from the country’s only private forecaster, Skymet, could come to pass.
The weather department had also said in May that rains this year would amount to 96% of the long-term average.
But August saw heavy rains and flooding in some states and the strong monsoon has stretched into this month.
Water levels in India’s main reservoirs were at 89% of their storage capacity as on Sept. 27 against 74% a year earlier, government data shows. The average for the past 10 years is 72%.
Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav; Editing by Alison Williams and Kirsten Donovan
Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

India’s rice output this Kharif season may fall from last year’s actual yield
By: FE Online | 
Published: September 30, 2019 5:40:54 PM
While rice sowing has been a concern for several months now owing to lesser acreage this Kharif season, according to the advanced estimates of this year, the yield will be lower than last year’s actual production.
Description: Pradhan Mantri Kisan Maan Dhan Yojana, registration of PM-KMY scheme, Narendra Singh Tomar, PM-KMY registration process, PM-KISAN scheme
Despite heading towards a higher sowing for some months, sugarcane and cotton production has also dwindled and is down by 1.6% and 0.7% respectively.
While rice sowing has been a concern for several months now owing to lesser acreage this Kharif season, according to the advanced estimates of this year, the yield will be lower than last year’s actual production. Rice production in India is actually lower at 100.4 million tonnes while compared to last year’s yield of about 103 million tonnes. In fact,  Further, it is not just rice yield that has taken a hit this sowing season. According to a recent Kotak Institutional Equities report, the whole kharif production of foodgrain is “likely to be 0.7% lower at 140.6 million tonnes compared to first advance estimate of FY2019.” The acreage for foodgrain has also dipped and is 0.8% lower than actual Kharif production in last fiscal.
Despite heading towards a higher sowing for some months, sugarcane and cotton production has also dwindled and is down by 1.6% and 0.7% respectively. Among other Kharif crops, pulses production has also slipped by 10.7% at 8.2 million tonnes along with coarse cereals’ production which is 3.4% lower at 32 million tonnes.
“Sowing for the Kharif season matched up to last year’s level even with a delayed start to sowing,” Kotak Institutional Equities said in a report. The government has also lowered its estimates of foodgrain production at 140.57 million tonnes as rice and pulses output falls, according to data by the Agriculture Ministry. The same stood at 141.71 million tonnes in last year’s Kharif season.
Even though the monsoon had been normal, uneven and spatial rainfall has largely contributed to the lower acreage of certain crops, a CARE Ratings report said earlier. “Kharif crops were affected in some states because of floods but it would not have much impact on the overall production,” Parshottam Rupala, Minister of State for Agriculture, said earlier, PTI reported. 
According to a previous report by CRISIL Research’s Agriculture, “Indian farmers are expected to earn over 10% more in the Kharif season as the uneven rains have led to lower sowing. Lower Kharif output is expected to push up mandi prices, and boost the profitability of most crops, providing respite to farmers.”
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BSP: Inflation continued downtrend in Sept as cheaper rice flooded market

Philippine Daily Inquirer / 04:06 AM October 01, 2019
Thanks to more affordable rice in the local market, the central bank expects the inflation rate to have dipped even further in September, buttressing policy makers’ recent decisions of reducing borrowing costs to help pump prime the country’s moderating economic growth.
In a statement, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said its economists saw the pace of increases in consumer prices last month to have settled within the 0.6-1.4 percent range, significantly lower than the near-three year low of 1.7 percent recorded in August.
Despite this, the central bank’s economists were less sanguine in their assessment of the trend in consumer prices, noting the threats to inflation during the period.
“The continued decline in rice prices and the downward adjustment in electricity rates could be offset by the recent uptick in fuel prices as well as higher prices of selected food items due to weather disturbances during the month,” the BSP’s Department of Economic Research said.
The improved price prognosis came a few days after the central bank lowered its inflation forecast for the year another notch which, in turn, provided fresh impetus for the Monetary Board’s twin decisions last week to cut its key interest rate by 25 basis points and reduce banks’ reserve requirements by a full percentage —both meant to increase the amount of cash circulating in the local financial system.
“Based on Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ latest projection, inflation is expected to average at 2.5 percent for 2019,” BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said in a note to reporters. “[This is] lower relative to the previous forecast of 2.6 percent as of Aug. 8, 2019.”
The revised forecast is also substantially lower than the government’s official target range for the year of 3 percent, plus or minus 1 percent.
The central bank chief also committed to reduce banks’ reserve requirements to single digits from the current level of 16 percent before the end of his term in 2023.
The government will release the September data on Oct. 4, Friday.
Twelve of 13 economists polled by the Inquirer also projected a lower rate of increase in prices of basic commodities in September.
Thatchinamoorthy Krshnan of Oxford Economics gave the lowest forecast at 0.9-percent headline inflation, which he attributed to “strong base effects from food inflation.”
Four economists—Ateneo de Manila University’s Alvin P. Ang, Capital Economics’ Alex Holmes, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp.’s Michael Ricafort and Security Bank’s Robert Dan J. Roces—projected 1 percent year-on-year.
“Even if there are observed increases in oil prices, these are compensated by lower electricity rates. Rising chicken prices are offset by falling pork prices [due to African swine fever]. Also, we are coming from a high base [in September] last year [of 6.7 percent],” Ang said.
ANZ Research’s Mustafa Arif, ING Bank Manila’s Nicholas Antonio T. Mapa and Nomura’s Euben Paracuelles pegged September inflation at 1.1 percent.
HSBC’s Noelan Arbis and University of Asia and the Pacific’s Victor A. Abola projected 1.3 percent, with the latter noting only “minor increases in food and other items” during the month.
BDO Unibank Inc. chief market strategist Jonathan L. Ravelas and University of the Philippines-Los Baños College of Economics and Management Dean Agham C. Cuevas also see slower September inflation at 1.4 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively, even as Katrina Ell of Moody’s Analytics gave the highest forecast of 1.9 percent year-on-year “on the back of higher global oil prices flowing through to the consumer.”

Rep. Crawford dubious of Chinese investments in U.S., Arkansas
U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Jonesboro, said he has concerns about Chinese investments in America, despite six Arkansas projects – including three in his Congressional District – being supported by Chinese investors.
In an interview with Talk Business & Politics, Crawford outlined his reasons for concern with those economic projects.
“I have concerns about Chinese investing in the United States for a variety of reasons. Obviously, there’s national security reasons,” Crawford said. “At the fore is the Chinese threat, not only in the business world where they attempt to steal everything they can – intellectual property, forced technology transfers. We had five researchers indicted in the state of Arkansas just over a year ago for stealing rice research from the Rice Research and Extension Center. This doesn’t just happen in Arkansas. It happens all over the country.”
Arkansas has seen in-state announcements of six projects with Chinese investors, including the $1.5 billion Sun Paper Co. project near Arkadelphia. Crawford’s district includes three Chinese-related economic development projects:
• Risever Machinery – 130 new jobs in Jonesboro;
• Dragon Woodland – 75 new jobs in Helena-West Helena; and
• Shandong Ruyi Technology – 800 new jobs in Forrest City.
”If they’re able to make these kinds of investments in states like Arkansas and other parts of the United States, why are they given preferential treatment as a developing economy in the WTO [World Trade Organization], which is having a negative impact on our economy?” Crawford said. “I can tell you, if you’re investing billions of dollars outside of your own country, you have arrived. You don’t need special treatment. They should be on the same footing as the United States, as the EU and other countries that are not developing but are in fact developed economies, and so they shouldn’t be given special treatment.”
Crawford questioned the Arkansas investments and said he’s worried about theft of technology and research.
“I think there’s a strategic concern there. There’s obviously the academic institutions as the Confucius Institute has become a major source for embedding researchers into academic institutions, students into academic institutions whereby those individuals can steal technology and apply that in their own production back home in China. They’re not honest brokers. They’re not here to help us. I have concerns about it,” he said.
Crawford continued: “I’m not trying to be a naysayer. I’m not trying to throw cold water on economic development. In fact, I’m all in for economic development. I think we ought to be looking at ways that we can grow our own and capitalize on our own ability here to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps. You know, we mentioned the issue in Forest City. I think it’s important that we do invest in our ability to create value in the supply chain, particularly with regard to cotton, because I have questions about whether or not we’re going to sustain cotton production in the United States if we don’t have a vertical integration model that allows for us to participate in the global marketplace with regard to textiles.”
“We lost our textile industry some years back as a result of the WTO. It was a ruling of the WTO. So, as the American cotton industry is struggling with how are we going to sustain production here, the answer is not to bring in Chinese investment and give over everything we have in the hopes that the Chinese are going to be fair and deal in good faith with us, because the answer to that is ‘no, they’re not.’ They’re not here to help us,” Crawford said.
In late August, President Donald Trump called on American companies to pull out of China, a call that hasn’t resulted in any apparent action by U.S. companies.
When asked about the trade war with China, which has resulted in farmers nationwide being paid a reported $28 billion over the past two years to make up for crops lost to inactive markets, Crawford said it is unlikely the U.S. can continue to make payments through its Market Facilitation Program indefinitely, but he said he would continue to fight for offsets while pushing for more open trading partners.
“To answer your question, are we going to be able to do this indefinitely? The answer’s probably ‘no.’ As long as we’re denying our farmer’s market access, however, we have to do something to offset that,” he said.
He said he believed American agricultural products could be strengthened by trade deals like the newly announced U.S.-Japan agreement. He hoped for more bilateral trade deals with Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, and India – where Gov. Asa Hutchinson is visiting this week. Hutchinson and Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston were unavailable for comment due to their travel schedules.
Crawford said he thinks American goods would still find their way to a consumer nation like China eventually through some of these potential new channels.
“The market’s never going to be gone because China is basically demand inelastic. They have to have a certain amount of, for example, soybeans, other agricultural commodities. So, the market is always going to be there. The question is, how do we access it?” Crawford said.
“I’m encouraged by the fact that Japan and the United States just signed a trade deal. That is the first foray into really establishing a distributor network in the Pacific Rim that will tee up greater sales into the Pacific Rim region. Whether we access that market on a wholesale level that is directly through direct sales to China or whether they become a retail market, that market will still be there and it will still be significant.”
Crawford also weighed in with thoughts on the impeachment inquiry into President Trump. You can watch his full interview below.