Saturday, October 12, 2019

12th October,2019 Daily Global Regional Local Rice E-Newsletter

This Crispy Rice Frittata Is Where Leftover Rice Goes To Heaven

A very good excuse for always making a little extra rice. 
OCTOBER 11, 2019
The only thing better than a good recipe? When something's so easy to make that you don't even need one. Welcome to It's That Simple, a column where we talk you through the process of making the dishes and drinks that they can make with their eyes closed.
Everyone will tell you that the way to use up leftover rice is to make fried rice. The best version of the latter requires the former, as the cooked grains are drier and therefore more amenable to high heat, flavor absorption, and the ever-coveted crispiness.
But what happens when you’ve made fried rice three too many times in the past month? Or when you don’t have quite enough left over to constitute a full meal? Might I suggest the crispy rice frittata, a dish I put together when I was in one such scenario. I was inspired by just how much we love crispy rice around BA but constrained by the fact that it was a pantry dinner kind of night. In the end, though, it turned out so well that it became a staple in my kitchen, even an excuse to make extra rice.
This crispy rice frittata is riffable, a perfect vehicle for using up not just your leftover rice, but whatever other odds and ends you have in your fridge. Greens like kale or spinach, a small block of lingering cheese, some roasted vegetables from a few nights ago, and that half a sausage you felt too guilty to throw out are all fair game. (Of course, certain ingredients will need to be cooked first. Don’t add in anything raw that you wouldn’t want to actually eat in its raw state: We’re thinking bacon, mushrooms, white onion). But when it comes down to it, the only nonnegotiables are olive oil, salt, eggs, and rice.
For the sake of a recipe(ish), here’s a streamlined version, to be followed exactly or used as a guide:
Start by preheating your oven to 300°.
Whisk together 6 eggs, along with a generous pinch of kosher salt. Beat until the whites and yolks are fully incorporated and the mixture looks a bit frothy. This ensures that your frittata will be nice and fluffy. Grate ¼ cup parmesan cheese using a microplane and mix that into your eggs. Set aside.
Next, heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. While you’re waiting for the oil to get hot, slice 1 bunch scallions into bite-size pieces, discarding the hairy ends and the tippy-tops. Drop the pieces in the skillet, spread them out evenly, and then let them sit undisturbed for about 5 minutes. You’re not going to get a char on these like you would if they were in a piping-hot cast iron, but that’s okay. You just want them to get tender and take on a bit of color. Once they’re at that point, it’s time to add in the rice.

Keep the heat at medium. You’ll still have some olive oil in your pan, but you want to add a bit more, so that it lightly but completely coats the bottom. This is the key to crisping up your rice. As the great Carla Lalli Music puts it, fat is not just flavor—it’s also the cooking medium, a.k.a. the stuff that carries the heat to the rice and gets it crackling and golden-brown.
Pour 2 cups leftover white rice into the skillet and spread it out evenly, compacting a little with a spoon or spatula. The layer should be about ½-inch thick, covering the bottom of the pan. It can be thinner than this if that’s what you’ve got, but don’t go much thicker, as the rice won’t get truly crisp. Give that a nice sprinkling of kosher salt and let it cook undisturbed for about 10 minutes.
Once you see that the rice is getting color underneath (if you’re unsure, peek by lifting up an edge with a spatula), pour your egg mixture over the top.
Turn the heat off and transfer your skillet to the oven. Yes, we’re putting a nonstick skillet in the oven, and yes, it will be fine. We’re at low heat and it only takes about 15 minutes to set the eggs. The oven is important here because the rice creates a barrier that insulates the eggs from the heat of the stovetop and of the pan. You need the gentle, surrounding heat of the oven to allow the eggs to cook evenly, while also ensuring that the layer of rice stays crispy and doesn’t burn.
While the frittata is baking, pick the leaves from some tender herbs. You can use whatever you like, which for me is a combination of cilantroparsley, and basil. (Also, a few stems never hurt anyone!) All in all, you want somewhere in the ¼–½ cup ballpark for big bites of freshness.
When the frittata is done—check after 15 minutes or so—pull it out and let it sit for a few minutes before transferring it to a cutting board. It should slide right out. Top it with the herbs and a sprinkle of flaky sea salt, then cut it into wedges.
The bottom of the frittata will be a perfect layer of crispy rice, and the top will be light and fluffy, each bite studded with caramelized scallions and parm, with bright, fresh herbs to finish. If you ask me, it’s the ideal one-skillet, use-it-up dinner—and you don’t even need toast.

Enjoy fast food Mediterranean-style at Taziki’s Café in this week’s Foodie Spotlight
POSTED 8:00 AM, OCTOBER 11, 2019, BY FOX59 WEB
 Mediterranean Cafe
Indianapolis is quickly becoming one of the hottest food cities in America. A destination for true foodies who are interested in everything from fine dining to food trucks. This column will put the spotlight on one of these local hot spots to help get the word out and share in the love of all things food.
Review by Dustin Heller (@eatindywatchindie on Instagram)
We live in a fast-paced world where our dining experience is often dominated by fast food drive-thru windows and at-home door delivery services. Convenience is often times an essential part of our eating choices, so why not spend our hard earned money on fast food that is not only delicious, but…wait for it…healthy! Wow, shocker, right? Taziki’s Mediterranean Café is a fast food restaurant that adheres to their mottos of “Live the Good Life” and “Eat Healthy”. They are a breath of fresh air in the greasy, fatty cloud of smog that is fast food.
Photo by @davepluimer
The Taziki’s origin story began in Alabama in the year 1998 when owners Keith and Amy Richards (not that Keith Richards!) returned home from a dream vacation to Greece. They enjoyed the healthy, community-focused Mediterranean lifestyle so much that they wanted to bring a taste of that to their community back home -- hence, Taziki’s was born. Indy’s first Taziki’s opened just a few short months ago at Keystone at Crossing (4025 East 82nd Street) and is already leaving its mark on Hoosier foodies.
Photo by @davepluimer
Not only is the food packed with inspired Mediterranean flavors, but everything they serve is super fresh. There are no fryers or freezers on the premises and they get produce shipments seven days a week. That is unheard of for a fast food joint. Taziki’s truly embraces the Mediterranean lifestyle which emphasizes healthy eating, friends and community, and plenty of exercise -- and it shines through in every aspect of their business. The menu is loaded with tasty eats, but I’m here to let you in on my four items that you “can’t miss”:
Beef Tender: The “Beef Tender” is a sandwich that is found on the Mediterranean Deli section of the menu and it should be in flashing lights. I would hate for anyone to miss it because of the simple name. The perfectly grilled beef is tender, juicy, full of flavor, and piled high on a Kaiser bun with grilled onions, melted Swiss cheese, and a dreamy horseradish sauce. Since it is close to Halloween and all, can’t you just imagine Frankenstein ordering this sandwich, and upon taking his first bite uttering the words: "Mmmm, Beef Tender!"
Photo by @davepluimer
Herb-Roasted Pork Loin: The loin of the pig is that area between the shoulder and the back legs, and is typically the leanest and most tender cut. The herbs paired with the pork give this dish a remarkable flavor, but the real showstopper is the famous Taziki’s tomato chutney aioli. The tender pork dipped in the aioli is a match made in heaven -- and that’s not all. To complete the feast, the pork loin comes with a side of grilled asparagus and your choice of roasted new potatoes or basmati rice. The only thing missing is a view of the Mediterranean Sea.
Photo by @davepluimer
Whipped Feta: My regular readers already know how much of Feta junkie I am. So when I saw whipped Feta on the appetizers menu, I was all in. Feta is a crumbly cheese made from sheep’s milk that is very common in Greek food. With a tangy taste and a grainy texture, feta is an excellent cheese to serve whipped with fresh pita bread. Whipping the feta keeps all of that delicious flavor, but adds another level of creaminess. The secret to this dish is the honey drizzle on top which adds an element of sweetness that is truly delightful.
Photo by @davepluimer
Grilled Lamb Gyro: You didn’t think I’d get through a “can’t miss” list at a Mediterranean cafe without mentioning lamb, did you? If you did, shame on you! Lamb is a staple in Mediterranean cuisine and a good gauge on the quality of any self-respecting Mediterranean restaurant. You could substitute the word “gyro” for “lamb” in the previous three sentences and it would fit perfectly. I guess what I’m saying is that a lamb gyro is pretty much the perfect Mediterranean dish. The pita is stuffed with the grilled lamb and garnished with Taziki sauce, tomatoes, mixed lettuce, and grilled onions … the stuff of legends.

The Big Rice lie: How dealers use perfumes to spice up cheap imported rice
·       Amos Kareithi  12th Oct 2019 00:00:00 GMT +0300
Description: work in rice farms at Thiba H2 Mwea section. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]As the golden sun slowly sinks into the horizon, casting a mesmerising spell over the lush plains, swarms of weaver birds flap to their nests to await a brighter tomorrow.
But just before the last rays of the sun are swallowed by the fast approaching darkness, 70-year-old Samuel Kathioni resignedly slips into his battered gumboots.
He beats his frayed cap on his jembe and wades out of the black cotton mud to head home to an empty evening and a rumbling stomach yearning for food.
These are the last days of September. November is fast approaching and so are the end-year festivities. Kathioni hopes that water will ultimately flow into his dry canal and irrigate his four acres of yellowing crop of rice. 
Away from the fields and into the rust covered warehouses and stores in Ngurubani, Wanguru and Mwea, hundreds of human predators are also engrossed in special payers. Their prayers are that Kathioni and 7,000 other rice farmers will reap 200,000 tonnes of premium basmati (aromatic) rice.
These prayers are being whispered in different parts of the country where the much sought after Mwea rice drives an underworld trade, which rakes in billions of shillings for importers and cereal dealers.
For decades, millions of Kenyans have been eating what they thought was Mwea’s aromatic rice and have been forking out extra shillings to avoid feeding their families on cheap imports, some of which have been said to have plastic material.
After weeks of investigations, the Saturday Standard has established that the country has been feeding on a big fat lie perpetuated by merchants whose only goal is to maximise profits at the expense of consumers and farmers.
Near Kathioni’s farm, a group of farmers is keenly listening to the man in charge of water in their line, Cadino Mubea, who explains how the precious commodity will be rationed so that every farmer gets a little.
The neighbours are contemplating their immediate future in the face of the diminished water supply at Thiba’s H2 section where 67 farmers dread losing their crop owing to scarcity of water.
Ironically, as the farmers anxiously wait for the expiry of 120 days, the duration it takes for rice to mature, some shady cereal dealers in Mwea town too have started preparing for the harvesting period in a special way.
Imported rice
“We know the importers have placed their orders in Pakistan and Thailand for shiploads of rice. By November 2 when we harvest, their stores will be full of imported rice,” explains farmer Danson Muriuki.
According to a World Bank report published in 2014, it takes dealers between 24 and 37 days to import a shipment in Kenya.
At Kathioni’s farm, there is pregnant silence when one of the farmers promises to give the names of the dealers importing rice from Pakistan to Mwea.
“Please do not name names. Do you want to be tortured the way we were brutalised during the Mau Mau? These are very powerful and rich people who can deal with you ruthlessly,” pleads another farmer, Sospeter Mwaura, 70.
When probed further, Mwaura, just like other residents, says he has heard the names of powerful billionaires being whispered in connection to spicing up Pakistani rice in Mwea using the basmati variety.
The farmers however are in agreement that Mwea town has dozens of stores that exclusively deal with imported rice, which retails at a fraction of what the local produce costs.
Huge savings
In one of the stores, the owner coaxes us to seal a deal: “My rice is first class. It is better than Mwea’s. If you have a wedding or a function, I will give you a deal of Sh2,200 for 25 kilos. This translates to Sh88 per kilo. This is a huge saving.”
It is in some of these stores and stalls where crafty traders use the aromatic Mwea rice to spice up the cheap imports, which is then retailed at a higher price, which is however still considerably cheaper than the local pure pishori rice.
The rice is transported to Mwea under the cover of darkness in sealed containers into warehouses where it is mixed with locally produced aromatic rice.
It is repackaged and branded, given fancy names which must include Mwea and pure pishori rice to dupe consumers. Innocent Ariemba, Mwea Irrigation Scheme Manager explains why basmati from the area is used by dealers for blending.
“Getting quality rice depends on where you buy it. Some traders are out to maximise on profits. It is very natural for then to use basmati, which is premium rice. A kilo of unprocessed rice (paddy) goes for Sh75. This if mixed with a kilo of ordinary rice, which retails at Sh35 per kilo, at a ratio of 1:3 gives the trader a competitive edge," Ariemba says.
The blended rice, we established, is then sold at a wholesale price of Sh125 per kilo in Mwea to traders who then retail it at Sh135.
According to experts, it takes a farmer Sh28 to produce a kilo of paddy, rice which after being dried is then sold to brokers and millers at Sh50 per kilo.
There are about 20 big millers in Mwea with a capacity to mill 3.5 tonnes of rice per hour. The big millers share 800,000 bags of rice (80 million kilos) while Mwea Rice Growers Society commands 200,000 bags (20 million kilos). The millers charge Sh3 to mill a kilo of rice and the minimum they can accept from a farmer or trader is 10 bags.
The mills also offer the small-scale traders a place and space to sell and store their rice. The big dealers purchase the paddy from farmers soon after harvest, mill it and then ferry it to their secret stores in Mwea, Kerugoya, Thika Nairobi and at times Mombasa, where it is blended and branded.
Along Mwimbi Road off Kirinyaga Road in Nairobi, a cereal dealer adjusted her aprons, cast a dirty look in our direction when we asked her about perfumed basmati rice, then said:
Chased away
“I also hear there is perfumed rice. I do not know where exactly it is done but I know it is in Nyamakima. As you can see I am strictly dealing with genuine Mwea rice. If you do not want to buy, go away or else you will chase away my customers.”
We tactfully retreated to search for the elusive perfume. Joseph Kinyanjui who works at Mwea Rice Mills says, “they even use artificial perfumes to scent Pakistani rice. There is an imported variety, which is scented and sold as basmati rice.”
Rice traders in the areas we visited operate under the golden rule of silence, feigning ignorance of the existence of the blending dens. In some cases when customers complain after the fake aroma fades, they are told the fragrance disappeared  because they washed the rice too vigorously.
“This is another lie by the rice dealers. The aroma is supposed to linger even after washing and cooking. It can only fade if the rice is washed for a long time and then exposed to the sun,” Kinyanjui adds.
Rice importation, agriculture and food security experts explain, is a necessary evil in Kenya because the country produces about 200,000 tonnes while the annual consumption is 600,000 tonnes.
“We must as a country import rice every year. The question is why the government allows imports just when the farmers are harvesting their crop. Why can’t it wait for the locally produced rice to be sold out before we allow imports?” Ariemba posed.
Local brand
According to Joseph Ndungu, the Chief Executive Officer of Mwea Rice Growers Cooperative Society, the use of Mwea rice by cartels to blend their cheap imports has destroyed the local brand. “This blending distorts the market and breaks the trust of the consumer who after consuming ‘fake’ pishori feels conned.This has been going on for a long time and it is time the government acts,” Ndungu says
He says the government should demand that rice blenders indicate on their packaging the contents of their brand correctly, so that buyers know when they buy genuine and adulterated produce.

Kalinga farmers seek amendment to rice tariffication law

Philippine Information Agency
11 Oct 2019, 22:38 GMT+10
CITY OF TABUK, Kalinga, Oct. 11 (PIA) - - Farmers in this city are calling on Congress to amend Republic Act 11203 or the Rice Tarrification Law claiming it is not helping the sector, rather it is causing loss of their income from rice farming.
Co-initiated by cooperative and the religious sector, the group in a forum passed resolution urging members of Congress to amend the law to incorporate remedies allowed by the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The farmers premised that aside from losing income is the domino effect on the economy of the city. Palay farmgate price is expected to sink further upon entry of more rice import. The inflow of rice imports did not significantly bring down market price of rice, they averred.
The sector alleged their interest was not considered when the law was crafted.
The group is also asking Congress to incorporate the following provisions: Restoration of the powers and functions of the National Food Authority namely licensing of importers and other players, monitoring and supervision of the rice industry and price stabilization.
Restoration of the option available under WTO Rules and the Safeguards Measures Act (RA 8800) to temporarily reintroduces quantitative restriction when serious injury is inflicted on the farming sector, and mandating farmer representation in the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund steering committee.
The Kapehan body composed of heads of offices in the province is supporting the move for amendment in order to sustain and save the province being the "Rice Granary of the Cordilleras". (JDP/PAB-PIA CAR, Kalinga)


DA ends rice imports safeguard probe pending talks with Cabinet

The Department of Agriculture (DA) on Friday revealed that it terminated its safeguard investigation on rice imports pending a dialogue with the government’s economic managers.
“We started the study on the possibility of having to tap the general safeguards duty. The decision of the department is to have this discussed first with economic development managers,” said William Dar, the department’s chief, in a five-minute “press briefing” on Friday.
“That’s our decision: we terminated the first study. We will now actively discuss with the economic development managers on October 24,” Dar added.
Dar’s disclosure came a day after the DA’s 30-day deadline to reveal the findings of its preliminary safeguard investigation.
Under Republic Act 8800 or the Safeguard Measures Act, the Agriculture Secretary “shall terminate” a safeguard investigation if their preliminary findings “are negative,” or do not meet the criteria set to impose a safeguard duty.
Last September 11, the DA started the surge in rice imports following the plunge in the farm-gate prices of local rice, to determine whether it warranted safeguard measures.
The results of the investigation could have led to the imposition of a provisional duty to temporarily increase rice tariffs pending final determination by the Tariff Commission.
“I will not telegraph the findings of the first study, we have terminated it. We will discuss it with the economic development managers,” Dar said when asked about the investigation results.
On the forthcoming talks with economic managers, Dar said they are aware of the current situation of the local rice industry, and “all measures are being discussed.”
On October 10, the BusinessMirror reported that reliable government sources said the Cabinet-level Economic Development Cluster (EDC) wants to discuss the proposed imposition of a safeguard duty on rice imports before the DA moves ahead with the results of its preliminary investigation.
However, Dar was mum on whether the EDC intervened in the safeguard investigation of the DA when he was asked by the press on October 9.

Factors to determination

Under RA 8800’s implementing rules and regulations (IRR), the secretary shall “essentially determine” five factors in its preliminary determination.
First, if there was an increase in imports, either in absolute terms or relative to domestic production, in the last five years preceding the application to substantiate claims of significant increase in import volume.
Second, the “presence and extent of serious injury or threat thereof to the domestic industry producing the like or directly competitive product.”
Third, the “causal relationship between the increased imports of the product under consideration and the serious injury or threat thereof to the affected domestic industry.”
Fourth, the impacts of seasonality of products, whenever, applicable.
“That there has been a substantial increase in imports taking into account their volume and whether or not there has been a rapid accumulation of inventories of the domestic product, and a reduction in sales and profit margins of the domestic industry,” it added.

Scientist bags Indo-US fellowship

Oct 12, 2019, 8:49 AM; last updated: Oct 12, 2019, 8:49 AM (IST)


Tribune News Service
Ludhiana, October 11
Dr Kumari Neelam, Assistant Biotechnologist, School of Agricultural Biotechnology, Punjab Agricultural University, has been selected for the prestigious Indo-US Fellowship for Women in STEMM (WISTEMM), supported by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, for conducting the research on multiplex genome editing for translational research aimed at designing novel resistance against bacterial blight in rice, for a duration of six months at the University of Maryland, USA.
She is working on wide hybridisation, genomics and molecular breeding aspects of rice. Her major emphasis is on utilisation of wild species of rice for improving productivity, insect-pest and disease resistance in elite cultivars. She fine-mapped a bacterial blight resistance gene from Oryza glaberrima derived introgression line and is aiming at cloning of a xa-45(t) utilising multiplex genome editing approach, at the University of Maryland in collaboration with Dr Nidhi Rawat. The expertise will be also utilised for cloning of other agriculturally important genes already mapped at School of Agricultural Biotechnology.
The scientist also received a congratulatory message from Parveen Chhuneja, Director, School of Agricultural Biotechnology, on being selected among top ten scientists from India in the stream of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine.

Rice scarcity: Nigerians groan as price skyrockets

The closure of the Nigerian borders by the federal government has continued to take its tolls on the Nigerians as the scarcity of rice hit the markets resulting in the hike in the price of the commodity. Nigerians are groaning as the price of rice skyrockets, TOPE SUNDAY writes.
Major markets in Nigeria today are experiencing scarcity of rice because of the closure of the Nigerian borders by the federal government leading to a hike in the price of the commodity which is a staple food in most Nigerian homes. The scarcity may not be connected with the fact that the quantity of locally produced rice is insufficient to meet the needs of Nigerians and was previously supplemented with the foreign brands which were imported through the now closed borders.
The situation is compounded by the fact that the locally produced rice is also not available for purchase and where it is available; the price has also been hiked. This is as marketers insist that the price of the commodity is like to the upward spiral unless the government of the day revisits its decision in the nearest future.
Why border closure
President Muhammadu Buhari in far away Yokohama, Japan, in August this year, took his time to explain that the partial closure of Nigeria’s border with Benin Republic, was due to the massive smuggling activities, especially of rice, taking place on that corridor.
President Buhari, who granted his Beninois counterpart, Patrice Talon an audience, expressed great concern over the smuggling of rice.
The President said the activities of the smugglers threatened the self-sufficiency already attained due to his administration’s agricultural policies.
“Now that our people in the rural areas are going back to their farms, and the country has saved huge sums of money which would otherwise have been expended on importing rice using our scarce foreign reserves. We cannot allow smuggling of the product at such alarming proportions to continue,” he said.
Effect on price, consumption
Since Nigeria closed its land borders, the price of rice, a major staple in the country has been on the rise. According to a report in a national daily, the price of a 50kg bag of imported rice, which was selling at N14,500 before the closure of the border, now sells for N27,000.
Also, locally produced rice has not been left out of the party as the price of Lake rice, a product of an alliance between Lagos state and Kebbi state, has increased by 22 per cent from N13,500 to N16,500.
According to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for August 2019, Nigeria, with average local demand of 7.3 million metric tonnes (MT) per annum, versus average local production of 4.9 million MT, is the world’s third largest rice importer behind China and the Philippines.
Further checks by Blueprint Weekend revealed that major markets in Nigeria are experiencing the scarcity of the product.
A rice dealer in Ilorin, Kwara state, Mrs Ronke Adekunle, told this medium that despite the hike of the price of rice, it is also scarce in the market.
According to her, the imported rice which most Nigerians are used to is becoming very scarce in the market despite its new price tag due to the border closure.
She, however, expressed concerns over the availability and acceptance of the locally grown rice, which quality she said some Nigerians still doubt.
“As I am talking to you now, rice scarcity has hit major markets in Ilorin, the Kwara state capital. They have closed the border, which made it impossible for us to have foreign rice in the market.
“People are ready to buy imported rice at its new price because they preferred it to our own rice. But the product is scarce in the market. However, locally grown rice which price has soared higher is not enough for our people to consume’’, she said.
Also, a survey of some other markets in the country revealed that the same scenario is playing out in those markets.
Efforts to boost rice production
Since 2011, the government has made substantial efforts to encourage the domestic cultivation of rice and eliminate importation using incentives such as subsidised loans, cheap fertilizer, free farm lands, and tax rebates.
 The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has also initiated lending schemes such as the Anchors Borrowers Programme (ABP) and Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CACS) to stimulate the planting and cultivation of local crops.
Can local rice sustain the country?
With the closure of the Nigerian borders in a bid to tackle the smuggling of consumable items like rice into the country, Nigerians have been raising a lot of posers bothering on whether the locally grown rice will be enough to meet the needs of the people.
Speaking on the issue, an economist, Mr Adedayo Ademuwagun, said the local production of rice is enough for the Nigerian citizens, who he said, spend a 10th of their food budget on rice.
He said: “Local rice production is still not enough for Nigeria’s 190 million inhabitants, who spend about a tenth of their food budget on the staple.”
According to the Director of the popular Badagry market on the Nigeria-Benin border, Mr Todowede Baba Oja, prior to the border closure, some 3,000 sacks of imported rice were being smuggled into Nigeria every day by motorbike riders.
With Baba Oja’s revelation, Nigerians consumed rice in large quality than any other food on daily basis
 According to economists, though production has improved and locally-grown rice is available in many markets, supply still dwarfs local demand.
They have maintained that the decision to close the land borders has worsened the supply situation, resulting in a steep increase in price as seen in the past few weeks. Adding to the pressure of low supply, many dealers are said to be hoarding the commodity with the intention of selling at increased prices during the Christmas festivities.   
They, however, said if something drastic is not done to address the situation, hunger is looming.
Closure temporary measure
Reacting to the development, the former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Deputy Governor, Dr Obadiah Mailafia, who described border closure as a welcome idea, however, cautioned that measure should be a temporary one.
“If there are contingencies that are required to temporarily close the border, then it is something that should be encouraged.
“Some traders, importers and exporters have been worried by the difficulty it has posed to their business. One trader, I heard was lamenting that he had perishable goods and a lot of them have been at borders for many weeks, and that he is at the verge of losing her business.
“Those issues should be looked into, but in a situation where there is an uncontrolled smuggling of banned items in particular into our country, we have to resolve the sovereign right to closure our borders. But like I said, it should be temporary. So, I welcome the decision to make this kind of the decision to closure the border temporarily,” the former CBN boss said.
On whether the closure would lead to hunger, Mailafia said: “There is what economists called ‘temporary shocks’. When you make a decision, the market sometimes over react and therefore, you will get price shock, just scarcity.
“These are temporary. In fact, they can act as stimulus to the economy so that rice producers next year will double their production because now they are encouraged by the price signals and incentives to produce more for the need of the market. I think this is the way we should look at it.”

DavNor Town Inaugurates P5.9-M Rice Processing Complex

By Featuresdesk (ICG) on October 12, 2019

In a bid to modernize farming in the province and help local farmers improved their productivity, a PHP5.9-million rice processing complex located in New Visayas village, Sto. Tomas, Davao del Norte was inaugurated on Wednesday morning.
The Gravity Irrigators Service Association, Inc., (GISACO) a farmers’ cooperative, was the beneficiary of the rice processing complex.
Mayor Ernesto Evangelista, said the establishment of the processing plant was part of the local government’s continuing effort to help rice farmers affected with the implementation of Republic Act 11203 or the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL).
“This project serves a living proof that our municipal government could actively address the problems faced by the rice farmers and the agricultural sector, in general. We hope this project could also generate local employment for our people since this will be managed by a cooperative,” Evangelista said in his speech.
The local chief executive has urged rice farmers from other barangays to take advantage of the facility as it would lessen their production costs.
Municipal Agriculturist Elmer Degorio said the multi-pass rice mill was funded under the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) rice program.
“GISACO will take ownership of the project. This project could generate income and provide enough financing for their operations especially to qualified farmers who are engaged in rice farming,” he said.
Degorio explained that farmers could avail of the services once GISACO starts operating the multi-pass rice mill.
“A multi-pass rice mill has a recovery rate from 65 percent to 70 percent. The farmers’ rice mills will be more efficient than most that are currently operated by rice millers,” he said.
Apart from the multi-pass rice mill, GISACO also received several pieces of farm machinery such as pre-cleaning systems, a destoner unit, rubber huller, paddy separator, and a multi-pass whitening system. (PNA)

A ‘smart’ device will test rice quality now as govt says manual system promotes corruption

In 7 states, FCI will use the portable AnnadarpanSMART device to determine the quality of rice at 3 stages — procurement, storage and distribution.

SAMYAK PANDEY 11 October, 2019 3:46 pm IST
Description: Representational image | Photo- PixabayRepresentational image | Photo- Pixabay
New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government has introduced a computer-operated and portable device called AnnadarpanSMART in seven states for quality analysis of rice varieties. The device, officials hope, will put an end to alleged exploitation of farmers at the hands of corrupt officials, rice millers and middlemen during manual evaluation methods.
The product, developed by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) in collaboration with other government agencies in 2018, can perform appearance-based quality analysis of crops on national/Food Corporation of India (FCI) quality standards.
Sources at the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution (MCAFPD) have told ThePrint that 30 FCI storage centres have been integrated with the system so far for quality determination and procurement of rice. Punjab has 13 such systems while Haryana has five, four each in Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, one in West Bengal, two in Odisha, and one in Chhattisgarh.
Nabarun Bhattacharya, director of C-DAC, told ThePrint that the estimated cost of each AnnadarpanSMART device is Rs 2 lakh and it has a development period of three years.
“As of now, the system is only being used to evaluate non-aromatic (non-basmati) rice varieties to ensure quality procurement of rice meant for public distribution system. The device uses image-processing technology under controlled illumination for evaluation of rice,” he added.

Current method ‘promoted corruption’ at local level

Until now, evaluation of rice varieties at FCI storage centres was done manually and prices fixed accordingly. But questions have often been raised on the authenticity of such analysis and integrity of local FCI officials, middlemen and rice millers while determining prices.
An official at MCAFPD’s quality control department told ThePrint, “Human-based arbitrary method for quality determination of rice practised till now promoted corruption through rice millers, middlemen and local level FCI officials while exploiting farmers by assigning unfair rates to their produce.”
He also said the product was yet to be introduced in several other states due to protests by rice millers associations.
The official further explained that AnnadarpanSMART will scientifically determine the quality of rice varieties during procurement, storage and distribution through FCI outlets. It will evaluate rice qualities on nine parameters — such as grains by weight, broken rice, admixture, de-husked, chalky grains, red grains, damaged/discoloured grains and humidity content – in order to generate a computerised test result.

‘Millers are also exploited by officials’

Refuting the government’s allegations of protests by rice millers, associations said that the authorities had failed to take their views into consideration while introducing the device.
Tarsem Lal Saini, president of the Punjab Rice Millers Association, told ThePrint, “This is an arbitrary implementation of computer-based evaluation system by the government. We had been asking authorities to let us inspect the system for the past three-four years. But they refused to.”
While putting the onus of farmer exploitation on state agricultural officers and FCI officials, Saini added, “Millers are also exploited by government servants for fixing prices and determining the quality according to them.”
India has been the world’s largest rice exporter since 2011-12 after it replaced Thailand from the leading position. The country’s share in world exports in the past four years has stayed at 25 per cent. Some of the major export destinations for Indian non-basmati rice during 2018-19 are Nepal, Benin, Senegal, Bangladesh and Guinea.
During 2018-19, India exported 75,99,552.15 MT of non-basmati rice varieties for Rs 21,184.85 crore. The government had earlier lifted a four-year ban on export of non-basmati varieties in February 2011.

Rice millers firm on stand, distress sale of paddy starts

Only 6 lakh metric tonne has been purchased leading to glut in mandis of Khanna, Ludhiana, Gurdaspur and Amritsar, where the crop is selling 200 below the MSP

CHANDIGARH Updated: Oct 12, 2019 00:28 IST
Description: Vishal Rambani
Vishal Rambani
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Description: A labourer unloading paddy at the grain market in Patiala on Friday.A labourer unloading paddy at the grain market in Patiala on Friday.(HT Photo)
Due to the tussle between the state government and rice millers over signing of contracts and millers’ refusal to provide space for storing paddy, distress sale of the crop has started. Only 6 lakh metric tonne has been purchased leading to glut in mandis of Khanna, Ludhiana, Gurdaspur and Amritsar, where the crop is selling 200 below the MSP. By the end of this week, maximum quantity of the crop is also expected to reach the mandis, adding to the pressure on space. Overall, the state expects a production of 170 lakh metric tonne.
At Khanna, the largest mandi in Asia, there is hardly any space for farmers to unload their crop for procurement, as the entire market is full of stock of purchased stock and there is hardly any lifting.
“We are not purchasing paddy, as millers are not cooperating. We cannot purchase, if they won’t allow us to store paddy. I can’t take risk of purchasing paddy, if its not lifted from market and stored in the allotted rice mill. Until the stock reaches the rice miller, it is my sole responsibility,” said an official in the food and civil supplies department, requesting anonymity.
Only 15% millers have signed deal with government
The situation is set to intensify, as till October 10, only 15% (511) of 4,092 rice millers had signed an agreement with the Punjab food and civil supplies department for milling of paddy for the Food Corporation of India (FCI). Punjab does not have own space to stock paddy. Usually, this process is completed before September 30.  “I have sold my paddy at 200 below MSP to a private miller. There is no government purchase, said Surjit Singh, a farmer, at Bhagatanwala grain market.
 Punjab Rice Millers Association president Tarsem Saini said they would not sign an agreement with the government until the issue of storage and clearance of stock by the FCI was resolved. “I fail to understand why the state government is opposing us. Our grudge is against the FCI and central government, which didn’t move previous stocks from Punjab, leaving almost negligible space to store new milled rice,” he said, adding that the Punjab government should pressure the Centre to lift stock of previous years.
“Almost 80% of storage space is already full; another crop is arriving. Under the present policy, milling won’t be completed before October 2020, which is a loss-making formula. Millers can’t take the risk of holding rice beyond March 2020, as increase in temperature decreases the weight of stocked rice, due to loss of moisture,” he said, reiterating that the rice millers would not life stock. He admitted that due to the stand-off, distress sale of paddy was happening.
Food and civil supplies minister KAP Sihna said he was optimistic that millers will start lifting. “We are in the process of signing agreements with rice millers.”
On apprehension of shortage of space with the FCI for rice and movement of stock, he had taken up matter with the Centre to make more space for rice. “We will ensure that every grain of farmers is purchased at MSP,” he claimed.
Endless beds of wild rice, endless waves of ducks
Rice Lake National Wildlife refuge draws more ring-necked ducks than any other place.
Written By: John Myers / Forum News Service | Oct 7th 2019 - 5am.
Flocks of waterfowl soar over Rice Lake in Rice Lake National Wildlife Refuge on Oct. 1, 2019. Almost 200,000 birds were counted on Rice Lake for the fall migration report. (Tyler Schank /
RICE LAKE NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE, Minn. — Duane King goosed the motor, the propeller kicked to life, and the big airboat took off across the seemingly endless sea of wild rice.
As grains of rice peppered us in the face, and yes rice stings at 20 mph, waterfowl of every sort took to the air.
There were skeins of Canada geese scrambling to get away from the noisy boat. Small flocks of blue-winged teal buzzed just over the waving rice. Panicked coots ran across the water trying to make a break for it. Thousands of mallards and wood ducks nearer to shore peeled off to escape the loud intrusion onto their otherwise untrammeled lake. More than 200 trumpeter swans trundled skyward.
Mostly, though, there were ring-necked ducks. Tens of thousands of ring-necked ducks, commonly called ringbills, scrambled into the air in great swarms. Bee hives of disorganized flight filled the sky in layers, some almost close enough to touch when they took off, other ringnecks already hundreds of feet in the air.

Duane King counts waterfowl on Rice Lake for the refuge fall migration report Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019. As King drives around the lake in an airboat he speaks into a recorder to track his count. (Tyler Schank /
This was King’s first refuge waterfowl count of the 2019 season. He’s been doing this once a week each October for the last 28 years, the last nine on his own. But even he was impressed with how many ducks were already on the refuge as of Oct. 1.
“I didn’t expect this many. Definitely not this many ringnecks this early,’’ King said as idled the airboat for a short break.
How many was this many? Nearly 200,000 ducks in all, including a whopping 172,154 ring-necks. King keeps track of grids of ducks on an audio recorder as he operates the airboat and transcribes it when he gets back to the office. He makes one lap around the perimeter of the lake and then one around the middle. It takes about an hour.
“They really don’t go very far. As soon as I’m off the lake, they’ll be back,’’ he noted.
A ring-necked duck flies above Rice Lake in Rice Lake National Wildlife Refuge Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019. Ringnecks were the most prevalent on the lake with an estimated count of a little over 172,000. (Tyler Schank /

Biggest flock ever recorded

This is the continental epicenter for ring-necked ducks, one of the most popular ducks targeted by Minnesota hunters each fall. It’s considered one of the most important migration rest and feeding stops for the species, which nest each spring on remote, boggy lakes in far northern Minnesota and across forested provinces and territories of Canada.
Ringnecks have a faint white ring around their necks and a bolder ring on their bills. The hens are dusky brown, and the drakes have distinctive black heads with stark white markings. They will end up along the Gulf of Mexico for winter. But right now they are fattening up on wild rice across the region. Especially here.
How big a deal is the place for ring-necks? Consider on Halloween Day in 2017, there were nearly 1 million of them here — 930,000 by the official count. And on Oct. 14, 1994, a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources aerial survey estimated more than 1.1 million ducks on the lake at once, including more than 600,000 ringnecks. That was the largest single flock of ducks ever recorded in Minnesota in one place, DNR biologists noted.
Ring-necked ducks fly over Rice Lake Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019. (Tyler Schank /
With ample food, few predators (eagles pick-off sick or injured birds but rarely bother healthy ducks) and no duck hunters to bother them, the ducks here are fat and happy in their federally protected bed and breakfast.
“They’ll (numbers of ducks will) keep building for a couple more weeks. We usually reach peak about October 15,’’ King said. “But when we have a good rice crop, and this is a great one, they will hold here until it freezes up. There’s really no reason for them to leave.”
Until the lake freezes up. Just two days after the massive Halloween count in 2017, the lake froze, and not a single duck remained.

All about the water level

It’s up to King and Walt Ford, refuge manager since 2005, to keep Rice Lake at its optimal level all spring, summer and fall to maximize wild rice production. That means manipulating water control structures at both ends of the lake to keep water depth between 2-4 feet. Any deeper and the rice simply won’t grow. Or if the water comes up too fast in summer, the rice will uproot and never ripen.
“Right now we’re trying to dump some of this rain we’ve had out so the dabbling ducks can get better access,’’ Ford said, noting dabbling ducks like mallards, teal and wood ducks can forage only as deep as they can reach down. Diving ducks like ringnecks can go far underwater to find rice kernels and other food.
Two mature swans lead three cygnets through Rice Lake National Wildlife Refuge Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019. (Tyler Schank /
Because of water control structures and constant tweaking “we can have great wild rice crops in the refuge when there isn't much rice anywhere else around here,’’ Ford said.
“But even here, even with the right water level, the rice takes a rest some years. We may have a great year and couple good years but then there are some years with hardly any at all. It’s a cycle,’’ Ford added, noting kernels of wild rice can lie dormant on the lake bottom for years, even decades, until the right conditions occur for it to sprout. “The native Americans here say it’s about one great crop every seven years.”
And the ducks seem to know quickly when that happens, like this year. Nearly all of the highest duck count years are in years with ample wild rice.
“Somehow they seem to find it in the good years and then they stay,’’ King said.
That means there could be a half million or more ducks here within the next week or two, and it’s a sight every waterfowl enthusiast would love to see. While the lake itself is off-limits to the public in any form, a simple (free) drive or hike through the refuge will provide ample views of waterfowl. The best place to watch big flocks of ducks is from an elevated viewing platform on the lakeshore, especially early in the morning and again at sunset, Ford said.
Rice Lake NWR volunteer Jim Sloan fishes off the shore of Rice River Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019. (Tyler Schank /
Of course, not all of the birds stay within the refuge boundaries every day. Many seek food elsewhere or, for reasons not fully understood, just want to stretch their wings. That can make nearby lakes, marshes and rivers good spots for duck hunters on some days. While they may not get to hunt them on Rice Lake, most hunters seem to kike the idea that hundreds of thousands of ducks are at least in the area, Ford noted.
There are other major stopovers for ringnecks, too, such as Nett Lake near Orr, Drumbeater Lake Refuge near Bena and smaller wild rice lakes in the area.
While some hunters claim refuges like Rice Lake limit hunting opportunity, Minnesota hunters manage to shoot upwards of 86,000 ringnecks every year. Statewide, it’s the third most popular duck in the bag, behind mallards and wood ducks, said Steve Cordts, waterfowl specialist for the Minnesota DNR. But in northern Minnesota ringies can often be the first or second most hunted duck.
Because they nest along forested lakes in remote country — rather than on open prairie ponds like mallards, teal and gadwall — there is no accurate, continent-wide count of ringnecks. But biologists generally agree that ringnecks are holding their own, with strong numbers from year to year at many fall staging areas and, in some areas in Canada where they are counted in spring, the number of nesting birds increasing in recent years.
The ducks have been coming to Rice Lake here for untold centuries, Ford noted. And so have people. There's evidence, including burial mounds, that show prehistoric Indians were here more than 2,000 years ago.
“Probably for the wild rice. For the ducks. For fishing. For the sugarbush; the maple syrup,’’ Ford noted. “People have been coming here for centuries for the same reasons.”

A pile of wild rice gathers on the deck of the airboat as Duane King drives on Rice Lake to count waterfowl Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019. (Tyler Schank /

Rice Lake National Wildlife Refuge at a glance

Location: 36289 Minnesota Highway 65, just south of McGregor; about 75 minutes west of Duluth.
Established: 1935 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Size: 18,208 acres of woods, water and meadows.
Rice Lake: 3,635 acres.
Average depth: 2-4 feet
Annual human visitors: About 25,000
Average waterfowl visitors: More than 300,000 each autumn.
Main attractions: Spring songbird migration; autumn waterfowl migration. Site of Minnesota's largest ever recorded flock of ducks.
Primary refuge emphasis: Water level control to support annual production of wild rice to enhance the lake as a critical migration stop for waterfowl, especially ring-necked ducks.
Designated: A “Globally Important Bird Area” by the American Bird Conservancy.
Open to the public: For hiking, cross country skiing in season, nature drives, birdwatching, fishing and in some areas open to small game hunting, bowhunting for deer, special handicapped firearms deer season and special permit firearms deer season.
Best place to see waterfowl: Sunrise and sunset from a raised viewing platform at the end of Wildlife Drive.
Closed: To all waterfowl hunting.
One of: 565 refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge system that's largely funded with the sale of federal waterfowl hunting stamps.
Hours: Refuge access road gates open every day pre-dawn until after dusk. (The main Refuge Drive will be closed from noon to sunset each day from Oct. 10-13 for a special handicapped accessible deer hunt.)
Fees: Free.
Surprisingly good: Northern pike fishing in the Rice River inside the refuge.
For more information: Call 218-768-2402 or go to

Oct. 1 waterfowl count at Rice Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Ring-necked ducks: 172,145
Mallards: 22,853
Coot: 2,716
Canada geese: 489
Wood ducks: 456
Blue-winged teal: 344
Swans: 237
Hooded merganser: 40
Redhead: 3
Total: 199,252.
Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Trees are reflected in Rice River in Rice Lake National Wildlife Refuge on Oct. 1, 2019. (Tyler Schank /

India's August rice exports drop 29% on weak African demand: Govt

India is the world's biggest rice exporter but its shipments have plunged 27% in the first five months of the 2019/20 financial year, starting on April 1, to 3.8 million tonnes, the data showed.

Oct 10, 2019, 04.13 PM IST
MUMBAI: India's rice exports in August fell 29% year-on-year to 644,249 tonnes, government data showed on Thursday, due to weak demand from African countries for non-basmati rice, among other factors.

"Demand from west African countries is weak for non-basmati rice. They have bought a lot from China and don't need to buy huge volumes now," said Nitin Gupta, vice president of Olam India's rice business.

India is the world's biggest rice exporter but its shipments have plunged 27% in the first five months of the 2019/20 financial year, starting on April 1, to 3.8 million tonnes, the data showed.

Iran, the biggest buyer of India's basmati rice, has nearly stopped purchases in the last few weeks as it harvests its own crop, said an exporter based in New Delhi, who declined to be identified.

"Iran could resume buying early next year after harvesting the local crop," the exporter said.

Rice supplies from India's summer-sown crop are expected to improve from next month and this could moderate local prices and make exports competitive, Gupta said.

Last month, the government had said that rice production from the summer-sown crop in 2019 was expected to drop 1.7% from a year ago to 100.35 million tonnes.

Non-basmati rice exports could fall 40% in 2019/20 from a year ago unless the government provided some incentive for exports, said B V Krishna Rao, president of the Rice Exporters Association (REA).

"The industry badly needs government support to accelerate exports," Rao said.

India exported 11.95 million tonnes of rice in 2018/19 through March 31, down 7.2% from the previous 12 months, even though it had provided incentives for exports of non-basmati rice for four months of the year.

Lower prices from competitors could also be a contributing factor to a fall in exports.

India's 5% broken white rice was quoted at about $368-$372 per tonne this week compared with $350 for supplies from Vietnam.

Smaller shipments from India could help rivals such as Thailand, Vietnam and Myanmar raise their exports, according to Indian exporters.

It could also force Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government to buy more from farmers, even as it struggles to liquidate last year's stocks.

India mainly exports non-basmati rice to Bangladesh, Nepal, Benin and Senegal, and premier basmati rice to Iran, Saudi Arabia and Iraq

Home from the Holidays and Ready for U.S. Rice in Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA -- USA Rice, in cooperation with Abu Bintein, one of the major U.S. rice brands on the Saudi market, initiated a media and in-mall promotional campaign that started in September and runs through mid-October.

"This time of the year is an important consumption period here as families return from holidays and the new school year starts in the Kingdom, getting everybody back to their daily routines and, of course, their cooking habits," said Sarah Moran, USA Rice vice president international. "U.S. rice is seen by Saudi consumers as a healthy ingredient for families, and it is trusted thanks to the consistent high quality that can be relied on to turn out perfectly, anytime and for any dish."

The campaign is focused on several outdoor media elements including a short video sequence on the giant LED tower in Jeddah, as well as several bridge brandings on major high traffic locations and five large LED screens at selected locations in Jeddah. Additionally, branding has been placed at 10 Hyperpanda stores (the largest retail chain in Saudi Arabia) in Jeddah and cities in the southern part of the Kingdom, at cash registers, as well as directly on the rice shelves to influence purchasing decisions at the point of sale.

"Saudi Arabia is an important and loyal market for U.S. rice, with annual imports of around 100,000 MT in the past years," Moran continued. "Promotional activities in this market are aimed at the younger Saudi generation to increase sales and keep U.S. rice relevant for this target group; that's a big reason why we initiated activities outside of Jeddah for the first time this year. Based on the success of these efforts, we plan to continue this roll-out in 2020."