Thursday, October 17, 2019

17th October,2019 Daily Global Regional Local Rice E-Newsletter

World Food Day: Expert advocates increased funding in agric

Prof. Veronica Obatolu, the Executive Director, Institute of Agricultural Research and Training Ibadan, has called for Federal Government’s increased investment in agriculture to create jobs for youths in the country.
The Executive Director made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Wednesday in Ibadan as Nigeria joins the world to celebrate the 2019 World Food Day.
She said that the government’s increased funding of the sector would improve small scale farmers’ productivity and income through value chain development and encouragement of farmers’ cooperative groups.
Obatolu said that the closure of the border by the Federal Government gave room for consumers to seek alternatives in locally produced food items, thereby, improving farmers’ incomes.
According to her, it will improve the livelihood of farmers which can subsequently result in job and wealth creation.
“For example, one of my friends told me that someone gave her Ofada rice about a year ago, she just kept it somewhere with the impression that it was not as good as the imported rice.
“Fortunately, due to the recent ban, she was forced to try the Ofada rice and to her surprise, it has better taste and says even if the ban is lifted, she will never go back to the polished imported rice,’’ she said.
She, however, urged research scientists to look how to completely get rid of the stones, saying the effect of the ban would bring an increase in price and reduction in the purchase of imported food items.
The Provost, Federal College of Agriculture, Ibadan, Dr Babajide Adelekan called for urgent need to ensure increased funding of the food sector by the federal and state governments.
Adelekan said that Nigerians should embrace the government’s removal of import duties on tractors and agricultural machines, saying this would speed up mechanisation of the country’s agriculture.
He said improved access to agricultural loans should be ensured through the passing of legislation, which should be given at lower interest rates.
The provost said that close monitoring should be done to ensure that such loans were used for agricultural purposes.
“Legislation should also establish and insist on a minimum benchmark for agricultural loans in the overall loan portfolio of a bank.
“Doing these and others will assist the country to improve food production to feed the population, and fibre production to feed the industries with an attendant increase in the overall performance of our economy.
“Mechanised agriculture is capital intensive and the typical Nigerian farmer simply does not have the resources to execute that entirely on his or her own.
“Therefore, as a matter of policy, agro service centres should have the full range of agricultural machines and equipment, seeds, fertilisers, agrochemicals and other essential agricultural inputs be established in every agriculturally based local government in Nigeria.
“Farmers within the local government can then approach these agro service centres to rent machines and other equipment at highly subsidised rates to conduct their farming activities,” he said.
He said that agricultural personnel should also be available at these centres to render proper extension services to farmers.
The South-West Vice President, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, Mr Victor Korede, said the border closure served as a balancing scale that had revealed the true worth of the country.
Korede said that the Federal Government’s Anchor Borrowers Programme to empower the farmers had boosted rice production in South-West in the last one year.
“Rice farmers are now in farms around the year which had not been before. We have also seen the government through its life programme constructed small scale rice mill in some states,” he said.
NAN reports that World Food Day annually marked on October 16 is aimed at tackling global hunger.
UN Food and Agriculture Organisation said in a statement it was released ahead of the day.
FAO said shifting to a healthier diet by eating more seasonal fruits and vegetables and reducing the consumption of junk food could help in meeting the ‘zero hunger’ goal of the UN-mandated Sustainable Development Goals.

Piranha-Proof Fish Scales Offer Inspiration for Better Armor

Arapaima gigas. Image by
The scales of the massive Amazonian freshwater fish, Arapaima gigas, are so tough that they do not tear or crack when a piranha—which has one of the animal kingdom’s sharpest bites—attacks. Material scientists have discovered the secret to the fish’s impermeable armor: each scale is made up of a highly mineralized outer layer that resists penetration and a soft, yet tough, inner layer of collagen that deforms and absorbs pressure, preventing damage from spreading.
The work could serve as inspiration for stronger, lightweight and flexible synthetic armors. Researchers published their findings Oct. 16 in the journal Matter.
The project was led by Marc Meyers, a professor of nanoengineering and mechanical engineering at the University of California San Diego, and Robert Ritchie, a professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at the University of California Berkeley.
Bullet-proof vests have a material structure similar to that of Arapaima’s scales; they are made of internal layers of flexible webbing sandwiched between outer layers of hard plastic. But man-made materials such as these are bound using a third adhesive material, whereas the fish’s scales are bound by collagen on an atomic level; they grow together, weaving into one solid piece.
Other fish use collagen like Arapaima does, but the collagen layers in Arapaima scales are thicker than in any other fish species. Each scale is as thick as a grain of rice. Researchers hypothesize that this thickness is the key to the scales’ toughness.
Left: Six successive views of the stages of Arapaima fish scale cracking during tests. Right: Cracking causes separation in the mineralized layer, while the collagen layer prevents further damage due to stretching, rotation and delamination. Image courtesy of Meyers lab/Matter
They tested this by creating cracks in Arapaima scales and soaking them in water for 48 hours, then slowly pulling the edges apart while applying force through a special fixture. As they increased the force, they observed that part of the mineralized, hard outer layer expanded, cracked, and then gradually peeled off. The scales localized the crack, containing it and preventing damage from spreading in the twisting structural collagen layer. If the applied pressure did break through the scale, it deformed the scale rather than breaking it.
Here is a movie showing crack extension from an artificially created crack on a scale during a fracture toughness test:
Movie showing the various plastic deformation mechanisms that retard crack propagation in moist Arapaima fish scales:
Researchers are now investigating how Arapaima’s scales have adapted to prevent penetration from piranha bites as well as how nature behaves this way in other species.
Paper title: “Arapaima Fish Scale: One of the Toughest Flexible Biological Materials.” Co-authors include Wen Yang* and Haocheng Quan*, UC San Diego.
*These authors contributed equally to this work
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Your Views for October 16

 ‘Shrink our fear’
As a child, I was told a dragon collected water in the sky and sprinkled it down to Earth to make rain.

I was born in a village in the north of Vietnam in 1946. Tu Chau Village was surrounded and protected with thick, huge bamboo hedges. Red brick paths wandered through the village, not wide enough for automobiles. I never saw one until age 9, when we left the village to move south.
In my world, no science, no scientists, never heard of astronauts — just water buffaloes, endless rice fields, tons of myths, superstition and ghost stories.
As an adult now with a college education and years of searching and discovering, I feel I am but a speck of dust in the vast universe — yet somehow this makes me feel peaceful. This is what science does for humanity — clarify, explain, help us to understand where we are in the order of things.
Science expands our minds. We could use the universe as a metaphor for our mind — keep this mind open, and we see it expand to infinity. Keep this mind shut, and we are back to prehistoric time with fear of the unknown.
Science connects us. The moon landing was watched by an estimated 600 million people around the world. World scientists share their discoveries. Scientific discoveries offer inspiration and hope for humanity.
War and struggle are born of fear. The more I have come to understand this universe, the greater is my comprehension of the interconnectedness of all things.
What if we look at the Thirty Meter Telescope as a sanctuary, a synagogue, a mosque, a shrine? Our scientists as priests, priestesses, kahuna, communicating with the cosmos, contacting the unknown?
All mountains are sacred, all rivers, all oceans, forests, marshes and deserts. This Earth is holy.
We were born with endless curiosity and thirst for knowledge. I say, build this 30-, 40-, 50- or 100-meter telescope! And shrink our collective fear.
Phan Nguyen Barker
Wimpy Ige
Gov. David Ige is a spineless wimp!
He knows the Thirty Meter Telescope is good for Hawaii and for Hawaiians, yet refuses to enforce state laws against the illegal blockage of the Maunakea Access Road.
The governor knows the observatory will be beneficial to our economy and to Hawaii’s reputation as a leader in astronomy and science, yet he lacks the courage to stand up to the protesters and their enablers, who think opposition to TMT will somehow correct past injustices to Hawaiians.
The TMT has spent nearly a million dollars to provide scholarships for Big Island students to pursue college degrees that will prepare them for hundreds of high-paying, quality jobs at TMT and other observatories (Tribune-Herald, Oct. 12).
The protesters, whose righteous grievances have been addressed by Mayor Harry Kim’s “Heart of Aloha” plan, have wrongly tied their legitimate concerns to non-negotiable opposition to the TMT. They are hurting their own futures, helping to further the exodus of their own children to seek quality jobs on the mainland, and furthering the image of Hawaii as a banana republic opposed to science that is economically dependent only on tourism and military spending.

John Lockwood

Customs ban exports, imports via land borders indefinitely

·       NIS denies 1,111 foreigners entry into Nigeria

Anna Okon and  Okechukwu Nnodim
The Nigeria Customs Service on Monday announced an indefinite ban on importation and exportation of goods through the land borders.
Comptroller-General, NCS, Col. Hameed Ali (retd), who stated this at a press conference in Abuja, also said Niger Republic had placed a ban on export of rice to Nigeria as a result of Nigeria’s border closure.
This came as the Nigeria Immigration Service said it had stopped 1,111 foreigners from entering Nigeria since August 20, 2019 when the country’s land borders were partially closed.
Ali said, “For now, all goods, whether illicit or non-illicit, are banned from going and coming into Nigeria. Let me add that for the avoidance of doubt, we have included all goods because all goods can equally come through our seaports.
“For that reason, we have deemed it necessary for now that importers of such goods should go through our controlled boarders where we have scanners to verify the goods and how healthy they are to our people.”
The closure of borders is being enforced by the NCS and NIS, in collaboration with the Nigerian armed forces and the Nigeria Police Force. It is being coordinated by the Office of the National Security Adviser.
Ali said the aim of the exercise was to better secure Nigeria’s borders, address trans-border security concerns and strengthen the economy.
The customs boss said it was disturbing that some neighbouring countries were circumventing the ECOWAS protocol on transit.
He said, “For clarity, the ECOWAS protocol on transit demands that when a transit container berths at a seaport, the receiving country is mandated to escort same without tampering with the seal to the border of the destination country.
“Unfortunately, experience has shown that our neighbours do not comply with this protocol. Rather, they break the seals of containers at their ports and trans-load goods destined for Nigeria.”
Ali said the closure of the borders had curbed the smuggling of foreign rice into Nigeria and addressed the diversion of petroleum products from Nigeria to neighbouring countries.
According to him, 10.2 million litres of petrol had been stopped from being diverted out of the country since the borders were closed, while producers of local food were making increased earnings.
On security, the customs boss stated that so far, 317 suspected smugglers and 146 illegal migrants had been arrested.
He said, “Also, some items seized are 21,071 pieces of 50kg bags of parboiled foreign rice; 190 vehicles; 891 drums filled with petrol; 2,665 jerry cans of vegetable oil; 66,000 litre-tanker of vegetable oil; 133 motorcycles; 70 jerry cans of petrol and 131 bags of NPK fertiliser used for making explosives. The estimated monetary value of the intercepted items is about N1.43bn.”
He explained that 95 per cent of illicit drugs and weapons used for acts of terrorism and kidnapping in Nigeria came through the porous borders.
He said following the closure of Nigeria’s borders, “Niger Republic has already circulated an order banning exportation of rice in any form to Nigeria.”
According to him, no date has been fixed to reopen the borders, adding that Nigeria will only end closure when its neighbours have fully complied with the Economic Community of West African States Protocol on Transit.
He said, “The government, through diplomatic channels, will continue to engage our neighbours to agree to comply with ECOWAS protocol on transit.
“Goods that are on the prohibition list in Nigeria, such as rice, used clothing, poultry products and vegetable oil should not be exported to the country.
Meanwhile, the NIS said it had stopped 1,111 people from entering Nigeria since August 20, 2019 when the country’s land borders were partially closed.
It also declared that any foreigner living in Nigeria that failed to register their biometrics with the NIS before January 19, 2020, would be deported.
The Comptroller-General, NIS, Muhammed Babandede, who disclosed this during a joint press briefing in Abuja, stated that these resolutions were in accordance with the Economic Community of West African States Protocol on Transit.
He said, “The law is very clear and it says ‘Do not enter any ECOWAS country unless you have a valid travel document’. So, it is important to state that if you don’t have travel documents, we cannot allow you to enter or leave Nigeria.”
Babandede said the NIS stopped 142 Nigerians from departing the country during the period, adding that over 1,000 immigrants from other nations had been denied entry into Nigeria
He said, “We have refused entry of 1,111 people who wanted to enter our territory, but because they don’t have the required travel documents we turned them back.
 “We have also removed people who had already entered. In fact, 728 people have been removed. We have arrested Pakistanis and North Koreans at the borders and they are meant to be deported.”
On why foreigners staying in Nigeria must register their biometric, the NIS boss said, “Mr President approved an amnesty for all migrants staying in this country. And this means that any migrant that has overstayed in this country can have their biometrics registered between now and January 19, 2020.”
Stakeholders have assumed different positions concerning the total border closure. While palm oil producers applaud it, freight forwarders have condemned it.

Filipino farmers protest as rice prices drop

Farmers on streets with empty pots to protest new law affecting their livelihoods

By Liao, Jo-Luen, Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2019/10/16 20:17

Filipino farmers protest rice price drop

(By Central News Agency)
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - Plummeting rice prices due to cheap imports from Vietnam and Thailand have driven Filipino farmers to protest at the Department of Agriculture in Manila on Wednesday (Oct. 16), CNA reported.
After implementation of the Rice Tarrification Law (RTL), which cancels limits on rice exports and imports, prices have dropped precipitously. Before the law was applied, rice could sell at 19 (NT$30) to 23 pesos per kilogram, but it is now valued at 7 to 10 pesos, said Cathy Estavillo, spokesperson of rice watch group Bantay Bigas.
Farmers led by the Peasant Movement of the Philippines (KMP), National Federation of Peasant Women (Amihan), Bantay Bigas, and other farmer organizations went on the streets with empty pots and kitchen utensils, protesting that farmers do not have sufficient rice to feed themselves.
About 70 percent of farmers in the Philippines are tenant farmers. The decline in rice prices has greatly affected their livelihood.
Many rural housewives are forced to work as domestic helpers in the cities. Furthermore, families are unable to provide for their children, so they can attend school, CNA quoted Estavillo as saying.
KMP leader and former minister of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Rafael Mariano, said, “World Food Day” has become “World Foodless Day.”
Farmers have said they might not plant rice next season, said Estavillo. She also stated that the fall in rice prices does not benefit consumers since the price is controlled by the manufacturers.
The government has responded to the price drop, and a suggested retail price is under discussion. A petition started by Bantay Bigas and a women’s organization called Gabriela, set to be submitted to Congress in November, is calling for RTL to be revoked, CNA reported.

Myanmar Govt Backs Minimum Price for Rice Amid Weak Market

Myanmar rice farmers and dealers are suffering the consequences of declining demand from China. / Reuters

By SALAI THANT ZIN 16 October 2019
PATHEIN, Irrawaddy Region—The Myanmar government has fixed the minimum price for rice at 500,000 kyats for 100 baskets of paddy (US$327.30 for about 2.09 tons) in a bid to establish a fair market and fair prices for paddy farmers.
The government’s Leading Committee for the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Interests of Farmers, led by Vice President Henry Van Thio, met last month to discuss setting the floor price for paddy grains. Paddy rice refers to unprocessed rice harvested from a field, rather than hulled rice.
The government has agreed to pay any farmer the floor price, but only for paddy that meets quality standards: the grains, once processed, must have a moisture content of 14 percent and can’t have any dust, sand or gravel, according to an announcement released by the committee on Tuesday.
According to the statement, if the market rate is higher than the floor price, rice is to be bought according to the market rate, but if the market rate is lower than the floor price, it is to be bought at floor price.
Currently in Ayeyarwady Region, often called the rice bowl of Myanmar, the price of low-grade Sin Thuka rice is between 450,000 kyats and 500,000 kyats for 100 baskets. Rice merchants in Ayeyarwady Region who purchased and stored paddy from the summer harvest in April and May are reporting financial losses as they attempt to sell on a weak market.
“We welcome the fixing of floor prices but 500,000 kyats is not a good price considering the cost of agricultural input,” said Ayeyarwady Region farmers union chairman U Myo Chit. “It will still provide a cushion for the farmers. It is important that the government buys immediately once the price falls below 500,000 kyats.”
The floor price will be applied for this year’s monsoon paddy season and next year’s summer paddy season. Farmers facing difficulties selling their harvest at the floor price can contact the township representatives of the Myanmar Rice Federation.
“The leading committee has formed rice procurement committees in regions and states which will buy paddy from farmers when the market rate falls below the floor price,” federation General Secretary U Lu Maw Myint Maung told The Irrawaddy. “But as the region and state governments are not yet ready to do this procurement, warehousing and management of rice, the Myanmar Rice Federation will assist them in those aspects.”
The Leading Committee for the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Interests of Farmers was formed under U Thein Sein’s administration and led by Vice President U Nyan Tun.
Since 2010, Myanmar has seen an increase in rice exports, with around half of its rice exports going to China. Myanmar exported 3.58 million tons of rice in the 2017-18 fiscal year, the largest volume in 70 years, according to the Ministry of Commerce.
Though the Myanmar government allows official rice exports to China, Chinese authorities consider most rice imports from Myanmar to be illegal but still allow rice merchants to bring rice across the border. After Chinese authorities launched a crackdown on illegal rice imports from Myanmar in 2018, Myanmar’s rice exports to its neighbor declined significantly, dropping by around 1 million tons.
Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko

Why Decreased Inventories Could Lead To High Rough Rice Prices

Oct. 16, 2019 3:12 PM ET
 Includes: GRUJJGTF
Description: Stella Mwende
Long/short equity, value, special situations, growth at reasonable price
The global production of 497.77 MMT of rice in 2019 was 1.18 MMT short of the amount produced in 2018.
Rice inventory has decreased from 531.6 MMT in 2009 to the current level of 497.77 MMT.
The rising amount of carry-over rice grain stock amount could signal a rise in global demand.
The World Bank estimates that the price index of fertilizer may increase by 2% signalling a possible increase in production cost of grains.


The fiscal year 2018/2019 has witnessed an increased supply of the rough rice. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) the global production of grain rice in the month of October (2019) is slated for a significant increase. The rice trade has also remained constant from August 2019 with Indonesia having an increased import rate. Egypt has in turn lowered its import in 2018/2019 indicating an increased domestic production despite the reduced exports from Brazil. In this article, I will explain why I am bullish on taking a long position on rough rice due to the possibility of rice shortage.
Figure 1: Picture of Rough Rice
Source: The Chart-CNN

Increased Production

Rice Futures (ZR) is currently trading at 11.968. This price represents a decline of 0.76% from the previous reading of 12.060 recorded on October 11. 2019. The decrease in price can be attributed to an increase in domestic production (from June 2018 to May- 2019). The United States milled a total of 7.1 million metric tons of rough rice in the Fiscal year 2018/2019 up from 5.7 million metric tons in 2017/2018. Other rice producers recorded an increase of 2.7 million metric tons from 489.2 MMT to 491.9 MMT through the same period.
According to the USDA, the month of October (2019) is expected to see an increase in production of rough rice to 497.77 MMT. This projection is 3.55 MMT higher than that of September (2019) that was 494.22 MMT. However, it is important to note that the global rice production in 2018 was 498.95 MMT a difference of 1.18 MMT as compared to that of 2019.

Inventories- Consumption

As at 2009, the global rice domestic production was 531.6 MMT of paddy equivalent. Asia remained the rough rice production powerhouse with the six countries: China, Indonesia, Vietnam, India, Bangladesh and the Philippines registering high returns. However, there is a significant decrease with the production in 2009 to that of 2019. The following table shows the 10-year comparative rice production analysis of the 6 Asian countries.
Amount Consumed in Million Metric Tons (NYSE:MMT)
156.3 MMT
146 MMT
123.5 MMT
114 MMT
45.3 MMT
37.4 MMT
38.2 MMT
35.5 MMT
17 MMT
12.2 MMT
18.4 MMT
28.3 MMT
25.3 MMT
Of the six countries only Vietnam had an increased rice consumption level. The USDA reported that Vietnam registered a growth of 7.1 in its real GDP and an unstable inflation rate near 3%. This positive economic growth led to increased agricultural output in the country. The difference of 25.3 MMT in rough rice production in these 6 countries, shows that there is a loss of 2.5 MMT of rice per year. Further, from the production of 531.6 MMT in 2009 to 497.77 MMT in 2019- the inventory has significantly declined by 33.83 MMT. This dip in rice inventories may signal an increase of price in the near future.

Projected Unfavorable Weather

The Philippines and Thailand popular for wet-season rice was affected by heavy rains in the month of September and October. Indonesia that produces dry-season rice was favored by reduced rains in the same period. In addition, there are reports that uncontrolled rice farming is a major contributor to the increase in greenhouse gases. According to Scientific estimates, up to 2.5% of the high temperatures caused by human activities are attributed to rice farms. Gases such as methane, emissions of Nitrous oxides and other greenhouse gases (GHGs) known for global warming. North of Vietnam is currently facing dry conditions. The month of September 2019 saw Thailand face floods due to heavy rains.

Imports and Rice Prices

Projections by the Intergovernmental Grain Council (NYSEMKT:IGC) that promotes global trade stability of grain estimated that the production of rice for FY 2019/2020 would be 500 MMT. In turn, 46 MMT would be traded while 496 MMT consumed, leaving off 178 MMT as the "carry over stock." This residual amount is similar to that of 2018/2019 but higher than that of 2016/2017 that was 154 MMT. The rising amount of carry-over rice grain amount could signal a rise in global demand.
In its quarterly food report on July 2019, FAO indicated that there was decreased importation of rice to Haiti. The country's staple food is rice and the decrease was attributed to increased prices.
Figure 2: Rice Price quotes from 2015-2019
Source: USDA
The price of Vietnamese rice decreased to $319 per MT in 2019 from $350 in 2015. The US has maintained its price at $550 per MT- the highest of the 6 countries. From the trade year (NYSE:TY) 2017 to 2019, the US has maintained a constant increase in exports. The amount has increased from 2.8 MMT to 3.1 MMT. A total of 46.3 MMT was exported in the TY 2019. Although the amount exported by the US represents only 6.7%, it may translate to fears of scarcity in the near future. This understanding is based on the fact that there was decreased production of US rice from 7.1 MMT in 2018 to 6.0 MMT in 2019.

Shifting rice demand

The demand of rice import in Philippines is up by almost 7% close to China.
Figure 3: Rice import estimates in China and the Philippines
Source: USDA
From slightly above 1 MMT in 2010/2011, Philippines now imports close to 3 MMT of rice. However, this increase is subject to an investigation of the country's domestic farm-gate price. China, decreased its rice import from 4.5 MMT in 2017/2018 to 3.1 MMT in October 2019. It in turn increased its exports from 2.058 MMT to 3.6 MMT in the same period. This positive trade balance in Chinese rice production indicates a surplus that may reduce the price hike getting into 2020. On its part, Brazil had a negative trade balance of 0.35 with 2019 imports at 0.85 MMT against exports at 0.5 MMT. It's worthwhile to note that Brazil exported 1.245 MMT of rice in 2017/2018 the highest in 4 years. Since then it has been decreasing its production steadily.

Fertilizer and fuel prices

The price index for fertilizer is scheduled for a 2% increase by the end of 2019. According to the World Bank, this increase is attributed to the high cost of energy and the delivery of tight grain supplies.
Figure 4: Price Index of fertilizer
Source: World Bank
The recent tensions in the Middle East have caused the prices of Natural gas to increase by 18%. According to the Agricultural market Information System (AMIS) Prices of Ammonia-based fertilizers have also increased in Europe as it is a large importer of rice. The EU imported 2.05 MMT in October 2019 against an export of 0.3 MMT in the same period. While gas and ammonia prices have surged, there is a decrease in the price of urea and DAP due to heightened global supplies. There is no uniformity in the price movement of fertilizers and other bio-fuels.


Philippines is now almost at par with China in regard to rice consumption. Although China has reduced its import rate, the deficit has been compensated by Philippines. However, investigation into the farm-gate pricing may see a decrease in rice imports going into 2020. There is an increase in US rice exports despite decrease in production in 2019. Increased export is likely to indicate future scarcity which may push the rice prices higher. Further, the global rice inventory has declined from the amount produced in 2009. With these factors coupled with the increase in natural gas prices and ammonia fertilizer, there is a high possibility of seeing a surge in rough rice futures.

Funds not enough to cover farmers’ losses – NGO

NON-GOVERNMENT organization Integrated Rural Development Foundation (IRDF) called on the government to earmark more funds for financial assistance to farmers who are bearing the brunt of the Rice Tariffication Act.
IRDF executive director Arze Glipo on Wednesday said the P10 billion allotted to the Rice Competitive Enhancement Fund (RCEF) is not enough.
“RCEF is not enough to offset the huge losses to farmers estimated at a high of P118 billion and a low of P60 billion,” Glipo said during a roundtable discussion in Quezon City.
Established in 1989, the IRDF was mandated to implement development programs that will contribute to social and economic empowerment of marginalized and vulnerable sectors such as farmers, fisherfolk, indigenous peoples, women, and youth.
It also mandated the creation of RCEF to help rice farmers in the face of unrestricted flow of imported rice into the country.
The P10-billion RCEF fund includes P5 billion allotted to farm mechanization and P3 billion to procure seedlings.
The fund intends to ensure that rice imports won’t drown out the agriculture sector and rob farmers of their livelihood.
Should this be divided equally among local farmers, they will only receive a financial assistance of P4,000 each, Glipo noted.
“That’s P4,000. Ang losses ng ating farmer sa isang cropping is umaabot ng mga P25,000 to P30,000,” she said.
May ibibigay na P15,000 na emergency loan, but that’s only for 100,000 farmers to 150,000 farmers. So where is the justice in this?” she emphasized.
Starting September, the National Food Authority (NFA) started to procure palay from local farmers at P19 per kilogram.
While the NFA’s buying price was set at P20.70, as the NFA Council decided to remove the P3.70 of incentives given to farmers.
The P3.70 incentive covers P3 buffer stocking fee, 20 centavos delivery fee, 20 centavos drying fee and 30 centavos cooperative incentive fee.
NFA administrator Judy Carol Dansal said the incentives were removed due to limited funds.
IRDF’s Glipo said the government must increase the budget for the NFA to procure more palay from local farmers at a higher price, and for the Department of Agriculture to provide additional financial assistance. (GMA News)

Rice Importation Ban: Customs officials ‘kill’ smugglers’ informant in Jigawa

A man suspected to be an informant of rice smugglers has been killed allegedly by officials of the Nigeria Customs Service in Jigawa State.
Tasiu Muhammad, 22, a resident of Babura Local Government Area, was shot dead at Unguwar Gawo, about five kilometres from Bubara town, the council headquarters.
The police commissioner in Jigawa, Bala Senchi, at a press conference on Tuesday confirmed the incident.
He said the police were not involved in the operation that led to the killing of Mr Muhammad.
Residents said the deceased had been on the wanted list of the NCS for allegedly running local routes for smugglers and informing them on the movement of security officials enforcing the ban of importation of contraband goods through Nigeria’s land borders.
The deceased was reportedly shot dead while attempting to escape arrest, even though he was not in possession of any incriminating evidence, a resident who requested not to be named for security reasons said.
The spokesperson of the NCS in Kano, Jigawa command, Dan-Baba, said he could not speak with the reporter because he was “in a meeting.”
Bubara Local Government Area shares border with Niger Republic. Rice smugglers use bush paths in the area to smuggle banned items into Nigeria.
The Customs boss, Hameed Ali, at a press conference on Monday in Abuja, said all Nigerian land borders will remain shut in continuation of a closure that began in August.
He said the measure is to improve Nigeria’s economic situation and reduce further exploits by neighbouring countries.

No to rice tariffication

posted October 15, 2019 at 09:38 pm
by Manny Palmero
Farmers-activists called a press conference to condemn the Rice Tariffication Law which they claimed affected the farmers due to low price of rice. Photo shows a farmers group calling on the government to junk the Rice Tarffication Law on the observance of the coming World Food Day celebration held in Quezon City. 

Rice blast fungus discovery will drive crop innovation

Description: Rice blast fungus discovery will drive crop innovationRice Blast Fungus. Credit: Nick Talbot
A secret weapon used by the killer rice blast fungus to infect host plants has been discovered in new research.
Rice blast is the most serious disease of rice and is caused by the fungus Magnaporthe oryzae. Each year, blast disease claims enough rice to feed 60 million people. The fungus also causes wheat blast which recently spread from South America to Bangladesh, threatening wheat production across South Asia.
To infect plants M.oryzae develops a domed-shaped infection cell called an appressorium that sticks to the leaf and ruptures the cuticle using huge invasive force—up to 40 times of a car tyre pressure, one of the highest pressures ever shown in a living cell.
The six-year study has uncovered the existence of a sensor in appressoria which tells the fungus that the pressure threshold required to rupture the rice leaf has been reached.Further mechanisms uncovered in the study allow the fungus to reposition a penetrative peg which is pressed against and physically breaks the leaf surface, allowing the fungus to enter and cause disease.
Knowledge of this novel mechanism provides a platform for developing fungicides against blast, one of the deadliest crop killers.
Researchers from The Sainsbury Laboratory, Gregor Mendel Institute of Molecular Plant Biology, Austria, and University of Sussex used mathematical modelling, molecular genetics and biochemistry to crack the secret of the fungal pathogen.
Plant pathogenic fungi cause many of the world's most devastating crop diseases.
Researchers had previously worked out how a group of proteins called septins enable the fungus to infect plants.
By revealing the existence of a turgor-sensing mechanism and the genetic networks that control polarisation of the fungus prior to infection, the group has assembled another critical piece in a research puzzle.
"Rice blast is the most devastating disease affecting rice, so this research has considerable implications for global food security," says one of the authors Professor Nick Talbot of The Sainsbury Laboratory.
"We think this mechanism applies to other fungi where the process of infection is septin mediated. Most cereal diseases—rusts and mildews for example—involve appressoria. They are a common mechanism so from what we now know you could imagine a treatment that could be very effective," he adds.
Lead author Dr. Lauren Ryder from The Sainsbury Laboratory adds: "We have to work out how this turgor sensor interacts with downstream components, which is the focus of our next study. We suspect it interacts with proteins in the membrane and it senses when there is a stretch."
Dr. Yasin Dagdas, now at the Gregor Mendel Institute in Vienna, Austria adds, "Besides the potential for helping global food security, this study uncovers a fascinating biological innovation that evolved during the evolutionary arms race between the microbe and the host plant."
The existence of a turgor-pressure sensor in the cell had been predicted by mathematical models produced in collaboration with Professor Anotida Madzvamuse from the School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences at the University of Sussex. Prof Madzvamuse worked with colleagues Dr. Chandrasekhar Venkataraman and Professor Vanessa Styles to mathematically model this problem.
"We were able to translate what was being observed in the experiments into a new mathematical model. With the biology described in mathematical terms, we were then able to help predict the point at which the fungus can reach a pressure threshold required to rupture the rice leaf, to infect the plant," he says.
"We hope that this may prove to be an important step toward developing disease control strategies in the future, which may have significant humanitarian benefits: improving crop yields to provide food for more people," he adds.

‘Rise for Rice!’

Philippine Daily Inquirer / 05:06 AM October 17, 2019
How have we come to this? Those who produce food for us remain in penury and debt while they are perpetually being stalked by hunger that need not be.
When the misleadingly called rice tariffication law was passed last February, its sponsors crowed about it like it was heaven’s gift to Filipino farmers. Actually, the name of the law is rice liberalization law (Republic Act No. 11203). Its onerous title: “An act liberalizing the importation, exportation and trading of rice, lifting for the purpose the quantitative import restriction on rice, and for other purposes.”
Its pushers in Congress often referred to it as the “rice tariffication law,” as though afraid that the word “liberalization” would cast a spell that would cause unrest. Whatever its name, RA 11203 is not only causing unrest among Filipino farmers, it has also mired them in debt and penury, because the price of their palay (unmilled rice) has plummeted to the depths, while cheap imported rice floods the warehouses.
Last Monday, representatives of rice watch groups and peasant women leaders held a press conference to raise the call “Rise for Rice!” and launch a signature campaign for the repeal of RA 11203, and the enactment of House Bill No. 477 or the Rice Industry Development Act (filed by Rep. Arlene Brosas of Gabriela Women’s Party). HB 477 hopes to ensure food security based on self-reliance and self-sufficiency, and not on importation.
The target number of signatures is 11,203 to be gathered from market places, turo-turo and people who live by rice. Behind the move are groups Bantay Bigas, Amihan (a national federation of peasant women), Gabriela and Anakpawis.
This is a timely move just before the United Nations’ celebration of International Day of Rural Women (Oct. 15) and World Food Day (Oct. 16).
Zenaida Soriano, Amihan national chair, said: “Women are in the frontline of hunger. Thus, women, especially women farmers, are direct victims of the rice liberalization law which resulted in the drop of palay farm gate prices and the absence of affordable rice in the market.”
I had a one-on-one with Soriano before the press con, and I was quite impressed when she proudly told me that after the men are done with field preparations, it is the women who take over as the men seek nonfarming jobs to augment the family income. But the women are hardly recognized in the agriculture sector, she lamented.
While RA 11203 is in place, there will be no let-up in the clamor to have it repealed; that’s the groups’ promise. The petition and signatures will be submitted to the House of Representatives and the Senate on Nov. 4 when sessions resume. The petition contains seven points on why the “deadly” law that came into being with the principal sponsorship of Sen. Cynthia Villar must be repealed.
“Mapanlinlang” (misleading, a deception) is how the rural women called government promises that rice for the table would dramatically go down, citing its current price to be P30 to P50 per kilo and asking what happened to the National Food Authority’s P27 rice.
“The decrease in rice prices was short-lived,” Bantay Bigas spokesperson Cathy Estavillo said. “The long-term effect that is to be expected by consumers is a rise in rice prices because of limited rice supply in the world market, loss of government control of prices, and the private sector’s monopoly of control over prices and supply.”
As of now, the rice watch groups said, palay farm gate prices range from P10 to P15 per kilo, with fresh palay costing a mere P12 per kilo. Without rice dryers, farmers part with their newly harvested rice at low prices.
Even rice millers are affected, too. Close to 7,000 rice millers all over the country with some 55,000 workers will be severely affected if there will be no palay to mill.
The groups estimate a P60-billion loss among farmers from January to August, with farmers contemplating on abandoning their farmlands to the delight of real estate developers and land speculators.
“Harvest time is about to end,” Estavillo lamented, “and there is no relief in sight for the farmers who are victims of the deadly deluge that is liberalization.”
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Farmers demand help with challenges

October 17, 2019
Sok Chan / Khmer Times  

Representatives of Cambodia’s agriculture cooperatives yesterday called on the government, financial backers and partners to ensure they have adequate water resources, capital, and market access so they can boost productivity and competitiveness as well as invest in their businesses.
For in depth analysis of Cambodian Business, visit Capital Cambodia
The demand was made at the ‘Eighth National Farmer Forum on the Enhancement of Multi-Stakeholder Engagement to Enable Farmers to Invest in Agriculture,’ held in Phnom Penh.
Yann Srey Yat, a women’s farmer representative and also the president of the Union of Cooperative Agriculture in Battambang, said there are challenges facing farmers that they needed help to overcome.
Ms Srey Yat called for sensible management of water resources.
She pointed to limited knowledge in the community of planning income and expenses, as well as banking and microfinance services, which, she claimed, have excessively high interest rates.
She also accused the government of poorly marketing their products.
Ms Srey Yat also criticised paddy brokers over how they set prices and said supply and quality standards were not always met.
There is still poor cooperation between local authorities, she pointed out, adding that because production costs are high, profits are low.
“We are calling on the many stakeholders to address and solve these issues and challenges so that farmers can invest in the local agriculture sector,” Ms Srey Yat added.
She called on the Network for Development of Food Security and Safety in Cambodia (NDF-C) to deal with these problems, particularly regarding water management and distribution from rivers, streams, community ponds and rainfall which could be used for agriculture.
Ms Srey Yat said she wanted more action to counter the effects of climate change and more help in dealing with regional and global competition, especially regarding protectionist policies, the lack of seedlings to meet market demand, high production costs and a lack of investment in modern agriculture.
Nongovernmental Forum Executive Director Tek Vannara said yesterday’s platform aimed to help farmers share views and discuss challenges with relevant stakeholders to find solutions.
Mr Vannara said engaging with stakeholders on cooperation and updating them on support methods and mechanisms will boost the agribusiness sector.
“The agriculture sector employs about 36.4 percent of the workforce across the country. That’s 3.1 million jobs. However, this sector faced many issues including low productivity, infrastructure support, irregular supplies both in quality and amount, limited market access, changing commodity prices and climate change,” Mr Vannara said.
He said the agricultural-commercialisation sector and sustainability needed boosting, as did production and the value chain. This requires participation from the private sector, producers and microfinance institutions, as well as infrastructure development, law implementation, policy support, and the capacity to increase agricultural production for local markets and exports.
Song Saran, president of the Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF), said it had two main missions: to increase exports of milled rice to 1 million tonnes by 2022 and to find ways to raise farmers’ profits sustainably and inclusively.
He said the CRF will help to improve productivity and farming and milling techniques, lower costs of production and improve the export process while upholding the highest ethical standards in all dealings with stakeholders.
“Our strategy is to push for 1 million tonnes of rice exports by 2022, starting from 750,000 tonnes in 2020, increasing the value from $400 million to $600 million per year, and strengthening the Cambodian rice brand Maly Angkor, the premium fragrant rice variety,” Mr Saran said.
“The association will also expand and strengthen the foreign market in the EU, China, Asean and other countries, including Australia, prepare contracts between agriculture cooperatives and rice millers and push farmers to become agri-entrepreneurs.”
He added that the association will build a strong partnership with the government to manage and prepare the irrigation system and seek funding to help the agriculture cooperatives, rice millers and rice exporters.
“We will also help farmers improve their effectiveness on data management, pricing, technology, fair trade, the implementation of the rice blockchain and sustainable rice platforms,” he said.

For Nigeria, economic and national security rank higher than trade

By Eromo Egbejule
Posted on Wednesday, 16 October 2019 13:48
This is the reality of Nigeria's rice production vs consumption. See that gap there? It must be closed somehow. And you have millions of young unemployed people who know how to ride bicycles across the border and have not much else to do.
Description: View image on Twitter

We successfully shut down the space for formal rice (and other food) importing and the industry unsurprisingly moved to the informal sector. If you shut down the space in the informal sector the industry won't disappear. It will just move to the heavily armed informal sector.

Bottom line: With re-election no longer an issue, Buhari is free to pursue more economic nationalism, arguing for short-term pain for long-term gain. But will Nigeria ever see the payoff?

Check illegal transportation of paddy from other States: Gangula Kamalakar

Minister directs officials to take strict measures to check illegal transportation of paddy into Telangana

By AuthorTelanganaToday  |  Published: 16th Oct 2019  10:11 pm
Description: Supplies and BC Welfare Minister Gangula Kamalakar, Health Minister Etela Rajender and Welfare Minister Koppula Eashwar participated in the Kharif-2019 Action Plan Regional Conference held at the District Collectorate in Karimnagar.
Karimnagar: Civil Supplies and BC Welfare Minister Gangula Kamalakar on Wednesday stressed the need to take strict measures to check illegal transportation of paddy into Telangana from other States.
“Since a bumper paddy crop is expected in the present kharif season, it is going to be tough for officials to procure locally produced crops if paddy from other States is also dumped in Telangana,” the Minister said, adding that police and agriculture officials much be vigilant.
Kamalakar, Health Minister Etela Rajender and Welfare Minister Koppula Eashwar participated in the Kharif-2019 Action Plan Regional Conference held at the District Collectorate here. Civil Supplies Commissioner Akun Sabharwal, Karimnagar District Collector Sarfaraz Ahmed, joint collectors, district agriculture officers, IKP, marketing and other officers of erstwhile Karimnagar district participated in conference.
Stating that it had become a routine practice for illegal traders to bring in paddy from other States and create problems for local farmers during the procurement season, he said traders were purchasing paddy in other States including Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Karnataka at a cheaper price of Rs 1,000 per quintal and selling it here at Rs 1,835 MSP announced by the government. “This time around, it is going to be a big problem since 55 lakh metric tons of paddy is likely to arrive during the procurement season, and combined with kharif and yasangi, the total produce would be 95 lakh metric ton,” he said.
Supply of sufficient water for agriculture sector by completing irrigation projects and Rythu Bandhu scheme encouraged the farmers to take up farming in a big way resulting in increased yields, the Minister said, and instructed officials to put an end to illegal paddy transportation by setting up check-posts. Besides Paddy Purchasing Centre-wise paddy farmers’ details, the extent of area cultivated in a PPC limits should also be collected, he said.
Check the details of farmers while purchasing paddy. If necessary, take the help of sarpanches and Farmers Coordination Committees (FCC), he said.
Stating that there was no problem for gunny bags, Kamalakar informed that lack of sufficient godowns to store crops would be another problem area, and sought the help of rice millers to overcome the space problem for this season.
Responding to rice millers’ request to take steps to enhance the quantity of raw rice procurement to 10 lakh ton from 4 lakh ton from rice mills by union government, he assured that he would write to the Union government and also bring the issue to the notice of Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao.
Rajender wanted the officials to allocate PPC centres based on the quantity of crop to be produced in an area and distance. “Manpower should be arranged based on the quantity of crop to be procured in a centre,” he said.
“It is also necessary to check space and manpower in rice mills before allocating paddy for custom milling. Since there is a problem of godown space, the crop movement should be done on fast track mode,” he said.
Eashwar advised the officials to supply gunny bags in two phases instead of number of phases and set up even two PPCs in a village where cultivation was high. He wanted the officials to take precautionary measures in the wake of space problem.

Use certified weighing machines for procurement

Nalgonda: Zilla Parishad Chairman Banda Narender Reddy on Wednesday said officials of Legal Metrology department must check the weighing machines before they were sent to Paddy Procurement Centres by the Civil Supplies department.
Speaking at a district level programme held on paddy procurement for Mandal Parishad Presidents (MPPs) and Zilla Parishad Territorial Constituency members (ZPTCs) here, Narender Reddy said the State government had set up paddy procurements to purchase paddy produced by the farmers and ensure Minimum Support Price for the crop. He instructed the officials to take measure to ensure that there is not repeat of problems faced earlier in the paddy procurement of Kharif season.
The weighing machines should be sent to paddy procurement centre only after check and certification by the officials of Legal Meteorology department, he added. Same type of Moisture machines should be used at the paddy procurement centre and milling points, he added.

Yield of paddy likely to double

In-Charge district Collector V Chandrasekhar said that it was expecting the yield of the paddy may be doubled in the kharif seasons due to irrigation facility and good rains. As per the estimation of the agriculture department, 4,58,580 metric tons of paddy would be produced in kharif season as the paddy cultivation was taken up in 66,346 hectors in the district. Paddy would be purchased from the farmers through 96 paddy procurement centres including 55 IKP Paddy purchasing centres and 41 PACS Centres in the district.
District Manager of Civil Supplies department Nageshwar Rao informed that a control room would be setup in the district Collectorate to receive complaints from the farmers on paddy procurement.

Japanese scientists turn carbon dioxide to organic matter, useful for clothing, packaging and more

·       By Pinaz Kazi
October 16, 2019 13:21 +08

Description: New study shows how scientists turn carbon dioxide to organic matterRepresentational Image
Japanese scientists have come with a way to deal with the huge amount of carbon dioxide polluting our environment. In a newly invented method, without expending too much energy, the scientists sucked the CO2 molecules out of the air. Reportedly, the material can be eventually turned into an ingredient for clothing, packing and many more things.
The secret is a porous coordination polymer (PCP) made up of zinc metal ions. The ions have the capability to selectively capture CO2 molecules and have 10 times greater efficiency than any other PCPs. Also, the interesting thing is that the material is reusable, and runs at maximum efficiency even after 10 reaction cycles.
According to materials chemist Ken-ichi Otake, from Kyoto University in Japan, "We have successfully designed a porous material which has a high affinity towards CO2 molecules and can quickly and effectively convert it into useful organic materials."
The concept of carbon sequestration has been around however because of low reactivity of carbon dioxide it has been difficult to capture without using a lot of energy in the process, defeating the whole purpose. The research published in Nature Communications showed how exactly to do it.
While another research team from Rice University in the US developed a device for turning CO2 into liquid fuel. In this process, the key ingredient is metal bismuth and formic acid is the end result of the process.
"One of the greenest approaches to carbon capture is to recycle the carbon dioxide into high-value chemicals, such as cyclic carbonates which can be used in petrochemicals and pharmaceuticals," says materials chemist Susumu Kitagawa, from Kyoto University.
However, further research is required for it to work at larger scale. Given the rising pollution which in turn is leading to global warming, this could prove to be really useful for the environment and for us, in general.

Political Analyst Joins Outlook Lineup   

ARLINGTON, VA -- Political analyst and columnist A.B. Stoddard has joined the USA Rice Outlook Conference as a General Session speaker where she will talk about some of the largest political stories of the day, offer insights into the relationship between Congress and the Trump Administration, and dive into the prospects for both parties and specific candidates as we head into the 2020 election.

Stoddard is associate editor and a columnist with RealClearPolitics (RCP), a media company that prides itself on nonpartisan analysis of "the most pivotal information on the day's need-to-know issues."

Prior to joining RCP, Stoddard was a reporter and then columnist at The Hill newspaper and a Senate producer for ABC News.

A frequent guest on programs on Fox News, MSNBC, and CNN, Stoddard is known and respected for her detailed and smart political and electoral analysis.

"Love it or hate it, everything we do at USA Rice is set against the backdrop of politics, and the pace is picking up and the stakes couldn't be higher," said Betsy Ward, USA Rice president and CEO.  "I'm looking forward to hearing what A.B. thinks about where we are heading as a nation, the state of political discourse, and what 2020 will likely hold for us."

Stoddard will join USA Rice Outlook Conference mainstays Nathan Childs from USDA and ProFarmer's Jim Wiesemeyer in the General Session on the afternoon of Tuesday, December 10.

The USA Rice Outlook Conference will take place from December 8-10, in Little Rock, Arkansas.  Registration and hotel room blocks are now open.  Early registration discounts end November 6.  Go to for more information or to register online.

The Struggle to Save Heirloom Rice in India

Long-forgotten varieties of the staple crop can survive flood, drought and other calamities. The challenge is bringing them back


·       India originally possessed some 110,000 landraces of rice with diverse and valuable properties. These include enrichment in vital nutrients and the ability to withstand flood, drought, salinity or pest infestations.
·       The Green Revolution covered fields with a few high-yielding varieties, so that roughly 90 percent of the landraces vanished from farmers' collections.
·       High-yielding varieties require expensive inputs. They perform abysmally on marginal farms or in adverse environmental conditions, forcing poor farmers into debt.
·       Collecting, regenerating, documenting the traits of and sharing with farmers the remaining landraces, to restore some of the lost biodiversity of rice, is the author's life mission.
One scorching summer day in 1991, having spent hours surveying the biodiversity of sacred groves in southern West Bengal, India, I approached Raghu Murmu’s hut to rest. Raghu, a young man of the Santal tribe, sat me under the shade of a huge mango tree while his daughter fetched me cold water and sweets made from rice. As I was relishing these, I noticed that Raghu’s pregnant wife was drinking a reddish liquid. Raghu explained that it was the starch drained from cooked Bhutmuri rice—meaning “ghost’s head” rice, perhaps because of its dark hull. It “restores blood in women who become deficient in blood during pregnancy and after childbirth,” he said. I gathered that this starch is believed to cure peripartum anemia in women. Another rice variety, Paramai-sal, meaning “longevity rice,” promotes healthy growth in children, Raghu added.
As I would subsequently establish, Bhutmuri is one of several varieties of indigenous rice in South Asia that are rich in iron, and it also contains certain B vitamins. And Paramaisal rice has high levels of antioxidants, micronutrients and labile starch, which can be converted rapidly to energy. At the time, however, such uncommon rice varieties, with their evocative names and folk medicinal uses, were new to me. When I returned home to Kolkata, I conducted a literature survey on the genetic diversity of Indian rice and realized that I had been lucky to encounter Raghu. Farmers like him, who grow indigenous rice and appreciate its value, are as endangered as the varieties themselves.
In the years since, I have become familiar with a cornucopia of native rice varieties (also called landraces) that possess astonishingly useful and diverse properties. Some can withstand flood, drought, salinity or pest attacks; others are enriched in valuable vitamins or minerals; and yet others are endowed with an enticing color, taste or aroma that has given them special roles in religious ceremonies. Collecting, regenerating and sharing with farmers these exceedingly rare but valuable varieties has become my life’s mission.
Bringing back forgotten rice landraces requires the sowing, tending and harvesting of more than 1,000 varieties every year. Scenes from Basudha depict an indigenous farmer transplanting baby plants into a flooded field (top) and another working (bottom) on the farm. Credit: Zoë Savitz


Asian cultivated rice (Oryza sativa) resulted from centuries of selection and breeding of wild ancestral species—a process that Charles Darwin called “artificial selection”—by early Neolithic humans. Archaeological and genetic evidence suggests that the indica subspecies of Asian rice (almost all cultivated rice from the Indian subcontinent belongs to this group) was grown about 7,000 to 9,000 years ago in the foothills of the eastern Himalayas. Over the ensuing millennia of domestication and cultivation, traditional farmers created a treasure trove of landraces that were perfectly adapted to diverse soils, topographies and microclimates and suited to specific cultural, nutritional or medicinal needs.
According to pioneering rice scientist R. H. Richharia, more than 140,000 landraces were grown in India’s fields until the 1970s. If we exclude synonyms (that is, the same variety referred to by different names in different locales), this figure boils down to around 110,000 distinct varieties. As I learned from my literature survey, however, the genetic diversity of Indian rice has declined steeply since the advent of the Green Revolution.
In the late 1960s the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) provided the Indian government with a few high-yielding varieties (HYVs) of rice, which provide substantial quantities of grain when supplied with ample water, fertilizer and pesticides. In concert with international development agencies, the IRRI urged the replacement of indigenous varieties across all types of fields with these imported strains. Heavily promoted and sometimes forced onto farmers’ fields, the new rice types rapidly displaced the landraces.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s IRRI researchers listed 5,556 landraces in West Bengal and collected 3,500 of these for its gene bank. In 1994, finding no documentation of surviving varieties in the state, I began my own, lone survey. Finally completed in 2006, it revealed that 90 percent of the documented varieties had vanished from farmers’ fields. In fact, it is likely that no more than 6,000 rice landraces exist in fields across India. Similarly, the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute documented the names of 12,479 varieties between 1979 and 1981, but my analysis of a recent study indicates that no more than 720 landraces are still cultivated in the entire country.
When I got an inkling of this staggering loss of biodiversity in the subcontinent, it shocked me as a biologist and as a concerned citizen. I wondered why agricultural institutions were unconcerned about the genetic erosion of the most important cereal of the region. After all, the dire consequences of the loss of genetic diversity of a key crop should have been evident from Ireland’s Great Famine of 1845–1849.
Most potatoes grown in Ireland were of a single variety, the Irish Lumper, which had no inherent resistance to Phytophthora infestans, the microorganism that causes potato blight. In 1846 three quarters of the harvest was lost to infection, resulting in a scarcity of seed potatoes in subsequent years and major demographic effects: up to 1.5 million people died from starvation and disease over the course of the famine, and in more than a decade of hunger and deprivation about 1.3 million people emigrated from Ireland to North America and Australia. The unforgettable lesson for agriculturists is that the absence of multiple varieties of a crop can make that plant vulnerable to pest or disease infestations: monocultures are disastrous for long-term food security. In the wake of the Green Revolution, insects such as the rice hispa and the brown planthopper, which had never before posed a significant problem, devastated rice crops in several Asian countries.
Vast expanses of monocultures provide banquets for certain pests. Farmers may try to eliminate them with generous applications of pesticides—which end up killing the natural enemies of those pests. The net effect is to enhance the diversity and abundance of pests, thus driving the pesticide mill wheel. The genetic uniformity of crop species—in particular the Green Revolution varieties, selected for the single trait of high yields—also means the plants lack endowments that would enable them to withstand vagaries of the weather such as insufficient or too late rain, seasonal floods or storm surges that inundate coastal farms with seawater. Their fragility makes a poor farmer who might not have the money to, say, buy a pump to irrigate his or her fields more vulnerable to environmental fluctuations.
The loss of landraces further entails the withering of a knowledge system associated with their cultivation. For example, traditional farmers can distinguish varieties by observing the flowering time; the color of the basal leaf sheath; the angle of the flag leaf; the length of the panicle; and the size, color and shape of the grain [see graphic below]. Using these and other characteristics, they eliminate all atypical or “off-type” plants to maintain the genetic purity of the landrace. Nowadays, however, the vast majority of South Asian farmers rely on an external seed supply, which obviates the need to conserve the purity of homegrown seeds. When a local variety is no longer available, the knowledge related to its agronomic and cultural uses fades from the community’s memory. Millennia-old strategies for using biodiversity to control pests and diseases have been supplanted by advice from pesticide dealers—to the detriment of soil and water quality, biodiversity and human health.
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The Green Revolution and, more broadly, the modernization of agriculture have also had severe social and economic effects. Rising costs of inputs such as seeds, fertilizer, pesticides and fuel for irrigation pumps require farmers to borrow money, often from private money lenders. Debt, coupled with falling prices for the harvested crops, has contributed to distress sales of small farms and an epidemic of farmer suicides in India. In contrast, over decades of working with tribal farmers who are still growing local rice and millet varieties on their marginal farms, I have encountered not a single case of farm-related suicide.
In 1996, with 152 landraces in my collection, I approached the West Bengal State Directorate of Agriculture’s Rice Research Station, where all heirloom rice germplasm is supposed to be conserved. Not only did it refuse to accept and maintain the seeds I had collected, but the director chastised me for pursuing the “unscientific and retrogressive” goal of reviving the forgotten landraces. To insist on growing them would mean “going back to the caveman’s age” and condemning farmers to low productivity and lifelong poverty, he said. When I argued that none of the HYVs can survive on dryland farms without irrigation, on deep-water farms or on coastal saline farms, he assured me that modern transgenics would soon come up with the best varieties for those marginal farms, so I should leave the matter with the experts in agricultural science.


Trained as an ecologist specializing in ecosystem structures and functions, I was working with the eastern regional office of World Wide Fund for Nature-India. At that time, it and other conservation organizations typically sought to safeguard large, charismatic animals such as the tiger, but because cultivated crops are not “wildlife,” there was no focus on their protection. Research institutions were also uninterested because the conservation of folk crop varieties would receive no funding support.
The only option left to me was to go it alone. I resigned from my job in 1996 and settled in a village in West Bengal to set up a folk rice seed bank and exchange center for farmers. In 1997 I named it Vrihi, Sanskrit for “broadcast rice.” In the early years I used my savings and considerable support from Navdanya, a New Delhi–based nongovernmental organization, to collect rare seeds from different corners of the country and distribute them for free to farmers in need. Since 2000, however, donations from friends and supporters have constituted the bulk of our funding.
In 1999, while in northern Bengal to survey biodiversity for the state’s forest department, I took the opportunity to explore the region’s fields. One day, after six hours of travel by bus and on foot to a remote village named Lataguri, I collected a critically endangered rice variety named Agni-sal. (I define a critically endangered variety as one that is being grown on only one farm.) The grain was fiery red in color—hence the name Agni, meaning “fire”—and its stem was strong enough to withstand storms. The next season I gave the seeds to a farmer who was looking for a rice that would flourish on his highland farm, which was swept by strong winds. He returned the following year with a broad smile of gratitude because of the great harvest from this rice, despite a cyclone that had devastated all the neighboring farms. The year after that, however, an officer from the district’s agriculture department persuaded him to replace Agni-sal with an HYV. As a result, Agni-sal was lost from our accession. I rushed to Lataguri to procure another sample from the original donor farmer, only to learn that he had passed away the year before and that his son had abandoned that rice. Agni-sal thus, to my knowledge, went extinct from the world.
Credit: Rebecca Konte
Another incident at about this time persuaded me that I needed to do more than collect and distribute seeds. Traditional lowland farmers in India used to grow two types of flood-tolerant rice. One can grow taller and taller in tandem with rising water levels. This underwater “stem elongation” property, governed by the genes SNORKEL 1 and SNORKEL 2, located on chromosome 12, is seen in traditional varieties such as Lakshmi dighal, Jabrah, Pantara and Rani kajal. A second type of flood-tolerant landrace can withstand prolonged submergence in floodwater. One of the genes governing submergence tolerance is SUB1, found in several Bengal landraces.
In June 1999 a southern district of West Bengal experienced a flash flood. All rice crops perished. At the time, my accession had no varieties that could tolerate submergence, but I knew that the IRRI and the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources in New Delhi possessed several dozen. I wrote to both institutions, requesting that they send me 10 to 20 grams of these seeds to save the distressed farmers. I received no acknowledgment from either of the gene banks. If an educated person, writing in a European language on letterhead showing his academic degrees and affiliations, does not merit any response from the national and international gene banks, one can imagine how likely it is that a poor farmer from Kenya or Bangladesh might receive seed samples from them. To my knowledge, no farmer in any country has ever received any seeds from these lofty ex situ, or off-site, gene banks—even though their accessions were built on contributions from traditional farmers.
In contrast, the gene banks do make their accessions available to seed companies for hybridization programs and patenting. An estimate by the International Food Policy Research Institute indicates that by 1996 about three quarters of U.S. rice fields had been sown with material descendant from the IRRI collection. And in 1997 the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted the broadest ever patent on an indigenous rice, for a hybrid strain of basmati whose parents originated in South Asia and were accessed from the IRRI collection, to Texas-based company RiceTec. The IRRI, which supposedly holds its accession in trust for the world’s farmers, itself applied in 2014 for an international patent on a yield-boosting rice gene called SPIKE discovered in the Indonesian landrace Daringan. (The governing body of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture has reviewed the legality of this controversial application but has yet to announce its decision.)
Not only are ex situ seed banks physically and socially distant from farmers, but also their seeds are handicapped by long isolation. Rice seeds are dried and preserved at –20 degrees Celsius, which keeps them viable for up to 35 years. Frozen in time, they are separated from the constantly evolving life-forms in the outer world. When grown out after 35 years, they will have lost any inherent resistance to specific pathogens, which will meanwhile have evolved into newer strains. In contrast, farmers’ in situ seed banks are necessarily low budget, so they must sow all the seeds every year—otherwise most of the rice would fail to germinate. Thanks to this imperative, the seeds conserved on farms continue to coevolve with diverse pathogens and pests.
After a series of such experiences and observations, I decided to set up a conservation farm of my own to maintain a small population of each landrace so that it would survive even if abandoned by most farmers. I used my savings from a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley, to found Basudha farm in 2001. Vrihi is now South Asia’s largest open-access rice gene bank, and its 1,420 varieties are grown every year on Basudha farm in a tribal village in southern Odisha. Of the varieties in our accession, 182 are now extinct from India’s fields.
With less than 0.7 hectare at our disposal, we have to grow 64 individual plants of each variety on only four square meters of land. (The minimum number of plants required to maintain all the genetic endowments of a given landrace is about 50.) Because we cannot adhere to the internationally recommended isolation distance of at least 110 meters on every side of each landrace, preventing cross-pollination between neighboring varieties is a challenge. I managed to overcome this constraint by planting the different varieties so that each is surrounded by others with different flowering dates. Furthermore, we eliminate the off-type plants in each population at different life stages by observing 56 different characteristics, as per Bioversity International guidelines. After this step, all the seeds harvested are assumed to be 100 percent genetically pure, barring some undetected mutations.
On Basudha farm, all the rice landraces are grown in accordance with the agroecological principle of “zero external input”—no agrochemicals, no groundwater extraction, no fossil fuels. Nutrient supply comes from leaf and straw mulch, legume cover crops (whose roots are rich in nitrogen-fixing microbes), composted greens and animal manure, biochar and soil microbes. We control pests by growing “weed” grasses and shrubs that provide habitats for predators such as spiders, ants and reptiles, as well as parasites. Another strategy is to maintain puddles of water as breeding habitats for aquatic insects and frogs, which also prey on crop pests. And we occasionally use herbal pest repellents such as tobacco, garlic and tulsi (Ocimum sanctum; also known as holy basil). Crop diseases are never a problem on Basudha: varietal and species diversity has repeatedly been documented as the best strategy for protection against crop pathogens.
We store some of the harvested seeds in earthen pots, which protect them from insects and rodents while allowing them to “breathe,” for the next year’s sowing. The rest we distribute among farmers, in exchange for a handful of seeds of other folk varieties, which we cultivate and donate to farmers. This system is a conscious attempt to revive the ancient practice of seed exchange in all farming communities, which had once helped all crop varieties to spread across continents.
My co-workers and I have helped establish more than 20 other seed banks in different parts of India, so that local farmers can access the varieties they need without having to travel to Vrihi. We also promote seed-exchange networks among farmers. These banks and networks have benefited more than 7,800 farmers in five Indian states. Further, we document the characters and properties of each variety and register the landraces in the name of farmers to preclude any biopiracy patents on them. By such means, we seek to restore to farmers sovereignty over seeds—essential to their long-term financial and nutritional security.
Debal Deb and his long-term associate Debdulal Bhattacharya examine, record (top)
and discuss (
bottom) the detailed characteristics of rice grains from the harvest.


On precarious farms experiencing drought or seasonal floods, traditional landraces are the only reliable means of providing food security to poor farmers. After 22 years of growing folk rice varieties, I am confident that landraces such as Kelas, Rangi, Gadaba, Kaya and Velchi will provide greater yields than any of the modern HYVs in drought conditions. Lakshmi dighal, Rani kajal and Jabra can elongate their stems as floodwaters rise, keeping their seed-bearing panicles above water up to four meters deep. Matla, Getu, Talmugur and Kallurundai can grow on saline soil and survive seawater incursion. These landraces are stable germ lines with a suite of genes conferring broad adaptive plasticity.
Moreover, given optimal soil conditions in rain-fed farms, a considerable number of folk rice varieties such as Bahurupi, Bourani, Kerala sundari and Nagra can outyield modern HYVs. A set of exceedingly rare varieties with relatively high yields includes double- and triple-kernel rice; these may have resulted from selections of rare mutations in the structural genes of the rice flower. Basudha seems to be the last repository of one such triple-kernel rice landrace, Sateen.
Several landraces also possess resistance to pests and pathogens. Kalo nunia, Kalanamak, Kartik-sal and Tulsi manjari are blast-resistant. Bishnubhog and Rani kajal are resistant to bacterial blight. Kataribhog is moderately resistant to tungro virus. Gour-Nitai, Jashua and Shatia seem to resist caseworm attack, and stem-borer attack on Khudi khasa, Loha gorah, Malabati, Sada Dhepa and Sindur mukhi varieties is seldom observed. Such seeds, distributed from Vrihi, have reduced crop losses from pest and disease attacks in thousands of farm fields over the past 25 or so years.
Modern rice breeding is largely focused on enhancing grain yield, but numerous folk rice varieties contain various micronutrients that are absent from modern cultivars. Our recent studies identified at least 80 folk varieties that contain more than 20 milligrams of iron per kilogram of rice, with the highest levels recorded for Harin kajli, Dudhé bolta and Jhuli rice, which range from 131 to 140 milligrams per kilogram. Compare this range with the 9.8 milligrams of iron per kilogram of the transgenic iron-fortified rice IR68144-2B-2-2-3, developed at IRRI at enormous expense.
Certain landraces may have medicinal uses. Ayurveda, the traditional Indian system of medicine, recommends Nyavara rice from Kerala to help treat a class of neurological disorders. Along with my co-workers, I am examining its chemistry and also hope to study its efficacy for such use. Another medicinal rice, Garib-sal from West Bengal, was prescribed in traditional medicine for treatment of gastroenteric infections. In a 2017 paper in ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering, my collaborators and I documented the bioaccumulation of silver in Garib-sal grains to the extent of 15 parts per million. Silver nanoparticles kill pathogenic bacteria, according to a 2017 study in Chemistry Letters, so this rice might help fight human gut pathogens. A plethora of such medicinal rice varieties awaits laboratory and clinical testing.
Aesthetics is yet another value that indigenous farmers cherish, cultivating certain landraces simply for their beautiful colors or patterns: gold, brown, purple and black furrows on yellow hulls, purple apexes, black awns, and so on. Many in eastern India take pride in the beauty of the winglike extensions of the sterile lemma in Moynatundi and Ramigali rice. Aromatic varieties are associated with religious ceremonies and cultural festivals in all rice-growing cultures. When these types of rice disappear from fields, numerous culinary delicacies are no more, and the associated ceremonies lose their cultural and symbolic significance. Basudha’s collection of 195 aromatic rice landraces has helped revive many evanescent local food cultures and traditional ceremonies.
The complexity of ecological interactions has resulted in another set of rice varieties. Smallholding farmers of West Bengal and Jharkhand prefer varieties with long and strong awns (spine-like projections at the end of the hull), which deter grazing by cattle and goats. Indigenous farmers also prefer landraces with erect flag leaves because grain-eating birds cannot perch on them.
Interestingly, some farmers in Odisha grow a combination of awned and awnless varieties on their farms, regardless of any direct benefits. Other rare varieties with no obvious use possess purple stems and leaves. Indeed, South Asian tradition appears to deem biodiversity, at both the genetic and the species level, as so essential to agriculture that it was enshrined in certain religious rituals. For example, some wild relatives of cultivated rice, such as Buno dhan (Oryza rufipogon) and Uri dhan (Hygroryza asiatica), are associated with local Hindu rites and maintained on many farms in West Bengal and its neighboring state, Jharkhand. Such wild gene pools are becoming ever more important as a source of unusual traits that can be incorporated, as required, into existing cultivars. Further, the presence in rice fields of certain trees such as neem (Azadirachta indica), whose leaves serve as a natural pesticide, and of predators such as the owl has been considered auspicious.


Given the failure of modern agricultural research to provide marginal farmers with any reliable germ lines of rice, a large collection of folk rice varieties, with their fine-tuned adaptations to adverse conditions, is our best bet. Convinced by the superior yield stability of the landraces, more than 2,000 farmers in Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Karnataka, Kerala and Maharashtra have adopted several folk rice varieties from Vrihi and abandoned cultivation of HYVs.
When Cyclone Aila hit the Sundarbans coast of West Bengal and Bangladesh in May 2009, it killed almost 350 people and destroyed the homes of more than a million. A storm surge inundated fields with seawater and left them salinated—which meant that quite apart from the immediate devastation, the food security of the region was likely to suffer long-term damage. We distributed a small amount of seeds from the Vrihi seed bank’s repertoire of traditional salinity-tolerant landraces, such as Lal Getu, Nona bokra and Talmugur, among a few farmers on island villages of the Sundarbans. These were the only rice varieties that yielded a sizable amount of grain on the salinated farms in that disastrous season. Similarly, in 1999 several folk varieties such as Jabra, Rani kajal and Lakshmi dighal ensured rice production for southern Bengal farmers after a flash flood of the Hugli River. In 2010 Bhutmuri, Kalo gorah, Kelas and Rangi rescued many indigenous farmers in the western district of Puruliya when delayed arrival of monsoon rains caused a severe drought.
Such disasters prove, time and again, that the long-term sustainability of rice farming depends crucially on the restoration of traditional farming practices based on biodiversity and use of the full diversity of crop varieties that have survived the onslaught of industrial farming.
This article was originally published with the title "Restoring Rice Biodiversity" in Scientific American 321, 4, 54-61 (October 2019)


Beyond Developmentality: Constructing Inclusive Freedom and Sustainability. Debal Deb. Earthscan, 2009.
Rice: Origin, Antiquity and History. Edited by S. D. Sharma. CRC Press, 2010.
The Imperial Roots of Hunger. Madhusree Mukerjee in Himal Southasian, Vol. 26, No. 2, pages 12–25; April 2013.
A Profile of Heavy Metals in Rice (Oryza sativa ssp. indicaLandraces. Debal Deb et al. in Current Science, Vol. 109, No. 3, pages 407–409; August 10, 2015.

Debal Deb

TT producing all the rice it needs makes no sense

Description: Rice farming in Orange Grove, Tacarigua. Local production of goods is still affected by the imports of machinery which are not manufactured in TT.  Rice farming in Orange Grove, Tacarigua. Local production of goods is still affected by the imports of machinery which are not manufactured in TT.
AGRICULTURE Minister Clarence Rambharat said it would make no sense for this country to locally produce all of the rice that is required.
He was contributing to budget debate in the House Monday.
"Agricultural production in this country, and food, is not keeping the imports out. If we had to produce rice in this country to dispel the imports, we would have to level every building in Trinidad, Tobago and down the islands and turn them into lagoons and plant rice. But there is no economic rationale for planting rice and producing rice."
He said the country has good rice farmers whom the Government wants to keep in production. He added, however, the price of local rice as paddy is three time the price of first-grade parboiled rice.
"That is the reality."
He announced the preferred bidder for Carlsen Field mill to talk to Government about a rice parboiling plant and, after several months, and yesterday morning he delivered the letter to Trinidad Parboil Ltd to establish a rice parboil plant in Couva South.
He said every agriculture minister had fallen into the "trap" of reducing the food import bill. Rambharat recalled in his first year the food import bill dropped by $1 billion, but he had very little to do with it, as foreign exchange was tight and weather conditions in the US led to a reduction in grain prices. He said the case for supporting local farmers and farmers markets was the health of consumers.
"The food import bill will always be with us."
Rambharat said the country has been "obsessed" with local rice and the term "food security" had stuck in our language despite the reality of modern trading.
Nagpur Foodgrain Prices Open- October 16, 2019
OCTOBER 16, 2019 / 2:27 PM
Description: Rice farming in Orange Grove, Tacarigua. Local production of goods is still affected by the imports of machinery which are not manufactured in TT.
* * * * * *
Nagpur Foodgrain Prices – APMC/Open Market-October 16, 2018 Nagpur, Oct 16 (Reuters) – Gram prices reported down in Nagpur Agriculture Produce and Marketing Committee (APMC) here on poor buying support from local millers amid high moisture content arrival. Easy condition in Madhya Pradesh pulses and release of stock from stockists also affected prices in thin trading activity. About 300 bags of gram and 50 bags of tuar reported for auction, according to sources.

* Desi gram moved down in open market here in absence of buyers.

* Tuar Karnataka reported higher on increased demand from local traders.

* Moong Chamki declined in open market here on poor demand from

local traders amid good supply from producing belts.

* In Akola, Tuar New – 5,400-5,600, Tuar dal (clean) – 8,100-8,200, Udid Mogar (clean)

– 7,700-8,700, Moong Mogar (clean) 8,000-8,700, Gram – 4,200-4,300, Gram Super best

– 5,400-5,800 * Wheat, rice and other foodgrain items moved in a narrow range in

scattered deals and settled at last levels in thin trading activity.

Nagpur foodgrains APMC auction/open-market prices in rupees for 100 kg

FOODGRAINS Available prices Previous close

Gram Auction 3,600-4,500 3,800-4,500

Gram Pink Auction n.a. 2,100-2,600

Tuar Auction 4,600-5,150 4,700-5,200

Moong Auction n.a. 3,950-4,200

Udid Auction n.a. 4,300-4,500

Masoor Auction n.a. 2,200-2,500

Wheat Lokwan Auction 1,975-2,195 2,000-2,100

Wheat Sharbati Auction n.a. 2,900-3,000

Gram Super Best Bold 5,800-6,200 5,800-6,200

Gram Super Best n.a. n.a.

Gram Medium Best 5,500-5,700 5,500-5,700

Gram Dal Medium n.a. n.a

Gram Mill Quality 4,450-4,550 4,450-4,550

Desi gram Raw 4,450-4,550 4,500-4,600

Gram Kabuli 8,500-10,000 8,500-10,000

Tuar Fataka Best-New 8,300-8,500 8,300-8,500

Tuar Fataka Medium-New 7,800-8,200 7,800-8,200

Tuar Dal Best Phod-New 7,500-7,800 7,500-7,800

Tuar Dal Medium phod-New 6,900-7,400 6,900-7,400

Tuar Gavarani New 5,750-5,850 5,750-5,850

Tuar Karnataka 6,000-6,100 5,950-6,050

Masoor dal best 5,200-5,600 5,200-5,600

Masoor dal medium 5,000-5,100 5,000-5,100

Masoor n.a. n.a.

Moong Mogar bold (New) 8,000-9,000 8,000-9,000

Moong Mogar Medium 7,000-7,700 7,000-7,700

Moong dal Chilka New 6,800-8,000 6,800-8,000

Moong Mill quality n.a. n.a.

Moong Chamki best 8,300-9,000 8,500-9,000

Udid Mogar best (100 INR/KG) (New) 8,000-9,000 8,000-9,000

Udid Mogar Medium (100 INR/KG) 6,200-7,200 6,200-7,200

Udid Dal Black (100 INR/KG) 4,900-5,500 4,900-5,500

Mot (100 INR/KG) 5,800-6,800 5,800-6,800

Lakhodi dal (100 INR/kg) 4,500-4,800 4,500-4,800

Watana Dal (100 INR/KG) 4,700-5,000 4,700-5,000

Watana Green Best (100 INR/KG) 6,850-7,100 6,850-7,100

Wheat 308 (100 INR/KG) 2,250-2,350 2,250-2,350

Wheat Mill quality (100 INR/KG) 2,100-2,200 2,100-2,200

Wheat Filter (100 INR/KG) 2,650-2,750 2,650-2,750

Wheat Lokwan best (100 INR/KG) 2,550-2,650 2,550-2,650

Wheat Lokwan medium (100 INR/KG) 2,300-2,450 2,300-2,450

Lokwan Hath Binar (100 INR/KG) n.a. n.a.

MP Sharbati Best (100 INR/KG) 3,200-4,000 3,200-4,000

MP Sharbati Medium (100 INR/KG) 2,600-3,100 2,600-3,100

Rice Parmal (100 INR/KG) 2,400-2,500 2,400-2,500

Rice BPT best new (100 INR/KG) 3,200-3,600 3,200-3,600

Rice BPT medium new(100 INR/KG) 2,700-3,100 2,700-3,100

Rice Luchai (100 INR/KG) 3,000-3,100 3,000-3,100

Rice Swarna best new (100 INR/KG) 2,500-2,700 2,500-2,700

Rice Swarna medium new (100 INR/KG)2,300-2,400 2,300-2,400

Rice HMT best new (100 INR/KG) 4,000-4,200 4,000-4,200

Rice HMT medium new (100 INR/KG) 3,500-3,700 3,500-3,700

Rice Shriram best new(100 INR/KG) 4,600-5,000 4,600-5,000

Rice Shriram med new (100 INR/KG) 4,200-4,500 4,200-4,500

Rice Basmati best (100 INR/KG) 8,500-13,500 8,500-13,500

Rice Basmati Medium (100 INR/KG) 5,000-7,200 5,000-7,200

Rice Chinnor best new 100 INR/KG) 5,400-5,500 5,400-5,500

Rice Chinnor medium new(100 INR/KG)5,000-5,200 5,000-5,200

Jowar Gavarani (100 INR/KG) 2,350-2,550 2,350-2,550

Jowar CH-5 (100 INR/KG) 2,050-2,250 2,050-2,250 WEATHER (NAGPUR) Maximum temp. 33.3 degree Celsius, minimum temp. 19.8 degree Celsius Rainfall : Nil FORECAST: Partly cloudy sky. Maximum and minimum temperature likely to be around 33 degree Celsius and 20 degree Celsius respectively. Note: n.a.—not available (For oils, transport costs are excluded from plant delivery prices, but included in market prices)

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Rice floor price set at K500,000 for every 100 baskets
Description: Photo: EPA
Photo: EPA
The basic reference price for paddy will be maintained at K 500,000 for 100 baskets of monsoon paddy grown in 2019 and summer paddy to be cultivated in 2020, according to an October 15 announcement released by the government’s Leading Committee for Farmers Rights Protection and Interests Promotion. 
At that level, the reference price, or floor price, is expected to be fair and supportive of sustainable development across the whole rice supply chain and in accordance with the Law of Protection of Farmer Rights, the committee said in its statement.
“The basic reference price of 100 baskets of paddy, each basket weighing 46 pounds, will be K500,000 if the grains have moisture content of 14 percent, are free of dust, sand, gravel, and meet the set standards,” the announcement stated. 
Farmers facing difficulties selling their produce at the floor price can also contact the township representatives of the Myanmar Rice Federation. 
The government first set a basic reference price for paddy at K500,000 per 100 baskets in 2018.
U Myo Tint Tun, Deputy Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Irrigation, explained that the floor price will be the benchmark price used for trade should the market price for paddy fall below K500,000. 
Currently, the price of high quality Pawsan paddy grown in this year ranges between K800,000 and K1.2 million for 100 baskets. “The floor price announcement will ensure that the price for lower-grade Emata paddy will not fall below K500,000 per 100 baskets,” U Aung Than Oo, vice chair of the Myanmar Rice Federation told the Myanmar Times.
At the moment, Emata paddy which meets the 14pc moisture content requirement fetches up toK520,000 per 100 baskets in the market. For paddy with higher moisture content, the price is now K450,000 per 100 baskets, U Aung Than Oo said. 
The cost of production for paddy is around K 350,000 for 100 baskets, according to Myanmar Rice Federation.
While the basic reference price was welcome, some farmers said difficulties, such as getting the right weighing equipment, linger. “It isn’t easy for us to weigh the goods with platform scales as some of us don’t even have those measuring devices,” said Ko Myo Win from Lewe township in Nay Pyi Taw.
U Sein Win, Pyithu Hluttaw MP for Maubin Constituency of Ayeyarwady Region, said setting the floor price at K 500,000 will not solve the daily necessities of farmers but that the announcement will reduce protests of low paddy prices before next year’s General Election.

Innovation buzz: Drones help Ghana's farmers ward off birds - and drought risks

ASUTSUARE, Ghana (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Ephraim Kofi Kenney does not like to work in the fields scaring pests away. But today he must.
A flock of migratory birds has repeatedly invaded his parents’ rice plot outside Accra, Ghana’s capital, and the 16-year-old has been tasked with keeping the invaders away from the young crop.
If he fails, there will be no harvest on the one-acre (half-hectare) farm this season.
“This work makes me very tired. I can lose my voice because of shouting at the birds,” said the youth, as he tugged at a rope attached to a bell he was using to scare off the hungry creatures.
“I wish there was a way to make it easier.”
Nearby, farmers and researchers are experimenting with one possible answer: A drone that can help farmers protect their crops from the effects of climate change and ward off hungry birds at the same time.
In a project run by the Netherlands-based Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) rice farmers are being taught how to use drones to carry out jobs such as spraying fertilizer more efficiently and mapping scarce water sources, said George Madjitey, CEO of GEM Industrial Solutions.
But there turns out to be a bonus: The drones can emit a noise to keep the birds from undoing all the farmers’ hard work, said Madjitey, whose social enterprise is one of the local firms supplying drones for the project.
The drones cannot operate at all times - but they can help cut down on the need for work like Kenney’s, which can keep young people away from their studies.
As climate change brings more unpredictable and extreme weather, small-scale farmers are increasingly turning to technology to help them find ways to keep their farms sustainable, agricultural experts say.
While drones have become a staple in farming tool kits in many parts of the world, Ghana’s rice farmers are for the first time learning how the devices can help them adapt to the prolonged droughts the country is experiencing.
With dry spells killing crops and drying natural sources of food across Africa, migratory birds now spend more time feeding on grain fields they come across because they don’t know how long it will be before their next meal, said Kunga Ngece, a Nairobi-based development expert.
According to Madjitey, a single drone can scare away birds on a farm as large as three acres (1.2 hectares).
“The drone makes work easier for farmers because it can operate over a wide range of land. Also, the children are able to stay at home with their families and do their homework instead of being on the farm,” he said.
According to Ghana’s minister of food and agriculture, Owusu Afriyie Akoto, about 80% of the country’s farmers have been impacted by drought this year.
Crop yields have dropped by about 7% since a decade ago, and the country loses more than $200 million every year to droughts and flooding, he said in a press conference during the 2019 African Green Revolution Forum held in Accra.
Since the CTA launched its Eyes in the Sky, Smart Techs on the Ground project in Ghana three years ago, starting with cassava and cashew nut farmers, more than 2,800 farmers in rural Ghana have become involved, Madjitey said.
Rice farmers have been included since September, he said.
When farmers join the project, they organise into cooperatives of about 100 people. Each cooperative then pays for, uses and maintains a set of drones, which can cost upwards of $1,000 each, he said.
The farmers are grouped by neighborhood, so a single drone can cover two or three farms each time it goes on a flight, said.
Usually, one or two farmers in each cooperative are trained to use the drones and they operate the devices for all the farmers in the group, he added.
“This ensures the technology reaches as many of them as possible,” Madjitey said, as he walked around an irrigation project in Kpong, one village involved in the drone effort.
The use of drones in agriculture is part of a global move toward technical innovations that allow farmers to work faster and more efficiently.
According to a report on the digitalization of agriculture in Africa published by the CTA in June, technology can be a “game changer” in supporting and accelerating the industry across the continent.
“With so much at stake, it is no surprise that most African countries have prioritized agricultural transformation as a key pillar of their national strategies,” added the report.
Agnes Kalibata, president of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, which works with small-scale farmers, said the continent’s farmers have long lagged behind the rest of the world when it comes to technological innovation.
“Africa has been going round and round in circles, but digital innovations now present an opportunity to change things. Drones are helping farmers solve complex problems in a simple way,” Kalibata told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
For example, she noted, drones can be used to collect field data - such as crop inventories or the status of irrigation infrastructure - over a wide area.
This data can help farmers and policymakers plan for and adapt to the ongoing effects of climate change, she said.
Helping farmers adapt to climate change also presents new business and job opportunities, said Giacomo Rambaldi, head of the drone project at CTA.
Since its launch, Eyes in the Sky has been working with business startups run by young people in more than 20 Africa countries, he explained.
The project trains youth in rural areas to operate agribusinesses, such as creating and selling innovations that can improve production for smallholder farmers.
“Some of them are doing really well. They are employing other people and they have quite successful operations,” said Rambaldi.
One reason drone technology has not seen more uptake among African farmers is that many African countries either have no laws regulating the operation of drones or ban their use by civilians, he noted.
In countries like Ghana where drone technology is allowed, however, some farmers are seeing the benefits.
As well as helping them save time and labor, farmers point out that drones cut down on the health risks associated with being in daily contact with chemicals on crops and microbes in muddy fields.
“Drones have taken away all these discomforts,” said Susan Fiebor, a farmer in the village of Asutsuare.
Reporting by Kagondu Njagi ; editing by Jumana Farouky and Laurie Goering: Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, climate change, resilience, women's rights, trafficking and property rights.

Dept proposes reducing rice farming areas for upcoming crop

October, 16/2019 - 20:32
Mekong Delta provinces have been advised to reduce rice farming areas and focus on more profitable products because of the threats of saline intrusion and drought. — VNA/VNS Photo Trường Giang
MEKONG DELTA — The area for rice farming in the Mekong Delta and Southeast Việt Nam should be reduced for the upcoming winter-spring rice crop to lessen the negative impact of saline intrusion, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development's Department of Crop Production.
The 2019-20 winter-spring rice crop is facing complex hydro-meteorological conditions and a high probability of salt intrusion in the dry season in the Delta, reported the Sài Gòn Giải Phóng (Liberated Sài Gòn) newspaper. 
Salt intrusion might also occur sooner and affect more land than usual, which could affect irrigation systems' ability to withdraw water.
The department has also proposed sowing less rice seeds for the crop, which would result in a lower output. They also advised farmers to take into account that the pest, the brown planthopper, is expected to appear during the rice sowing season.
Lê Quốc Doanh, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the water level was falling and the risk of saline intrusion and drought was increasing. 
Provinces should sow seeds earlier in October to avoid salt intrusion, and coastal areas should focus on rice strains that are more resilient to salt and take less time to grow, as well as apply solutions to save water.
Rice farming areas that provide low economic value should grow more profitable products, according to the ministry.
The Department of Crop Production said that around 722,000ha of rice were sown in the Mekong Delta's autumn-winter crop, which was 9,800ha less year-on-year. The output was around 3.9 million tonnes, or 38,900 tonnes less than last year. Description:
So far in 2019, Southeast Việt Nam and Mekong Delta have produced around 25.7 million tonnes of rice, or 197,900 tonnes less than the same period of 2018.
The department said the rice farming areas in the two regions fell by 41,000ha after a switch towards growing products of higher economic value. — VNS

Jan-Sep rice exports plummet

By Dat Nguyen   October 16, 2019 | 11:27 am GMT+7
A woman dries rice in Binh Da Village on the outskirts of Hanoi. Photo by Reuters/Kham.

Vietnam’s rice exports value fell 9.8 percent year-on-year to $2.24 billion in the first 9 months as demand from China and other major markets dwindled.

The country's 5-percent broken rice price fell to $325 per ton last month, a 12-year low, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).
Nguyen Quoc Toan, head of the ministry's department of processing and agricultural market development, said that China has been expanding import markets, tapping new ones like Myanmar and Cambodia, making it more difficult for Vietnam to compete.
China has also tightened its import standards to ensure safety and quality, which some Vietnamese rice exporters have not met, he added.
Other officials said that other major markets, such as Indonesia and Bangladesh, have also cut their imports as world economic growth slows down, leading to lower demand.
Toan said that Vietnam needs to diversify its market and export more to the Philippines, the largest buyer of Vietnamese rice, as well as Indonesia and Africa.
Last year, Vietnam exported $3.03 billion worth of rice, up 16 percent from 2017, MARD data shows.

PHL urges Asean+3 nations to develop new rice varieties

Photo shows NSIC Rc 222, one of the rice varieties developed by the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice). NSIC Rc 222 is known to have “moderate” resistance to pests. To come up with more varieties like Rc 222, the PhilRice is currently developing an analysis tool dubbed as “RIGby.”
Manila said it is supporting the proposal of the International Rice Research Institute (Irri) to involve Southeast Asian nations and their trade partners in the development of new rice varieties that are resilient to multiple environment stresses.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) said the new varieties will help increase rice production amid the challenges presented by climate change and the expansion in the population of members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).
“The Philippines, being the host country of Irri, will reiterate its strong support to the institute’s proposal to the 41st Asean Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry (Amaf) Meeting, hoping that Korea, Japan and China can really come forward, and significantly push this initiative,” Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar said in a statement.
Dar went to Brunei Darussalam to represent the Philippines in the 41st Amaf.
Irri’s proposal hopes to bring the Asean+3 (South Korea, Japan and China) to be involved in the selection and the development of new rice varieties that are resilient to multiple environmental stresses, pest and diseases, thereby elevating the production capacity in the region.
“We need to combine these strengths and to have the right rice varieties that can adapt to all potential scenarios and also meet the market readiness and expectation acknowledging that in Southeast Asia consumers have particular preferences,” Irri Director General Matthew Morell said in a statement.
Morell added that the Irri’s proposal is set to build a comprehensive testing and selection that is also backed up by training capacity for its national partners.
“We are not just transferring these new varieties but we are doing it with the national partners for them to conduct it themselves,” he added.
The Philippines is endorsing Irri’s proposal during the Amaf meeting and it hopes to secure the strong support of Japan, South Korea and China.
El Niño episodes in the Philippines usually wreak havoc on rice production. The destruction rice crops in 1998 and 2010 forced the country to import some 2 million metric tons (MMT) of rice. Output fell during those years as El Niño dried up farms and destroyed standing rice crops.
The rice sector also bore the brunt of the El Niño episode this year. The dry spell destroyed billions of worth of unhusked rice and caused farmers to incur losses.
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said inadequate water supply/rainfall, and the dry spell caused the harvest of rice to decline in Mimaropa, Bicol region and Western Visayas.
Palay production in January to June fell by 5.1 percent to 8.269 MMT, from 8.713 MMT in the same period last year, according to data from the PSA.

Filipino farmers protest as rice prices drop

Farmers on streets with empty pots to protest new law affecting their livelihoods

By Liao, Jo-Luen, Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2019/10/16 20:17

Filipino farmers protest rice price drop

(By Central News Agency)
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - Plummeting rice prices due to cheap imports from Vietnam and Thailand have driven Filipino farmers to protest at the Department of Agriculture in Manila on Wednesday (Oct. 16), CNA reported.
After implementation of the Rice Tarrification Law (RTL), which cancels limits on rice exports and imports, prices have dropped precipitously. Before the law was applied, rice could sell at 19 (NT$30) to 23 pesos per kilogram, but it is now valued at 7 to 10 pesos, said Cathy Estavillo, spokesperson of rice watch group Bantay Bigas.
Farmers led by the Peasant Movement of the Philippines (KMP), National Federation of Peasant Women (Amihan), Bantay Bigas, and other farmer organizations went on the streets with empty pots and kitchen utensils, protesting that farmers do not have sufficient rice to feed themselves.
About 70 percent of farmers in the Philippines are tenant farmers. The decline in rice prices has greatly affected their livelihood.
Many rural housewives are forced to work as domestic helpers in the cities. Furthermore, families are unable to provide for their children, so they can attend school, CNA quoted Estavillo as saying.
KMP leader and former minister of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Rafael Mariano, said, “World Food Day” has become “World Foodless Day.”
Farmers have said they might not plant rice next season, said Estavillo. She also stated that the fall in rice prices does not benefit consumers since the price is controlled by the manufacturers.
The government has responded to the price drop, and a suggested retail price is under discussion. A petition started by Bantay Bigas and a women’s organization called Gabriela, set to be submitted to Congress in November, is calling for RTL to be revoked, CNA reported.

India injects $30 mln into rice production in Sierra Leone
 Wednesday, 16 October 2019 14:44
(Ecofin Agency) - India is giving Sierra Leone $30 million to boost rice production, Venkaiah Naidu, the Indian Vice President, said after a meeting with the beneficiary country’s President, Julius Maada Bio.
The money will be pumped into the rice development project ongoing in Tomabom, according to daily Sierra Leone Telegraph. This project needs a total of $500 and aims to develop 110,000 ha of rice farms in the focus region.   
To reach this goal, the government plans to purchase the required machinery and tools and set up a seed multiplication unit. The construction of access roads is also planned.
According to authorities, the project’s completion will push rice production to 1.6 million tons by 2023, of which 900,000 tons will go for domestic consumption.

95% of tested baby foods contain toxic metals, report says

6:15 AM, OCTOBER 17, 2019, BY CNN WIRE
Toxic heavy metals damaging to your baby’s brain development are likely in the baby food you are feeding your infant, according to a new investigation published Thursday.
Tests of 168 baby foods from major manufacturers found 95% contained lead, 73% contained arsenic, 75% contained cadmium and 32% contained mercury. One fourth of the foods contained all four heavy metals.
One in five baby foods tested had over 10 times the 1-ppb limit of lead endorsed by public health advocates, although experts agree that no level of lead is safe.
The results mimicked a previous study by the Food and Drug Organization that found one or more of the same metals in 33 of 39 types of baby food tested.
Foods with the highest risk for neurotoxic harm were rice-based products, sweet potatoes and fruit juices, the analysis found.
“Even in the trace amounts found in food, these contaminants can alter the developing brain and erode a child’s IQ. The impacts add up with each meal or snack a baby eats,” the report said.
The tests were commissioned by Healthy Babies Bright Futures, which calls itself an alliance of scientists, nonprofit organizations and donors trying to reduce exposures to neurotoxic chemicals during the first months of life.

Rice-based foods

Infant rice cereal, rice dishes and rice-based snacks topped the list of most toxic foods for babies.
“These popular baby foods are not only high in inorganic arsenic, the most toxic form of arsenic, but also are nearly always contaminated with all four toxic metals,” the report said.
Prior research has shown that even low levels of arsenic exposure can impact a baby’s neurodevelopment. A 2004 study looked at children in Bangladesh who were exposed to arsenic in drinking water, and it found that they scored significantly lower on intellectual tests. A meta-analysis of studies on the topic found that a 50% increase in arsenic levels in urine would be associated with a 0.4-point decrease in the IQ of children between the ages of 5 and 15.
Arsenic is a natural element found in soil, water and air, with the inorganic form being the most toxic. (“Inorganic” is a chemical term and has nothing to do with the method of farming.)
Because rice is grown in water, it is especially good at absorbing inorganic arsenic and, according to the Food and Drug Administration, has the highest concentration of any food.
And in this case, brown and wild rice are the worst offenders, because the milling process used to create white rice removes the outer layers, where much of the arsenic concentrates.
And you can’t rely on organic either. A 2012 study found that brown rice syrup, a frequent sweetener in organic foods, was also a source of significant levels of arsenic. One “organic” milk formula marketed to toddlers had levels of inorganic arsenic that were six times the levels currently considered safe by the US Environmental Protection Agency.
In the Healthy Babies analysis, four of seven rice cereals contained the most toxic form of arsenic in levels higher than the FDA’s proposed action level of 100 parts per billion (ppb).

Action needed

Urgent action is needed by major baby food companies and the FDA, the report said. While the FDA has been investigating how to reduce exposure and some levels of arsenic in rice and juice are lower than a decade ago, exposure is still too high.
“When FDA acts, companies respond. We need the FDA to use their authority more effectively, and much more quickly, to reduce toxic heavy metals in baby foods,” said study author Jane Houlihan, research director for Healthy Babies Better Futures, in a statement.

What can parents do

The analysis looked at which baby foods are highest risk, and offered safer alternatives.
Puff rice snacks and cereals
Rice cereal is the top source of arsenic in a baby’s diet because it is often used as a first food; rice puffs and other rice flour snacks also contain high levels. Healthy Babies suggested cereals low in arsenic, such as oatmeal and multigrain cereals, and rice-free packaged snacks.
Pediatrician Tanya Altmann, author of “What to Feed Your Baby” echoes the advice of the American Academy of Pediatrics, which advises parents to offer a wide variety of first foods including grains such as oats, barley, wheat and quinoa.
“Best first foods for infants are avocado, pureed veggies, peanut-butter oatmeal and salmon,” Altmann said. “They all provide important nutrients that babies need, help develop their taste buds to prefer healthy food and may decrease food allergies.”
She believes meats are a better source of iron and zinc for babies than rice cereal, “so I haven’t been recommending rice cereal as a first food for several years.”
If you do choose to cook rice for your toddler, Healthy Babies recommends cooking rice in extra water and pouring it off before eating. That will cut arsenic levels by 60%, they say, based on FDA studies.
“For the lowest levels, buy basmati rice grown in California, India, and Pakistan. White rice has less arsenic than brown rice,” the report said.
Teething foods
Teething biscuits can contain arsenic, lead and cadmium, the report said. Instead, soothe your baby’s pain with frozen bananas, a peeled and chilled cucumber or a clean, wet washcloth — but be sure to watch for choking.
Juice is often the go-to drink for parents, but it’s not a good option, says the American Academy of Pediatrics. Juices are high in sugar, lack fiber, and can contribute to tooth decay and later obesity. Apple, pear, grape and other fruit juices can also contain some lead and arsenic, so frequent use is a top source of these heavy metals.
Instead, experts say water and milk are best choices, depending on the age of the child. Babies under six months only need breast milk and formula. The drinks of choice for a child’s second year of life should be water and whole milk. Between age 2 and 5 parents should move to skim or low-fat milk and keep pushing water to hydrate their children.
At all ages, juice should be kept to a minimum. One tip: add water to make the juice last longer and always be sure the drink is 100% juice.
Fruits and veggies
While sweet potatoes and carrots are great sources of vitamin A and other key nutrients, the report found they are also high in lead and cadmium. Go ahead and feed your child these veggies, but be sure to add many other colorful fruits and vegetables to add variety.

Central Luzon farmers seek help as palay price falls

Philippine Daily Inquirer / 05:04 AM October 17, 2019
FARMERS’ VOICE Farmers in Central Luzon stage a protest in Nueva Ecija to call the government’s attention to their plight. —CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
CABANATUAN CITY, Nueva Ecija, Philippines — About 100 farmers in Central Luzon staged protest actions here to call on the government to repeal the rice liberalization law (Republic Act No. 11203) that they blamed for the low buying price of palay (unhusked rice).
The protesters, who belonged to the farmers’ coalition Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luzon (AMGL), camped out at the National Food Authority (NFA) regional office here on Tuesday before marching to the public market the following day.
They said the average farm gate price of palay in Nueva Ecija province remained at P11 to P12 per kilogram due to the influx of imported grains in the market. (See related story in Business, Page B4.)
Nueva Ecija is one of the major rice-producing provinces in the country.
Ignacio Ortiz, chair of AMGL-Nueva Ecija, said the downtrend in the palay prices had buried farmers in debt and led to their hunger.
He said the NFA should buy rice directly from farmers at P20 per kg to help them cope with the rising production cost.
In Tarlac and Pampanga provinces, the buying palay price has dropped to P10 a kg.
Farmers also deplored the government’s farm mechanization program, which, they said, was not aligned with their needs.
“[Farm] mechanization is useless if we will lose our farmlands,” Ortiz said, adding that they have been pushing for agricultural reforms that will benefit landless farmers.
AMGL members also held protest rallies in front of the offices of the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) and the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) in the Science City of Muñoz.
PhilMech is in charge of developing farm machines for agriculture mechanization while PhilRice is the country’s prime agency for rice research.
Both offices are tasked with providing skills training to farmers with the implementation of the P10-billion rice competitiveness enhancement fund. —Armand Galang

PhilRice, Philmech train rice specialists, extension workers
By Marilyn Galang  October 16, 2019, 7:37 pm

FIELD TRAINING. Rice specialists and farmer-leaders in Nueva Ecija are trained on the use of a drum seeder, a piece of gender-friendly farm equipment for direct seeding. The activity is part of the training being conducted by the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) and the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) to help farmers become competitive. (File photo by PhilRice)
SCIENCE CITY OF MUNOZ, Nueva Ecija — The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) and Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) are conducting various training for rice specialists, extension workers, and farmer-leaders to make farmers competitive.
The move is in line with the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) program of the Department of Agriculture.
Dr. Glenn Ilar, PhilRice training coordinator, said on Tuesday that he training will make rice specialists, extension workers and farmer-leaders in educating farmers cope up with the challenge on the availability of cheaper imported rice in the local market.
“The training for farmer-leaders and extension workers of Luzon amplifies the program’s extension services. Farmer-leaders and extension workers are now updated on farm technologies and techniques, especially on the use and production of quality seeds and farm machines, which they will impart to the farmers by conducting Farmers Field School,” he said.
Ilar said at least 30 personnel from the Agricultural Training Institute, regional field offices of the DA, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, and PhilRice underwent a rice specialist training course from April 29 to Oct. 18 in preparation for the implementation of the RCEF program in their areas.
He said that PhilRice has also recently trained about 85 regional and provincial RCEF coordinators who will assist in the RCEF seed distribution program.
“Farmer-trainees shared rice production-related technologies such as pest and nutrient management to their fellow farmers and that they are also tapped to teach young farmers,” he said.
Ilar added that PhilRice has also trained rebel returnees, military personnel, retirees, and out-of-school-youth on rice and rice-based production.
With funding for six years, RCEF serves as farmers’ safety net under the Rice Tariffication Law, in which collected tariffs are used to improve Filipino rice farmers’ competitiveness. (PNA)

Rice price guarantee seeded with B9.4bn
published : 16 Oct 2019 at 04:01
newspaper section: Business

Description: Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit (centre) presided over Tuesday's kick-off ceremony for the income guarantee scheme for rice farmers. The programme pays 9.4 billion baht directly to 349,000 registered farmers.Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit (centre) presided over Tuesday's kick-off ceremony for the income guarantee scheme for rice farmers. The programme pays 9.4 billion baht directly to 349,000 registered farmers.
The rice price guarantee scheme started on Tuesday, with eligible farmers set to receive the difference when market prices fall below the predetermined benchmark.
Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit said the state-owned Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) transferred 9.4 billion baht in compensation directly to the accounts of 349,000 registered farmers.
The compensation will be paid mainly to growers of white rice paddy and fragrant Pathum Thani rice paddy if the market prices stay below a certain level.
Mr Jurin said the government is scheduled to pay the compensation every 15 days until the end of the harvest season.
On Aug 27, the cabinet approved a package worth 59 billion baht in price guarantees and subsidy schemes for rice and oil palm. Of the total budget, 13.3 billion baht is for rice price guarantees, 21.4 billion baht for oil palm and 25 billion baht to subsidise production costs for rice farmers.
The rice price guarantee covers five types of rice: white rice paddy with 15% moisture, hom mali rice paddy, fragrant Pathum Thani rice paddy with 15% moisture, glutinous rice paddy with 15% moisture and provincial fragrant rice paddy.
Under the scheme, running from October this year to October 2020, farmers will see the price of white rice paddy with 15% moisture guaranteed at 10,000 baht per tonne, but the guaranteed rice cannot exceed 30 tonnes per family or 40 rai.
The guaranteed price is set at 15,000 baht a tonne for hom mali rice paddy, but limited to 14 tonnes per family or 40 rai, while fragrant Pathum Thani rice paddy with 15% moisture is set at 11,000 baht a tonne with a limit of 25 tonnes per family or 40 rai.
The price of glutinous rice paddy with 15% moisture is set at 12,000 baht a tonne for a limit of 16 tonnes or 40 rai, while the price of provincial fragrant rice paddy is set at 14,000 baht at tonne for a limit of 16 tonnes per family or 40 rai.
The scheme will be run by the BAAC.
Under the programme, farmers will be paid the difference only when prices fall below the benchmark.
Pramote Charoensilp, the president of the Thai Agriculturalists Association, said most farmers felt satisfied with the government's scheme, but he argued that the government should compensate farmers at 2,000 baht per rai.
He said farmers do not need to monitor paddy prices every 15 days.