Tuesday, October 22, 2019

22nd October,2019 Daily Global Regional Local Rice E-Newsletter

Third-generation hybrid rice achieves high yields in China
Source: Xinhua| 2019-10-22 15:56:25|Editor: Li Xia
CHANGSHA, Oct. 22 (Xinhua) -- The third-generation hybrid rice developed by Yuan Longping, the "father of hybrid rice," and his team underwent its first public yield monitoring from Monday to Tuesday and achieved a major breakthrough in output.
The final yield came to 1,046.3 kg per mu (about 0.07 hectares), based on two plots of land in Qingzhu Village under the city of Hengyang in central China's Hunan Province.
The whole process was organized by the Hunan Society of Agronomy under the supervision of experts from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, the China National Rice Research Institute, Hunan's agriculture and rural affairs department and multiple Chinese universities.
Experts agreed that the rice has a stout stem, fertilizer tolerance, lodging resistance, large spike and more grains.
Yuan, who developed the world's first hybrid rice in 1974, has set multiple world records in hybrid rice yields in previous years.

NASA map reveals a new landslide risk factor
by Esprit Smith, NASA
Description: NASA map reveals a new landslide risk factorA man retrieving coconuts from a home destroyed by landslides, with damaged rice paddies in the background. Credit: European Union/Pierre Prakash, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
In the deadly 2018 earthquake in the Indonesian city of Palu, intense shaking changed solid ground into a landslide of flowing mud, multiplying the death toll and economic impact. A new paper shows that this disastrous effect was triggered by a previously unknown risk factor: flooding rice fields for farming.
Soil liquefaction, which causes this kind of landslide, occurs when the shaking from a large earthquake rips through moist, loose soil, overpowering the friction that normally holds dirt particles together. The soil loses its structural integrity and begins to flow like a liquid. Buildings fall as their support washes away. Heavy objects like cars sink into the muck, while buried water and sewer pipes rise to the surface.
In Palu, although early reporting blamed most of the estimated 2,000 fatalities on a tsunami, surveys soon showed that soil-liquefaction landslides caused at least as much damage as the ocean waves did. That puzzled researchers. Soil liquefaction usually occurs in flat landscapes with wet, sandy or silty ground, such as coastal plains. Researchers had thought flat terrain was a prerequisite because the water table—the distance below ground where the soil becomes saturated with water—must be shallow, and that's rare on a hillside. Palu has sandy soil, but it's in a gently sloping valley that appeared to pose little risk.
They were startled to notice that all the landslides originated along a distinct line. When they took a closer look, they saw that the line was an aqueduct. "So we started studying why the aqueduct is clearly defining the boundary between land sliding and no sliding," Yun said.
The Gumbasa Aqueduct was completed in 1913 to reduce the risk of famine by providing a consistent water supply for local farmers. Only land downhill from the aqueduct is irrigated; water is not pumped uphill. Farmers just below the aqueduct practice wet rice cultivation, in which fields are flooded at one point in the growing cycle. This predominant method of rice farming in tropical Asia raises the water table over time to just below the ground surface. Farther downhill, farmers grow coconut palms, which require less irrigation and don't raise the water table as much.
Description: NASA map reveals a new landslide risk factorJPL's ARIA team produced this Damage Proxy Map of Palu after the 2018 earthquake. The aqueduct is marked in blue; red and yellow pixels show likely damage. The terrain slopes uphill from left to right, with major damage below the aqueduct and little above it. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/JAXA
Damage maps revealed widespread liquefaction below the aqueduct. Multiple slides carried some six square miles (16 square kilometers) of land far downhill—in some places farther than 49 feet (15 meters). The slides were slowed or halted by the coconut palm plantations. No liquefaction was identified uphill of the aqueduct.
The conclusion is clear, Bradley said: "If there hadn't been intensive irrigation, the landslides wouldn't have happened." On the positive side, he added, "This is a human-caused hazard, and it can have a human solution. We can't mitigate the hazard of ground shaking on Palu, but the agricultural practices can be updated based on this new understanding."
Trees played a critical role in stopping the slides, and the researchers suggest that planting more trees—perhaps interspersed with rice fields—in areas that are intensively irrigated might reduce the risk of soil liquefaction.
Bradley noted that Palu is not the only place in the world where people are growing heavily irrigated crops on wet, sandy slopes. "If an engineer had gone to Palu and evaluated the system from first principles, they would likely have been able to identify this risk," he said. "I hope this study is an impetus for people to go and study these other places."
A paper on the research, titled "Wet rice cultivation was the primary cause of the earthquake-triggered Palu landslides," was published in Nature Geoscience. Bradley is the lead author.

Toxic metals detected in nearly all baby foods

October 21, 2019
The nonprofit Healthy Babies Bright Futures has just released results of a new study on commercial infant food products revealing that 95% of 168 baby foods across 61 brands tested were found to contain detectable levels of toxic metals that can permanently affect infants’ neurologic development and behavior. The neurotoxins arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury occur naturally in all foods, but at least 3 of the chemicals were found in 40% of baby food samples tested, with 26% of products tested containing all 4 heavy metals.
The organization says its new report quantifies for the first time the impact of these heavy metals on infants’ health, giving estimates of the decline in intelligence quotient (IQ) points from exposure to lead and arsenic from birth to age 2 years. The report also names the 15 most common foods consumed by babies aged younger than 2 years that account for 55% of the risk to brain development, including apple and grape juice, oat ring cereal, macaroni and cheese, and puff snacks.
According to the report, lead was found in 94% of baby foods tested, cadmium in 75%, arsenic in 73%, and mercury in 32%. The study also included new data on the presence of the industrial chemical perchlorate in baby food, which adds to the IQ points loss posed by heavy metals. Perchlorate contamination was recorded in 19 of 25 baby foods tested, including infant formula. The chemical, commonly used in food packaging, disrupts thyroid functions critical to brain development.
Rice-based foods such as infant rice cereals, rice dishes, and rice snacks top the list for inorganic arsenic, which the study says accounts for 20% of the more than 11 million IQ points that children lose from birth to 24 months from all dietary sources.
The study also suggests simple actions that can lower babies’ exposures to heavy metals in their diet:
1.    Substitute rice-free snacks for rice puff snacks.
2.    Offer frozen banana or chilled cucumber slices for teething discomfort instead of teething biscuits.
3.    Feed babies multigrain and oatmeal cereals in place of infant rice cereal.
4.    Provide tap water instead of fruit juices.
5.    Offer babies a variety of fruits and vegetables.
The problem with neurotoxin contamination of baby food surfaced 10 years ago, but new research has confirmed the continuing presence of the chemicals in all food products for babies. Children are more susceptible to such contaminants than are adults. Currently there are no limits for toxic heavy metals in baby food.
Healthy Babies Bright Futures has called upon the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to take immediate action on its findings: “FDA should establish and finalize health-protective standards for heavy metals, prioritizing foods that offer the greatest opportunity to reduce exposure, considering additive effects of the multiple metals detected in foods, and explicitly protecting against neurodevelopmental impacts.”

In addition, the group says the FDA should implement “a proactive testing program for heavy metals in foods consumed by babies and toddlers, similar to the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s program for children’s toys (CPSC 2019)” and also establish a health-based limit on the acceptable amount of inorganic arsenic in infant rice cereal and other rice-based foods.
Untapped export potential for Japan is more than USD 3 billion: FIEO
Monday, October 21, 2019, 1:50 PM IST
New Delhi: Japan has huge export potential in sectors such as pharmaceuticals, gems and jewellery, marine products, rice, bovine meat, and aluminium, exporters body FIEO said on Monday.
Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) President Sharad Kumar Saraf said India's export of USD 17.6 billion to Japan does not reflect the true potential of trade between the countries.
"The untapped export potential for Japan is more than USD 3 billion in sectors such as pharmaceuticals, gems and jewellery, marine products, rice, bovine meat, and aluminium," he said.
Saraf said the federation has launched India-Japan Business Group, an online platform, to promote interaction between business communities of the two countries for promoting exports, imports and investments.
FIEO has also signed an MoU with Japan-India Industry Promotion Association to promote trade.
FIEO DG Ajay Sahai said Indian exporters should look into value added segment of exports which account for major imports of Japan.
"In many of the products, the share of India is extremely low. India's share in electric and electronic components, machinery pharmaceutical and medical and surgical equipment requires massive improvement as combined imports of these products in Japan is over USD 250 billion," he said.

Ending safeguards probe on rice imports legal–DA

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THE Department of Agriculture (DA) on Monday said it did not violate any laws in terminating its motu proprio safeguards investigation on rice imports after an agriculture group floated the idea that the department may face charges for its action.
The DA maintained that it chose to sideline the trade remedy after the Cabinet decided that imposing safeguard duties on rice imports would be inflationary.
Besides, the DA argued that giving cash assistance to Filipino rice farmers, who are now suffering from low palay prices, would be the “best way” to address their present situation.
The department reacted to the statement of the Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food Inc. (Pcafi) that the department may face lawsuits  for “illegally” refusing to enforce “mandated” safeguards against rice imports. “There is no violation. I don’t think so. It’s their own thinking. Every group or individual has their own opinion or matter,” Agriculture Secretary William Dar said in a press briefing on Monday.
“This is how we handle this in the government. Because of the potential inflationary effects, meanwhile, that is set aside. The best way to intervene now is to give cash assistance,” Dar added.
In standing firm on the DA’s decision to terminate the safeguards, Dar argued that the “government has to see broader sense of things.”
Nonetheless, Dar pointed out that imposing safeguard duties remains to be one of the government’s tool to protect farmers and would be used at the “right time.”
In a statement over the weekend, Pcafi criticized the DA and the economic managers for allegedly committing an “illegal act” for the “deliberate abandonment of its poorest sector” in terminating the safeguards investigation on rice imports.
“It is explicitly indicated in Section 10 Republic Act 11203 or rice tariffication law Section 10 that in order to protect the Philippine rice industry from extreme price fluctuations, a special safeguard duty—SSG—on rice shall be imposed. As such it is incumbent upon government to enforce the safeguards legal mandate,” the group said.
“Although it is not their [DA and economic managers’] intention, but the argument that we should choose 105 million Filipinos as against 10 million farmers is like Hitler justifying the killing of 6 million German Jews to save the German Aryan nation,” it added.
Pcafi said the DA and economic managers are “misleading the public by claiming that implementing” safeguard measures is inflationary.
The proposed P3-billion direct cash assistance, it said, is an “insult” to rice farmers.
Ghana is expected to end importation of rice by 2022
 Yesterday at 3:39 PM
Description: https://ocdn.eu/pulscms-transforms/1/APJk9kpTURBXy9iZTQ5YzUyYjgzYzNmYTA1MTc2YjhiNzg0Y2U2OTNmMi5qcGeRkwXNAxTNAbyBoTABKennedy Nyarko Osei
·       Ghana is hoping to end rice importation by 2022.
·       This is coming after the country did not import maize between January and September this year.
·       Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture said the government is working hard to ensure this becomes a reality.
A Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, Kennedy Nyarko Osei, has disclosed that Ghana is working tirelessly to stop the importation of rice into the county.
He added that from the government’s projection rice imports will end by 2022.
This is coming after Ghana did not import maize between January and September this year due to increased local maize production.
In an interview on Accra-based Kingdom FM, Kennedy Nyarko Osei said: “we import billion dollars of rice into the country but the Agric Ministry led by Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto is determined that by the end of 2022 we will stop importing rice from other countries based on our projections.”
“The two crops we are focusing on are rice and soya; soya because of the poultry industry and rice because of import substitution,” he added.
The Ghanaian government introduced its flagship agricultural project dubbed: ‘Planting For Food and Jobs” about two years ago.
“Changing the structure of our economy through diversification and value addition will not happen overnight. It remains a major pre-occupation of the government because it is our pathway to reduce dependency, expand the economy, create jobs, increase exports, reduce imports and support the value of our currency.”
He added that the government is committed to the agricultural sector growth, with an initial focus on support to smallholder farmers.
Ghana would save close to a billion dollars if the country put a stop to rice imports.

Border Closure Windfall: With Naija Rice Project
Adunni Amodeni Food production in Nigeria has not kept pace with population growth, resulting in rising food imports and declining levels of national food self-sufficiency. The main factors undermining production include heavy reliance on rain-fed agriculture and traditional farming methods. Consequently, Nigeria is ranked second-largest importer of rice in the world, incurring an average import bill of N730 billion yearly.
The implication is that we are using our money to support foreign countries, this is despite the fact that over half of Nigeria’s 82 million hectares of arable land is lying uncultivated. To boost rice production in Nigeria, the Federal Government has put a total ban on imports. The immediate effect is that prices have skyrocketed and a bag of rice, which was about N14,000, is now between N17,000 and N20,000. Apparently, scarcity of rice paddy has hit the market, and the inability of rice processors to get paddy is a major cause of the price increase. To bridge the gap, Green Eagles Agribusiness Solutions Ltd. has pioneered Naija Rice Project, a project to stir increased investment in rice production. The investment is structured to give 40% returns (ROI) on capital every six months, insurance inclusive. With over 2,000 hectares of rice-land secured in Kebbi and Osun States, their objective is to create a steady source of rice paddy for milling to meet their market demand, while helping their compatriots make residual income in the process. According to a source from the company:
 “Rice fever is in town and it’s been impossible to meet the demand of our distributors. On the evidence of the pre-launch requests, we are certain the available lots will be sold out very quickly.” The Company will lease and manage the farm on behalf of investors (in collaboration with some of the best rice experts in the industry) while investors earn residual income twice a year. Cost of cultivation is ₦265,000.00 per acre and ₦45,000.00 per plot. Obviously, the federal government of Nigeria is now resolute in the closure of our land borders against the importation of goods.
Though this policy has subjected Nigerians to hardship, yet, we can make it momentary if we will all arise and make it our time for rice-independence. Apart from national pride, steady returns await investors. Naija Rice Project (powered by Green Eagles Agribusiness Solutions) is an excellent initiative in our quest to achieve self-sufficiency in rice production.
An interview with MD Sindh Enterprise Development Fund (SEDF)
Agri finance: cheaper access to credit isn't the panacea
Mehboob ul Haq has been the managing director of SEDF since January 2012. An IBA graduate who worked in the corporate sector before joining Board of Investment in 2006 from where he moved to Sindh Board of Investment as its founding member & director in 2010. At SEDF, which he runs as a lean organisation, Mehboob's work mainly focuses on developing value chains of various clusters of agriculture sector to enable proficient and export-oriented agri-SMEs in the province. In this interview with BR Research, Mehboob walks us through SEDF's journey, its successes and failures, and how the organisation is working towards developing the provincial farming sector.
Below are edited transcripts.
BR Research: How did SEDF come into being?
Mehboob ul Haq: In 2009-2010, the government of Sindh partnered with a donor agency to set up Sindh Development Fund (SDF) to address the gaps in agriculture value chain. The donor agency was supposed to match dollar for dollar and bring in technical assistance as well.
Somehow, the partnership didn't work out, but since Sindh government still believed in the sector's potential which needed to be addressed by putting in money and the technical part, it re-organised SDF into Sindh Enterprise Development Fund (SEDF) with 100 percent provincial government sponsorship.
It was originally set up under the Planning & Development Department but since it involved investments, it was handed over to the Investment Department.
BRR: Can you walk us through SEDF's work so far; how has it evolved as an organisation?
MH: Since bank financing to agriculture sector was very poor back then, and still is to a certain extent, the initial idea was to give financial assistance as matching grants to various agri-business enterprises that are investing in or are up-gradation, mechanisation, and/or modernising the farming value chain.
But then we realised that matching grants can be very tricky within the limits of a public sector organisation. We, therefore, decided not to be very creative. Instead, we decided that banks should lend money as they do in their normal lending business, whereas we will only facilitate that process by picking up the cost of the loan. This helped us get third party validation, since banks do their own due diligence before giving out a loan.
We are very cautious in terms of our approach, and that is one major reason for our success, although of course the corollary is that we had a slow start. Back in 2011-12 when banks were still reeling from the 2007-08 slowdown, banks were not giving out loans to farming sector. The way we addressed that is we set up a coordination committee in which Sindh government's investment and agriculture departments, commercial banks, insurance, the SBP and other players sat together to try connecting the dots and address the missing links.
BRR: Can you share some examples of your success?
MH: Our first project was Day Fresh, which is a leading pasteurised milk brand in Karachi. They started very small; just 500 animals with a milking parlour, but now they have more than 4,000 animals. Later we took some exposure in rice, which I think is a game changer in Sindh. It's one of the top exporting commodities of the country – about 90 percent of rice produced in Sindh is exported. And yet in terms of technologies and practices, the rice industry in the country is very primitive.
We recently inaugurated pasteurized egg business, which is first of its kind in the province. We have also concluded financial close of fruit pulp business that eyes export markets.
And in each of these, there is success to be had. For instance, there was a farmer who used to lease out his lands for Rs 20,000 a year. Two years ago, someone advised him to get in the business of maize-based sileage because of its lucrative returns.
Apparently, at an initial investment of Rs 50,000 per acre, you can get a return of Rs 200,000 per acre over its crop cycle. The farmer initially experimented with it with only six acres, next year he ended his lease agreement and planted maize on 200 acres which he harvested on rented equipment. Today, he has bought a harvesting and bailing machinery from Germany, and getting it bank financed; SEDF will provide interest rate subsidy.
BRR: What exactly did you do in rice?
MH: We had to start somewhere in the value chain, where we spotted a low hanging fruit in rice husking mills. In 2012-2013 we sat with the SBP, rice millers and developed a product for BMR financing scheme for rice husking mills, because nearly all of the 600-700 rice husking mills were obsolete, dilapidated with operational losses being 40-45 percent, high energy costs, amongst a host of other inefficiencies.
A rice mill of 5 to7 tonnes capacity can be easily upgraded with a mix of Chinese and Pakistani machinery to a decent husking mill at a cost of Rs 15-20 million. We were offering them Rs 16 million loan at the rate of 2 percent, whereas in order to encourage banks to lend, SEDF gave 30 percent credit guarantee which was to be deposited in an escrow account with the SBP before the loan is disbursed. The idea was to give confidence to banks so that they don't have to worry about delays in releases.
Despite all this, it took us two years to get the first project rolling, because cheaper access to credit alone cannot fix the mindset of quick fix and short cuts, inability to make feasibility, fear of documentation, and other perception issues.
But after handholding a few initial clients, addressing their perception issues and facilitating them in documentation and feasibility etc, that line has now started growing. Today we have helped upgrade 40 rice husking mills, at a rate of 8-10 mills per year.
BRR: But as you said, it's not just the mills; what about other areas?
MH: In that spirit, we have partnered with Pakistan Agriculture Coalition (PAC), the Lahore-based non-profit focusing on development of agriculture sector. Together, we have devised five interventions in rice value chain at the farm level, such as land preparation, and in seed research, where exporters have joined hands with the Chinese to make local seeds, which can increase your production from 40 maunds per acre to 120 maunds, if you do other things right.
BRR: Do you have the mandate to work on such projects?
MH: SEDF's mandate is to revitalize the agriculture sector by using both on-farm and off-farm interventions; picking up the cost of loans is one aspect of it.
BRR: And do you have the capacity or the technical staff to work on such projects?
MH: When we say we want to inculcate efficiencies we should be efficient ourselves. Our forte is that we don't do everything in-house. We try to create partnerships. We are a very lean organisation. We create synergetic relationships with universities, with organisations like the PAC, with consultants, with the SBP, with bilateral partners such as AusAid and USAid. We believe, we don't need a platoon of in-house experts to connect these dots when we can leverage on skills available in the market.
BRR: What fund size did you start with, and how much is it now, and what is the total size of investments that SEDF has facilitated by picking up the cost of loan?
MH: We started from Rs 800 million of initial investment by Sindh government and today its size has grown to Rs 1200 million. Over the last six years of proper operations, we have financed about Rs 4 billion plus worth of projects in Sindh's agriculture value chain. These are the projects that have either been completed or are on-going, whereas the approved projects totalled about Rs 6 billion; those Rs 2 billion worth of projects could not reach financial close. But the time and effort were put towards Rs 6 billion worth of projects. We are on-track towards meeting our 2020 target of another Rs 4 billion, and we believe we will continue to grow organically.
BRR: And what has been the trend in non-performing loans or projects that don't start even after SEDF has doled out its share of the bargain i.e. interest rate cost. How do you secure against that?
MH: There hasn't been a single NPL in the Rs 4 billion plus portfolio that we have had so far. Not a single entity has gone bad so far, save for perhaps one or two small-ticket transactions, in which case, we simply stop issuing the cheques for interest rates.
BRR: And what are you doing to expand your outreach?
MH: To enhance our outreach and increase our success rate, we are entering into agreements with banks, whereby, they will send us the cases that have been approved under the agri-SME financing portfolio for Sindh. We will then assess it on our own criteria and give the interest rate subsidy to those who meet our criteria in a matter of 7 days. Previously this process used to take three months.
In addition, we are taking another step to help entrepreneurs by reducing their time and efforts they spent towards getting a loan.
Whereas, previously entrepreneurs would make six different applications to approach six different banks for a loan, now we have developed a digital platform, where entrepreneurs will upload one single application that can be accessed by the six banks that have so far come on-board on that platform. Then it is up to the banks, whether, they want to finance the project after their own due diligence. We are planning to start this platform in less a month, and we hope that other banks would also be on-boarded soon.
BRR: How is your portfolio distributed across sectors and what new sectors are you looking at?
MH: It depends on your perspective. In terms of our assistance (in value terms) that has been materialised, about 40 percent comprises of poultry, livestock and dairy clusters, whereas about 23 percent has been in cold chain and e-beam irradiation.
Cotton ginning, animal fattening, and rice husking are some other projects that we have worked on. In terms of the number of projects, we have done about 55 projects of which 28 were from rice clusters focusing on rice husking mills mainly.
However, in terms of the total size of investments, of the total Rs 4.6 billion worth of projects that we have facilitated (by picking up their financing cost), poultry, and cold chain and e-beam irradiation has a share of about 25 percent each, whereas livestock and dairy segment has a share of 16 percent.
There are about 6 more projects in the pipeline with total investment size of about Rs 3.1 billion, which we will be facilitated by providing Rs 250 million towards interest cost to be paid over three to five years.
In addition to the sectors we have already worked in, we are now exploring high-end value addition in cotton, red chillies, dates, onions, pulping units for mango and other fruits and food processing at large. In addition, we are planning to expand to on-farm rice modernisation, where we are working with banks to come up with standardised financing products for rice farming harvest equipment, which we can then replicate, once it becomes successful.

Protesters call for repeal of rice tariffs

Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News
Oct 21 2019 04:04 PM
Description: Protesters call for repeal of rice tariffs
Farmers and advocate groups burn an effigy of President Rodrigo Duterte as they call for the repeal of a law that replaced quotas on rice imports with taxes. The rally coincides with the 47th anniversary of a presidential directive that emancipated all tenant farmers.

Famine of ‘43

Food supplies to Bengal were reduced in the years preceding 1943 by natural disasters, outbreaks of infections in crops and the fall of Burma – now Myanmar – which was a major source of rice imports, into Japanese hands.
Statesman News Service | New Delhi | 
Description: Famine of ’43, Bengal, Bankim Chandra Chattopadhaya
(Image: Twitter/@Razarumi)
Bengal, a province of plenty was ravaged by famine more than once. If Bankim Chandra Chattopadhaya, the literary lion drew inspiration for “Anandamath” from the 1776 Great Bengal Famine, not many significant works can be traced to the other one which made people from the countryside trek to the cities and beg for rice starch instead of rice as even the staple food of the Bengal populace was scarce even in well to do households.
Food supplies to Bengal were reduced in the years preceding 1943 by natural disasters, outbreaks of infections in crops and the fall of Burma – now Myanmar – which was a major source of rice imports, into Japanese hands. But there should still have been enough supplies to feed the region, and that the mass deaths came about as a combination of wartime inflation, speculative buying and panic hoarding, which together pushed the price of food out of the reach of poor Bengalis.
More recent studies, have argued the famine was exacerbated by the decisions of Winston Churchill’s wartime Cabinet in London. The Cabinet was warned repeatedly that the exhaustive use of Indian resources for the war effort could result in famine, but it opted to continue exporting rice from India to elsewhere in the empire. Rice stocks continued to leave India even as London was denying urgent requests from India’s viceroy for more emergency wheat supplies in 1942-43. Churchill has been quoted as blaming the famine on the fact Indians were “breeding like rabbits”, and asking how, if the shortages were so bad, Mahatma Gandhi was still alive.
Britain’s “denial policy” in the region, in which huge supplies of rice and thousands of boats were confiscated from coastal areas of Bengal in order to deny resources to the Japanese army in case of a future invasion which led to what is known as “Ponchasher Monnantwar”. A book bearing the same title has hit the stands recently penned by a man who is much in news despite having passed away before his political career could come to fruition. The youngest vice-chancellor of Calcutta University, son of eminent jurist Sir Asutosh Mookherjee, a pillar of Hindu Mahasabha and a lion in Parliament, Syama Prasad Mookherjee was in the government when the famine broke out.
Never a person who would do anything by halves, he flung himself in relief work for the famished, dead and dying. The 129- page hardback is an account of his endeavour and the hurdles it had to cross to feed the hungry. Reprinted by Sutradhar, it makes fascinating reading as it focuses on the life and times of a controversial leader fighting heavy odds and sometimes earning unwarranted criticism for his efforts to feed the famished.

Dar says gov’t aims to fully obligate P10-B RCEF by Dec.

Published October 22, 2019 12:26pm
Updated October 22, 2019 1:33pm
The Department of Agriculture on Tuesday said it expects to have the P10-billion Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) fully obligated before the year ends.
Agriculture Secretary William Dar said that the P10 billion has been downloaded to implementing agencies and 32% of it has been committed to specific projects and activities.
“Mayroon nang activity or part of the component na dumaan na sa proseso at mayroon nang budget to support the activity and it’s almost going to the next level.
After the obligations, you need to disburse the money,” Dar said in a press conference.
“On or before December 2019, it will be obligated 100 percent,” he added.
The Philippine Rice Research Institute targets to distribute 2.12 million bags of seeds for the dry season cropping in 2020, covering 1.6 million hectares of rice farms. The procurement process is ongoing, said Dar.
The Agriculture department has started distributing certified inbred rice seeds to eligible beneficiaries of the RCEF. This is expected to help farmers achieve 6-ton per hectare yields.
Around 2.12 million bags of certified seeds will be distributed in 57 provinces, covering 1.06 million hectares.
Aside from seeds, farm machineries and postharvest facilities will be made available to an estimated 1,200 to 1,600 farmers’ cooperatives and associations (FCAs.). This year, 589 FCAs have been identified as beneficiaries nationwide.
Bidding for rice farm machinery and equipment is underway. The Philippine Center for Post-harvest Development and Mechanization said it aims to award bids by December.
Around P2.005 billion of funds are available for 2019 to finance farm machineries and postharvest facilities.
Tillers and accredited FCAs can also take out loans from the Land Bank of the Philippines and the Development Bank of the Philippines.
Up to P1 billion from the RCEF will be made available to the two banks.
Trainings and credit assistance have also been to rolled out.
“Ang disenyo po nitong RCEF program ay pataasin ‘yung ani ng ating mga magsasaka, pababain ‘yung kanilang gastos nang sa gayon, kahit mura ‘yung pagbili sa palay output nila ay kikita pa rin po sila,” Flordeliza Bordey, Philrice RCEF program director said in the same press conference.
But Bordey made it clear that the fund is not intended to have an impact on arm gate prices. “Ang RCEF ay hindi designed na pababain yung farm gate.”
On the other hand, Dar said: “It will balance everything out.”
However, Nueva Ecija farmer Gerry Esteban said the farm gate price of palay is now P12 to P13 per kilo.
“Parang hindi naging balanse ‘yung price ng palay. Sana kung ang presyo ng palay is P13, sana ang presyo ng bigas isa kalahati, P26 lang. Parang hindi naging balanse. Ngayon, malungkot na kami, malungkot pa rin ang consumer,” Esteban said.
Under the Rice Tariffication Law, the government should earmark P10 billion annually for the RCEF in six years.
From this fund, P5 billion will be allocated to rice farm machinery and equipment, P3 billion for rice seeds, P1 billion for expanded credit assistance, and P1 billion for rice extension services such as training for farmers.
President Rodrigo Duterte enacted the Rice Tariffication Law earlier this year, removing quantitative restrictions on rice imports and setting a 35% tariff for shipments from Southeast Asia.
RCEF was seen by its proponents as a protective mechanism to foster higher yields and lower production cost for rice farmers—ensuring that their livelihood will not be drowned out by the influx of imported rice. —VDS, GMA News

Indian rice prices hit multi-month lows as buyers defer purchases
By RECORDER REPORT on October 22, 2019
Demand for rice from top exporter India was subdued as buyers delayed purchases despite a dip in prices to four-month lows this week, while restricted supply kept rates for the Vietnamese variety at their highest in two months.Prices for India's 5 percent broken parboiled variety fell to $365-$370 per tonne from $368-$372 a week ago.

“Asian and African buyers are not in a hurry. They are postponing buying anticipating a further fall in prices," said an exporter based at Kakinada in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

India's rice exports in August fell 29% year-on-year to 644,249 tonnes due to weak demand from African countries for non-basmati rice, among other factors. Its rice production from the summer-sown crop in 2019 is expected to drop 1.7% from a year ago to 100.35 million tonnes.

Meanwhile, rates for Vietnam's benchmark 5% broken rice were unchanged from last week's $350 a tonne, a two-month high.

“Demand is weak, but low supplies have helped keep prices from falling," a trader based in the Mekong Delta province of An Giang said.

However, there were concerns that a move by the Philippines – Vietnam's largest rice export market accounting for 36% of total shipments – to reduce imports could further hit the Vietnamese market, another trader in Ho Chi Minh city said.

Sluggish demand pushed export prices for Vietnamese rice to their lowest in nearly 12 years, at $325 per tonne, in September.

A global economic slowdown has also been one of the factors weighing on demand, Vietnam's Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Phung Duc Tien told reporters this week.

In second biggest exporter Thailand, which has also been grappling with slow demand and a strong baht, benchmark 5-percent broken rice prices narrowed to $395-$400 a tonne on Thursday from $396-$400 last week.

“Demand has been very small because of our high prices and little else has changed," a Bangkok-based trader said.

Prices for the Thai variety have remained higher than competitors due to the firm currency.

“The continued strength of the baht has prevented exporters quoting lower prices as the market anticipates further strengthening of the currency," another trader said.

Meanwhile, farmers in Bangladesh, who have been struggling with low prices and high harvesting costs, will receive a subsidy of 30 billion taka ($354 million) to buy modern agro-tools in an effort to minimise production costs and boost domestic output, Agriculture Minister Abdur Razzaque said.

Dhaka has failed to clinch overseas deals for its rice since a long-standing export ban was lifted in May, losing out to cheaper grain from India and Thailand.

Nigeria: CBN, IMF Disagree Over Impact of Forex Restrictions On FDI Inflow

21 OCTOBER 2019

By Emeka Anaeto and Babajide Komolafe
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), yesterday disagreed with the position of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on the impact of the foreign exchange (Forex) restrictions on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflow into the country.
CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, while speaking at a joint press conference with the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, at the just concluded annual meeting of the World Bank/International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington DC, said rather than impeding investment, the restriction on forex supply to some items should encourage investors to set up manufacturing firms for those items in Nigeria.
He was responding to comments last Tuesday, by Oya Celasun, Division Chief, Research Department, IMF, who stated that the forex restrictions imposed on 43 items by the CBN, is holding back foreign investments into Nigeria.
Highlighting the measures required to boost economic growth in Nigeria, while speaking at a press briefing on Tuesday Celasun, had said: "Other areas are the need for tight monetary policy and simpler unified exchange rate system. Foreign exchange restrictions have also been distorting public and private sector decisions and holding back investments."
Reacting, Emefiele said that the restrictions are on items that can be locally produced and will encourage investors to tap into the huge market represented by the nation's population of 200 million people.
He stated: "I say that (IMF claim) is false. If you feel that we are restricting access to forex, for the importation of items that can be produced in Nigeria.
"If you are a foreign direct investment (FDI) that is interested in doing business in Nigeria, I will say instead of you facilitating the import of these items into Nigeria, we want you to come and produce it in Nigeria.
"Nigeria is a market of over 200 million people, so you do not have a choice than to come, bring your investment plans and equipment, come and produce that item in Nigeria so that Nigerians can consume it, you will make your profit and take your dividend out of the country. So, I disagree with that position."
FG should sustain border closure
In the same vein, the CBN Governor, stressed the need to sustain the closure of the country's land border, insisting the border closure is critical to boosting local production and employment generation which is necessary to enhancing the economic growth in the face of the slow down in the growth of the global economy.
He said: "I would caution and appeal that before the border is opened. Some firm decisions and agreement must be reached where protocols must be obeyed when we say we want this to stop, other countries must respect what we want because it is also meant for the growth and the good for our country.
Explaining how smuggling activities across the land borders undermine local production, he said: "Two weeks to the closure of the border, I was called by rice millers, not less than five rice milers were complaining that each of them had nothing less than 30,000 metric tonnes of milled rice in their warehouses that they couldn't sell as a result of smuggling. I was called by some of the poultry farmers that we were also financing through our intervention that they couldn't sell their eggs and poultry items.
"A week after the border closure, the rice millers called back to say, government thank you very much, we don't know what happened, we don't know if it was you that spoke to the president, with this border closure, have exhausted all our rice in our warehouses, people are coming to deposit money," the CBN governor said.
On her part, the Minister of Finance, Zainab, dismissed insinuations that the border closure is vindictive against neighbouring countries.
She said that though the border closure is temporary, it would not be reversed until neighbouring countries are committed to an agreement on measures to checkmate smuggling of goods into Nigeria.
She said: "Let me give you an example, the commitments that we have within these countries is that goods can come through your ports to Nigeria, but when they come, they are supposed to come in sealed containers escorted to Nigeria for the Nigerian Customs to open them for inspection as well as charges.

Odisha’s 4.2 Lakh MT Paddy Baggage From Last Season Lobs More Posers!

Farmer organisations fear that the paddy baggage could hamper the new procurement that will start from November

Edited By Odishatv Bureau  Published  On Oct 21, 2019 - 2:14 PM
Description: https://s3-ap-south-1.amazonaws.com/cdn.odishatv.in/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/21141301/Untitled-129.jpg
Bhubaneswar: When the State government has set the paddy procurement target at 60 Lakh MT for 2019-20 Kharif Marketing Season (KMS), the revelation is State agencies are still saddling with a whopping around 4.19 lakh MT (metric tonnes) un-milled paddy of the total procured in 2018-19 season.
The disconcerting fact here is as per the normal practice the entire procured quantity should have been sent for custom milling to millers within 3-months of procurement. The procurement season for the State has ended on June 30.
But of the total procurement of around 64.4 lakh MT paddy in 2018-19, a high of around 6 per cent un-milled paddy is still lying with the State agencies, which raises an eyebrow over the food-grain management of the State.
Though officials of the Food and Civil Supplies Department (F&CS) refused to speak on the issue, experts attribute State sitting over un-milled paddy to two serious lapses.
As per experts, the first could be due to failure of the State to set up rice mills in tandem with increased procurement, and hence the stock of un-milled paddy.

Onochie speaks as farmers promise to crash price of rice
Nurudeen Lawal Lauretta Onochie, President Muhammadu Buhari’s aide on social media, on Monday, October 21, gives Nigerians hope over an alleged potential crash of rice's price in the market. Onochie who made this known via her Twitter handle, @Laurestar, says in three weeks time, rice consumers "should expect a crash in the commodity's price to about N9,000 per 50kg. The presidential aide made reference to a report published by The Punch where rice farmers reportedly promised to crash the price of the commodity as they recorded a "bumper harvest". "Instead of paying 25,000 for "Foreign" Nigerian Rice, you will now have extra ₦16,000 towards other needs," Onochie added. Nigerians have in recent times complained about the hike in rice prices, a development some have linked to federal government's closure of the nation’s land borders which reportedly prevented foreign rice importation. PAY ATTENTION: Install our latest app for Android, read best news on Nigeria’s #1 news app Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) appealed to members of Rice Millers Association of Nigeria (RIMAN) and other stakeholders in the rice value chain not to increase the price of rice over border closure. Godwin Emefiele, the CBN governor, said this in a statement issued and made available to newsmen on Monday, October 14, in Abuja by Muhammed Tijani, media assistant to RIMAN’s chairman. Emefiele also called on them not to hoard rice as a result of the closure of the borders in order to increase price, adding that such acts were unpatriotic.

Tardy lifting may cause paddy glut

Oct 22, 2019, 6:57 AM; last updated: Oct 22, 2019, 6:57 AM (IST)
Arhtiyas allege rice millers not lifting produce to protest non-fulfilment of demands
Description: Tardy lifting may cause paddy glut
Paddy stocked in the open at the Sangrur grain market. Tribune photo
Parvesh Sharma
Tribune News Service
Sangrur, October 21
The ‘slow’ lifting of paddy from grain markets across the state has started creating problems. Arhtiyas allege that since the Punjab Government has failed to fulfil the demand of rice millers of shifting their stock, they are not lifting the purchased paddy.
“Since the start of the paddy purchase season, arhtiyas have been facing problems. Now, the slow lifting has created hurdles for us. Things will become worse in the coming days if the authorities fail to take quick action. Around 48 per cent paddy is lying unlifted across the state while the authorities are blind to the fact and not taking any action despite our repeated requests,” said Ravinder Singh Cheema, president of the arhtiya association.
While sharing other figures, he said Pathankot had seen only 17 per cent lifting, SBS Nagar 30 per cent, Barnala 25 per cent and Mansa 37 per cent.
“In majority of districts of Punjab, the figure of lifting is below 50 per cent despite the fact that the official purchase of paddy started 21 days back. Farmers are asking arhtiyas to make space as they are unaware that it’s the job of the millers. In many grain markets, farmers have threatened arhtiyas with dire consequences if the required space is not made immediately,” Cheema said.
Some farmers sitting in Sangrur, where 47 per cent lifting has been done till date, fear that if the government fails to ensure quick lifting, it may cause glut and compel them to launch an agitation.
“The Punjab Government is well aware about the situation as its officials are sending reports daily. But we have not seen any improvement in lifting here,” said Kulwinder Singh, a farmer sitting near his paddy in the grain market.
When contacted, Principal Secretary, Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs, KAP Sinha said he was unaware about the delay of lifting.“I do not know,” he said.

Majority of baby foods contain toxic heavy metals, study says

Description: BABYFOOD
A recent study, by Healthy Babies Bright Future, shows that 95 percent of popular baby foods in the United States contain toxic heavy metals. (Shutterstock.com)
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- A recent study shows that 95 percent of popular baby foods in the United States contain toxic heavy metals.
The Healthy Babies Bright Future (HBBF) study noted that rice cereals, snacks and juices have the highest amounts of heavy metals.
According to the report, 168 baby foods were tested, and one in four products contained four toxic heavy metals. The samples tested covered 61 brands and 13 types of food, including infant formula, teething biscuits, cereals, and fruit juices, all of which were selected by parents at their local stores and online.
In addition, a new dangerous contaminant -- perchlorate -- was also found in 19 of the tested baby foods. Perchlorate is a neurotoxic pollutant that disrupts thyroid functions that are important to the development of the brain, and can have a negative effect on the growth of a child.
“Parents shop for baby food expecting the nutrition, convenience and baby-tested flavors of store-bought brands,” the study stated. “But nearly every jar, pouch and canister also offer something unexpected for a baby’s mealtime --traces of heavy metals, including arsenic and lead.”
According to the study, lead was found in 94% of baby foods, cadmium in 75%, arsenic in 73% and mercury in 32% of foods. Twenty-six percent of baby foods contained all four metals, 40% contained three metals, 21% contained two metals, and 8% contained only one metal. Only 5% (nine baby foods) contained no metals.
These metals found in baby food can lead to various problems for children, including “IQ loss, attention deficits, and other learning and behavioral impacts among children who are exposed through food and other sources,” researchers said.
The study stated that while the FDA has proposed to limit the amount of toxic heavy metals in baby food in the past, no action has been taken.
HBBF recommended five healthier food substitutions that can help in reducing babies’ exposure to heavy toxic metals:
-- Rather than rice snacks, parents can give their children rice-free snacks, which which contain much lower levels of toxic metals.
-- Parents can use organic teething foods, like frozen bananas and chilled cucumbers, instead of teething biscuits or rice tusks.
-- Multi-grain cereals, like oatmeal, can also be fed to babies instead of rice cereal.
-- Babies can drink tap water instead of fruit juice.
-- Feed babies a variety of fruits and veggies instead of just carrots and sweet potatoes

Price of rice will be N9,000 soon – RIFAN

Rice farmers have given the general public an assurance that a 50kg bag of rice will sell for N9,000 in three weeks’ time, after recording a bumper harvest this year. They also promised that more rice would flood the market thereby forcing market prices downward, against the continual hoarding that raised the price to about N26,000.
Aminu Goronyo, the President, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), confirmed this development, saying, “We have a bumper harvest that we never had before. We have never had the type of bumper harvests that we recorded this year.”

The Details: He expressed his unhappiness at the actions of unscrupulous middlemen who used the border closure to create widespread scarcity for selfish reasons. He also promised that the increase in the prices of rice will no longer persist.
There are enemies of this country who buy and store this commodity just because they want to create artificial scarcity. But let me tell you, our harvest is coming up in the next two to three weeks, and the paddy coming to the mills, our millers cannot even mill it.
No matter who is trying to hoard or create artificial scarcity as seen in certain locations, such persons will be disappointed,” he said.

Starting Rice Farming Education Early in Louisiana
KAPLAN, LOUISIANA - Last week, Julie and Christian Richard opened their farm and shop to host the first-grade class from the St. Michael School of Crowley, Louisiana. Class and family member Saul Richard served as host and guide once mom and dad set everything up.
The students traded in their school uniforms for "on the farm attire," and although the rain prevented the students from witnessing some rice harvest firsthand, they did learn a lot about what sustainable rice farming is all about. The tour included multiple stops around the shop and bins in between rain showers, to give the students a chance to ask questions about anything and everything that takes place on the farm. The class was also treated to samples of home cooked rice and rice snacks, including Rice Krispy treats, and their own "Rice" license plate to take home and put on their parents' cars!

"Any time we are able to demonstrate and visit with people, old and young alike, on how rice farming and the rice industry works, we do so," said Christian Richard on the opportunity to host his son's class to their farm. "Many of these kids live near agriculture here in the Acadian area, but don't get the opportunity to learn where their food comes from, or the care and responsibility growers put into producing their crops".

Julie Richard added, "While this seems like a simple thing to do, a short trip to a local farm, the lasting impression it can leave on young people goes a long way to having an understanding of how farming works. More than half of these kids have parents and grandparents who are farmers, yet they still ask a ton of questions. Sometimes we get so caught up in educating the general public and those in urban areas we forget that our own kids need that same understanding of what we do. They are our future and if this group of kids is any indication of what is too come, we are in great shape."

Paddy, basmati see increase in sown area over last year

Monday, 21 October 2019 | IANS | New Delhi
Paddy acreages in the current fiscal have grown by 6.5 per cent and basmati acreages have increased by a whopping 36 per cent in comparison to kharif 2018 but the increased cultivation may turn out to be a challenge due to growth concerns at the global level and within India.
National Collateral Management Services conducted a field-based crop survey for assessment of acreage, crop health and production of basmati rice during kharif 2019. The survey was commissioned by the Basmati Export Development Foundation, founded by the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority.
As per the latest kharif sowing report released by the Agriculture Ministry on September 27, all India paddy acreages are reported at 382 lakh hectares which are 1 per cent lower than 2018 paddy acreages of 387 lakh hectares.
This survey is at variance with the government report and paddy cultivation is higher as per the NCML survey with total paddy acreages during kharif 2019 estimated at 6,204,000 hectares which are 6.5 per cent higher than last year’s acreage of 5,825,000 hectares.
The field survey was conducted in August 2019 and then in September in the selected 83 districts of the study area and this report covers the results of the survey for total paddy and basmati acreage.
The survey found that basmati acreages have increased by a whopping 36 percent in comparison to kharif 2018 in the select 83 districts of the study area. The highest percentage increase in basmati acreages is seen in Uttar Pradesh, followed by Haryana.

Rice farmers promise to crash price, record bumper harvest

 October 21, 2019
File Photo: Rice farm
Rice buyers should expect a crash in the commodity’s price to about N9,000 per 50kg bag in three weeks’ time as rice farmers record a bumper harvest, OKECHUKWU NNODIM reports
Farmers and millers of rice say they will soon flood the markets with the commodity and drastically cut the price following a bumper harvest.
This is coming after months of hike in rice prices occasioned by the closure of the nation’s land borders preventing foreign rice from coming through such channels.
Since the Federal Government closed the borders, some persons have reportedly been engaging in hoarding, buying and storing both rice paddy and milled rice.
Farmers, who confirmed that the hike in rice prices was largely caused by this act, told our correspondent on Saturday that they just recorded bumper harvests and this would warrant a crash in local rice price in about three months’ time.
In an interview with The PUNCH in Abuja on Saturday, the President, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, Aminu Goronyo, said, “We have a bumper harvest that we never had before. We have never had the type of bumper harvests that we recorded this year.”
He also said recent findings by RIFAN had revealed that some persons were planning to cause widespread artificial rice scarcity for selfish motives.
Goronyo stated that although there was an artificial scarcity of rice being felt in a few locations, a development that had led to price increase, it would not drag on for long.
Goronyo said, “There are enemies of this country who buy and store this commodity just because they want to create artificial scarcity. But let me tell you, our harvest is coming up in the next two to three weeks, and the paddy coming to the mills, our millers cannot even mill it.
“No matter who is trying to hoard or create artificial scarcity as seen in certain locations, such persons will be disappointed.”
He added, “Such persons cannot buy all the paddy rice coming into the mills and we have more than enough for Nigerians to consume.”
Findings showed that the price of local rice in Abuja had risen from about N14,000, which it sold for two months ago, to between N16,500 and N19,000, depending on the market.
Early this month, The PUNCH reported that in major markets in Lagos, the prices of some food items including rice had increased by 42 per cent to 100 per cent from August when the borders were closed to the last week of September.
The report stated that at the Ile Epo Market, Daleko, Mile 12, Isheri and Ogba, all in Lagos, a 50kg bag of imported rice that hitherto sold between N13,000 and N14,500 had shot up to between N24,000 and N30,000, while the local variants of 50kg bag had risen from N14,000 to N18,000.
But Goronyo said members of RIFAN had decided to stop selling paddy to individuals who were not millers, insisting that they were responsible for price increases.
He said, “We’ve noticed that there are people who move into the market to buy paddy rice and who are not even millers. We don’t know where they come from. They are enemies of this country because they just want to put Nigeria in a situation where we have artificially induced rice scarcity.
“We are now taking steps to address this by ensuring that no paddy rice buyer will come to the farmers directly and buy unless he identifies himself. There should be a broker who will verify the buyer to know whether he is a miller or not. So that is what we are trying to do now.”
When probed further to state the possible price for which the commodity might be sold in the coming weeks, Goronyo stated that the target of farmers and millers was to cut the price of a N50kg bag to N9,000.
“Our promise is that Nigerians will continue to get this commodity at an affordable price and it will be available. And like I said to you, we are still selling at N7,500 per bag of paddy and millers are officially selling at N14,000,” he said.
The RIFAN president added, “I don’t think the price will go up, rather the only thing we hope is that the price will continue to come down and definitely it will. Some of our millers sell at N12,000 and we hope that Nigerians will buy a 50kg milled rice at between N9,000 and N10,000.”
Goronyo stated that dealers in the rice value chain held a meeting with the Central Bank of Nigeria recently where key resolutions were reached.
“A meeting was held about two weeks ago involving farmers, millers and the CBN where it was agreed that there should be no increase in price,” he said.
Also, the Rice Millers Association of Nigeria confirmed the meeting and stated that the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, appealed to dealers not to hike rice price as a result of the closure of the land borders.
Emefiele told the rice dealers that the closure of the borders was meant to promote the growth of the Nigerian economy and ensure that the country attained food self-sufficiency in the rice value chain.
Participants at the meeting discussed how to further increase rice production and discourage hoarding and price increase, according to a document on resolutions of the meeting that was made available to our correspondent by RIMAN.
The Chairman, RIMAN, Peter Dama, said rice millers were in support of the closure of Nigeria’s borders and urged the government not to succumb to the pressure from some quarters for the reversal of the policy.
He also kicked against acts that had led to a hike in rice price and canvassed financial support for RIMAN members to build up capacity and expand their milling activities in order to stimulate further growth in the sector.
The RIFAN president also said resolutions reached at the meeting would help guide against unwarranted price increase, as he argued that it was mainly foreign rice that witnessed a hike in price.
Goronyo said, “We had the meeting just last week with the millers and sellers of rice across the country and they made us understand that the price from their end still remained the way it used to be.
“We did not increase the price of our paddy rice by one kobo. Also, they (millers) did not increase the price of milled rice by a kobo. It is only the foreign rice that you could say the price has increased. But Nigerians should not be carried away by the foreign rice that is less nutritious when compared with ours.”
When told that the local rice was being sold for between N16,500 and N19,000 depending on the market, as against a price range of N14,000 two months ago, the RIFAN president insisted that farmers had not changed their price.
“It is still N14,000 because like I said, we had a meeting just last week with the central bank. The price by our farmers is still N7,500 for a bag of 75kg, which when milled gives you 50kg of rice. The price of milled rice is still between N13,500 and N14,000 from our rice millers.”

Syria tendering to buy 45,000 tonnes of white rice

The tender from Syria's General Foreign Trade Organisation closes on November 13
21 OCTOBER, 2019

Description: Image used for illustrative purpose. A man throws rice straws out of trolley on the outskirts of Lahore February 17, 2015.
Image used for illustrative purpose. A man throws rice straws out of trolley on the outskirts of Lahore February 17, 2015.
REUTERS/Mohsin Raza
By Michael Hogan, Reuters News
HAMBURG - A Syrian state purchasing agency has issued an international tender to buy 45,000 tonnes of white rice, European traders said on Monday.
The tender from Syria's General Foreign Trade Organisation closes on Nov. 13, they said.
Long- or short-grain rice of third or fourth class grades was sought. No specific country of origin was specified.
Some 25,000 tonnes was sought for supply 90 days after confirmation of the order, and 20,000 tonnes 180 days after supply of the first consignment.
The rice was sought packed in bags and offers should be submitted in euros.
(Reporting by Michael Hogan; Editing by Jan Harvey) ((michael.j.hogan@thomsonreuters.com; +49 172 671 36 54; Reuters Messaging: michael.hogan.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

Punjab govt launches programme for rice production
LAHORE: The Punjab government has launched a Rs4 billion Prime Minister Agriculture Emergency Programme for enhancing rice production.The aim of the program is to provide agriculture inputs to farmers on subsidized rates. An announcement in this connection was made here Saturday at a function presided over by Malik Nauman Langrial, provincial Agriculture Minister. Progressive farmer Jahangir Tareen was also present on the occasion.
The minister said the government wanted to improve per acre yield by enhancing the use of various farm inputs. The meeting was told that a project has been launched for developing new varieties of rice.
Paddy and basmati see increase in sown area over last year Source
Last Updated: Mon, Oct 21, 2019 10:01 hrs New Delhi:
Paddy acreages in the current fiscal have grown by 6.5 per cent and basmati acreages have increased by a whopping 36 per cent in comparison to kharif 2018 but the increased cultivation may turn out to be a challenge due to growth concerns at the global level and within India. National Collateral Management Services conducted a field-based crop survey for assessment of acreage, crop health and production of basmati rice during kharif 2019.
The survey was commissioned by the Basmati Export Development Foundation (BEDF), founded by the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA). As per the latest kharif sowing report released by the Agriculture Ministry on September 27, all India paddy acreages are reported at 382 lakh hectares which are 1 per cent lower than 2018 paddy acreages of 387 lakh hectares.
This survey is at variance with the government report and paddy cultivation is higher as per the NCML survey with total paddy acreages during kharif 2019 estimated at 6,204,000 hectares which are 6.5 per cent higher than last year's acreage of 5,825,000 hectares. The field survey was conducted in August 2019 and then in September in the selected 83 districts of the study area and this report covers the results of the survey for total paddy and basmati acreage. The survey found that basmati acreages have increased by a whopping 36 percent in comparison to kharif 2018 in the select 83 districts of the study area.
The highest percentage increase in basmati acreages is seen in Uttar Pradesh, followed by Haryana. "Looking at the higher acreages of basmati paddy, economic growth concerns at the global as well as domestic level, Indian basmati rice industry is all set to face another challenging year," the survey noted. With the growing export demand for Indian basmati rice, farmers have timely reciprocated to the needs of the industry by increasing acreages under basmati paddy during the current kharif season, according to the survey.
The majority of the farmers during the survey have indicated that higher prices realised by them during the kharif 2018 as the prime reason for higher paddy acreages during the 2019 season. The survey found that Haryana has the largest acreages under Basmati paddy contributing for 42 per cent of basmati acreages in the study area followed by Punjab (29 per cent) and Uttar Pradesh (24 per cent).
Basmati paddy acreages have increased in Uttar Pradesh by 92.8 per cent, Haryana by 42.5 per cent, Himachal Pradesh by 24.1 per cent, Uttarakhand by 14.6 per cent and Punjab by 8.4 per cent while Basmati acreages are lower by 4 per cent in Jammu & Kashmir. The total paddy acreages during 2019 are higher in Uttar Pradesh (20.8 per cent), Uttarakhand (18.4 per cent), Haryana (6.8 per cent) and Jammu & Kashmir (3.6 per cent) while total paddy acreages are lower in Himachal Pradesh (-3.53 per cent) and Punjab (-0.2 per cent).
 Basmati rice is an important export commodity among food grains exported from India. India is one of the top exporters of rice, both basmati and non-basmati rice, and the annual Indian rice exports hover around 10-13 million tons. During the year 2018-19 (April-March), India exported 11.9 million MT of rice, out of which basmati rice exports accounted for 4.4 million tons while non-basmati rice exports were 7.5 million tons.
The share of basmati rice in the total rice exports has been hovering in the range of 30 per cent to 40 per cent while non-basmati rice contributes to 60 to 70 per cent of rice exports. India exports basmati rice to almost 132 countries across the world every year.

Spotlight: Cambodia hopes to expand market for rice via upcoming China Int'l Import Expo

Source: Xinhua| 2019-10-20 23:17:22|Editor: Wang Yamei
by Nguon Sovan, Mao Pengfei
PHNOM PENH, Oct. 20 (Xinhua) -- "Chinese dishes and Cambodian rice are best match!" said Song Saran, president of the Cambodia Rice Federation, "I believe that Cambodian rice will become more and more popular in China."
In an interview with Xinhua on Friday, Saran said that Cambodia will grasp the opportunity of the second China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai to promote its best quality rice to the Chinese and international markets.
Thirteen Cambodian rice exporters will showcase their finest rice at the second edition of the CIIE, which is scheduled for Nov. 5-10 in Shanghai, said Saran, adding that Cambodian rice exporters hope to sign more contracts during the expo.
In his office, a variety of rice samples and awards of best rice winners are displayed on shelves. Saran said three varieties of Cambodian rice will be brought to exhibit at the event.
"The first one is Malys Angkor (jasmine rice). Malys Angkor aromatic rice is the world's best rice winner (in 2018)," he said, adding that the other two are fragrant rice and premium white rice.
As about 80 percent of Cambodia's population is farmers, rice has been grown throughout the country, and almost 40 percent of the volume of milled rice produced in the country has been shipped to China.
Saran said the export of Cambodian rice to China has remarkably increased during the first nine months of 2019 after the federation took part in the first CIIE in last November.
The kingdom exported 157,793 tons of rice to China during the January-September period this year, up 44 percent over the same period last year, he said, adding that the export to China accounted for 39.6 percent of the country's total rice export.
China has become the top buyer of Cambodian rice. Saran was strongly confident that the volume will continue to grow in coming years. He said Cambodian rice has been popular in China for the last five years thanks to its good quality and delicious flavor.
"First, it's tasty; second, it's very tender and (has) a very good aroma," he said, emphasizing that Cambodian rice has been grown around the Tonle Sap Lake, where the soil is fertile and farmers do not use chemical fertilizers and insecticide, which makes consumers feel more safe and confident to consume Cambodian rice.
Kann Kunthy, vice president of Amru Rice (Cambodia), which will partake in the upcoming CIIE, said the company has contracted with farmers, providing them seeds and techniques in order to grow the best and chemical-free rice for the Chinese market.
In the factory on the western outskirts of Phnom Penh , as engines roared on Friday, workers had feverishly worked based on their duties and responsibilities. Some unloaded unprocessed rice from trucks and poured it into an intake hopper, where the rice would go through all processes and end up in packaging.
Then, the quality of the processed rice will be checked and certified by a team of Chinese experts from the CCIC (China Certification & Inspection Group) before being permitted to be uploaded into containers destined for China.
"When rice arrives at our factory here, we have our QC (Quality Controller) inspect again to make sure that we buy Grade A, we get Grade A," he said. "When it comes to packing, CCIC checks it again, just to make sure the rice is 100 percent Grade A, so we only ship the best rice to China."
Cheng Vuthy, a QC manager of the Amru Rice Reprocessing Factory, said quality and safety are the top priorities and that the factory always adheres to quality criteria required by clients.
"We work very hard to make sure we bring our best to Chinese consumers," he told Xinhua. "During the past years, Chinese market has been growing very fast and we are very happy to know our rice will be exhibited in Shanghai."
"This container behind me will be shipped to China soon, and we hope our rice can become more and more popular in China," he added.
Chen Qisheng, general manager of CCIC's Cambodian branch, told Xinhua that, the coming expo in Shanghai will be a golden chance for Cambodia to introduce its rice to more Chinese consumers.
"I've been working in Cambodia for two years. Cambodian rice is aromatic and glutinous. Cambodian farms are clean, and have no chemical pollution," Chen said, "that's why Cambodian rice is tasty and safe."
In addition to rice, China also imports banana, cassava and cashew-nuts from Cambodia. Chen said that CCIC has been working with Cambodian partners to export more kinds of agricultural products to China, including mango, dragon fruit, coconut and etc. "With the help from Chinese partners and huge demand of Chinese consumers, Cambodian agricultural sector is going to boom."

Solon slams ‘senseless’ rice subsidy for rice farmers

 October 21, 2019, 4:55 PM
By Ellson Quismorio 
The government’s rice subsidy program for rice farmers makes zero sense to Negros Oriental 2nd district representative Manuel Sagarbarria.
Description: Farmers affected by plunging palay prices in Iloilo province are set to benefit from a program of the provincial government. (Tara Yap/Manila Bulletin/File)
Sagarbarria expressed this sentiment during a House Committee on Agriculture and Food hearing earlier this month wherein the negative impact of Republic Act (RA) 11203 or the controversial Rice Tariffication Law on local rice farmers was further discussed.
“We are giving them rice of which they have already produced for themselves. So it’s going to be redundant in the sense that they are receiving physical rice,” the solon said, referring to the rice farmers who have been placed under the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).
Under the 4Ps, the farmer-beneficiaries will get P600 worth of rice per month.
But Department of Agriculture (DA) Undersecretary for Operations Ariel Cayanan told solons during the hearing that what farmers actually receive is P1,200 worth of rice on a bi-monthly basis.
“That is the economy of scale that’s working here. It is almost good as one cavan (more or less 50 kilos) of rice,” Cayanan said.
“It cannot make sense,” noted Sagarbarria, chairman of the Committee on the West Philippine Sea.
“I’m a rice producer, I’m a 4Ps beneficiary, and the government will give me rice? It doesn’t make sense. Besides, that money, that P600 subsidy [of] rice that we want to give the 4Ps [beneficiaries], maybe they can use that for fertilizer in producing their own rice,” he told the Agriculture panel.
Filipino farmers are said to be on dire straits no thanks to RA 11203, which liberalized the entry of imported rice to the county. Since imported rice is cheaper, local farmers have found it difficult to sell the rice that they themselves planted and harvested.
Cayanan tried to justify the rice subsidy that the Negros lawmaker had branded as redundant.
“While farmers are producers, they are also consumers. During the lean season they are also buyers of what they consume [which is rice],” the DA official said.
“Tsaka yung provision na iyon ng pera [sa 4Ps] ay para sa pagkain po (That particular provision under 4Ps is for food). And rice is a provision of food,” added Cayanan.
Sagarbarria, however, claimed that local farmers have a habit of keeping a sizable stock of rice or palay (unhusked rice) for themselves on top of what they sell or bring to the market.
“I live in an agricultural district and I know…during the lean months wherein they (farmers) do not produce rice, they have stocks for themselves to last for a year. Rarely does it happen that they buy [rice]. That is what usually happens. I’m the son of a farmer and I know what it going on,” he said.
Some lawmakers, particularly those from the Makabayan Bloc, have argued that direct subsidy or relief in the form of cash would be of better help to the beleaguered farmers.
The Agriculture panel is chaired by Quezon 1st district Rep. Wilfrido Mark Enverga.

Rice farmers to receive P5-K cash from gov’t

MANILA – In view of the declining palay prices since the rice tariffication law took effect in March, the affected farmers tilling one hectare and below will receive P5,000 cash assistance from the government.
Agriculture secretary William Dar, on the sidelines of the ongoing Philippine-India Trade Consultations held at Shangri-la Makati on Friday, said the cash assistance is a one-time cash-out and this will be taken from the tariff being collected out of the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL).
Around P3 billion will be needed for the 600,000 rice farmer-beneficiaries in the country.
“I’m hoping that this (cash assistance) will be given before Christmas,” Dar said.
At present, he said about P11 billion have been collected from RTL.
The DA chief also clarified that the cash assistance is different from the earlier loan assistance of P15,000 offered by the government to affected rice farmers under the Expanded Survival and Recovery Assistance Program for Rice Farmers (SURE Aid Program).
The P1.5-billion SURE Aid Program is the government’s initial relief response to rice farmers who are tilling one hectare of land and below and are affected by the initial impact of lower palay prices. The one-time, zero-interest, no collateral loan of P15,000 is payable up to eight years.
Meanwhile, Dar said the government has decided to defer the implementation of safeguard duties on rice imports.
“I presented the proposal to the Cabinet and their decision (is that) there might be an inflationary effect,” he said.
Dar said there will be a meeting of the Economic Development Cluster on Oct. 24 to include discussion on the proposed general safeguard duty on rice import.(PNA)

Third-generation hybrid rice achieves high yields in China

Source: Xinhua| 2019-10-22 15:56:25|Editor: Li Xia
CHANGSHA, Oct. 22 (Xinhua) -- The third-generation hybrid rice developed by Yuan Longping, the "father of hybrid rice," and his team underwent its first public yield monitoring from Monday to Tuesday and achieved a major breakthrough in output.
The final yield came to 1,046.3 kg per mu (about 0.07 hectares), based on two plots of land in Qingzhu Village under the city of Hengyang in central China's Hunan Province.
The whole process was organized by the Hunan Society of Agronomy under the supervision of experts from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, the China National Rice Research Institute, Hunan's agriculture and rural affairs department and multiple Chinese universities.
Experts agreed that the rice has a stout stem, fertilizer tolerance, lodging resistance, large spike and more grains.
Yuan, who developed the world's first hybrid rice in 1974, has set multiple world records in hybrid rice yields in previous years.
FDA should monitor baby food for toxic heavy metals, Schumer says
Sen. Charles Schumer, (D-New York), standing in front of a Buy Buy Baby store in the Chelsea section of Manhattan on Sunday.  At left, Michael Akavan holds his 6-week-old daughter, Summer. Photo Credit: Newsday/Ted Phillips
By Ted Phillipsted.phillips@newsday.com  @tedephillipsUpdated October 21, 2019 7:00 AM

Stricter regulations are needed to protect babies against toxic heavy metals that a new study shows were in many baby foods, Sen. Chuck Schumer.
“Parents across the land should be worried about teaching their children ABCs, not worried about what's in their baby's food,” Schumer (D-New York) said at a news conference in front of a Buy Buy Baby store in the Chelsea neighborhood in Manhattan. “But now they have to worry because we're sitting on our hands.”
A study published last week by Healthy Babies Bright Futures found that when they tested 168 containers of baby food across the country that 95% of them had at least one toxic heavy metal. The study, called “What’s in my baby’s food,” tested for lead, arsenic, cadmium and mercury which have been linked to problems in brain development. The study found that 25% of food containers tested showed traces of all four heavy metals.
“We're calling on the FDA to act ASAP,” Schumer said. “They should investigate this new report and finally get a move on something they said they'd do two and a half years ago, which is [to] study toxic toxicity of metals in baby food and take preventative action.”
Spokespersons for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration did not return requests for comment on Sunday.
Healthy Babies Bright Futures describes itself on its website as an alliance of nonprofits that work to reduce infants’ exposure to neurotoxic chemicals.
Some of the metals are naturally occurring and others can be found at elevated levels in fields contaminated by pesticides, fertilizers and other pollutants, according to the study. The report suggests that parents reduce their babies’ exposure to heavy metals by choosing alternative foods.
The study found that rice-based foods presented the greatest risk to children under 2 years old and nearly always contained all four heavy metals for which they tested. The study suggested rice-free snacks, multigrain cereals or oatmeal, and frozen bananas or chilled cucumbers as alternatives to rice based infant foods.
In 2016, the FDA announced it was taking steps to reduce the intake of arsenic from infant rice cereal by proposing a limit of 100 parts per billion of organic arsenic. The study found that all but one of seven infant rice cereals tested exceeded that proposed limit
The study also suggested substituting tap water for fruit juice and adding a variety of vegetables to reduce exposure from carrots and sweet potatoes that retain more heavy metals than most other fruits and vegetables.
Switching to organic food won’t affect babies’ exposure, the study said, because organic standards don’t address the four heavy metals.
Ted Phillips covers the Town of Oyster Bay and has been a reporter at Newsday since 2011. Over his career he has covered state government in Albany, municipal finance, local government, crime, economic development and armed conflict.

5 Baby Foods with Toxins: Safer Choices to Feed your BabyTO FEED YOUR BABY

Scientific research now shows that there are several baby foods that contain arsenic, lead and other toxic heavy metals.
Health risks include cancer and decreased learning ability for children, and some foods have very high levels leading to greater risks for your little ones.
Unfortunately, the FDA hasn't set safety standards for heavy metals in some of our most popular bay foods.
Here are easy ways to cut down on the amounts of heavy toxins in your baby or toddler's diet: Description: https://townsquare.media/site/393/files/2018/08/RS9251_167232709-1.jpg?w=980&q=75
SNACKS: Puffs and other snacks made with rice flour are high in arsenic. So choose rice-free packaged snacks. Even better, try these healthy snacks with fewer  contaminants: Apples, unsweetened applesauce, bananas, barley with diced veggies, beans, cheese, grapes (cut lengthwise), hard-boiled eggs, peaches, and yogurt.
CEREALS: Infant rice cereal is the #1  source of arsenic in infant's diets.  Choose other cereals that are naturally low in arsenic, like oatmeal and multi-grain.
TEETHING FOODS: Teething biscuits often contain arsenic, lead, and cadmium.  They also lack nutrients and can cause tooth decay. Doctors and dentists recommend trying a frozen banana, a peeled and chilled cucumber, or a clean, cold, wet washcloth or spoon...and to stay with your baby to make sure there are no choking hazards whenever they are teething on something.
DRINKS: Apple, pear, grape and other fruit juices contain lead and arsenic. Levels aren't as high as in some other foods, but since many toddlers drink juice often, it's a top exposure source. Filtered tap water and milk are better drinks for toddlers. Serve whole or pureed fruits (like applesauce) instead of fruit juice for more healthy fiber and nutrients. Doctors advise avoiding fruit juice altogether in a baby's first year.
FRUITS & VEGGIES: Carrots and sweet potatoes are a great source of Vitamin A and other nutrients your baby needs. But they are also high in two toxic metals: lead and cadmium. Variety is the solution: give your baby these PLUS OTHER fruits & veggies throughout the week, for benefits without the excess risk of overloading on carrots and sweet potatoes.
Toxic heavy metals are often found in soil, water, and, therefore, food. But when babies are ingesting them often, that can be more dangerous.
But rice -- that is something to be especially aware of. Rice is high in arsenic and a top exposure source for toddlers. Here are extra steps you can take:
--  Cook rice in extra water that you pour off before eating, to cut down arsenic levels by 60 percent (according to FDA studies).
-- For the lowest levels, buy basmati rice grown in California, India, and Pakistan. White rice has less arsenic than brown rice.
-- Avoid rice from Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, or simply "U.S." It has the highest levels, according to testing by Consumer Reports.
-- Eat a variety of grains to help reduce your family's arsenic exposures. Try amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat, millet and polenta (all gluten-free), or bulgur, barley and farro (these contain gluten.)
To read the entire report on what's dangerous to feed your baby (168 store-bought baby foods contain toxins!), CLICK HERE.