Saturday, December 28, 2019

28th December,2019 Daily Global Regional Local Rice E-Newsletter

Top 10 scientific-technological events in Vietnam in 2019
Friday, December 27, 2019 14:36
The Vietnamese Science & Technology Journalists’ Club yesterday announced the result of the voting for the 10 most significant scientific-technological events in 2019. These events happen in various aspects of state policies, social science, natural science, research implementation, globalization.
Description: Representatives of scientific researchers, teams, and individuals received the certificate of honor in the event to announced the top 10 scientific-technological events in Vietnam
Representatives of scientific researchers, teams, and individuals received the certificate of honor in the event to announced the top 10 scientific-technological events in Vietnam
This is the 14th year that the voting has been held, attracting the participation of nearly 60 journalists and reporters in the scientific-technological field coming from 30 news agencies, newspapers. The following list ranges from the first position to the tenth.
1. Resolution No.52 about the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0), issued by the Politburo
General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam cum President of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong represented the Politburo to approve Resolution No.52-NQ/TW on ‘Guidelines and Policies for Active Participation in the 4th Industrial Revolution’ (Resolution No.52) on September 27, 2019.
This Resolution clearly states that Industry 4.0 brings about both opportunities and challenges for each nation, organization, and individual. It has powerful effects on all aspects of the economy and society.
Therefore, it is essential that Vietnam actively participate in the revolution. This is a strategic mission, both short-term and long-term, of the whole community, especially the political system as it closely connects with the globalization process. Vietnam must be fully aware of the nature of Industry 4.0 to make crucial breakthroughs in its socio-economic development.
2. National scientific conference ‘Sino-Vietnamese War – 40th Anniversary’
On February 15, 2019, the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences cooperated with the Vietnam Association of Historical Sciences to organize a national conference ‘Sino-Vietnamese War – 40th Anniversary’, attracting the participation of several renowned scientists and lecturers from prestigious universities and research institutes nationwide, veterans of the War.
The conference honored all citizens who bravely fought and died for the war against China to protect the Vietnamese border. It also served to boost patriotism in the society, especially the young. It mentioned the valuable lesson of solidarity and its implementation in today’s community in order for Vietnam to grow sustainably, of caution against all kinds of harmful plots to destroy peace in the country.
3. Successful manufacturing and launch of MicroDragon satellite
On January 18, 2019, the made-in-Vietnam satellite MicroDragon was successfully launched into the orbit in Japan. This is a historic moment of the Vietnamese space industry, signaling the ability to master observation satellite and telecommunications technologies of the country (from the design, data collection, part assembling, ground system installation stages) in order to serve commercial purposes.
The MicroDragon satellite was designed and created by Vietnamese engineers, with the support of Japanese experts. Its goals are to capture pictures of seawater colors in coastal areas to evaluate quality and components there in order to timely inform Vietnam’s aquaculture sector.
With the maturity of the space industry, Vietnam will become more active in preparation for potential natural disasters.
4. Grand opening of Vietnam Data Exchange Platform (VDXP) and National Public Service Portal (NPSP)
On March 12, 2019, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and leaders of ministries, state organizations pressed the button to formally launch VDXP.
VDXP is the foundation for the digitalization process of the government, aiming at becoming a paperless and efficient government in the future. VNPT is responsible for component installation, and the Government Office hires the hardware in a long term.
On December 9, 2019, NPSP at the address was launched to support citizens and businesses to perform administrative procedures more conveniently.
It had 6 main sections of the national database on administrative procedures; one-time sign-in for all procedures; online payment; feedback and suggestion submission; integration of administrative services among ministries, industries, and local authorities; online support.
At the moment, NPSP offers 8 public services at 63 areas.
5. Rice type ST25 selected as the best in the world
In the 2019 World Rice Conference held in Manila of the Philippines from November 10 to 13, 2019, the rice type ST25 won the title ‘World Best Rice’.
ST25 is cross-bred using the improved back crossing technique by a research team from the southern province of Soc Trang, namely Ho Quang Cua, Dr. Tran Tan Phuong, and Nguyen Thu Huong.
The ST rice types, with the latest version of ST25, are high-yield climate-resilient ones that can adapt to saline, alum soil and resist pest. It is long-grain white rice with an aroma of pineapple. It can provide 2-3 crops per year.
6. First successful mobile call in Vietnam using 5G network
On May 10, 2019, Viettel successfully made the first call on its 5G mobile network with an Ericsson device. This event belongs to the piloting program of Viettel to evaluate possibilities of applying technology in the Vietnamese reality.
Viettel aims at being the pioneer in developing and implementing cutting edge technologies, including 5G technology, in the nation to keep up with the world in order to serve the digitalization process and be well prepared for Industry 4.0.
Viettel’s engineers are now researching for more innovative methods to conveniently install 5G stations.
This event marks Vietnam as one of the first countries in the world to successfully pilot 5G technology.
7. Grand opening of DNA Analysis Center for skeletons of martyrs
On July 25, 2019, the DNA Analysis Center under the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology formally operated, right in the event of the 72th anniversary of Viet Nam's War Invalids and Martyrs Day. It aims at finding the identification of martyrs via their skeletons.
At the moment, the center is closely cooperating with large organizations from the US like the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), the Armed Force DNA Identification Lab (AFDIL) and QIAGEN from Germany in projects such as Project USAID to help improve technological capability and precision in detecting the identity of dead people.
Since this August, the Center has processed more than 200 samples per month, with an impressive success.
8. Formal introduction of IVACFLU-S to protect people from influenza
On January 15, 2019, the Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biologicals (IVAC) officially announced the use of IVACFLU-S, produced by this Institute. This is the first made-in-Vietnam vaccine to protect users from the three most common flu viruses of A/H1N1/09; A/H3N2 and B.
From 2003, when the A/H5N1 epidemic spread widely in the world including Vietnam, the Ministry of Health asked that all vaccine manufacturing institutes concentrated on the research and development of an effective domestic vaccine.
In May 2018, IVACFLU-S has been proved to satisfy the safety and immune demands at the rate of 60.3 – 86.6 percent (equal to the one from Europe). This vaccine is produced under the form of injection solution for people 18 – 60 years old. Around 1.5 doses can be manufactured per year.
9. Ramanujan Awards presented to Prof. Pham Hoang Hiep
In October 2019, the International Center for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) delivered the 2019 Ramanujan Award to Prof. Pham Hoang Hiep from the Mathematics Institute under the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology.
Prof. Pham Hoang Hiep is honored because of his valuable contribution to the field of complex analysis, and in particular to pluripotential theory, where he obtained an important result on the singularities of plurisubharmonic functions; complex Monge-Ampère equations and log canonical thresholds, which have important applications in algebraic and complex Kähler geometry. The prize is also in recognition of Dr. Pham's important organizational role in the advancement of mathematics in his home country, Vietnam.
The professor had nearly 40 articles printed in international mathematics journals, 2 textbooks for graduate and post-graduate programs.
10. First time Techfest Vietnam introduced to the world
Techfest Vietnam 2019, a festival for innovative startup in the country, happened from December 4-6, themed ‘Vietnam: Globalise’. It was able to collect the best startup ideas in the whole nation via several contests. It could attract the interest of investors through the process of sending domestic businesses to developed nations for training sessions.
2019 is the first year that the Ministry of Science and Technology has held Techfest in other countries like the US (from September 7-14), the Republilc of Korea (from November 3-9), and Singapore (from November 10-14) to introduce potential startups and the Vietnamese innovative startup ecosystems.
In the event, several discussions, seminars with practical topics were held simultaneously. Many investors, managers, successful startup entrepreneurs, experts took part to discuss matters and shared experience, boosting the strong connections between the Vietnamese and the global community.
It aims at helping Vietnam to achieve sustainable development.

Top ten outstanding scientific and technological events of Vietnam in 2019

Friday, 2019-12-27 18:19:03
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Representatives of several prominent scientific and technological events in 2019 at the announcement ceremony on December 26.
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NDO – The top 10 outstanding scientific and technological (S&T) events in 2019 were announced by the Vietnam Science and Technology Journalists’ Club (under the Vietnam Journalists’ Association) on December 26.
The events were selected in the following areas: policies and mechanisms, social sciences, natural sciences, applied research, international integration and honouring prominent scientists.
The following are 10 of the most notable scientific and technological events to happen in Vietnam in 2019.
The area of policies and mechanisms
Resolution No. 52-NQ/TW on actively participating in the Fourth Industrial Revolution issued
On September 27, 2019, General Secretary and President Nguyen Phu Trong signed and issued Resolution No. 52-NQ / TW regarding a number of guidelines and policies to actively participate in the fourth Industrial Revolution (also known as Industry 4.0). Resolution No. 52 stated that the Industry 4.0 opens up many opportunities, and also posed challenges for each nation, organisation and individuals; it has been increasingly strongly affecting all sectors of the national socio-economic outlook. The guiding viewpoint of the Politburo is to be proactive and actively participate in Industry 4.0 as an indispensable requirement; that is a particularly important strategic task, an urgent and long-term task of both the political system and the entirety of society, closely linked to the process of extensive international integration. At the same time, fully and properly be aware of the content and nature of Industry 4.0 to resolve to innovate thinking and action, considering it a breakthrough solution with appropriate steps and roadmaps, aiming to make full use of opportunities brought about by Industry 4.0.
The area of social sciences
National conference spotlights northern border defence war
The Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences (VASS) and the Vietnam Association of Historical Science (VAHS) jointly held a national conference in Hanoi on February 15, 2019 to discuss the northern border defence war (1979-2019).
The conference featured the participation of scientists and lecturers from prestigious research institutes and universities throughout the country, and veterans who fought for the safeguarding of the nation’s border land 40 years ago.
The conference is a chance to honour soldiers and those who fought and sacrificed for the safeguarding of the nation’s border land, while popularising patriotic traditions and promoting gratitude towards older generations. Sixty reports submitted to the conference affirmed the historical truth and the justice of Vietnam during the northern border defence war. Many reports provided theoretical and practical foundations, as well as lessons learnt from the war, contributing to educating on the unity and determination necessary to build a strong country, especially amidst the complicated regional and global situation at present with unexpected changes.
The area of natural sciences
Vietnam’s Micro Dragon satellite launched into orbit
On January 18, 2019, the ‘MicroDragon satellite’, designed and manufactured by Vietnam, was launched into orbit in Japan. The launch of MicroDragon, manufactured by Vietnam under Japanese guidance and assistance, demonstrating a key step in realising Vietnam’s dream of mastering satellite technology and conquering space.
Vietnamese experts participated directly in the process from research and design tomanufacturing, assembly and testing of the MicroDragon. The main purpose of the entire manufacturing process taking place in Japan was for training. So it is safe to say that this is a satellite manufactured by Vietnamese people. It is tasked with observing coastal areas to assess water quality, locate fishery resources and monitor changes in coastal waters to serve Việt Nam’s aquaculture industry.
The successful launch of the MicroDragon satellite has shown that our team of experts has gradually mastered the technology at all stages, from satellite requirements analysis, collecting the requirements of related industries, to requirements on design, component and assembly, integrated to complete satellite functions, ground system manufacturing. With MicroDragon, Vietnam can improve its capacity in natural disaster prevention and climate change mitigation.
The area of applied research
National E-Document Exchange Platform and National public service portal launched
A ceremony took place in Hanoi on March 12 to launch the National E-Document Exchange Platform. The event was attended by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, together with many ministries, sectors and central agencies. The launching of the National E-Document Exchange Platform exemplifies the determination of the Government and the Prime Minister during recent, in order to build up e-government systems, realising the Prime Minister's instructions on building e-government.
The National E-Document Exchange Platform is the first basic step for the digital transformation process of the Government. The platform contributes to reducing time and costs for sending and receiving documents among State administrative bodies while improving the bodies’ effectiveness and quality. The National E-Document Exchange Platform has been invested in by VNPT Group with advanced technology and leased by the Government Office.
The national public service portal can be found at the web address https//, which is an electronic platform to connect the Government with people and enterprises, officially opened on December 9, 2019. The portal consists of six components namely the national database on administrative procedures and the frequently asked questions and answers related to the procedures, on-time login and verification system to connect with ministerial and provincial-level public service portals, an e-payment system, an opinion section for citizens and enterprises, integrated public services of ministries, agencies and localities, and online supporting services. The portal provides online public services in all 63 provinces and cities including the issuance of driving licences, announcements of promotion activities, reissuance of health insurance cards, provision of electricity services to citizens/enterprises, payment of electricity bills, the issuance international driving licenses, registration for promotion activities, grant of certificates of origin of goods, and e-tax payment for businesses.
The national public service portal has been directed by the Government since 2019, built by VNPT Group.
ST25 - “the best rice in the world”
ST25 rice has just been recognised as the "World's Best Rice 2019" at the 11th Rice Trader World Rice Conference, held from November 10-13 in Manila, the Philippines. ST25 rice was produced and developed by a team of scientists in Soc Trang province, including Engineer Ho Quang Cua, Dr. Tran Tan Phuong and Engineer Nguyen Thi Thu Huong.
ST25 rice belongs to the ST aromatic rice line with many different rice varieties, constantly being researched over 20 years. With long grains of pure white coloured rice, a beautiful rice surface, and an especially fragrant scent, thanks to a hybrid of pineapple aroma of the south and nuggets of the northe, ST 25 rice has surpassed rice from countries like Thailand and Cambodia to receive the first prize of the World's Best Rice 2019 contest for the first time after participating in the contest 10 times in the past 10 years. This is a high-yield rice variety that can provide 2-3 crops per year. Currently the application file for recognition of ST25 as a new rice variety has been sent to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. Scientists - the creator of ST25 hope that after being recognized by the Ministry as a new variety, besides expanding the area, building specialized cultivation areas, the localities and farmers should properly cultivate the technical process to keep the quality of this precious rice in order to produce good rice at a high price.
Viettel makes first 5G call in Vietnam
Military-run telecom giant Viettel on May 10, 2019 successfully conducted the first call in Vietnam to use fifth generation (5G) with Ericsson's mobile phone device. The call was part of Viettel’s 5G technical testing programme to evaluate the application of the technology in Vietnam.
Viettel aims to be a pioneer in developing and deploying the latest technologies, including 5G technology synchronized with the world's leading carriers to serve Vietnam's digital transformation strategy, ready for the Industry 4.0. Viettel's 5G research and development engineers are also in the process of researching, mastering technology, creating and developing products of Viettel’s 5G base station. The fifth generation mobile network technology (5G) is the backbone of the fourth Industrial Revolution.
This event marked Vietnam as one of the earliest countries to successfully test a 5G network. The 5G technology deployed by Viettel is in line with the standardization road-map of the 3GPP organisation.
This is the first time Vietnam can go along with the world in deploying the latest technology, affirming the maturity of Viettel's technical force.
DNA identification centre for martyrs opens
A centre for DNA Identification for Revolutionary Martyrs under the Institute of Biotechnology debuted on July 25, 2019, as part of activities to mark the 72nd anniversary of the War Invalids and Martyrs' Day (July 27). The centre contributes to help ease families' difficulties in finding the remains of war martyrs.
Currently, the centre is working closely with large organizations in the US such as USAID project, which has provided support and improved the technical capacity to use DNA information, aiming to analyze and identify the remains of Vietnamese war martyrs.
Foreign organizations such as the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), the US’s Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) and the Germany’s QIAGEN Group supported the centre to modernize inspection technology with difficult samples in Vietnam. From August 2019 to now, the centre has identified more than 200 remains of martyrs per month, the rate of successful sampled inspections increased to partly meet the people's and Government’s expectations.
Made-in-Vietnam seasonal influenza vaccines available from January, 2019
The IVACFLU-S vaccines, which have been produced in Vietnam to protect against seasonal flu such as A/H1N1/09, A/H3N2, and B, are now available on the market from January, 2019, the Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biologicals under the Ministry of Health announced at a press conference on January 15, 2019. From 2003 when avian influenza A / H5N1 appeared and showed signs of spreading throughout Vietnam, with a potential risk of an epidemic, the Ministry of Health directed domestic vaccine production units, including IVAC, to focus resources on research and development of vaccines against influenza. In May, 2018, the vaccines have been shown as safe measure to improve the immune systems of people aged between 18 and 60. The IVACFLU-S vaccines are contraindicated for people with a history of hypersensitivity to the ingredients in the vaccine or allergic to proteins in chicken eggs and chicken. The Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biologicals is capable of manufacturing 1.5 million doses of vaccines per year.
The area of honouring scientists
Professor Pham Hoang Hiep honoured with Ramanujan Prize
Vietnamese Professor, Dr. Pham Hoang Hiep was awarded with the 2019 Ramanujan Prize for Young Mathematicians from Developing Countries by the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), in October, 2019. Named after famous Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan (1887-1920), since 2005 the prize has been awarded annually to mathematicians under 45 who have conducted outstanding research in developing countries. The prize is administered jointly by the Department of Science and Technology of the Government of India in collaboration with ICTP and the International Mathematical Union (IMU).
The prize was awarded in recognition of Professor, Dr. Pham Hoang Hiep’s outstanding contributions to the field of complex analysis, and in particular to pluripotential theory, where he obtained an important result on the singularities of plurisubharmonic functions, as well as solving complex Monge-Ampère equations and log canonical thresholds, which have important applications in algebraic and complex Kahler geometry. It is also in recognition of Dr. Hiep’s important organisational role in the advancement of mathematics in Vietnam. He has been teaching and researching mathematics at the Institute of Mathematics (under the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology) and the Hanoi National University of Education for about 15 years. In 2017, Hiep was the youngest Vietnamese scientist to be ordained with the title of Professor. He has published 40 articles in international math journals and is also the first Vietnam-based mathematician to have an article published in Acta Mathematica, one of the most prestigious mathematics research journals from around the world.
The area of international integration
First Techfest Vietnam introduced abroad
The national start-up and innovation festival, known as Techfest 2019, took place on December 4 to 6 in Ha Long, the capital city of Quang Ninh province. The event provided updates on start-up and innovation trends and link investors with start-up businesses. Techfest Vietnam 2019 was the largest annual event dedicated to the start-up and innovation community in Vietnam as part of a programme to support the national start-up and innovation ecosystem until 2025. The festival saw the participation of at least 250 potential start-up businesses, nearly 200 domestic and foreign investors, and 150 larg

e enterprises and start-up support organisations.
Earlier, the International Techfest Vietnam was organised in the US (from November 7 to 14), the Republic of Korea (from November 3 to 9), and Singapore (November 7 to 14), aiming to promote Vietnam’s national start-up and innovation ecosystem to the world. During the event, seminars were organised with practical contents, sharing and discussion of managers, investors and businesses, who successfully run start-ups, overseas Vietnamese, experts and international organisations, with the aim to connect investment for Vietnamese startups in many countries.
Outstanding agricultural scientists honoured

Saturday, 2019-12-28 12:24:25

At the ceremony to honour 62 agricultural scientists (Photo: NDO)
NDO – Sixty-two outstanding scientists within the agricultural sector from across the country were honoured for the second time at a ceremony held in Hanoi on December 27.
The event was attended by Politburo member and Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue.
More than seven months after launching the second “Scientists of Farmers” programme, the organising board selected 62 outstanding scientists, including nine women and 53 men, who have made great and valuable contributions to the development of the country’s agricultural sector.
Notable names included Labour Hero and People’s Teacher, Prof., Dr. Vo Tong Xuan, who received many international and national awards in the field of agriculture; and Prof.Dr. Le Dinh Kha, who joined in creation of 35 national and advanced varieties.
In addition, engineer Ho Quang Cua, father of the “World’s Best Rice’ ST25, was also honoured on the occasion. He was awarded the first-class Labour Order and Labour Hero title.
The 'Scientists of Farmers’ programme was held by the Vietnam Farmers' Union (VFU), in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations.

Officer agitated for perhaps not giving rice from rice mills of main fee to FCI godowns
Bareilly. In-charge of federal government paddy procurement facilities haven’t however provided a huge selection of quintals of federal government rice to your Food Corporation of India, as they had currently provided paddy rice millers for mowing. Where may be the a huge selection of quintals of federal government rice and exactly why has actually it perhaps not already been provided to FCI thus far? Concerns are raised about meals division officials. Deputy RMO Sunil Bharti has actually released sees a number of center in-charge for non-supply of CMR (Custom Milling Rice).
Paddy procurement through federal government companies happens to be finished. The Center in-charge needs to provide you with the rice to rice mills after offering it to your rice mills while the Food Corporation of India (FCI), however, many center in-charges haven’t however provided rice. In Fatehganj East, Paddy Procurement Incharge Shail Saxena purchased 3458.10 MT of paddy and provided it to Rice Mill for littering. They had been expected to provide 2315.58 MT of rice to FCI but till today just 1026 MT was provided. Similarly, Pramod Johri, in-charge of Rupapur, gave 945 metric tonnes of rice to FCI as opposed to 2356 MT. Kartar Singh, center in-charge of Nagaria Kalan, just 45.57 percent, Mukesh Verma of Dinra Mirzapur 35.65 %, Mirganj center in-charge Rajni Singh 41.35 %, Kundaria Ikhalaspur center in-charge Rajesh Kumar Pal 44.45 %, Delapir Mandi's in-charge Gyan Chandra Verma Rajesh Kumar has actually supplied just 5.89 % and Amla mandi lawn center responsible for 46.78 percent rice. As such, a huge selection of quintals of rice have actually nevertheless perhaps not achieved the FCI godown. In this respect, Deputy RMO Sunil Bharti gave notice to your worried center in-charge to direct the instant availability of rice.
75 thousand metric a great deal of paddy still caught with Miller
The administration has actually fulfilled the mark of 1.57 lakh metric tonnes of paddy procurement. 70 procurement centers in outlying places have already been shut with authorization from DM. While officials for the Food and Marketing Department say that only 50 percent of this rice has now reached the Food Corporation of India warehouses. The remaining portion of the rice is within rice mills just. Whereas the center in-charge should provide you with the rice to FCI within 20 days of paddy milling for milling. Officials say that 50 % for the rice is however in the future. In any instance, the goal is to withdraw it by 31 January. Last 12 months also, Rice Miller sat down because of the federal government rice. The administration needed to struggle difficult to have it right back.
Unusual play in bad rice
– Delay in availability of rice after paddy milling provided for the mills can also be delayed since most mills have actually a casino game to restore bad rice. Paddy is acquired at federal government facilities by testing it with complete requirements. Later it really is provided for mills for mowing. Since just the whole volume of rice is examined through the mills. In such a predicament, millers blend substandard rice in sacks and deliver all of them to federal government warehouses. There can also be a casino game of setting all the way through. Progressive farmer Anil Sahni states it should really be examined, to ensure that there is absolutely no disruption into the high quality of rice provided through the mills to quota stores.
The rice is provided in 20 times following the paddy gathered through the federal government facilities. All the Center Incharges have already been reckless about any of it. Therefore, strictness has been done with this. -Sunil Bharti, Deputy RMO

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Abigale is a Masters in Business Administration by education. After completing her post-graduation, Abigale jumped the journalism bandwagon as a freelance journalist. Soon after that she landed a job of reporter and has been climbing the news industry ladder ever since to reach the post of editor at Our Bitcoin News.

Plant engineering research breakthrough could boost productivity
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Photosynthesis research from the University of Illinois and U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service has been gaining global attention. The work of Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency (RIPE) has been featured by Reuters, BBC, Science Daily, The Japan Times and many others.  The study is part of an international project to boost global food production sustainably.
Changing the way crops like soybeans, rice and wheat process sunlight has the potential to increase yields by 40 percent, according to the researchers’ report published in the journal Science. 
These crops, along with fruits and vegetables, use the C3 photosynthesis process, which has a natural “glitch” or inefficiency in the use of energy as resources.
“We could feed up to 200 million additional people with the calories lost to photorespiration in the Midwestern U.S. each year,” said principal investigator Donald Ort, the Robert Emerson Professor of Plant Science and Crop Sciences at Illinois’ Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology in a press release. “Reclaiming even a portion of these calories across the world would go a long way to meeting the 21st Century’s rapidly expanding food demands—driven by population growth and more affluent high-calorie diets.”
Researchers inserted genes from bacteria, green algae and other plants into tobacco plants, shortcutting the C3 photosynthesis process. Two years of replicated field trials found that these engineered plants developed faster, grew taller, and saved enough energy to increase productivity by 40 percent in real-world conditions. 
According to Paul South, lead author and a research molecular biologist with the Agricultural Research Service, “Photosynthesis is nearly identical in plants, so we expect that benefits observed in tobacco will result in changes to food crops.” 
The team is now translating these findings to boost the yield of soybeans, rice, potatoes, and other crops. 
“It takes 10 to 15 years for technologies like this to undergo rigorous regulatory approval process, which examines engineered crops for health and environmental impacts. Thus, it is all the more urgent to invest in these types of technologies today,” said South. 
According to Timothy Searchinger, lecturer at Princeton University and senior fellow at the World Resources Institute who authored a recent report on sustainable food systems, the latest findings provide “important, promising work as it may open up new ways to expand crop yields.”

CBSE Class 12 Biology sample question paper

CBSE class 12 Board exams 2020: For those appearing for bords as well as NEET, here is a sample question paper to access their preparedness.

By: Education Desk | New Delhi | Updated: December 27, 2019 4:37:02 pm
CBSE board exams to begin from February 15 (Representational image)
CBSE class 12 exams 2020: The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) will conduct the Biology exam for class 12 students on March 14. Not only is this one of the major subjects for candidates having Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Mathematics (PCMB) subjects; but is also a preparation for aspirants of National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) which is based on class 11 and 12 level syllabus.
NEET will be conducted on May 3, 2020 from 2 pm to 5 pm by National Testing Agency (NTA) for admission to undergraduate programmes in medicine and dentistry.
For those appearing for boards as well as NEET, here is a sample question paper to access their preparedness. This question paper is prepared by Shalini Almadi- Biology Teacher, VidyaGyan School. Students need to map their timing for three hours. The test is for 80 marks, as per CBSE pattern, as rest will be marked in internals. To pass the exam, candidates need to score at least 33 per cent marks in both written and practical exam separately, as per CBSE norms.

Q1. Earthworms, sponges, tapeworm and leech are examples of: [1]
(a) Bisexual animals (b) Unisexual animals
(c) Annelida (d) Porifera
In a heterothallic flowering plant, male and female flowers are called:
(a) Staminate and dioecious (b) Staminate and pistillate 
(c) Staminode and pistillate (d) Staminode and dioecious 
Q2. The scientists who were awarded the Nobel Prize for the discovery of antibiotics were: 
(a) Fleming and Waksman (b) Fleming and Salk
(c) Waksman and Florey (d) Fleming and Florey 
Q3. At which stage does the crossing over occurs for the formation of recombinants:         [1]
(a) Metaphase I (b) Anaphase I
(c) Prophase I (d) Telophase I 
Q4. ‘Restriction’ in Restriction enzyme refers to: [1]
(a) Cleaving of phosphodiester bond in DNA by the enzyme
(b) Cutting of DNA at specific position only
(c) Prevention of the multiplication of bacteriophage in bacteria
(d) all of the above
Q5. Define mycorrhizae. [1]
(a) Association between algae and roots of higher plants
(b) Association between fungi and algae
(c) Association between fungi and thallophytes
(d) Association between fungi and roots of higher plants
The reservoir for the gaseous type of biogeochemical cycle exists in:
(a) stratosphere
 (b) atmosphere
(c) ionosphere
 (d) lithosphere
Q6. The diagram below represents location of few lymphoid organs in human body: [2]
(i) Label A and B shown in the diagram shown.
 (ii) Which of the two organs shown is primary lymphoid organ? Why is it termed as primary lymphoid organ?
Conventional breeding is often constrained by the availability of limited number of disease resistance genes that are present and identified in various crop varieties or wild relatives. By changing the sequence of genes we can achieve desirable traits. What we call this method of creating genetic variations and how is it achieved?
Q7. Why DNA is the predominant genetic material, whereas RNA performs dynamic functions of messenger? [2]
Q8. Name two genes which make pBR322 a good cloning vector. Which of the two genes, do you think, is more important for a cloning vector and why? [2]
Q9. Draw a well-labeled diagram of an antibody molecule. [2]
Fisheries has an important place in the Indian economy. Comment.
Q10. What type of pollutants can be removed by using scrubber? What kind of pollutants cannot be removed by using precipitators? [2]
Q11. (a) What was the significance of using characters with opposite traits in pea plants by Mendel? [2].
(b) How did Mendel conclude that there is no blending of genes without having actual information about the behavior of genes?
Q12. Comment on the pollination relationships of Amorphophallus and Yucca. [2]
Q13. Habitat loss and fragmentation is the most important cause of driving animals and plants to extinction. Substantiate this statement with suitable example. [3]
Explain the structure of a typical biogas plant.  
Q14. A mature pollen grain is a two-celled structure in many species of angiosperms. Justify the statement with the help of a labelled diagram. [3]

In video| How to prepare for Board exams

In the flowering plants male and female gamete fuse to form zygote. Write down the changes that occur in the zygote to form a mature embryo.
Q15. Give two entirely different evidences of convergent evolution, stating one example for each. [3]
Q16. Explain the action of a named restriction enzyme, highlighting the significance of sticky ends. [3]
Q17. Apart from IVF, which other ART can be used to treat an infertile female? Explain how it is different from IVF. [3]
Q18. Following is the discontinuous stand of DNA. [3]
a) Draw complete parental DNA strand from which this discontinuous strand is formed.
b) What will be the RNA sequence if continuous strand will function as template strand for transcription?
c) What will be the initiating codon and its amino acid if the above RNA is translated?
What were the two major approaches towards Human Genome Project and name the methods used to complete the assignment?

Q19. Was patenting of Basmati rice by American company a case of biopiracy? Why/ why not? [3]
Q20. Name a diagnostic test for AIDS. What is the underlying principle for the test? When does the patient show up the symptoms like bouts of fever, diarrhea and weight loss? [3]
Q21. Study the given pedigree chart and answer the question that follows: [3]
(i) Is the trait dominant or recessive and sex-linked or autosomal?
 (ii) Write the possible genotypes of the parents of first generation, second offspring of second generation and sibling of the third generation daughter of third couple of second generation.
 (iii) Give one example of such a trait and write its cause.
Color blindness is a sex-linked disease. Following is the pedigree chart showing inheritance of color blindness in two families. Study the given chart and answer the questions that follow:
(i) What are the possible genotypes of 1 and 4?
 (ii) What is the probability of member 12 passing the disease to the next generation of sons if she is married to a normal male? Draw a cross for the same.
 (iii) Draw a Punnett square to depict the cross between 8 and 9 and based on the results write genotypes of 13, 14, 15 and 16.
Q22. Knowingly or unknowingly we are benefitted by microbes in our household. Describe any three such occurrence from our daily life. [3]
Q23. A farmer is rearing and breeding his cattle within to increase the profit and production. What we call such type of breeding. Give one advantage and one disadvantage of this method. [3]
Q24. The census of a population of a country reveals that the number of births per 1000 population in a particular year is 19.3 and number of deaths per 1000 population is 7.3. Calculate intrinsic rate of natural increase. What does it reflect about the socio-economic conditions of the country?
Q25. “Everest is no longer a wilderness experience,” During the high season, the human waste, abandon mountaineering gears (e.g. empty oxygen cylinders, food wrapper, broken tents, battery, etc.) and other trash become the hazardous by-product of relentless commercial Everest expedition. A series of environmental issues started to surface due to these things. State the possible problems which would arise due to this and suggest measures that could be taken to reduce the pollution. [5]
In the recent years, during Deepawali, Delhi and NCR face problem of clouds of dark coloured smog. Many steps were taken but the problem still persists. Analyse the possible reasons due to which the rules implemented were not successful. Suggest measures that can be taken to make next Deepawali morning clear and blue.
Q26. Blood group inheritance in human beings is different from plant height inheritance in pea plant. Compare and contrast the patterns of inheritance of the two given traits. [5]
(i) How is XO type of sex determination different from XY type? What is the similarity between the two?
 (ii) What kind of abnormality, at the time of cell division, can lead to monosomy and trisomy of chromosomes? Give one example of each stating their respective symptoms.
Q27. (a) What are the different phases of menstrual cycle? What are the respective roles of different hormones? What will happen if oestrogen is not secreted in right amount? [5]
How is oogenesis different from spermatogenesis? Explain the role of gonadotropin releasing hormone in both the processes. How will the two processes be affected if FSH is hyposecreted?

Lower palay output seen this year
Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - December 26, 2019 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines — The country’s production of palay (unhusked rice) is expected to decline this year due to the string of typhoons and the liberalization of the industry.
In the latest report of the United States Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), palay output was forecast to contract to two percent to 18.29 million metric tons.
FAS attributed the decline to the damage caused by Typhoon Tisoy to the sector, as well as farmers’shift  to other crops following the decline in palay prices.
“Rice production and area harvested were pared down due to damage caused by Typhoon Kammuri. An estimated 105,000 MT of paddy in 78,000 hectares of rice were affected due to the typhoon,” USDA said.
“The downward revisions are steeper as a result of the continued decline in paddy prices, which will force some farmers to shift away from rice cultivation,” USDA said.
Following the lower output, USDA said the country’s rice import forecast has been hiked by eight percent.
Imports may reach 2.7 million MT by 2020 from the earlier projection of 2.5 million MT.
However, this is still lower than the estimated rice import volume of three million MT for 2019.
“Imports during the year, however, are likely to ease from the previous year’s level due to the stricter enforcement of memorandum 28 and the other GPH interventions,” USDA said.
The Department of Agriculture- Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Operation Center reported that damage and losses in the farm sector reached P3.67 billion.
This covers 132,166 hectares of agricultural lands with production losses at 195,046 metric tons, affecting some 92,701 farmers in Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol Region, Western and Eastern Visayas, and Ilocos Region.
Losses in the rice sector reached P1.32 billion with 77,683 hectares of rice fields with production at 104,928 MT.

Shortage Of Made In Ghana Rice On The Local Market

Description: Shortage Of Made In Ghana Rice On The Local MarketMarket men and women are worried following the great demand for the locally produced rice but cannot supply them. Customers are filled with sadness as they get disappointed going to the market to buy made in Ghana rice but find none.. Shops owners are calling on producers to make available the locally produced rice. Shops owners are asking producers to produce them in larger quantities. Following the street interview done by Alberta on joy news on the Accra market, sellers expressed that there is high patronage of the locally produced rice, however, some shops keepers expressed their fear of losing their customers since sometimes they do not have the locally produced riced to supply.
Transportation problems may be a reason for the low supply of locally produced rice. Citing the transportation difficulties in the northern part of Ghana, some sellers urged that government should help with transportation systems to facilitate supply.
The good news, all the same, is that some Ghanaians have developed the taste for made in Ghana goods. Their only cry is that made in Ghana goods should be improved, as well as packaged well.
Ghana rice! The perfect rice for perfect homes.
From the pen of Emmanuel Graham Nyameke.

Company, research institute to develop new rice varieties

The Cuu Long Delta Rice Research Institute (CLRRI) and agricultural company Loc Troi Group on December 24 signed a five-year agreement to jointly develop new rice varieties.
VNA Wednesday, December 25, 2019 17:54 

Mekong Delta to have quality breed sources for fishery, fruit and rice

Friday, June 21, 2019 21:39

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No degree, no problem for this rice innovator

Wednesday, February 06, 2019 14:13

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Tuesday, April 17, 2018 21:18

Hau Giang expands certified rice cultivation

Sunday, October 09, 2016 16:22
Description: Company, research institute to develop new rice varieties hinh anh 1The Cuu Long Delta Rice Research Institute and Loc Troi Group sign an agreement to jointly develop new rice varieties on December 24. ( Photo courtesy of Loc Troi Group)

Can Tho (VNA) - The Cuu Long Delta Rice Research Institute (CLRRI) and agricultural company Loc Troi Group on December 24 signed a five-year agreement to jointly develop new rice varieties.

Experts from the two organisations would work together to research and create at least one new rice variety for production and providing seeds.

The cooperation will make an important contribution to the sustainable development of national rice varieties and brands, CLRRI Director Tran Ngoc Thach said.

They also planned to regularly organise training courses in rice seed selection, maintaining the purity of seeds and producing seeds, he said.

Huynh Van Thon, chairman and general director of Loc Troi Group, said the group had collaborated effectively with the institute to build value chain models for sustainable rice production for many years.

The institute had transferred many high-quality rice varieties such as OM 5451, OM 9577 and OM 18 to the company to grow crops and supply seeds for farmers, he said.

With more than 1,000 agricultural professionals, the company has developed many new varieties of rice.

Loc Troi 28 won the first prize among fragrant rice varieties at an international rice convention in China in 2018./.

Over 110,700 tonnes of rice from reserve allocated to localities
Over 110,700 tonnes of rice worth more than 1 trillion VND from the national reserve have been allocated to localities to support people after natural disasters, ahead of the upcoming Lunar New Year festival and in forest plantation projects, and students living in especially disadvantaged areas, since the beginning of this year.

During a press conference in Hanoi on December 26, Deputy General Director of the State Reserves Le Van Thoi said the rice aid came promptly and safely, contributing to easing difficulties in poor localities.

Pham Viet Ha, deputy head of the General Department of State Reserves’ Goods Management Department, said the general department provided equipment for the National Committee on Disaster Response, Search and Rescue, with a total value of nearly 59 billion VND in accordance with the Prime Minister’s Decision.

The general department and the committee are working to submit a plan to the Finance Ministry and PM to provide more disaster-response equipment for ministries, agencies and localities.

Ministries, agencies also allocated items from reserves for national defence-security, disaster and epidemics control, social welfares with a total value of over 294 billion VND (12.7 million USD)./.

As palay price falls, farmers get cash aid

By: Yolanda Sotelo - Correspondent / @yzsoteloINQ
Philippine Daily Inquirer / 04:17 AM December 26, 2019
LINGAYEN, Pangasinan, Philippines — More than 87,000 farmers affected by the low buying price of palay (unhusked rice) in Pangasinan province will receive P5,000-cash aid each under the rice farmer financial assistance (RFFA) program of the Department of Agriculture (DA).
On Monday, Agriculture Secretary William Dar led the distribution of cash cards to the initial 500 beneficiaries at the Pangasinan Training and Development Center here.
The province is one of the pilot areas for the program, which allows beneficiaries to withdraw the money from automated teller machines of Land Bank of the Philippines.Worth P435 million
“This is a financial aid and not a loan [program] so the farmers don’t need to pay it back,” he said, adding that the unconditional cash transfer is available to farmers tilling 0.5 to 2 hectares of farmland.
In Pangasinan, 87,175 rice farmers will receive the cash aid worth P435 million.
Dar said the DA would distribute a total of P3 billion to the first 33 rice-producing provinces and qualified farmers nationwide.

Intervention program

“[The farmers] are selected based on a comparative price analysis that considered the average marketable surplus and profit gains/losses in those provinces,” he said.Dar said the RFFA is among the intervention programs of the DA to “ease the burden of rice farmers” during the transition phase of the implementation of the rice tariffication law (Republic Act No. 112030).

Tariff collection

Under the law, rice farmers will be given financial aid from the tariff collection of the P10-billion rice competitiveness enhancement fund.
Local farmers have been seeking help from the government as the price of palay continues to fall. The average farm-gate price of freshly harvested palay in the province has dropped to P13 per kilogram.—With a report from Willie Lomibao
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has defended his stance on letting the free market determine prices of rice, saying that appeal for the government’s intervention in rice prices is unreasonable.
VNA Friday, December 27, 2019 19:53 
Description: Cambodian PM defends stance on rice pricing hinh anh 1

Phnom Penh (VNA) – Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has defended his stance on letting the free market determine prices of rice, saying that appeal for the government’s intervention in rice prices is unreasonable.

Hun Sen said the country has a free market economic system and the private sector has the right to determine prices of goods, adding that the government could only appeal to people to set an affordable price.

President of the Coalition of Cambodian Farmers Community Theng Savoeun said farmers want the government to set a fixed price for rice so as to sustain their lives.

He suggested that the government should consider providing low-interest loans for farmers, build the needed infrastructure, and offer technical assistance to improve rice quality and find markets.

Cambodia is harvesting over 2 million ha of rice out of the total 2.7 million ha this year, with an output of over 3 tonnes per ha. The country plans to ship 600,000 tonnes of rice and over 2 million tonnes of unhusked rice to Vietnam.

One day after the Cambodian Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries announced the 2019 – 2023 agriculture development strategy, Hun Sen called on foreign firms to invest in farm produce processing in Cambodia./.

PM urges farmers to diversify crops amid shortage of water

May Kunmakara | Publication date 26 December 2019 | 21:22 ICT

Farmers grow rice in a field in Kampong Speu province. Prime Minister Hun Sen urges farmers to switch to crops resilient to a shortage of water, such as sugar cane, to shield themselves from price drops and fluctuating yields during the dry season. TANG CHHIN SOTHY/afp
Prime Minister Hun Sen on Thursday called for farmers to diversify beyond rice during the dry season, amid meteorologists’ warnings that a decline in water levels due to drought will adversely impact output and prices.
The prime minister urged farmers to switch to crops resilient to a shortage of water, such as sugarcane, to shield themselves from price drops and fluctuating yields during the dry season.
“According to a report from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, we are approaching the harvests at the end of the rainy season. So far, we have harvested two million hectares of paddy fields out of a total of 2.7 million hectares.
“I hope that rice yields in the rainy season will not be affected by a shortage of water. However, paddy fields will face a shortage of water during the dry season – that’s why I issued a directive to farmers last week to grow rice only once during the dry season and then switch to another crop,” Hun Sen said.
In a statement released last week, the Cambodian Rice Federation (CRF) said the poor condition of paddy fields due to water shortages in some areas had affected prices.
It added that certain parts of Pursat province that produced phkma malis (jasmine) and somali rice had grown tough grains lacking aroma “that consumers cannot accept”.
Rice crops in Banteay Meanchey and Siem Reap provinces, the statement said, had also struggled due to poor quality paddies and disease.
However, some areas in Kampong Speu, Takeo, Kampot and Kandal provinces yielded quality crops that demanded high prices.
CRF secretary-general Lun Yeng told The Post on Wednesday that the drop in quality was due to drought.
“The price of the good quality crops – phkma malis and phka romduol – is the same as last year, around 1,200 riel ($0.30) per kilogramme, while sen kra op rice costs 1,000 riel ($0.24).
“Rice millers did not want to lower the price of rice, but [they had no choice] because of the poor quality of the crop,” Yeng said.
Hun Sen said that while the government had called on millers not to lower the price of rice, it did not set prices as Cambodia is a free-market economy.
The prime minister advised farmers in areas suffering from water shortages to switch from rice to crops that would ensure better yields and bring higher prices.
A Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries report showed that in the first 11 months of this year, rice exports to the international market totalled 514,149 tonnes – an increase of 3.4 per cent on the same period last year.


(Repeats item that first ran on Thursday)
* Speculative buying, stockpiling lift Thai export prices- analyst
* Indian demand steady amid high paddy rates
* Vietnam rice exports sold at $355-$360/tonne
* Bangladesh struggles to notch oversees deals
By Karthika Suresh Namboothiri
BENGALURU, Dec 26 (Reuters) - Thailand's rice export prices rose this week on concerns that a drought hitting the country may harm future supplies of the crop, while the festive season led to thin trade in India and Vietnam.
Thailand's benchmark 5 percent broken rice <RI-THBKN5-P1> prices were quoted at $424-$435 on Thursday, an increase from $395-$420 the week before.
"There are concerns that the ongoing drought could hurt future supply so there is speculative buying and stockpiling by some mills and exporters, which has driven up the prices," a Bangkok-based rice trader said.
The government introduced emergency measures last week in 11 provinces around the country, many of them rice-growing areas.
Thailand, the world's second-largest rice exporter, will not have enough water to grow the crop in some 960,000 hectares of rice fields around the Chao Phraya River basin, authorities said in early November.
The dry season is expected to last through to April 30 next year.
Rice export rates notched up in Vietnam as well, with 5 percent broken rice <RI-VNBKN5-P1> quoted at $355-$360 a tonne, slightly higher from last week's $350-$352.
"The market is just quiet during this Christmas and New Year holiday," said a trader based in Ho Chi Minh City. "I think it won't pick up until at least February, when supply of the winter-spring crop is available."
Despite domestic inventory being nearly empty, prices would likely not go up in the short term due to weak demand, another trader based in the Mekong Delta province of An Giang said.
In top exporter India, weak demand amid a rise in paddy rates in the local market kept export prices steady.
The 5 percent broken parboiled variety <RI-INBKN5-P1> was quoted around $360-$365 per tonne.
"Most of the traders are on Christmas vacation. Demand is negligible," said an exporter based at Kakinada in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.
New Delhi earlier this year raised paddy rice purchase price by 3.7% to 1,815 rupees per 100 kg for the 2019/20 crop.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh has failed to secure any overseas deals since a long-standing export ban on common variety was lifted in May, with its rice more expensive than supplies from India or Thailand.
"There is no good news. We are still looking for a market to export common rice variety," a Dhaka-based trader told Reuters.
"We could fetch some deals on aromatic rice. But for common variety of parboiled rice, we can offer at least $500 per tonne while our competitors can offer much lower rates." (Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav in Mumbai, Ruma Paul in Dhaka, Phuong Nguyen in Hanoi and Panu Wongcha-um in Bangkok; Editing by Hugh Lawson)
© Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019. Click For Restrictions -

Rice prices skid in wholesale market as output surges
   Date :27-Dec-2019

Description: Rice prices skid in whole

Business Bureau :

The prices of rice in the market have skidded by 10 to 15 per cent as compared to the year ago period (YoY). Sources attributes the drop in the prices to the rise in 25 per cent production as compared to last year. The prices at the rice millers have descended by Rs 300 to Rs 400 per quintal. The new rice have just arrived in the market. Last year, the prices of rice at the mill were quoted at Rs 4500 per quintal which this year have tumbled to Rs 4100 per quintal.

Sources said that in the market there was rumour that State Government will give a subsidy of Rs 500 per quintal to the farmer. However, traders in the market are wondering how it would be possible for the State Government to give the subsidy when there is paucity of funds. There is cloudy weather. Taking cue of both these factors, farmers have increased the prices by Rs 100 to Rs 150 per quintal. Rice in grown in places like Mul, Gadchiroli, Gondia, Sakoli, Tiroda, Chimur, Chandrapur, Bramhapuri etc. Mills operating in this area are directly selling to places like Mumbai, Pune, Aurangabad, Solapur, Satara and Sangli. When contacted, Pratap Motwani, Secretary of The Wholesale Grain and Seeds Merchants Association said, in 2018, rice was cultivated on 10.01 lakh hectares of land. In 2019, the area covering rice cultivation was 12.55 lakh hectares.

The production this year will increase by 20 to 25 per cent as compared to last year. He said, “The month of January is good for stocking rice in households as the prices will inflate after Mahashivratri when the marriage season will commence.” In the local wholesale market, the prices of rice per kg quoted as against the year-ago period were Chinnor- Rs 55 to Rs 56 per kg (Rs 60 to Rs 65 per kg), Jaishriram- Rs 26 to Rs 46/kg (Rs 45 to Rs 50/kg), Jaishriram old- Rs 50 to Rs 55/kg (Rs 55 to Rs 60), Basmati- Rs 50 to Rs 90/kg (Rs 60 to Rs 110), Basmati branded- Rs 70 to Rs 110/kg (Rs 90 to Rs 130), Suvarna - Rs 23 to Rs 25/kg (Rs 28), Suvarna old- Rs 27 to Rs 28/kg (Rs 29 to Rs 31).
Over 1.601 million tons rice worth $835.686 million exported
8:24 AM | December 28, 2019
 UN General Assembly adopts Russian resolution on fighting cybercrime
·       11:16 PM | December 27, 2019 Kazakhstan plane crash kills 12 according to sources
Description: Over 1.601 million tons rice worth $835.686 million exported


December 27, 2019

ISLAMABAD             -           Rice exports from the country during first five months of current financial year increased by 38.58% as compared the exports of the corresponding period of last year.
Over 1.601 million tons of rice valuing $835.686 million was exported from July-November, 2019 as against the exports of 1.115 million tons worth of $ 603.149 million of same period of last year, according the trade data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.
Meanwhile, country earned $313.017 million by exporting about 343,885 metric tons of basmati rice during the period under review as compared the exports of 190,997 metric tons valuing $193.855 million of same period of last year.
The exports of basmati rice from the country grew by 61.47% during last five months as compared to the exports of the same period of last year, the data revealed.
On month on month basis, the exports of rice form the country grew by 24.49% in November, 2019 as about 440,488 metric tons of rice worth $202.069 million tons rice exported as compared to exports of 355,488 metric tons valuing $162.321 million of same month of last year, it added.
In November, 2019 exports of basmati rice also grew by 24.49% as 58,421 metric tons of basmati rice worth of 54.522 million exported as against exports of 29,185 metric tons costing $ 28.504 million of same month of last year.
It may be recalled that food group exports from the country during first five months of current financial year increased by 16.20% as compared the exports of the corresponding period of last year. Food commodities worth $1.757 billion exported from July-November, 2019-20 as against the exports of $ 1.512 billion of same period of last year.
On the other hand, import of the food commodities into the country during the period under review decreased by 15.36% as it was recorded at $2.088 billion as compared to imports of $ 2.467 billion of same period of last year, it added.
Meanwhile, on month on month basis, the exports of food commodities registered growth of 16.30% as food products worth $397.708 million exported in November, this year which was stood at US $ 341.975 million of same month of last year.
However, the imports into the country during the month under review increased by 5.14% as it went up to $505.5
SEARCA experts share Rice Tariffication perspective

December 26, 2019 at 09:30 pm by Brenda Jocson
Los Baños, Laguna―Diverse perspectives on the Rice Tariffication Law emerged at the session on regional implication of the Philippine RTL.
The session was convened by the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture during the recently held Inaugural Rice Research Symposium of the World Rice Conference organized by The Rice Trader.
Republic Act 11203 or RTL was recently passed with the purpose of lifting existing quantitative import restrictions on rice. It has amassed mixed reactions from various stakeholders of the local rice industry, raising the question as to whether it is indeed beneficial for the Philippine rice industry. 
According to Searca, this is so because of the current influx of imported rice and the consequent plunge in domestic farmgate prices, nonetheless, the current push for the establishment of an ASEAN common market has steered regional strategies toward promoting and strengthening intra-ASEAN trade and market integration.
The SEARCA forum sought to assess the policy implications on regional trade, rice reserves, food security, agriculture and rural development, and rice farmers’ income and competitiveness in relation to the implementation of the RTL.
Dr. Glenn B. Gregorio, SEARCA director,  said that the medium by which people are informed about the RTL is also of crucial importance to ensure that stakeholders are given the proper information about the law.
“[Thus] there is that need to discuss and determine the right price and the right rice,” Dr. Gregorio said.
The Philippine Institute for Development Studies has provided an overview of the immediate aftermath and potential long-term impact of rice industry liberalization in the Philippines. 
Dr. Roehlano M. Briones, Senior Research Fellow at the PIDS, said that despite the immediate decline in farmgate and retail prices of rice, the implementation of the RTL or liberalization of the industry, in the long-term, can benefit the society as a whole. 
In terms of regional trade, the UP School of Economics said: “With the liberalization of rice import policies in the Philippines, we can possibly experience an increase of around 10% in rice imports for local consumption.”
Dr. Ramon L. Clarete, UPSE Professor, explained that the expected boost in productivity and efficiency in rice farming (i.e., milling and logistics) will encourage modernization and farm aggregation as part of the productivity effect of import liberalization.
“We raise the average productivity of the industry and its value chain by getting rid of the marginal producers on which for a long time the quantitative restrictions has been designed to protect,” Dr. Clarete said.
Nonetheless, Dr. Clarete clarified that the marginal producers can still be part of the industry as the farm can actually boost its productivity if it joins an alliance of several others and get their aggregated farm managed professionally.
An associate research fellow from Nanyang Technological University of Singapore claimed that climate change and the failure of rice production systems to upgrade or adapt has caused a sudden reversal of the state of undernourishment in the region.
Describing food security in Southeast Asia as a U-shaped “love-hate relationship, Jose Ma. Luis P. Montesclaros of NTU cited that the lack of exposure to trade competition in markets, caused by quantitative restrictions such as the import quotas, has prevented rice production systems to upgrade and adapt.
He explained that for the rest of the region, the Philippines’ opening up to more rice imports may cause international demand to expand faster than supply (short or medium-run), harming the growing number of urban consumers in rice-importing and -exporting countries.
Plant engineering research breakthrough could boost productivity
Top of Form
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Photosynthesis research from the University of Illinois and U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service has been gaining global attention. The work of Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency (RIPE) has been featured by Reuters, BBC, Science Daily, The Japan Times and many others.  The study is part of an international project to boost global food production sustainably.
Changing the way crops like soybeans, rice and wheat process sunlight has the potential to increase yields by 40 percent, according to the researchers’ report published in the journal Science. 
These crops, along with fruits and vegetables, use the C3 photosynthesis process, which has a natural “glitch” or inefficiency in the use of energy as resources.
“We could feed up to 200 million additional people with the calories lost to photorespiration in the Midwestern U.S. each year,” said principal investigator Donald Ort, the Robert Emerson Professor of Plant Science and Crop Sciences at Illinois’ Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology in a press release. “Reclaiming even a portion of these calories across the world would go a long way to meeting the 21st Century’s rapidly expanding food demands—driven by population growth and more affluent high-calorie diets.”
Researchers inserted genes from bacteria, green algae and other plants into tobacco plants, shortcutting the C3 photosynthesis process. Two years of replicated field trials found that these engineered plants developed faster, grew taller, and saved enough energy to increase productivity by 40 percent in real-world conditions. 
According to Paul South, lead author and a research molecular biologist with the Agricultural Research Service, “Photosynthesis is nearly identical in plants, so we expect that benefits observed in tobacco will result in changes to food crops.” 
The team is now translating these findings to boost the yield of soybeans, rice, potatoes, and other crops. 
“It takes 10 to 15 years for technologies like this to undergo rigorous regulatory approval process, which examines engineered crops for health and environmental impacts. Thus, it is all the more urgent to invest in these types of technologies today,” said South. 
According to Timothy Searchinger, lecturer at Princeton University and senior fellow at the World Resources Institute who authored a recent report on sustainable food systems, the latest findings provide “important, promising work as it may open up new ways to expand crop yields.” 
Many innovations in agriculture, come with costly intellectual property rights, but RIPE and its sponsors, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, are committed to ensuring that smallholder farmers, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, will have royalty-free access to all of the project’s breakthroughs.  According to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, smallholder farmers provide up to 80 percent of the food supply in those regions.

DA taps TESDA for mechanization training

Published December 27, 2019, 10:00 PM
By Madelaine B. Miraflor
The Department of Agriculture (DA) has forged a deal with Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and other groups in order to step up efforts in training Filipino farmers how to use farm machinery and equipment, a move that could boost the country’s agricultural productivity.
A statement showed that DA, TESDA, Philippine Society of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineers (PSABE), and the Agricultural Machinery Manufacturers and Distributors Association (AMMDA) recently inked a partnership for a mechanization skills enhancement program.
Right now, the Philippines currently lags behind in farm productivity with agriculture mechanization level of only 2.1 horsepower per hectare. This means that more than 16 percent of the farmers’ total production go to waste due to post-harvest losses.
For rice alone, the cost of palay production here currently stands at ₱12.72 per kilo, which is higher than the production cost of ₱6.22 per kilo in Vietnam and ₱8.86 per kilo in Thailand.
Agriculture Secretary William Dar said that the joint program to be implemented with TESDA and the aforementioned associations is in line with the goal of the DA to increase production and income of the farmers and fishers.
“We have a big role to play to make our farmers more productive, competitive, and prosperous,” Dar said.
Dubbed as “Train to Mechanize Philippine Agriculture and Fisheries,” the collaborative program aims to enhance the skills of agri-fishery machinery operators and technicians, as well as agricultural and biosystems engineers.
The program includes the development and roll-out of training regulations on agri-fishery mechanization and agricultural and biosystems engineering; crafting of qualification map; establishment of agricultural and biosystems engineering career progression and specialization; and support the implementation of training and extension under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF).
Through the program, DA is expected to sustain and strengthen the implementation of training programs for agricultural and biosystems engineers.
This will be carried out through the Department’s bureaus and attached agencies, which include the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) and the Bureau of Agricultural and Fisheries Engineering, among others.
RCEF is where all the tariff from rice imports will go and is supposed to be injected with ₱10 billion annually from 2019 to 2024 or a period of six years as part of the implementation of Rice Tariffication Law.
Out of the ₱10 billion, 10 percent or ₱1 billion is allotted to skills training in developing new education modules, and other related extension efforts alone, while ₱5 billion is allotted to mechanization.
It will be utilized by implementing agencies like ATI, TESDA, and and Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PHilMech).
Right now, RCEF is also funding the training for farmers through the Rice Extension Services Program (RESP). So far, 99 training have already been extended to regional focals, agricultural extension workers, farmers and farm workers including members of cooperatives and associations. 22 of these training are still ongoing.
Among the topics covered for the training include high-quality inbred rice production, farm mechanization, high-quality rice seed production, seed certification and analysis, rice machinery operation and maintenance, and management of agri-machinery pool

We’re at the mercy of kidnappers – Plateau rice farmers

By Ado Abubakar Musa | Published Date Dec 28, 2019 3:51 AM Alhaji Ibrahim Kano, a rice farmer kidnapped at Isimi village bordering Plateau. Rice farmers in Plateau State, especially those on the boundary with Taraba State, are at the mercy of kidnappers, Daily Trust Saturday learnt. Although the recent record of kidnapping in the area is not restricted to rice farmers, they are the most affected.
Our correspondent learnt that rice farming thrives in Wase, Shendam, Qua’anpan, Latantang South and North, as well as Mikang local government areas, but unfortunately, the rate of kidnapping there has become alarming. The situation has also posed a serious threat to other businesses in the area. ADVERTISEMENT At Kuka, a community in Shendam Local Government Area, which shares border with the southern part of Taraba State, the situation is said to be horrible.
Alhaji Ibrahim Kano and Alhaji Haruna Umar, residents of Yelwa town, were kidnapped on December 13, 2019 in their farms located at Isimi village. Both relatives were said to have been taken away by a group of 10 armed men at 1am to a thick bush far from their farmland. Narrating their ordeal, Kano said, “They took us to the bush and insisted we would pay N50million as ransom to regain freedom. I pleaded that they should allow us pay N500, 000 but they refused. The kidnappers later demanded N10m, threatening to kill us if we didn’t pay. Their threat forced us to agree on N2.5m. After that, we agreed on a place and time to hand over the ransom to them.” Kano said that, surprisingly, the place where the money was paid to the kidnappers was not up to a kilometer away from a military checkpoint, located in Sarkim Kudu town of Ibi Local Government Area of Taraba State.
 Also speaking, Murtala Yusuf, a rice farmer and the chairman of Yelwa Rice Millers Association of Nigeria (YRMAN), described the situation as ungodly. He appealed for government’s intervention. Yusuf alleged that the kidnappers have informants in communities, who have knowledge of those who invested heavily in rice farming. Albert Nkwap, the chairman of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RFMAN) in Shendam Local Government Area, also told our correspondent that the situation was worrisome, and called on government to quickly intervene. “The increasing rate of kidnapping in these places is sending great fears to rice farmers and residents of the area. It is unfortunate because if there is no farming there will be hunger in the country. However, I urge people to be patient as the calamity will not last forever.” In Wase Local Government Area, another rice farmer, Abdullahi Wase, told our correspondent that Bangalala, Zira, Aduwa and Kampani communities were the most hit in kidnapping activities. Apart from rice farmers, Fatima Ladan, a roadside food seller narrated how kidnappers invaded her compound in Kuka village at midnight on September 27 and took her away. According to her, at first the kidnappers demanded N2m from her brother, Sani Ladan before she would be released, saying the fact that he just returned from pilgrimage was an indication that he had enough money to secure the release of his sister.
After much negotiation, they agreed to collect N200,000 as ransom. Safiyanu Kwatoe. a serving councillor representing Kuka ward in Shedam Local  Government Area, was also kidnapped and forced to pay N2m. “The kidnappers said I was building a house and a mosque, and that I had just returned from Saudi Arabia, where I performed Hajj, which, according to them, was an indication that I was rich. Eventually, I was released after paying N2m,” Kwatoe said. In Qua’anpan Local Government, kidnapping has added to the incessant robbery operations in the area. Businessmen and rice farmers are targets of attacks. Sources told our correspondent that on different occasions, kidnappers would place calls to businessmen, instructing them to send money to them or face dire consequences. As a result of such threats, many people relocated to other states across the country. Reacting to the spate of kidnapping in Plateau recently, Governor Simon Bako Lalong said anybody caught would be made to face the full wrath of the law. When contacted, the commissioner of police, Plateau State command, Isaac Akinmoyede, said they were doing everything possible to bring the perpetrators of such crime to book. “There is no crime-free society. We enjoin citizens to provide the command with vital information that would help crack down the perpetrators of this crime,” Akinmoyede