Saturday, January 11, 2020

11th Janaury,2020 Daily Global Regional Local Rice E-Newsletter


Rabi sow­ing crosses 625 lh

Dou­ble-digit in­crease in wheat, coarse ce­re­als, rice acreage

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New Delhi, January 10
With wheat, coarse ce­re­als and rice reg­is­ter­ing dou­ble-digit in­crease in acreage over the pre­vi­ous sea­son, the to­tal rabi sown area till the end of the week climbed to 625 lakh hectares (lh), nearly 8 per cent more than 578.47 lh planted in the cor­re­spond­ing week last year.
With wheat, coarse ce­re­als and rice reg­is­ter­ing dou­ble-digit in­crease in acreage over the pre­vi­ous sea­son, the to­tal rabi sown area till the end of the week climbed to 625 lakh hectares (lh), nearly 8 per cent more than 578.47 lh planted in the cor­re­spond­ing week last year.
Ac­cord­ing to lat­est rabi sow­ing data re­leased by the Agri­cul­ture Ministry on Fri­day, wheat, which ac­counts for more than half the sown area, moved to 326.46 lh, be­cause of an in­crease in plant­ing in Mad­hya Pradesh, Ra­jasthan, Gu­jarat and Ma­ha­rash­tra. While MP planted wheat in an ad­di­tional area of 20 lh, Gu­jarat and Ra­jasthan in nearly 5 lh each and Ma­ha­rash­tra 4 lh, over the same pe­riod last year. The area un­der un­der wheat dur­ing the same week in the pre­vi­ous year was 293.81 lh.
Ac­cord­ing to lat­est rabi sow­ing data re­leased by the Agri­cul­ture Ministry on Fri­day, wheat, which ac­counts for more than half the sown area, moved to 326.46 lh, be­cause of an in­crease in plant­ing in Mad­hya Pradesh, Ra­jasthan, Gu­jarat and Ma­ha­rash­tra. While MP planted wheat in an ad­di­tional area of 20 lh, Gu­jarat and Ra­jasthan in nearly 5 lh each and Ma­ha­rash­tra 4 lh, over the same pe­riod last year. The area un­der un­der wheat dur­ing the same week in the pre­vi­ous year was 293.81 lh.
Ac­cord­ing to lat­est rabi sow­ing data re­leased by the Agri­cul­ture Ministry on Fri­day, wheat, which ac­counts for more than half the sown area, moved to 326.46 lh, be­cause of an in­crease in plant­ing in Mad­hya Pradesh, Ra­jasthan, Gu­jarat and Ma­ha­rash­tra. While MP planted wheat in an ad­di­tional area of 20 lh, Gu­jarat and Ra­jasthan in nearly 5 lh each and Ma­ha­rash­tra 4 lh, over the same pe­riod last year. The area un­der un­der wheat dur­ing the same week in the pre­vi­ous year was 293.81 lh.
The area un­der pulses cul­ti­va­tion too went up by nearly 5 per cent to 151.26 lh, as against 145.42 planted in the same week last year. Gram, which recorded an in­crease of over 8 per cent to top 102 lh, ac­counted for this in­crease. There was sub­stan­tial in­crease in gram cul­ti­va­tion in Ma­ha­rash­tra and Ra­jasthan, which is enough to off­set the drop in gram acreage in Mad­hya Pradesh and Kar­nataka.
The area un­der pulses cul­ti­va­tion too went up by nearly 5 per cent to 151.26 lh, as against 145.42 planted in the same week last year. Gram, which recorded an in­crease of over 8 per cent to top 102 lh, ac­counted for this in­crease. There was sub­stan­tial in­crease in gram cul­ti­va­tion in Ma­ha­rash­tra and Ra­jasthan, which is enough to off­set the drop in gram acreage in Mad­hya Pradesh and Kar­nataka.
Better jowar sow­ing in Ma­ha­rash­tra, the State which ac­counted for more than a third of to­tal coarse ce­re­als area in the coun­try, pushed up the to­tal coarse ce­re­als plant­ing by nearly 13 per cent to over 51 lh. Ma­ha­ras­tra in­creased its coarse ce­re­als area by 53 per cent to 19 lh as against 12.4 lh in the same week last year.
Better jowar sow­ing in Ma­ha­rash­tra, the State which ac­counted for more than a third of to­tal coarse ce­re­als area in the coun­try, pushed up the to­tal coarse ce­re­als plant­ing by nearly 13 per cent to over 51 lh. Ma­ha­ras­tra in­creased its coarse ce­re­als area by 53 per cent to 19 lh as against 12.4 lh in the same week last year.
With Ra­jasthan and Ut­tar Pradesh – ma­jor mus­tard-grow­ing States – main­tain­ing more or less sim­i­lar area un­der the ma­jor rabi oil crop, the area un­der oilseeds re­mained at 77.68 lh, a tad lower than 78.43 lh in the cor­re­spond­ing week last year.
There is a 12 per cent in­crease in win­ter rice sow­ing with the to­tal area go­ing up to 18.55 lh, be­cause of in­creased plant­ing re­ported from Tamil Nadu and
Te­lan­gana. At 9.9 lh, Tamil Nadu ac­counted for more than 50 per cent of the to­tal rice area.
Water stor­age in reser­voirs across the coun­try con­tin­ues to be good. Ac­cord­ing to a bul­letin re­leased by the Cen­tral Water Com­mis­sion on Thursday, 120 ma­jor reser­voirs in the coun­try have a cu­mu­la­tive stor­age of 130.28 bil­lion cu­bic me­tre (BCM) of water, nearly 53 per cent more than 85.04 BCM in tha same week last year.
Water stor­age in reser­voirs across the coun­try con­tin­ues to be good. Ac­cord­ing to a bul­letin re­leased by the 

Cen­tral Water Com­mis­sion on Thursday, 120 ma­jor reser­voirs in the coun­try have a cu­mu­la­tive stor­age of 130.28 bil­lion cu­bic me­tre (BCM) of water, nearly 53 per cent more than 85.04 BCM in tha same week last year.Pakistan should seize opportunity to learn from China's scientific advancement: Pakistani scientist Attaur Rehman

Description: Pakistan should seize opportunity to learn from China's scientific advancement: Pakistani scientist Attaur Rehman

Xinhua

7:00 PM | January 10, 2020

Pakistan should send graduate and post-graduate students to study applied science at Chinese universities to acquire scientific knowledge and learn from the research China has done over the years, acclaimed Pakistani scientist Atta-ur-Rahman said.
China is an emerging power and it has already become one of the world's leading countries in some fields of science like nanotechnology and artificial intelligence. Pakistan's good relations with China provide it a golden opportunity to send its aspiring students to learn science at Chinese universities to get equipped with modern scientific knowledge.
"When the students return to Pakistan after completing advanced learning in China, Pakistan can get benefit from their expertise by hiring them at significant posts in colleges, universities and laboratories," said the professor at the International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS) of the University of Karachi.
"It will not only provide the scientists a platform to conduct further research, but also give them a chance to teach advanced sciences to other students, and the whole process will gradually set the base of scientific studies on modern grounds in the country," Rahman added.
"I always suggest that Pakistan should start taking benefit from China right now so that Pakistani students and researchers can grow with China in the field of science."
An alumnus of King's College of Britain's University of Cambridge from where he received his PhD in organic chemistry in 1968, Rahman has won lots of awards in Pakistan including the highest national award Nishan-e-Imtiaz for his services to the country in the field of science, apart from a number of other international awards.
He is expected to receive the China International Science and Technology Cooperation Award in January for contributions he has made to China. Rahman considers it a great honor to be selected to receive the prestigious award from the Chinese government and credits the research on traditional Chinese medicine and in other fields, which he did with Chinese scientists and companies, for his selection for the award.
"I also have a number of international co-publications with Chinese scientists. Many Chinese scientists and pharmaceutical companies have visited Pakistan to conduct research in the ICCBS. By all these research and publications, I have made a small effort to promote Chinese science in the world."
The professor is also the head of Pakistani Government's task force on science and technology. The task force is aimed at making the country standout in the world in "specific and targeted fields."
"Initially we have identified five areas including education, agriculture, minerals, information technology, and linkages of innovation with society which will focus on engineering and emerging sciences. Two new universities are also being established to give education of applied science."
Development budget of the country's science and technology has increased six-fold this year to encourage innovation, he said, adding that one of the main focuses of the Pakistani government is to change the direction of the country's economy from agricultural economy to knowledge and science economy.
"China will be a great help for Pakistan to achieve the target and for that purpose we are forming 20 centers of excellence in various universities of the country with the help of China," the professor said. These centers will include artificial intelligence in health sciences, hybrid seed production, virology, nanotechnology, railways engineering, agricultural food processing, mineral extraction and processing among others.
Many top Chinese institutes and universities including Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology, China National Rice Research Institute and Wuhan Institute of Virology among others will cooperate with Pakistan.

India adds tests to rice exports to European Union

January 9, 2020
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NEW DELHI: India has tightened the review standards for rice exports into the European Union.
The trade and industry ministry Thursday amended the export coverage for Basmati and non-Basmati rice from’free’ to outbound shipments subject to certificates issued by Export Inspection Council (EIC).
“Export to EU member countries and European nations specifically Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland allowed subject to issuance of certificate of review by EIC/Export Inspection Agency,” the ministry said in a telling.
India’s rice export to Europe dropped around 40percent in 2018-19 over the dilemma of maximum residue level (MRL) is pesticides as well as the marketplace is very likely to shrink further this season since rice samples has neglected the testing.
“There have been pesticide problems with rice exports. So, these extra checks are put in place,” said an official at the know of these particulars.
01 parts per million (ppm) from 1 ppm for many plants in 2018. After 2018, the export of basmati from India into EU diminished 38. 35percent and 9 percent in 2018-19 and 2019-20 (April-September) respectively, primarily because of the pesticide residue difficulty.
According to the notification, the certification of review by export review bureaus will be compulsory for exports to staying European nations with effect from
But, the official stated that exporters are resisting the transfer since the extra checks would raise costs and contribute to instruction.
EIC is the official export certificate body of India that ensures quality and security of merchandise exported from India.

Rice Legislative Priorities in a Divided, Distracted Congress  
By Jamison Cruce

WASHINGTON, DC -- Members of Congress returned to Washington this week to officially kick off the second session of the 116th Congress.  While progress and outcomes will undoubtedly slow down the closer we get to November elections, and potentially sooner, progress could be made on some key rice industry issues.

The U.S. rice industry has already seen a win this year when the Senate Finance Committee passed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) out of committee by an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote.  While there are six additional committees that will need to consider the agreement by a straight up or down vote, it is highly anticipated that the agreement will pass the full Senate and be signed by President Donald Trump in the coming weeks.  USA Rice continues to push for the swift approval of USMCA in the Senate in hopes that ratification of the agreement will bring much needed market stability for U.S.-grown rice.

Next week, Chinese officials will be in Washington to sign Phase I of an agreement with the U.S. that is expected to pave the way toward normalizing trade with China as well as increasing purchases of U.S. agricultural products, including rice.

While the USMCA and an agreement with China are within sight, USMCA brings no additional benefits to the rice industry from those we enjoyed under NAFTA and full implementation of the China deal may take time.  That's why USA Rice continues to push the Administration to issue the much needed third tranche of assistance from the 2019 Market Facilitation Program (MFP).  USA Rice members would like to see a return of normalcy in the marketplace, but USA Rice is certainly not ruling out the need for the Administration to establish MFP for 2020.

Several items across a range of high profile topics will be considered by Congress this year, including the impeachment trial in the Senate, as well as a plethora of healthcare, infrastructure, and defense and national security proposals.  Agriculture-related legislation could also take shape including reauthorization for the Commodities Future Trading Commission (CFTC) and reauthorization of the Grain Standards Act.  USA Rice will be on the forefront monitoring these along with any number of new legislative proposals that will be introduced.

USA Rice will also continue to advocate for needed funding through the budget and appropriations processes.  As with any Presidential election year, many observers believe that the summer will bring a halt to any legislative progress for the remainder of 2020.

Among topics that may receive attention via introduced legislation include an agricultural labor bill that passed the House last year with reports the Senate will soon begin working on a bill of its own.  Many climate change proposals have been introduced, mainly in the House, and it's expected several more could be proposed by Members of Congress and committees with jurisdiction, especially given the attention to the subject by candidates vying for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Between now and the first week of March, many things election-related should start to unfold, specifically in the Democratic race for the White House and some battleground states.  There are 34 Senate seats, 12 Democratic and 22 Republican, and all 435 House seats up for re-election this year.
Thirty-five House members have already announced they will not be seeking re-election to their respective seats.  Six Democrats and 22 Republicans are retiring and seven are seeking election in the presidential, gubernatorial, or U.S. Senate races.  Notable retirements from Congress include Representative Mike Conaway (R-TX), Ranking Member of the House Agriculture Committee, and Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS), chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Nutrition.  Currently, the only rice state or district Member of Congress retiring is Representative Pete Olson (R-TX), who represents Texas' 22nd Congressional District.  Election Day is Tuesday, November 3, 2020.
USA Rice will continue to monitor and advocate for positive policies and outcomes for the industry throughout 2020, seeking to maintain those programs that are beneficial while eyeing new opportunities for advancement.



WASDE Report Released  
 WASHINGTON, DC -- This month's outlook for 2019/20 U.S. rice is for lower supplies, increased use, and declining ending stocks. U.S. 2019/20 all rice production is 184.7 million cwt, down 3.3 million from the previous estimate. Medium and short grain production is lowered 1.8 million cwt and long-grain is reduced 1.5 million. The all rice average yield is estimated at 7,471 pounds per acre, down 116 pounds from the prior estimate. Rice imports are raised 500,000 cwt to a record 30.1 million on strong imports of aromatics from Asia. All rice domestic and residual use is raised 2 million cwt on higher-than-expected usage for August-November as implied by the NASS Rice Stocks report. Projected all rice exports are increased 500,000 cwt to 98 million reflecting a 1-million-cwt increase for long grain and a 500,000-cwt decrease for medium- and short-grain. The long grain increase is due to a fast export pace to date, while combined medium and short grain shipments have been slow. With use rising and supplies falling, projected 2019/20 ending stocks are lowered 5.3 million cwt to 28.6 million. The projected 2019/20 all rice season-average farm price is raised $0.20 per cwt to $13.20.

Global 2019/20 rice supplies are down fractionally to 671.1 million tons based on a 1.7-million-ton production decline being mostly offset by an increase in world beginning stocks. The increase in stocks is almost entirely due to final government data from India. The production decline is mostly caused by a 2-million-ton cut to Thailand's crop as the severe drought in the region has reduced both planted area and yield prospects. Partly offsetting is a 400,000-ton increase in the Bangladesh crop. World consumption increased slightly and global trade is down fractionally. For trade, Thailand's exports are lowered 900,000 tons on the smaller crop. However, this reduction is partially offset by a 400,000-ton increase for Pakistan, and a 300,000-ton increase for India. Global ending stocks are lowered 800,000 tons to 177.1 million but remain record high.


Prohibition is Over!

Americans have a special place in their heart, perhaps more accurately in their liver, for the resurgence of the Speakeasy. The Prohibition, a constitutional ban on the production, importation, transportation, and sale of alcohol that lasted from 1920 to 1933 were in fact 13 years of pushback against a government policy of temperance that was rejected wholly by the masses.
Friday 10 January 2020, 03:00PM


Description: Quilted leather luxury at Speakeasy Yacht Club
Quilted leather luxury at Speakeasy Yacht Club
The national constitutional ban on alcohol had a direct correlation with organised crime as just prior to the ban, the saloon was a staple of American society. The desire to imbibe did not simply vanish with the stroke of the pen that ushered in the amendment and the absence of absinthe would swiftly be filled and distilled.
Smugglers began importing distilled libations, homemade cocktails came into the lexicon, and many a patron found their way to a secret new shop they could partake and please their parched palate for the spirit they sought.
The shops that sprang up as a result of these temperance policies became known as a Speakeasy, aptly named as a softly spoken tone was expected to be adopted when describing the illicit activity taking place in such an establishment. By 1925, there were anywhere from 30,000 to 100,000 speakeasy clubs in New York City alone suggests “Teaching With Documents: The Volstead Act and Related Prohibition Documents” in the United States National Archives. For over a decade, Americans endured crime waves, illness from unregulated distillations, and many other ills as a result of this policy but all that was about to end.
December 5, 1933 the grand temperance experiment failed and the repeal of the 21st Amendment took place. Ever since, Americans have donned the regalia of the Roaring Twenties, and enjoy a Repeal Party at a local Speakeasy throwback.
People in Phuket have the opportunity to enjoy one of the island’s newest. The Speakeasy Yacht Club Restaurant is a welcomed addition to Royal Phuket Marina’s boardwalk with the boats and marina backdrop making any date night quite impressive. This establishment gives all the thrills of the classic Roaring Twenties feel with a modern touch of international culinary delights.
Boasting a visually stunning d├ęcor that is something right out of the era with long quilted leather chesterfield sofas and Edison bulbs illuminating the room. If you prefer a view, you can enjoy your meal with a waterside candle-lit view of the Royal Phuket Marina and all the beautiful yachts and amazing villas that make this area one of Phuket’s most treasured.
Every Friday, Speakeasy shifts between Indian and Mexican delicacies. On Indian cuisine night, head chef Rom Bahadur Rayamajhi, who hails from Nepal and is the personal chef of RPM’s CEO and founder Gulu Lalvani, treats diners to an assortment of dishes. Chef Rayamajhi’s credentials are long. He was the head chef for AKA SAKA Restaurant, Defence Colony, New Delhi and has been the Executive Chef at Royal Phuket Marina since 2012.
One challenge many people have with Indian cuisine is navigating the menu. While they love Indian food, the menu can be quite intimidating as there are rarely pictures or explanations of what items are what, so one tends to rely on fate to decide what will be for dinner. That intimidation is removed at Speakeasy Yacht Club as the most popular dishes are offered with ease and simplicity. Butter Chicken with its deep sunset red hue, roasted Gobi with a crisp perfect texture, sensationally seasoned basmati rice and fluffy nan bread to soak it all in. Speakeasy Yacht Club selects quintessential regional dishes from the north and south of India and simplifies it just right for the night.

LT Foods bets big on Japanese rice-based snacks to woo millennials

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani  New Delhi | Updated on January 08, 2020  Published on January 08, 2020

The firm is in JV with Japanese firm Kameda Seika

LT Foods, known for its Daawat and Royal basmati rice brands, is strengthening its play in the packaged food business by foraying into the premium snacks segment through its joint-venture partnership with Japan-based Kameda Seika.
The joint venture company called Daawat-Kameda (India) Pvt Ltd is set to launch its rice-based gourmet snacks brand ‘Kari Kari’ in key cities in the country.
The two companies had announced their joint venture in 2017 and have since been test marketing the products in Delhi-NCR, Bengaluru and Mumbai. The JV company has now set up a manufacturing facility at Sonipat (Haryana) to manufacture ‘Kari Kari’ range of products for a full-scale commercial launch in India.
Vijay Kumar Arora, Chairman & Managing Director, LT Foods, said, “This move is in line with our strategy to diversify into value-added rice-based products. We see huge potential in the premium and healthy snacks segment, which is growing in the range of 22-25 per cent year-on-year.”

Investment details

Arora said that the two partners have made commitments of about 70 crore for the JV venture, out of which investments worth about 25 crore have already been made on setting up the plant and the balance amount will be invested over the next five years on future expansion. Jun Kono, Director, Daawat Kameda (India) Pvt Ltd and Overseas Manager, Kameda Seika, said, “We believe we have the opportunity to create a new category of roasted rice-based healthy snacks to appeal to Indian consumer base. We believe India has the potential to become one of our largest international markets in the long term.”

Distribution strategy

Kari Kari range has been launched in four variants priced at  99 for 135-gm pack and 50 for 60-gm pack.
Ritesh Arora, Head of India, Far East and New Busines, LT Foods, said that the company will focus on making the products available in modern trade stores and premium general trade stores in metros and top cities, besides the e-commerce platform over the next two years.
Published on January 08, 2020

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From NASA scientists tackling agrarian issue to artists driving change through their work here are the top social stories this week

This week, we featured inspiring stories of people providing food and relief materials to help victims of Australian bushfires and organisations who are bringing about a change and making a difference in the lives of others. By Team SS 11th Jan 2020 0:00 / 4:04 1 clap +0 India is an agricultural country, and agriculture it is the main source of livelihood for a majority of the population. Despite this, the sector is facing trouble due to inadequate policies and support - be it in terms of insurance or the water resources required. That’s where Hyderabad-based Niruthi comes into the picture. The organisation is helping farmers with accurate climate data for better farm growth. On the other hand, several volunteers have come forward to rescue animals in the ongoing Australian bushfires.
 Among them is an Indian Sikh couple providing free meals to those in need. Social Story brings you several such inspiring stories of people and organistaitons addressing various issues. Back in 2017, Divya Ramachandran founded a sustainable startup called Skrap with the aim to help organisations, offices, gatherings, and events in Mumbai to implement zero waste and eco-friendly solutions. It has also conducted over 40 waste-free events so far. According to Divya, Skrap has an eight-step process to organise a zero-waste event. It installs colour-coded dustbins for wet and dry waste for waste segregation at source. The startup also looks after the training of housekeeping staff and food stall vendors to maintain the waste management process. The team has also tied up with various NGOs to expand its ground operations. Started by former NASA Earth scientists, Hyderabad-based Niruthi is solving India’s farming issue Based out of Hyderabad, Niruthi, an agritech startup, is working towards offering solutions for monitoring, modelling, and forecasting crop conditions through location-specific weather, crop health, and crop yields across India. Cristina Milesi, CTO and Malikarjun Kunkunuri, CEO NIruhi Climate and Ecosystem Founded in 2011 by Ramakrishna Nemani and Cristina Milesi, former Earth scientists at NASA, Niruthi provides field-level information needed by farmers to better manage their crops.
The startup has also deployed its technology to support the crop insurance industry in India as well as in Vietnam, covering a variety of crops, including soybean, rice, bajra, jowar, gram, cotton, and wheat, and climatic conditions – serving over one million farmers. Amid raging bushfires in Australia, Indian restaurant owners come to the rescue with free food Desi Grill, an Indian restaurant in East Gippsland in Victoria, Australia, has been providing free food to the firefighters and victims of bushfires. Apart from this, Sikh volunteers also helped restaurant owners to disburse food wherever it was needed. Volunteers along with the couple (Image: Facebook) Run by Kanwaljit Singh and his wife Kamaljit Kaur, the couple felt it was their duty to serve the community. The couple managed to cook and serve up to 1,000 people in a day. They have stocked up rice, flour, and lentils, which the couple feel should be sufficient for the next week or so.
Married at 15 and widowed at 20, this single mother is uplifting the lives of 200 families in Kerala Sifiya Haneef got married at the age of 15 when most girls her age were making career choices, and indulging in fun activities and games. Just when she was getting accustomed to the responsibilities of managing a household and her new life, she lost her husband in a mishap. Interacting with the locals Despite all the odds, she established Chithal, a charitable trust to help sick mothers, elderly folk, distressed widows, and cancer patients. Over the last six years, she has aided more than 200 families by providing them with food, clothing, and medicines. Meet the 5 artists who are depicting social issues and driving change through their artwork For ages, artists have inspired change. Art helps us express deep-rooted social issues, and its different interpretations and responses have helped people drive change for centuries. From using powerful imagery, colours, and hues, artists can show you what’s happening in the society and make us ponder on several issues like women’s safety, political violence, farmers suicide, and climate change. Here are top five artists of today who are using art to lead social change in India. (Edited by Megha Reddy) Also Read This district in Chhattisgarh makes flowerpots from recycled plastic bottles


MIT warns foreign students of possible visits from ICE

By COLLIN BINKLEY Associated Press

JANUARY 10, 2020 — 12:20PM
BOSTON — The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is warning international students that federal immigration officials may visit their work sites to verify that their employment is directly related to their studies.School officials sent a memo to faculty on Thursday saying the Department of Homeland Security has been making site visits to employers of foreign students in science, technology, engineering and math fields. The school is notifying students separately and telling them what to expect from the visits.
MIT spokeswoman Kimberly Allen said the memo was not prompted by any visit to the institute.
Immigration officials announced last year they would begin workplace visits for some students participating in the federal Optional Practical Training program. The program allows those with student visas to take temporary jobs related to their academic studies. Students in STEM fields can get their visas extended by two years, while others can get one-year extensions.
MIT joins other universities cautioning students about the possibility of the visits. Schools including the University of Pennsylvania and Duke University issued similar notices last August.
A Homeland Security website says the visits are meant to "reduce the potential for abuses" of the visa extension. It says employers will be given notice of visits 48 hours in advance unless the visit is tied to a complaint or other evidence of noncompliance.
The visits are carried out by the department's Immigration and Customs Enforcement unit and are meant to verify that students are engaged in relevant "work-based learning experiences" and that employers have the resources necessary to supervise them, according to the department's website.
An ICE spokeswoman did not immediately return calls seeking comment.
The Trump administration has placed foreign researchers under sharper scrutiny as it tries to curb intellectual property theft by China and other governments. The Justice Department has asked universities to watch out for suspicious behavior, saying college campuses are increasingly being targeted in efforts to steal technology and research.
In December, a Chinese medical student was arrested at Boston's Logan Airport after authorities said he tried to smuggle cancer research material out of the country. Zaosong Zheng, 29, had earned a visa sponsored by Harvard University. The FBI said he may have been acting on behalf of the Chinese government.
In 2018, Chinese national Weiqiang Zhang was sentenced to 10 years in prison for conspiring to steal proprietary rice seeds developed in the U.S. and giving them to visitors from China. He previously received a doctorate at Louisiana State University.
The Trump administration's efforts to crack down on research theft have raised tensions on some college campuses, which often rely on foreign talent and encourage international exchange.
Last June, MIT President L. Rafael Reif warned that the fight against espionage threatened to create a "toxic atmosphere of unfounded suspicion and fear." He said some Chinese students and researchers on campus reported feeling "unfairly scrutinized, stigmatized and on edge" because of their Chinese ethnicity.
The American Council on Education, which represents dozens of university presidents, has encouraged schools to work with the FBI to prevent theft. In a letter to its members last year, the group said the FBI was "eager to develop a collaborative relationship with higher education that protects national and economic security without impinging on academic freedom or institutional autonomy."
The Optional Practical Training program has attracted growing numbers of students in recent years, with many students choosing to get professional experience before they start their studies or after they graduate.
The most recent data from ICE show that in 2017, more than 328,000 international students were authorized to work through the program, including nearly 90,000 approved to work in STEM fields.
China Focus: Chinese living longer, healthier thanks to sci-tech achievements
BY DENIS BEDOYA ON JANUARY 10, 2020NEWS
BEIJING, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) — Chinese people are enjoying better and healthier lives thanks to the country’s sci-tech achievements, studies highlighted at China’s annual research awards show.In China, where less than 8 percent of the world’s arable land feeds one fifth of the world’s people, food security is a priority for many researchers. Three research achievements on rice were recognized in the 2017 National Science and Technology Awards.
Li Jiayang and his researchers – one of the three teams – found the balance of yield and quality in new hybrid rice varieties.
The cultivation of hybrid rice has spread across China for more than four decades. But while yields have increased, many varieties have failed the taste and cooking tests until recently.Li’s team identified the major gene that regulates yield and quality and used molecular breeding technologies to combine high yield and good taste in a new rice variety.
“Good characteristics can be identified in molecular breeding,” Li said. They plan to work on “tailored” hybrid rice varieties in future.Huang Sanwen, of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, won last year’s State Natural Science Award for breeding high-yield cucumbers.With advanced genome sequencing technology, Huang’s team mapped the genetic code of cucumbers, shedding light on their origin and evolution.

Professor Li Luming, of Tsinghua University, won first prize in the State Scientific and Technological Progress Award of 2018, for his research on brain pacemakers.

His team made brain pacemakers cheaper, smaller, lighter and more durable, benefiting China’s 2 million Parkinson’s disease sufferers.Lung cancer is China’s leading deadly cancer. Surgical resection is the key to treat lung cancer in the early and middle stages.
He Jianxing, head of the First Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou Medical University, created a minimally invasive lung cancer treatment system through technological innovation. Patients can usually get out of bed within hours of the surgery and leave hospital after three days.
Progress in medical science has greatly improved the health level of Chinese people, with average life expectancy rising from 35 in 1949 to 77 in 2018.In the global drive to curb climate change, China has been consistently delivering on its environmental pledges.From 2015 to 2017, the government highlighted in its work reports ultra-low emissions from coal-burning power plants.
Gao Xiang and his team developed an ultra-low emissions system to filter pollutants from coal-fired flue gas quickly and cheaply, resulting in cleaner air. It has been successfully trialed in a power plant in Jiaxing, Zhejiang Province.

The system can simultaneously remove multi-pollutants, reducing emissions from a coal-fired power plant to a level even lower than that of a natural-gas-burning power plant.

In January 2018, Gao and his team were awarded first prize in the National Technology Invention Award. The Ministry of Science and Technology said the system had drastically reduced pollutants emitted by coal-fired power plants nationwide.


Haryana govt detects 90 crore fraud in paddy procurement

Shortage of 42,500 tonnes detected at 1,207 mills; money to be recovered from millers

CHANDIGARH Updated: Jan 08, 2020 22:36 IST
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Description: Hindustantimes
After two inspections in more than two months’ time, the Haryana government on Wednesday admitted that a fraud of at least 90 crore has been detected in the paddy procurement process.
Farmers had cried foul after rice millers claimed that they had procured more paddy than the 64-lakh-tonnes target allotted to them this season.
Farmers had said that the millers bought cheap paddy from neighbouring states as their produce was still in the mandis (grain markets).
Stating that the formal inspection and physical verification, which was subsequent to informal verification, was now over, food and civil supplies additional chief secretary PK Das said more than 42,500 tonnes of paddy was found to be short as per the records and stocks of the rice mills.
“This shortage meant that either the millers had charged from government on some bogus paddy purchase or sold the rice milled by them to someone else other than the government procurement agencies,” he added.
67kg rice is milled from a quintal of paddy.
FRAUD AND METHODOLOGY
After paddy farmers raised hue and cry, the state government had sent 300 teams of officials to all 1,304 rice mills in the state for physical verification.
The teams verified the mills’ purchase from farmers, produce given to FCI or other agencies, paddy stocked at all sites of the mills as well as the rice milled by them.
Das said shortage of 42,500 tonnes of paddy has been detected at 1,207 mills.
The maximum shortage of more than 13,000 tonnes was found in 284 mills in Karnal — the home district of chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar — followed by Kurukshetra where the shortage at 236 mills was over 10,000 tonnes.
At 185 mills in Ambala district, the shortage was of about 9,400 tonnes, at 168 mills in Fatehabad, it was over 2,200 tonnes and at 115 mills in Kaithal, it was over 1,400 tonnes, Das said.
ACTION TAKEN
Das said while show-cause notices were being issued to all defaulting mills, seeking reply from them in three to four days, 90 crore would be charged from them.
“I would also discuss with the superiors regarding blacklisting them. It would also be decided whether to register criminal cases against them or not,” he added.
THE WAY FORWARD
The department would now undertake the very first leg of the procurement exercise — transportation of paddy from mandis to mills — with registered commission agents and videograph the entire process. This was earlier left to the millers.
“The trucks deployed for transportation of paddy will be equipped with GPS so that their movement can be monitored,” Das said.
INLD allege involvement of officials
Reacting to the development, Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) leader Abhay Chautala said the millers could not have committed the scam without conniving with government officials. Demanding a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe in the matter, he also alleged that the farmers were cheated on the pretext of moisture and paid about 200 per quintal less than the MSP of 1,835.

600 rice farmers to commence dry season farming in FCT
 By Abubakar Sadiq Isah   | Published Date Jan 10, 2020 3:54 AM The Chairman of the FCT chapter of the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Alhaji Abubakar Dahiru Zuba, has disclosed that about 600 rice farmers have been mobilised to commence dry season farming across the territory. Zuba, while Description: https://cdn.dailytrust.com.ng/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Rice-Framers-Association-of-Nigeria-RIFAN-367x367.jpgspeaking during an interview with our reporter yesterday in Abuja, said the 600 rice farmers would be cultivating five hectares of land each, which, he said, could produce 300,000 tonnes of rice after harvest. ADVERTISEMENT He said the association has already concluded arrangements to give out farm inputs such as fertilizers, sprayers, herbicides and chemicals to each of the farmers to enable them apply it on their farms after clearing. ADVERTISEMENT HOW NIGERIAN MEN CAN NOW OVERCOME TERRIBLE BEDROOM PERFORMANCE AND KICK START A WONDERFUL SEXUAL EXPERIENCE IN THE NEW YEAR “In fact, as I speak, we have started mobilizing some of the  rice farmers for the dry season farming, and even me as I am talking laborers are on my farm clearing the farm,” he said. According to him, the association has procured improved seedling (Para 44) for cultivation, stressing that it gives higher yields and is delectable in terms of consumption. The RIFAN chairman, however, said the major challenge facing the association was farmers defaulting in paying back their loans.

Rice farmers warn FG against fertiliser importation

 January 10, 2020
Chima Azubuike, Gombe
Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, Gombe State chapter, has urged the Federal Government to halt fertilizer importation plans from Morocco and work towards reviving existing fertilizer blending plants in the country.
The Secretary of the association, Kalagar Lubo, said this on Wednesday in an interview with our correspondent.
He said instead of the government talking about importing fertilizer, it would be best if moribund fertiliser blending plants across the country were revived.
He said, “We wish to advise the Federal Government to make internal fertilizer blending plants functional. Even if we (farmers) will suffer for one year, government should revive fertiliser blending plants.
“Let them encourage and develop the internal blending plants. A lot of advantages lie in establishing fertilizer blending plants here. The government will monitor production and supplies to farmers; farmers can enjoy subsidy and control is easy. “
He further advised the government to establish its own blending plants.
“In Gombe, we have the blending plant but the raw materials are not there. If they (government) can go ahead to provide the raw materials and produce the same kind of fertilizer, then there is no need to import.”
Lubo added that the government would now have to adjust and align with the policies of other countries if it relied on importation.

Rabi sowing crosses 625 lakh hectares

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Double-digit increase in wheat, coarse cereals, rice acreage

With wheat, coarse cereals and rice registering double-digit increase in acreage over the previous season, the total rabi sown area till the end of the week climbed to 625 lakh hectares (lh), nearly 8 per cent more than 578.47 lh planted in the corresponding week last year.
According to latest rabi sowing data released by the Agriculture Ministry on Friday, wheat, which accounts for more than half the sown area, moved to 326.46 lh, because of an increase in planting in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra. While MP planted wheat in an additional area of 20 lh, Gujarat and Rajasthan in nearly 5 lh each and Maharashtra 4 lh, over the same period last year. The area under under wheat during the same week in the previous year was 293.81 lh.
The area under pulses cultivation too went up by nearly 5 per cent to 151.26 lh, as against 145.42 planted in the same week last year. Gram, which recorded an increase of over 8 per cent to top 102 lh, accounted for this increase. There was substantial increase in gram cultivation in Maharashtra and Rajasthan, which is enough to offset the drop in gram acreage in Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka.
Better jowar sowing in Maharashtra, the State which accounted for more than a third of total coarse cereals area in the country, pushed up the total coarse cereals planting by nearly 13 per cent to over 51 lh. Maharastra increased its coarse cereals area by 53 per cent to 19 lh as against 12.4 lh in the same week last year.
With Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh – major mustard-growing States – maintaining more or less similar area under the major rabi oil crop, the area under oilseeds remained at 77.68 lh, a tad lower than 78.43 lh in the corresponding week last year.
There is a 12 per cent increase in winter rice sowing with the total area going up to 18.55 lh, because of increased planting reported from Tamil Nadu and Telangana. At 9.9 lh, Tamil Nadu accounted for more than 50 per cent of the total rice area.
Water storage in reservoirs across the country continues to be good. According to a bulletin released by the Central Water Commission on Thursday, 120 major reservoirs in the country have a cumulative storage of 130.28 billion cubic metre (BCM) of water, nearly 53 per cent more than 85.04 BCM in tha same week last year.
Published on January 10, 2020

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Asia Rice-Drought threatens Thai crop, Bangladesh braces for cold wave

Karthika Suresh Namboothiri
January 9, 2020
8:30 PM EST
BENGALURU — Rice export prices in major Asian hubs held steady this week but a multi-month drought drove expectations of a rise in Thai rates, while a cold snap threatened crops in Bangladesh.
Thailand’s benchmark 5 percent broken rice prices were quoted at $425-$435 on Thursday, largely unchanged from two weeks earlier, but was still the highest level since June 2018.
Although demand was flat, prices for the Thai grade, which were consistently trading higher than the Vietnamese variety throughout 2019, remained high well into 2020 due to the drought threatening supply and the continuous appreciation of the baht, traders said.
Thailand’s dry season started in November and usually lasts through April, although authorities said it could go on through June this year. A drought has been declared in 14 provinces in the central, northern and northeastern farming regions.
In top producer India, rice export prices remained steady due to weak demand from African countries.
Prices of the 5 percent broken parboiled variety were unchanged from last week, around $362-$366 per tonne.


“Exports demand is subdued. Supplies are rising from the summer-sown crop,” said an exporter based in Kakinada in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.
Neighboring Bangladesh braced for a cold wave, which could have an impact on crops, including rice, said Mizanur Rahman, a senior official at the agricultural ministry.
“The seedbeds of rice have dried out due to extreme cold,” Rahman said, adding a prolonged cold spell would have devastating effects on the crop.
The weather office said the cold snap, accompanied by chilly winds and drizzling, was likely to continue for a few more days.
In Vietnam, rates for 5% broken rice eased to $355 a tonne on Thursday, from $360 a week earlier.
“Demand remains weak this week and trade has been very slow,” a trader based in Ho Chi Minh City said.
Preliminary shipping data showed 138,650 tonnes of rice is to be loaded at Ho Chi Minh City port between Jan. 1 and Jan. 23, with most of the grain bound for Iraq and West Africa.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade this week added 47 companies to a list of eligible rice exporters, raising the number of licensed Vietnamese exporters to 182, a government statement said.
The move is aimed at “facilitating rice exports, promoting rice production in a sustainable manner and enhancing the competitiveness of Vietnamese rice,” the statement added. (Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav in Mumbai, Ruma Paul in Dhaka, Khanh Vu in Hanoi and Patpicha Tanakasempipat in Bangkok; Editing by Maju Samuel)

FACTBOX-A lot of soy, a little rice: China's historical U.S. agricultural purchases
JANUARY 10, 2020 / 2:12 AM
Jan 9 (Reuters) - The United States and China are due to sign a Phase 1 trade deal on Jan. 15 that U.S. officials have said will include a vow by China to buy an additional $32 billion in U.S. farm goods over the next two years.China has not confirmed Trump’s goal of $40 billion to $50 billion of annual sales, which represents a near doubling of its purchases before the trade war began in 2018. Recent large Chinese purchases of Brazilian soybeans and a pair of unexpected policy moves by Beijing have dimmed U.S. hopes of reaching the lofty imports figure.
Soybeans made up more than half of China’s agriculture purchases from the United States in 2017, at about $12.2 billion.Below are agricultural goods China has bought from the United States in the past:
SOYBEANS China bought about 60% of all exports of U.S. soybeans, the main U.S. export crop by value, before the trade war. Since the current marketing year started on Sept. 1, China has purchased about 11.1 million tonnes of soybeans worth some $4 billion, according to government data.

SORGHUM China began buying U.S. sorghum, which it uses for production of baiju liquor and animal feed, in 2008. Its purchases peaked at $2.115 billion in 2015, but fell by more than half to $1.030 billion in 2016. From January to November 2019, it bought $139.094 million worth.
PORK China has increased pork imports to record levels after a fatal pig disease, African swine fever, devastated its herd. U.S. pork exports to China and Hong Kong were up 49% in value at $1.18 billion from January to November 2019. The shipments were above full-year 2018 exports of $852.5 million and topped a prior full-year record of $1.08 billion in 2017.
BEEF China officially resumed U.S. beef imports in 2017 after a 14-year ban but maintains restrictions on shipments. Exports of U.S. beef to China and Hong Kong from January to November 2019 were down 19% from a year earlier at $746.4 million. China and Hong Kong imported a record $1 billion in U.S. beef in 2018.
CORN China was a top-five buyer of U.S. corn from 2011 to 2013 but has not been a major buyer since as domestic production increased. In 2017, it bought $142.036 million worth, and from January to November 2019 it bought $52.857 million.

RICE China, the world’s largest rice producer, typically buys small amounts of U.S. rice. Purchases peaked at $5.311 million in 2010. In 2017, they totaled $759,000 from January to November 2019, U.S. rice exports to China have been worth just $165,000.
POULTRY China in November lifted a nearly five-year ban on U.S. poultry that had been imposed in January 2015 because of a U.S. outbreak of avian flu. The market bought $500 million worth of American poultry products in 2013.

WHEAT China is the world’s No. 2 wheat producer after the European Union and holds roughly half of all global wheat inventories. In recent years it has been the No. 3 or 4 buyer of U.S. hard red spring wheat, a high-protein variety used to blend and improve the quality of lesser grades of wheat.
EQUIPMENT Some analysts had speculated that equipment might be counted in an agriculture component of an eventual trade deal. Farm machinery exports last year through October were a little over $200 million, according to data from U.S. Census Bureau. Beijing’s biggest purchase in the past two decades was in 2015 when it imported about $430 million of machines.
Reporting by Tom Polansek, Julie Ingwersen, Rajesh Kumar; Singh, Mark Weinraub and Karl Plume; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

Collections from rice tariffs hit P12.3B in 2019

By: Ben O. de Vera - Reporter / @bendeveraINQ
Inquirer Business / 03:52 PM January 10, 2020
The government collected at least P12.3 billion in tariffs from rice importation in 2019, exceeding the P10-billion mark in funds to be spent on programs for farmers hurt by lifting of import restrictions, the Department of Finance (DOF) said.
In a statement on Friday (Jan. 10), the DOF said the additional revenues from the implementation of the Rice Tariffication law since March 2019 surpassed the amount to be allotted to the annual Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF).
RCEF was aimed at modernizing the agriculture sector and equipping farmers with modern technologies, easier access to cheap credit, high-quality seeds, and new skills.
Under the law rice imported from Asean countries would be charged 35 percent tariff. If the imports do not exceed 350,000 metric tons and are from countries outside Asean, a 40 percent tariff is charged.
Imports that exceed 350,000 metric tons and are from non-Asean countries are charged 180 percent tariff.
Funds in excess of P10 billion, or the amount allotted for RCEF, would be used to give cash aid to farmers in areas where prices of unhusked rice fell sharply as a result of cheaper imports.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) had launched the rice farmer financial assistance (RFFA) program which gives cash grants of P5,000 each to an estimated 600,000 farmers hurt by lower farm gate prices.
The DA is also offering a zero-interest credit program for rice farmers and low-interest loans for local government units which they can use to buy local crops “at above prevailing farm gate prices,” said Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III.
Freer importation of rice was expected to also narrow subsidies to the state-run National Food Authority (NFA), which had been regulating importation prior to the Rice Tariffication law.
The law stripped the NFA of commercial functions and regulatory powers. What’s left of its mandate is to make sure there’s buffer stock of rice for emergencies.
Finance Undersecretary Gil S. Beltran, DOF chief economist, said subsidies to the NFA had reached P187 billion from 2005 to 2015 or an average of P19 billion per year.
Beltran said the NFA had been losing P11 billion a year prior to the Rice Tariffication law. Now, the government earned P11 billion in “less than a year, a complete reversal of the average of P11 billion it has been losing every year,” he said.
Aside from giving the government additional revenue, the law also helped bring down rice retail prices by P8 per kilogram, which helped bring down inflation to the 2-4 percent range.

https://business.inquirer.net/286881/collections-from-rice-tariffs-hit-p12-3b-in-2019#ixzz6AiN5fdxa

Rice farmers warn FG against fertiliser importation

 January 10, 2020
Chima Azubuike, Gombe
Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, Gombe State chapter, has urged the Federal Government to halt fertilizer importation plans from Morocco and work towards reviving existing fertilizer blending plants in the country.
The Secretary of the association, Kalagar Lubo, said this on Wednesday in an interview with our correspondent.
He said instead of the government talking about importing fertilizer, it would be best if moribund fertiliser blending plants across the country were revived.
He said, “We wish to advise the Federal Government to make internal fertilizer blending plants functional. Even if we (farmers) will suffer for one year, government should revive fertiliser blending plants.
“Let them encourage and develop the internal blending plants. A lot of advantages lie in establishing fertilizer blending plants here. The government will monitor production and supplies to farmers; farmers can enjoy subsidy and control is easy. “
He further advised the government to establish its own blending plants.
“In Gombe, we have the blending plant but the raw materials are not there. If they (government) can go ahead to provide the raw materials and produce the same kind of fertilizer, then there is no need to import.”
Lubo added that the government would now have to adjust and align with the policies of other countries if it relied on importation.

Rabi sowing crosses 625 lakh hectares

Our Bureau  New Delhi | Updated on January 10, 2020  Published on January 10, 2020Description: https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/agri-business/ns387g/article30536683.ece/alternates/WIDE_435/bl11JanRabicol
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Double-digit increase in wheat, coarse cereals, rice acreage

With wheat, coarse cereals and rice registering double-digit increase in acreage over the previous season, the total rabi sown area till the end of the week climbed to 625 lakh hectares (lh), nearly 8 per cent more than 578.47 lh planted in the corresponding week last year.
According to latest rabi sowing data released by the Agriculture Ministry on Friday, wheat, which accounts for more than half the sown area, moved to 326.46 lh, because of an increase in planting in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra. While MP planted wheat in an additional area of 20 lh, Gujarat and Rajasthan in nearly 5 lh each and Maharashtra 4 lh, over the same period last year. The area under under wheat during the same week in the previous year was 293.81 lh.
The area under pulses cultivation too went up by nearly 5 per cent to 151.26 lh, as against 145.42 planted in the same week last year. Gram, which recorded an increase of over 8 per cent to top 102 lh, accounted for this increase. There was substantial increase in gram cultivation in Maharashtra and Rajasthan, which is enough to offset the drop in gram acreage in Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka.
Better jowar sowing in Maharashtra, the State which accounted for more than a third of total coarse cereals area in the country, pushed up the total coarse cereals planting by nearly 13 per cent to over 51 lh. Maharastra increased its coarse cereals area by 53 per cent to 19 lh as against 12.4 lh in the same week last year.
With Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh – major mustard-growing States – maintaining more or less similar area under the major rabi oil crop, the area under oilseeds remained at 77.68 lh, a tad lower than 78.43 lh in the corresponding week last year.
There is a 12 per cent increase in winter rice sowing with the total area going up to 18.55 lh, because of increased planting reported from Tamil Nadu and Telangana. At 9.9 lh, Tamil Nadu accounted for more than 50 per cent of the total rice area.
Water storage in reservoirs across the country continues to be good. According to a bulletin released by the Central Water Commission on Thursday, 120 major reservoirs in the country have a cumulative storage of 130.28 billion cubic metre (BCM) of water, nearly 53 per cent more than 85.04 BCM in tha same week last year.
Published on January 10, 2020

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Asia Rice-Drought threatens Thai crop, Bangladesh braces for cold wave

Karthika Suresh Namboothiri
January 9, 2020
8:30 PM EST
BENGALURU — Rice export prices in major Asian hubs held steady this week but a multi-month drought drove expectations of a rise in Thai rates, while a cold snap threatened crops in Bangladesh.
Thailand’s benchmark 5 percent broken rice prices were quoted at $425-$435 on Thursday, largely unchanged from two weeks earlier, but was still the highest level since June 2018.
Although demand was flat, prices for the Thai grade, which were consistently trading higher than the Vietnamese variety throughout 2019, remained high well into 2020 due to the drought threatening supply and the continuous appreciation of the baht, traders said.
Thailand’s dry season started in November and usually lasts through April, although authorities said it could go on through June this year. A drought has been declared in 14 provinces in the central, northern and northeastern farming regions.
In top producer India, rice export prices remained steady due to weak demand from African countries.
Prices of the 5 percent broken parboiled variety were unchanged from last week, around $362-$366 per tonne.


“Exports demand is subdued. Supplies are rising from the summer-sown crop,” said an exporter based in Kakinada in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.
Neighboring Bangladesh braced for a cold wave, which could have an impact on crops, including rice, said Mizanur Rahman, a senior official at the agricultural ministry.
“The seedbeds of rice have dried out due to extreme cold,” Rahman said, adding a prolonged cold spell would have devastating effects on the crop.
The weather office said the cold snap, accompanied by chilly winds and drizzling, was likely to continue for a few more days.
In Vietnam, rates for 5% broken rice eased to $355 a tonne on Thursday, from $360 a week earlier.
“Demand remains weak this week and trade has been very slow,” a trader based in Ho Chi Minh City said.
Preliminary shipping data showed 138,650 tonnes of rice is to be loaded at Ho Chi Minh City port between Jan. 1 and Jan. 23, with most of the grain bound for Iraq and West Africa.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade this week added 47 companies to a list of eligible rice exporters, raising the number of licensed Vietnamese exporters to 182, a government statement said.
The move is aimed at “facilitating rice exports, promoting rice production in a sustainable manner and enhancing the competitiveness of Vietnamese rice,” the statement added. (Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav in Mumbai, Ruma Paul in Dhaka, Khanh Vu in Hanoi and Patpicha Tanakasempipat in Bangkok; Editing by Maju Samuel)

FACTBOX-A lot of soy, a little rice: China's historical U.S. agricultural purchases
JANUARY 10, 2020 / 2:12 AM
Jan 9 (Reuters) - The United States and China are due to sign a Phase 1 trade deal on Jan. 15 that U.S. officials have said will include a vow by China to buy an additional $32 billion in U.S. farm goods over the next two years.China has not confirmed Trump’s goal of $40 billion to $50 billion of annual sales, which represents a near doubling of its purchases before the trade war began in 2018. Recent large Chinese purchases of Brazilian soybeans and a pair of unexpected policy moves by Beijing have dimmed U.S. hopes of reaching the lofty imports figure.
Soybeans made up more than half of China’s agriculture purchases from the United States in 2017, at about $12.2 billion.Below are agricultural goods China has bought from the United States in the past:
SOYBEANS China bought about 60% of all exports of U.S. soybeans, the main U.S. export crop by value, before the trade war. Since the current marketing year started on Sept. 1, China has purchased about 11.1 million tonnes of soybeans worth some $4 billion, according to government data.

SORGHUM China began buying U.S. sorghum, which it uses for production of baiju liquor and animal feed, in 2008. Its purchases peaked at $2.115 billion in 2015, but fell by more than half to $1.030 billion in 2016. From January to November 2019, it bought $139.094 million worth.
PORK China has increased pork imports to record levels after a fatal pig disease, African swine fever, devastated its herd. U.S. pork exports to China and Hong Kong were up 49% in value at $1.18 billion from January to November 2019. The shipments were above full-year 2018 exports of $852.5 million and topped a prior full-year record of $1.08 billion in 2017.
BEEF China officially resumed U.S. beef imports in 2017 after a 14-year ban but maintains restrictions on shipments. Exports of U.S. beef to China and Hong Kong from January to November 2019 were down 19% from a year earlier at $746.4 million. China and Hong Kong imported a record $1 billion in U.S. beef in 2018.
CORN China was a top-five buyer of U.S. corn from 2011 to 2013 but has not been a major buyer since as domestic production increased. In 2017, it bought $142.036 million worth, and from January to November 2019 it bought $52.857 million.

RICE China, the world’s largest rice producer, typically buys small amounts of U.S. rice. Purchases peaked at $5.311 million in 2010. In 2017, they totaled $759,000 from January to November 2019, U.S. rice exports to China have been worth just $165,000.
POULTRY China in November lifted a nearly five-year ban on U.S. poultry that had been imposed in January 2015 because of a U.S. outbreak of avian flu. The market bought $500 million worth of American poultry products in 2013.

WHEAT China is the world’s No. 2 wheat producer after the European Union and holds roughly half of all global wheat inventories. In recent years it has been the No. 3 or 4 buyer of U.S. hard red spring wheat, a high-protein variety used to blend and improve the quality of lesser grades of wheat.
EQUIPMENT Some analysts had speculated that equipment might be counted in an agriculture component of an eventual trade deal. Farm machinery exports last year through October were a little over $200 million, according to data from U.S. Census Bureau. Beijing’s biggest purchase in the past two decades was in 2015 when it imported about $430 million of machines.
Reporting by Tom Polansek, Julie Ingwersen, Rajesh Kumar; Singh, Mark Weinraub and Karl Plume; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

Collections from rice tariffs hit P12.3B in 2019

By: Ben O. de Vera - Reporter / @bendeveraINQ
Inquirer Business / 03:52 PM January 10, 2020
The government collected at least P12.3 billion in tariffs from rice importation in 2019, exceeding the P10-billion mark in funds to be spent on programs for farmers hurt by lifting of import restrictions, the Department of Finance (DOF) said.
In a statement on Friday (Jan. 10), the DOF said the additional revenues from the implementation of the Rice Tariffication law since March 2019 surpassed the amount to be allotted to the annual Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF).
RCEF was aimed at modernizing the agriculture sector and equipping farmers with modern technologies, easier access to cheap credit, high-quality seeds, and new skills.
Under the law rice imported from Asean countries would be charged 35 percent tariff. If the imports do not exceed 350,000 metric tons and are from countries outside Asean, a 40 percent tariff is charged.
Imports that exceed 350,000 metric tons and are from non-Asean countries are charged 180 percent tariff.
Funds in excess of P10 billion, or the amount allotted for RCEF, would be used to give cash aid to farmers in areas where prices of unhusked rice fell sharply as a result of cheaper imports.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) had launched the rice farmer financial assistance (RFFA) program which gives cash grants of P5,000 each to an estimated 600,000 farmers hurt by lower farm gate prices.
The DA is also offering a zero-interest credit program for rice farmers and low-interest loans for local government units which they can use to buy local crops “at above prevailing farm gate prices,” said Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III.
Freer importation of rice was expected to also narrow subsidies to the state-run National Food Authority (NFA), which had been regulating importation prior to the Rice Tariffication law.
The law stripped the NFA of commercial functions and regulatory powers. What’s left of its mandate is to make sure there’s buffer stock of rice for emergencies.
Finance Undersecretary Gil S. Beltran, DOF chief economist, said subsidies to the NFA had reached P187 billion from 2005 to 2015 or an average of P19 billion per year.
Beltran said the NFA had been losing P11 billion a year prior to the Rice Tariffication law. Now, the government earned P11 billion in “less than a year, a complete reversal of the average of P11 billion it has been losing every year,” he said.
Aside from giving the government additional revenue, the law also helped bring down rice retail prices by P8 per kilogram, which helped bring down inflation to the 2-4 percent range.
SNES: STORE EXPANSION CONTINUES ONLINE AND GLOBALLY
01/10/2020

NASDAQ:SNES
To accelerate growth in the domestic market, SenesTech (NASDAQ:SNES) has launched an online store (https://store.senestech.com) since mid-December 2019. While ContraPest is also available through national and regional distributors, the online offering allows the brand to reach the U.S. consumers located throughout the country.

Products offered online include bait stations, control tanks and feeder trays in both 400 mL and 550 mL capacities. The 550 mL tanks are priced at $35/tank (sold as a single case comprising of eight tanks) and the 400 mL tanks are priced at $30/tank (sold as a single case comprising of twelve tanks).
SenesTech has begun its drive to expand in Southeast Asia by signing a distribution agreement with New Enterprises Ltd for the marketing and sales of ContraPest in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. New Enterprises has agreed to cover the costs of regulatory approval, marketing and importing costs.

(Source: Shutterstock)
Agricultural sector plays an important role in economic development of SE Asian countries. Rat infestation in SE Asia result in 10-20% reductions in rice yield. Chronic loss in rice production caused by rat infestation is estimated to be about 15-17% in Indonesia alone. According to a study conducted by National University of Singapore, estimated the cost of rodenticides and loss incurred by non-native rats to rice production to be about $2 billion in SE Asian countries. Therefore, expansion into Southeast Asian markets is crucial.
Besides reducing the yield, rat proximity to human food poses a serious health concern. Currently employed rodent control strategies, including fumigation, electrocution, zapper traps, glue boards, baits and poisons, are reactive rather than palliative. Despite resorting to such efforts, rats continue to devour crops. Natural rodent predators, including snakes, cats and birds of prey, have been effective especially near grain-storage areas but pose new issues like killing non-target animals and human health risk. We think one of the effective ways to control breeding is using ContraPest. Once the community is convinced of its effectiveness, it could become easier to implement SenesTech’s strategy across affected regions in SE Asia on a broader scale.
Management has realized that there was a real need for curbing rat population in SE Asia. Expansion in the region could help maximize sales and drive repeat purchasing. SenesTech is making small waves by rethinking the approach to minimize rats as well as making it easy for consumers to purchase from their online store.

Commentary: Innovation offers benefits for all

Source: Xinhua| 2020-01-11 16:50:08|Editor: mingmei
BEIJING, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) -- Chinese scientists and research projects were honored Friday with national science awards in a high-profile event to recognize the innovative spirit that is key to the country's future development.
The Chinese government has prioritized innovation and decided in 2012 to take an innovation-driven development strategy in a bid to increase production and boost the overall national strength.
Basic research, a fundamental source of innovation, has received longer and more stable support, while the transformation of science and technology achievements has been emphasized.
The country has accelerated the construction and improvement of a national innovation system, allowing scientists more say on research choices and encouraging enterprises to play a bigger role in R&D investment.
Painstaking efforts have resulted in great progress. The research programs honored on Friday, including the invention of a highly effective catalyst for drug production and a stem-cell treatment for lupus, are among the long list of China's advances in recent years.
China's pursuit of innovation, largely relying on sci-tech progress, has a clear reason: China will not go back to its old development path of high energy-consumption, severe pollution and cheap labor.
China is striving to shift to middle and high-end manufacturing industries, and it needs to upgrade technologies.
China pledges to cut its carbon emissions and return blue skies and clean water to its people, and it needs solutions from science and technology.
Almost every aspect of the lives and living standards of China's 1.4-billion people - stable economic growth, a better environment, safe food, new medicines and fast transport - calls for innovation.
China has encouraged science and technology to solve its development problems.
Take green development, for example. Chinese researchers have won the national science award for developing a clean system to reduce emissions from coal-fired power plants, as coal still accounts for 59 percent of the national energy consumption.
At Friday's ceremony, scientists won awards for technologies that could help detect pollutants from agricultural products, prevent water pollution in paper-making and kill pests with green preparations.
Meanwhile, China has also brought great benefits to the world with its technological achievements. Advanced technology and products from China have played a key role in promoting sustainable development and improving people's livelihood in the developing countries.
The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) has provided more than 1.8 billion yuan (about 260 million U.S. dollars) for construction of science and technology projects in association with the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) since 2013, benefiting many Asian and African countries.
Chinese agriculture scientists have bred new rice varieties named Green Super Rice with high and stable yields to help reduce hunger and increase local farmers' incomes in developing Asian and African countries.
China has also opened its planned space station to international payloads, and invited scientists around the world to participate in its future missions to explore the moon, asteroids and comets.
China has been frank in showing the reasons for and goals of its innovation drive. For those countries who adopt an open and inclusive attitude as China does, they shall be rewarded with many a new opportunity through scientific exchanges and cooperation with China.

Harvard and MIT Receive $1.4 Million to Research Reforms to Indonesian Social Support Programs

Description: Tourists in the Yard Weather
Tourists take photos of the John Harvard statue in front of University Hall. 
Photo: Jenny M. Lu
By Matteo N. Wong, Crimson Staff Writer
Harvard and MIT received $1.4 million from the United States Agency for International Development in December to study and evaluate reforms to the government of Indonesia’s social support programs.
Indonesia’s social protection programs have come under scrutiny in recent years for issues with fraud. In 2012, Raskin, Indonesia’s largest social assistance program, had a $1.5 billion budget to provide subsidized rice to the bottom 30 percent of income distribution in Indonesia, which has a population of over 250 million, according to the Jameel Poverty Action Lab. But for every 100 kilograms of rice leaving a government warehouse, only 50 kg were delivered, according to a press release from USAID spokesperson Tiara S. Barnes.
In 2016, the Indonesian government announced that it would reform the way Raskin and five other social service programs deliver aid by 2022, using monthly digital vouchers deposited directly into the bank accounts of eligible households.
Harvard and MIT will be working with USAID to evaluate these reforms, comparing delivery of social assistance via electronic and traditional methods in 105 districts, according to the USAID press release.
Rema N. Hanna, a Harvard Kennedy School professor who chairs the International Development Area, is one of the researchers who applied for and received the funding.
Hanna wrote in an email that the transition from an in-kind transfer system like Raskin to digital food stamps has many potential benefits. For instance, the current reforms could reduce leakage of rice and improve its quality because citizens could go to any shop to buy better rice or other nutritional foods, rather than relying on government-distributed rice.
“But there are also risks,” Hanna wrote. “There could be leakage if the cards do not get in the right hands. Or, if there are not enough shops nearby that accept the cards, there may be little choice where to buy. That could lead to hold-up problems, and higher prices.”
Hanna — who also serves as the scientific director of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab Southeast Asia Office in Indonesia — wrote that the funding will help researchers travel into the field and analyze data.
“Right now, we have conducted the survey for government officials and are doing field visits. We are also deeply engaged in the data analysis of the impacts on citizens, and hope to have results soon,” Hanna wrote.
Harvard and MIT’s research will help build evidence for scaling these reforms nationwide in Indonesia, and the research could also help other governments interested in improving their social assistance programs, Barnes wrote.
The award was given through the USAID Development Innovation Ventures, a program that provides support to solve social problems in countries where USAID operates.
“We are excited about the partnership with the USAID DIV program,” Hanna wrote. “Research support to help generate evidence on large-scale policies and programs in developing countries is key if we want to know how to better design reform that can improve the lives of the poor.”
—Staff writer Matteo N. Wong can be reached at matteo.wong@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @matteo_wong.

Surge in low-quality rice, industry losses if Japan climate change unchecked: research

 (Mainichi Japan)
Description: https://cdn.mainichi.jp/vol1/2020/01/10/20200110p2a00m0na023000p/9.jpg?3


Immature white grains, left, and regular rice grains, right, are seen in this photo taken on Oct. 3, 2019. (Mainichi/Aya Iguchi)

TOKYO -- If climate change continues at its present rate, harvests of koshihikari, the main rice strain farmed in Japan, are expected to yield around twice the ratio of poor-quality grains in the 2040s than they do now, according to a research team with members from Ibaraki University and other institutions.
The team's findings, which estimate that a consequent drop in prices could bring losses to as high as 44.2 billion yen (around $404 million) across the country, were published in a journal specializing in environmental science.
If average daily temperatures during the about two-week-long grain filling period after ears of rice emerge, reach 26 to 27 degrees Celsius or more, the crop's starch content is reduced. This then leads to greater numbers of grains with a white, cloudy appearance which sees them referred to as "immature white grains."
Immature white grains are considered low-quality produce. If rice grain inspections required by law find over 30% of the product to be of a lower standard, then rice must be sold at a quality rating of 2 or lower, depending on its appearance and other factors. There have also been suggestions that a high proportion of immature white grains affects the taste of rice.
To arrive at its findings, the team put together a hypothesis in which rice is cultivated across all of Japan. They then forecast the rate of immature white grains' appearances per kilometer square.
Their results found that by the end of the 2020s, the rate of occurrence would shift to an average of 6 to 7% nationally. Japan's average August temperatures are projected to rise to a high of 27 degrees C in the 2040s if no strict measures are taken to stop climate change from continuing at its current pace. Under those circumstances, the rate of immature white grains would approximately double, rising to 12.6%.
Additionally, the team analyzed actual inspection results where rates of immature white grains topped 16.9%, and hypothesized that the crop was then given a quality rating of 2. Based on their theory, regions where the average harvest of koshihikari is labeled second-rate or lower were limited just to parts of areas concentrated in western Japan by the 2020s.
But by the 2040s the issue would spread widely, affecting large swaths of eastern Japan -- especially coastal plain regions. Including prefectures such as Niigata in central Japan, a traditional rice belt, the ratio of low-quality produce areas would account for 30% or more of all rice paddies across Japan. It is estimated that the consequent rise in low-quality rice classifications would bring losses in the industry to 44.2 billion yen per year, more than five times their current amount.
With the effects of climate change on the agriculture industry already apparent, development of high-temperature-resistant strains of rice and other schemes are already going ahead in various regions of Japan.
Yuji Masutomi, a member of the research team and an associate professor of agricultural meteorology at Ibaraki University in the eastern Japan prefecture of the same name said, "Some regions have a greater tendency toward producing immature white grains, so it is important to choose areas to prioritize preventative measures. We want our predictive results to be effective for investigations into short- and mid-to-long-term countermeasures."
(Japanese original by Ai Oba, Science & Environment News Department)
Fund.
The STAR/Michael
Government collects P12.3 billion from rice tariffs
Varcas /File



In a statement, the DOF said Republic Act 11203 or the Rice Tariffication Law generated P12.3 billion in cash revenues for the government last year, exceeding the target of P10 billion for the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement

Mary Grace Padin (The Philippine Star) - January 11, 2020 - 12:00am

In Seven Months

MANILA, Philippines — The government collected P12.3 billion in additional revenues from rice tariffs last year, enabling the Department of Agriculture (DA) to provide additional assistance to local rice farmers, the Department of Finance (DOF) said yesterday.
In a statement, the DOF said Republic Act 11203 or the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL) generated P12.3 billion in cash revenues for the government last year, exceeding the target of P10 billion for the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF).
“In only seven months since it was implemented, the RTL has already brought in cash revenues of P12.3 billion as of December 31, 2019, which is beyond the minimum amount of P10 billion earmarked yearly for the RCEF,” the DOF said.
The Rice Tariffication Law, which became effective starting March 5, eased the importation of rice in the country by imposing tariffs in lieu of quantitative restrictions.
Under the law, tariffs collection from rice imports will go to the P10 billion RCEF, which will be used to provide cheap credit, high quality seeds, agricultural machinery and skills training to rice farmers.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said the excess funds from the collection would enable the government to immediately extend direct aid to farmers.
This includes unconditional cash grants under the Rice Farmer Financial Assistance (RFFA) program of the DA. The program seeks to provide subsidies of P5,000 to 600,000 rice farmers affected by lower farmgate prices.
This was launched in addition to the credit programs of the government, including the zero-interest loan for rice farmers and low-interest loan for local government units buying local produce above prevailing farmgate prices.
According to the DOF, the generation of revenues from rice imports was a complete reversal of the previous rice trade regime, when the National Food Authority acted as the regulator of rice imports and chief importer of the grain.
The DOF said the agency incurred a total of P187 billion in tax subsidies from 2005 to 2015, or an average of P19 billion a year.
Finance Undersecretary and chief economist Gil Beltran also said that the NFA lost around P11 billion annually before the law was enacted.
In addition to helping modernize the agriculture sector, Dominguez said the Rice Tariffication Law helped low-income households cope with inflation, given that rice accounts for 20 percent of their total consumption.
He said rice prices, following the enactment of the law, was slashed by an average of P8 per kilo.
Citing data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the DOF said the average retail price of rice in the fourth week of November 2019 sunk to its lowest level in three years at P36.67 per kilogram.
The DOF said the law also brought the March inflation rate down to 3.3 percent from 4.4 percent in January and 3.8 percent in February before gradually easing further to a low of 0.8 percent in October.

A lot of soy, a little rice: China’s historical U.S. agricultural purchases

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(Reuters) – The United States and China are due to sign a Phase 1 trade deal on Jan. 15 that U.S. officials have said will include a vow by China to buy an additional $32 billion in U.S. farm goods over the next two years.

China has not confirmed Trump’s goal of $40 billion to $50 billion of annual sales, which represents a near doubling of its purchases before the trade war began in 2018. Recent large Chinese purchases of Brazilian soybeans and a pair of unexpected policy moves by Beijing have dimmed U.S. hopes of reaching the lofty imports figure.
Soybeans made up more than half of China’s agriculture purchases from the United States in 2017, at about $12.2 billion.
Below are agricultural goods China has bought from the United States in the past:
SOYBEANS China bought about 60 percent of all exports of U.S. soybeans, the main U.S. export crop by value, before the trade war. Since the current marketing year started on Sept. 1, China has purchased about 11.1 million tonnes of soybeans worth some $4 billion, according to government data.
SORGHUM China began buying U.S. sorghum, which it uses for production of baiju liquor and animal feed, in 2008. Its purchases peaked at $2.115 billion in 2015, but fell by more than half to $1.030 billion in 2016. From January to November 2019, it bought $139.094 million worth.
PORK China has increased pork imports to record levels after a fatal pig disease, African swine fever, devastated its herd. U.S. pork exports to China and Hong Kong were up 49 percent in value at $1.18 billion from January to November 2019. The shipments were above full-year 2018 exports of $852.5 million and topped a prior full-year record of $1.08 billion in 2017.
BEEF China officially resumed U.S. beef imports in 2017 after a 14-year ban but maintains restrictions on shipments. Exports of U.S. beef to China and Hong Kong from January to November 2019 were down 19 percent from a year earlier at $746.4 million. China and Hong Kong imported a record $1 billion in U.S. beef in 2018.
CORN China was a top-five buyer of U.S. corn from 2011 to 2013 but has not been a major buyer since as domestic production increased. In 2017, it bought $142.036 million worth, and from January to November 2019 it bought $52.857 million.
RICE China, the world’s largest rice producer, typically buys small amounts of U.S. rice. Purchases peaked at $5.311 million in 2010. In 2017, they totalled $759,000 from January to November 2019, U.S. rice exports to China have been worth just $165,000.
POULTRY China in November lifted a nearly five-year ban on U.S. poultry that had been imposed in January 2015 because of a U.S. outbreak of avian flu. The market bought $500 million worth of American poultry products in 2013.
WHEAT China is the world’s No. 2 wheat producer after the European Union and holds roughly half of all global wheat inventories. In recent years it has been the No. 3 or 4 buyer of U.S. hard red spring wheat, a high-protein variety used to blend and improve the quality of lesser grades of wheat.
EQUIPMENT Some analysts had speculated that equipment might be counted in an agriculture component of an eventual trade deal. Farm machinery exports last year through October were a little over $200 million, according to data from U.S. Census Bureau. Beijing’s biggest purchase in the past two decades was in 2015 when it imported about $430 million of machines.