Saturday, January 18, 2020

18th January,2020 Daily Global Regional Local Rice E-Newsletter

Two DA programs should  boost  rice production
Updated January 18, 2020, 8:49 AM
Description: e-cartoon-jan-18-2020
At  the start  of the new year, Secretary  William Dar  of the Department  of Agriculture (DA)  announced plans  that  are expected to boost  the country’s   rice production .
At  the  center of the program is the distribution of  certified  palay seeds  as early as October last year  for planting  in 947 rice-producing  towns in 57 provinces.  The certified seeds can produce 4.54 million tons of  palay  per  hectare. This is so much more than the traditional yield of 2.13  metric tons per  hectare  produced by Filipino farmers  using their usual  rice varieties.
The  high-yielding  seeds are being distributed free to farmers  nationwide  tilling a  total of one million hectares  of  land,  at   40 kilos of seeds per hectare.  This is forecast  to increase  the national  yield in 2020 by 3 percent   over  2019.
This  program  of developing and distributing  high-yielding  and disease-resistant  varieties  of  rice  is being carried out by the  Philippine Rice Institute. The  amount  of P3 billion is set aside  each  year for the free distribution of certified seeds to farmers  until 2024.
The  DA has another program – farm  mechanization – being  carried out  with the  Philippine Center  for Post-Harvest Development  and  Mechanization.  Under  this program, P5 billion worth  of tractors and other farm equipment  will be distributed  to  qualified  farmers’  cooperatives and associations  as well as  local  government  units.  Mechanization  is  expected  to  reduce production costs  by P4 per kilo from the current average cost  of  P12 per kilo.
Rice  production  by  Philippine  farmers  has  never been able  to meet  the needs of the nation’s consumers, necessitating   the annual importation of hundreds of millions of  tons  from  Vietnam  and Thailand.  The  closest  we got to self-sufficiency  was at the  height  of the  Masagana  99 program of the Marcos  administration.
The needs of the booming Philippine  population  have  far outgrown the production  capacity of Filipino rice  farmers.  In  2018, when inflation hit a high  of 6.7 percent in September, the government  had  to resort  to various measures to stop the zooming market prices and one of these was  the Rice Tariffication  Law.  All quantitative restrictions on rice imports were  lifted; they  were simply  subjected  to  a tariff. The  result  was  massive importation that brought rice prices down. This was good for consumers but  not  for farmers.
This year,  Secretary  Dar hopes,   will be a good year for Philippine agriculture in general, rice production  in particular. The twin programs  of free distribution of high-yielding rice seeds  and  farm mechanization  should  increase local production and  lower costs. We may not yet reach the goal of self-sufficiency  but we should be taking a big step  towards it.

Plant-Based Movement:  From Trendy to Mainstream
By Cameron Jacobs

ARLINGTON, VA -- The term "plant-based" was first coined in 1980 by American biochemist Thomas Colin Campbell, who specializes in the effect of nutrition on long-term health. Campbell has been a long-time advocate of a low-fat, whole foods, plant-based diet, and his food philosophy is suddenly gaining a lot of traction within the culinary, nutrition, and consumer trends space. Rice, and more specifically, U.S.-grown rice, marries seamlessly into the philosophy, though proponents need to be reminded why.

Plant-based is a broad term that today indicates expanding one's diet to include plant-based proteins in place of meat., think the no-meat Whopper from Burger King. While someone adhering to a plant-based diet, may be vegan or vegetarian these are not requirements to live plant-based.

"It's more about making a conscious decision to include alternative proteins as part of your diet while not completely eliminating meat," said Michael Klein, USA Rice vice president of domestic promotion who admits to eating a plant-based "burger" about once per month. "Think of it as a rotation as opposed to a direct swap."

Plant-based products have become competitive in both taste and texture, and have seen real buy-in and investment from foodservice and corporate America.

Domestic retail sales of plant-based foods greatly outpaced overall grocery sales in the past year, surging 11 percent, according to data from the Good Food Institute, an independent non-profit that seeks to accelerate the acceptance of plant-based and cell-based meat, eggs, and dairy. According to industry analysts Datassential, more than half of U.S. consumers say they are eating more plant-based foods and looking for both healthier and more sustainable diets. Add that data to the massive corporate investment within the retail space and it's clear the plant-based movement is nowhere close to peaking.

"The plant-based movement has inspired a lot of consumers to incorporate alternative proteins into their diet and this opens the door to additional consumption of rice," said Missouri rice farmer Blake Gerard who sells a packaged, high-protein rice called Cahokia. "Whether it is pairing rice with legumes to make the perfect protein, complementing a plant-based protein, or simply blending with animal meat, this movement is perfect for the inclusion of U.S.-grown rice. It's an awesome time to be in the rice industry as the 20's are going to be roaring with rice!"

Led by Millennials and Gen Z, (those born after 1981), there has also been a notable shift to the "Conscious Consumer," someone who is actively aware of where their food comes from and the environmental impact of sourcing that food.

"This is where the great opportunity is for U.S.-grown rice," said Klein. "Sustainably-grown, transparent farming practices, unparalleled food safety, and limited food miles - and oh right, a plant! This whole movement is about providing alternative protein options that meet taste and texture expectations while using familiar ingredients. We intend to capitalize on this."

THE DISH: Dinnertime at Smitten, Two Goats & The Goose


Charred shishito peppers at Smitten are part of the restaurant's dinner service.

Chicken skewers served with grilled onions and tomato are part of Smitten's new dinner service.

You can order the classic Muertos burger options or customize your own at Two Goats & the Goose, which also offers sautéed green beans as a side option.
Tri-tip fries enjoyed a slight name change but the same tasty flavor at Two Goats & The Goose, formerly Muertos, in downtown Bakersfield.
In addition to reporting food news, I, like all humans, also eat. Often taking inspiration from the stories covered and restaurants previewed, I can be spotted out in the dining wild looking for the next great bite. Here's a look at what's been going on my plate lately.
Finally made it out for Smitten's dinner service, which started last month at the Seven Oaks location. There are a number of entrees and smaller dishes on the new menu that make good use of Smitten's Josper charcoal oven.
The charred shishito peppers ($9) are a great starter, with blistered, glistening peppers piled high, brightened by lime juice and topped with Himalayan salt and cilantro. The herb can be divisive but I am firmly pro-cilantro, so the more leaves the better, especially given the slight saltiness and fresh flavor of the peppers.
The peppers are a bit longer than at other places so it may be more well-mannered to cut them on your plate and eat with a fork. Hunger outweighing any such discretion, I managed to eat them by hand.
For dinner, I had the chicken skewers ($22). Co-owner Stasie Bitton previously said that the chicken dish was one of the last that husband Shai finalized on the menu, trying to find the best presentation and flavors for the meat.
This dish was lovely, with a generous portion of moist, flavorful chicken served on two skewers atop a bed of basmati rice and grilled onions and tomato. The smokiness from the oven was evident in the meat. It was easier to cut the chicken on the small plate used with the shishito peppers since I didn't want to knock any rice or veggies off the larger plate.
Another night, I headed downtown to try Two Goats & The Goose, which was formerly Muertos. It's the same owner and crew with many popular dishes remaining and some new items. Had the tri-tip fries ($12.95), which may be familiar to longtime customers as the carne asada fries. Really crisp fries topped with an ample portion of melted cheese and well-seasoned meat. One thing in the past that has disappointed me was getting fries (as a side with a sandwich) with cheese that wasn't melted. No problems this time. The meat is chopped small enough that this is a job for a fork once you've consumed the fries on the outer ring. 
Also had the cauliflower tacos ($9.75), which are topped with lettuce, jack cheese and Thai chili sauce. You can have the veggie sauteed or fried. I opted for the latter but tasting how good the pan seared mushrooms and green beans — available as a side option or in Tidwell's tacos — were it seems prudent to make another visit. The menu also states that other vegan and vegetarian options are available so it's really just a matter of checking with your server.
The restaurant has been active on social media to get the word out about specials and updates, including the new sign out front. Follow it at for the latest.
Smitten is at 1407 Buena Vista Road. Two Goats & The Goose is at 1514 Wall Street Alley.

Basmati Rice Industry in Panic since Iran Payment Concerns
Basmati Rice industry is in a panic since Iran payment concerns. Pending payment of basmati rice export to Iran increased to more than Rs 1000 crores. Further, the execution of Iran General Qassem Soleimani created nervousness amongst basmati rice industry. Iran remains the biggest importer of basmati rice from India.
AIREA Advises Caution over Exports to Iran
With US-Iran tensions picking up heat, All India Rice Exporters Association (AIREA) advised exporters to suspend exports to Iran. Exporters are still waiting for payment of around Rs 900 crores for exports till June 2019. The authority warned the exporters not to execute any shipments until the situation clears. During April and November 2019, India exported 23.64 lakh tonnes of Basmati rice worth Rs 17,700 crore. Out of this, only quantity worth Rs 4,500 crores was for Iran. AIREA President Nathi Ram Gupta stated that even exports of two lakh tonnes of rice ordered by the Iranian government through the letter of credit is laying on ports. The trade body predicts around Rs 1500 crore stuck in Iran. The delay in exports will decrease basmati rice prices, result in decreasing farmers income and acutely affect the basmati rice industry.
Iran the Biggest Basmati Rice Importer from India
Despite the opening of fresh tenders of basmati rice by Iran, trade set to severely get affected in 2020. Rice being Iran’s staple cereal, the country is the biggest importer for Indian basmati rice. It accounts for more than one-third of the total rice exports of India. Though Iran imported 1.48 million tonnes of basmati from India in 2018-19, this year the imports are set to fall. Exporters are avoiding taking any further risk due to hostilities between the US and Iran. Basmati rice Industry severely affected by the deteriorating relations between the US and Iran.
Future of Basmati Rice Industry?
Iran imported half a million tonnes of rice till October 2019. The growing tension between the US and the Islamic Republic is likely to hit Indian rice industry. Moreover, the Indian government is planning for an alternative source of crude oil supply since further sanctions by the USA. The officials are looking forward to trading with the West Asian region to reduce dependence on the Gulf countries. In all, with due payments soaring high, the basmati rice industry may suffer a fallback amid Iran sanctions and political tension.

La. rice industry weighs in on phase one of trade agreement with China

by: Sylvia Masters
Posted: Jan 16, 2020 / 06:26 PM CST Updated: Jan 16, 2020 / 06:26 PM CST
CROWLEY, La. (KLFY)- President Donald Trump signed a trade agreement with China Wednesday committing the country to purchase hundreds of billions of dollars in American goods and services.
This agreement opens the door for the United States to ship rice to China.
“It’s a big deal for the rice industry as a whole. Fifty percent of the U.S. rice is exported so any export markets out there is a big deal and so China is a big buyer,” Robert Trahan, director of sales and business development with Falcon Rice Mill, said.
The trade agreement is phase one in a two-part negotiation.
For the rice industry, this helps create a demand in the market.
“Far beyond this deal, it’s going to lead to even more world peace. We now have a big investment in each other,” said President Trump.
Trahan added, “Our mill specifically is domestic, but most of the mills sell internationally so we all have to move the crop somehow and so this thing is a big, big deal for the industry. Time will tell. China is a new market so as soon as they start buying rice that would be good.”
Louisiana grows about 400,000 acres of rice.
“Fifty percent of the U.S. crop is exported and in Louisiana, it’s probably even more. It’s probably 60 or 70% of the crop is exported so any market out there outside of the United States that’s opened up for us is a big deal. It helps get the rice moved. It creates demand and creates better prices,” explained Trahan.
Louisiana is the third-largest rice producing state in the country.
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Rice exports forecast to fall to lowest in 7 years
Description: Rice fields after the rain in Ayutthaya provinces on Monday. (Photo by Sunthorn Pongpao)
Rice fields after the rain in Ayutthaya provinces on Monday. (Photo by Sunthorn Pongpao)
Thailand's rice exports in 2020 are forecast to drop to their lowest in seven year, the country's rice exporters group said on Thursday, as the strong baht reduces the competitiveness against other shippers. Exports from Thailand, the world's second-biggest exporter of the commodity after India, are expected to drop to 7.5 million tonnes this year, the Thai Rice Exporters Association said. That would be the lowest volume since Thailand exported 6.6 million tonnes of rice in 2013. The grim forecast came after Thailand fell short of its initial 2019 target by exporting 7.8 million tonnes of rice last year.

Thai rice export volumes have declined for two consecutive years since hitting a record 11.60 million tonnes in 2017. "We're being optimistic when we give the 7.5 million tonnes forecast," Chookiat Ophaswongse, honorary president of the exporters association, told Reuters.
"This year looks worse than the last, because of even more apparent price differences."

Thai benchmark 5% broken rice prices have remained high well into 2020, after trading significantly higher than the Vietnamese variety throughout 2019 mainly because the baht rose in value relative to other currencies. Thai prices were about $75 a tonne higher than Vietnamese cargoes last week. The baht was Asia's strongest-performing currency in 2019, appreciating by nearly 9%. It is currently trading near the highest in more than six years. Drought — which has been declared in 18 provinces in the central, northern and northeastern farming regions — also threatens to reduce supply in 2020, driving up local rice prices. Dry season started in November and usually lasts through April, although authorities said it could go on through June this year. Earlier this month, the US Department of Agriculture estimated Thailand's total output this year at 18.5 million tonnes of milled rice, down 9% from last year. Last year, the Commerce Ministry gave a similar forecast for 2020 rice exports of 8 million tonnes.

Nigeria: Cross River to Fund 160,000 Rice Farmers

17 JANUARY 2020

By Eyo Charles
Calabar — As many as 160,000 rice farmers in Cross River State will enjoy substantial support and funding from the government in the next three years.
As part of the support, the farmers will receive farm inputs including fertilisers, equipment as well as clearing of forest, preparing the land, leveling the land, and providing the seedlings.
Governor Ben Ayade disclosed this when he signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) for the supply of multi- billion Naira rice seeds to farmers in Nigeria.
Ayade reiterated his commitment to ending unemployment in the state through Agro-industrialisation policy of his administration.
The governor said his government intends to produce 1000 millionaires from rice production, adding that "Once Nigeria is able to feed Africa, hunger will reduce, and poverty will reduce."
To succeed in empowering local farmers, Ayade said they need the support of CBN, "We need the support of RIFAN and CBN. CBN has a major role to play in ensuring peace and stability in this country through food security.
"Agriculture is one of the major means to knock out unemployment. Today, we are signing a multi- billion Naira contract for the supply of rice seedlings to rice farmer."
RIFAN National President, Alhaji Aminu Muhammad Goronyo signed on behalf of the association. The state Commissioner for Agriculture, Okon Nyong Owuna signed for the state while CBN representative, Tony Ifechukwu signed on behalf of the apex bank.

Curbing rice imports not the solution to farmers’ woes, research group says

Philippine Daily Inquirer / 05:20 AM January 17, 2020
Limiting the country’s rice imports during the harvest season would not help rice farmers but would only stir a “disaster,” according to a nongovernmental economic group.
Action for Economic Reform (AER), a group engaged in research and advocacy, issued the statement after President Duterte promised Filipino palay farmers that his administration would help them cope with falling palay prices by controlling the inflow of imported rice during harvest and by buying their produce even if that would bring losses to the government.
“This policy pronouncement of curbing rice imports will erode the gains from the Rice Tariffication Law,” AER said. “This will not stabilize prices … it is the manipulation of import controls that has created volatile and high prices for the overwhelming majority of Filipinos.”
The group added that the move would only bring higher prices to farmers over the short term, but would eventually “aggravate their long-standing problem of inefficiency and low productivity.”
“If we wish to really help our farmers, the intervention should be creating the conditions for our farmers to increase their productivity, to make them competitive, which in turn will increase their income. To rely on import control will not solve the problem of weak productivity,” AER said.
It urged the President “to stay the course in implementing the law,” adding that resorting to import restrictions would only breed complacency on the part of the country’s producers.
“President Duterte got it right when he proposed rice procurement, but to combine this with import restriction will be a disaster,” it said.
Last year, the country’s rice imports reached a record of 3 million metric tons (MT) or more than double the country’s supply gap of around 1.2 million MT, but AER said the surge was only part of a “process of seeking a new normal” where importers, buyers and consumers would all benefit.
Nonetheless, the huge spike in rice imports brought farmer groups to the streets, and they have continuously appealed to the administration for more meaningful interventions.
The country’s economic managers and most industry stakeholders have been sitting on the extreme sides of the spectrum, with the former wanting the law to be implemented fully without amendments to it, while the latter has been pushing for additional tariffs on imported rice to curb its arrival.
Duterte, despite several pronouncements, has yet to issue an order that would bring his promises to action.

Growing Rice and How to Plant it in Your Home Garden


·     POSTED JANUARY 17, 2020
Take a look in your kitchen pantry and there's a very good chance you have a bag of white rice or brown rice sitting on the shelf. The most widely consumed food staple, many cultures have been growing rice and cultivating rice varieties since around 7000-5000 BC as a means of nourishment. According to Britannica, the principal rice-growing countries are China, India, Japan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Thailand, and Myanmar (Burma), with the United States close behind. But how do you grow rice and can you grow it in your home garden?


Back in September, I was given the chance to visit Lundberg Family Farms in Richvale, California and experience their rice harvest along with learning about how they grow, harvest, and produce over 20+ different grain varieties for consumers. And let me tell you, there's a lot of research and thought that goes into rice production.
To make it easier, I've added some step-by-step instructions to grow your own rice at home following Lundberg's lead.


Before you can even call yourself a rice farmer you need to spend some time with your head in a book (or surfing the web). The growing season for rice is from March to September - October, with a 190-day growth, which means you should start thinking about your rice crop at the beginning of the year. You also have to decide what type of rice you would like to produce. Long-grain rice or short-grain? Be forewarned that you might be underwhelmed with the amount of rice you may be able to harvest; only large rice growers will be able to produce pounds and pounds of rice.
Lundberg Family Farm uses a team of researchers to understand their rice plants and rice cultivation, testing crops and using science to figure out the perfect time to plant on their rice fields. We'll just have to stick with intuition.


Description: growing rice
When planting rice you have two options; either plant them in an area you can flood or grow them in raised beds. The easiest way to grow rice at home is actually in gallon buckets you can find at your local hardware store. Along with the buckets, pick up some fertile, nitrogen-rich potting soil. Compost works great with rice if you have any access to some.





When it comes to larger rice production, rice fields are placed on natural wetlands with access to constant water. Once the rice is planted, the water is allowed on the field to prevent weeds from growing. Throughout the growing season, the water level is around 2-inches around the plants.


It's time to harvest! The rice should be ready to harvest when it is dry and golden brown. Cut the entire plant as close to the ground as possible or cut just the seed head. Thresh and winnow the rice to remove the husk. Once this is done you can cook your rice like normal.
In the fields, farmers use large machinery to harvest the grains. The grains are then transported to additional machines for threshing and hull-removal.
While it is possible to grow rice at home, it's much easier to go to the grocery store and pick up a bag of Lundberg Family Farm rice, and let them do the rice farming for you.

Novel protein positioning technique improves functionality of yeast cells

Description: Novel protein positioning technique improves functionality of yeast cellsThis 3D image was created by stacking a set of optically-sliced images taken using a confocal fluorescence microscope. It can be seen that eGFP is immobilized along the budding yeast's characteristic cell shape. Credit: Kobe University
A research team at Kobe University has developed a method of artificially controlling the anchorage position of target proteins in engineered baker's yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae).
The group, consisting of academic researcher INOKUMA Kentaro, Professor HASUNUMA Tomohisa (both of the Engineering Biology Research Center) and Professor KONDO Akihiko et al. (of the Graduate School of Science, Technology and Innovation) demonstrated that this technique could be utilized to improve the amount of ethanol produced from hydrothermally-processed rice straw by 30%. It is expected that these results will contribute to improved yeast functionality in cell surface engineering, which is utilized in a variety of fields such as bio-production and medicine.
The journal paper for this research was published in Metabolic Engineering on November 9, 2019. This study was conducted in collaboration with researchers from the University of the Western Cape and Stellenbosch University under the JSPS (Japan Society for the Promotion of Science) bilateral program with South Africa.
Cell surface engineering is a technique with applications in a variety of industrial and biotechnological fields. This technique can create microorganisms that can degrade biomass efficiently, allowing biofuels to be produced. In medical fields, cell surface engineering can also be utilized for the screening of antibodies with high antigen-binding capacity. Baker's yeast (or Saccharomyces cerevisiae) is often used as a host microorganism for this technique because its characteristics are well understood. This yeast has a cell wall that is between 100-200 nm thick and consists of a microfibrillar array of glucan chains. The cell wall provides space to display functional proteins.
Description: Novel protein positioning technique improves functionality of yeast cellsFigure 1. Above : confocal fluorescence microscope image of yeast cells. Image shows the enhanced green fluorescent protein (eGFP) (in green) and the vacuolar membranes (in red) in the cells. The Sed1-anchored eGFPs (left) are mainly located on the cell surface, whereas a part of the Sag1-anchored eGFPs are located in the intracellular vacuoles and the amount of Sag1-anchored eGFP transported to the cell surface is comparatively low. Below: Immunoelectron-microscope image showing the yeast cell wall The arrowheads indicate the location of the eGFP. Sed1-anchored eGFP is mostly located outside the cell wall, whereas Sag1-anchored eGFP is mostly positioned inside the cell wall. Credit: Kobe University
In order to immobilize a target protein to the yeast cell wall, it is necessary to fuse the target protein to the "anchoring domain," which is a part of the yeast cell wall protein. Selecting the appropriate anchoring domain is important for efficient cell-surface display. A previous study by Inokuma et al. found that the degree to which activity was improved through changing the anchoring domain varied greatly depending on the target protein displayed. From these previous results, the research group hypothesized that changing the anchoring domain affected not only the display efficiency but also the anchorage position of the target protein in the cell wall and conducted the current study to verify this hypothesis.
The experiments were conducted using the two anchoring domains (the Sed1-anchor and Sag1-anchor) often utilized in Saccharomyces cerevisiae cell surface engineering. Enhanced green fluorescence protein (eGFP) was used as the target protein. Confocal fluorescence microscopic and immunoelectron-microscopic analyses were performed to investigate how the anchoring domains affected where the eGFP was localized in yeast cell. These analyses revealed that the eGFP that fused with the Sed-1 anchoring domain were mainly located on the outermost layer of the cell wall, whereas the Sag1-anchored eGFP were predominantly positioned inside the cell wall (Figure 1). This result suggested that it was possible to artificially manipulate the location of the proteins on the yeast cell wall by changing the fused anchoring domain.
Description: Novel protein positioning technique improves functionality of yeast cellsFigure 2: Improvement of cellulose degradation ability by applying anchorage position control. This technique allowed the enzymes to be placed in the optimal positions for their functions- endoglucanase, which requires direct contact with large cellulose molecules, was anchored to the outside layer of the yeast cell wall, whereas β-glucosidase was anchored to the inside because it doesn’t require the direct contact. This allowed more efficient use of the yeast cell wall space and succeeded in increasing the cellulose degradation ability. Credit: Kobe University
Next, an experiment was carried out to demonstrate if this method could be utilized to increase the ethanol productivity from hydrothermally-processed rice straw. Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells were used in the simultaneous saccharification and fermentation of the pretreated rice straw. This process converts the cellulose contained in the rice straw into ethanol. In this experiment, β-glucosidase (BGL) and endoglucanase (EG) were displayed on the yeast cell surface. These enzymes play different roles in breaking down the cellulose. EG breaks down large cellulose molecules at random, whereas BGL dissolves the smaller sugars (oligosaccharide) into glucose. Sed1- and Sag1-anchor domains were used to reposition the enzymes- with EG on the outermost layer and BGL on the interior of the cell wall. This efficient positioning resulted in a 30% greater yield of ethanol (Figure 2).
Discussions on how to improve cell surface engineering efficiency have often centered on anchoring a large number of target proteins to the surface. The current study revealed that controlling the location of the target proteins played an important role in cell functionality, and this could provide a new strategy for improving this technology. The ethanol fermentation experiment of pretreated rice straw demonstrated in this study indicates that it is possible to position the two enzymes (EG and BGL) in locations suitable for them in the yeast cell wall. In addition, this strategy could also be utilized in other applications; for example in medicine, placing antibodies on the outermost layer of the cell wall could improve their accessibility to large antigens. Therefore, it is expected that this new strategy will improve the functionality of cell-surface engineered yeast across a wide range of fields.