Thursday, January 30, 2020

30th January,2020 Daily Global Regional Local Rice E-Newsletter

India’s rice exports fall sharply
Reluctance among Indian traders to ship premium basmati rice to Iran as US sanctions hobble its ability to pay has contributed to a sharp drop in overall exports from the world's biggest supplier of the grain, trade and government sources said. Rice shipments from India slipped by more than a quarter to 5.5 million tonnes between April and November 2019 – the first eight months of the fiscal year – from 7.5 million tonnes in the year-ago period, the sources said. In terms of value, exports dropped 19% to $3.8 billion from $4.7 billion. The grain is India's biggest foreign exchange earning farm commodity, with shipments worth $7.75 billion in the 2018/19 fiscal year. Basmati rice exports to Iran, New Delhi's top buyer of the aromatic grain, dropped to 600,000 tonnes in the eight months from 900,000 tonnes a year earlier, but traders, worried about delayed payments, have not signed any new contracts with Tehran in the past five days, the sources said. Shipments are not expected to significantly pick up, with buyers in Iran owing a record 20 billion rupees ($281.41 million) to India as US-imposed sanctions make it hard to pay for imported commodities, they added. “We are in a precarious situation," Nathi Ram Gupta, president of the All India Rice Exporters Association, told Reuters. “We have urged the Indian government to step in to ensure that our dues are cleared by Iran." Reuters was unable to contact traders in Iran for comment. Iranian buyers paid some of the money they owed in November, the sources said, encouraging Indian traders to sign new contracts and ultimately pushing dues to an all-time high. Of the 4.4 million tonnes of basmati rice shipped by India in the 2018/19 fiscal year, Iran accounted for 1.4 million tonnes. “Our exports to Iran will definitely fall this year and that is going to drag down both the country's basmati and non-basmati rice exports. We're worried on two counts of India's falling rice exports and our mounting dues," said Vijay Setia, former president of the All India Rice Exporters Association. Beside the drop in exports to Iran, non-basmati rice exports to Europe have also fallen, with trade and industry officials citing higher pesticide residues in shipments from India as a factor behind reduced purchases from the European Union.

Modern paddy farming services kick off in Biral
12:00 AM, January 30, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:59 AM, January 30, 2020

A worker loads a mechanised paddy transplanting machine with seedlings in Chawkerhaat village of Biral upazila. The photo was taken on Tuesday. Photo: Star
Our Correspondent, Dinajpur
Around noon on Tuesday, a small crowd of farmers gathered near a paddy field in Chawkerhaat village of Biral upazila.
They were watching in awe as a strange-looking equipment was being moved around in a paddy field and paddy seedlings were being transplanted mechanically in the muddy field. 
Local farmer Ashraf Ali said he never saw anything like that in his life and the tedious and laborious task of sowing seedlings in paddy fields has been done manually by farmers like him for generations.
After seeing how swiftly seedlings were being planted in the field, he said he would also like to get his hands on such a paddy transplanting machine for his own land because profit margin of rice farmers has been plummeting due to rising cost of farm labourers. 
The land where the mechanised paddy transplanting machines were being used belongs to farmer Motiur Rahman.
After eight years of producing rice on his 300 acres of land, following conventional methods, and at the same time, looking for ways to lower the cost of production, Motiur this year has decided to try out a service that would enable him to meet the objective. 
The trial run of mechanised paddy transplanting machines in his paddy field was part of a service package that he is availing from two organisations -- Rural Development Academy (RDA), Bogura, a specialized national institution engaged in rural development-related training, research and action research; and Agriplus Limited (APL), a private organisation.  
Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation and Department of Agricultural Extension in Dinajpur will oversee the entire process.
Under the service package, RDA, with support from APL, used modern machinery to prepare seedbed, collect seedlings and prepare the main paddy field for sowing, said farmer Motiur. 
This Tuesday, RDA brought in two mechanised paddy transplanting machines and each of the machines takes an hour to sow seedlings in one acre of land.
From making seedbeds till the sowing of seedlings in the field, the cost incurred per acre in conventional method is around Tk 6,000, whereas he is paying RDA and APL Tk 4,000 for the same process.
The conventional method is expensive and time-consuming, but through the use of modern technology, he is saving Tk 2,000 per acre.
He would bear the expenses of tending and irrigating the paddy until it is ripe and he would make an additional payment to RDA for harvesting the paddy using their harvester machine, Motiur added. 
RDA Director General Aminul Islam, who was present in Chawkerhaat village on Tuesday, said at a time when the country is facing a shortage in manpower, it is no longer profitable to cultivate paddy in the conventional method.
The use of modern machinery in paddy farming can cut down the cost and increase production -- by approximately two to three times. 
They have been successfully applying mechanised methods of paddy farming at a village in Kurigram, he also said. 

Nigeria: Strengthening Local Rice Production

30 JANUARY 2020

The decision of the federal government to close the country's land borders has resulted to increased local rice production, writes Oluchi Chibuzor
The volume of rice produced locally has soared to eight million metric tonnes with the federal government aiming to achieve 18 million tonnes by 2023.
This development can only be sustained if farmers are motivated towards increasing yield per hectares across the federation to meet the Agricultural Policy Programme.
This would ensure food security and increase agro-export to boost the nation's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Reports have it that Nigeria has about 12 million rice farmers, and the number is expected to keep growing.
Global rice consumption remains strong. It is driven by both population and economic growth in many Asian and African countries, as Nigerian rice value chain is characterised by yields that are far below what would be possible with improved management, improved market information and structure, and sufficient and updated rice-processing capacity.
Consolidating Achievement
World rice production statistics revealed that in 2018, out of the 14.6 million metric tonnes of paddy produced annually on 7.3 million hectares of land in Africa, Nigeria's production rose from 3.7 million tonnes in 2017 to 4.0 million metric tonnes. Through the anchor borrower's scheme, reports on rice production in Nigeria said it has hit eight million metric tonnes, with the nation aiming at 18 million tonnes by 2023.
According to Cyril Okonkwo, a rice seller at Mile 12 market, Lagos, although the margin of profit between foreign to Nigerian rice is still high, it is pertinent that the nation support home grown rice producers to encourage local farmers in various states.
He said government should discourage importation with heavy duty to aid local farmers.
He also said, since he started selling his product in the market, there has never been a period that demand for local rice was high compared to what is obtainable now, noting that people have adjusted to the reality that the local rice farmers can close the gap.
"By this time last year when we started selling rice in this market, we were not displaying the produced locally, but now it has replaced foreign rice. As a compatriot Nigerian I fully support Nigerian government on the closure of the border, to encourage local farmers who are producing what we are selling now," he said.
Another rice dealer pleaded to remain anonymous, said, "local rice is good for consumption and local farmers should be encouraged to produce more as we have some quality rice in the market."
In its Food Price Index report released in November, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) stated that world rice production was likely to reach 515 million tonnes, a mere 0.5 percent drop from the record set in 2018, "with Egypt, Madagascar and Nigeria all poised to spearhead a rebound for African rice production this season."
Up-scaling Small-holders Farmers
According to Rice Almanac, a publication of Global Rice Science Partnership (GRiSP), Policies and conditions that offer opportunities for developing the rice sector in the country, includes zero tariffs on agricultural machinery and equipment, a large domestic market for rice products and by-products, government subsidies on fertilizer, seed, and tractors and implements, and guaranteed minimum price support for farmers.
Igbo Obianuju, a rice farmer in Saminaka, Lere Local Government Area in Kaduna state, who cultivates the commodity on four hectares of land, highlighted her challenges to include high cost of machines for processing and fertilizers, and low yield per hectares.
She said rice cultivation was good, but the returns on investment since the border closure is being gained by the middle men.
She also added that farmers bought NPK last year at the rate of N 8,000 before it went up to N12,000, thus reducing the level of profit.
"Am in Kaduna, I have to travel down to Kano for me to get atleast a machine that can de-stoning for me, because if I sell my rice at the rate of N8000 to N 9000 am at a great lost.
"But the border closure is helping farmers who are also in processing. To plant and harvest is one thing, but to process is also another thing," she explained.
She, however, was optimistic that considering the quantity of local rice in circulation, with support to over 12 million rice farmers, the nation would close its domestic gaps.
"On our rice farm in different locations, when we harvested we got about 10.7 tonnages of rice on approximately four hectares of land. And my plan is to go into processing if government can boost my capacities.
"As a farmer you do not gain money if you are not into processing. Then secondly the machine for good finishing is not available and is a major problem we are having here," she lamented.
Meanwhile, the State Deputy-Chairman, All Farmers Association of Nigeria, Lagos Chapter, Shakin Abgayewa, was of the opinion that inclination to imported rice consumption should be discourage by all stakeholders to attract enough investment to improve the quality of rice.
"Our local farmers have the capacities to produce our own rice, but because of the orientation our people that foreign rice is better than the local one, so we have that issue of increase of rice during the festive period," he reiterated.
Increasing Patronage
The market value of the current quantity of local rice produced in Nigeria, according to analysts, is about N684 billion, thus making the country the 16th top producer of rice in the world.
According to the General Manager, Elephant Group, a rice milling company, Dr. Rotimi Fashola, "Since the boarder closure, the number of rice millers has actually doubled and that is because people can now see the light after the tunnel-commercially value of it.
"If I have an investment in rice milling and they are flooding the market with imported rice, then I do need incentives to put money in rice milling."
Demand for rice is expected to continue to increase in coming years, at least up until 2035. According to a comprehensive study conducted by the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (or FAPRI), the world's demand for milled rice could be expected to rise to 496 million tons in 2020, from 439 million tons in 2010.
By 2035, this requirement would likely further rise to an estimated 555 million tons.
According to the report, "Not surprisingly, rice will account for almost half of these countries food expenditures, not only for the extreme poor, but also for those of mid-level and high income statuses."
Fashola, said on improving quality of the local rice which has always been major complains from local consumers, he noted categorically that, "the quality of rice keeps increasing with more people patronising.
"But if I can have a breakthrough in my investment then more and more people would come. We started with just 20 now we are hitting almost 40, so more millers are coming and the quality is improving," he stated.
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He, however, emphasised that the quality of home grown rice depends on increased demand, because as they receive more patronage for Nigerian made rice, it would invariably affect the quality which means more investment.
Regulation and Monitoring
Commenting further on the issue, Agbayewa said, "when we all agree to push the market, rebrand our own and educate our people on why they must patronize local farmers as against foreign rice, people will still feel reluctant to patronize us.
"The distributors are also among those giving the local farmers problems. During the festive period, what they did was that they bought foreign rice, bag it in Nigerian bags and put high price on it; this distracted people from buying local rice, selling at N17,000 to N18,000 as against the local rice that was supposed to be N14, 000 to N15, 000," he revealed.
On sabotaging the rice value chain according to him, "most of these syndicates are mostly Nigerians, so until necessary law enforcement agencies enforce arrest and showcased them to deter other people.
"This situation was what made Lagos state Government not to sell their own rice; because most of their distributors hoard the rice, increased price and even re-bagged it in foreign bag just to make more money."
On strengthening capacity of farmers to grow their businesses, he noted that most of the alleged cabals were beginning to subside as their gimmicks would not work again.
"They only capitalise on the gaps created by lack of preparedness of the local farmers.
"Right now in the market you will begin to see more of local rice in the market and people are patronising our products. All we need is that government should not open the borders now."
Young law graduate finds a simple farmer's life a happy life
Yogyakarta  /  Thu, January 30, 2020  /  03:21 pm
Description: Young law graduate finds a simple farmer's life a happy life
Miftahul said he chose to become a farmer to help sustain the country’s food production and prevent land from being developed into a sea of buildings. (JP/Bambang Muryanto)
It was early afternoon and the sun was no longer boiling hot when Miftahul Abdurrakman, 30, started clearing weeds from his rice field.
Using a lawn mower, he cut the weeds that grew among his 13-day-old rice plants but left the debris there to decompose, thus providing extra organic fertilizer for his crops.
Miftahul implements a semi-organic farming method, meaning he uses only a small amount of pesticide to help the plants grow in their early stages. The rest of the time he uses homemade organic fertilizer.
“I don’t want to produce rice that contains pesticide as it can cause many diseases,” Miftahul recently told The Jakarta Post.
A graduate of Indonesian Islamic University’s (UII) School of Law, Miftahul has for the last three years earned a living as a farmer, an occupation that not many youths in Indonesia want to pursue.
The results of a 2018 survey released by the Statistics Indonesia (BPS) revealed that only 191,000 out of some 2.7 millions family heads aged between 25 and 34 years earn a living from farming. In total, there are 33.5 million farmers across the country.
Miftahul said he chose to become a farmer to help sustain the country’s food production and prevent land from being developed into a sea of buildings.
He said his ancestors, including his parents, were all farmers. Yet, of the four siblings in his parents’ family, he alone has decided to take up the line of work.
Unlike his ancestors, who used traditional farming methods, Miftahul is a modern farmer and has pioneered the implementation of agricultural mechanization in his village of Timbulharjo in Sewon district, Bantul regency, Yogyakarta.
“There are currently at least five other young farmers in my village who also implement agricultural mechanization,” he said, referring to the use of machinery in agriculture such as lawn mowers and other equipment.
Sitting by his rice field, Miftahul recounted how he gained his knowledge of agricultural machinery from the internet. He also recalled that when he was a university student, he often snuck into the agriculture class at Pembangunan Nasional University (UPN) Yogyakarta.
Description: With the help of a worker, Miftahul cultivates 10,000 square meters of land that he rents, of which 9,000 square meters is used to grow rice while the rest is used to breed catfish.With the help of a worker, Miftahul cultivates 10,000 square meters of land that he rents, of which 9,000 square meters is used to grow rice while the rest is used to breed catfish. (JP/Bambang Muryanto)
Miftahul is one of only a handful of farmers who do not have their own land but are confident that agriculture can be a promising livelihood.
With the help of a worker, he cultivates 10,000 square meters of land that he rents, of which 9,000 square meters is used to grow rice while the rest is used to breed catfish.
With the use of agricultural machinery, he can control his expenses and overcome the difficulties of finding workers.
To earn more profit, Miftahul does not sell his harvests unhusked but instead mills the rice first on his own before selling his produce online through social media.
“I can sell a kilogram of rice for between Rp 11,000 [less than US$1] and Rp 12,000, higher than the market price of around Rp 8,500 per kg,” he said.
He added that with the use of machinery, from 1 hectare he could harvest 3 tons of unhusked rice every 85 days. If the rice is sold for Rp 11,000 per kg, he said, he could earn Rp 9 million per harvest.
“I have no rice left at the moment. It’s all sold out,” he said, adding that put all the money he earned from rice into savings. To support his daily expenses, he uses the revenue from his catfish sales, which he harvests once every two weeks.
“I’m happy living as a farmer. I can support my family and save money for my children’s school fees.”
He expressed confidence that many other youths would become interested in farming if the government created good market conditions for agricultural produce, such as by buying all unhusked rice produced by farmers and ending rice imports.
“Unfortunately, rice is still a very political product. If the price increases just a bit, it will promptly be decreased by importing rice to prevent chaos,” explained Miftahul. (yun/kes)

Paul Flynn: Rice and lentil dishes for all seasons

I love all rice dishes and lentils are a great match for almost every main course

Sat, Jan 25, 2020, 06:20

Chicken pilaff

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The best rice dish I ever ate was a welcome dinner in France with the Scouts when I was 14. It was chicken a la crème, generously flecked with tarragon, nestling on buttery rice. I lapped it up like a happy little hound. The other boys were bewildered and disdainful and worried that this was the sort of food they we going to be forced to eat for the rest of the trip. I however, was hopeful that this would be the case. More for me.
That was without doubt a lightbulb moment in my life, although I didn’t know it at the time. It started a curiosity about food that only three years later found me happily ensconced in the kitchen of a local restaurant, with a life of cooking ahead of me.
I pity the blinkered cook and eater. Curiosity and appetite are such happy bedfellows. They make life so much richer.
Rice dishes are numerous and diverse and I love them all. Rice carries spice in a warm comforting embrace. From a saffron-hued paella to a crisp bottomed Iranian tahdig, there is so much variety. A comforting risotto or just a simple rice pudding . . . there are so many rice dishes, all of them wonderful.
I use a rice cooker for this chicken pilaff. Of course I’m not presuming you all have rice cookers, but you can follow the same timings if you cook it in a pot.
The salad is a mushroomy winter version of that Italian staple, panzanella. We have it with steak. The bread carries all the flavours of everything else in the dish. The Italians never throw anything out.
The lentils are a Tannery staple in the winter months. They go with practically every main course but sometimes I like to warm them gently and serve them with soft creamy goat’s cheese, for an earthy nutritious, delight.
A brilliant shortcut for lentils and one I employ when I am feeling lazy at home is to take a tin of lentils and warm them through with a clove of crushed garlic, a little balsamic vinegar and a touch of olive oil, salt and pepper. It is almost instantaneously delicious.


Serves four
1 large knob of butter
3 chicken breasts cut into 2cm chunks
125g smoked bacon lardons
1 large leek, cut in half lengthways , washed and shredded
350g basmati rice
A pinch of cinnamon
700ml chicken stock
Salt and pepper
200ml tub of sour cream
1 tbsp spicy mango chutney
Preheat an oven to 170 degrees or equivalent. Put your butter in a largish, oven-proof pot, over a medium heat. When it is foaming, add the chicken and brown it gently for a couple of minutes.

PADDY PROCUREMENT SCAM: Will take action against erring rice millers, says Dushayant Chautala

CITIES Updated: Jan 29, 2020 22:02 IST
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Karnal
A day after Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) threatened to intensify their agitation if the government fails to take action against those involved in the alleged paddy procurement scam, Haryana deputy chief minister Dushyant Chautala said penalties will be imposed on erring rice millers.
“Penalties will be imposed and adequate action will be taken against the rice mills where the shortage in the stock was found during physical verification,” said Dushyant.
He, however, said that the difference in most of the erring rice mills was within permissible limits. However, action will be taken so that such rice mills were not given permission for procurement in future, he added.
On Tuesday, BKU members had alleged that commission agents, rice millers and officials of procurement agencies and Agriculture Marketing Board were involved in the paddy scam and threatened to launch a statewide agitation from next week if the government fails to take action against them.
They also demanded a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the matter.
Dushyant also said that strict action will be taken against the officials found involved in corruption in the revenue department.
Earlier, the deputy chief minister paid tributes to peasant leader Chhotu Ram on his birth anniversary at Jat Bhawan in Karnal.

State of the Plate is Great with Arkansas Rice  

LITTLE ROCK, AR -- The Arkansas Department of Heritage aims to preserve and protect Arkansas's natural and cultural heritage, and enhance the experience of visitors and locals alike.  Within the department, the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame accepts nominations from the public for restaurants, proprietors, and events that embody and celebrate Arkansas cuisine.  Award winners will be announced on February 24, however, the HOF has already named rice the 2020 Food of the Year!

It's fitting recognition considering Arkansas produces more than 50 percent of all rice grown in the U.S., the most of any state.  The rice industry is the backbone of Arkansas's agricultural economy and a culinary staple in the area's food culture and history.  Many communities in the state's rice-growing counties revolve around rice farms and the business they generate, and Arkansans have long been proud of their rich rice heritage.  This award is a unique opportunity to educate the public on the role of rice in Arkansas's history, as well as its future.

"We are overwhelmed with how the interest in Arkansas food continues to grow across our state," said Stacy Hurst, secretary of the Department of Parks, Heritage, and Tourism.  "We are so pleased to be leading this discussion about food as a special part of Arkansas's heritage and culture."

For those in Arkansas who work in the rice industry, rice is Food of the Year every year, but it is an honor to have official recognition of the cultural and historical significance of rice.  

"To put things in perspective, rice is the food staple of nearly two-thirds of the world's population," said Gary Reifeiss, vice president of marketing and sales at Producers Rice Mill, who attended the naming ceremony on Monday.  "The U.S. is in the top echelon of global suppliers of rice and Arkansas produces more than 50 percent of the nation's rice crop.  This is certainly a testimony to our fine Arkansas rice farmers and the entire rice industry here in Arkansas."

Paddy stock below limits may land millers in trouble

Defaulting mills won’t get paddy next season: Dushyant
Posted: Jan 30, 2020 07:00 AM   Updated: 
Deputy CM Dushyant Chautala at a function on the birth anniversary of Sir Chhotu Ram in Karnal on Wednesday. Sayeed Ahmed
Tribune News Service
Triibune News Service
Karnal, January 29
Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala on Wednesday hinted at action against rice mills found short of paddy stock during physical verification.
“Stock of some of the rice mills has been found below permissible limits mentioned in the contract. As per the contract, 1-1.25 per cent shortage is permissible, but if it exceeds the limit, action will be initiated against millers. They will not be given paddy in next season,” said Dushyant on the sidelines of a function held to mark the birth anniversary of Sir Chhotu Ram here at Jat Dharamshala.
On the arrival of paddy and PDS rice from outside, he said he had requested Chief Ministers of states to conduct physical verifications in rice mills to unearth this malpractice. “The Haryana Government has shown the courage to conduct physical verification of rice mills in the state. Such courage should be shown by governments in other states too. I also request the Central Government to get the issue investigated to unearth the nexus, if any,” he said.
The Deputy CM hinted at another physical verification. “I ask the Opposition to produce evidence against any rice mills. We will get another physical verification if needed,” he said.
Replying to a question on corruption in various departments, he said action was being initiated against officers involved. He said Revenue Day will be observed every first Tuesday after March 1. All SDMs and tehsildars will have to sit in offices to listen to the public grievances.
Earlier, he honoured several students and sportspersons for their performance in education and sports. He appreciated the efforts of the organisers to honour such youths and asked them to open a model library and wrestling academy in the dharamshala. He promised help for both projects.
Hooda pays homage to Sir Chhotu Ram
Karnal: Former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Wednesday chaired the function to mark the birth anniversary of Sir Chhotu Ram in Panipat by the BKU and urged the farmers to remain united. He criticised the present government for being anti-farmer and said there was a need to raise their voice against this government. He asked the farming community to adopt the thoughts of Sir Chhotu Ram for their own betterment. Paying tribute to the peasant leader, Hooda highlighted his contribution for the welfare of society.