Tuesday, February 11, 2020

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

Cambodia’s rice exports fall 15.39 percent in January
Cambodia shipped 50,450 tonnes of rice worth 39 million USD to foreign markets in January, a year-on-year decline of 15.39 percent, according to the Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF).
VNA Tuesday, February 11, 2020 09:31 
Description: Cambodia’s rice exports fall 15.39 percent in January hinh anh 1Cambodia ships 50,450 tonnes of rice worth 39 million USD to foreign markets in January. (Photo:

Phnom Penh (VNA) – Cambodia shipped 50,450 tonnes of rice worth 39 million USD to foreign markets in January, a year-on-year decline of 15.39 percent, according to the Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF).

CRF secretary-general Lun Yeng said that exports to the European market, the largest importer of Cambodian rice, in the month fell 22 percent year on year to 5,269 tonnes since the EU Commission introduced safeguard measures last year on rice imports from the country.

However, Lun Yeng said rice exports to the European market are set to increase in the coming months, thanks to a drop in taxes on rice imports from 175 EUR (190.99 USD) per tonne last year to 150 EUR this year.

The EU continued to be the leading destination market for Cambodian rice last month, accounting for the lion’s share of 37 percent, while China held 30 percent of the market, ASEAN 11 percent and other countries 22 percent, according to the CRF report.

Last year, Cambodia produced some 7.9 million tonnes of rice, over 620,000 tonnes of which were set aside for export, falling 1 percent as compared to the amount in 2018./.

President's FY 2021 Budget Proposal  


WASHINGTON, DC -- Earlier today, President Donald Trump sent his budget request for FY 2021 to Congress, calling for nearly $58 billion in cuts to mandatory agriculture spending, on top of another $2 billion in cuts to discretionary agriculture spending. Like many presidential budget proposals, this one will largely be ignored by Congress and have no real impact on Federal agriculture programs or funding.

This year's budget is similar to the past three budget proposals by President Trump in that it calls on Congress to tighten eligibility requirements for farm safety-net programs, guts several conservation programs, reduces crop insurance subsidies, pursues drastic cuts to domestic nutrition programs, and eliminates funding for U.S. commodity purchases for international food aid programs.

"While it is discouraging to hear that the Administration is proposing to balance the budget on the backs of American farmers and those in need, we know that this budget will not be well received by Congress and is essentially dead on arrival," said Ben Mosely, USA Rice vice president of government affairs. "USA Rice will continue working with Congress through the budget and appropriations process to protect funding for the programs that provide crucial support for the U.S. rice industry."

NELA Rice Forum Focuses on Row Rice 


RAYVILLE, LA -- With winter providing a backdrop of scattered showers around the southern rice region, it was a perfect time for area growers to take a break from field work last week and attend the Northeast Louisiana (NELA) Rice Growers Association meeting to get the latest rice info in preparation for the 2020 planting season.  

Dr. Don Groth, director of the H. Rouse Caffey Rice Research Station in Crowley, gave updates on a variety of topics including disease, fertilization, and variety development.  Dr. Sebe Brown talked about last season's insect issues and possible solutions to consider this year for rice and other crops planted in the region.  Wrapping up reports from the Ag Center, Brian Hilburn gave a presentation on the rice market outlook and what can be expected moving into the new crop season.

A highlight of the meeting was a round table discussion on NELA's row rice experience.  A panel made up of Jason Waller of Morehouse Parish, Elliot Colvin of Richland Parish, Michael Costello of Franklin Morehouse Parishes, and Scott Franklin of Richland Parish shared experiences in growing row rice on their perspective operations last season.  Each grower explained the unique aspects of their operation, and the reasons behind the decisions to plant row rice.  From soil type to variety selection, row width, herbicide and fertilization, and poly pipe placement, to describing customized equipment developed to make their operation more efficient in growing row rice, attendees got an in-depth look into this growing trend in rice production for northeast Louisiana.

"Honestly, we could have kept going as long as we wanted," said Waller, who also serves on the Louisiana Rice Research Board.  "When you get a group together that has that kind of knowledge and you're able to share it, you get an appreciation for the value of everyone working together for the industry."  

Franklin, who is president of the NELA Rice Growers Association, said afterward, "We should have been recording this!  Jason, Elliot, and Michael presented these ideas and practices, based on real life lessons learned over the past year, in a way that every grower can relate to."

Also on the agenda was USA Rice's Lydia Holmes with an update on USA Rice sustainability initiatives, including the ongoing Rice Foundation sustainability webinars, and USA Rice/Ducks Unlimited Partnership opportunities for rice growers in Louisiana. 

‘Oh my god, I’m going to inhale it’: Man eats 40 bowls of red beans and rice in 8 minutes

by: WWL-TV
Posted: Feb 9, 2020 / 03:49 PM CST Updated: Feb 9, 2020 / 03:49 PM CST
Description: https://i2.wp.com/www.klfy.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/9/2020/02/42b78ac7-c483-4fd5-b860-4485adcee65c_750x422.jpg?resize=2560%2C1440&ssl=1
WWL TV

Chestnut ate 40 bowls of red beans and rice Saturday for a speed eating contest in New Orleans. And that’s not even the crazy part.

NEW ORLEANS (WWL-TV) — What do you get when you cross traditional Creole food and a seemingly bottomless stomach? Apparently, you get Joey Chestnut. 
He holds world records for eating hot dogs, twinkies, grilled cheese, hard-boiled eggs, chicken wings and even asparagus. The list goes on and on. But he added another title to his collection in New Orleans Saturday: Red Beans and Rice. 
Chestnut scarfed down 40 bowls of red beans and rice at the Blue Runner World’s Red Beans and Rice eating championship at the New Orleans Fair Grounds, winning a $1,500 check.
But that’s all details. You read that first part right. In eight minutes, Chestnut ate 40 bowls.
You want to know something even crazier? 
“I’d never eaten red beans and rice before I started getting ready for this contest,” he said. 
And getting ready can be brutal, especially because the Louisiana staple food is much runnier than what Chestnut and other competitive eaters are used to. 
“It’s a very fast food,” he said. “Yesterday and the day before, I had very little solid food, so it’s pretty much a cleanse to make sure that I’m absolutely empty and loose.”  
Not the usual New Orleans diet, but, hey, if it works, it works. He beat out 12 other competitive eaters, including two from Baton Rouge. 
And speaking of fast food: Chestnut took seven seconds to finish his first bowl once the timer was going.
“I think about all the little things, my rhythm, my breathing, sitting up straight, the swallow,” he said. “A lot of people when they’re eating in these contests forget to breathe. And then when they forget to breathe, they have to breathe through their mouth, and when you’re breathing through your mouth, then you’re not eating at all.” 
Even eating all that food didn’t seem to phase him in the slightest. Almost immediately after finishing, Chestnut was bantering with the crowd, answering questions and joking about his performance. 
“I was a little worried. I got some on my nose early on,” he told one fan. “I was like, ‘oh my god, I’m going to inhale it.'” 
For most people, eating a huge serving of red beans and rice means it’s time for a nap. But for Joey Chestnut, its Miller Time!
He didn’t drink any of the water provided while he was eating. Instead, he decided to crack open a cold one to celebrate while waiting for the judges to finish counting all the bowls. 
“it’s time to relax,” Chestnut said with a beer in his hand and a table of empty bowls in front of him. 

How we’ll reengineer crops for a changing climate

Genetic changes to food crops can’t solve all the problems associated with climate change, but they can help

by Laura Howes
FEBRUARY 10, 2020 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 98, ISSUE 6

Efforts to improve the genetics of food crops are as old as agriculture. Crossbreeding plants to select for traits is nothing new, but synthetic biology techniques, including CRISPR-Cas9 and other gene-editing systems, have sped up the process and made new approaches possible. As climate change threatens the world’s food-growing systems, plant scientists, industry, and governments hope to use these powerful methods to make plants hardier and land more productive. Here are some of their targets.
RESISTING DISEASE
Researchers say it is not always clear how rising CO2 levels will affect the relationship between crops and disease, but changes in temperature and water availability can make plants more susceptible to disease. The genomes of many bananas and plantains share a dangerous secret that illustrates this: a virus that can cause farmers to lose their harvests. The banana streak disease, which primarily affects the leaves, is activated under stress conditions such as drought and extreme heat, which are likely to become more common as a result of climate change. That will be especially problematic in countries like Tanzania and Kenya, where these crops are important sources of calories. To get ahead of this problem, a research team led by Leena Tripathi of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture in Nairobi, Kenya, used CRISPR-Cas9 to edit the genome of a type of plantain commonly grown in East and Central Africa. Her team successfully neutralized the banana streak disease sequence inside it (Commun. Biol. 2019, DOI: 10.1038/s42003-019-0288-7). The researchers are now working on making bananas resistant to other diseases.
SUPERCHARGING PHOTOSYNTHESIS
For plant engineers, photosynthesis and the related process of photorespiration are ripe for improvement. As part of the Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Ef´Čüciency project, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are targeting a respiration protein called RuBisCO. They recently showed that their engineered tobacco plants had 40% greater crop yields in field trials (Science 2019, DOI: 10.1126/science.aat9077). If it works in food crops, modified RuBisCO could help farmers reduce the impact of climate change by creating crops that thrive with increased carbon dioxide levels and hotter temperatures. In contrast, members of the C4 Rice Project are trying to push rice to use a photosynthetic pathway, known as C4, that is used by crops like maize and that is more efficient in hot, dry environments. Some of them are trying to add C4 machinery into cells; others are attempting to engineer rice that has the physical characteristics of a C4 plant. University of Oxford researchers and colleagues have achieved one step toward that goal by introducing a single maize gene into the rice plant, which increased the volume of chloroplasts and mitochondria in cells surrounding leaf veins (Curr. Biol. 2017, DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2017.09.040). Such efforts to supercharge photosynthesis could allow farmers to produce more calories using less land and fertilizer.
SHRINKING STEMS
In the 1950s, Norman Borlaug bred a wheat plant with a shorter, stronger stalk that doesn’t fall over in the wind or if the grain head gets heavy. Today, Bayer Crop Science is betting that the corn of the future will also be short statured to protect against stronger winds caused by climate change. Its R&D teams are developing and field-testing conventionally bred and genetically modified corn varieties that are a meter or more shorter—and much sturdier—than any corn that farmers have previously grown. According to Bob Reiter, head of R&D for Bayer Crop Science, farmers should be able to pack more of the smaller plants into the same area, thereby producing more food on the same land, and prevent stems from breaking in the wind.

Researchers Sequence Genomes of Two Basmati Rice Varieties

Feb 10, 2020 by News Staff / Source
A research team led by New York University scientists has sequenced and analyzed the genomes of two members of the basmati rice group: a variety of basmati rice called Basmati 334 and the sadri rice variety Dom Sufid.
Description: Basmati rice. Image credit: Republica.
Basmati rice. Image credit: Republica.
The Asian rice (Oryza sativa) is an agriculturally important crop that feeds one-half of the world’s population and supplies 20% of people’s caloric intake.
Historically, the species has been classified into two major variety groups, japonica and indica, based on morphometric differences and molecular markers. These variety groups can be considered as subspecies, particularly given the presence of reproductive barriers between them.
Archaeobotanical remains suggest japonica rice was domesticated 9,000 years ago in the Yangtze basin of China, while indica rice originated 4,000 years ago when domestication alleles were introduced from japonica into either Oryza nivara or a proto-indica in the Indian subcontinent.
More recently, two additional variety groups have been recognized that are genetically distinct from japonica and indica: the aus/circum-aus and aromatic/circum-basmati rice.
Among its members, the circum-basmati group boasts the iconic basmati rice from southern Asia and the sadri rice from Iran.
Despite its economic and cultural importance, a high-quality reference genome is currently lacking, and the group’s evolutionary history is not fully resolved.
“Rice is one of the most important staple crops worldwide, and the varieties in the basmati group are some of the most iconic and prized rice varieties,” said Dr. Jae Young Choi, a postdoctoral researcher in the Center for Genomics and Systems Biology and the Department of Biology at New York University.
“However, until recently, a high-quality reference genome for basmati rice did not exist.”
Dr. Choi and colleagues from New York University, Oxford Nanopore Technologies and the New York Genome Center sequenced the genomes of two basmati rice varieties using nanopore sequencing technology.
The researchers focused on Basmati 334 from Pakistan, known to be drought tolerant and resistant to rice-killing bacterial blight, and Dom Sufid from Iran, an aromatic long-grain rice that is one of the most expensive on the market.
Using long reads from nanopore sequencing, the scientists assembled high-quality, complete genomes of Basmati 334 and Dom Sufid that were a significant improvement over earlier genome sequences assembled using short reads.
The sequencing also confirmed that basmati rice is a hybrid of two other rice groups. Most genetic material in basmati comes from japonica, followed by the rice group aus.
The study authors now plan to work with the scientific and rice breeding communities to identify important genes, see what makes the basmati group unique, and even develop molecular markers to help breed new varieties.
“By having the sequence of rice varieties like Basmati 334, which can withstand drought conditions and resist bacterial blight, we can start to identify genes that give rise to these valuable traits,” said New York University’s Michael Purugganan.
“Drought tolerance is something we are particularly interested in, given the challenges we face due to climate change and the implications for food security worldwide.”
The team’s results were published in the journal Genome Biology.
_____
J.Y. Choi et al. 2020. Nanopore sequencing-based genome assembly and evolutionary genomics of circum-basmati rice. Genome Biol 21 (21); doi: 10.1186/s13059-020-1938-2

GM rice approved in Philippines, but with limited accessibility, says study

Golden Rice is said to reduce Vitamin A deficiency (VAD), but a new study has suggested that those most at risk of VAD do not have sufficient access to the GM crop.
Description: GM rice approved in Philippines, but with limited accessibility, says study
Heralded as a genetically modified (GM) crop with the potential to save millions of lives, Golden Rice has been approved as safe for human and animal consumption by regulators in the Philippines. The rice is a beta carotene-enriched crop that is intended to reduce Vitamin A deficiency (VAD), a health problem in poor areas.
However, a new study has found that most families at risk for VAD cannot grow Golden Rice themselves, and most commercial farmers will not grow it either.
“Many families with Vitamin A deficient kids do not even have rice land to plant it,” said Glenn Davis Stone, Professor of sociocultural anthropology and environmental studies in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis. “And those in the mountains will not plant it because it has been bred into the lowland varieties of rice known as IR-64 and RSC-82.”
The regulatory approval in the Philippines is said to be a landmark for the scientists who developed Golden Rice for nutritional purposes, but even after nearly three decades of development, Golden Rice is still beset by problems, according to Stone.
Golden Rice still has to be approved for commercial sale, and it still needs a company to grow marketable quantities of seed. And even then, Stone argued that there is no clear path for the rice to get to poor children.
Stone’s new study is based on surveys and interviews of more than 115 rice farmers in the Nueva Ecija region, considered part of the ‘rice bowl’ of the Philippines.
Stone and his study co-author Dominic Glover, a rice researcher at the Institute for Development Studies at the University of Sussex, suggested that backers of Golden Rice – and even some economists who have tried to project its health impacts – have made certain flawed assumptions about farmers’ willingness to plant the crop.
“The old claim that Golden Rice was ‘basically ready for use in 2002’ is silly,” Stone and Glover wrote. “As recently as 2017, IRRI made it clear that Golden Rice still had to be ‘successfully developed into rice varieties suitable for Asia, approved by national regulators, and shown to improve vitamin A status in community conditions.’
“The Philippines has managed to cut its childhood VAD rate in half with conventional nutrition programmes. If Golden Rice appears on the market in the Philippines by 2022, it will have taken over 30 years of development to create a product that may not affect vitamin levels in its target population, and that farmers may need to be paid to plant.”

Sustainable Foods Summit unveils key topics

By                  Dominic Cuthbert
Description: https://www.fdiforum.net/mag/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/shutterstock_722586634-696x464.jpg


Credit: Shutterstock.com/ oksankash
Ethical sourcing, sustainable ingredients and marketing developments will feature prominently at this year’s Sustainable Foods Summit in Singapore taking place in March.
Asia is suffering a major biodiversity decline caused by deforestation & habitat loss, climate change, and intensive farming. South-East Asia, a biodiversity hotspot, has lost about 15% of its forests in 15 years according to researchers. By highlighting success stories, this 3rd Asia-Pacific summit aims to encourage ethical sourcing and sustainable food production. Key topics this year include:
Sustainable foods and biodiversity
Various studies show that organic and sustainable cultivation methods encourage biodiversity in ecosystems. The IBIS rice project is one such example. Launched by the Wildlife Conservation Society in 2017, the project involves the production of organic jasmine rice in northern Cambodia. Over 1,000 rice farmer families are benefiting whilst protecting 500,000 hectares of forest and wetlands that are home to 50 endangered wildlife, including the IBIS bird.
Nick Spencer, CEO of IBIS Rice, will give an update on the project. He will explain how his enterprise is marketing the organic rice as a premium product to export markets. IBIS rice is currently exported to Germany, Singapore, and Hong Kong, with plans to launch in the UK and Canada.
Ethical sourcing of ingredients
A growing number of food and ingredient firms are undertaking ethical sourcing projects in Asia. Some involve environment & biodiversity protection, whilst others focus on social impacts. Givaudan, the world’s largest flavours and fragrances firm, will share its experiences in setting up such projects. Puifung Leung from Fairtrade Hong Kong will highlight the positive impact ethical sourcing can have on producers.
Sustainability of seafood
Asian consumers are some of the highest consumers of seafood in the world. However, there are growing concerns about sustainability issues, such as overfishing, traceability, and authenticity. Anne Gabriel from the Marine Stewardship Council will highlight the solutions provided by sustainable seafood, especially the impacts of certified fisheries.
Alistair Douglas from Eachmile Technologies will discuss the use of blockchain technology. His company has created a mobile application that provides traceability and transparency in seafood supply chains. It works via Fishcoin tokens that incentivise seafood harvesters to collect data on their catch. An update will also be given on sustainable aquaculture ingredients.
Plant-based foods potential
Following Europe and North America, many new plant-based foods are being launched in Asian markets. Trang Dang from the Humane Society International will give an update on recent developments. Approaches to encourage adoption rates of plant-based foods will be tabled. Case studies will also be given of companies successfully introducing plant-based products in Asia.
Innovating with sustainable ingredients
Most food and beverage firms use sustainable ingredients to add environmental and / or social value to their products. However, some companies are also innovating with such ingredients.
The Singaporean company Doki Doki has created a novel line of superfood juices. Alex Goh, Co-Founder, will explain how the company is sourcing locally produced ingredients direct from farmers. Details will also be given of the health benefits of superfood ingredients.
Organic food market outlook
Ecovia Intelligence research shows the Asian market for organic products is the fastest growing in the global arena. China and India are some of the Asian countries that are developing strong internal markets for organic foods. Amarjit Sahota from Ecovia Intelligence will present the latest market data and trends on the global organic food market. Niki Ford from Australian Organic will give an overview of organic trade in the Asia-Pacific region. The business opportunities for Asian companies in the organic food market will be highlighted.
Retailing sustainable foods
With growing consumer interest in organic & sustainable foods, the number of dedicated retailers is mushrooming in Asia. Farmchimp is one such retailer with an innovative business model. Set up in Dubai, Farmchimp supplies traceable sustainable foods. PC Kabeer, Founder and CEO, will explain how its customers can get information on sustainable farming practices and the origins using QR codes on its products.

Officials blamed for malpractices in DPCs

FEBRUARY 10, 2020 18:26 IST
THANJAVUR: The Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies Corporation Employees Union and TNCSC Loadmen Union have blamed TNCSC officials for the alleged malpractices in the direct procurement centres set up to procure paddy from the farmers in the State.
Holding the TNCSC officials responsible for the `misdeeds’ reportedly taking place in the DPCs, the TNCSC Employees Union and the TNCSC Loadmen Union has claimed that the field workers were only executing their duties as per the instructions, they receive from the officials.
However, they were held responsible for the weight loss due to delay in transportation of paddy bags from the DPCs to the storage points and during transportation an act in which the DPC workers had no role to play. Instead of pulling up the transportation contractors for the delay in picking up paddy bags from the DPC and weight loss during transportation, the officials `calculate the loss amount’ and collect it from the DPC staff.
In addition to the `weight loss’ fine imposed on the DPC staff, the procurement workers unofficially shell out over 1000 per trip to the lorry drivers to move the paddy bags from their DPC to the storage point. And this `extra amount collected by the transporters would vary and go up to 1500 depending on the distance between the DPC and the storage point.
Further, the workers engaged for the procurement exercise were being paid a paltry wages of 1.62 per bag while workers engaged by private parties for the same work was paid 10 per bag.
Discussing the remedial measures to be adopted by the Corporation in order to ensure smooth and fair procurement of paddy from farmers, the meeting held in Thanjavur on Sunday, suggested the formation of separate wings for distribution of gunny bags, thread and other materials required for procurement from the modern rice mills or the godowns to DPCs, and for transportation of procured paddy, holding the transport contractors responsible for the delay in the movement of paddy from DPCs to storage points, issuing of allotment orders to the millers and movement to other districts in advance would help to eliminate the alleged malpractices in the process of paddy procurement through DPCs.
[e.o.m]



Rice Millers ASO by turning into faux ED officer. 20 lakh cheated from the state vice chairman

BY ABIGALE LORMEN ON FEBRUARY 11, 2020

A case of dishonest of Rs 20 lakh from the state vice-president of Rice Millers Association has come to mild by turning into an officer of pretend ED (Enforcement Directorate). The police have arrested one of many accused in varied sections, together with dishonest, in opposition to two folks on the grievance of rice millers. The accused was produced earlier than the courtroom from the place he has been taken on seven days remand. During remand, the opposite accomplice of the accused will probably be arrested and the quantity will probably be recovered. At the identical time, the inspector mentioned that the arrested accused Pramod Kumar is already on bail in two instances together with examine fraud.
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According to the police, each the accused are so vicious that they first despatched faux ED summons to Vinod Goyal. After this, Goyal confirmed concern of arrest and pressurized him to deposit tax within the ED. After coming below strain, the millers gave Rs 20 lakh to each the people for depositing within the division. On this, the accused additionally gave a faux receipt for depositing the cash. After this, when Vinod Goyal reached Delhi ED division and inquired, each the summons and the receipt turned out to be faux. On this, he reported the matter to SP Surendra Singh Bhaoria. On receiving the grievance, the SP ordered to instantly file a case. In this case, the City Police Police has registered sections 419, 420, 406, 384, 506, 467, 468, 471, 474 IOI. Is recorded below
CIA-2 held one accused, seek for one other continues
Seeing the seriousness of the matter, CIA-2 Incharge Inspector Deepak Kumar fashioned the staff headed by Sub-Inspector Surendra Singh. Surendra Singh and his staff have arrested one accused Pramod Kumar resident Chorpura police station Indri. A seven-day police remand was obtained by presenting the accused earlier than the courtroom on Monday. Inspector Deepak Kumar mentioned that the accused Pramod Kumar and his different accomplice Ajay Kumar had cheated together with Shalimar Delhi close to Kanika Residency Metro Railway Station. The seek for the second accused is on.
Revealed when faux discover was despatched to different millers
After taking Rs 20 lakh from Vinod Goyal, the accused despatched one other faux summons to a miller of Tarawadi. When the involved millers reached the Delhi ED division on this, they discovered that the discover turned out to be faux. On this, the millers of Taravadi knowledgeable Vinod Goyal about this and Vinod Goyal got here to find out about this fraud.
Many millers had been on course, conspiracy to earn crores
Victim Vinod Goyal mentioned that within the month of November, he was proven a whole record of each locations together with Karnal, Tarawadi, Yamunanagar and Kaithal by the 2 accused, which said that notices had been being despatched to all throughout the state. In such a scenario, the millers of Karnal and different districts had been additionally on the goal of the accused and their intention was to ship faux notices to the millers and hand them over crores of rupees to faux faux receipts. However, they had been busted earlier than this.
Ajay used to name himself Delhi Police as ADGP
Victim Rice Millers Vinod Goyal mentioned that for the primary time when Ajay Kumar met him, he instructed himself to the previous CBI officer Chandigarh and Delhi Police as ADGP and mentioned that the ED has been given to him by the central authorities. Under this strain, he was subdued. Goyal alleged that considered one of them had additionally visited his store.
As quickly because the grievance was acquired, the CIA-2 was instantly assigned this case. The staff has carried out job arresting one accused, searching for the opposite. During interrogation, will probably be requested who different accused are concerned within the recreation. Strict motion will probably be taken in opposition to the accused. Surendra Singh Bhauriya, SP

About Post Author

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Abigale Lormen

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

No tariff hike for domestic consumers who use up to 500 units in Andhra Pradesh

The increase in the tariff will only affect 1.35 lakh of the 1.45 crore domestic consumers.Description: https://images.newindianexpress.com/images/FrontEnd/images/social-article/flip.pngDescription: https://images.newindianexpress.com/images/FrontEnd/images/social-article/fb.pngDescription: https://images.newindianexpress.com/images/FrontEnd/images/social-article/twitter.png
Published: 11th February 2020 08:05 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th February 2020 11:02 AM  |  
For representational purposes
By Express News Service
VIJAYAWADA: There is no power tariff hike for domestic consumers for the consumption of below 500 units for 2020-21 fiscal, but those who consume above 500 units have to shell out more. There is a hike of 90 paise per unit over and above 500 units in all the categories. The increase in the tariff will only affect 1.35 lakh of the 1.45 crore domestic consumers.
Andhra Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Authority (APERC) chairman CV Nagarjuna Reddy, announcing the new power tariffs in Hyderabad on Monday, said for consumption of above 500 units, the tariff has been fixed at Rs 9.95 per unit from the existing Rs 9.05 per unit.
The State government, apart from bearing Rs 8,353.58 crore subsidy burden for agriculture consumers (free power), which is 18 per cent more than the previous year (Rs 7,064.27 crore), has also agreed to bear the subsidy of Rs 1,707 crore for the concessional tariff extended to domestic consumers. It is the first time that the State government has agreed to bear the burden of concessional tariff extended to the domestic consumers. That is, the entire deficit of power distribution companies, which has been calculated at Rs 10,060.63 crore, will be borne by the State government.  
The two discoms — APSPDCL and APEPDCL — have projected a deficit of Rs 14,349.07 crore at current tariffs and a deficit of Rs 12,954.11 crore with the proposals of a tariff hike to certain categories of consumers and to RESCOs. However, the Commission has determined the net deficit of Rs 10,060.63 crore, thus avoiding the possible burden of Rs 2,893.48 crore on the consumers.
The proposals of Transco and Discoms to procure power from private power plants who are not having binding agreements was rejected by the Commission in view of the surplus power. Another most important decision was that the domestic grouping based on the current month’s consumption will replace the earlier grouping based on the previous year’s consumption, which will be a big relief to the domestic consumers.
Non-profit organisations, government hospitals and government educational institutions, which were in commercial category, will now be under HT general category, exempting them from the ToD (Time of the Day) peak charges.
To promote usage of environment-friendly electric vehicles, APERC has fixed power tariff for them at Rs 6.7 per unit against the proposed Rs 12.25 per unit. The APERC has rejected the discoms’ proposals to withdraw the benefit of Load Factor Incentive to industries, which was introduced in the current fiscal.
Further, rice millers and pulverisers are given the benefit of billing under LT tariffs up to a connected load of 150 HP against the present limit of a connected load of 100 HP, with certain conditions.
The industry has also extended the benefit of limiting the penalties only to the extent of excess demand over contracted demand, by suitably modifying the penalty condition. Interests of small consumers are protected by reducing the capacitor surcharge from 25 per cent to 10.  
The discoms were asked to obtain the permission of the APERC for their investment proposals. Further, they are directed to prepare a roadmap for the implementation of energy conservation.
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Bumper crop of amber rice to reduce Iraq’s grain imports

Despite the increase in the rice harvest, production remains far below local market demand of 1.3 million tonnes.
Sunday 09/02/2020

Unique variety. An Iraqi farmer plants amber rice in the Mishkhab region, central Iraq. (AFP)
BAGHDAD - The Iraqi Ministry of Agriculture said the state-run Grain Board of Iraq completed the purchase of about 306,000 tonnes of the world-renowned local variety of amber rice, after one of the best growing seasons in decades.
Observers said the tonnage purchased represents only part of the crop because farmers often withhold much of the harvest of amber rice, which is very popular across the region.
A statement from the Agriculture Ministry said the rice harvest was far greater than previous seasons.
Last September, the Agriculture Ministry said it expected rice production to its highest level in 20 years because of the heavy rains that allowed the cultivation of larger areas. The Iraqi government had previously imposed restrictions on rice cultivation, which needs large amounts of water to grow, in recent years because of a drought.
It is expected that this season’s rice crop, plus record crops of wheat and barley last season, will lead to an unprecedented reduction in grain imports, officials said. Baghdad already announced it achieved self-sufficiency in wheat.
Despite the increase in the rice harvest, production remains far below local market demand of 1.3 million tonnes, because a large part of the high-cost amber rice is destined for export.
The cultivation of amber rice, famous for its unique aroma and taste, is concentrated in the governorates of Najaf and Qadisiyyah. Large numbers of farmers, some of whom grow only amber rice, depend on the crop. Its seedlings need to be immersed with huge quantities of water to grow.
The scarcity of water in recent years exacerbated problems for farmers. Authorities imposed a significant reduction — up to 95% in some areas — in rice cultivation areas, which forced many rice farmers to abandon their lands.
However, heavy rains have filled dam reservoirs and allowed the authorities to lift restrictions. Farmers  responded
by planting twice as much area with rice.
The Iraqi agricultural sector benefited from a shift in government policies in recent years. Authorities expanded subsidies to farmers and adopted the cultivation strategic seeds, such as wheat, barley and rice, which contributed to a significant improvement in product quality.
Because of those policies, Iraq achieved self-sufficiency in many crops, such as wheat, for the first time in decades.
In collaboration with other government departments and agencies, the Agriculture Ministry prohibited the import of more than a dozen agricultural products, a move that drove up the prices of those products, encouraging local farmers to cultivate them.
Iraqi Minister of Agriculture Saleh al-Hassani said the import ban was to “preserve the local products and to encourage farmers and livestock breeders to continue production.”
He pointed out other positives, such as “providing employment opportunities and activating the role of the private sector in increasing investment and establishing agricultural investment projects to support the national economy.”
The list of crops banned from import includes tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, carrots, yellow corn, lettuce, garlic, melons, watermelon, pepper and dates, in addition to banning the import of eggs, chicken and fish.
Observers said agricultural goods were still being imported to Iraqi markets, revealing inefficiency of official oversight and widespread smuggling.
Despite the current abundance of water, Baghdad has been negotiating with Turkish officials about the amount of water flowing to the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. Both rivers have their sources in Turkey, which reduced Iraq’s share of the rivers’ flow by constructing dams.
Iran and Turkey are pressuring Iraqi officials to lift the ban on agricultural product importation, sources said. Campaigns in Iraq to boycott imported products have contributed to the decline of the goods, especially from Iran, in the Iraqi markets.
The boycott prompted Turkish and Iranian companies to set up factories in Iraq to compensate for the decline in exports.
The Iraqi Agriculture Ministry promoted policies that had been followed during the economic embargo of Iraq in the 1990s that included buying strategic crops at high prices to encourage farmers to cultivate wider areas.
The ministry has provided other incentives to farmers, such as offering seeds at subsidised prices, contributing to pest control and facilitating access to loans to purchase agricultural equipment.


Kingdom’s rice exports to EU declined through tariffs but 2020 outlook good

Chhut Bunthoeun / Khmer Times  

Cambodia’s milled rice exports to the European Union (EU), which takes the current largest market share of the Kingdom’s rice, saw a more than 20 per cent decrease in January compared with the same period last year, data from the Cambodia Rice Federation  (CRF)shows.
For in depth analysis of Cambodian Business, visit Capital Cambodia
.
In the first month of the year, the Kingdom sent a total 50,450 tonnes abroad, a 15 per cent decrease, generating $39 million in revenue. Of that, 91 per cent was fragrant rice and the rest was long grain white rice.
In its report released this week, the CRF said the EU remains the main source of Cambodian rice exports, representing 37 per cent of the total, followed by China (30 percent), Asean (11 percent). Other destinations take the remainder.
In terms of weight, the EU market decreased by 5,269 tonnes, accounting for 22 per cent. It is being blamed on measures imposed on rice from Cambodia that it says are hurting farmers in Europe.
The EU imposed a $199.50 a tonne levy in 2019. CRF Secretary-General Lun Yeng said that Cambodian rice would enjoy a slight increase in sales in the European bloc this year, because the tariff will stand at $170 per tonne, which is lower than 2019. There will also be a levy in 2021.
He said Cambodian rice still sells well in the Asan market well and remained stable in Malaysia and Brunei, while Gabon and Australia saw a notable increase in exporting milled rice from Cambodia.
Currently the Kingdom benefits from a preferential trade deal with the EU known as Everything but Arms (EBA) but there are fears this will be withdrawn later this month amid allegations of human rights breaches.
The EU imposed duties on Cambodian rice in order to protect domestic producers. This has been acutely felt by most of the 500,000 families in Cambodia who eke out a living farming jasmine and fragrant long-grain rice, even though these varieties are geographically specific and do not compete directly with products grown in the EU,” the CRF said in a statement last August.
Some 7.9 million tonnes of wet season paddy rice were harvested in 2019 while the milled rice exports were reported at 620,106 tonnes, registering a year-on-year decrease of about 1 percent. Of that export amount, it saw about a 24 per cent decrease in the  EU market last year.

Thailand seeks to regaining role as world’s largest rice exporter

By
 NNT

Description: https://www.pattayamail.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/10-02-20-b-02-Thailand-seeks.jpg
BANGKOK – After losing the number one global rice exporter position for three years, the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives has met with related agencies and rice exporters to find measures to reclaim the top spot.


Speaking after a meeting with representatives from the Rice Department, the Department of Foreign Trade, the Rice Exporters Association of Thailand and rice sellers, the Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives Praphat Phothasoothon said the agencies and companies have agreed to solve some cumulative issues in rice exports, as Thailand currently does not produce new rice varieties which are currently in demand in the global market.
The country’s rice exports have seen stronger competition from Vietnam and Cambodia, with Myanmar expected to be even more competitive in the future. This situation has lowered the usual 10 million annual tons of rice exports from Thailand to only 7.5 million last year.
Most Thai rice varieties are white, hard rice which are not in demand in foreign countries. Related departments will be working to improve the varieties to meet customer demand.
At this meeting, related departments have been assigned to formulate a drought response and rice farm zoning plan, to be completed in two weeks, and to be implemented in the next farming season starting around May. The Rice Department has been assigned to speed up research into new rice varieties, in addition to the varieties recently introduced, in order to meet the fast changing consumer demands. These research projects will receive government funding.
For areas that are not suitable for rice farming, the Department of Livestock Development will be holding a 3-year occupational promotion campaign. This will help reduce the overall number of rice farms in the country, to prevent oversupply, which affects the price.
Thailand sees surge in rice exports to Hong Kong, as supply from China falls

·       ASEAN+
·       Monday, 10 Feb 2020
1:53 PM MYT
BANGKOK, Feb 10, The Nation/ANN -- Thai jasmine rice exports to Hong Kong are poised for a big jump due to scarcity in the supermarkets and retail stores there after the new coronavirus outbreak, Somdet Susomboon, Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP) director-general, said.
“The shortage of rice and medical masks in the country has caused people to hoard because of the coronavirus, ” he explained.
Somdet also said that the trade promotion office in Hong Kong and Thai exporters have had discussions with rice importers in Hong Kong about the demand for rice.
“There is huge demand from Hongkongers, and the office has assured that they will order more from Thailand, as China’s exports have fallen, ” he added.
Brexit: business as usual… for now
Fatima S AttarwalaUpdated February 10, 2020


Description: A new era may have dawned in the United Kingdom post-Brexit but till the end of this year, it will continue to follow all of the European Union’s (EU) rules. Thus its trading relationship will remain the same during this transition period and business as usual will continue for our exports. — AFP/File
A new era may have dawned in the United Kingdom post-Brexit but till the end of this year, it will continue to follow all of the European Union’s (EU) rules. Thus its trading relationship will remain the same during this transition period and business as usual will continue for our exports. — AFP/File
A new era may have dawned in the United Kingdom post-Brexit but till the end of this year, it will continue to follow all of the European Union’s (EU) rules. Thus its trading relationship will remain the same during this transition period and business as usual will continue for our exports.
The EU’s Generalise System of Preferences Plus (GSP Plus) may arguably be the most important preferential access that the country’s exporters avail, of which the United Kingdom is a key market. Assurances of continued access by officials of both countries, accompanied by the usual rhetoric of ‘old ties’, have kept exporter’s concerns at bay.
Read: Brexit and Pakistan
“Brexit will not have a net impact on the demand side of rice,” says Safdar Hussain Mehkri ex-chairman of Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan. Accounting for over a quarter of exports to the European Union, the United Kingdom is Pakistan’s main rice market in the region.
Similar sentiments were echoed by Sohail Pasha Chairman Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA).
“If an agreement like GSP Plus is not offered by Britain, it will severely impact local businesses. However, all signs point to the continuation of its benefits. Since nothing has changed as yet, we expect to continue as before”.
Being complacent while one of our biggest trading partners undergoes major changes hardly seems to be the best strategy
Going into further detail regarding Pakistan’s mainstay export of textiles, patron-in-chief PTEA Khurram Mukhtar said that in the short run exporters had taken a hit. “Pakistan is the biggest exporter of home textiles in the world but we have seen exports decline in the short run”.
Since Britain voted to leave the EU, uncertainty had been increasing which brought a decrease in purchasing power amidst changing premiers and political turmoil. Resultantly, high street shops had vacant looks as footfall in stores declined, he explained.
“In the long run, it may benefit Pakistan. As Britain will have to pay fewer funds to the EU and its economy will improve, its people will be better able to afford our goods. After all, London will continue to be a financial hub,” he added.
Potential concerns
Preferential access to Britain’s market is vital but it is not the only factor that determines the quantum of exports to the country. In assessing the impact of Brexit, its ripple effect has to be taken into context as well.
There are two main factors that could influence the rice, textile and other export-oriented sectors. Firstly, Britain’s aggressiveness in entering trade deals now that it is free of EU restrictions.
Currently, Britain is concentrating on first world countries such as the United States and Australia to start negotiations on new agreements. While these countries pose no threat to Pakistan’s exports, change in trade dynamics could impact the strength of the pound.
Some of the trade between Pakistan and the United Kingdom is conducted in pounds but a lot of it is in dollars therefore there will not be a direct impact. However, if trade deals increase demand of Britain’s exports as intended, its currency could strengthen making Pakistan’s exports cost less in pound terms and therefore more desirable.
Another important caveat is whether Britain pursues trade deals with countries such as China, India and Vietnam. As it stands, Pakistan’s qualification as a GSP Plus beneficiary puts us in an advantageous position since many of our competitors are not offered the same duty-free access. If status quo is maintained with Pakistan but changed with countries exporting a similar basket of goods, we may not be able to compete successfully.
The second issue at hand is the question of standards. The debate between the United Kingdom’s and EU’s labour and environmental standards has led to chest-thumping fiery speeches. The EU wants Britain to maintain its standards to prevent the United Kingdom from getting an edge as an economic competitor. While asserting its standards will not lower, Britain refuses to be fettered by EU’s requirements.
As the behemoths battle it out, lower standards may work in Pakistan’s favour or against them. For example, the EU regulations on fungicide acceptability levels elbowed India out of the premium Basmati rice market since the country had higher tricylazole levels. This created room for Pakistan to increase its exports. If these standards are lower in Britain, Pakistan could face steeper competition from India.
Being edged out from the British market has consequences for investment, employment generation and sustained growth in an already dicey economy. Being complacent while one of our biggest trading partners undergoes major changes hardly seems to be the best strategy.
Published in Dawn, The Business and Finance Weekly, February 10th, 2020

 

Rice exports down 15% year-on-year in January

Thou Vireak | Publication date 09 February 2020 | 22:10 ICT

Description: Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Cambodian rice exports to the European market last month decreased 5,269 tonnes (22 per cent) year-on-year since the EU Commission introduced safeguard measures last year on rice imports from the Kingdom. Hong Menea
Cambodia exported 50,450 tonnes of rice worth $39 million to the international market in January, down 15.39 per cent compared to the same period in 2018, Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF) secretary-general Lun Yeng said on Sunday.
Yeng told The Post that Cambodian rice exports to the European market last month decreased 5,269 tonnes (22 per cent) year-on-year since the EU Commission introduced safeguard measures last year on rice imports from the Kingdom.
Last month’s rice exports to China decreased 3,664 tonnes (20 per cent) year-on-year, he said.
“Cambodian rice exports to the EU market are set to increase in the coming months, thanks to a drop in taxes on rice imports from €175 to €150 [$190 to $160] per tonne, which will take effect in mid-February,” he said.
Customs duty to the EU for last year stood at €175 per tonne and will be reduced to €150 this year and to €125 next year.
Referring to the Lunar New Year which fell in January this year instead of its usual February date, Yeng said: “Having too early a Lunar New Year celebration reduced shipments [of rice].
“Cambodian rice exports to the Chinese market show a decline. I think they will continue to experience a negative impact in the long-term due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China,” he said.
He said some Cambodian rice exporters have delayed their shipments since last week.
Meanwhile, the EU continued to be the leading destination market for Cambodian rice markets last month, holding a 37 per cent share of the market, while China held 30 per cent, Asean 11 per cent and other countries 22 per cent, a CRF report said.
“Malaysia and Brunei were major importers of Cambodian rice, which showed a good and stable rice market, while Australia and Gabon sped up their imports from Cambodia,” the report said.
Rice exports reached 620,106 tonnes last year, a 0.97 per cent drop from 626,225 tonnes in 2018. Coupled with the 1.43 per cent decline between 2018 and 2017, the modest drop marks the second consecutive year that exports have fallen.
The total value of the Kingdom’s rice exports were valued at some $501 million last year, down 4.3 per cent from $524 million in 2018, the report said.
Speaking to the press at the two-day trade exhibition, Business Opportunities in Agriculture last week, US Ambassador to Cambodia Patrick Murphy vowed to improve access to finance for the Kingdom’s exporters, producers and small and medium-sized enterprises.
“Major rice producers and exporters can get loan guarantees from the US Import-Export bank which will give them access to private equity lending and the capability to purchase some of the highest-tech silos to store their rice in outstanding condition, with climate and pest control.
“[Use of] first in, first out technology will continue to grow and allow Cambodia to increase rice exports,” said Murphy.

Thailand seeks to regaining role as world’s largest rice exporter

By  NNT
Description: https://www.pattayamail.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/10-02-20-b-02-Thailand-seeks.jpg
BANGKOK – After losing the number one global rice exporter position for three years, the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives has met with related agencies and rice exporters to find measures to reclaim the top spot.
Speaking after a meeting with representatives from the Rice Department, the Department of Foreign Trade, the Rice Exporters Association of Thailand and rice sellers, the Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives Praphat Phothasoothon said the agencies and companies have agreed to solve some cumulative issues in rice exports, as Thailand currently does not produce new rice varieties which are currently in demand in the global market.
The country’s rice exports have seen stronger competition from Vietnam and Cambodia, with Myanmar expected to be even more competitive in the future. This situation has lowered the usual 10 million annual tons of rice exports from Thailand to only 7.5 million last year.
Most Thai rice varieties are white, hard rice which are not in demand in foreign countries. Related departments will be working to improve the varieties to meet customer demand.
At this meeting, related departments have been assigned to formulate a drought response and rice farm zoning plan, to be completed in two weeks, and to be implemented in the next farming season starting around May. The Rice Department has been assigned to speed up research into new rice varieties, in addition to the varieties recently introduced, in order to meet the fast changing consumer demands. These research projects will receive government funding.
For areas that are not suitable for rice farming, the Department of Livestock Development will be holding a 3-year occupational promotion campaign. This will help reduce the overall number of rice farms in the country, to prevent oversupply, which affects the price.
Soft rice grains are now in more demand by global customers, such as the PSL 07023-CNT-18-2-1-3 variety, which is being planted in a pilot project by farmers in Phichit.

Thailand sees surge in rice exports to Hong Kong, as supply from China falls

·       ASEAN+
·       Monday, 10 Feb 2020
1:53 PM MYT
BANGKOK, Feb 10, The Nation/ANN -- Thai jasmine rice exports to Hong Kong are poised for a big jump due to scarcity in the supermarkets and retail stores there after the new coronavirus outbreak, Somdet Susomboon, Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP) director-general, said.
“The shortage of rice and medical masks in the country has caused people to hoard because of the coronavirus, ” he explained.
Somdet also said that the trade promotion office in Hong Kong and Thai exporters have had discussions with rice importers in Hong Kong about the demand for rice.
“There is huge demand from Hongkongers, and the office has assured that they will order more from Thailand, as China’s exports have fallen, ” he added.
   

Kingdom’s rice exports to EU declined through tariffs but 2020 outlook good

Chhut Bunthoeun / Khmer Times  

Cambodia’s milled rice exports to the European Union (EU), which takes the current largest market share of the Kingdom’s rice, saw a more than 20 per cent decrease in January compared with the same period last year, data from the Cambodia Rice Federation  (CRF)shows.
For in depth analysis of Cambodian Business, visit Capital Cambodia
.
In the first month of the year, the Kingdom sent a total 50,450 tonnes abroad, a 15 per cent decrease, generating $39 million in revenue. Of that, 91 per cent was fragrant rice and the rest was long grain white rice.
In its report released this week, the CRF said the EU remains the main source of Cambodian rice exports, representing 37 per cent of the total, followed by China (30 percent), Asean (11 percent). Other destinations take the remainder.
In terms of weight, the EU market decreased by 5,269 tonnes, accounting for 22 per cent. It is being blamed on measures imposed on rice from Cambodia that it says are hurting farmers in Europe.
The EU imposed a $199.50 a tonne levy in 2019. CRF Secretary-General Lun Yeng said that Cambodian rice would enjoy a slight increase in sales in the European bloc this year, because the tariff will stand at $170 per tonne, which is lower than 2019. There will also be a levy in 2021.
He said Cambodian rice still sells well in the Asan market well and remained stable in Malaysia and Brunei, while Gabon and Australia saw a notable increase in exporting milled rice from Cambodia.
Currently the Kingdom benefits from a preferential trade deal with the EU known as Everything but Arms (EBA) but there are fears this will be withdrawn later this month amid allegations of human rights breaches.
The EU imposed duties on Cambodian rice in order to protect domestic producers. This has been acutely felt by most of the 500,000 families in Cambodia who eke out a living farming jasmine and fragrant long-grain rice, even though these varieties are geographically specific and do not compete directly with products grown in the EU,” the CRF said in a statement last August.
Some 7.9 million tonnes of wet season paddy rice were harvested in 2019 while the milled rice exports were reported at 620,106 tonnes, registering a year-on-year decrease of about 1 percent. Of that export amount, it saw about a 24 per cent decrease in the  EU market last year.

Bumper crop of amber rice to reduce Iraq’s grain imports

Despite the increase in the rice harvest, production remains far below local market demand of 1.3 million tonnes.
Sunday 09/02/2020

Unique variety. An Iraqi farmer plants amber rice in the Mishkhab region, central Iraq. (AFP)
BAGHDAD - The Iraqi Ministry of Agriculture said the state-run Grain Board of Iraq completed the purchase of about 306,000 tonnes of the world-renowned local variety of amber rice, after one of the best growing seasons in decades.
Observers said the tonnage purchased represents only part of the crop because farmers often withhold much of the harvest of amber rice, which is very popular across the region.
A statement from the Agriculture Ministry said the rice harvest was far greater than previous seasons.
Last September, the Agriculture Ministry said it expected rice production to its highest level in 20 years because of the heavy rains that allowed the cultivation of larger areas. The Iraqi government had previously imposed restrictions on rice cultivation, which needs large amounts of water to grow, in recent years because of a drought.
It is expected that this season’s rice crop, plus record crops of wheat and barley last season, will lead to an unprecedented reduction in grain imports, officials said. Baghdad already announced it achieved self-sufficiency in wheat.
Despite the increase in the rice harvest, production remains far below local market demand of 1.3 million tonnes, because a large part of the high-cost amber rice is destined for export.
The cultivation of amber rice, famous for its unique aroma and taste, is concentrated in the governorates of Najaf and Qadisiyyah. Large numbers of farmers, some of whom grow only amber rice, depend on the crop. Its seedlings need to be immersed with huge quantities of water to grow.
The scarcity of water in recent years exacerbated problems for farmers. Authorities imposed a significant reduction — up to 95% in some areas — in rice cultivation areas, which forced many rice farmers to abandon their lands.
However, heavy rains have filled dam reservoirs and allowed the authorities to lift restrictions. Farmers  responded
by planting twice as much area with rice.
The Iraqi agricultural sector benefited from a shift in government policies in recent years. Authorities expanded subsidies to farmers and adopted the cultivation strategic seeds, such as wheat, barley and rice, which contributed to a significant improvement in product quality.
Because of those policies, Iraq achieved self-sufficiency in many crops, such as wheat, for the first time in decades.
In collaboration with other government departments and agencies, the Agriculture Ministry prohibited the import of more than a dozen agricultural products, a move that drove up the prices of those products, encouraging local farmers to cultivate them.
Iraqi Minister of Agriculture Saleh al-Hassani said the import ban was to “preserve the local products and to encourage farmers and livestock breeders to continue production.”
He pointed out other positives, such as “providing employment opportunities and activating the role of the private sector in increasing investment and establishing agricultural investment projects to support the national economy.”
The list of crops banned from import includes tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, carrots, yellow corn, lettuce, garlic, melons, watermelon, pepper and dates, in addition to banning the import of eggs, chicken and fish.
Observers said agricultural goods were still being imported to Iraqi markets, revealing inefficiency of official oversight and widespread smuggling.
Despite the current abundance of water, Baghdad has been negotiating with Turkish officials about the amount of water flowing to the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. Both rivers have their sources in Turkey, which reduced Iraq’s share of the rivers’ flow by constructing dams.
Iran and Turkey are pressuring Iraqi officials to lift the ban on agricultural product importation, sources said. Campaigns in Iraq to boycott imported products have contributed to the decline of the goods, especially from Iran, in the Iraqi markets.
The boycott prompted Turkish and Iranian companies to set up factories in Iraq to compensate for the decline in exports.
The Iraqi Agriculture Ministry promoted policies that had been followed during the economic embargo of Iraq in the 1990s that included buying strategic crops at high prices to encourage farmers to cultivate wider areas.
The ministry has provided other incentives to farmers, such as offering seeds at subsidised prices, contributing to pest control and facilitating access to loans to purchase agricultural equipment.


Kingdom’s rice exports to EU declined through tariffs but 2020 outlook good
 Cambodia’s milled rice exports to the European Union (EU), which takes the current largest market share of the Kingdom’s rice, saw a more than 20 per cent decrease in January compared with the same period last year, data from the Cambodia Rice Federation  (CRF)shows. In the first month of the year, the Kingdom sent a total 50,450 tonnes abroad, a 15 per cent decrease, generating $39 million in revenue. Of that, 91 per cent was fragrant rice and the rest was long grain white rice. In its report released this week, the CRF said the EU remains the main source of Cambodian rice exports, representing 37 per cent of the total, followed by China (30 percent), Asean (11 percent). Other destinations take the remainder. In terms of weight, the EU market decreased by 5,269 tonnes, accounting for 22 per cent. It is being blamed on measures imposed on rice from Cambodia that it says are hurting farmers in Europe. The EU imposed a $199.50 a tonne levy in 2019. CRF Secretary-General Lun Yeng said that Cambodian rice would enjoy a slight increase in sales in the European bloc this year, because the tariff will stand at $170 per tonne, which is lower than 2019. There will also be a levy in 2021. He said Cambodian rice still sells well in the Asan market well and remained stable in Malaysia and Brunei, while Gabon and Australia saw a notable increase in exporting milled rice from Cambodia. Currently the Kingdom benefits from a preferential trade deal with the EU known as Everything but Arms (EBA) but there are fears this will be withdrawn later this month amid allegations of human rights breaches. The EU imposed duties on Cambodian rice in order to protect domestic producers. This has been acutely felt by most of the 500,000 families in Cambodia who eke out a living farming jasmine and fragrant long-grain rice, even though these varieties are geographically specific and do not compete directly with products grown in the EU,” the CRF said in a statement last August. Some 7.9 million tonnes of wet season paddy rice were harvested in 2019 while the milled rice exports were reported at 620,106 tonnes, registering a year-on-year decrease of about 1 percent. Of that export amount, it saw about a 24 per cent decrease in the  EU market last year.