Wednesday, March 11, 2020

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

Govt’s aman purchase hits a record
12:00 AM, March 11, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:32 AM, March 11, 2020
Farmers to benefit, say experts
The food procurement office, for the first time since 1996, has bought the highest amount of aman paddy and achieved its target of buying six lakh tonnes of the grain grown in the monsoon.
It bought 6.27 lakh tonnes of aman paddy since November following harvests. 
In the past 24 years, the public food office never succeeded in attaining goals of purchasing aman paddy, data from the food ministry showed.
This was the first time after 2010 that the government bought the paddy alongside rice—a decision that followed public outcry resulting from farmers' losses for prices slumping last year and growing demand to buy grains directly from farmers to ensure fair prices.
The food ministry announced to buy paddy from growers by the end of October with the objective to push up prices of the grain and help growers recoup losses, reducing its focus to buy the grain only from millers.
The food ministry estimated that the production of this year's aman paddy would cost Tk 21.55 a kilogramme (kg), down from Tk 25.30 the previous year.
It bought paddy at Tk 26 a kg based on a list of farmers supplied by the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) and scrutinised by upazila procurement committees, according to a senior official of the Directorate General (DG) of Food.
This has been made possible for increased monitoring by the food ministry and local administration, said the official.
During the aman paddy purchase period that officially ended last week, the DG of Food piloted procurement in 16 upazilas using mobile apps through which farmers could enroll their name.
Awareness campaigns by field level food offices also created interest among farmers to bring their produce to local procurement centres, said the official, asking not to be named as he is not authorised to talk to the media.
"They were better aware this time about the quality parameters," the official said, adding that farmers were not aware about the quality parameters for supplying paddy in the past.
They used to return disheartened as field offices would decline to take the grain because of moisture content in the grain going past the 14 per cent limit, he added.
This is the highest amount of aman paddy purchased till date, said Md Tahmidul Islam, additional secretary in charge of procurement and supply at the food ministry.
"Monitoring by ministry high-ups has paid off."
The latest purchase of aman paddy by the food office is the second highest amount of unhusked grain after boro, the principal crop.
The government bought the highest 6.70 lakh tonnes of boro in 2016, data from the food ministry showed.
Apart from paddy purchase, the DG of Food bought 3.37 lakh tonnes of parboiled rice from millers at Tk 36 per kg and 43,400 tonnes of unboiled rice during the just concluded aman purchase season, according to the food ministry data.
"It is commendable. This shows that the government can buy paddy if it has willingness," said Akhter Ahmed, country director of International Food Policy Research Institute.
"It would be beneficial for farmers if the government buys paddy directly from producers in the next boro harvesting season," he said.
As drying of boro paddy was a challenge for farmers, the government could buy paddy irrespective of the moisture content and give it to millers for drying and milling, Ahmed said.
Quazi Shahabuddin, a former director general of the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies, said farmers usually have a higher marketable surplus during boro harvests compared to that of aman, the second biggest crop.
The government should purchase a higher quantity of paddy from farmers in the next boro season, he suggested.

Edo Rice shows you what rice tasted like in the samurai era by continuing centuries of tradition

·       Description: Casey BaseelCasey Baseel18 hours ago
A Tokyo time trip for your taste buds.
Japan is a culinarily eclectic place, with the country’s penchant for importing and adapting international food trends giving us such modern innovations as Pikachu Cherry Blossoms Afro Pancakes and cheddar cheese tempura. But one thing that’s been a constant for hundreds and hundreds of years is that rice is the foundation of the Japanese diet.
That doesn’t mean that the rice people in Japan eat today tastes the same as what their samurai-era ancestors ate, though. We recently found out about a place in Tokyo that sells rice with the flavor of the Edo period, the stretch of Japanese history from 1603 to 1868, corresponding to the reign of Japan’s last shogunate.
This Edo Rice (or Edomai, as it’s called in Japanese) is offered at Sumidaya Shoten, a rice shop in the Sumida Ward of Tokyo (which used to be called Edo before it became Japan’s official capital). However, Edo Rice doesn’t get its name from being grown in Tokyo, but from being prepared using the centuries-old style that was used for rice in the Edo period.
As the de facto seat of power in the day, Edo’s population needed more rice than could be grown nearby. Edo rice merchants would buy rice from around the country, have it shipped to Edo, carefully selecting the best regional varieties to blend together. Sumidaya Shoten follows this tradition with a resident rice connoisseur handling the selection, but the key link to the past is in how Edo Rice is polished.
In simple terms, “polishing” the rice involves buffing the kernels to remove their rough, outer layers. Nowadays, modern machinery makes it easy to remove as much of the outer layer as rice sellers want to, and removing more of it results in kernels with a bright white color that’s considered extra-appetizing in Japan.
▼ Modern-polished white rice
Back in the Edo period, though, rice millers had to rely on water wheels to turn their grindstones, and this less-efficient (compared to modern machinery) system meant that only a thin strip of the outer layer was removed from the rice.
Sumidaya Shoten isn’t so old school that it uses a water wheel, but it does configure its machinery to remove far less of the rice’s outer layer, resulting in rice with a distinct amber color.
▼ Edo Rice
▼ Modern white rice (left) vs. Edo Rice (right)
While you can cook Edo Rice like any other variety, Sumidaya Shoten’s staff does have a few recommendations. First, a light washing is best, they told us. A quick two or three rinses prior to cooking is all you need.
▼ The water quickly turns a milky white with Edo Rice.
Next, Sumidaya Shoten suggests an extra-long soak, leaving the rice in water for two to three hours before cooking.
Oddly enough, once it’s time to actually cook the rice, the staff told us it’s best to use your rice cooker’s high-speed cooking mode. They’re not sure of the exact reason why, but somehow bringing the rice cooker up to its full cooking temperature as quickly as possible results in the best flavor, they’ve found.
Once the cooking was done and we opened the lid of our rice cooker, though, we were in for a major surprise
…because despite the amber color of the pre-cooked kernels, Edo Rice cooks up as snowy white as any other rice we regularly buy in Japan.
▼ Modern white rice (left) and Edo Rice (right)
But while Edo Rice may look like the extra-polished stuff, it has a fragrance and flavor all its own. By leaving more of the upper layers of the kernels intact, Edo Rice has an extra-grainy aroma that entices you to bite into a mouthful as soon as possible. Once you do, you’re rewarded with a deeper flavor than modern rice varieties, one that seems to become sweeter and sweeter as you chew and smell it.
Edo Rice is sold in two sizes: a 300-gram (10.6-ounce) pack bearing a beautiful ukiyo-e rendering of Mt. Fuji for 648 yen (US$6.30), or a more utilitarian five-kilogram sack for 2,450 yen.

Description: View image on Twitter


Between the Kyoto restaurant serving one of the favorite foods of famed samurai warlord Akechi Mitsuhide, the return of a milky snack loved by Japanese court nobles 1,000 years ago, and now this, we’re happy to be having so many ways to let our taste buds time travel back in Japanese history, plus have another reason to use our new portable rice cooker.
Shop information
Sumidaya Shoten /

Nigeria: Regular Govt, Private Sector Interface Critical to Economic Dev - Osinbajo

10 MARCH 2020

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says that regular interface between the Federal Government and private sector is critical to the development of the economy, especially in creating employment.
Osinbajo made this submission on Tuesday when he received on a courtesy visit to the Presidential Villa, a delegation from the Kano Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture (KACCIMA) led by its President, Alhaji Dalhatu Abubakar.
Also read: Osinbajo backs devoting 1% of nation's budget to research, innovation
According to the vice president, the continuous engagement between the public and private sectors is important.
"I have continued to emphasize that the private sector is the engine of the economy and will continue to see in what ways we can support the private sector.
"So, we need to be able to get private sector interest along with the government to bring power to Kano, for instance.
"If we can bring a substantial amount of investment in power to Kano, we can really make a difference. So, I am looking forward to working with you on power."
Osinbajo said that anyone, who understood the history of business in Nigeria, could not, in any way, diminish the importance of the Kano business community.
"As a matter of fact, when we started the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), in engaging the partnership that will help us, Lagos and Kano had to be the two focal points for the implementation of our reform plans.
"We must establish a way of collaborating, where we look at specific measures on how to advance solutions to the numerous problems that are facing us."
Osinbajo said he was encouraged by the report he received from the delegation on the progress made by rice millers in Kano State.
The vice president restated efforts being made by the Federal Government to further support agricultural production, including a collaboration with other partners using 12 dams across the country under the Transforming Irrigation Management Project.
Osinbajo urged the business community in the state to support the free education initiative of the state government as a way of building the future workforce for the industries that would be established.
"Everywhere businesses have thrived and succeeded, it has been accompanied by the drive of young people who have the requisite skills to do the necessary jobs.
"There is, therefore, the need for KACCIMA to support the free education initiative in Kano; even just the advocacy is important," he said.
Earlier, Abubakar, who the delegation to welcome the vice president into the conference room with a birthday song, commended Osinbajo for his commitment to the achievement of successes under the ease of doing business initiative.
He described him as a "reliable partner," of the President.
"Your excellent leadership qualities and commitment in making Nigeria a better country has been responsible for all the achievements that have been recorded under PEBEC," he said.
Abubakar, who is also the Chairman, Alhamsad Rice Mill Limited, told State House correspondents that the visit was to meet with the vice president and intimate him of the challenges confronting KACCIMA.
He said that there were over 300 industries in Kano that had been abandoned, hence KACCIMA's resolve to seek Federal Government's intervention, especially on the issue of power supply and border closure.
"As we say, the revival of our industries is most important because if the Federal Government revives our industries, most of our youths can get work

Genome Reading Technique Of Basmati Rice Can Help Tackle World Hunger

Description: Genome reading technique of Basmati rice can help tackle world hunger

As the most important food crop on the planet, rice plays a critical role in global food security. Following a breakthrough in genome sequencing, NYU scientists are now hopeful that this vital crop can be made more resistant to drought and disease.

ABU DHABI, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News / WAM - 10th Mar, 2020) As the most important food crop on the planet, rice plays a critical role in global food security. Following a breakthrough in genome sequencing, NYU scientists are now hopeful that this vital crop can be made more resistant to drought and disease.
The research, partly supported by NYU Abu Dhabi’s Research Institute, was published recently in Genome Biology details the breakthrough, which has been to innovate a new ‘whole-genome’ approach that determines an organism’s complete DNA sequence. In addition, through a collaboration with UK-based Oxford Nanopore Technologies, a third-generation sequencing technology has been developed, that allows long single molecules of DNA to be sequenced more quickly, improving on the completeness and efficiency of the process.
These developments are a significant step forward in the field. Previously, researchers were only able to assemble the genome for basmati rice using ‘short-read’ sequencing. This ‘short-read’ approach, in which DNA is broken into tiny fragments and then reassembled, leads to missing sequences and important gaps in the data.
NYU’s researchers focused on two varieties. The first, Basmati 334 from Pakistan, is known to be drought-tolerant and resistant to rice-killing bacterial blight.
The second, Dom Sufid from Iran, is an aromatic long-grain rice that is one of the most expensive on the market.
"This process significantly improves our understanding of the genetics of an organism," said Lead Scientist and Silver Professor of Biology at New York University, and faculty investigator at NYU Abu Dhabi's Center for Genomics and Systems Biology Michael Purugganan. "For a variety like Basmati 334, which is highly resistant to drought and blight, it means we can identify the genes responsible and work with rice breeders and growers to strengthen these valuable traits. For such a critical global commodity, even a tiny improvement in yields can impact our ability to feed the world."
In addition to Purugganan and postdoctoral scholar at NYU and the Genome Biology study’s lead author Jae Young Choi, the study authors are Zoe N. Lye and Simon C. Groen of NYU’s Center for Genomics and Systems Biology; Xiaoguang Dai, Priyesh Rughani, Eoghan D. Harrington, and Sissel Juul of Oxford Nanopore Technologies, and Sophie Zaaijer of the New York Genome Center. The work was supported by grants from the Zegar Family Foundation (A16-0051), National Science Foundation Plant Genome Research Program (IOS-1546218), Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (GBMF2550.06), and NYU Abu Dhabi Research Institute.

Field trials of ‘pest-proof’ cotton variety soon: CSIR

MYSURU, MARCH 10, 2020 08:16 IST
UPDATED: MARCH 10, 2020 08:16 IST

The variety has been developed by a Lucknow-based research laboratory

In continuation of CSIR’s ‘farmer-centric’ approaches, a new pest-resistant cotton variety developed by a Lucknow-based research laboratory is ready for field trials which are expected to be done soon at Nagpur in Maharashtra.
Speaking to reporters on Monday, CSIR Director-General Shekhar C. Mande, who was in Mysuru, said the cotton crop usually faces the problem of pest attacks and scientists carried out a research for developing the “pest-proof” cotton variety.
The same variety will undergo further tests and trials before it is certified for commercial cultivation. The research has been carried out in collaboration with the ICAR-Central Institute for Cotton Research.
Dr. Mande recalled the Samba rice variety (Samba Mashuri), which was developed jointly by the Hyderabad-based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, a CSIR lab, and the ICAR-Indian Institute of Rice Research. Today, this “pest-resistant” rice variety was grown in about 18 lakh hectares in many States, helping farmers fetch higher yields and higher returns.
Dr. Mande also spoke about the aroma and honey missions. The Khadi Village Industries Corporation (KVIC) has joined hands with CSIR for the “Honey Mission”. Honey is a good alternative to sugar since it contains medicinal properties. A MoU had been signed with KVIC, he said. The idea is to help farmers take up modern methods of beekeeping to improve honey yield and also get additional income.
He said a new programme would be launched by the DST from April 1 to promote basic sciences by setting aside a grant of 50 crore. It would help students come up with scientific ideas in an attempt to encourage them to pursue basic science.
On the Aroma Mission and the CSIR Floriculture programme, he said the Aroma and Phyto-Pharmaceutical Mission was intended to boost the cultivation of aromatic plants that have medicinal properties. This mission, taken by the Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants and medicinal plants such as lavender and others, will be promoted with the help of farmers in several States, including Karnataka.


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Scientists develop a quick Salmonella detection method

Tuesday, 10 March, 2020

Description: Scientists develop a quick <em>Salmonella</em> detection method
The conventional scientific process for identifying bacteria’s family — known as serotyping — can be time-consuming. For Salmonella it used to take three days, and in some cases more than 12 days, to assign a final classification for complex servovars.
Researchers have developed a method for completing whole-genome sequencing to determine Salmonella serotypes in two hours, and the whole identification process within eight hours. The study was conducted by researchers from Cornell University, the Mars Global Food Safety Centre in Beijing and the University of Georgia, with its findings published in Food Microbiology.
Determining Salmonella serotypes allows food safety professionals to find the source of bacterial contamination, which can occurs in a range of foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, meat, cereal, infant formula and pet food.
“As the food supply chain becomes ever more global and interconnected, the opportunity for food to become contaminated with Salmonella increases. In the fast-moving world of food manufacturing, where rapid identification and response to Salmonella contamination incidents is critical, developing a more efficient pathogen identification method is essential,” said Silin Tang, lead author and senior research scientist in microbial risk management at the Mars Global Food Safety Centre.
Salmonella cells proliferate in an agar plate. Image credit: Mars Global Food Safety Centre.
Global food safety regulators, food authorities and public health agencies are opting to use whole-genome sequencing methods for pathogen subtyping rather than conventional serotyping to monitor Salmonella infections. Researchers have attributed this to the high turnaround times, costs and complex sample preparations associated with conventional serotyping.
The study assessed all 38 Salmonella strains — representing 34 serotypes —and accurately predicted the serotype level for all, using whole-genome sequencing. The findings present good news for the food industry, as very few laboratories can conduct classical serotyping. Whole-genome sequencing enables testing to be conducted in labs close to food processing plants, as the test uses simple equipment.
“In some countries, it can take up to two days to even get the suspected Salmonella to a certified lab,” said Martin Wiedmann, food safety professor and faculty fellow at the Cornell Institute for Food Systems.
Top image credit: ©

New Studies Show Beneficial Bugs Can Co-exist with Bt Crops

March 10, 2020 
By Mark Lynas
Genetically modified, insect-resistant Bt crops do not have harmful effects on beneficial bugs in farmers’ fields, two new scientific papers published this week have shown.
These add to the environmental case for GM technology, because by controlling crop pests in a very targeted way using insecticidal proteins (Bt) expressed in plant tissues, farmers can reduce broad-spectrum insecticide sprays and thus protect wider farm-scale biodiversity.
In the first paper, an international team led by Chinese scientists reported that after conducting field experiments lasting several years, they found no significant differences in the spider communities populating Bt rice fields as compared to a non-Bt control rice crop.
On the other hand, as expected, when both types of fields were treated with chemical insecticide sprays, populations of spiders were significantly reduced. Spiders play an important role in controlling agricultural pests.
The scientists write in Plant Biotechnology Journal: “These results suggest that Bt rice has no long term impacts on the structure of the spider community, whilst chemical insecticides exhibit negative impacts.”
The second paper looked at the potential impact of Bt maize in Brazil on a tiny parasitic wasp called Trichogramma pretiosum. This insect occurs naturally in the country, and because it feeds on the eggs of fall armyworm moths and other agricultural pests it is highly valued as a biocontrol agent by farmers.
If the insecticidal proteins expressed inside Bt maize crops — which have proven extremely effective in targeting lepidopteran pests — were also harming beneficial insects like T. pretiosum, that would be a serious concern for farmers and ecologists alike.
Fortunately, that appears not to be the case. As reported by Brazilian scientists in the journal Biocontrol Science and Technology: “All Bt hybrids [of maize] evaluated were harmless to T. pretiosum.”
The authors add: “All the Bt proteins evaluated in this study target lepidopterans specifically, and do not have deleterious effects on T. pretiosum, even when extreme exposures produced under laboratory conditions have been tested.”
The findings of both papers are important because they strengthen the case for the use of Bt crops in integrated pest management (IPM) farming approaches. One of the techniques of IPM is to nurture populations of natural enemies of insect pests — such as lacewings, wasps, ladybugs and spiders — to reduce the necessity for chemical sprays.
These studies, which add to a widespread consensus that Bt crops do not harm non-target organisms, mean that Bt crops can be used as part of a broad array of IPM techniques. This is important also to try to forestall the evolution of resistance to Bt proteins among the pest species.
One recent review paper concluded: “In summary, the available body of literature provides evidence that insecticidal proteins used in commercialized Bt crops cause no direct, adverse effects on non-target species outside the order (i.e., Lepidoptera for Cry1 and Cry2 proteins) or the family (i.e. Coleoptera, Chrysomelidae for Cry3 proteins) of the target pest(s).”
Good news for spiders and wasps is also good news for farmers and the environment, it seems.
Virus-induced supply chain disruptions to hit industrial activity in Pakistan

Mubarak Zeb KhanUpdated March 10, 2020
Description: It is estimated that the current stocks are available for 30 days or more and have not reached a critical level. — AFP/File
It is estimated that the current stocks are available for 30 days or more and have not reached a critical level. — AFP/File
ISLAMABAD: A high-powered government committee has evolved a comprehensive report highlighting the threat of delay in supply chain of raw and intermediate goods besides a sizable decline in bilateral trade in the wake of epidemic coronavirus that hit China in December 2019.
Since the outbreak, this is the first indigenous report prepared to analyse the possible impact of outbreak of coronavirus on Pakistan’s global trade with special emphasis on bilateral transactions with China. Various governments departments and agencies were asked for consultations with relevant stakeholders.
The inter-ministerial Trade Advisory Committee (TAC) was set up at a time, when international institutions are also analysing impact of disruption in supply chain of raw and intermediate goods from China to the global market.
In consultation with almost 12 trade associations, it was suggested that importers are facing delay in supplies. The sectors that were consulted include auto, electric fans, cosmetics, marble, rice, pharmaceuticals, surgical instruments, readymade garments, leather and textile.
It is estimated that the current stocks are available for 30 days or more and have not reached a critical level. However, the businesses believe restoration of activities within a month’s time, while for Hubei province it may take two months.
In textile, the prices of polyester begun to rise but now is decreasing towards stabilisation. But in terms of readymade garments, orders have diverted from China to Pakistan which will result in improved export figures for US and EU in the coming months.
The garments industries have already received exports orders from EU and USA for which local manufacturers are now operating on full capacity. On the other hand, outbreak in Iran can impact the leather sector as they import raw skin of sheep and other animals in bulk quantity from the Islamic Republic.
The biggest decrease in exports of Pakistan to China was seen in rice for February, which the concerned association believes will rebound quickly. But in case of emergency, the rice, especially Irri-6, is expected to divert to the African market.
Pakistan’s exports of fish and fish products to Thailand will decline mainly because the tourism industry of Bangkok has badly been affected by the outbreak.
The stakeholders of cable manufacturers, cutlery, steel manufacturers and marble industry have informed the government that raw material and intermediate goods will last for one month. However, these sectors are optimistic that supplies will resume within a month.
It was also pointed out that some confusion was created owing to certain orders which led to disruption in exports of commodities. The export consignment of mask was stopped on the order of the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan. However, the ban yet to be issued by the Ministry of Commerce.
Similarly, the Ministry of National Health regulation issued for the fumigation of all consignments of secondhand clothes, which was overstretched to all cargo entering Pakistan. This decision was later clarified and had already caused much confusion. The government also imposed ban on import of live animal and birds from China.
On the bilateral side, Pakistan’s trade with the has been affected adversely during the 24 days of February as exports have declined by $28m or 18pc whereas imports fell $137m or 15pc.
Top declining exports of Pakistan include rice, ethyl alcohol, cotton yarn, chromium ores, cotton fabric, raw leather, natural sands, marble, vegetable saps, natural steatite, flour and meals and sacks and bags.
On the other hand, increase in exports was seen in copper articles, t shirts, men’s garments, plastics, aluminum articles, iron ores, women garments, jersey’s, home textiles, birds skins, hosiery items, tools and cutlery.
In the first 24 days of February, decline was observed in import of electrical machinery and equipment, synthetic filament yarn, iron and steel, aluminum articles, plastics, medical and surgical instrument, miscellaneous articles, chemicals, pile fabrics, synthetic filament woven fabrics, footwear, rubber articles, tools and cutlery, ceramic flags, fertilisers, auto parts and base metal articles.
The most important areas of concern include electrical machinery, synthetic yarn and fabric, pile fabric aluminum articles, surgical instruments, chemicals, ceramic flags, fertilisers and base metals.
“For now, the stakeholders do not sound vulnerable to look for alternate options of imports,” the report says, adding unless the situation in China further deteriorates and supplies remain stuck. “There is nothing to panic at this point in time,” it continues.
At the same time, reports from trade and investment offices in China have confirmed that although there are delays in clearance of shipments to and from the country given shortage of staff and pile up due to earlier closures, port operations are now coming back to normal.
“Not a single complaint has been received by commercial section where Pakistan-bound shipments are not being cleared,” claimed the report quoting trade offices in China.
Published in Dawn, March 10th, 2020


Sialkot-Lahore Motorway to invigorate Pakistan’s manufacturing hub

Description: Sialkot-Lahore Motorway to invigorate Pakistan’s manufacturing hub


March 10, 2020
LAHORE        -            Sialkot-Lahore Motorway being opened to general traffic on 30th this month will not only invigorate country’s key manufacturing city of Sialkot, but also help speed up economic development of Pakistan. Pakistani-American entrepreneur Mussadaq Chughtai, expressed these views while talking to APP here Monday.
 “The realization of this long-awaited project will improve connectivity of golden industrial triangle of Sialkot, Gujranwala, Gujrat-Wazirabad to the rest of the country especially Lahore, resulting in a big boost to exports,” he hoped. To a question, he elaborated that located in the eastern part of Punjab, the area now connected via motorway was a key manufacturing part of the country, accounting for about 15 percent of Pakistan’s annual exports.
“Exports from Sialkot included sports goods, surgical equipment, leather garments, riding gear, polo equipment, badges, motorbike accessories and agricultural products including the world-famous Basmati rice. The neighboring Gujranwala is the center of ceramic and textile products, while Wazirabad and Gujrat provide a big share of cutlery. The area is also agricultural heartland of the country,” he maintained.
Mussadaq Chughtai, who also founded Pakistani-American Leadership Center, said that now the new stretch of the motorway with its connecting points would reduce travel time between industrial zones and shipment facilities in Punjab capital city. He cited that transport between Mehmood Booti (Ring Road) on the outskirts of Lahore and Sialkot would be just one hour.
At the moment, it took around three hours to travel from Lahore to Sialkot but the new motorway section, known as M-11, would save around two hours time and ultimately save millions of rupees being spent on fuel and ensure fast-paced shipments for businesses. To another question, he explained that the ease and pace of shipment as well as freeing up of large sums of money would gear up economic activity as businesses would invest more hence there would be more jobs and more people employed.
 He asserted, “A surge in manufacturing will lead to a jump in exports, something that Pakistan needs urgently to break out of its current low volume hovering between $20 to $25 billion annually.” With modern infrastructure, Pakistan would now be much better-placed to diversify its manufacturing base, and it gave a tremendous edge to Pakistan to explore potential in new industries including engineering and electronics. He mentioned that Sialkot International Airport, the country’s first ever privately built facility, would also see a rapid rise in passenger travel and generate revenues to the tune of tens of millions in Pak rupees. This summer SIAL Air, a Sialkot-based airline, would start three domestic flights of Airbus that would operate in the first phase from Sialkot to Karachi-Islamabad-Lahore-Peshawar. According to official figures, he said, Sialkot-Lahore Motorway had been built at an approximate cost of Rs40 billion and runs 91.47 km, consisting of two lanes on each side with seven interchanges, namely Kala Shah Kaku, Muridke, Narowal, Gujranwala, Daska, Pasrur and Sambrial.

Vietnam has chances for exporting rice to Africa

Pursuant to a report of the Vietnam Trade Office in Algeria, the Ministry of Trade and Industry said that this year’s import demand for rice in Senegal in particular and Africa in general would remain high as in February, locust plagues in East Africa along with the Covid-19 epidemic led to holding foods, notably rice.
Description: (Illustrative photo:SGGP)
(Illustrative photo:SGGP)
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, Africa's import demand for rice in 2020 is estimated at 15.7 million tons, of which Senegal may have to import 1.3 million tons.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, last year, Senegal imported about 1.5 million tons of rice, an increase of 15 percent compared to 2018 due to poor rice production in the Senegal River valley, down about 100,000 tons.

In 2019, Vietnam's rice exports to Senegal increased sharply, but the price of rice dropped.
In this market, Vietnamese rice has to compete with Indian, Pakistan, Thailand, China, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, United States, Malaysia and Cambodia.

Genome Editing Strategy Could Improve Rice, Other Crops

Description: Genome Editing Strategy Could Improve Rice, Other Crops

UC Davis researchers use CRISPR to genetically engineer rice with high levels of beta-carotene, the precursor of vitamin A

Scientists at the University of California - Davis have used CRISPR technology to genetically engineer rice with high levels of beta-carotene, the precursor of vitamin A. The technique they used provides a promising strategy for genetically improving rice and other crops. The study was published Mar. 4 in the journal Nature Communications.
Rice is a staple food crop for more than half the world's population. Golden Rice, a genetically engineered rice with high levels of beta-carotene, has been approved for consumption in more than five countries, including the Philippines, where vitamin A deficiency in children is widespread. Because of the social impact of Golden Rice, the researchers chose the high beta-carotene trait as an example.
Conventional plant genetic engineering uses a bacterium or a particle gun to transfer genes encoding desired traits into the plant genome. In this case, researchers would use a bacterium to take beta-carotene producing genes and transfer them into the rice genome. But those transgenes can integrate into random positions in the genome, which can result in reduced yields.
"Instead, we used CRISPR to precisely target those genes onto genomic safe harbors, or chromosomal regions that we know won't cause any adverse effects on the host organism," said first author Oliver Dong, a postdoctoral scholar in the UC Davis Department of Plant Pathology and Genome Center.

In addition, the researchers were able to precisely insert a very large fragment of DNA that does not contain marker genes. By contrast, conventional genetic engineering relies on the inclusion of marker genes in the inserted DNA fragment. These marker genes are retained when the plant is bred over generations, which can often trigger public concern and stringent regulations of the transgenic products before their entrance to the marketplace.
"Scientists have done targeted insertions before and without marker genes, but we haven't been able to do it with such big fragments of DNA," said Dong. "The larger the fragment of DNA, the more biological function or complex traits we can provide the plants."
Dong said this opens up the possibility that genes controlling multiple desirable traits, such as having high levels of beta-carotene as well as being disease-resistant or drought-tolerant, can be clustered at a single position within the genome. This can greatly reduce subsequent breeding efforts.

New USDA Trade Specialist Visits USA Rice 

ARLINGTON, VA -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) new international trade specialist for rice, Irina Gonzalez, visited USA Rice's headquarters today to learn more about USA Rice and meet staff.  

Sarah Moran, USA Rice vice president international, provided an overview of how the more than $5
million that USA Rice received in 2019 was used to promote U.S. rice in more than 20 international markets.  Several success stories were discussed, such as increased sales and importer participation in promotions in the West Bank, a popular promotion with Air Canada, and new promotions at Costco in Japan.  Moran also discussed proposed plans for the nearly $6 million allocated for 2020.

"I am thrilled to be collaborating with USA Rice and meeting with staff, learning as much as possible about the rice industry, and interacting with industry members," said Gonzalez.  "USA Rice has a long history of excellence in promoting and representing the U.S. rice industry and I look forward to continuing to support those efforts and seeing further success for the organization and the industry."

Gonzalez has worked with USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) for nearly eight years, in both the food aid division and cooperator programs division, where she has covered commodities including coffee and wheat, and worked on myriad issues ranging from sanitary and phytosanitary concerns to disaster assistance.

"What makes agriculture such a unique and rewarding field is the passion and drive of those involved," she said.  "I have tremendous respect for the farmers, millers, exporters, economists, project managers, policy experts, and all the other talented individuals who make up our agricultural sector and the rice industry.  I am proud to work alongside you and to contribute to your efforts.  And I promise to continue consuming one of my favorite dishes - arancini!"

USA Rice Daily

WASDE Report Released  

WASHINGTON, DC -- The 2019/20 U.S. rice supply and use estimates are unchanged relative to last month.  The projected all rice season-average farm price is unchanged at $13.00 per cwt; however, the Other States medium grain price is lowered $0.20 per cwt to $11.90.Global 2019/20 rice supplies are raised 3.4 million tons primarily on a 3-million-ton increase for India production stemming from revised government data.  Global exports are lowered 500,000 tons primarily on a reduced forecast for India, despite its larger supplies.  India's exports are lowered 700,000 tons on a slowing pace of trade to African markets.  Global imports are reduced 600,000 tons led by a 300,000-ton reduction for Nigeria which was lowered on a slowing pace of parboiled exports to West Africa and enforcement of land border closures.  India is an important parboiled rice exporter to the region.  World consumption is lowered 800,000 tons, led by a 500,000-ton reduction for India.  With supplies higher and use revised down this month, global ending stocks are raised 4.2 million tons.  Outside of several small and mostly offsetting changes, India accounts for nearly all of the global stock increase.  India and world stocks are now projected at 35 million tons and 182.3 million tons respectively.

Go here to read the full report.
USA Rice Daily

The Best Gluten-Free Frozen Foods You Can Buy
Next time you reach for a convenience food from the gluten-free aisle, make sure it's good.

TV dinners were introduced in the 1950s, and for better or worse, when it comes to busy weeknights, we’ve come to rely on the convenience of frozen foods to this day.
But if you’re gluten-free, good entrees in the freezer case can be hard to spot. For nights when you’re just too tired to read labels, we reviewed the best gluten-free frozen meal choices.
Our taste-test team consisted of people who eat gluten-free regularly ― some have celiac disease, some eat gluten-free by choice. We tried dozens of products available nationwide, and most items are also certified gluten-free. In order to be considered, preparation needed to be super simple: just heat in the microwave or oven for a short amount of time.
Here’s our grocery shopping cheat sheet for when you’re looking for an easy meal.

Best Pasta

Gluten-free pasta has come a long way. Most of the frozen pastas we tried were flavorful and heated up without getting gummy.

Tasting notes: “Oh my gosh! This can’t be gluten-free. It’s sooo good.” “The sauce is nice. I like the filling ― so creamy.” “This fills me up. Delicious.” “Can I have more?”

Best Grain-Free: Capello’s Gnocchi
Since many who eat gluten-free also avoid grains, we tried grain-free products as part of our taste test. Capello’s gnocchi are made from almond flour and certified gluten-free. The product comes frozen and boils up in a few minutes. We served the gnocchi with a favorite jarred sauce, cooked chicken and veggies.
Tasting notes: “The texture is just right, I love this.” “I wish there was more in the package.” “This is a nice dinner.” “I don’t eat gnocchi much, but I like this.”

Best Meatballs

Beetnik Grass-Fed Beef Meatballs
This Austin-based, family-owned company caught our eye because all the ingredients are organic as well as gluten-free. They take great care in creating recipes with the health of customers in mind and promise ever-increasing availability in frozen individual meals as well as family sizes.
Tasting Notes: “I like the texture.” “These taste good with the sauce.” “Super meaty.”

Best Indian

Among the meals we tasted, the curries were some of the most satisfying, leaving tasters feeling full. They provided lots of variety with vegetarian options and many different spice levels. All the brands we tried came with basmati rice that cooked up without sticking or drying out.

Best Mild Curry: Saffron Road Coconut Curry Chicken
This Korma-style curry, flavored with garlic, ginger, turmeric and coconut cream, is certified gluten-free. Our team, which included children, was pleasantly surprised that such deep flavors and creamy sauce could emerge from a microwave.
Tasting Notes: “Coconut-y.” “Spice sits on my tongue.” “Creamy sauce. Yum!” “There’s a little bit of heat on the back end.” “Excellent. I’d eat this every day.”

Best Medium Spice Curry: Deep Indian Kitchen Chicken Tikka Masala
Made in small batches, this curry shows off its creamy tomato base with notes of ginger, turmeric and cumin.
Tasting Notes: “Creamy.” “Nice thick sauce.” “Good spice.” “Very good. The more you eat, the more it grows on you.”

Best Comfort Food

This entree fit the bill for days when you want something that feels homemade but you don’t have time to cook. Like all Beetnik’s offerings, all ingredients are organic and certified gluten-free.
Tasting Notes: “ I love the potatoes on top. Fluffy.” “Nice seasoning.” “I’m surprised I like the kale in here.” “This tastes homemade.”

Best Kid-Friendly

Dr. Praeger’s Spinach Littles

Lots of kids’ food items come in a variety of shapes, but many are not gluten-free. Our kid testers loved the fun green dinosaurs, and adults appreciated that the novelty helped kids eat their veggies and contained no added preservatives. The dinos are Dr. Praeger’s best-seller, but the broccoli stars were also a hit as well as spinach, broccoli and Brussels sprout cakes for adults.
Tasting Notes: “Oooh, these are cool.” “Mmmm.” “Yummy!” “This spinach tastes good. I’d eat these again.”

Best Appetizer

Gee Free Spanakopita

You’d never guess these tasty bites are made with gluten-free pastry, and the filling is made with satisfying, creamy feta, ricotta and well-seasoned spinach. Our team agreed we’d serve this to a room full of gluten-eating guests without hesitation.
Tasting Notes: “Very flaky, good pastry.” “These are gluten-free?” “Buttery.” “Creamy filling.” “Tasty. The best.”

Best Asian

Feel Good Foods Potstickers

These pan fry in minutes, and the texture and flavors of both vegetable and chicken varieties satisfied our craving for Asian food. The sauce made with tamari makes this a viable certified gluten-free option.
Tasting Notes: “I’m so glad for these. I miss Chinese food.” “The sauce is sweet. Lots of tasty filling.” “I could eat these for days.”

Best Latin Flavors

With corn being the base for Mexican food and a staple in most gluten-free diets, we were disappointed that many of the foods in the Mexican and Latin category were bland and often too mushy for our team’s liking. We tried latin foods in a wide variety of its forms. In the end, two brands’ empanadas stood out as the most flavorful. Of note: Our testers all live in San Diego, where excellent taco shops abound, so standards in this category are particularly high.

Brazi Bites Empanadas

Best known for its Brazilian cheese bread, Brazi Bites recently released its version of an empanada. While traditional empanadas are more of a hand-held pie, these are more finger food. The product is very flavorful with shredded meat that tastes like it was slow cooked with spices. These come in four different flavors, some vegetarian. They must be baked, not microwaved.
Tasting Notes: “Very good flavor.” “Beef has a little kick.” “Dough has great flavor.” “Delicious.”

Cocina 54 Empanadas Chicken & Peppers

The family that runs this company got their start in order to make authentic empanadas that they missed from their home country, Argentina. Our team tasted the attention to detail. They cook in small batches that provide a homemade touch and are certified gluten-free. Though packaging has both microwave and oven instructions, baking the product yielded best results. Five varieties include spicy and vegetarian.
Tasting Notes: “I like the filling.” “Filling tastes homemade.” “I wish the pastry was more flaky.” “I like the chunks of chicken, tangy with the onions and peppers. Mmm, olives too.”