Thursday, April 16, 2020

16th April,2020 Daily Global Regional Local Rice E-Newsletter

NFA resolves rice milling problems to insure continuous supply 

QUEZON CITY, April 16 --  National Food Authority (NFA) Administrator Judy Carol Dansal recently met with the agency's ricemilling contractors to address operational issues and insure the continuous and unimpeded flow of government rice supply across the country, especially in Metro Manila and other areas placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
The meeting was held in NFA Cabanatuan City on April 11, Black Saturday, a day after Dansal observed the millers’ withdrawal of palay for milling from NFA warehouses in Cabanatuan City, and their actual rice delivery to NFA bodegas on April 10, Good Friday. The Administrator had ordered all NFA offices to be operational 12/7 even during the Holy Week to promptly address all the rice needs of DSWD and LGUs for distribution to families affected by the ECQ.
Among the issues raised by the 51 rice milling contractors from Nueva Ecija and Bulacan were: their difficulty in the mobilization of mill operators, laborers, drivers and other employees due the Covid19 lockdown and border regulations issued by the LGUs; the procurement of their mills’ fast-moving parts and other consumables; and the difficulty in marketing their ricemilling by-products such as rice bran or "darak" and rice hull or "ipa".
Dansal, who is a member of the National Task Force (NTF) on Covid19, provided quick solutions to the millers' problems, saying, "We cannot afford to let anything hamper our palay milling activities to continuously serve the rice requirements of the National Capital Region (NCR) and of the other areas in the country during this time of crisis.”
For their unhampered mobility, the NFA Administrator said all milling contractors' employees and laborers shall be issued IDs by the NFA, as “providers of essential services, to be presented to checkpoints, for their easy passage. Their trucks, which haul palay for milling from NFA and deliver back rice recoveries, shall be provided with Inter Agency Task Force (IATF) stickers, similar to the haulers of other food commodities," she said.
To insure the fast turn-around of the millers’ trucks from the rice mill to the NFA warehouse and vice-versa, Dansal assured that the NFA has more than enough laborers in its warehouses, having hired tricycle drivers and other workers who, for the time being, have lost their regular livelihood due to the strict lockdown policies.
On the procurement of the mills’ fast-moving parts and other consumables, Dansal said she will recommend to the IATF to allow Manila-based suppliers of the needed ricemill spare parts to operate. And to facilitate the purchase of  spare parts, as well as for smooth coordination purposes, the NFA shall issue a certification to be presented to the checkpoints, for the umimpeded transport and purchase of parts needed for the immediate repair of ricemills. The NFA is part of the National Task Force (NTF) Covid19 under the Task Groups (TGs) on Response Operations and  Resource Management and Logistics.
On the sale of rice by-products "darak" and "ipa" which serve as NFA's payment-in-kind (PIK) for milling services, Dansal said the NFA has already made adjustments in the “guaranteed milling recovery” (GMR) to help rice millers recoup their “lost income”.
“About the rice hull, we shall also recommend to the IATF to make representations with Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Año, to advise the LGUs where the ricemills are located, to find places where the rice hull could be dumped, because right now there are no rice hull buyers. As for the NFA, I am instructing all the NFA Regional Directors and the Provincial Managers to help by identifying vacant spaces in the NFA compounds where the rice hulls can be temporarily placed or stored so we could eliminate these small yet valid problems of our milling contractors," Dansal said.
"Our primordial concern now is the continuous, full-blast NFA palay stocks milling, for a safe level supply of rice for this current emergency,” she stressed.
Dansal noted that since the declaration of a Luzon-wide ECQ on March 15, followed by other areas in the Visayas and Mindanao, 100% of the NFA's rice sales went to government agencies for the Covid19 emergency. As of April 13, the total rice withdrawals of NFA rice by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and various local government units (LGUs) reached 1,939,852 bags.
The government’s rice inventory currently stands at 7.69 million bags, good to last for 116 days or about 3 ½ months, based on the agency's 10% market share.
Meanwhile, NFA continues its aggressive local palay procurement as farmers continue to harvest their summer crop. Its 440 warehouses and buying stations are open daily, including Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays. As of this writing we procure an average of 20,052 bags per day.
“We are ready to serve the farmers and buy their harvest, especially when farmgate prices fall below the P19 per kg support price of the government,” Dansal said.

From January to mid-April, the NFA had already bought 2.56 million bags of palay. The agency targets to buy 2.4 million bags in April and 1.6 million bags in May, and a total of 15.44 million bags for the whole of 2020. (NFA)Pakistan A Plan To Keep Millions From Going Hungry During Shutdown. Will It Work?

A municipal worker in Karachi hands out bags of food — part of government efforts to help those who've lost their livelihood during Pakistan's lockdown to stem the spread of the coronavirus. 

After hours of pounding the pavement, plaintively warbling his flute, Mohammad Azem finally attracted a small crowd to watch his performing monkey dance to his music on an upscale Islamabad street.
A woman begging door-to-door and two security guards watched his monkey dance, the bells on his leash ringing as Azem pounded a little drum. Ending the show, the monkey saluted and placed a tin can on his head for change.
"Monkey money," Azem crooned. A guard tossed in the equivalent of 60 cents. It was all Azem earned on that recent Sunday — far from the days before the pandemic when he could make $5 in tips. "The day before yesterday my kids went to sleep without eating," he says.
Azem — and his small crowd — were in violation of stay-home orders that have been rolled out across Pakistan. Since late March, all essential industries have been shuttered to curb the spread of the coronavirus, and people in urban centers must stay home.
As a result, incomes have dried up for many Pakistanis who rely on low-paid work to survive. While there are more than 5,300 cases of COVID-19 as of Monday, the more immediate concern for these people is not becoming sick, but going hungry. The government is trying to help by distributing cash to millions of families, but there are concerns that people will fall through the gap.
"I don't want to get coronavirus, but when I see my kids like this, I can't stay home," says Azem. "I go out and work with the monkey. Maybe I'll get some money."
One driver who recently lost his job was begging by a thoroughfare on a recent day, alongside his pregnant wife. At a sprawling market in suburban Islamabad, out-of-work laborers ate biryani rice that a donor passed around in foam packs. More than a dozen more waited about, hoping for some charity.
Passersby and aid groups have been distributing cooked meals and packs of food to men like them, who gather around roadsides. Among them was Ibrahim, a 48-year-old mason. He said the men used to wait here for work, before the pandemic.
"People feel very ashamed," Ibrahim says. "When corona started, we cannot earn our money honestly. We [are] becoming in people's eyes as beggars. It's too much hard."
For that reason, laborer Mohammad Fayyaz Khan carried his shovel as he waited by the roadside for charity. The shovel signaled to people that he was a hard-on-his-luck laborer, not a professional beggar. He patted the pocket of his tattered pants. He had about a dollar left — if motorists didn't stop and give him food, he'd buy bread. "I'll eat a piece in the morning and a piece in the evening."
In Pakistan, where the informal sector accounts for more than 70% of all jobs, the government estimates that at least 8 million people have been affected by the shutdown. Their plight has prompted Prime Minister Imran Khan to say in many of his pandemic-related addresses that he did not approve of widespread shutdowns.
"Our economic situation is very fragile," Khan said on March 17 as cases climbed to more than 200 people. "If we close down the country, what will happen to the poor? People will die of hunger here."
To assist those Pakistanis whose incomes have dried up, last week the government began unrolling a one-off payment of about $70 to 12 million families. That's about about a third of all Pakistani households, according to Mosharraf Zaidi, a columnist who also runs Tabadlab, a think tank advocating for progressive government policy. The amount is roughly equivalent to the monthly wage of an unskilled urban laborer.
Those 12 million families represent a near-tripling of recipients of a modest social welfare plan run by the government known as the Ehsaas Program. Until the pandemic, it was distributing about $12 a month to Pakistan's poorest 4.5 million families. To expand the program, local officials have asked other officials in villages and districts to identify people in need.
Those in need can also apply online and through SMS messages, according to Sania Nishtar, the special adviser to the prime minister who oversees the program.
Zaidi called the expanded program "a massive leap forward."
"Pakistan has never, ever, experimented with a social protection instrument on this size and scale, in terms of the amount of money, in terms of the number of people that this is going to benefit," he adds.
But concerns remain of people falling through the gaps, including among the one-third of Pakistani men and women who are illiterate. Khan, the laborer, says he did not know how to apply for the program.
"People told me that my name should be on the list," Khan says. "I don't know. I can't read or write. If they pay, that's great."
Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit
Private traders urged to import more rice
Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star 
) - April 16, 2020 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines — The private sector must continue to buy rice from the world market to further boost the inventory of the country’s main staple amid the coronavirus disease pandemic.
During the Laging Handa virtual briefing Wednesday, the National Food Authority said private importers should continue bringing in rice.
Under the rice tariffication law, NFA’s role has been limited to maintaining buffer stock through local procurement.
“Commercial rice traders should continue their importation and sell those rice at reasonable markup prices,” NFA administrator Judy Dansal said.
The NFA chief maintained that the grains agency could sustain the rice needs of local government units amid the huge volume of stockpile.
The agency’s market participation has increased significantly to 17 percent from the average 10 percent due to large withdrawals from LGUs and other government agencies.
The government-subsidized rice is the cheapest in the market at P27 per kilo.
Meanwhile, the Action for Economic Reforms has opposed the government’s move to spend P8 billion to import an additional 300,000 metric tons of rice to boost the country’s rice inventory.
The budget will be given to the Department of Trade and Industry and the Philippine International Trading Corp. for the purchase via government-to-government scheme.
AER said the P8 billion would be better spent toward increasing farmers’ productivity and safeguarding their welfare given the ongoing pandemic. GIEWS Country Brief: Senegal 15-April-2020



15 Apr 2020

Originally published

15 Apr 2020


·       Above‑average output gathered in 2019
·       Cereal import requirements forecast at above‑average level
·       Cereal prices stabilized due to adequate supply
·       Pockets of food security remain among most vulnerable population
Above‑average cereal production harvested in 2019
Seasonal dry weather conditions are prevailing in most areas of the country and planting of the 2020 crops is expected to begin in June-July with the normal onset of the rains.
Harvesting of the major crops, including millet, sorghum and rice (paddy), was completed in November 2019. The 2019 national cereal production is estimated at 2.7 million tonnes, 28 percent above average, but 4 percent below the record 2018 output. Despite the average production at the national level, several localities recorded production shortfalls due to pockets of drought at the start (June) and the end (September) of the seasons as well as flooding that affected crops particularly in Bakel and Podor regions.
In most pastoral areas, seasonal rains are expected to start in July. The pastoral lean season is progressing normally with an average availability of pasture across the country, with the exception of some areas in the east that are facing localized pasture deficits. The domestic transhumant herds are expected to return from southern areas to pastoral areas in July with the normal onset of the rains. The animal health situation is generally stable, with no major disease outbreaks recorded.
Above‑average import requirements forecast
The country relies heavily on imports to cover its total domestic cereal consumption needs. Although the 2019 cereal production is estimated at an above‑average level, import requirements in the 2019/20 marketing year (November/October) are forecast at an above‑average level of 2.3 million tonnes. An increase in rice imports is expected due to the slight decline in rice production in the Senegal river valley and the intention of traders to build their stocks.
Cereal prices stabilized due to adequate supply
Despite the seasonal contraction in supply, markets are well stocked as a result of regular internal trade flows and imports. Prices of coarse grains were relatively stable or declined in February on account of good domestic supplies. However, the reduced 2019 output and strong domestic demand, particularly in urban areas, kept prices above their values a year earlier.
Pockets of food insecurity remain among most vulnerable population
According to the March 2020 "Cadre Harmonisé" analysis, the aggregate number of severely food insecure people (CH Phase 3: “Crisis” and above) is estimated at about 436 000, significantly up from the 151 000 people estimated in March 2019. If appropriate measures and responses are not implemented, this number is projected to increase to nearly 766 000 people during the next lean season between June and August 2020, well above the about 341 000 food insecure people that were estimated for the June ‑ August 2019 period. The deterioration in the food situation and the increase in the number of food insecure population is due to the effects of adverse weather events (drought and floods) on cereal and fodder production.
COVID‑19 and measures adopted by the Government
In view of the evolving COVID‑19 situation, the Government has decreed a State of Emergency, with the implementation of a total country lockdown and curfew. The Government has also taken some sanitary, social and economic measures. The Government has created a national social solidarity fund of XOF 1 000 billion, which will be sourced from public resources and open to voluntary contributions. Mandatory restrictions on population movements, combined with heightened levels of fear, have led many people to remain at home. Although these measures have not affected the access to food, further restrictions on population movements could hamper the access to land and have a negative impact on the 2020 agricultural production.

NFA: Rice supply in PH is enough amid ECQ

The Philippines has enough rice supply despite the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon.
National Food Authority (NFA) Administrator Judy Carol Dansal assured that the rice stock will still last for 11 days and that private entrepreneurs have plenty of rice reserves.
NFA Administrator Dansal also urged traders to continue importing rice to avoid shortage and called on importers to give a fair price to help consumers affected by the ECQ. – PTV News

Higher education institutions chip in to combat pandemic
TIRUCHI, APRIL 15, 2020 22:34 IST
UPDATED: APRIL 16, 2020 08:25 IST
Description: A temporary market functioning in a school in Tiruchi.
A temporary market functioning in a school in Tiruchi.  
Higher education institutions in the region have been doing their part in lending their support to the government machinery to combat COVID 19 virus in different ways, fulfilling an appeal made to that effect by the University Grants Commission.
Recently, UGC Vice-Chairman D.P. Singh said that in the backdrop of increase in the number of persons infected with corona virus day by day, the educational fraternity has a great responsibility to make the people aware of the preventive and precautionary measures to safeguard themselves and check further spread of the virus alongside making financial contributions.
While some institutions have offered their premises for establishment of temporary vegetable markets, others have lent their support by providing their buildings to keep persons with COVID 19 symptoms under quarantine procedure, providing personal protection equipment, manufacturing sanitisers and assisting government teams in distributing rice to people at their doorsteps.
The management of the Jamal Mohammed College had provided its entire buildings to the district administration for quarantining 70 persons detected with the symptoms of COVID 19 virus. Those under observation in the college as well as the COVID 19 positive patients undergoing treatment at the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Government Hospital are being provided with nutrient-rich food under the monitoring of the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, S. Ismail Mohideen, Principal, said.
Likewise, the Central University of Tamil Nadu, Tiruvarur, has provided its facility to the government machinery for keeping under observation 19 persons detected with symptoms of COVID-19. It has established an institutional quarantine facility for the purpose. It has produced hand sanitiser in-house in its chemistry lab and plans to distribute the sanitiser to the community in the surroundings.
Bishop Heber College and St. Joseph’s College are among the handful of institutions where temporary vegetable markets have been established on the playgrounds.
The Seethalakshmi Ramaswami College has provided personal protection equipment to 150 frontline workers at the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Government Hospital. ‘We are looking forward to conducting outreach activities for the community in the surroundings by roping in Non-Government Organisations, College Principal R. Padmavathy said.
In Karaikal district, NSS volunteers of Perunthalaivar Kamarajar Institute of Engineering and Technology joined government teams in distributing rice to residents of Nallathur, Adayalampettai and other villages. Sstaff of Department of Social Work of Arignar Anna Government Arts and Science College have been entrusted with the responsibility of offering psychological counselling for mitigation of mental stress of the public.
In Nagapattinam, the district administration has received support from the E.G.S. Pillai College for maintaining adequate stock of sanitisers made as per the specification of World Health Organisation. The college has readied sanitisers in 300 ml packs for use by frontline workers. The sanitiser in 300 ml bottles has been made available to the public through the office of the District Rural Development Agency for 150 each.

Food for everyone with collective farm

Soth Koemsoeun | Publication date 15 April 2020 | 23:20 ICT

Description: Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Farmers in Preah Dak commune will test a collective farming system which will help feed some of the community’s poorest residents. Photo supplied
Banteay Srei district governor Khim Finan has spearheaded a collective farming project on nearly 40ha in the district’s Preah Dak commune in Siem Reap province to help feed some of the community’s poorest citizens.
Finan told The Post on Wednesday that the Covid-19 pandemic has hurt families financially and affected the daily lives of people in his district.
He said he believes the best option is to ensure food security for everyone in the community, especially for the most vulnerable – the poor, disabled and elderly.
Finan said all 39 families in O’Toteung and Thnal Toteung villages in Preah Dak commune have agreed in principle to give nearly 40ha of their rice fields to the district administration until the end of the year to pilot the project.
The project will start with this year’s monsoon-season crop, during which rice is typically planted from May until July and harvested in December.
If it is successful, the project could continue for the subsequent dry-season crops. During the dry season, rice is typically planted in November and harvested in January or February.
For the first crop, owners will receive an amount of rice similar to their normal harvests, and the remaining yields will be distributed among the poorest people in the community.
“For the collective farming project, we will use existing resources and borrow rice from locals who live near the source of the water, using early-season rice,” Finan said.
The project will be supported by donated seeds, fertiliser, machinery and fuel. Volunteers will help with transplanting and harvesting the rice.
“The project is still in its testing phase, and I hope the results will make it a model to be applied on a larger scale elsewhere in the country, for greater collective benefit,” he said.
Phin Thorng, a 47-year-old farmer from O’Toteung village said on Wednesday that he has decided to join the collective farming project and expects to receive more rice than his family normally produces each year.
Thorng said he also wants to help society through rice farming by distributing the grain to people in need.
He said he has about 1ha of paddy fields near a water source and Finan wants to use the land as a site for the project.
Every year, he said he harvests about nine or 10 sacks of rice.
Finan confirmed that if his paddy is harvested for the collective farming project, he would receive a similar amount.
“I support this project because, as the district governor explained to us, we won’t suffer any losses, we’d only have to provide a small amount of labour for transplanting.
Rice seeds and machinery will be provided by charities. When we are all gathered, then we divide the harvest according to the yields,” Thorng said.
Pen An, a 48-year-old man from Thnal Toteung village, said on Wednesday that his 1ha of paddy fields produce 15 to 17 sacks of rice each year, but he only harvests once.
If he participates in the collective farming project with the district governor, he said he could be able to harvest twice a year.
“The governor’s idea is in line with Cambodia’s identity as an agricultural country. The farmers, district administration and poorer people will profit. I hope this new rice scheme is successful,” he said.

OsFIT and OsIRO2 interact to regulate iron homeostasis in rice

Description: geneCredit: CC0 Public Domain
Iron (Fe) is necessary for plant growth and development because it is involved in many physiological and biochemical reactions. Fe deficiency can cause serious agricultural problems. It is well known that Ferlike Fe deficiencyinduced transcription factor (FIT) is a key regulator of Fe uptake in Arabidopsis.
In response to Fe deficiency, plants modify the expression of numerous genes to maintain Fe homeostasis. However, the signal transduction network regulating the expression of Fe-homeostasis-associated genes has not been comprehensively characterized.
In a study published in Journal of Integrative Plant Biology, researchers from Xishuangbannna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG) identified the Oryza sativa FIT (also known as OsbHLH156) as the interacting partner of Ironrelated bhlh transcription factor 2 (OsIRO2) that is a critical for regulating Fe uptake.
The researchers not only characterized the biological role of OsFIT and OsIRO2 and their genetic relationship in Fe homeostasis, but also revealed their molecular regulation mechanism.
To identify the interacting partners of OsIRO2, they used yeast two-hybrid (Y2H) assays and conducted the co-immunoprecipitation assays. They found that OsIRO2 physically interacted with OsFIT.
They further found that OsFIT promoted the nuclear accumulation of OsIRO2. Loss-of-function of OsFIT impaired tolerance to Fe limitation. Loss-of-function mutations of OsFIT disrupted the expression of Fe homeostasis-associated genes. Overexpression of OsFIT promoted Fe accumulation and expression of Fe-uptake genes.
Genetic analysis showed that OsFIT and OsIRO2 functioned as a transcription complex. OsFIT expression was positively regulated by OsPRI1, OsPRI2, and OsPRI3.
"Our data suggest that both OsFIT and OsIRO2 are required for the regulation of Fe uptake associated genes, and they function as a transcription complex to regulate Fe homeostasis," said Dr. LIANG Gang, principal investigator of the study

Micronutrient Availability in a Rice Paddy Field Exposed to Elevated CO2

Paper Reviewed
Li, C., Zhu, J., Zeng, Q. and Liu, G. 2020. Changes in microelement availability in a paddy field exposed to long-term atmospheric CO
2 enrichment. Journal of Soils and Sediments
Introducing their study, Li et al. (2020) note that "plant-soil interactions in the context of elevated atmospheric CO2 have received much attention and micronutrients play an important role in plant development and reproduction." However, much remains to be learned as to how future changes in atmospheric CO2 may alter micronutrient availability and their concentrations in plant organs, which can affect plant growth and yield.
Hoping to provide some information in this regard, Li et al. examined the concentrations of iron (Fe), manganese (Mn) and zinc (Zn) in rice and the availability of these micronutrients within the surrounding soil under ambient (370 ppm) and elevated (566 ppm) CO2 concentrations. The experiment was conducted at Xiaoji town, Jiangdu City, Jiangsu Province, China, on a FACE site that had been in operation for 10 years. Given the length of time that CO2 enrichment had been in operation at the site, the authors felt any long-term effect of elevated CO2 on micronutrient availability and concentration would likely be evident.
In discussing their findings Li et al. report, not surprisingly, that CO2 enrichment "stimulated rice growth and increased the dry matter production." With respect to nutrient availability, the scientists note that "CO2 enrichment enhanced the input of soil organic matter and improved microbial activity." The higher microbial activity, in turn, likely increased soil nutrient mineralization and supplied more available nutrients. The end result was that "the bio-availability of Fe, Mn, and Zn in 0-10 cm soil increased under elevated CO2."
Support of the above scenario is presented in Figure 1, which shows the content and concentration of the three studied micronutrients within the rice grain at harvest. Although the content and concentration of iron remained unchanged, these two parameters increased for both Mn and Zn under elevated CO2.
In commenting on their work, the four Chinese researchers conclude that "elevated CO2 still enhanced dry matter production and accumulation of Fe, Mn, and Zn in rice after 10 years [of] CO2 treatment." Consequently, no management strategy was needed to supply these necessary micronutrients in order to achieve the CO2-induced dry matter enhancement.

Rice imports hit 6-month high at 229,416.65 MT in March–data


By Jasper Emmanuel Y. Arcalas  & Samuel P. Medenilla
OVER 130 rice traders and importers used 853 sanitary and phytosanitary import clearances (SPS-IC) to import nearly 600,000 metric tons (MT) of rice from January to April 3, Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) data showed.
Latest BPI data showed that 134 eligible rice importers, comprised of private firms, traders, farmers groups and cooperatives, imported 594,688.517 MT during the reference period.
Private agricultural trading firm Arvin International Marketing Inc. topped the list of importers as it accounted for 5 percent or about 29,625.02 MT of the volume during the reference period. AIMI used 27 of its 108 approved SPS-ICs in importing the said the volume.
AIMI was followed by private firms Gold and Perfect Corp., which imported 26,624 MT and Sodatrade Corp. that brought in 22,699.5 MT of rice from January to April 3, BPI data showed.

Vietnam rice

BPI data showed that bulk of the rice imports during the reference period, or about 504,625.3 MT came from Vietnam.
BPI data also showed that rice imports in March rose to a six-month high of 229,416.65 MT, with nearly 89 percent of the volume coming from Vietnam.
BPI data indicated that nearly 1.5 million MT (MMT) of rice are still expected to enter the country due to some 1,772 unused and valid SPS-ICs.
Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar earlier announced that about 400,000 MT of rice from Vietnam will arrive in the country this month, following Hanoi’s assurance that it will honor existing supply contracts with Philippine importers.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) has been urging the private sector to continuously apply for SPS-IC and bring in rice shipments to ensure that the country has sufficient stockpile during and beyond the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) amid Covid-19 pandemic.
In fact, the Philippines is pursuing a P8-billion 300,000-MT rice importation via government-to-government (G2G) transaction to further augment domestic supply.

Enough rice stocks assured

Despite higher consumption demand for rice amid the novel coronavirus disease (Covid-19) crisis, the National Food Authority (NFA) said it has sufficient supplies to last this month.
At a news briefing on Wednesday, NFA Administrator Judy Dansal said the market participation have increased from the usual 10 percent to 17.31 percent since last month.
“This is a big increase. But we still have enough stock inventory for this,” Dansal said.
This comes as more local government units (LGUs) start buying NFA rice to feed their constituents, who were affected by the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Luzon, as well as the lockdowns in other parts of the country due to Covid-19.
During the lockdown, many people were unable to earn their living, thus, forcing them to rely on government support.
Last month, NFA reported it has 400,000 bags, or 20,000 metric tons (MT), of rice in its warehouses around Metro Manila.
While they have sufficient supplies, Dansal admitted they initially had difficulty delivering their rice to LGUs, particularly in Luzon, due to checkpoints.
She said they were able to remove the disruptions after they coordinated with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

Low-hanging fruit: How the first generation of GMO crops yielded massive economic and environmental benefits

Nina Fedoroff | April 15, 2020
Description: money growing from the ground Newsletter
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.
The first generation of GM crops was produced using methods that add genetic material to the crop plant’s genome. This approach, generally referred to as recombinant DNA (rDNA) technology, is based on the construction of hybrid molecules comprising a gene (or genes) and regulatory sequences from virtually any source. The hybrid construct is replicated in a bacterial plasmid or viral genome, then transferred into plants, which are then referred to as GM or “transgenic”.
Most of the GM varieties on the market today were developed using rDNA technology and commercialized by biotech companies, largely because of the high cost of both developing them and complying with regulatory requirements.The ringspot virus-resistant papaya is the only exception, having been developed by university-based researchers.
The most widely grown GM crops are cotton, corn, soybeans and canola modified by the introduction of genes that confer herbicide tolerance, insect resistance Other crops either already on the market or just entering it include alfalfa, sugar beets, squash, eggplant, potatoes and apples are.
[Editor’s note: This is part two of a four-part series on the progress of agricultural biotechnology. Read part one.]
Both herbicide-tolerant and insect-resistant crops have been adopted at breakneck speed in every country in which they have received regulatory approval. As of 2018, the latest year for which statistics are available, GM crops were grown on 474 million acres in 26 countries. This represents a more than 100-fold expansion in GM crop acreage over the 23 years since their commercial introduction in 1996. By 2018, the adoption rates of biotech crops exceeded 90% in the top 5 adopting countries (USA, Brazil, Argentina, Canada and India).
Description: soybean brazil
The rapid adoption of GM crops has returned benefits substantially beyond expectations. A 2014 study on the cumulative global impact of GM crops since 1996 concluded that farmers’ yields increased by 22% and their profits by 68%.8 A more recent study reported that the net economic benefit at the farm level was roughly $18 billion for 2016 and 186.1 billion for the period 1996-2001.9
The economic benefits have come both from yield gains and from reduced production costs (65% and 35%, respectively). As well, the adoption of GM technology has increased global yield levels for commodity crops such as soybeans and corn (213 million and 405 million metric tons, respectively). Importantly, the study pointed out that the economic benefits have been divided roughly equally between developing and developed countries (48% and 52%, respectively).9
A cumulative environmental assessment spanning 1995-2016 found that the use of GM crops reduced the environmental impact of herbicide and pesticide use by 18.4% as measured by the Environmental Impact Quotient.10,11 The study further pointed out that the use of herbicide tolerant crops reduced agricultural fuel use, primarily by facilitating no-till farming, and estimated that the reduction for 2016 alone was equivalent to removing 16.7 million cars from the roads.11
In sum, the adoption of a small number of GM crops, principally cotton, soybeans, corn and canola, by a large number of farmers has brought substantial economic benefits to farmers and made significant contributions to both the productivity and sustainability of agriculture. It is worth emphasizing that the economic benefits are scale-independent, benefitting both small- and large-scale farmers.
Is there more low-hanging fruit to be harvested?
There are still no widely available GM varieties of either wheat or rice, the second and third most widely grown and consumed grains.12 Monsanto, for example, halted development of GM herbicide-tolerant wheat in 2004 because the market appeared insufficient to recover development costs and because there was significant resistance to GM wheat from some U.S. buyers, as well as buyers in export markets.13
Description: wheat seedsImage: GMO Awareness
Indeed, Japan halted import of wheat from areas where small amounts of Monsanto-developed herbicide-tolerant wheat were discovered in Oregon in 2013,14 and both Japan and Korea did so when GM wheat was detected in Alberta, Canada in 2017.15 Similarly, an Argentinian agricultural biotechnology startup company called Bioceres developed a drought-tolerant wheat variety, but failed to receive government approval for release because of fears that it would depress Argentina’s wheat export market.16
The introduction of both herbicide-tolerant and drought-tolerant wheat varieties would benefit both farmers and the environment, reducing production costs and stabilizing wheat supplies in the face of a warming climate. Nonetheless, perceptions about consumer acceptance in both domestic and export markets continue to influence regulatory and commercial decisions.17
Genetic modification of rice, which is arguably the world’s single most important food crop, is as problematical as that of wheat. Rice provides a third to two thirds of the calories consumed by a third of the world’s population and 90% of it is grown in Asia.18 One of the major challenges in rice production is the prevalence of weedy relatives capable of interbreeding with domesticated varieties.19
In the mid 1990s, AgroEvo (now part of Bayer) had developed a GM variety of rice called Liberty Link (LL601) that was tolerant to the herbicide glufosinate. It had been field-tested in Louisiana and Arkansas and had received regulatory approval from both the USDA and the FDA for its release (technically referred to as ‘deregulation’), but commercialization was suspended in 2001.20 In 2006, LL601 was detected in several European countries, damaging the U.S. rice export market. U.S. rice growers sued Bayer, which settled the suit for $750 million in 2011.21
Insect-resistant Bt rice was developed in China in the 1990s and received regulatory approval in 2009, but has yet to be commercialized.22 This has been attributed variously to consumer and agribusiness leader concerns about GM food consumption.23 Paradoxically, China is one of the world’s largest importers of GM crops, particularly soybeans, canola and corn.23 Moreover, Bt cotton has been grown in China since 1997, achieving an adoption rate of 96% by 2015.23

It has been estimated that the decade of delay in approving Bt rice has cost China roughly $12 billion a year.22 In view of the fact that Bt crops have been shown to reduce pesticide use and Chinese farmers are among the top users of pesticides, the foregone benefits include reduced exposure of both farmers and consumers to pesticides. Thus despite potential health and economic benefits, whether GM wheat and rice varieties are commercialized is determined by a complex mix of consumer attitudes, regulatory rulings, business decisions and even political considerations.23,24
No good deed goes unpunished
Perhaps the most famous GM rice variety just now poised to enter the marketplace is the so-called humanitarian Golden Rice.25 Vitamin A deficiency is arguably the most pervasive and consequential global nutritional deficiency.26 Starting in the early 1990s and funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, Swiss scientists Ingo Potrykus and Peter Beyer took up the challenge of introducing genes that would support the biosynthesis of beta-carotene, a vitamin A precursor, in rice endosperm.27
Description: misguided
Despite widespread skepticism, they succeeded within a decade, creating what by then had been dubbed “Golden Rice”.28 Time magazine published Potrykus’ picture on its cover with the bold prediction: “This rice could save a million kids a year”.29 The story of the ensuing setbacks and savage attacks by anti-GMO activists is an absorbing, sobering tale.25,30 Only now, 20 years after it was first accomplished in the laboratory, is Golden Rice inching toward release to farmers.

Regulators in the U.S., Canada, New Zealand, and Australia have approved Golden Rice for growing and consumption.31 In Bangladesh, where almost a fifth of children suffer from vitamin A deficiency, Golden Rice was approved by the Ministry of Agriculture, but the Ministry of the Environment seized the regulatory initiative, as it had in India a decade earlier, and failed to give its approval for commercialization.32
The Indian Environmental Minister’s 2010 temporary moratorium on Bt brinjal (eggplant) brought a complete halt to the further introduction of GM crops that has persisted to the present, although farmers are increasingly defiant.33 In the meantime, the GM insect-resistant eggplant developed in India was introduced successfully in Bangladesh, increasing farmer incomes, reducing insecticide use and insecticide poisoning and achieving good consumer acceptance.34
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And still, the cacophony surrounding Golden Rice continues. Now that Philippine regulators and legislators are close to approving it for human consumption, Greenpeace has amped up its opposition.35 As well, whether Golden Rice succeeds in its original objective of alleviating vitamin A deficiency also depends on how – and how widely – it is consumed by people whose diets consist largely of rice and who are therefore at risk of vitamin A deficiency.36
In sum, the early focus by biotech companies on commodity crops largely used for animal feed, fiber or processed products brought major benefits to farmers, consumers and the environment. Widely consumed grain crops, particularly rice and wheat, have not fared as well for a variety of reasons, including both consumer resistance and the diversity of governmental positions on GM crops, as well as litigation by parties injured by the uneven global acceptance of food crops improved by molecular methods. Golden Rice, the one humanitarian GM project meant solely to benefit impoverished people, continues to be a lightning rod for every manner of assault on GM technology. And whether in the end it will succeed in alleviating one of humanity’s most serious nutritional deficiencies remains an open question.
1Birch RG (1997). Plant transformation: problems and strategies for practical application. Annu Rev Plant Biol 48:297-326; Fedoroff NV and Brown NM (2004). Mendel in the Kitchen: A Scientist’s View of Genetically Modified Food. (Joseph Henry Press, Washington DC), p.370.
2McDougall P (2011). The cost and time involved in the discovery, development and authorisation of a new plant biotechnology derived trait. Crop Life International
3Kishore GM et al. (1992). History of herbicide-tolerant crops, methods of development and current state of the art–emphasis on glyphosate tolerance. Weed Technol 6:626-34; Knežević S (2016). Weed resistance and new herbicide tolerant crops in USA. Acta Herbologica 25:35-42.
4Hilder VA and Boulter D (1999). Genetic engineering of crop plants for insect resistance–a critical review. Crop Protection 18:177-91.
5Lombardo L et al. (2016). New technologies for insect-resistant and herbicide-tolerant plants. Trends Biotechnol 34:49-57.
6ISAAA (2018). Brief 54: Global status of commercialized biotech/GM crops: 2018. ISAAA 
7Gonsalves D (1998). Control of papaya ringspot virus in papaya: a case study. Annu Rev Phytopathol 36:415-37.
8Klümper W and Qaim M (2014). A meta-analysis of the impacts of genetically modified crops. PloS One 9:e111629.
9Brookes G and Barfoot P (2018). Farm income and production impacts of using GM crop technology 1996–2016. GM Crops & Food 9:59-89.
10Kovach J et al. (1992). A method to measure the environmental impact of pesticides. New York Food Life Sci Bull 139:1-8.
11Brookes G and Barfoot P (2018). Environmental impacts of genetically modified (GM) Crop use 1996–2016: Impacts on pesticide use and carbon emissions. GM Crops & Food 9:109-39.
12Wulff BB and Dhugga KS (2018). Wheat—the cereal abandoned by GM. Science 361:451-2.
13Stokstad E (2004). Monsanto pulls the plug on genetically modified wheat. Science 304:1088-9.
14AP. Japan suspends some imports of U.S. wheat. New York Times, 31 May 2013
15Obayashi Y and Rod N. Japan suspends sale of Canadian wheat after GMO wheat found in Alberta. Reuters, 15 June 2018
16Gilbert J. Drought-sltricken wheat belts offered a thorny solution from Argentina. Bloomberg, 12 March 2019
17Malcolm B (2017). Agribusiness perspectives on transgenic wheat. in Wheat Biotechnology (Springer, New York), pp. 113-26.
18Khush GS (1997). Origin, dispersal, cultivation and variation of rice. Plant Molec Biol 35:25-34.
19Nadir S et al. (2017). Weedy rice in sustainable rice production. A review. Agron Sustain Develop 37:46.
20Lemaux PG (2007). LL601 rice: What is it and what does it mean?
21Harris A and Beasley D. Bayer will pay $750 million to settle gene-modified rice suits. Bloomberg, 1 July 2011
22Jin Y et al. (2019). Cost of postponement of Bt rice commercialization in China. Frontiers Plant Sci 10:1226.
23Deng H et al. (2019). Perception and attitude toward GM technology among agribusiness managers in China as producers and as consumers. Sustainability 11:1342.
24Demont M and Stein A (2013). Global value of GM rice: a review of expected agronomic and consumer benefits. New Biotechnol 30:426-36.
25Regis E (2019). Golden Rice: The Imperiled Birth of a GMO Superfood. (Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland), p.234.
26Wiseman EM et al. (2017). The vicious cycle of vitamin A deficiency: a review. Critical Rev Food Sci Nutrition 57:3703-14.
27Potrykus I (2001). Golden rice and beyond. Plant Physiol 125:1157-61; Zeigler RS (2014). Biofortification: Vitamin A deficiency and the case for golden rice. in Plant Biotechnology (Springer, New York), pp. 245-62.
28Ye X et al. (2000). Engineering the provitamin A (β-carotene) biosynthetic pathway into (carotenoid-free) rice endosperm. Science 287:303-5.
29Nash JJ. This rice could save a million kids a year. Time Magazine, 31 July 2000,,9171,997586,00.html
30Dubock A (2019). Golden Rice: To combat vitamin A deficiency for public health. in Vitamin A (IntechOpen, London). 10.5772/intechopen.84445
31Stokstad E (2019). After 20 years, Golden Rice nears approval. Science 366:934.
32Chandran R. Debate over GM eggplant consumes India. Reuters, 16 February 2010; Begum S. No Golden Rice farming now. The Daily Observer, 1 December 2019
33Editors. They want GM crops: Farmers’ revolt is the outcome of a decade long political paralysis, which must end. The Times of India, 26 June 2019,
34Ahmed AU et al. (2019). Impacts of Bt brinjal (eggplant) technology in Bangladesh. International Food Policy Research Institute of Bangladesh
36Kaguongo W et al. (2012). Factors influencing adoption and intensity of adoption of orange flesh sweet potato varieties: Evidence from an extension intervention in Nyanza and Western provinces, Kenya. African J Agricult Res 7:493-503; Birol E et al. (2015). Developing country consumers’ acceptance of biofortified foods: a synthesis. Food Security 7:555-68.
Nina V. Fedoroff is an Emeritus Evan Pugh Professor at Penn State University.
The GLP featured this article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. The viewpoint is the author’s own. The GLP’s goal is to stimulate constructive discourse on challenging science issues.

USA Rice Pitches Kenya Trade Agreement Asks to USTR  

WASHINGTON, DC -- In February, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) announced their intention to begin negotiating a trade agreement with Kenya, a move that could lay the groundwork for a series of agreements with African nations in the years to come.  

USA Rice submitted comments to USTR today as part of a solicitation process, outlining the industry's ask and to aid in the development of the Administration's negotiating objectives to be released later this spring.

Kenya's rice-heavy diet, burgeoning population, and growing middle class make the country a potential market for U.S. rice exports.  Like rice imports for most of Africa's markets, Kenya's more than 600,000 MT of imports are very price sensitive, sourcing essentially everything from Asia in recent years.  A combination of high tariffs, prices, and logistical challenges make U.S. exports uncompetitive in Kenya, but an agreement could change that.

In recent years, the Kenyan government has sought an annual waiver that allows rice to enter with a reduced tariff assessment, 35 percent, and without that waiver, U.S. rice and other importers would face a 75 percent tariff.  Therefore, USA Rice's comments recommend that "the U.S. government adopt a negotiating objective of duty-free and quota-free access for all types and forms of U.S. rice in any free trade agreement with Kenya."  

The comments added that zero duties combined with "opportunities for U.S. exporters to bundle rice shipments with other commodities or restructure their transportation routes for convenience," would allow U.S. rice to become a serious competitor in the Kenyan market.

The official comments also reiterated that gaining duty-free access to Kenya would be "a strong precedent that could lead to increased regional business for U.S. rice exporters."

USTR has not yet announced a start date for formal discussions with Kenya.

Price of exported rice doubles
Chea Vannak / Khmer Times  
April 15, 2020

The price of fragrant rice exports to international markets has doubled in the last month, from $50 to $100 per matrix ton, according to the Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF).
For in depth analysis of Cambodian Business, visit Capital Cambodia
However, the domestic market trading price for white rice, the most in-demand variety within the country, has remained stable.
Explaining the disparity, CRF secretary-general Lun Yeng said that the export price rocketed between March and April as a direct consequence of COVID-19 border closures and lockdowns.
“Due to the pandemic, many countries are in lockdown which makes the transportation of goods, including rice, difficult and this has led to the increasing price of the commodity. Demand has also increased because the destinations we export to are running low on stock,” he said.
That demand has also seen the price of Cambodia Jasmine rice (Malys Angkor) increase by $70 to $950 per matrix ton.
You were born to rise, born to be who you are, born to be loved and you were born to shine!
Currently, Cambodia is only allowed to export fragrant rice because it fetches a higher price in the international market. In recent weeks, the Cambodian government temporarily banned the export of white rice and paddy until further notice to ensure there is enough in stock to meet domestic demand through the uncertain times ahead created by the spread of COVID-19.
Paddy rice is currently priced at 820 Riel ($0.2) per kg, spelling good news for the nation’s farmers of the staple, according to Veng Sakhon, minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
“Farmers are happy because rice traders are offering a good price of 820 riel per kg, a 120 riel increase compared to the previous record,” Sakhon wrote on his Facebook page earlier this week.
According to the Philippines-based International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), increasing rice prices could become a global trend in both the medium and long term if the COVID-19 pandemic shows no sign of abating.
Production shocks coupled with a massive surge in demand would be the main cause of price hikes, said Jean Balié, head of IRRI’s Agri-Food Policy Platform.
“In the medium term, any shock on production that could result in a lower-than-expected harvest could trigger a price crisis. Likewise, a massive surge in demand fuelled by panic buying and hoarding could also trigger a price rise,” read a quote from Balié in the Philippine-based publication BusinessMirror on April 14.
“Decisions like limiting the flow of rice within and between countries, including export bans and other trade restrictions as well as excessive buying, can all precipitate a surge in rice price in spite of good market fundamentals,” he added.
Based on IRRI analysis, Balié said world rice prices could spike by at least 19 percent, to as high as 52 percent, if exporting countries, such as Vietnam, Cambodia and India suspend shipments. Under these scenarios, the global price of Thailand 5-percent broken rice would increase from $525 per metric ton to about $671 metric ton.
Cambodia shipped out 230,948 matrix tons of rice in the first quarter this year, a 35 percent increase compared to the same period in the year before.

Dismissing claims that Pant is a fluke player, Raina said if that was the case he would not have got four overseas centuries.
“He has hundreds abroad and he is not a fluke player. Somewhere I think he is not getting confidence..he is missing something,” he further added.


Migrants in GHMC area to get PDS rice


In a tele-conference with MLAs, MLCs and corporators of GHMC area here, Animal Husbandry Minister Talasani Srinivas Yadav reviewed implementation of lockdown, supply of essential commodities and other emergency services offered in the city

By AuthorTelanganaToday  |  Published: 15th Apr 2020  12:24 am
Hyderabad: Animal Husbandry Minister Talasani Srinivas Yadav on Tuesday assured that distribution of PDS rice to migrant labourers in GHMC area would be expedited within the next couple of days. He also urged the corporators to extend their support and help the needy during the lockdown period.
In a tele-conference with MLAs, MLCs and corporators of GHMC area here, the Minister reviewed implementation of lockdown, supply of essential commodities and other emergency services offered in the city. The elected representatives took up various issues pertaining to people especially the poor and the needy who were struggling for groceries and vegetables in their respective localities. He emphasised the need for strict implementation of lockdown till April 30 as directed by Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao to prevent spreading of Covid-19 in the State.
The Minister said all 30 circles of GHMC have been divided into 17 zones where officials from Health, Revenue, Police and Municipal departments have been appointed as nodal officers who will monitor implementation of lockdown, supplying of essential commodities and also provide essential services to the locals. Special emphasis is being laid on supplying of power and water besides sanitation in all localities. He stated that all efforts are being made to ensure that people from 126 containment zones do not face any difficulty in leading their lives inside containment zones.
Apart from operating mobile rythu bazaars, the State government is supplying about 4,000 quintals of vegetables from 12 rythu bazaars. “With the support of several individuals and organisations, we have been able to serve food to over two lakh people everyday. The Annapurna canteens alone are serving food to 60,000 people during the day and about 30,000 people during the night. Further essential commodities and other groceries are being supplied to scores of the poor and the needy. The elected representatives are playing crucial role in this regard,” he added.

Morrisons shopper reviews the £35 essential food box

The supermarket says the box contains enough items to last two people a week
By Alice Cunningham
Nisha Mal
13:43, 15 APR 2020
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A few weeks ago Morrisons announced it was launching essential boxes filled with food, toiletries and household items.
Initially the supermarket released two boxes - a meat version and a veggie one - although it has since extended the line.
Costing £35, the supermarket says each box contains enough stuff two people one week.
They were launched to help reduce the amount of shoppers panic buying amid the coroanvirus pandemic.
Essex Live reporter Alice Cunningham decided to buy a food box to see exactly how easy they are to get, what they're filled with and if they're worth the £35:
A few weeks ago, I was very worried when I saw the shop shelves all empty and when I couldn't find toilet roll, hand wash and some food items anywhere.
I couldn't even get paracetamol in the shops and then the worst happened - I became ill with horrible headaches and some breathing difficulties.
Myself and my partner had to self isolate for two weeks and our cupboards soon became very bare. Our nearest family members are also over two hours away so there wasn't an easy way for us to get food for the two weeks.
When Morrisons announced they would be creating their food boxes filled with essential items, I was over the moon that I might actually be able to get some nice toilet roll that wasn't the awful cheap stuff.
I decided to try and order one of the boxes to see what came in it and to put some food back in my fridge and cupboards.
I didn't know too much what to expect as I hadn't heard exactly what was inside so it was a mystery to me.

Ordering my food box

(Image: Essex Live)
I logged onto my computer last week, went to the Morrisons website, signed up for an account and searched for the food boxes.
I saw there were a few options available - you were able to buy a food box with meat, a vegetarian one, a Market Kitchen Square Meals box, a Market Kitchen Meal Maker box and a family meat box.
I chose the Meat Eaters Food Box which costs £35 and the description of what was inside said: "Our boxes contain a selection of items based on our current availability of products, therefore we are unable to specify exact contents of each box.
"You will however receive a variety of different foods in each box. Typically this box should feed 2 adults for one week."
On the website it said a typical box would include things like bread, rice, pasta, vegetables, meat products, dairy products and canned goods.
As I went to try and pay I noticed at the top of the screen there was a message which said: "You are placed in a queue, we apologise for the wait.
 "We are working hard to increase availability and facilitate demand so we can serve as many customers as possible. Estimated queue duration: 4 minutes."
I thought a four minute queue wasn't bad as it really could have been a lot worse like half-an-hour or longer.
After the time was up, the option to put the box in my basket was available and I was through to deciding which day I wanted it delivered on.
I was surprised to see that I was actually able to get the box delivered the very next day. I was really expecting to have to wait at least a week for it.
So I chose the next day, received an email confirmation of my order and waited patiently.

Delivery day

The following day, I woke up relatively early as I had no idea when my order would arrive, all I knew was that DPD would be delivering it.
At around 9.40am, I got an email from Morrisons saying that my box would be delivered between 10.14am and 11.14am, and as I had no where to be due to the lockdown I was happy as I knew I wouldn't miss it.
Sure enough at around 10.20am my doorbell rang, I opened my door and saw this huge box sat outside my porch.
I said thanks to the delivery man - who stood two metres away - and some how lifted the box into my house. It really weighed a tonne.
A quick look over the box I noticed that it had been broken and was partially open but I wasn't too concerned.
I then grabbed some scissor to open the box and immediately saw packaged at the top some toilet roll, bread and kitchen roll which was a joyous sight.
I then found some canned goods and noticed how the tin of baked beans had really severely been dented. Luckily it hadn't broken otherwise I would have been quite annoyed if there were beans everywhere.
I also found that the bag of baby potatoes had also split open and as I pulled it out the box, potatoes came flying out.
I slowly unpackaged the rest of the box and was amazed at exactly how much was inside before I came to a white bag.
As I had a look at it I saw that the bag was actually a soft, wool package that had been wrapped in plastic to help separate the chilled and non-chilled food.
Opening up the bag, I saw all of the meat and dairy products packaged along with an ice bag.
Then at the bottom there was a nice note from Morrisons which read: "Thank you for shopping with us, we hope you enjoy your Food Box."


Barriers in export of agricultural products to be overcome soon: Tomar

Barriers in export of agricultural products to be overcome soon: Tomar
New Delhi, April 14 (IANS) Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said that due to the COVID-19 nationwide lockdown, the bottlenecks in the export of agricultural products will be removed soon and efforts are being made in this direction.
The Agriculture Minister told IANS that the government is making efforts to remove the bottlenecks in the way of exports.
The ongoing nationwide lockdown to prevent coronavirus spread has affected exports of agricultural products due to the problem of logistics. Exporters said there is a situation of confusion regarding exports.
In such a situation, IANS sought to know from the minister what steps are being taken by the government to remove the barriers to export.
To this Tomar said, "Today (Monday) the officials of our department have interacted with all the exporters through video conferencing and necessary measures are being taken by the central government for exports smoothly."
According to the information received from the ministry, following Tomar''s instructions, Secretary, Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare, Sanjay Aggarwal talked to the exporters of agriculture and allied commodities through a video conference to get information about the problems faced by them so that necessary steps can be taken by making meaningful interventions for early redressal of their problems.
Representatives and exporters of organizations and exporters of agricultural commodities such as fruits, vegetables, basmati and non-basmati rice, seeds, flowers, plants, organic products, agricultural equipment and machinery participated in the video conference.
The Ministry of Agriculture stated that exporters mainly lacked labourers, interstate transport interruption, shortage of raw materials, phyto-sanitary certification, interruption in movement of shipping documents due to closure of courier services, problem of availability of goods services, problems of clearance of goods for import and export, including the difficulties of access to ports and yards.
An official of the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), which comes under the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry, also told IANS that the export of food products was disrupted due to the problem of logistics.
Aggarwal assured the exporters of agricultural products of efforts in solving their problems.
India is a major exporter of many agricultural products including basmati rice, fruits, vegetables and agriculture and allied exports of the country were at Rs 2.73 lakh crore during 2018-19.
In order to prevent the outbreak of coronavirus, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday announced to extend the period of nationwide lockdown till May 3.
Therefore, during the lockdown, not only the exporters but also the farmers have been worried about the export of agricultural products, and whether they will be able to get a fair and remunerative price for their crops for export.

Coronavirus exposes ASEAN divisions on rice security

Officials fail to reach immediate agreement at emergency summit
A curfew in Thailand is driving consumers to hoard rice for fear of a prolonged stay-at-home order. (Photo by Ken Kobayashi)
BANGKOK/MANILA -- The rapid spread of new coronavirus cases in Southeast Asia has exposed the region's divisions on food security, particularly as rice-growing nations move to lock up supplies of the staple.
In Thailand, the world's second-biggest rice exporter, a curfew imposed on April 3 is driving consumers to hoard rice for fear of a prolonged stay-at-home order. Meanwhile, Vietnam, the third-largest exporter, imposed a rice export ban on March 24, with Cambodia following suit.
Such actions by major rice growers have raised concerns in importer nations and prompted senior officials from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations members to hold an urgent meeting earlier this month to seek ways of securing food supplies in the 10-nation regional bloc.
"We basically agreed that ASEAN nations should keep their trade open to allow all members access to goods, particularly food," Oramon Sapthaweetham, director-general of Thailand's Department of Trade Negotiations, told the Nikkei Asian Review.
"However, each country should have their own right to take any action to secure their food security as Vietnam did. That's why we need more time to reach an agreement," she added.
With its export ban, Vietnam took extra steps to secure rice for domestic consumption. Despite the requests from exporters and domestic industry to remove or ease the restrictions, Vietnam's Ministry of Finance suggested on April 10 extending the embargo on low-grade rice until June 15 to ensure purchases for the national reserve, which is set to reach 190,000 tons. It came after Hanoi's move to set a quota of 400,000 tons of rice for export. 
Cambodia had followed Vietnam's step for the same reason, creating anxiety among rice-importing ASEAN countries -- particularly the Philippines. The region's biggest rice importer bought 2.9 million tons last year and is forecast to import around 2.5 million this year, largely from Vietnam.
"At least 200,000 to 500,000 tons of rice are now being held up at ports in Vietnam and Cambodia, and these delayed shipments have caused supply tightness in some counties," said a Singapore-based trader.
Rice is not only a major staple in ASEAN countries, but also a politically and emotionally charged commodity, particularly for importers such as the Philippines and Indonesia, where governments face pressure to satisfy domestic consumption and keep inflation low.
Philippine Agriculture Secretary William Dar wrote his Vietnamese counterpart in late March asking assurances on continued deliveries of rice to Manila, which is Vietnam's traditional rice buyer.
In contrast, major rice exporting countries, such as Thailand and Vietnam, need to keep domestic rice prices high to maintain the support of poor farmers.
The coronavirus pandemic is exacerbating these long-standing tensions. Among ASEAN nations, the Philippines was the hardest-hit, with 4,932 coronavirus-confirmed cases and 315 deaths as of Tuesday. Malaysia followed with 4,817 confirmed cases and 77 people dead, while Indonesia had 4,839 confirmed cases and 459 deaths.
Not only the Philippines, but other ASEAN countries also felt the heat and tried to secure rice and food supply amid the outbreak.
This year, severe drought in Thailand and Vietnam, as well as strong purchase from Asian buyers, have pushed global rice prices to a 7-year-high. As a result, Thai exporters are reluctant to commit to deals with the Philippines when it approached Thailand for rice after Vietnam imposed its export ban.
Although Vietnam's deputy minister for agriculture and rural development, Le Quoc Doanh, said Hanoi will honor its export commitments to the Philippines, it is unlikely that Vietnam can delivery rice to Manila immediately as orders from China skyrocket.
China's rice import from Vietnam increased 595% to 66,000 tons during the first two months of 2020. Besides, there was also an increased importing trend from other markets, such as Iraq, Malaysia, France, Taiwan, Senegal, and Russia.
That has forced Manila to seek rice from Myanmar, but that country's government also suspend rice export licenses, making it hard for the Philippines to secure immediate supplies of the staple. As of the end of March, the Philippines has a total rice inventory good for 75 days, and by the end of June, inventory is projected at 67 days.
For Indonesia, although the government said it has 3.5 million tons of rice stockpiled, it said last month it was still open to possibilities of import if the coronavirus situation drives rice prices up -- as it has done with garlic and sugar prices -- to curb inflation.
Indonesia imported 600,000 tons of rice last year and is forecast to import around 1 million tons this year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The world's biggest rice exporter, India, also faces trading hurdles as the country imposed a sweeping lockdown that has completely disrupted exports. The country exported 9.8 million tons last year.
"Rice-importing countries are struggling to get rice at this moment and it would get worse if the outbreak lasts longer than a few months from now on. That could mean longer rice export bans in some exporting countries," said a Bangkok-based trader.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte voiced his concerns during an ASEAN video summit held on Tuesday.
"We are particularly concerned with food security in this period of lockdowns," Duterte said. "Our most urgent priority is ensuring sufficient supply of rice for our people."
The Philippine leader stressed that the bloc must remain "open for trade, crisis or no crisis, as no country can stand alone."
"Let us, therefore ensure the supply chain connectivity and the smooth flow of goods within our region."
Additional reporting by Erwida Maulia in Jakarta.


Rice Retreats From Seven-Year High as Vietnam Plans to Restart Exports

By Andrew Moran April 14, 2020, 5:47 pm • Posted in Commodities

Rice futures are retreating from their best levels in seven years, sliding on news that key producers will boost production and exports of the commodity. With coronavirus pandemic triggering panic-buying worldwide, important market players are attempting to take advantage of the higher prices. Suffice it to say, the global food market has been drastically altered in these times.
May rice futures tumbled $0.17, or 1.19%, to $14.155 per ton at 16:26 GMT on Tuesday on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBoT). Rice prices have slipped about 1% over the last week, but they have surged nearly 6% year-to-date. Over the last 12 months, rice is up close to 30%.
The Vietnamese government is set to resume rice exports for April and May shipments, but the Ministry of Industry and Trade will limit volumes to 800,000 tons. This represents a 40% drop from the same time a year ago. The government is set to make an official announcement in the coming days. Late last month, Hanoi prohibited new rice export contracts to ensure domestic inventories were enough to cope with the COVID-19 outbreak.
India is projected to enjoy a record harvest that will lead to output levels of 117.47 million metric tons in the 2019-2020 marketing year. While other countries are imposing restrictions on overseas sales, India’s immense crops are allowing the country to satisfy both domestic and global demand. Some analysts forecast that India could even post a surplus by the end of the coronavirus crisis.
According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), global rice production is still expected to remain unchanged from the previous marketing year: 499.31 million tons. Ending stockpiles, though, are forecast to jump 4% to 182.3 million tons.
The global supply chain and travel bans have added to the cost of rice deliveries, stoking price hikes. When you factor in soaring demand for the food staple, it explains why prices are trading at their best levels since 2013.
Vijay Setia, the former president of the All India Rice Exporters’ Association, says that nations will adapt to changing market conditions.
If the fear of the unknown prevails and markets get dented with hoarding etc., then of course respective governments have to resort to means at their disposal to handle the situation. Imposing restrictions on external trade could be one such measure.
In other agricultural commodities, May corn futures shed $0.0275, or 0.83%, to $3.2875 a pound. May wheat futures tumbled $0.06, or 1.08%, to $5.495 per bushel. May soybean futures declined $0.0675, or 0.79%, to $8.475 a bushel.


NFA says rice stocks sufficient despite quarantine extension

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Description: NFA rice warehouse
THE National Food Authority (NFA) said its rice inventory is the equivalent of 11 days’ national consumption, which it judged as sufficient to meet projected demand even with the extension of the enhanced community quarantine imposed on Luzon.
NFA Administrator Judy Carol L. Dansal added that due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak, the NFA’s current market participation level — a measure of how much domestic rice it is buying and storing — is at 17.31%, against its usual share of 10%.
“Our rice supply is more than enough,” Ms. Dansal said.
Ms. Dansal also urged commercial rice traders to continue importing rice and to charge reasonable prices when selling to consumers.
She said that 90% of the country’s rice requirements are fulfilled by commercial rice traders.
Recently, the NFA released 88,065 bags of rice to the local governments of Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas, and Valenzuela.
“NFA and commercial rice traders need to work together to address the rice demands of the country,” Ms. Dansal said.
On March 30, NFA said that its rice inventory was at 481,800 metric tons.
The rice inventory included stocks bought from farmers during the last quarter of 2019. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave


Australia could RUN OUT of rice as countries refuse to export their supplies in coronavirus crisis

Australia could run out of rice because of mismanagement of the water supply during the coronavirus pandemic, an expert has warned.
Vietnam – one of Australia’s major sources of the food staple – suspended all of its rice exports on March 25 as countries around the world closed their borders in an attempt to shore up their own food security.
To make matters worse, water expert Maryanne Slattery said rice producers in the Murray Darling Basin are unable to make their own produce because the government is selling water to the highest bidder.
The Southern Murray, which stretches across the south-eastern states, is normally responsible for 60 per cent of the country’s grain and dairy production.
It is widely regarded as ‘Australia’s food bowl’ but with the Murray in a state of zero-water allocation for the past two years, rice and dairy farms aren’t growing produce.
‘Rice is definitely a big risk because we haven’t been using the water we’ve got to grow rice,’ Ms Slattery, a former employee of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, said.
Rather than the water being provided to dairy and grain farmers though, it is being sold to almond and nut plantations who can afford the prices further down the river system.
‘We really should be seriously having a look at what we’re using our water for and what we’re growing with the water we’ve got,’ Ms Slattery said.
‘I would advocate that our food security is paramount and that we should be doing everything we can to ensure our food security.’
She said it would take a great deal of of political manoeuvring to move the water away from nut farms and to the ailing rice and dairy producers.
But the Slattery and Johnson water consultant said such a move was necessary, especially considering the nut products were mostly being exported.
Nationals senator Perin Davey has also pinpointed Australia’s rice industry as one for concern during the coronavirus pandemic.
She said while there is enough food to supply 75 million people in Australia, the drop in rice production in recent years because of drought to 55,000 tonnes per year meant supply was no longer enough to feed the population.
Ms Davey said Australians eat 300,000 tonnes of rice a year. 
‘Because of COVID-19 a lot of countries are protecting their own interests, which is their right and is sensible to do,’ she told Sky News.
‘We’ve got to look at out internal policies to make sure we get a good rice harvest next year and start producing our own rice.’ 

DA, DTI urged to ensure adequate supply of rice, other basic goods

Published April 15, 2020, 8:54 PM
By Charissa Luci-Atienza
Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda on Wednesday, April 15, called on the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to ensure adequate and reliable supply of rice and other prime commodities in the coming weeks.
Description: Albay 2nd District Representative Joey Salceda (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)
Albay 2nd District Representative Joey Salceda (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)
Salceda, chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, said the DA and DTI should “anticipate challenges in rice supply” and should keep an eye on possible cartels.
“Ensuring the adequate supply of rice and other prime commodities is essential to the effective enforcement of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and other non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPI). The surer the supply, the less likely people will violate stay-at-home and quarantine rules. If they’re not sure they can buy rice at fair prices, our people will break the rules,” Salceda said in a statement.
Citing global market data, Salceda, who is also the House Economic Stimulus Cluster co-chairman, noted that world market saw the increasing rice prices by as much as 12 percent week on week on the first week of April.
“As of March 1, 2020, the total rice stocks inventory stood at 2,178.64 thousand metric tons, 1.9 percent lower year-on-year, and 8.3 percent lower month-on-month,” the House leader said.
“Harvest season doesn’t come until May. So, we have to be prepared,” he said.
He said the delays in the ECQ checkpoints should be addressed, and protocols in the transportation of goods should be further streamlined to ensure faster and continuous delivery of essential goods and supplies.
“Historically, we’ve had challenges with rice price and supply in economic and social crises, but those challenges were rarely about having enough rice for everyone in the aggregate…The issues have always been about getting the national supply of rice into the communities that need the supply. Those challenges are made starker by delays in ECQ checkpoints,” Salceda said.
“The aggregate does not equate to local experience. So, our monitoring will have to span the whole chain, from farm to point of retail sale,” he added.
Salceda noted that as of today, April 15, the National Food Authority (NFA) reported that some drivers of 14 trucks carrying 14,000 sacks of rice from Regions I, II, and III failed to arrive at their Malolos warehouse for their scheduled delivery to warehouses in Valenzuela and Cavite.
“Only eight trucks were able to reach the Malolos warehouse, while six trucks were allegedly stopped at quarantine checkpoints. Government to government na yan, ah (That’s government to government),” he said.
Salceda recommended seven measures to ensure adequate supply of rice and other basic commodities in all areas.
First on the list is the strict implementation of the issuances by the DA and DTI that the flow of rice and other essential commodities – as well as the necessary inputs to produce and process these commodities, such as fertilizers and pesticides – should remain unhampered.
“Some checkpoints still delay inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides. We can’t produce rice without those inputs. I’m asking the DA and the DTI to make sure that we unchain the whole supply chain. That’s why a week before the DA and the DTI issued agency orders, I requested that we ensure that the checkpoints are rational and nationally supervised,” he said.
He also proposed the setting up of mobile stores and other similar schemes that sell rice and other commodities at fair prices “to burst artificially inflated prices in local areas.”
Salceda also cited the need to facilitate matching of rice producers and markets to keep middleman costs at a minimum.
He said an online, citizen-based monitoring of the prevailing of rice and other prime commodities should also be developed.
“Wherever there are localities with anomalously higher prices compared to baseline or expected prices, the DTI and the DA must use appropriate interventions such as stricter monitoring and enforcement of retail price measures. The system will also allow consumers to compare prices in nearby areas, making local cartel practices easier to spot and prevent,” he said.
The House leader said the government should secure commitments for adequate supply from supplier countries such as Vietnam and Thailand, while sustaining support for local production through programs such as the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) and the National Rice Program.
He said COVID-19 pandemic should also prod the government to relax rules and regulations on rice importation and consolidate small import orders through the Philippine International Trading Corporation (PITC).
The government should also “ensure that the labor force across the rice supply chain (from farmers, to millworkers, to drivers of transport) are able to work and are conferred the privileges granted to those who work in essential services,” Salceda said.
During the first week-implementation of the ECQ, Salceda sought the rationalization of checkpoints to ensure the unhampered flow of goods. Speaking

World Wheat & Rice Situation Not Anywhere Near 2006-08
4/14/2020 | 10:28 AM CDT
Description: Joel Karlin
By  Joel Karlin , DTN Contributing Analyst
The wheat market has posted the best gains on trepidation that a need to conserve supplies for domestic needs will limit exports in many key producing countries, Ukraine and Russia in particular.
We have seen increasing talk that in the wake of the coronavirus many countries may start to hoard supplies of key agricultural commodities and in turn fuel a food scare similar to what was seen in the 2007-2008 period when food riots occurred in a number of countries.
Remember that wheat and rice are the two main consumed foods but the USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service latest Grain: World Markets and Trade publication prices have rallied for both even though global supplies are at record levels and the share of stocks to consumption is historically high.
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Global wheat production is estimated at a record high 764.5 million metric tons in 2019/20.
Major producers such as China, the European Union, India, Russia, and the United States have produced at levels that are more than sufficient to meet rising global demand.
Furthermore, wheat harvests in major producing countries in the Northern Hemisphere are only a few months away.
Wheat ending stocks are also projected at a record 292.8 million with China holding about half of global stocks.
As for rice, while production levels are down year-over-year at 496 million metric tons, a bumper 2019/20 global rice harvest is still expected and even with lower production, overall supplies are up from the prior year because of record carryin stocks with 2019/20 stocks at a record 181.6 million metric tons.
The attached graphic shows the world wheat and rice stocks-to-use ratios with and without China and while world wheat less China wheat stocks-to-use ratio is the tightest since the 2012/13 season, we are not anywhere near the very low levels for both global wheat and rice that was seen in the mid 2000's.

Traders challenge likely rice export ban with stock stats

KARACHI: Exporters on Tuesday said a ban on rice exports in a bid to avoid a possible shortage would be unnecessary as well as unjustified as huge stocks of this grain were available in the market, while sowing for the next crop was around the corner.
This year (2019-20) Pakistan produced around 7 million tons of basmati and non-basmati rice, of which 2 million tons are consumed locally, 4 to 4.5 million tons are exported legally, while 0.5 million tons are traded unaccounted.
“A lot of rice is available in the market and by next month, growers will sow paddy for the next season,” Rafique Suleman, a rice exporter and leader of Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) told The News.
“Around 1.5 million tons are lying with exporters, while a bulk quantity is also available for local sale. Due to Iran-Pakistan border closure, a lot of stocks of basmati and super basmati are also available,” Suleman said.
He said an increase of 15 percent in the prices was seen in the local market during last couple of weeks, which was largely an impact of 8.5 percent depreciation in rupee against the US dollar.
“Since most of non-basmati rice is exported, any currency depreciation affects its price,” the REAP official said. “Besides, due to lockdown, a sudden increase in the demand by households, private welfare organisations, and government affected the prices. Once lockdown is over, prices will come down.”
He said that there was no shortage of rice and the commodity was available at every shop. “If it disappears from shops, then it will be called shortage,” he said. Exporters have also rejected a Sindh government proposed ban on rice exports.
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, in his coronavirus situation review video-meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday, suggested a ban on export of wheat, pulses, and rice.
Shah said food items should not be exported, as no one knew about the upcoming crop in the country and demand in the local market.
Suleman said a ban on rice export would be dangerous for not only rice industry employing 1.5 to 2 million workers abut also millions of growers.
“Rice is not our staple food. Our staple food is wheat. Some people eat rice occasionally, and some people even don’t eat rice,” he said.
He said every year Pakistan’s rice harvest was almost 4.5 to 5 million tons surplus and an export ban would prove disastrous for millions of people and the country ran the risk of losing a big chunk of foreign exchange.
“If any coercive decision is taken this time, it will affect negatively and growers will not sow paddy, as it is mostly an export commodity,” he said.

Rice for national reserves yet to meet target: official
The Saigon Times
Wednesday,  Apr 15, 2020,10:51 (GMT+7)
Bags of rice are stacked in a warehouse. Vietnam has yet to purchase an adequate amount of rice for the national reserves this year - PHOTO: VNA
HCMC – Vietnam has yet to purchase an adequate amount of rice for the national reserves this year, according to a top official of the General Department of State Reserves (GDSR), reported VietnamPlus.
As of April 14, GDSR had bought only 7,700 tons of rice out of the target amount of 190,000 tons, as required by the prime minister, stated Do Viet Duc, head of GDSR.
Meanwhile, GDSR recently decided to cancel the tender packages at the State Reserves departments of Hai Duong and the south-central regions to supply 8,000 and 9,000 tons of rice to the national reserves, respectively.
Similar rice tender packages at the State Reserves Department in the south of the Central Highlands were canceled as well, mainly due to contractors’ refusal to sign rice contracts, Duc reported.
The GDSR leader added that the upcoming bidding sessions for rice supplies will be carried out in a timely manner in line with prevailing regulations to purchase sufficient rice.
Earlier, the Finance Ministry in a notice sent to the Ministry of Industry and Trade stated that GDSR had won tenders to buy 178,000 out of 190,000 tons of rice for the national reserves that year, but some winning bidders had taken a long time to sign the rice contracts and had refused to negotiate these contracts.
Several days later, many winning bidders announced that they had withdrawn from signing the contracts.
GDSR has held tenders since March 12 to purchase 190,000 tons of 15% broken rice and is set to meet its rice needs before June 15.

40 traders successfully register for export of 400,000 tons of rice
The Saigon Times
Wednesday,  Apr 15, 2020,07:36 (GMT+7)
Stevedores transport rice from a ship to a warehouse in the Mekong Delta Province of Tien Giang – PHOTO: TRUNG CHANH
HCMC - Some 40 rice traders successfully registered to export 400,000 tons of rice in April, according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs.
Intimex Group registered for the largest volume, at over 96,200 tons, followed by Vinafood2 with 38,350 tons, Kigimex with 35,700 tons, Thanh Tin Food with nearly 25,400 tons and Kien Giang Trading JSC with over 24,400 tons.
Companies that registered to export 11,000-17,000 tons of rice from the 400,000-ton quota were Gia International Corporation; Tan Thanh An Co., Ltd; Hiep Loi JSC; Phat Tai Co., Ltd; and My Truong JSC.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on April 10 approved the resumption of rice exports after a short suspension, permitting a volume of 400,000 tons of rice to be exported this month. Following this decision, the Ministry of Industry and Trade noted on same day that it would open the online customs system for rice export registration on April 11.
Many rice exporters complained that they could not register for rice exports because the Vietnam Automated Customs Clearance System was opened at midnight on April 11, and by early April 12, the system showed that all 400,000 tons of rice from the quota had been assigned.
In a press release issued on April 13, the General Department of Vietnam Customs claimed that the online customs system for April’s rice export registration worked automatically and was not touched by customs officials, in response to allegations of bureaucracy interference made by many rice traders.
However, talking to Tien Phong newspaper, some rice exporters said they were not informed by the General Department of Vietnam Customs or any other relevant agencies that the Vietnam Automated Customs Clearance System would be opened at midnight on April 12.
Pham Thai Binh, director of Trung An Hi-Tech Farming JSC, pointed out that many rice exporters are facing serious difficulties as they were unable to register for rice exports while their rice inventories remain stockpiled at ports. The General Department of Vietnam Customs should prioritize some 250,000 tons of rice that are still stuck at ports due to the rice export suspension from March 24 to April 10.

Price of exported rice doubles

Chea Vannak / Khmer Times  

The price of fragrant rice exports to international markets has doubled in the last month, from $50 to $100 per matrix ton, according to the Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF).
For in depth analysis of Cambodian Business, visit Capital Cambodia
However, the domestic market trading price for white rice, the most in-demand variety within the country, has remained stable.
Explaining the disparity, CRF secretary-general Lun Yeng said that the export price rocketed between March and April as a direct consequence of COVID-19 border closures and lockdowns.
“Due to the pandemic, many countries are in lockdown which makes the transportation of goods, including rice, difficult and this has led to the increasing price of the commodity. Demand has also increased because the destinations we export to are running low on stock,” he said.
That demand has also seen the price of Cambodia Jasmine rice (Malys Angkor) increase by $70 to $950 per matrix ton.
Currently, Cambodia is only allowed to export fragrant rice because it fetches a higher price in the international market. In recent weeks, the Cambodian government temporarily banned the export of white rice and paddy until further notice to ensure there is enough in stock to meet domestic demand through the uncertain times ahead created by the spread of COVID-19.
Paddy rice is currently priced at 820 Riel ($0.2) per kg, spelling good news for the nation’s farmers of the staple, according to Veng Sakhon, minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
“Farmers are happy because rice traders are offering a good price of 820 riel per kg, a 120 riel increase compared to the previous record,” Sakhon wrote on his Facebook page earlier this week.
According to the Philippines-based International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), increasing rice prices could become a global trend in both the medium and long term if the COVID-19 pandemic shows no sign of abating.
Production shocks coupled with a massive surge in demand would be the main cause of price hikes, said Jean Balié, head of IRRI’s Agri-Food Policy Platform.
“In the medium term, any shock on production that could result in a lower-than-expected harvest could trigger a price crisis. Likewise, a massive surge in demand fuelled by panic buying and hoarding could also trigger a price rise,” read a quote from Balié in the Philippine-based publication BusinessMirror on April 14.
“Decisions like limiting the flow of rice within and between countries, including export bans and other trade restrictions as well as excessive buying, can all precipitate a surge in rice price in spite of good market fundamentals,” he added.
Based on IRRI analysis, Balié said world rice prices could spike by at least 19 percent, to as high as 52 percent, if exporting countries, such as Vietnam, Cambodia and India suspend shipments. Under these scenarios, the global price of Thailand 5-percent broken rice would increase from $525 per metric ton to about $671 metric ton.
Cambodia shipped out 230,948 matrix tons of rice in the first quarter this year, a 35 percent increase compared to the same period in the year before.

Sihlobo says global rice production this year was predicted to be much the same as last year, at about 500 million tons. Photo: File


No risk yet’ to SA’s rice and wheat imports

By Edward West  22h ago
CAPE TOWN - There was no risk yet to South Africa’s rice and wheat imports despite some countries reducing exports amid the uncertain global economy and in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Agricultural Business Chamber economist Wandile Sihlobo.

Sihlobo said global rice production this year was predicted to be much the same as last year, at about 500 million tons.
South Africa imports about 1 million tons of rice a year, 70 percent of which comes from Thailand, 20 percent from India, and the rest from other Asian countries such as Cambodia and Vietnam. 

Vietnam had restricted its rice exports, but this was unlikely meaningfully to affect the supply to South Africa, said Sihlobo.

The International Grain Council (IGC) website said in the past month there had been a sharp upturn in demand for rice and wheat-based product foods, but weakening economies would likely dampen this demand in the longer term.

The IGC’s March global rice price index was up 4.1 percent month-on-month due to a surge in demand brought on by pandemic fears, and year-on-year the difference was 11.2 percent. Similarly, the wheat index was up 2.1 percent month-on-month, while the other grain commodity indexes were much lower than that, for the month.

However, Sihlobo said global rice and wheat prices were expected to revert to normal trends fairly soon.

Tiger Brands, South Africa’s biggest food product group – which owns the Tastic Rice and Fattis & Monis pasta brands – said in a call to investors last week it did not foresee shortages of rice and pasta products in South Africa in April or May.

This was notwithstanding that the group was struggling to get product out fast enough to stores, following a massive spike in demand before the lockdown.

Tiger chief executive Noel Doyle said beyond May the global food export picture was less certain, as Russia had reduced its wheat exports and Vietnam had cut its rice exports. 

Tiger’s own procurement operations were in good shape, he said.

He added that between March 15 and April 6, the group experienced a 60 percent surge in pasta compared with the same period a year ago, as consumers prepared for the lockdown, Jungle Oats sales had surged 70 percent, while wheat product sales were up 18 percent.

Tiger Brands imports rice from Thailand, and the Department of Health had put in place additional safety measures to handle cargo, which added to time delays for increased imports. Imports could be increased quickly, he said.

The weakening rand was raising the prices of imported rice and wheat. The rand had weakened nearly 40 percent in the past year and recently devalued to more than R19 per dollar for the first time, after ratings agencies downgraded the country further into junk status. 

Sihlobo said South Africa’s food price inflation remained low at about 4 percent, only slightly up from last year, and which was well down on the double-digit percentages in the national drought in 2016.

FCI’s ‘excess stock’  ..

Vietnamese rice exporters surprised with the quick end of export quota

Many rice exporters were left surprised because the export quota of 400,000 tonnes of rice in April ended quickly in just three hours.
Description: Vietnamese rice exporters surprised with the quick end of export quota
Rice loaded for export. 
Earlier, the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) issued a decision announcing the rice export quota for April after the Prime Minister gave the green light to resume exporting the product.
Rice exporters therefore required their staff to wait for the opening of the online customs portal to submit declaration forms. However, they were unable to access the system. Notably, the portal was opened at midnight on April 11 and by April 12 the quota was fully registered.
On April 13, Trung An Hi-tech Farming JSC in Mekong Delta Province of Can Tho sent a petition to the PM, the Government Office and the MoIT, saying that the opening of e-customs declaration software system has not been transparent.
The company said their staff waited to access the portal on Saturday, but it did not open. They did not receive prior notice at the website of the General Department of Customs on the opening for the rice export quota. The office suddenly opened the system and closed it only three hours later saying the 400,000-tonne export quota had been filled.
Pham Thai Binh, the company’s general director said the General Department of Customs should give priorities to rice lots which are currently stuck at ports, then give new declarations for other exporters.
Binh wondered whether the declaration follows the PM’s instruction to ensure transparency and openness in implementing rice export quota.
Sharing the idea, Nguyen Van Don, Director of Viet Hung Company Limited in the southern province of Tien Giang said the opening of customs declarations in the middle of the night was extremely unfair. His company has one lot of 625 tonnes of rice packed in containers and two barges carrying over 1,500 tonnes of rice stuck in Nhon Trach Port.
Nguyen Trung Kien, vice chairman of Viet Nam Food Association (VFA) said many businesses had not been able to access the portal. They are collecting opinions to submit to the MoIT and General Department of Customs.
Responding to the issue, the General Director of Viet Nam Customs Nguyen Van Can said the customs declaration system was completely automated, without the impact of customs officers and having no sign of profiteering.
He said the declaration is fully automatic, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, regardless of working hours.
According to Can, the Ministry of Finance (MoF) had also proposed MoIT and the Government to consider balancing the quantity as the amount of national reserve rice at the request of the Government has been facing a significant shortage.
The General Department of Customs also proposed that the Government should stipulate export quota for an enterprise to ensure fairness for all businesses.

He added that that the customs declaration system worked on a first come first serve basis. Those registering late would not be able to access the system.
There were around 40 exporters who successfully registered for the quota in April.
Enterprises will have to wait for a new evaluation from MoIT, which will be submitted to the PM to determine the new quota for May.
National rice reserves face shortage
The MoF’s General Department of State Reserve on Tuesday said it only bought 7,700 tonnes of rice in reserve, out of a total of 190,000 tonnes of national rice reserves in 2020 at the request of the PM.
Do Viet Duc, general director of State Reserve said they also decided to cancel bidding of 17,000 tonnes as the bidders refused to sign and secure the performance of contracts.
For businesses cancelling bids, they must be handled under the Bidding Law and will have to re-bid to buy the required amount of rice.
He also said that the upcoming rice auction will be implemented in the shortest time within 10 days to buy enough rice according to regulations.
Earlier, the General Department of State Reserve said they had bid to buy 178,000 out of 190,000 tonnes of rice for reserves in 2020. However, there was a phenomenon that winning enterprises extended the contract period.
The rice buying was scheduled to complete before June 15. — VNS

FCI’s ‘excess stock’ comes in handy for govt in Covid battle

Dipak K Dash & Sidhartha | TNN | Apr 15, 2020, 04:17 IST
FCI godown laborers carry sacks of rice to transfer them from the stockyard to respective places during a nati...
NEW DELHI: States, which kick off purchasing wheat and paddy this week, have estimated procurement of another 40 million tonnes this season, as against 35 million tonnes a year ago, which will more than adequately fill up silos where stocks may have depleted due to the government’s decision to provide an additional quota of five kg of grains, free of cost, to 80 crore poor.
With some part of the rice procured during the last season yet to enter Food Corporation of India’s warehouses and the fresh procurement, stocks in July may hit 85-90 million tonnes, as against the buffer norms of over 41 million tonnes for that time of the year.
In any case, it is the much-criticised “excess stock” of grains, dubbed unmanageable by experts just a few months back, that has come handy as the Centre rolls out one of the biggest ever welfare programmes aimed at ensuring that the poor do not go hungry during the lockdown.
“There is no need to worry as the stocks that we have are more than sufficient to meet the requirement in the coming months,” government sources told TOI.

District Price Control Committee Finalizes Rates

Description: Description: District price control committee finalizes rates

Deputy Commissioner Abdullah Nair Sheikh Tuesday said provision of edibles on government rates was responsibility of the state and local administration adding that no one would be allowed to sale edibles at their own rates

SARGODHA, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 14th Apr, 2020 ) :Deputy Commissioner Abdullah Nair Sheikh Tuesday said provision of edibles on government rates was responsibility of the state and local administration adding that no one would be allowed to sale edibles at their own rates.
Chairing a meeting of the District Price control committee the he said that district government was abide by providing maximum market relief to the people adding that for the purpose the quantity, quality and rates of necessities of life were checked on daily basis, said a handout issued here.
The meeting decided the rates of edibles in consultation with the concerned officials and representatives of traders.
According to decided rates the prices of per kilogram Basmati Rice (old) has been decided Rs 135, Basmati Rice (New) Rs 130, Daal Channa Rs 130 and 120, Daal Mong 205, Daal Mash (Washed) Rs 210, Daal Masoor Rs 93-110.
Mutton price Rs 800per kg, Beef Rs 400 per kg, Baisan Rs 130 per kg, Tandoori Roti 100 gram Rs 6 and Simple Naan (100 gram) Rs 10.
Similarly, the prices of White Channa Rs 80-90 per kg, Milk Rs 70 per liter, yogurt Rs 80 per kg while rate of red chili Rs 300, kg.
Abdullah Nasir has directed the Price Control Magistrates to ensure implementation the prices of edibles.

Price of exported rice doubles

Chea Vannak / Khmer Times  

The price of fragrant rice exports to international markets has doubled in the last month, from $50 to $100 per matrix ton, according to the Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF).
For in depth analysis of Cambodian Business, visit Capital Cambodia
However, the domestic market trading price for white rice, the most in-demand variety within the country, has remained stable.
Explaining the disparity, CRF secretary-general Lun Yeng said that the export price rocketed between March and April as a direct consequence of COVID-19 border closures and lockdowns.
“Due to the pandemic, many countries are in lockdown which makes the transportation of goods, including rice, difficult and this has led to the increasing price of the commodity. Demand has also increased because the destinations we export to are running low on stock,” he said.
That demand has also seen the price of Cambodia Jasmine rice (Malys Angkor) increase by $70 to $950 per matrix ton.
Currently, Cambodia is only allowed to export fragrant rice because it fetches a higher price in the international market. In recent weeks, the Cambodian government temporarily banned the export of white rice and paddy until further notice to ensure there is enough in stock to meet domestic demand through the uncertain times ahead created by the spread of COVID-19.
Paddy rice is currently priced at 820 Riel ($0.2) per kg, spelling good news for the nation’s farmers of the staple, according to Veng Sakhon, minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
“Farmers are happy because rice traders are offering a good price of 820 riel per kg, a 120 riel increase compared to the previous record,” Sakhon wrote on his Facebook page earlier this week.
According to the Philippines-based International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), increasing rice prices could become a global trend in both the medium and long term if the COVID-19 pandemic shows no sign of abating.
Production shocks coupled with a massive surge in demand would be the main cause of price hikes, said Jean Balié, head of IRRI’s Agri-Food Policy Platform.
“In the medium term, any shock on production that could result in a lower-than-expected harvest could trigger a price crisis. Likewise, a massive surge in demand fuelled by panic buying and hoarding could also trigger a price rise,” read a quote from Balié in the Philippine-based publication BusinessMirror on April 14.
“Decisions like limiting the flow of rice within and between countries, including export bans and other trade restrictions as well as excessive buying, can all precipitate a surge in rice price in spite of good market fundamentals,” he added.
Based on IRRI analysis, Balié said world rice prices could spike by at least 19 percent, to as high as 52 percent, if exporting countries, such as Vietnam, Cambodia and India suspend shipments. Under these scenarios, the global price of Thailand 5-percent broken rice would increase from $525 per metric ton to about $671 metric ton.
Cambodia shipped out 230,948 matrix tons of rice in the first quarter this year, a 35 percent increase compared to the same period in the year before.

Liberia: Agriculture Minister cancels bid for heavy duty agro equipment to rationalize spending

 Last updated Apr 12, 2020

The Minister of Agriculture, Jeanine M. Cooper, has, with immediate effect, cancelled a bidding process for heavy-duty tractors and other agricultural equipment in order to rationalize spending of donor funds.
The Minister had requested a new bid that includes an expanded list of equipment better suited to Liberia's climate and topography; more aligned to farmers' needs and for smaller farm sizes and are rationalized with agricultural assets already on ground.
"We need to have a more rational use of available resources, especially as we enter a State of Emergency for the COVID-19. We can't afford to spend money buying equipment that will not be used", Minister Cooper asserted in a press release.
The heavy-duty tractors and other agricultural equipment were to be purchased through a multi donor-funded project under the Ministry of Agriculture dubbed, Smallholder Agricultural Productivity Enhancement & Commercialization or SAPEC.
The SAPEC Project comes to an end this June after it started in 2013.
Its objectives are to enhance incomes of small holder farmers, particularly women and rural youth and intensify land under cassava, rice and vegetable production and improve land husbandry.
"Our farmers need equipment and tools suited for Liberia; for our farms and crops. Light tractors and skid steers that can facilitate de-stumping and land preparation on farm sizes that are as small as one (1) hectare."
The Minister noted that instead of three 16-ton trucks, that will have limited functionality, government should be looking at 3- to 6-ton trucks that are more agile and appropriate for off-road conditions, as farmers need help with post-harvest machinery, and to be able to use modern drying techniques that will reduce losses after harvest.
The cancelled bid contained 17 pieces of equipment, parts and accessories. But for the re-tendering, Minister Cooper said, the bid has been expanded to 40 types of equipment that will more directly benefit rice producers, cassava processors and vegetable farmers.


Record basmati exports from India as Ramadan and pandemic surges demand

Basmati rice export from India is set to repeat record shipments in FY20 as exporters cater to spike in global demand for the food grain owing to Covid-19 pandemic and the festival of Ramadan.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Apr 15, 2020, 08.46 AM IST
Description: Description: Rice
CHANDIGARH: Basmati rice export from India is set to repeat record shipments in FY 20 as exporters cater to spike in global demand for the food grain owing to Covid-19 pandemic and the festival of Ramadan.

Gross exports from the largest rice exporting country is expected to amount to 4.4 million tonnes in FY 20, at par with FY 19, even as consignments were stranded at ports and foreign destination since last week of March due to the nationwide
lockdown to combat Covid-19.

“Basmati exports have surged to most traditional overseas markets in the last quarter as consumers have gone for additional stocks due to Covid-19. The rise in demand from Middle East is also buttressed by higher buying for Ramadan,” Vinod Kaul, executive director, All India Rice Exporters Association, said. Kaul said gross exports from India are expected at 4.4 million in 2019-20 ,even though exports had almost come to a standstill in the last week of March. He said the country had its highest volumes of 4.4 million tonnes of
basmati 2018-19.

This year shipments have grown by 20-30 percent to key buyers like Saudi Arabia and Iraq. “The additional buying due to Ramadan has also boosted exports in the last quarter,” he said.

But Indian exporters are not entirely amused by the late revival in basmati trade that was dampened earlier in 2019 by rise in hostilities in US-Iran relations. Global shipments of the commodity from India were down by 10 per cent in April-October. The trade had shown an uptick after November as shipments increased to Saudi Arabia, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait and the United States.

Shipments worth Rs 7000-9000 crore are struck at ports in India or export destination as the global supply chain is severely affected in the pandemic hit global market.

“Rice exporters have incurred substantial interest overheads as shipments are delayed due to lockdown. An exporter pays interest of 13-14 per cent on 70-80 per cent of the value of consignments to banks,” said Arvinder Pal Singh, president, Punjab Rice Millers Association. The exporters have sought waiver on interest payments for two months to compensate the loss in margins, he said.

Presently the consignments are struck at ports as sample testing and documentation are affected as courier services are not operational,” Ashok Sehthi, a Punjab-based basmati exporter, said.

Exporters are also worried of rise in paddy prices due to swell in domestic as well as global demand. “The increase in export from India has fueled paddy prices that were highly competitive this year compared to Pakistan. But the prices increased by 6-8 per cent after lockdown and now exporters who have advanced bookings in hand will have to bear substantial squeeze in margins,” said Sanajy Gupta, director, Bharat Cereals.

Exporters rue a sharp increase of up to 30% in freight rates of shipping containers in the past few weeks that has added to cost of logistics. The rise in freights to the US and Europe are most affected.

FCI’s ‘excess stock’ comes in handy for govt in Covid battle

Dipak K Dash & Sidhartha | TNN | Apr 15, 2020, 04:17 IST
FCI godown laborers carry sacks of rice to transfer them from the stockyard to respective places during a nati...Read More
NEW DELHI: States, which kick off purchasing wheat and paddy this week, have estimated procurement of another 40 million tonnes this season, as against 35 million tonnes a year ago, which will more than adequately fill up silos where stocks may have depleted due to the government’s decision to provide an additional quota of five kg of grains, free of cost, to 80 crore poor.
With some part of the rice procured during the last season yet to enter Food Corporation of India’s warehouses and the fresh procurement, stocks in July may hit 85-90 million tonnes, as against the buffer norms of over 41 million tonnes for that time of the year.
In any case, it is the much-criticised “excess stock” of grains, dubbed unmanageable by experts just a few months back, that has come handy as the Centre rolls out one of the biggest ever welfare programmes aimed at ensuring that the poor do not go hungry during the lockdown.
“There is no need to worry as the stocks that we have are more than sufficient to meet the requirement in the coming months,” government sources told TOI.

Save Boro first, then Aush

Experts urge govt to support farmers in need of irrigation; Covid-19 fallout packages fail to ease their woes

Youth harvesting Boro paddy in Brahmanbaria’s Sarail upazila as an acute shortage of labourers gripped the area over Covid-19 outbreak. The photo was taken near Dharanti haor on Tuesday. Photo: Masuk Hridoy
The government incentives announced so far to deal with agricultural fallout of Covid-19 provide little relief for farmers awaiting harvest of Boro, the principal crop of the country.
The Tk 5,000-crore package declared recently leaves out crop and cereal producers. Even, the agriculture ministry's offer of free seeds, fertilisers and reduced irrigation charges will mainly aid the cultivation of Aush paddy, starting next month.
Boro accounts for more than 50 percent of the country's total rice production while Aush less than 10 percent, according to Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) data.
Yet, the ministry is backing their decision to aid the cultivation of Aush instead of Boro, saying it is too late to cover Boro cultivation cost.
"Boro cultivation is almost over. The growers are now awaiting the harvest," Md Nasiruzzaman, secretary of the Agriculture ministry, told The Daily Star earlier this month.
"We are unable to provide any support to them [Boro farmers] right now. Implementing agricultural supports requires time, which has run out for Boro," he said.
However, farmers and agriculture experts do not agree with this.
Except for the haor region in Sylhet division, where Boro harvest has already begun, the Boro paddy fields in other parts of the country are still in need of irrigation before the crop is harvested next month, according to officials of Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) and Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI).
A government cushion from beginning of this month would have saved small and marginal farmers from going broke with debt due to exorbitant irrigation costs, said the officials. 
Boro cultivation starts in November-December. Up to one week before harvest, the fields require irrigation, farmers and agriculturists said.
In 2018-19, of 3.64 crore tonnes of rice produced in the country, Boro was 54 percent, Aman 38 percent and Aush only eight percent, from BBS data.
This year, the DAE is expecting two crore tonnes of Boro from 47.54 lakh hectares of land and 34 lakh tonnes of Aush from around 14 lakh hectares.


On April 12, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina unveiled a stimulus package of Tk 5,000 crore to support agricultural sectors such as horticulture, fisheries, poultry, dairy and livestock.
Entrepreneurs who directly buy crops and cereals from farmers to sell in the market are also among the beneficiaries of the package, to be disbursed by banks through loans within September 30 at a maximum interest rate of four percent.
However, the package leaves out all crop and cereal farmers including those cultivating Boro.
A Bangladesh Bank circular detailing the package states that banks can lend a maximum of Tk 14,500 crore in the current fiscal year to crop and cereal farmers under an existing scheme, whose interest rate is nine percent.  
The agriculture ministry also left out farmers from their recent stimulus package declared on April 8 allocating Tk 9.29 crore for distributing free seeds and fertilisers for Aush cultivation, scheduled to begin early next month.
In a few days, the government is likely to send directives about reduction of irrigation charges that are controlled by two major water providing institutions under the ministry -- Barind Multipurpose Development Authority (BMDA) and Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation (BADC), said Md Nasiruzzaman, secretary of the agriculture ministry.
"We mainly want to provide the facility to Aush crop and encourage the farmers for an increased cultivation and thus confirm a surplus production of rice," the secretary said.
Agriculture experts say increasing Aush production has become important for Bangladesh to avoid a food crisis as coronavirus might impact import of crops from other countries, but Boro should have been included in the support too.
A top agriculture official, wishing anonymity, said immediate support could have helped many Boro farmers. He said Boro cultivation used to account for around 60 percent of total rice output in previous years, but was reduced last year for lack of support.
Since Boro farmers had low paddy prices last year, several agricultural institutions including BRRI, DAE, BADC and BMDA, sent proposals to the ministry for waiving irrigation charges in full, he said.
But the farmers did not get the waiver this season.
Meanwhile, the government's allocation of Tk 200 crore to help farmers buy agricultural machinery, including combine-harvester and reaper with subsidy, is not helping farmers either, said Naogaon's farmer Rezaul Hasan.
"The combine harvesters do not work well in small plots of land. It also damages the hay, which many farmers sell to recover loss from sale of paddy. Only the threshing machine truly benefits the farmers," he said.


Rezaul, who is cultivating Boro on 30 acres of land Niamatpur upazila, spends around Tk 1,400 to Tk 3,500 per 0.4 acres to irrigate his cropland.
Although he qualifies for an agriculture loan from banks, he goes without one. He claimed borrowers often have to bribe middlemen to obtain the loan.
Khoka Pramanik cultivating 1.2 acres of land in Manda upazila said small farmers don't get bank loans. "I had to borrow from a microfinance institution to cultivate my land."
Alamgir Hossain of Noihati village in Khulna's Rupsha upazila had to sign a crop sharing contract with his irrigation provider to irrigate 2.8 acres of land, where he cultivated Boro.
Boro harvest is expected to start the second week of May in Khulna and farmers must water their fields at least 10 days before the harvest, he said, adding that he also cannot find labour to tend his field.
"I can see another loss waiting for me. I will never cultivate paddy again other than for my own consumption," said Alamgir. He had borrowed Tk 2.30 lakh from a local cooperative society during last Aman cultivation and incurred a loss.
Anil Ekka of Shahanapara in Rajshahi's Godagari upazila had to sell two of his lambs for Tk 4,000 to finance Boro cultivation on 0.8 acres of leased land.
He still needs 10,000 for fertiliser, insecticides and water.
He would have earned the money toiling as a day labourer otherwise, but the shutdown imposed to stem coronavirus transmission cancelled his earning strategy.
"I've borrowed most of the money. I have no cash at hand now. I don't know how I shall manage water for the rest of the days [of cultivation]," Anil said on April.
According to BBS data, of the country's 16,562,974 farmers, 78.62 percent are small farmers while 6.83 percent are marginal.
A study by Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies categorises marginal farmers as owning 0.51 acre to 1.0 acres of land, small as 1.01 acres to 2.5 acres of land, medium owning 2.51 acres to 5.0 acres, and large with ownership of more than 5.0 acres of land.
Many small and marginal farmers, operating in less than 1.5 acres of land, raise their expenditures by working at temporary jobs in cities and towns. Due to the shutdown, this opportunity is unavailable.
To make matters worse, this year the irrigation cost has risen because of the dry weather, said Aminul Haque, another farmer.
On behalf of Barind Multipurpose Development Authority, Aminul sells prepaid cards each costing Tk 2,500 for irrigation among 135 farmers cultivating Boro on 129.37 acres of land in Rajshahi's Tanore upazila's Komla union. He gets commission on the sale card sales.
He sold at least 128 prepaid cards at Tk 3.20 lakh this season against last year's sale of 95 cards at Tk 2.37 lakh.
"Most farmers had to borrow to pay off the irrigation cost," he said.
BMDA officials say the organisation collected Tk 200 crore in irrigation charges from farmers in Rajshahi and Rangpur divisions in 2018-2019.
BADC collects around Tk 12 crore annually providing irrigation to 5.29 lakh hectares of land across the country, said Ziaul Haque, chief engineer of its small irrigation wing.
Other than BMDA and BADC, private companies also provide irrigation to 42.39 lakh hectares of land in the country, but decisions about their irrigation charges have not been made yet, agricultural ministry officials said.
"Farmers now deserve full protection, free irrigation and a loan at no interest," said Prof Mohammad Saidur Rahman of Bangladesh Agricultural University. 
"They're providing us with food that will determine our future survival," he added.

Coronavirus lockdown: Rahul Gandhi says give 10 kg wheat or rice, 1 kg pulses and 1 kg sugar every week to poor people

Description: Rahul gandhi
Rahul gandhiKamal Singh (PTI Photo)
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday said that the food in government godowns should be distributed among poor people.
While addressing a press conference via video conference, Gandhi said, "The food we have in government godowns should be distributed among poor people. It should have been done 10 days ago. 10 kg wheat or rice, 1 kg pulses and 1 kg sugar should be given to people every week."
Rahul Gandhi also said, "Provide food, put money in the bank accounts of the poorer sections of the society pre-emptively. Create a package for the aid of SMEs. Ensure protection for small businesses. There is food in godowns -- but it's not reached people yet."
Addressing a press conference via video conference, Gandhi also said the entire country has to fight the crisis "unitedly" and there is need to grant adequate resources to the states to help them deal with it in a "nuanced" manner.
Instead of conducting tests on the basis of suspected cases, India must adopt a strategy and bring out an architecture under which testing should be expanded exponentially and find out where the country stands, the Congress leader said.
On Wednesday, Rahul Gandhi had appealed the government to issue emergency ration cards to feed the poor who are suffering from lack of provisions including migrants and poor who are not getting rations through PDS. Gandhi said that it is "inhuman" that grains are rotting and people remain with empty stomachs.
Gandhi tweeted "We appeal to the government that in this difficult times issue emergency ration cards, this should be for those people who are suffering due to lockdown and don't have food grains, lakhs of citizens are not able to take ration from PDS , the foodgrains is rotting in go down and people, are hungry, inhuman."
हम सरकार से अपील करते हैं कि इस संकट में आपातकाल राशन कार्ड जारी किए जाएँ।ये उन सभी के लिए हों जो इस लॉकडाउन में अन्न की कमी से जूझ रहे हैं।लाखों देशवासी बिना राशन कार्ड के PDS का लाभ नहीं उठा पा रहे हैं।अनाज गोदाम में सड़ रहा है जबकि सैकड़ों भूखे पेट इंतज़ार कर रहे हैं।अमानवीय!
As per estimates India has more than the one year's reserve of food grains .As per reports the government currently has 58.49 milion metric tones of good grain with rice is about 30.97 and wheat 27.53 million metric ton. The stock is much higher than the required limit as on April 1 said reports.

Easy as 1,2,3: chefs on the 50 most simple, delicious three-ingredient recipes

A limited range of supplies doesn’t mean cooking has to be boring. From potato latkes to teriyaki chicken, try these suggestions from some of the world’s best cooks
Description: Description: Dale Berning Sawa
Description: Description: Roasted aubergines with sesame, honey and miso glaze, puff pastry ‘pizzas’ and Honey & Co’s potato latkes.
 Roasted aubergines with sesame, honey and miso glaze, puff pastry ‘pizzas’ and Honey & Co’s potato latkes. Composite: Kindersley ltd/Alamy Stock Photo; Lauri Patterson/Getty Images/iStockphoto; Patricia Niven
Most easy recipes are not easy. Achieving simplicity is never actually that simple, but in the kitchen it is usually also contingent on a well-trained hand and a very well-stocked pantry. This makes the genuinely easy three-ingredient recipe a holy grail of sorts.
Here, then, the mother lode: 50 three-ingredient beauties. Some are meals in themselves. Some are a good base to build upon. Others still are a sweet something for afters. They run the gamut from “blink and it’s ready” to a long, slow cook, but none will break the bank. Crucially, all use only three things other than oil, butter, salt, pepper and water. As simple as ready, steady … cook!

Green frittata

Jacob Kenedy, Bocca di Lupo, @jacobkenedy
Roughly chop some green veg (spinach, chard, artichoke, chard, kale, asparagus …), and pan-fry with a little oil until slightly browned and properly hot. Beat 5-10 room-temperature eggs (depending on pan size) with whichever grated cheese you have (parmesan, pecorino, feta …), then stir the hot veg into the eggs, and reheat the pan over a medium-high flame.
Run a dash of oil round the edge of the pan and add the mixture, lower the heat and cook for eight minutes or so, until half set. Turn out on to a plate (this takes confidence and grace), reheat the pan to medium-high, slide the frittata back in and tuck in the edges with a spoon. Reduce the heat to low and cook for a further eight minutes, until just firm, or you have a hunch it might have just a little seductive ooze in the centre. Turn out again and let cool a little before serving, warmish.

Puff-pastry ‘pizza’

Description: Description: Puff pastry ‘pizzas’ with tomatoes and basil.

 Puff pastry ‘pizzas’ with tomatoes and basil. Photograph: LauriPatterson/Getty/iStockphoto
Miguel Barclay, @miguelbarclay
Cut a square of puff pastry, score a 1cm border and scatter over cheese, then tomatoes. Season with salt, pepper and oregano (optional), then bake for about 25 minutes at 180C (160C fan)/350F/gas mark 4.

Jerk and maple cauliflower florets

Description: Description: Jerk and maple cauliflower florets.

 Jerk and maple cauliflower florets.
Denai Moore, Dee’s Table, @dees_table
Heat your oven to 200C (180C fan)/375F/gas mark 5. In a big bowl, mix two tablespoons of shop-bought jerk seasoning, two tablespoons of maple syrup and two tablespoons of olive oil. Add in half a cauliflower, broken up into florets. Season with salt and pepper and mix together to coat, taking care not to break the florets.
Grease a baking tray with one tablespoon of olive oil and lay out the florets in a single layer. Cover with a piece of baking paper and put another baking tray on top to weigh down on the cauliflower. Bake for 30 minutes, turning the florets over after 15 minutes, until caramelised and sticky.

Feta-filled potato pops

Description: Description:

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Sabrina Ghayour, cookbook author, @sabrinaghayour
Peel and quarter two medium potatoes, then simmer for 20-25 minutes, until soft. Mash finely, then set aside to cool and refrigerate for a couple of hours. In another bowl, mix 100g feta with black pepper and three or four tablespoons of flour, until evenly combined. Shape the mash into ping-pong ball-sized portions and flatten in the palm of your hand to approximately ¾cm thickness. Pile a compressed teaspoon of the feta mixture into the centre of the mash disc and then bring the edges over the filling to seal the ball, filling any cracks with more mash. Lightly dust each ball with flour and repeat.
Heat some oil in a frying pan. When nice and hot, fry the pops until golden brown on both sides, removing with a slotted spoon and draining on kitchen paper when ready. Serve with your favourite sauces or chutneys.
Description: Description: Honey & Co’s latkes.

 Honey & Co’s latkes. Photograph: Patricia Niven


Itamar Srulovich and Sarit Packer, Honey & Co, @honeyandco
Grate two or three potatoes, place in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Leave in the sink to release some moisture for a few minutes, then squeeze out the rest of the moisture with your hands, place the potato in a bowl and add an egg and a tablespoon or two of self-raising flour (plain flour will do if that is what you have) and more black pepper than you think you need, then mix. If the mix is very loose, add more flour. Heat oil in a pan, about 1cm deep, and drop in little mounds of the mix. Turn when crisp and brown on one side, then take out and place on absorbent paper. Optional extras in the mix include thinly sliced onions or spring onions, anchovies, oregano, feta and smoked paprika.

Jacket potato with kimchi

Judy Joo, Jinjuu@judyjoochef
Slit open a baked potato, stuff with some chopped-up kimchi, cover with grated cheese and place under a grill until melted and browning.


Roberta d’Elia, Pasta Evangelists, @deliarobi
Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Peel 1kg potatoes (red if possible) and cook over a low heat until tender, but still firm, taking care that the skin doesn’t break (so they don’t absorb too much water). This will take 15-20 minutes. Drain, cool down and mash with a fork. Mix in 300g flour (plain, bread or gluten-free will work) and one egg, then knead until a dough forms.
Divide into four portions and shape into long snakes, about 1.5cm in diameter, then cut into 1cm-long pieces. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook the gnocchi for 2-3 minutes, or until they rise to the surface. Drain and serve with your favourite sauce: butter and sage, gorgonzola and cream with parma ham and walnuts, beef ragu, caprese sauce, basil pesto, whatever …
Description: Description: Potato gnocchi with sage butter.

 Potato gnocchi with sage butter. Photograph: YAY Media AS/Alamy

Chickpea and carrot crepes

Anna Jones, @we_are_food
Jones puts caraway seeds in her batter and serves the crepes with vegetables, leaves, cheese and eggs. Adapt as you see fit: the basic recipe is a keeper.
Mix together 250g of chickpea flour, 250g of grated carrots and 350ml of milk to obtain a thin, smooth pancake batter. Heat one teaspoon of olive oil in a medium, non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add a small ladle of the batter to the pan. Work quickly to swirl it around so the batter covers the base of the pan. Cook for a couple of minutes, then flip over and cook on the other side for another 30 seconds. Repeat with the rest of the batter, adding a little more oil each time. Stack the crepes on a plate with greaseproof paper in between each; keep warm in a low oven.

Tomato with strawberries and basil

Massimiliano Alajmo, Le Calandre, @alajmo
Make a salad of ripe tomatoes and strawberry, sliced, with fresh basil leaves. Season with extra virgin olive oil and flaky salt.

Tomatoes with cottage cheese

Rui Silvestre, Vistas, @rui_silvestre1
Blitz 200g of plum tomatoes with a pinch of salt and strain through a sieve. Blitz 50g basil leaves with 100g olive oil, then add to the tomato juice, season to taste and chill in the fridge. Blanche another 300g tomatoes in boiling water for 5-10 seconds then chill in iced water and remove the skin. Blitz 50g cottage cheese with flaky salt, olive oil and ground black pepper until smooth. Serve the skinned tomatoes on a bed of cottage cheese cream, drizzled with the basil oil juice mixture.

Tomato and orange soup

Itamar Srulovich and Sarit Packer, Honey & Co, @honeyandco
Peel and slice 10 (yes, 10) cloves of garlic. Slice one orange (skin and all, removing the pips). Place 60ml of olive oil in a pot and gently fry the garlic until fragrant. Add in the orange slices and fry until they start to brown a bit, then add a tin of chopped tomatoes and the same amount of water. Simmer for 20 minutes, then blitz with a stick blender until very smooth. Adjust the seasoning with salt and, if necessary, sugar as well, depending on how sweet the orange is. Delicious served with sourdough toast and goat’s cheese; the addition of some thyme or oregano works, too.

Sweet potato flatbreads

Description: Description: Mandy Mazliah’s sweet potato flatbreads.

 Mandy Mazliah’s sweet potato flatbreads. Photograph: Publicity image
Mandy Mazliah,
Peel and chop a large sweet potato and steam or boil until soft. Blend until smooth or mash by hand. Place 200g of plain flour in a large mixing bowl and rub in 200g of the sweet potato mash (reserving the rest) with your fingertips, until it resembles breadcrumbs.
Season to taste and add in a little water to make a smooth dough. Divide into six small balls and roll out on a lightly floured surface with a rolling pin dusted with flour. Heat a heavy-bottomed pan over a medium heat and fry the flatbreads one at a time, for two minutes on each side. Serve immediately, or wrap in a clean tea towel or foil to keep soft while you cook the rest.

Chicken thighs with teriyaki sauce

Simon Wood, MasterChef champion, @simonjwooduk
In a hot frying pan, cook 1kg of chicken thighs in vegetable oil until golden all over. Add 220ml of soy sauce and 100g of brown sugar and stir to bring to a boil. Continue stirring until the chicken it cooked and the sauce has reduced; it should evenly coat the chicken, making it sticky.

Chicken thighs with tandoori masala and lime

Romy Gill, Ready Steady Cook chef and cookbook author, @romygill
Stab six chicken thighs all over with a fork, then place in a bowl with six teaspoons of tandoori masala, the juice of one lime (lemon works, too), six teaspoons of oil and 20ml of cold water. Leave it to marinate for 20-30 minutes and heat an oven to 180C (160C fan)/350F/gas mark 4. Place a baking sheet on a baking tray and, when ready, place the marinated chicken on the sheet and cook for about an hour, or until the juices run clear.
Alternatively, use four teaspoons of harissa (rose harissa, if you can find any), the juice of one lemon and one teaspoon of salt.

Tofu with soy sauce and minced ginger

Anna Thomson, @kandojournalandkitchen
Cut two packs of silken tofu into quarters. Gently slip into a pan of boiling water to heat through. Remove with a slotted spoon and place in four bowls, two pieces per person. Top with soy sauce and minced ginger. Also good topped with toasted sesame seeds and chopped spring onion.

Pasta with lemon and mascarpone

Roberta d’Elia, Pasta Evangelists, @deliarobi
Mix the zest of one lemon with 125g mascarpone (ricotta works as well) and season generously. Combine with cooked fusilli to serve. If you happen to have any fresh herbs in the kitchen, such as parsley, basil or thyme, these would work well here.

Pasta with cavolo nero and garlic

Jessica Stanley, @dailydoseofjess
Boil chopped cavalo nero and a few whole garlic cloves in salty, oily water for eight minutes. Drain, whizz the leaves and cloves with a stick blender and stir into any cooked pasta, using the pasta cooking water to keep it loose.

Creamy cauliflower liguine

Miguel Barclay, @miguelbarclay
Grab half a cauliflower, pick off some florets, then pan fry with olive oil, salt and pepper. Boil the rest of the cauliflower, drain and blend it with milk (I use oat milk, but any would do), salt and pepper. Mix with cooked pasta, a big glug of olive oil and top with pan fried florets.

Buttered and breadcrumbed whole cauliflower, Warsaw-style

Description: Description: Whole roasted cauliflower.

 Whole roasted cauliflower. Photograph: Alvaro German Vilela/Alamy
Zuza Zak, cookbook author, @zuzazakcook
After removing the leaves, cook a whole cauliflower in a pan of salted water. In a frying pan, melt a large knob of butter, then brown some breadcrumbs in it. Once the cauliflower is cooked (but still firm) coat it in the breadcrumbs and serve – dill potatoes make a nice accompaniment.

Roasted whole cauliflower, with yeast butter and smoked trout

Keelan Higgs, Variety Jones, @keelanhiggs
To a pot of heavily salted boiling water, add a whole cauliflower and cook for two minutes, then remove and leave to cool for 30 minutes. Heat the oven to 190C (170C fan)/375F/gas mark 5. Heat some oil in a large ovenproof pan over a high heat and add the whole cauliflower, root side down. Drizzle with 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil. Crumble 30g of fresh yeast on to a baking tray and bake for eight minutes, until dark brown and caramelised.
Remove the cauliflower from the oven and put back on the stove over a medium-high heat. Add 100g of butter and, once foaming, baste over the top of the cauliflower with a large spoon 15-20 times, then turn the cauliflower upside-down and put the pan back in the oven for five minutes. Remove the cauliflower from the oven again, stir the yeast into the butter until semi-dissolved and baste the cauliflower 20-25 times, then return to the oven for a final five minutes before removing from the oven, basting another 20-odd times. Remove from the pan and on to a chopping board. Reserve the yeast butter. Chop into four evenly sized pieces and serve topped with 2-3 large spoonfuls of the yeast butter and a large slice of smoked trout.
Description: Description: Aubergines with sesame and honey miso glaze.

 Aubergines with sesame and honey miso glaze. Photograph: Dorling Kindersley ltd/Alamy Stock Photo

Aubergine with miso and honey

Anna Thomson, @kandojournalandkitchen
Cut two aubergines in half lengthways. Lightly score the flesh with a criss-cross pattern.
In a wide pan, heat some oil over a medium heat and lay the aubergines to fry on each side for a few minutes. Turn down the heat, cover with a lid and cook until soft, turning now and again. Place flesh side up on a serving plate.
In a small bowl, mix 2-3 tablespoons of miso with two teaspoons of honey, loosen with a little hot water, then spread over the aubergine. This is delicious topped with chopped spring onion or sesame seeds and served with rice.

Asparagus with pecorino and mint

Tom Anglesea, The Laughing Heart, @tomanglesea
Peel and trim a bunch of asparagus. Shave into ribbons with a peeler, then wash in cold water and drain. Shave 70g of pecorino into shards and toss with the asparagus and the picked leaves of half a bunch of fresh mint, roughly chopped. Dress with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Green beans with walnuts and shallots

Alexandra Stacey, @frenchfamilyfood
Trim a pack of green beans and boil in water for eight minutes. Drain, season with salt and pepper and set aside to cool. In a shallow pan, toast a small handful of walnuts over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes, turning constantly so that they don’t burn. Combine the beans and walnuts with half a shallot, finely sliced and chopped, and serve, drizzled with lots of olive oil.
Description: Description: oranges

 Photograph: Somsak Bumroongwong/EyeEm/Getty/EyeEm

Carrot with vinegar and honey

Olia Hercules, cookbook author, @oliahercules
Roughly grate or julienne a handful of carrots. Dress with a mixture of vinegar, honey and salt that is perfectly sweet, sour and salty. Leave for at least an hour, and up to a month. Use as fresh salad or as a pickle in some pitta bread with cheese or chicken.

Labneh, aubergine and harissa

Lucy Carr Ellison and Jemima Jones, Tart London
Line a sieve with a clean dishcloth or cheese cloth. Spoon in 500g yoghurt, tie up the cloth and leave to hang above a bowl for 2-24 hours. Heat the oven to 200C (180C fan)/400F/gas mark 6. Place the aubergine on a tray, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper and roast for about 20 minutes, until golden all over. Mix four tablespoons of olive oil with two tablespoons of harissa, drizzle over the aubergine and toss. Spoon the labneh out of the cloth, spread on a plate and top with the aubergine mix. Finish with a good drizzle of olive oil.

Sweetcorn salsa

Jessica Stanley, @dailydoseofjess
Drain a can of sweetcorn. Sizzle olive oil in a hot pan and fry the corn. When cool, serve with chilli flakes or smoked paprika, oil, salt and lime.

Roasted fennel, cherry tomatoes and spring onion

Luisa Weiss, cookbook author, @wednesdaychef
Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/350F/gas mark 4. Trim one large bulb of fennel and slice in half, lengthways, then cut out the core and discard. Cut each half in half again. Place the quarters in a baking dish along with two handfuls of cherry tomatoes and four spring onions, trimmed and cut into two-inch pieces. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and drizzle with 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil. Toss to coat. Bake for 30-35 minutes, shaking the dish once halfway through. Then turn off the oven and let the dish cool with the oven door closed for another half hour (or for as long as you can). Serve with lots of crusty bread, if possible.

Broccoli and blue cheese soup

Description: Description: Broccoli and blue cheese soup.

 Broccoli and blue cheese soup. Photograph: Jenner Images/Getty Images
Jeremy Chan, Ikoyi, @ikoyi_london
Thinly slice 400g of broccoli. Roast half and keep the rest raw. Add all of it to a blender with 300ml of chicken stock and 150g of blue cheese. Blitz for 10 minutes, until smooth. To serve, heat through and season well.

Polenta with sauteed mushrooms and toasted cashews

Anna Thomson, @kandojournalandkitchen
Bring 400ml of water to the boil in a large saucepan. Pour in 100g of polenta, whisking continuously as it thickens. Season well, stir in a knob of butter and cook slowly until it comes away cleanly from the pan. Toast a handful of cashews under the grill or in a dry frying pan until golden. Top the polenta with more butter, mushrooms sauteed in a little olive oil season well and the toasted cashews.

Bulgur wheat pilaf

Sabrina Ghayour, cookbook author, @sabrinaghayour
Heat a saucepan (for which you have a lid) over a medium heat and soften one finely chopped onion until soft and translucent. Add 200g of bulgar wheat and stir to coat. Then add two tablespoons of tomato puree, a very generous amount of salt and pepper and a generous knob of butter, if you like. Break down the puree and ensure it coats the bulgar wheat evenly. Pour 450ml of cold water over the mixture, stir well and cover with a lid. Reduce to a gentle medium heat and cook for 20-25 minutes or until the liquid is fully absorbed. Use a fork to fluff up the grains and serve.

Rice with green tea and salted salmon (ochazuke)

Dale Berning Sawa
Cook some short-grain Japanese rice. Season a salmon fillet with salt and leave for 10 minutes, then bake until slightly crispy. Dish up a bowlful of rice, top with chunks of salmon and pour hot green tea over until it covers half the rice. Serve as is, or add anything else you like: pickles, salted umeboshi plum, soy sauce, sesame seeds, bitter green leaves, chopped up toasted nori seaweed ...

Sweet coconut rice

Jeremy Chan, Ikoyi, @ikoyi_london
Toast 380g of jasmine rice in a pot with some oil until all the grains are well coated. In a saucepan, bring a 400g can of coconut milk to a simmer, season well and melt in 35g of honey. Add the warm coconut milk to the pot with the rice and quickly bring to the boil. Stir once to ensure no rice sticks to the base, then turn to a simmer and place a lid on the pan. Cook for 13 minutes and then turn off the heat and rest for five minutes, without opening the lid, to steam. After five minutes, open the lid to fluff up the rice before serving.

Yoghurt rice

Description: Description: Yotam Ottolenghi’s yoghurt rice with chana dal.

 Yotam Ottolenghi’s yoghurt rice with chana dal. Photograph: Louise Hagger/The Guardian
Yotam Ottolenghi (@ottolenghi) makes this to serve with spicy chana dal and wilted greens. I’d happily have it with sour salty pickles, toasted nuts or just as it is
Put 200g of basmati rice, two tablespoons of oil, 200ml of hot water and 1-2 teaspoons of salt in a large saute pan on a medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring often, until most of the water has been absorbed, then repeat, adding 200ml of hot water at a time and stirring often, until you have used up 1.2 litres of the water and the rice resembles a loose, creamy porridge – this will take about 20 minutes.
Lightly crush the rice grains with the back of a spoon then turn down the heat to medium-low. Whisk one egg yolk with 200g of Greek yoghurt and 50ml of hot water until smooth, then stir into the rice and cook, stirring often, for about seven minutes, until the mixture has thickened slightly, but is still a loose porridge.

Yellow split pea stew

Anna Jones serves this with yoghurt, olives, fresh mint and cucumber. Salted well, though, with a good amount of lemon juice, it’s a treat all on its own.
Soak 450g of split peas in cold water overnight. This isn’t essential, but will halve the cooking time. Drain the peas and place in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a rapid boil and let cook for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat and simmer for a further 20–30 minutes, or until tender. Drain, season and set aside. Put a large pot on a medium heat. Add the oil, two onions, peeled and finely chopped, and ½ teaspoon of salt. Cook for five minutes or so, until soft. Add the cooked split peas and 350ml of cold water. Bring to a simmer for a few minutes, then remove from the heat. Ladle half the soup into a bowl and set aside. Use a stick blender to puree the rest of the soup in the pan. Stir the chunky soup back into the puree for a soup that is nicely textured. Thin the soup with more water (or stock) as needed before serving, seasoned with some flaky salt and a good squeeze of lemon.

Lentil bolognese

Jessica Stanley, @dailydoseofjess
Use one tin of whole tomatoes per person for this. Start by draining the juice fromthe tomatoes and reserve for a future recipe. Rinse the whole tomatoes, taking care to keep their shape. Pat dry, cover in olive oil, sprinkle with salt. Cook for two hours at 140C/120C fan/275F/gas mark 1, or for an hour and a half at 160C/. Crush the tomatoes with a fork or potato masher. Add a tin per person of (drained and rinsed) lentils, heat through and serve with spaghetti.

Fermented rye soup with garlic (Żurek)

Zuza Zak, cookbook author, @zuzazakcooks
Put four tablespoons of rye flour in a large jar with two crushed cloves of garlic, and cover with 400ml of warm (pre-boiled) water. Cover with a tea towel and allow to stand in your kitchen for five days, stirring daily. After that, keep it in your fridge. To make the soup, add to a litre of vegetable stock and heat through. Top with crispy bits of garlic or garlic croutons to serve. Optional extra toppings include a lick of cream and can be served with a hard-boiled egg, fried bacon bits or whatever you have available.

Smoked mackerel with beetroot and horseradish

Anna Thomson, @kandojournalandkitchen
Peel and slice the beetroot into chunky slices. Drizzle with olive oil and season, bake in the oven until soft and slightly caramelised. Fry mackerel fillets on both sides until the skin is crisp (ensure your kitchen is well ventilated!) Serve on the roasted beetroot with a generous dollop of horseradish or tartare sauce (mayonnaise or plain yoghurt spiked with lemon and garlic works, too).

Chicken stock egg pudding (chawanmushi)

Ollie Templeton, Carousel, @carousel_ldn
Whisk four eggs with 500ml of chicken stock and 1-2 tablespoons of soy sauce, then sieve and pour into four bowls. Cover with tin foil and steam in a steamer (or a large lidded pot with boiling water going halfway up the sides of the bowls) for 30 minutes, until set – there should be a nice wobble in the middle. Allow to cool before serving.

Halloumi and apricot jam sandwich

Description: Description: Georgina Hayden’s halloumi and apricot jam sandwich.

 Georgina Hayden’s halloumi and apricot jam sandwich. Photograph: Kristin Perers
Georgina Hayden, cookbook author, @georgiepuddingnpie
Heat a griddle pan – or your oven grill – and grill three slices of halloumi (about 1½cm thick) for a couple of minutes on both sides, until golden and soft, but not rubbery. Meanwhile, lightly toast two slices of bread (good quality white is best), butter and top with a good layer of apricot jam. When the halloumi is ready, put it on the jam, close the sandwich and gently press together. Serve immediately, while the cheese is warm.

Lemon posset

Alex Head, Social Pantry, @social_pantry
Slowly heat 400ml of cream and whisk in 100g caster sugar. Bring to a gentle simmer for three minutes then remove from the heat and whisk in the juice and grated zest of one large lemon. Divide between four ramekins and refrigerate until set and chilled.
Description: Description: Close-Up Of Lemons Against White Backgroundlemon isolated on white background

 Photograph: Akepong Srichaichana/Getty Images/EyeEm

Nut butter cookies

Simon Wood, MasterChef champion, @simonjwooduk
Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/350F/gas mark 4. In a large bowl or food processor, mix 240g of peanut butter, 100g of sugar and one egg into a dough. Take one tablespoonful at a time and roll it into a ball. Place each on a nonstick baking tray, flatten slightly with a fork and bake for 8-10 minutes or until the bottom of the cookies are golden. Remove from baking sheet and cool for 20 minutes before eating.

Foolproof meringues

Natasha Collins, cookbook author, @neviepiecakes
Heat the oven to 120C/100C fan/250 F/gas mark 1/2. Line two large baking trays with baking paper. Whisk together six egg whites and ¾ teaspoon of cream of tartar until stiff peaks form – this should only take a minute or so. Keep beating and gradually add 310g sugar, one tbsp at a time. Beat until the sugar has dissolved – if you rub a little of the mixture between your thumb and fingers it should feel smooth. Take a heaped tablespoon of the mixture and, with another spoon, drop on to the baking tray. Repeat with the rest of the mixture, then place the baking trays in the oven and bake for 2½ hours. If you see the meringues starting to turn golden brown take them out. Leave to cool on the trays.

Crunchie ‘affogato’

Description: Description: Affogato

 Photograph: Ola O Smit/The Guardian
John Quilter, @foodbusker
Crush a Crunchie bar unopened in its wrapping with a rolling pin. Add two scoops of ice-cream to each serving bowl, pour over hot coffee and sprinkle with the crushed Crunchie pieces.

Pear and chocolate puff-pastry ‘strudel’

Cori Pim-Keirle, @coriandercooks
Heat your oven to 220C/200C fan/425F/gas mark 7 and line a baking tray with baking parchment. Peel, core and chop 5-6 pears into bite-size chunks. Pat dry and, in a mixing bowl, combine with 75g dark chocolate, roughly chopped. Unroll the pastry and, with the long edge facing you, pile the filling along the lower half of it. Moisten the edges with a little water and fold over the top. Press down on the edges with a fork to seal well. Make several cuts across the top.
(Normally I’d give the whole thing a final glaze with an milk/egg wash and sprinkle with a little demerara sugar for a crunchy finish, but it’ll work just as well without). Bake for 30-35 minutes, until puffed up – cover with a piece of foil if it browns too quickly on the edges.

Berry ‘ice-cream’

Claire Thomson, cookbook author, fiveoclockapron
Put 400g of frozen berries (or any frozen soft fruit, such as kiwi, mango, banana), two tablespoons of runny honey (or more to taste) and 200g of full-fat Greek yoghurt (or creme fraiche) in a blender and puree until smooth. Serve immediately.

Almond nougat

Ciccio Sultano, Duomo, @cicciosultano1
In a saucepan, melt 300g of granulated sugar and 100g of honey. In another pan, toast 100g of almonds. Once the almonds are golden, add to the sugar and caramelise for about 5-10 minutes. Remove from the heat and spread across an oiled chopping board, levelling the surface. With a long, sharp knife, cut into cubes, then leave to cool. Preserve in a glass jar.

Roasted rhubarb with vanilla

Luisa Weiss, cookbook author, @wednesdaychef
Heat the oven to 180C/160c fan/350F/gas mark 4. Cut 500g of rhubarb into 2-3-inch chunks and place in a baking dish. Slit one vanilla pod lengthways and scrape the seeds on to the rhubarb (or use one teaspoon of vanilla essence). Add 50g of sugar and toss gently to coat (push the bean under the rhubarb if using). Bake for 15-20 minutes, then set aside to cool (dry the bean, if used, and grind with more sugar for future use as vanilla sugar). Serve with cream or yoghurt, if you have any.

Apple ‘crumble’

Jessica Stanley, @dailydoseofjess
Grate an apple and sprinkle with granola. Serve with yoghurt

Quick crumble topping

Henrietta Inman, cookbook author, @henriettainman
Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/350F/gas mark 4 and line a tray with parchment paper. Mix 300g of any flour (wholemeal, white, spelt, rye, gluten-free, ground nuts, desiccated coconut, oats, buckwheat …) with 150g-200g of unsalted butter and 80-100g of whatever sweetness you have (any sugar, honey, maple syrup …) in a free-standing mixer or with your fingertips, until it resembles breadcrumbs. Spread over the tray and bake for 10 minutes.
Remove from the oven, chop up a little and return to the oven and bake for a further 10 minutes or until golden. Serve as is, or with fresh fruit and yoghurt, compote and cream, creme fraiche, honey and orange zest, ice cream and chocolate sauce … (You can also add anything from lemon or orange zest, vanilla, a pinch of salt, a handful of nuts or seeds, a few tsp cocoa powder, or whatever you think might work to the crumble mix).

Berries with chocolate mousse

Cori Pim-Keirle, @coriandercooks
Arrange 150g of pitted cherries, raspberries or strawberries in the bottom of of serving dishes. Melt 100g of dark chocolate in a bain marie, then set aside to cool. Pour 170ml of aquafaba (the liquid drained from a can of chickpeas) into the bowl of a stand mixer and whip on full speed until firm peaks form (This will take quite a lot longer than it would with egg whites.) Stir a large dollop of this into the cooled, melted chocolate to lighten it before very carefully folding in the rest. Be as gentle as possible to minimise any loss of air. Divide the mousse evenly over the fruit and chill for several hours to set.

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