Monday, June 08, 2020

8th June,2020 Daily Global Regional Local Rice E-Newsletter

Climate Change and Other Factors Threaten Ojibwe Tribe Wild Rice Traditions
Jun 06, 2020 08:40 AM EDT
Climate Change and Other Factors Threaten Ojibwe Tribe Wild Rice Traditions
Members of the Leech Lake Band of the Ojibwe Tribe harvest rice on Mud Lake, located on the Leech River, 17 miles downstream of Leech Lake Dam. For the Ojibwe tribe living in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan, one of the most important traditions involves wild rice, which is now in sharp decline in the small lakes of reservations in part due to climate change.
(Photo : Wikimedia Commons)
For the Ojibwe tribe living in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan, traditions involve wild rice, which is now in sharp decline in the small lakes of reservations in part due to climate change. This causes fear and uncertainty in many tribal members.
University of Minnesota wild rice expert and hydrologist Crystal Ng says that it is difficult to determine the cause for the impairment of a lake. She is working closely with the tribe, and says that nobody currently has answers.
Wild rice thrives in shallow water in lakes, and to be able to germinate once spring comes, scientists say that it requires low temperatures and hard winter freezing. Unfortunately, according to scientists, Minnesota counts as among the quickest-warming US states. To add to the problem, oil pipeline construction is being planned in northern Minnesota, heart of north Minnesota's Ojibwe territory.
History says wild rice was harvestable in many shallow lakes and rivers within the Ojibwe's Lac du Flambeau reservation. This reservation spans 86,500 acres in north Wisconsin. Presently, only two lakes there has wild rice, one of which is not harvestable, according to the reservation's wild rice cultural enhancement program officials.
The harvest has also severely dropped. In the 1920's, the lakes in Lac du Flambeau had about 200 pounds harvest for every family, which was sufficient for the long winter until spring. Now, a harvest of 80 pounds for each family would already be good. Each year, the number dwindles even more.
Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians of Northern Wisconsin Tribal Council Member Eric Chapman, Sr. says that the last two years have seen a large drop in harvest, and that it could be completely gone by the middle of the century. Chapman has lived on the reservation all his life.
The Ojibwe are now reviving their traditional ceremonies while also participating in workshops on climate adaptation. They consult non-tribal experts so that they can enhance awareness and knowledge on the native wild rice dilemma.

According to experts, the drop in yield can be attributed to the channeling of the river, building of the dam, and logging. However, there is also the nuanced effects of environmental changes, such as changes in water temperature and air, extreme precipitation, and alteration of water chemistry due to erosion.
Ng shared that a problem with the wild rice implies that there is something wrong with the ecosystem. This makes wild rice a flagship species for preserving the environment as well as resource sovereignty for indigenous peoples.
Another factor is the increasing lake water levels, which can decimate an entire annual harvest. In addition, even the most subtle variations in water level, chemical composition, and temperature are able to kill them. Pickerel weed and other competing plant species also rob the wild rice of needed essential nutrients and sunlight.
During the stage when they break out of the surface and start to flower, sudden extreme precipitation can increase the water level and remove the roots out of the bottom, killing many of them.
Wild rice research co-investigator and University of Minnesota assistant professor Michael Dockry said that indigenous tribes have always been marginalized in climate change discussions. He says that research should integrate science and traditional knowledge.

ISLAMABAD: The Inter-national Monetary Fund (IMF) and Pakistani authorities remain closely engaged to bring the...
Tahir Amin June 06, 2020
ISLAMABAD: The Inter-national Monetary Fund (IMF) and Pakistani authorities remain closely engaged to bring the second review of the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) to a positive conclusion, while taking into account the new conditions the Fund is facing in Pakistan, and to ensure the programme delivers on its objectives.
This was stated by Gerry Rice, Director Communication Department IMF during a media briefing.
Replying to a question about the status of the ongoing technical discussion with Pakistan, Rice said that they are closely engaged in these discussions.
Rice stated, "On the EFF, which was already in place with Pakistan, I can tell you that technical discussions with the authorities continue. They remain fluid with a view to bringing that second review of that program, that EFF, to a positive conclusion, as soon as possible. We're working with the authorities, constructively, to ensure that that can be brought to a positive conclusion, as soon as possible, while taking into account the new conditions that we're facing in Pakistan, and to ensure the program delivers on its objectives." The official further stated that the IMF already provided emergency financing to Pakistan in the context of the COVID-19 crisis, and that was in the amount of about $1.4 billion, approved by the IMF Board in April.

Budget, Economy, Statistics and Options for Pakistan

The government of Pakistan is discussing the possible budget for country. Although it is routine thing but this year it will not be usual business due to multiple factors. COVID-19 has hit world and it has changed dynamics of world economy. The factors of economy are adjusting to new normal. Governments have been stuck between “lockdown or no-lockdown” and they will have to decide between “devil and deep see”. However, the situation is grimmer for developing countries. As, in developed world it is decision between economy and life but for developing countries it is decision between life and life. Unfortunately, Pakistan falls in second category.
Pakistan is home to 58.8 percent food insecure and almost 39.6% population in multi-dimensional poverty trap. Owning to weak economic activities the inflation is on rise. Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) data shows that the monthly CPI has shown a change of 8.2 percent. The increase in CPI in rural area is 9.7 percent as compare to 7.7 percent in urban areas. The performance on trade and industrial side is also very weak. PBS data indicated that the export of Pakistan is shrinking during the last three months. It has declined to US$ 957 million in April, from US$ 1814 million in March 2020. It shows that total loss is equal to US$ 857 million. It is very sharp dip as compare to decrease in March 2020 (US$ 2140 to US$ 1814 millions).
Further investigation shows that the major impacted sectors with the change in term of PKR in millions are knitwear -55.44%, bed wear -50.54%, readymade garments -69.06%, cotton cloth -64.74%, cotton yarn -57.24% and fish & fish preparation -40.90% in April 2020 as compared to March 2020. Only rice (rice other 8.89 percent, basmati rice 41.36) and plastic material (51.84 percent) shows a positive trend in export. It is very alarming situation. It is assumed that the situation will further be aggravated. Besides, we also have to keep in mind that the textile sector provides jobs to millions of people. The decreasing trend of export will displace hundreds of thousands of people out of job.
Pakistan should dedicate one or two SEZs for technology and create linkages with companies and countries to build capacity and production in Pakistan
On other hand imports are not decreasing at the same pace. According to PBS data the imports for the month of April 2020 were US$ 3204 million as compared to US$3316 million in March 2020. The decrease is very nominal, 3.3% only. It is increasing current account deficit. The worrying part is that major surge in import sector was noticed in food products like palm oil 44.4% and pulses by 86.91%. The surge in import of pulses is very disturbing fact, as Pakistan is an agricultural country.
The impacts of slower export are already visible in production sector. PBS data of March 2020 indicated that the large manufacturing is on declining trend. It shows that LSMI has deceased by 22.95 % in March 2020, from March 2019. The major impacted are sectors textile (-26%), coke and petroleum product (-47.41%), Automobile (-49.45%) and engineering goods (-35.52%) etc. The decrease in large scale production sector will be translated into SMEs and commodity sectors. As these industries are dependent on SMEs or commodity sectors for raw material. For example, the textile sector will directly impact the cotton produces and allied labor. The COVID-19 and decreasing trend of export will further complicate the situation. Pakistan’s business and industrial sector was already under pressure due to poor economic condition of country. It would be difficult for Pakistan to absorb the shock.
It has also introduced problems in revenue field. Prime Minister has mentioned that in last two months the tax collection has been impacted badly and decreased by 30 percent. There was pressure on Pakistan to increase the tax by IMF and partners. But business closure and loss of jobs is impacting the tax collection. It will give impetus to fiscal deficit. The problem will be aggravated in coming months, as remittances are also decreasing due to job loss. Remittances were also contributing to boost consumption in market, which was also contributing to revenue through indirect taxes. Foreign exchange will also exhibit a negative trend. We have observed that many Pakistanis are losing jobs in Middle East and in other countries. They were sending remittances, which was a major source of foreign reserves. Pakistan was already struggling to keep the foreign reserve stable. Pakistan has to payback debt and interest on debt, which is main source of depleting of foreign reserves. Pakistan was taking loans from many international partners and financial institutions to keep our reserve stable and pay back the debt.
In these circumstances, what options government of Pakistan have to present a decent budget. The options are bleak, or we can say we do not have option for a decent budget. The resources are shrinking, and expenditure are expanding, especially in term of relief to business and industrial sector. Moreover, government will also have to spend to take care of millions of poor people. Hence, government has to look for immediately relief or sector which can help to sustain the pressure.
Agriculture is a sector which can help Pakistan at this stage. It has multiple linkages with other industries and livelihoods of people. It can provide raw material for textile, leather, and food industry etc. It can also be a good source of export like rice, meat, mango, citrus, dates, apple, and many others. However, the most important contribution would be in form of job creation and addition to revenues, foreign exchange, from all these activities. The revenue would help us to sustain the shock in other sectors. Second, the job contribution would be direct and indirect, which will help to take care jobless people. But, for that purpose government will have to adopt a comprehensive policy for development of sector. Government will have to come out of lip service and apply real tools. For example, we were listening that government is putting efforts to improve sector, but the attack of locust exposed the government’s efforts.
Second, information technology can also help to create jobs and earn foreign exchange resources. It will also help to promote e-commerce and mechanization of supply chain. Pakistan has already entered in the market and earning good revenue. Sector has observed an encouraging growth (26%) and earned US$ 867 millions during the first eight months of fiscal year 2019-20. Post COVID-19 will create new avenues and opportunities in this field. As, it is open secret that technology is coming in big way to replace the traditional jobs.
Moreover, the fourth industrial revolution is all about the new technologies, especially in the field of ITC. Pakistan should be ready and start investing on young human resource. One available option is CPEC. Pakistan should dedicate one or two SEZs for technology and create linkages with companies and countries to build capacity and production in Pakistan. Huawei is already assisting Pakistan, but it needs to expand the cooperation.
Third, SMEs can also help to create jobs and revenue. Though, Pakistan needs to look for new areas. One option can be Pakistan work with China through CPEC and try to be part of supply chain in some sectors like food, mechanical etc.
Lastly, these sectors can help to present a decent look budget and absorb the shocks of COVID-19. It will also pave way for recovery of economy. However, to benefit from all these areas government needs to be innovative and courageous. The past practices will not serve the purpose and Pakistan will be roaming in closed street.
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Weekly inflation falls 0.42pc

  • The SPI for the week under review in the above mentioned group was recorded at 127.78 points against 128.32 points registered in the previous week, the data release by SBP revealed.
  • The weekly SPI with base year 2015-16=100 is covering 17 urban cen
ISLAMABAD: The Sensitive Price Indicator (SPI) based weekly inflation for the week ended on June 4, for the combined consumption group, witnessed decrease of 0.42 percent, Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) reported Friday.
The SPI for the week under review in the above mentioned group was recorded at 127.78 points against 128.32 points registered in the previous week, the data release by SBP revealed.
The weekly SPI with base year 2015-16=100 is covering 17 urban centers and 51 essential items for all expenditure groups.
The Sensitive Price Indicator for the lowest consumption group upto Rs. 17,732, however, witnessed nominal increase of 0.07 percent and went up from 134.20 points in last week to 134.30 points during the week under review.
The SPI for consumption groups from Rs. 17,733-22,888; Rs. 22,889-29,517; Rs. 29,518-44,175 and above Rs. 44,175 per month decreased by 0.02 percent, 0.11 percent, 0.24 percent and 0.67 respectively.
During the week, prices of 12 items decreased, 15 items decreased while that of 24 items remained stable.
The items, which recorded decrease in their average prices included onions, petrol, tomatoes, garlic, potatoes, LPG Cylinder, gram pulse, bananas, moong pulse, mash pulse, sugar and masoor pulse.
The commodities, which recorded increase in their average prices included eggs, chillies, wheat flour, energy saver, chicken, cooked beef, milk, curd, mutton, mustard oil, lawn, diesel, rice (Basmati broken), gur and beef.
Similarly, the prices of the commodities that observed no change in their price during the week under review included rice (Irri 6/9), bread, milk (powdered), cooking oil, vegetable ghee (both tin and loose), salt, tea (packet), cooked daal, tea (prepared), cigarettes, long cloth, shirting, georgette, gents sandal, gents chappal, ladies sandal, electricity charges, gas charges, firewood, washing soap, match box, telephone charges and toiled soap.

ADB to provide $300 million emergency Covid-19 loan to Pakistan

Gambia receives agricultural machinery, equipment and fertiliser from China

The Government of The Gambia through the Ministry of Agriculture on Friday 5 June 2020 received agricultural machinery, equipment and fertiliser from the Government of the People’s Republic of China for onward delivery to the farming community.
Speaking at the handing over ceremony at the Department of Agriculture in Cape Point, Bakau, the Honourable Minister of Agriculture, Ms. Amie Fabureh, said since the restoration of relations with the People’s Republic of China, The Gambia has seen cooperation in various sectors but most especially in agriculture. This, she added is evident with the display of variety of farming equipment and fertilisers received from China. She said: “The official handing over of this magnificent agricultural equipment/machinery accompanied with their state-of-the-earth accessories and fertilisers has yet marks another milestone towards the realisation of the development of Rice and Horticulture sub sectors value-chain prioritised as flagship projects in the National Development Plan.”
Minister Fabureh said the equipment and fertiliser are crucial ingredient to The Gambia’s economic growth given that agriculture employs over 70 percent of the population and more than half of them are women farmers, noting that women farmers are the core rice and vegetable producers. Minister Fabureh on behalf of the President of the Republic of The Gambia H.E. Adama Barrow commended the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to The Gambia for facilitating the delivery of the agricultural equipment and extended thanks and appreciation to the President of the People’s Republic of China, H.E. Xi Jinping for China’s continuous support to The Gambia.
The Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China, Excellency Ma Jianchun, in his remarks said the handing over ceremony marks an important milestone of cooperation in a bid to protect The Gambia’s food security and to also support efforts of Gambia’s agricultural production and development.
Ambassador Ma expressed optimism that under the leadership of H.E. President Adama Barrow and with efforts by the Government and the People of The Gambia, there would be victory in combating the novel coronavirus. He pointed out that the economy and people’s lives will get back on track.
He disclosed that this donation is part of cooperation in the area of agriculture between the two countries. Ambassador Ma recounted the numerous agricultural achievements registered by the Chinese agricultural experts in the Central River Region of The Gambia, adding that: “The Chinese agricultural experts have reclaimed 7 acres of rice farms to conduct the research for strengthening Gambian rice varieties, and the experiments on adapting high-production hybrid Chinese rice varieties to local natural environment.”
The items donated by the Chinese Ambassador includes 10 metric tons of fertiliser, 30 sets of walking tractors, 30 sets of small rice threshers, 29 sets of rice mill, 25 sets of pumps, 1 set of steering-wheel tractor, 2 sets of diesel engine and corresponding spare-parts, maintenance tools and other materials.
The items were inspected by dignitaries including the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Gambians Abroad, Dr. Mamadou Tangara, which followed the singing of Exchange Note by Foreign Minister Tangara and Ambassador Ma.
This high level ceremony was chaired by the Communications officer of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Saikou Ceesay.

Masagana 99 was a success but could have been better
Published June 6, 2020, 10:00 PM

Dr. Emil Q. JavierDr. Emil Q. Javier
This article was prompted by the well-publicized exchange between Senator Imee Marcos and Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and the conflicting assertions on the positive and adverse consequences of the Masagana 99 (M-99) rice program during the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos.
Both Senator Marcos and Secretary Dominguez were correct, to varying degrees.
Senator Marcos was correct in claiming M-99 was a success. Records show that M-99 achieved the primary purpose for which it was established. M-99 dramatically raised our national rice output, after the series of devastating typhoons, tungro virus infection, and a killer flood followed by drought in Central Luzon in the early ’70s. Likewise, we attained rice self-sufficiency albeit very briefly. And yes, we did export rice, not much but a welcome reversal from the menacingly increasing annual shortfalls.
But Secretary Dominguez was also correct in pointing out that M-99 was not a TOTAL success. M-99 left the rural banking sector in shambles. Hundreds of rural banks went under for failure to collect the loans they extended to the farmers at the behest of the national government.
The productivity gains achieved by M-99 can be seen in the following table comparing the national average palay yields pre-Masagana 99 versus the first four years of Masagana 99.

The yield advantages of M-99 years versus pre-M-99 years were 10% and 25% for the wet and dry seasons, respectively.
However, the national averages mask the fact that only about one-third (1/3) of the rice farms were enrolled in M-99. If these were factored out, the M-99 yields were 1.98 tons per hectare and 2.76 tons per hectare for the wet and dry seasons, respectively. The yield advantages of M-99 growers versus non-M-99 growers significantly rise to 29% and 75% for the wet and dry seasons, respectively.
With this yield advantage, it cannot be true that the M-99 adopters lost money in their adoption of M-99 technology as claimed by some detractors. Many did not repay the M-99 loans not because their margins were negative but because either they spent the proceeds for their other more pressing family needs e.g. for food, medication, school expenses. Or the farmers simply refuse to repay the loans as a perverse sense of entitlement.
Moreover, destruction of the rice growing environment due to excessive application of fertilizers and pesticides is an exaggeration. The fertilizer recommendations of M-99 were moderate compared with the high levels of fertilizer now routinely applied by the very productive rice farmers in Nueva Ecija, Bulacan and Isabela. And certainly much less than the historical fertilizer usage in Taiwan, China, Japan, South Korea and our neighbor next door, Indonesia.
The levels of pesticide use were initially high but subsequently moderated as the genes for pest and disease resistance were systematically bred into the succeeding recommended rice varieties. Likewise, it did not take long for our rice farmers to become more judicious in the rate and timing of pesticide applications with the successful popularization of integrated pest management (IPM) technology through the joint efforts of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) and UP Los Banos (UPLB).
Unfortunately, the M-99 rice program became a casualty of the regime change after EDSA I together with the children and maternal nutrition, family planning and energy development programs. In the haste to discredit the Marcos regime, the baby was thrown out with the bath water, as the expression goes.
Particularly costly was the mothballing of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) due to: 1) perceived risk due to volcanic eruption and earthquake, 2) lack of trust in the competence of Filipino nuclear scientists and engineers to safely manage a nuclear plant, and 3) insinuations of graft in the bidding and construction of the plant.
Not known to many was the fact that South Korea had one such Westinghouse nuclear plant built at the same time as ours. The first proved to be very successful that the South Koreans built two more exactly of the same Westinghouse model. Ironically, the BNPP facility which cost us US$2.5 billion to build but out of which we have not generated a kilowatt hour of power remains unscathed after the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo nearby and the many earthquakes that have rocked Luzon the last 35 years. The South Koreans came in 2010 to offer to finance, rehabilitate and manage BNPP for a fee but their offer was coldly received.
I have been cited as objecting to the resuscitation of the M-99 rice program. Yes I did raise the alarm but not against adoption of modern technology but for a specific reason —objection to the manner our rice programs is being implemented i.e. with massive input subsidies in kind, worse through government direct procurement and distribution which had been the bane of our rice programs all these years.
Truth was M-99 never left us. After the Marcos administration, all the succeeding Secretaries of Agriculture continued to promote and popularize the package of modern technology (irrigation, good seeds, fertilizers, integrated pest management, grain dryers) which M-99 was really all about.
However, the problem was our cultural propensity of always starting anew without regard to the gains (and failures) in the past. The Department of Agriculture (DA) rice banner programs of the succeeding administrations were all in the mold of M-99 but were baptized with new names and acronyms. From M-99 under President Marcos, our rice programs underwent cosmetic name changes: Rice Action Program under President Cory; Gintong Ani (FVR); Agrikulturang Makamasa (ERAP); Ginintuang Masaganang Ani (GMA); Agri-Pinoy under BSAII and now Ani at Kita (PRRD).
However instead of rectifying the “fly in the ointment” of M-99 which was non-repayment of loans by farmers for acquisition of the needed production inputs, the common perverse and obstinate solution of the succeeding rice programs was massive direct input subsidies so the poor farmers do not have to take out bank loans (tongue in cheek, with great benefit to the implementors in government and their complicit suppliers and legislators).
The solution from the beginning ought to have been a massive bailout of the rural banks in order to save them from bankruptcy. After all the rural banks extended these loans on behest of the national government. It would have been cheaper, less traumatic and would have kept the rural banking sector intact.
Unfortunately, we have not learned. Forty-five years after M-99, the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) program under the new Rice Tariff Act (RTA) chose the same dubious path of least resistance and provided for massive input subsidies in kind procured by government.
The preferred route ought to have been an overhaul of the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) to make loans accessible and affordable to small farmers through: 1) reconstitution of the old cadre of rural finance officers who will closely supervise the lending to farmers, 2) establishment of additional branches and lending centers in underserved areas, and 3) imposition of a second set of metrics of bank performance on actual rural lending, in addition to the CAMELS grading system of financial integrity imposed by the Bangko Sentral.
These, I am happy to note, are now being undertaken by LBP with its new president, Cecilia Borromeo.
Additionally, LBP will need resources to significantly ramp up its rural lending portfolio. However, LBP need not run to Congress each year for supplemental appropriations to offset prospective losses in lending to small farmers because the Bank’s annual income of ₱15 billion is more than enough, provided LBP is exempted from remitting half of its annual income to the National Treasury. It is for this reason, LBP should retain its universal banking license with which to cross-subsidize rural lending.

How to cook rice to perfection – and why most of us have been doing it wrong

For brilliant recipes, the best of local produce, fresh ideas and insight, subscribe to our weekly Food and Drink Newsletter.
Rice may seem easy to cook but there are many pitfalls along the way. Follow our guide to avoid the most common mistakes.
It’s considered one of the simplest foods and is a staple in many cuisines around the world – yet rice can actually be pretty tricky to cook despite its low-key image.
Sadly it’s not as easy as just sticking it in a pot with some boiling water. Common mistakes include making too much, as the grains almost double in size when cooked, or getting the consistency wrong, so you end up with rice that is too sticky or too hard.

Surge in price halts Pakistan's chili exports
Published: June 7, 2020
A Reuters file image
A Reuters file image
KARACHI: Chili and sauce exporters have urged the government to take measures to bring down skyrocketing prices of chili, due to cartelisation, which has halted chili export for the last three months by impairing their competitiveness in the international market.
The small-medium enterprise (SME) spices exporters are badly affected due to the malpractices of the middlemen and are suffering due to the high prices of chilies under their control, said Munaf Bawany committee member of Pakistan Food Products Processors and Manufacturers Association (PFPPMA). The price of Dundicut, the red small blotted chili, has surged to Rs24,000 per 40 kilograms, which should have been at around Rs8,000 to Rs10,000, according to spices exporter Bawani.
Dundicut is an international sought-after chili, which is grown in Kunri and Umerkot districts in the province of Sindh. It has been more than three months that the export of chili has been halted due to high prices in the local market, he added.
In April 2020, Pakistan exported $6.957 million of spices against $7.706 million in 2019, according to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) data.
Chili is an important commodity used in every household kitchen and the manufacturing units of spices for domestic consumption or exports are handicapped without chili, as it is an essential ingredient in all ground spices.
Pakistan is not only manufacturing the best sauces of different kinds as per international standards but is also exporting those sauces. “The import duty on sauces must be increased in the forthcoming budget to discourage imports and to encourage our domestic industry, which has achieved a high benchmark,” said UNISAME President Zulfikar Thaver.
The middlemen operating in Kunri and Umerkot areas of Sindh control the supply of the commodity to the SME processors of spices and indulge in hoarding, profiteering and black marketing. It is reported that chili is also smuggled making it non-available to the SME units, he added.
Mukesh Kuma, who is the provincial chief of SMEDA Sindh has convened a meeting of spices exporters on June 8, 2020, at the behest of UNISAME and PFPPMA to examine the situation in true perspectives. However, in his opinion, the prices of chilies will come down when the new crop comes shortly. The demand and supply position is likely to improve considerably.
SMEDA played an important role in the set up and management of the dehydration plant of chilies at Kunri Sindh. The dundicut red chilies of Kunri are world-famous and are considered a geographical indication (GI) in the list of our GI items like basmati rice, Sargodha kinnos, Mirpurkhas mangoes, Kasuri methi and Multani halwa, apprised Thaver

New Orleans area Business Briefs for June 7, 2020

  • Jun 7, 2020 - 12:15 am

10-week contractors' course planned online

Registration is open through July 17 for the Residential Contractors Seminar, which will be conducted remotely for contractors throughout the state and is one of three programs in the Louisiana Contractors Accreditation Institute.
The 10-week course will be presented from July 20 to Sept. 23 via web-based videoconferencing and designed for contractors ranging from new residential construction to home improvement projects.
It will feature two-hour sessions twice a week on Mondays and Wednesdays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. All information and materials presented in the sessions will focus on residential construction. A $350 fee covers the cost of the course and materials.
Topics include print reading; building calculations; site work, demolition and construction; foundations, formwork and retaining walls; finishes; roof structures; structural loads; wood framing construction; related trades; special construction and equipment; and safety codes.
Registration is at

Bollinger Shipyards delivers fast response cutters

Bollinger Shipyards in Lockport has delivered its 38th and 39th fast response cutters to the U.S. Coast Guard in Key West, Florida.
The USCGC Harold Miller is the third of three cutters to be homeported in Galveston, Texas.
The USCGC Myrtle Hazard is the first of three fast response cutters to be homeported in Apra Harbor, Guam, increasing the presence for the U.S. Coast Guard in the Indo-Pacific Theater.
Bollinger has delivered 162 vessels to the U.S. Coast Guard over a 35-year period.

Holy Cross, Fletcher sign agreements

The University of Holy Cross and Fletcher Technical Community College have signed agreements between their social sciences and health sciences programs to make it easier for students to transfer credits from Fletcher to UHC.
In the first agreement, Fletcher students will now be able to complete the associate degree in criminal justice and transfer credit hours earned in the various concentrations within that degree toward completion of the bachelor of social sciences with a concentration in criminal justice at UHC.
The second agreement allows Fletcher students to complete their associate of science degree in cardiopulmonary care science and transfer credit hours earned toward completion of the bachelor of science in health sciences curriculum for cardiopulmonary care science at UHC.
The two schools signed agreements for nursing and business in January.

Rice station virtual field day scheduled

The 2020 field day at the LSU AgCenter H. Rouse Caffey Rice Research Station will be held online only because of the challenges caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The internet presentations by Rice Research Station faculty will be available for viewing starting July 1 at
“This virtual field day will allow our scientists to make their presentations just like they have in the past,” said Don Groth, Rice Research Station resident coordinator. Groth cited several advantages. Viewers can watch the presentations later on YouTube, and presenters will be able to include graphics in the talks that will add to the content.
The field tour will include talks on disease, insects, weeds, variety development, and an update on hybrid breeding and agronomics. The field day will include a talk by Mark Shirley, LSU AgCenter and Louisiana Sea Grant crawfish specialist, who is overseeing research at the station’s South Farm.

Helping angels or rice at the end of wolves? – Maddie and the British press

June 8, 2020

Helping angels or rice at the end of wolves? – Maddie and the British PresseDie latest twist in the case of the missing three years awakens in the UK caused a big stir. The well-known mud battle in the media, however, remains.0 KommentareBis unsolved today: Maddie McCann disappeared on may 3. May 2007 from her hotel room.Photo: Metropolitan Police
As the three-year-old British girl Maddie McCann on 3. May 2007 disappeared from her bed in a holiday apartment in Portugal’s Praia da Luz, it was not long until the small town was overrun by journalists. It was father Gerry, a doctor from Scotland who set up the professional PR machinery in motion was not in order for his daughter disappears from the public perception. Today the McCanns will not give up the hope of finding their daughter alive: “But what will always be the result of: We need to know, because we need to find peace.”
We need to know, because we need to find peace.
Kate and Gerry McCann
the Portuguese police and the media should have taken care of hype from the beginning for the surprise and suspicion. Strengthened all the more, as the British Newspapers with the Anglo-Saxon superiority was reported feeling about the allegedly amateurish investigators from the southern European country.
mother Kate and father Gerry McCann were suddenly themselves under suspicion. Why have they left Maddie and her two younger siblings alone in the apartment as they ate at a nearby Restaurant with friends in the evening? The investigators assumed that an accident happened and the parents just let the corpse of Maddie’s disappearance.
The Story about the missing Madeleine as her real Name – fell into a time when the British media of rampant goods than ever. British journalists listened to phones, to get information about celebrities and victims of crime. The meanwhile set “News of the World” published diary entries of Kate McCann from the time of the kidnapping excuse, without their consent, and to the public.
the Sunday Times was sued by the couple because, she reported, the two had kept back information about the Disappearance of Maddie’s.
A couple of examples from the British press, on the case of Maddie Mccann.A couple of examples from the British press, on the case of Maddie Mccann.A couple of examples from the British press, on the case of Maddie Mccann.1 / 6
For the British tabloids, the McCanns were a money printing machine, because the family is presentable – both parents Doctors, successful, Catholic, and attractive. “If Kate was thick, pimply and old, you would not sell all of these Newspapers,” quoted the magazine “Vanity Fair”, a sister-in-law.
More than a Million pounds of “Pain and suffering” and compensation to the McCanns and their friends were invested in the Foundation, which was founded in the Couple. With the Foundation they wanted to Finance the search for their daughter. Nothing left unturned: private detectives, visit to the Pope, an interview with US talk master Oprah Winfrey – all the levers were set in motion to make on the fate of their daughter’s attention.
It was, in retrospect, like a roller-coaster ride of emotions: First the support for the family, then the serious allegations made against them and a respect for fuller handling of the British media with you. Mother Kate gave up her Job as a Doctor to care more about their family and the search for Maddie.
Main track since 2007
The parents of the most recent information from Germany to be regarded as probably the most important track in the past 13 years. A mud battle in the British media, it is no longer there. The focus of the reporting, the suspect is 43-Year-old from Germany called in the British press with the full name now.
400 instructions have been received in the past few days, the British investigators. You expect more from a missing person’s case. The officials in Germany to keep Maddie is dead.
go To 10. Anniversary of Maddie’s disappearance, the parents gave the station “BBC” for an Interview. Still, you buy gifts for your daughter’s birthday and Christmas, said Kate McCann. “I am, of course, about how old she is, and that it is appropriate for them whenever we find them. So it is a lot of thought.”
The anniversaries, and the birthday had to endure the most “by Far the most difficult”, said Gerry McCann. Both dates are in may. Maddie would now be 17 years old – if she still was alive.
Kate and Gerry McCann posing in 2012 with a computer-generated image of their daughter.Photo: Andrew Winning/Reuters

Director Agri Jammu kick starts Direct Seeding of Rice  

June 08, 2020 | BK News Service/Jammu
 With the joint efforts of field functionaries of Agriculture Department and local panchayats of Ramgarh Block, many farmers of the area have been convinced to purchase and use Direct Seeding of Rice Machines to save labour by direct sowing of paddy crop without laying nurseries.
One such occasion has been kick started by the Director Agriculture Jammu, Inder Jeet, at village Khour Salarian of Ramgarh, Samba where mechanized sowing of paddy by Direct Seeding of Rice (DSR) Technique demonstrated in presence of Subject Matter Specialist (RL), Vijay Kumar Koushal, CAO Samba, Sanjay Verma, DAO Samba, Satish Sharma, SDAO Samba, Tilak Raj, Agriculture Engineer, Brij Rana, AEO Ramghar, Ajeet Singh, other field functionaries besides BDC Chairman, Ramghar, Darshan Singh, Sarpanches, Panches and progressive farmers of the area.
Block Development Council Chairman, Darshan Singh welcomed the Director and other officers of the Department and appreciated the role Department being played in economic upliftment of farmers. He demanded involvement of Panchayat Raj Institutions in all schemes and programmes of the Department and more transparency in selection of beneficiaries.
Speaking on the occasion, the Director said that DSR technique is the best possible solution to the current situation that has arisen due to COVID-19 and lock down announced thereafter by the administration. He disclosed that direct sowing of paddy seed using Direct Paddy Seeder (DSR) machine which is cost effective, reduces water requirement upto 40% and seed requirement by 30 %besides minimizing requirement needed for nursery raising and paddy transplantation. He further added that the department is working tirelessly to ensure the availability of DSR machines, Paddy drum seeders, laser Land Levellers to facilitate the farmers in sowing of paddy crops in present circumstances. It was informed that 20 DSR machines have been actually provided to the farmers of Jammu, Samba and Kathua districts on subsidy till date and the farmers are being encouraged to bring maximum area under DSR demonstration.
Meanwhile, the Director also visited Arnia and R.S.Pura where he toured the fields of progressive farmer Rajinder Sharma and Ravinder Singh who have sown winter maize in their land that remained fallow during Rabi season due to excessive unseasonal rains .He appreciated the innovative effort of these two farmers and instructed the agriculture staff to popularize diversification of maize as such innovations are crucial to raise the income level of farmers.
Later, the Director visited seed multiplication Farm Chakroi where he took a detailed meeting to review the functioning of seed multiplication farm in which Joint Director Agriculture Input, Farm Manager Chakroi and other staff of the farm was present. The officers were directed to bring the entire land of the farm under cultivation during Kharif season. The undulating land of the farm and all the machinery and equipment available in the farm are made functional so that the production and productivity of the farm is enhanced to the desired level.

₱2 B farm machinery distributed under RCEF

Published June 7, 2020, 10:00 PM
By Madelaine B. Miraflor
The Department of Agriculture has distributed ₱2 billion worth of farm machinery under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF), the first since the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL) was passed.
In a statement, the DA said that the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) recently distributed ₱2 billion worth of modern farm machinery to about 6,000 Nueva Ecija rice farmers under RCEF’s mechanization component. To recall, one of the crucial components of RTL, which allowed unlimited rice importation in the country, is to make Filipino rice farmers competitive by giving them access to free seeds and modern farm equipment to be funded by the so-called RCEF.
RCEF is the tariff collections from all rice imports. The fund is supposed to be injected with ₱10 billion annually from 2019 to 2024.
Of the ₱10 billion, ₱5 billion is allotted to mechanization, but because of bureaucratic bottlenecks, it has been taking PhilMech a long time to procure and distribute farm equipment.
The ₱2 billion worth of farm machinery recently distributed in Nueva Ecija, for instance, was actually still part of the budget allotted to RCEF last year.
PhilMech Director Baldwin Jallorina said the balance of ₱3 billion under RCEF’s 2019 budget is “already being bid out and thereafter distributed this year.”
The fund targets to procure about 495 four-wheel tractors; 356 rice combine harvesters; 576 hand tractors; 103 rice reapers; 52 precision seeders; 106 walk-behind transplanters; 118 riding-type transplanters; 347 floating tillers; and 46 rice mills.
Nonetheless, Agriculture Secretary William Dar called therecent distribution a “historic event” towards the goal of raising productivity, cost-efficiency and competitiveness of farmers and the country’s rice industry.
“From all indications, despite the birth pains, we are now seeing the initial benefits of the Rice Tariffication Law or RTL on our farmers and the country’s rice industry,” Dar said.
RCEF covers 957 municipalities in the country and for rice farmers to benefit from the program, they should be part of the DA’s outdated Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA).
As for RCEF’s mechanization program alone, only rice farmers who are members of cooperatives and associations can benefit from it.
In the selection of beneficiaries, PhilMech has adopted the farm clustering and consolidation strategy to “achieve economies of scale that will pave the way to cost-efficient operations, higher crop productivity and bigger farmers’ incomes,” Dar said. farmers stage protest seeking action against rice millers

Ryots allege that miller owners are harassing them by tampering with the weights of paddy
Published: 08th June 2020 09:56 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th June 2020 09:56 AM   |  A+A A-
Farmers burn a few bags of their produce demanding the State government to make all necessary arrangements for procuring their crop without further delay, at Malharrao mandal in Jayashankar Bhupalpally district on Sunday
By Express News Service
BHUPALPALLY: Scores of distressed farmers took to the streets in Malharrao madal of Jayashankar Bhupalpally district on Sunday and staged a rasta roko demanding the State government to crack the whip on rice millers who have been allegedly duping them by tampering with the weights of paddy. The farmers who gathered on the Bhupalpally-Warangal highway blocked the road and set a few bags of their produce ablaze demanding the State government to make all necessary arrangements for procuring their crop without further delay. 
During the stir, the distressed farmers alleged that it was due to the apathy of the officials, which has been causing an inordinate delay in the procurement processes at Indira Kranthi Patham (IKP) centres, that they are being forced to sell the produce to private rice millers. While elaborating on their hardships to the media, the farmers said that the rice millers have been duping them for quite some time now by trying to tamper with paddy weights. For every quintal of the produce that we take to the rice millers for sale, the farmers said, they demand the removal of at least five to six kilograms in the guise of chaff, dust or impurity. 
This is their bid to depreciate the weight of the crop and thereby pay us just a meagre amount, they added.
Even under these circumstances, we are forced to sell our paddy to private rice millers as the procurement processes at IKP and other government-authorised purchase centres are moving at a snail’s pace due to the negligence of the officials concerned, the ryots said.
Since the monsoon is set to hit the State any day now, the farmers are scared that if they leave the crops on their farmlands itself, waiting for the officials to purchase it, the produce might get soaked in the sudden downpour, shatter their dreams and also delay them from sowing Vanakalam (Kharif) seeds.  Though Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao announced, on May 30, that crop procurement centres across Telangana would be open till June 8, instead of the earlier plan of May 31, scores of farmers are still awaiting their turn to sell the crop at the IKP centres. They distressed ryots demanded the district administration to rectify the issues and recommence the procurement processes soon. Meanwhile, soon after getting information about the protest, the local police rushed to area and held talks with the farmers.
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Hard days ahead for rice

Editorial Bangkok Post editorial column
published : 8 Jun 2020 at 04:30
Thailand is among the world's largest rice exporters. For many years, the country held the global crown for rice exports except last year when it was beaten by India.
Thai fragrant rice, Hom Mali, is well recognised in the world market as a premium quality rice and and commands premium prices in the world rice market.
With this premise, Thai rice farmers should have moved out of poverty and be enjoying better livelihoods by now.
Unfortunately, the opposite is the case. Most rice farmers are among the poorest in the country's farm sector.
This is paradoxical given Thai consumers pay high prices for white rice in the market, while farmers still have to sell paddy at low prices. There must be something wrong.
Last year, Thai rice exports dropped drastically to 7.58 million tonnes, the worst in six years. Vietnam was neck-and-neck with Thailand at 6.37 million tonnes and India's rice exports came in at 9.77 million tonnes.
This year is another challenging year for Thai rice and farmers, as the country's farm sector has struggled with a severe drought and impacts of the economic downturn.
Rice exports from Thailand are expected to drop to 7.5 million tonnes this year, the lowest volume in seven years. More importantly, the worst drought in 40 years has resulted in a substantial decrease of about 1.5-2 million tonnes of milled off-season rice, according to the Thai Rice Exporters Association.
Without question, difficult times lie ahead.
Last week, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha met rice farmer leaders to mark Rice and Farmers Day 2020. The premier told farmers he well understood the hardship of farmers who are forced to sell their paddy at low prices.
He said the government is considering a measure to register rice mills where farmers would be urged to sell paddy only to those registered millers.
The details remain unclear. Currently, rice mills have had to register their business with the Commerce Ministry. Still, the prime minister has a point. It is known that millers and middlemen have taken advantage of farmers for a long time but this problem remains unsolved.
Rice farmers should have more influence over their selling prices, compared to the millers or middlemen who force farmers to sell below the proper rate.
Other problems have hurt rice farmers over the years, if not decades. Thailand has about eight million farmer households and half are rice growers. Rice plantations in the country cover around 60 million rai.
Unfortunately, rice yields are low. For example, the yield of the average rice crop in Thailand is about 450 kilogrammes per rai, while in Vietnam, the average yield per rai can be as high as 800-1,000 kg/rai.
Production costs are another problem. They are high due to several factors. One study indicated rice production costs in Vietnam are up to 50% lower than Thailand. As a result, after middlemen and millers take their cut, the prices that farmers get for their rice is lower than the cost of production. This is one reason farmer debts have skyrocketed.
These factors have bedevilled the industry for half a century without effective solutions. Governments, including the current one, must call on rice farmers to accept the market mechanism instead of demanding subsidies, but they have also failed to solve these fundamental problems to help farmers make a decent living and which in effect have chained farmers to poverty.

Punjab pushes mechanized paddy transplantation (Return of the Exodus-IV)
by CanIndia New Wire ServiceJune 7, 2020012
Chandigarh, June 7 (IANS) To cope with the problem of labour scarcity amid Covid-19 scare, farmers in Punjab are now enthusiastically switching to direct seeding of rice (DSR) instead of traditional labour-intensive transplantation of paddy this season, agriculture officials said on Sunday.
Nearly 25 per cent of the total area under paddy sowing is expected to come under this innovative technology which will help to slash cultivation cost in terms of both labour and water.
To promote the technology of DSR and motivate the farmers to adopt it in a big way, the state Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Department sanctioned 4,000 DSR machines and 800 paddy transplanting machines to farmers on subsidy ranging from 40 to 50 per cent, an official told IANS.
Agriculture Secretary K.S. Pannu said earlier there was a target to bring around five lakh hectares under DSR technique this year.
But given the labour shortage and keen interest shown by farmers to adopt the advance technology, now six-seven lakh hectares of area is expected to come under this technology, which is roughly 25 per cent of paddy grown in the state.
He said the DSR technique would be instrumental in saving about 30 per cent of water besides cutting the cost of paddy cultivation by nearly Rs 6,000 per acre.
The Secretary said as per reports and research by experts of Punjab Agriculture University (PAU) in Ludhiana, the yield of paddy from DSR is on par with paddy crop grown by conventional technique of transplanting.
Pannu said the paddy transplantation is the only farm operation which is labour intensive and due to shortage of labour this year caused by Covid-19 pandemic, the Agriculture Department had advised the farmers to sow the paddy crop by DSR as per the recommendations made by PAU recently.
The department has been guiding the farmers in the fields about the best ways to undertake the new technology.
He also appealed to the farmers that the most critical element in new technology is the control of weeds and as such farmers must be careful that prior to undertaking DSR, they must procure weedicide and spray it within 24 hours of sowing the crop.
Notably, the farmers from across the state would cultivate paddy on an area of 27 lakh hectares which includes seven lakh hectares under high quality Basmati variety of rice.
In view of labour shortage, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has announced advancement in the paddy nursery sowing and transplantation dates by 10 days.
Now, the transplantation will commence on June 10. Earlier, the state was delaying transplantation to reduce pressure on underground water.
Sukhjinder Singh Gill, a prominent paddy grower on the outskirts of Ropar town, said there was acute shortage of labour this time.
“Nearly 90 per cent of the labourers are seasonal migrants from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. A large number of them have returned to their hometowns after the wheat harvesting,” he said.
“With abnormal hike in labour charges by local workers, we have decided to go for mechanized paddy transplantation,” he said.
According to Gill, the local labourers this season have been demanding Rs 4,500-5,000 per acre of paddy against Rs 2,500 per acre in 2019.
Punjab grows paddy in 23 lakh hectares with six lakh hectares dedicated only for Basmati rice farming.
Owing to acute shortage of labour due to the lockdown in the state, Agriculture Secretary Pannu told IANS this year the area under less labour-intensive cotton cultivation is expected to increase up to 5 lakh hectares from last year’s 3.9 lakh hectares.
Farmer Rajvinder Singh from Mansa district said, “I have 20-acre land. For the last two decades, we were opting for paddy in the kharif season. This time, fearing delay in paddy transplantation due to labour crisis, we have sown largely cotton along with maize in some portion.”
The Bharti Kisan Union (Lakhowal) group arranged transportation of at least 40 farm labourers who came from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar on Friday. They have been kept in home quarantine in tubewell rooms at farmhouses in Barnala town.
After their Covid test reports this week, they would resume their work in the fields. Fifty per cent cost of their travel cost was borne by the migrants, and the rest by the farmers.
Another batch of migrant workers returned to the state on Saturday from Kishanganj and adjoining areas of Bihar. They were accorded welcome by Industries Minister Sunder Sham Arora in Hoshiarpur town.
“They all are strong pillars of our economic stability and have always contributed towards the progress of Punjab, which is their own state as they live here. On their return we are ensuring proper medical check-up for them,” he said.
Punjab wants farmers to take to other varieties of paddy and crops to break the wheat-paddy cycle which followed the Green Revolution in the state since the 1960s.
Among the things the government and experts are suggesting is that farmers could grow the Basmati variety that commands handsome returns on its export.
Some areas of Punjab, like the Mukerian and Ferozepur belts, do grow Basmati. But most farmers end up growing common paddy, called ‘jhona’, as the input cost is less.
Punjab, with only 1.54 per cent of India’s geographical area, produces around 20 per cent of wheat, 10 per cent of rice and 10 per cent of cotton production of the country. The state contributes over 50 per cent food grains to the national kitty alone.
(Vishal Gulati can be contacted at

First queen ‘murder hornet' discovered in America, leading to fears there may be ‘hundreds’ more, scientists say
Posted 1 day ago by James Besanvalle in news
After the discovery of a dead “murder hornet” queen, scientists have warned there may be “hundreds” more in North America.
Until December, Asian Giant Hornets (also known as “murder hornets”) were only found in the rainforests of Japan – then two worker hornets were discovered in Custer, Washington. It's unknown exactly how the insects arrived in North America.
Scientists had hoped the two lone murder hornets came from a colony that didn’t produce any queens.
Unfortunately, at the end of last month, a dead queen hornet was discovered – confirming the likely chance that other queens are buzzing around North America at this very moment, looking to set up colonies of their own.
In fact, one colony can produce “hundreds” of queens, according to Sven Spichiger, an entomologist with the Washington State Department of Agriculture:
Since colonies can produce hundreds of queens, we probably have a few more to find.
It’s disappointing to know they can make it through the winter and survive here, but it doesn’t change what we plan to do — we have a [good] chance to eradicate them.
He said he’s “concerned” about the discovery of the queen:
If we start finding workers we would know that colonies are established. We are concerned.
But Spichiger stressed that it’s still early days and sightings have only been made in the small area of northwestern Washington.
In early summer, fertilised queens that survive the winter begin laying eggs. These eggs soon hatch into either workers or more queens, who can then go on to start colonies of their own.
Towards the end of summer and start of fall, these hornets mate. When it comes around to winter again, the queens will find a place to weather the cold and the rest of the colony will die.
So what can experts do to stop it?
Using a mixture of fruit juice and rice wine, researchers hope to lure the murder hornets in and then fit them with tracking devices.
This will hopefully lead them back to the colony, where they can eradicate the dangerous predators.
Spichiger added:
It will take all of us working together to locate and eradicate Asian giant hornets from our state.
They can grow up to two inches and its venom is seven times more powerful than a bee’s.
One small colony of Asian Giant Hornets can completely decimate an entire beehive.

Only 1 percent target met in paddy procurement!

12:00 AM, June 07, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:44 AM, June 07, 2020

Can government afford such apathy when stocks are diminishing fast?

It is concerning that the government has made very little headway in procuring Boro paddy and rice over the past month, even though it fixed its highest ever paddy procurement target this year—double that of last year's Boro paddy purchase. According to reports, the Directorate General of Food (DGF) has managed to purchase only 7,750 tonnes of Boro paddy from farmers—less than one percent of the target of 800,000 tonnes—since the drive began on April 26. Additionally, the food office has procured six percent of the targeted 10 lakh tonnes of parboiled rice from millers after the drive was launched on May 7.
These numbers paint a very bleak picture at a time when it's more crucial than ever to ensure adequate public food stock for distribution to low-income, poor and vulnerable groups, who are on the verge of starvation owing to the unprecedented assault on livelihoods brought about by Covid-19. According to data from the food ministry, on June 3, the food stock at the state godowns dropped by 16 percent from the same day a year ago, while the stock of staple food rice declined by 29 percent. This stock will diminish at an alarming rate as more food-based safety net operations are rolled out in the coming months.
We had earlier warned the government to pay heed to calls for reforms in its procurement system, including easing the current regulation on moisture content of freshly-cut paddy. Unfortunately, those warnings seem to have fallen on deaf ears of the DGF, who are now citing the high moisture content of paddy as a justification for the slow procurement rate. We urge them, once again, to remove the barriers in rice procurement and do the needful to reach its desired target by the end of August. The DGF should not need a reminder that this is a particularly critical year for the country and that its efficiency (or lack thereof) can be the difference between food security and famine. It simply cannot afford to continue at its sluggish pace.

Vietnam's rice export prices at two-year high

By Hong Chau   June 7, 2020 | 10:16 am GMT+7
Vietnam's rice export prices at two-year high
Rice traders at a market in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Tran.
Average rice export price in the first four months hit $470.2 per ton, up 10 percent year-on-year, the highest in the last two years.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development's agro processing and market development department also said that May was an active month for the world rice export market with several countries stocking up on the grain because of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. As a result, global rice export prices rose to its highest level in years.
Vietnam's rice export prices increased, too. The average price of the five percent broken rice variety was at $473-477 per ton, while that for jasmine rice (also known as fragrant rice) rose highest to $558-562 a ton.
Vietnam's rice prices in 2019 ranged from $376-420 per ton and were around $380-502 per ton in 2018.
In the world market, the export price of Indian rice has reached its highest level in the past one year due to strong demand from African and Asian countries. The price of Thai rice decreased in the past month due to an increase of new suppliers and fierce competition from cheaper suppliers in India and Vietnam.
The agro processing and market development department expects global demand for rice to continue rising.
The Philippines is seeking to import an additional 300,000 tons of rice to strengthen its reserves and prepare for the low-supply season in the third quarter.
Bangladesh has also purchased an additional 200,000 tons of rice from the ongoing harvest season to secure supply for domestic relief operations amid the spread of the pandemic in the country.
China has already achieved 95 percent of its food self-sufficiency (rice, maize, wheat) target, but still allows importing a certain amount through the tariff-rate quota (TRQ) system. Accordingly, the country allows domestic traders to import at a tax rate of only one percent compared to the out-of-quota of 65 percent.
The latest forecast of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates world rice production in 2020 at 493.8 million tons, down about 0.5 percent from last year, while global consumption is expected to reach 490.2 million tons, a 0.9 percent year-on-year increase.
Vietnam's rice exports in May reached 789,000 tons with a value of about $415 million. The five-month total volume and export value reached nearly 2.9 million tons and $1.41 billion, up 5.1 percent and 18.9 percent, respectively, over the same period in 2019.
In the first four months of the year, the Philippines was the biggest buyer of Vietnamese rice, accounting for 40.5 percent market share at 902,100 tons worth $401.3 million.
Other markets with stronger rice imports from Vietnam were China and Indonesia, both seeing a 2.7-fold increase year-on-year; Taiwan, up 67.9 percent; and Ghana, up 39.3.
Vietnam, the world's third largest rice exporter, is likely to ship seven million tons this year, official agencies have said.

Rice Import Tariff Down 10%
June 06, 2020 18:33

Rice Import Tariff Down 10%
. . . . .
A s per the decision of Market Regulation Headquarters on June 4, customs duties on rice imports have decreased from 25% to 10%, Fars News Agency reported.
Since March 20, the government has discontinued the allocation of foreign currency at the subsidized rate of 42,000 rials per dollar for importing rice. It has instead called on importers to meet forex requirements from the export earnings of non-oil products (petrochemicals, steel and minerals) traded through the so-called secondary FX market that has exchange rates closer to the free market rates. 
The decline in rice import duty aims to prevent a surge in prices; 1 kilogram of Grade A imported rice was sold at 119,863 rials ($0.67) during the month ending May 20, registering a month-on-month increase of 16% and a year-on-year growth of 34%, the Statistical Center of Iran reported