Saturday, August 08, 2020

The Industrial Services for Rice Sector

 Industrial Sevices for Rice Sector

Indus Pak has joined the consortium of industrial services providers to serve the needs of the rice industry.  We bring you the best economical solutions under one window to support your growth especially in the times COVID19 crisis.



We offer

  • Plant designing and fabrication 
  • PINAC accredited Halal Certification consultancy and other certifications like HASB, ISO etc 
  • Product, brand, patent and copyrights registration including IPRs
  • Industrial services especially RO plant services and supplies
  • Calibration, Quality Control system and Testing
Like Always, we are looking for an opportunity to serve you.

Contact for Detail....

Dr.Hamid Malik, Indus Pak Corporation   
indus_pak@hotmail.com
0300-414 3493

Rahmat Ullah
Techno Hub
rahmat@irp.edu.pk


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

  

U.S. Rice Industry Response to FDA's Release of Final Guidance for Inorganic Arsenic in Infant Rice Cereals 

 

By Michael Klein

 

ARLINGTON, VA -- This week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released guidance for inorganic arsenic in infant rice cereals, finalizing the agency's 2016 draft guidance, as well as outlining its intended approach to testing and enforcement.
 
The final guidance sets limits on inorganic arsenic for infant rice cereal at 100 micrograms per kilogram (µg/kg) or 100 parts per billion (ppb).
 
"The U.S. rice industry remains committed to providing healthy and nutritious food to consumers and we will continue to work with our farmers and processors, as well as regulatory agencies, to provide accurate and transparent information about U.S. rice and rice products," said USA Rice President & CEO Betsy Ward.
 
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) jointly administer the international food safety standards-setting body, CODEX, that has concluded rice grown in the United States has the lowest inorganic arsenic levels of the more than 40 countries tested, including China and India -- two of the top rice-producing countries in the world.  

FDA's own testing of rice for infant cereal has demonstrated significant reduction in inorganic arsenic levels in the U.S. as a result of best management practices the industry has been aggressively developing and implementing.
 
Ward said the U.S. rice industry will continue to monitor and adjust best practice recommendations.  "In fact, USA Rice was proactive in creating a Food Safety Management Practices Task Force that was established to better understand the factors contributing to levels of arsenic in rice, and develop and advocate for best management practices through monitoring and management."

"The U.S rice industry has no objection to the guidance levels published by the FDA," Ward continued.  "And we encourage the FDA to hold our trading partners to the same standards to which we abide."

 

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Fish Food Grown on Winter Rice Fields Could be Key to Recovering Imperiled Central Valley Salmon

THURSDAY, AUG 6TH, 2020

 

By: Roger Cornwell, River Garden Farms
Jacob Katz, PhD, California Trout

A first-of-its-kind study reveals that rice fields can play an important role in revitalizing river ecosystems and boosting imperiled salmon populations in the Sacramento Valley. California Trout, working with River Garden Farms and a coalition of farmers and public agencies, recently completed a detailed three-year experiment detailing how farm fields can be managed to grow food to support wild salmon populations in the fall and winter months, while still growing food for people during summer. We summarized the scientific studies in Fish Food on Floodplain Farm Fields(See the full studies for 20192018 and 2017.)

California’s native fish populations are struggling for survival. Before the Central Valley was developed, leveed and drained, over four million acres of floodplains were inundated each winter. These shallow, fertile floodplains were hugely productive and created the food that supported over two million salmon, tens of millions of waterfowl and abundant wildlife populations. Over last 150 years more than 95 percent of floodplains have been cut off from Central Valley rivers by levees, effectively starving river ecosystems of the foundation of the aquatic food web: the solar energy captured by plants and algae on floodplains that in turn feeds the bugs that are the primary food source of juvenile salmon. There is a growing body of research that points to a lack of available fish food in channelized Central Valley rivers as a leading cause in the dramatic and continuing decline of native fish populations.

The idea behind the “Fish Food From Floodplain Farm Fields” experiment was for scientists to partner with growers who farm the formerly-inundated floodplains on the dry-side of the levees to manage their fields in such a way that they reproduce the natural pattern of mid-winter flooding.  When the farmers shallowly inundate their fields for several weeks they replicate the natural wetland conditions that once made abundant fish food.  In several weeks in mid-winter, when the fields are not otherwise in use, a massive growth of invertebrates bloom in these fertile floodplain waters.  These water bugs can then be drained off the farm fields back to the river, where they provide food for the starving juvenile salmon who are stuck in the food-deprived river channel. As the scientific results suggest, this collaborative approach makes possible a new way forward in which farmers and natural resource managers work together to make every acre of land and every drop of water work together for both people and native fish and wildlife.

Several years ago, the Nigiri Concept studies proved that juvenile salmon grow at a much faster rate when they have access to floodplain-like habitat on flooded farm fields in the Central Valley’s flood bypasses (bypass fields are on the wet-side of the levees which connect directly to the river during flood).

Here is how it works. In fall after rice harvest, farmers re-flood their rice fields using the same irrigation canals that were used to irrigate the fields in summer. But now the water is being used to mimic the natural floodplain conditions needed to reactivate the floodplain’s explosively productive aquatic food web. Inundating these floodplain farm fields that used to be a wetland creates conditions similar to those that occurred naturally. Wetlands are some of the most productive habitats on earth. In the shallow water, bacteria and fungi break down the plant matter that grew on the floodplain during summer, these microbes are then eaten by billions of small crustaceans and insects called zooplankton. The zooplankton, in turn, feed small fish. In a very short time small fish become bigger, healthier fish on this energy-rich bug diet. That’s important because a bigger and fatter juvenile salmon has a much better chance of coming back from its journey out to sea as a large 30 lb. adult than a smaller, less fit fish.

This Fish Food study takes the floodplain farm field concept to the next level and shows that rice fields on the dry-side of levees can also benefit fish and river food webs if the billions of bugs grown on these fields are delivered into the nearby river to provide essential food supplies for the native fish stuck in the food-deprived river channels. A short film showing how this works can be seen here.

Our study explored the ecological impact and operational feasibility of increasing fish food supplies (i.e., increasing the number of zooplankton) in the Sacramento River. The project used existing water infrastructure managed by Reclamation District 108 and landowners to shallowly flood approximately 5,000 acres of Colusa Basin farm fields during the non-growing season. Within three weeks of flooding, the shallowly inundated fields swarmed with zooplankton. A month after flood-up we began draining the floodplain water, now rich with floodplain-derived fish food back into the river. As the water poured back into the river it brought the zooplankton populations that had developed on the fields into the river for those starving fish to eat.

During the month while floodplain water was being drained, the number of zooplankton in the Sacramento River increased forty-fold at the point where the floodplain water fields entered the river. Even more remarkably, one mile downstream from the drainage point zooplankton food resources were still six times greater compared to typical food levels in the river.

To test the effect of these increased zooplankton populations on fish, juvenile Chinook salmon were held in floating cages in the river in three locations: upstream of the location of where the floodplain water was discharged into the river; at the site of the river discharge; and one mile downstream of the discharge siteFish caged at the site where the food-rich water was returned to the river grew five times faster than fish caged in similar habitats upstream where they didn’t have access to the floodplain fish food. Fish caged one mile downstream from the discharge point grew three times faster than those upstream of the discharge point.

A different study published in December by colleagues at UC Davis indicated that having access to abundant food resources “may help buffer the effects of increasing water temperature” for cold-water fish like salmon. As climate change-related extremes become more common, ensuring sufficient food is available for salmon in Central Valley rivers is one more way to bolster their chances of survival. In essence, with some help from us to reactivate productive Central Valley floodplain habitats, salmon may have a chance to eat their way out of climate change.

These results show that there is a tremendous amount local farmers and irrigators can do to support salmon recovery by taking a more deliberate approach to how we move water through our fields during the non-growing season. Over the last 30 years, Central Valley farm fields managed for water bird habitat have helped recover migratory bird populations along the Pacific Flyway.  This has been a tremendous success story that demonstrates the power of managing working lands for the benefit of wildlife. Coordinated efforts like this experiment also show that we can refine how we manage limited water supplies in the Central Valley to help stressed fish populations recover in areas where agricultural operations and wildlife refuges are vibrant. Our hope is that, with the cooperation of public agencies and other landowners, we can scale up this collaborative, science-based approach so that the river ecosystem of the Sacramento Valley can once again produce abundant populations of salmon and other native fish.

 

We appreciate the broad partnership to advance this work. In addition to California Trout and River Garden Farms, we have partnered with the United States Bureau of Reclamation, Reclamation District 108, Robbins Rice Company, Davis Ranches, Montna Farms, the California Rice Commission and the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences. The project was funded by the United States Bureau of Reclamation, the Water Foundation, public agencies and participating farms, with support by the Northern California Water Association.

For more information on the reactivating floodplains partnerships and the new way forward, we recommend two films: The New Way Forward and No Going Back.

For more information, see the full studies for 20192018 and 2017.  A slide presentation on these floodplain topics is here.  Please contact us at rcornwell@rivergardenfarms.com or jkatz@caltrout.org if you have any questions or would like more detailed information on these studies or to receive a full presentation on the results.

For our personal stories, see Winter Farming At River Garden Farms and Chasing Nigiri.

https://norcalwater.org/2020/08/06/fish-food-grown-on-winter-rice-fields-could-be-key-to-recovering-imperiled-central-valley-salmon/

 

Friday Fakeaway: Indonesian chicken fried rice

 

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For today’s Friday Fakeaway, we head to Indonesia from where Lara Lee brings us this amazing nasi goreng.

Nasi goreng, which literally translates as fried rice in Indonesian and Malay languages, is an absolute delight that is traditionally served with a fried egg.

Many cuisines have their own version of fried rice, with people mostly familiar with the Chinese variety.

Nasi goreng is a little more complicated to make, but it is such a joy that it is a dish you are sure to make time and time again.

Fried rice dishes are so incredibly versatile that as long as you enjoy eating rice, you can basically add anything you wish to make a fantastic meal.

It is believed it was first developed during the Sui Dynasty in China and as such all fried rice dishes can trace their origins to Chinese fried rice.

“I’ve been eating chicken fried rice for as long as I can recall and it’s a dish of which I never tire,” says food writer Lara Lee.

“This version of nasi goreng is my absolute favourite. The galangal and white pepper give it a good amount of heat, which is balanced by the sweetness of the kecap manis and the saltiness of the soy and fish sauce.

Description: https://wpcluster.dctdigital.com/thecourier/wp-content/uploads/sites/12/2020/08/2.53729127-scaled.jpg

Lara Lee.

“The fried duck egg with a runny yolk on top is sheer luxury. With the added crunch of green beans, fried shallots and kerupuk or prawn crackers, this dish hits all the right spots and is my favourite choice for a Friday night in.”

Chicken Fried Rice

 

(Serves 2 as a large main or 4 as a side)

Ingredients

·         2 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into small, bite-sized cubes

·         2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced

·         8cm piece of galangal or ginger (about 40g), peeled and woody stem removed, finely chopped

·         1 small banana shallot or 2 Thai shallots, peeled and thinly sliced

·         Handful of green beans, chopped into small chunks

·         2 spring onions, chopped into large chunks

·         ¼ tsp ground turmeric

·         95g jasmine or basmati rice, cooked and cooled (240g cooked weight)

·         2 tbsp kecap manis

·         1 and a ½ tsp fish sauce

·         2 tsp light soy sauce

·         Sea salt and white pepper, to taste

·         Coconut oil or sunflower oil, for frying

To serve:

·         2 duck or hen’s eggs

·         1 tbsp fried shallots

·         ½ long red chilli, thinly sliced

·         Kerupuk or prawn crackers

Method

1.      Season the chicken pieces with salt and white pepper. Heat one tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan or wok over a high heat and fry the chicken until cooked through, about three minutes. Remove and set aside.

2.      Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan, add the garlic, galangal or ginger and shallots and cook over a medium-high heat until fragrant. Add the green beans, spring onions and turmeric and cook for one minute.

3.      Add the rice to the pan, breaking up any clumps with a wooden spoon. Ensure all the ingredients are well combined and the rice is warmed through. Return the chicken to the pan. Season with the kecap manis, fish sauce, light soy sauce and a large pinch of white pepper, and extra salt if needed.

4.      Meanwhile, fry the eggs. Place a large non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat and add one tablespoon of oil. Once shimmering, crack the eggs directly into the oil. Cook for two to three minutes until the whites are partially cooked. Tilt the pan and spoon the hot oil over the egg whites until they are fully cooked (I like my yolk runny, but cook yours to your liking). Season with salt.

5.      Divide the fried rice between two serving plates and garnish with the fried shallots, sliced chilli and fried eggs on top. Serve with crackers.

Coconut & Sambal: Recipes From My Indonesian Kitchen by Lara Lee, photography by Louise Hagger and Lara Lee, is published by Bloomsbury, priced £26.


Lockdown Recipe of the Day: Curried Mince & Jeera Basmati Rice

By Tony Jackman• 6 August 2020

Description: https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/wp-content/uploads/IMG_1262-1600x1228.jpg

 (Photo: Tony Jackman)

Give a standard curried mince a lift and a bit of flare by braising key spices in ghee first and serving it with basmati rice infused with caramelised onion, cumin and coriander.

Ingredients

Basmati rice, cooked and drained (as much as you require depending on how many you are serving)

Per 2 servings (adapt quantities as necessary):

For the rice:

1 onion, chopped

1 Tbs cumin seeds

2 Tbs ghee or cooking oil

Handful coriander leaves, finely chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

For the mince:

3 Tbs ghee or cooking oil

400 g lean beef mince

2 medium onions, chopped

3 garlic cloves, chopped

100 g Tomato paste

400 g chopped tomatoes

400 ml water

2 cm piece ginger, grated

1 tsp ground yellow mustard seeds

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp ground fennel seeds

1 tsp ground coriander seeds

1 heaped Tbs extra hot Durban masala (or masala of your choice)

Salt to taste

Chopped coriander leaves for garnish

Method

For the mince, melt ghee or heat oil and sauté onions, garlic and grated ginger with all the ground spices. Add the tomato paste and braise, stirring, for two minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and equivalent amount of water, and the masala, and stir to combine. Add the mince and work it with a wooden spoon so that it does not clump. Season well with salt. Bring to a simmer and put it on the lowest heat for 50 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve with spiced basmati rice. 

For the rice, cook basmati rice according to packet instructions or your favoured method. Drain. Fry the chopped onions in ghee (clarified butter) or oil with cumin/jeera seeds until lightly golden. Season. Stir into cooked, drained rice. Finely chop coriander leaves and stir in immediately before serving. DM/TGIFood

Our Thank God It’s Food newsletter is sent to subscribers every Friday at 6pm, and published on the TGIFood platform on Daily Maverick. It’s all about great reads on the themes of food and life. Subscribe here.

Send your Lockdown Recipes to tony@dailymaverick.co.za with a hi-resolution horizontal (landscape) photo.

https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2020-08-06-lockdown-recipe-of-the-day-curried-mince-jeera-basmati-rice/

 

H1 palay output up, RCEF role debated

 

ByJasper Y. Arcalas

August 7, 2020

 

Description: https://businessmirror.com.ph/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/regions01-041819-696x472.jpgIn file photo: A farmer uses a hand tractor to plow a rice field before planting palay seedlings In Tanay, Rizal.


THE country’s palay output in the first half grew slightly to 8.386 million metric tons (MMT) from 8.269 MMT as farmers used more “good quality” seeds provided by the government under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF).

However, industry stakeholders and experts sounded the alarm that the impact of RCEF is yet to be seen as palay output this year was lower compared to 2018 and 2017, when additional rice production interventions like RCEF were absent.

Palay output in the January-to-June period of 2017 and 2018 was at 8.569 MMT and 8.71 MMT, respectively, Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) data showed.

PSA data also showed that palay output in the second quarter rose by 7 percent to 4.125 MMT from 3.852 MMT recorded last year.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) attributed the recovery to farmers using more “good quality” seeds.

Industry stakeholders noted, however, that dismal palay output in the second quarter last year was due to the adverse impact of El Niño to rice farms.

Furthermore, despite initial RCEF interventions such as free high-yielding seeds, palay output in the second quarter was still lower than the 4.15 MMT recorded output in the April-to-June period of 2017, based on PSA data.

The second quarter output was just also slightly higher than the 4.09 MMT output recorded in the same period of 2018, PSA data showed.

Economist Pablito M. Villegas said the loss of about 150,000 rice harvest area last year could be a factor to the paltry performance of the rice sector in the first half.

However, Villegas pointed out that the RCEF seed interventions may have mitigated somehow the detrimental impact of the shrinkage in total harvest area.

“Producers respond to price signals and under the rice trade liberalization law palay prices were depressed last year. It adversely affected farmers’ planting intentions for the first quarter and second quarter this year,” he told the BusinessMirror.

“However, this could also be the initial impact of the RCEF seeds, the positive incremental output. Because somehow it was able to offset the dramatic decision of farmers not to plant this year,” he added.

Federation of Free Farmers (FFF) National Manager Raul Q. Montemayor echoed Villegas’s remarks that buying prices for palay are still a bigger consideration than RCEF in determining farmers’ planting intentions.

“I was also intrigued about the good performance of rain-fed areas during the first semester. I don’t think many rain-fed areas are included in the RCEF seed program, so the good performance might have been due to good weather,” Montemayor told the BusinessMirror.

“And if we analyze the first semester as a whole – not just second quarter – we performed even worse than in 2018, and only marginally better compared to 2019,” he added.

Montemayor said palay output in the first half should have been better than 2017 and 2018 production levels due to RCEF interventions. “So it seems the impact of RCEF was negligible if any,” he said.

Under the RCEF, which was created by the RTL law, rice farmers will receive P3 billion worth of high-yielding seeds for free from 2019 to 2024. Rice farmers would also receive P5 billion worth of free machinery during the period. The BusinessMirror sought comments from the DA about the matter but there was no response as of press time.

Image Credits: Bernard Testa

https://businessmirror.com.ph/2020/08/07/h1-palay-output-up-rcef-role-debated/

 

Group says farmers lost P75B due to rice liberalization law

 

By: Tonette Orejas - @ttorejasINQ

Philippine Daily Inquirer / 03:03 PM August 07, 2020

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO –– The rice price watch group Bantay Bigas estimated that rice farmers lost about P75 billion in income in most parts of 2019.

In a statement, Bantay Bigas Spokesperson Cathy Estavillo on Friday said the figure was thrice the P27.1-billion the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) calculated to have been gone due to the effects of Republic Act No. 11203 or the Rice Liberalization Law.

Estavillo called BSP’s estimates to be “conservative.”

She said the P75-billion loss was “due to depressed farmgate prices caused by the law.”

“This was based on the government’s data that last year’s volume of production decreased by one percent or 250,000 metric tons, and value with 21 percent or P80 billion, as compared to 2018. Moreover, this year’s first-quarter production dropped by 4 percent or 155,000 metric tons, compared to last year’s,” Estavillo explained.

Bantay Bigas has projected the rice self-sufficiency ratio to around 81 percent from 95 percent in 2016 to 86 percent in 2018.

Estavillo said the BSP monitored the rice sector’s losses from April 2019 to February 2020 and published its findings in the working paper “Deregulation and Tariffication At Last: The Saga of the Rice Sector Reform in the Philippines.”

Bantay Bigas also countered that the law gave consumers cheaper rice, pointing out that regular milled rice fetched more than P40 per kilogram.

 https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1318169/group-says-farmers-lost-p75b-due-to-rice-liberalization-law#ixzz6UW1CLQ29

State Media Admonish China’s Crawfish-Favoring Rice Farmers

Crawfish and rice are often cultivated together in the same fields, each benefitting the other. But some farmers in pursuit of profits are prioritizing aquaculture in violation of a national regulation. Description: http://image5.sixthtone.com/image/5/29/594.jpgAug 07, 2020 3-min read

Peanut butter and jelly, bacon and eggs, rice and crawfish: Some pairs just belong together.

In China, the abundant crop and the popular crustacean form the perfect marriage, as they can be cultivated together in the same fields. The country has long touted the agricultural practice of growing the two species side by side because of their symbiotic relationship: While crawfish waste is a natural fertilizer for crops, rice supports the growth of microorganisms that make up the crustaceans’ main food source.

I can’t guarantee that all of our farmers obey the regulations perfectly, but we haven’t received any reports of misconduct from the village-level authorities either.

- Zhang Wei, Qianjiang Agriculture Development Center

The rice-crawfish system is encouraged in China, and strictly defined partly to ensure a stable supply of rice. In 2017, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs set an upper limit of 10% for the amount of field space that can be allocated to aquaculture such as crawfish, with the remaining 90% reserved for growing rice. In a rectangular rice paddy, the crawfish-filled irrigation ditch surrounding the crop would account for 10% of the area of the field, while the interior space for rice would make up the rest.

However, compared with rice, crawfish are a much more lucrative business. The animals are easy to raise, and the domestic market has an enormous appetite for them. Medium-sized crawfish can sell for 30 to 40 yuan ($4.30-$5.70) per kilogram — almost 20 times the price of rice.

In recent years, some farmers have carved out larger portions of their fields for crawfish and given less space to rice. Such violations have caught the attention of state media, with Xinhua News Agency publishing an article Thursday to warn about the phenomenon.

“I can’t guarantee that all of our farmers obey the regulations perfectly, but we haven’t received any reports of misconduct from the village-level authorities either,” said Zhang Wei, a staff member at the government-backed Qianjiang Agriculture Development Center in central China’s Hubei province. “When we go help farmers set up their fields, we would always tell them about the rules clearly,” he told Sixth Tone.

Hubei cultivates more crawfish than any other province of China, and the city of Qianjiang alone has over 800,000 mu (533 square kilometers) of fields dedicated to the rice-crawfish system.

Description: A man sorts crawfish in Huai’an, Jiangsu province, March 4, 2019. People Visual

A man sorts crawfish in Huai’an, Jiangsu province, March 4, 2019. People Visual

Last year, the agriculture ministry announced a nationwide “thorough inspection” of integrated rice-farming systems, or the cultivation of aquacultural alongside rice.

“Some individuals and businesses lopsidedly pursue profits and overlook social benefits,” the announcement said, adding that reduced rice yields “affect the healthy development of the industry.”

According to Cao Linkui, an ecology professor at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, farmers who illegally expand their crawfish-cultivating areas are missing the point of introducing the crustaceans to rice paddies in the first place, which was to grow better grain.

“Farmers will need less chemicals such as fertilizers and pesticides, and improving the ecosystem is beneficial for supporting the sustainable development of agriculture,” Cao, who studies integrated farming, told Sixth Tone.

The price of crawfish fluctuates all the time, but we don’t have to worry about that as much with the rice as insurance.

- Liu Hui, farm co-op manager

However, limiting space for crawfish also limits the farmers’ incomes, so Cao proposes more government assistance to encourage farmers to adopt green practices and seek “organic” certifications for their rice.

“These add-ons could increase the market value for good-quality rice, thus providing greater incentives for farmers to follow the regulations,” Cao said.

Despite the limited space legally allotted to crawfish, the rice-crawfish system has lured many prodigal farmers back to their hometowns, according to Zhang.

“Back in the day, a lot of arable land was just abandoned. Many villagers left their farms and went to big cities where they could earn more money than by growing rice. But now, with the additional income from crawfish, some of our poor towns have managed to rise out of poverty,” Zhang said.

Liu Hui, who runs a farm co-op of over 1,000 mu of rice-crawfish fields in Qianjiang, said farms he oversees have been following the 9:1 ratio carefully.

“The price of crawfish fluctuates all the time, but we don’t have to worry about that as much with the rice as insurance,” Liu told Sixth Tone. “The price of rice never crashes.”

Editor: David Paulk.

(Header image: A man throws crawfish larvae into a rice paddy in Ankang, Shaanxi province, Sept. 19, 2018. People Visual)

https://www.sixthtone.com/news/1006029/state-media-admonish-chinas-crawfish-favoring-rice-farmers

 

China Wants People’s Rice Bowls Filled With Locally Grown Grain

Bloomberg News

August 7, 2020, 1:14 PM GMT+5

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Country buys farm commodities such as corn and soy from U.S.

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Agriculture minister’s comments coincide with rising tensions

A farmer drives a harvester through a rice paddy on the outskirts of Wenzhou, China.

 Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

China stressed the importance of keeping the people’s “rice bowl” filled with domestically grown grain at a time when available farmland is shrinking, the weather’s turning more extreme and imports are cheaper.

“If you have enough grain, you don’t need to panic,” Agriculture Minister Han Changfu wrote in an opinion piece in the People’s Daily on Friday. “Chinese people’s rice bowls must always be held firmly in our own hands, and should be full mainly of Chinese grain.”

The country buys hefty amounts of soybeans, corn, cotton and pork from the U.S., and the comments come as tensions escalate with Washington over everything from cyber security to Hong Kong. President Donald Trump has just signed executive orders prohibiting American residents from doing business with the Chinese-owned TikTok and WeChat apps beginning 45 days from now.

China, the biggest consumer of agricultural commodities, should always be self-sufficient in rice and wheat, as well as other cereals, while maintaining an “appropriate volume” of imports, Han said. The country bought a record volume of meat last month, and increased soybean imports to the second highest ever in a bid to secure supplies.

China Tells Farmers the Nation’s Rice Bowl Is in Their Hands

The minister’s opinion piece appears about a week before a review of the phase-one trade deal with the U.S. While China has committed to honoring the agreement, purchases of farm products during the first half of the year were only about 20% of the 2020 target.

Beijing has pledged to take the most stringent measures to prevent farmland from declining and improve efficiency as it faces challenges from growing shortages of water and labor. Young farmers are increasingly moving to the cities from rural areas. The changing climate has also brought extreme weather, such as flooding, putting years of bumper harvests at risk.

The government plans to enhance seed varieties for better yields, and expand the use of machines in grain production, Han said. Among various measures, China has already given safety approval for domestically developed genetically modified corn, for the first time in 10 years, in a bid to boost food security.

— With assistance by Heesu Lee, and Shuping Niu

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-08-07/china-wants-people-s-rice-bowls-filled-with-locally-grown-grain

Satake develops bread production method with rice flour

08.07.2020

By Susan Reidy

HIROSHIMA, JAPAN — Satake Corp. has developed a bread production method using rice flour that is capable of producing an equivalent texture to wheat flour bread without using any of the seven main allergens, such as wheat, mandatory to list, along with 21 others, on food products in Japan.

Bread from rice flour has been studied and developed throughout Japan. Traditionally, however, bread made with rice flour alone has had a lower viscosity than that with wheat flour, therefore, it needed to be mixed with wheat-derived gluten to make the dough rise sufficiently for that wheat bread like texture.

Satake has been working to develop a new method for producing rice flour bread that is as tasty as those based on wheat, in an attempt to contribute to further expanding rice consumption in Japan.

As a substitute for gluten, Satake focused on research on the thickening polysaccharide. After repeated research to ensure its effectiveness and safety, Satake has established a manufacturing method to produce bread that is as expansive as regular wheat flour bread. The production method is currently patent pending.

This unique bread production method uses only rice flour, sugar, salt, oil, yeast, and thickening polysaccharide. Since the bread does not contain any of the 28 ingredients currently mandated or recommended by the Japanese Consumer Affairs Agency to be listed on the food product packaging, consumers with food intolerances, such as wheat allergy, can enjoy eating without worries.

When baking, the dough rises to the same level as wheat flour bread and has a fluffy, light texture. This allows families or even the food and hotel industry to serve the bread without concerns about allergic reactions. Furthermore, the rice flour bread dough is softer than that of wheat flour, and rises in a shorter time, meaning the production time can be shortened by about 50% when compared to that of wheat flour bread — approximately 120 minutes from mixing to finished baking.

Satake plans to provide the method and technology to bread producers to promote rice flour bread for hotel/restaurant meals, school lunches, emergency rations, and a sixth industrialization by utilizing locally grown rice.

https://www.world-grain.com/articles/14073-satake-develops-bread-production-method-with-rice-flour

GIEWS Country Brief: Mexico 07-August-2020

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Posted:7 Aug 2020

 

Originally published

 

7 Aug 2020

 

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FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

Planting of 2020 main maize and paddy crops ongoing under dry weather conditions

Cereal import requirements in 2019/20 marketing year anticipated at record highs

Prices of black beans well above year‑earlier values

Planting of 2020 main maize and paddy crops ongoing under dry weather conditions

Harvesting of the 2020 minor season maize crop is nearly completed and production, despite a slight reduction in plantings, is estimated at an average level of 8.2 million tonnes. The harvest of the 2020 main season wheat crop, which accounts for 95 percent of the total annual production, also finalized. Production is estimated at 2.9 million tonnes, nearly 20 percent lower than the previous five‑year average. The low output reflects the continuous contraction in the planted area in the last five years as farmers have shifted to crops that are more profitable. Furthermore, the limited availability of irrigation water during the planting period curtailed the planted area.

Planting of the 2020 main season maize and paddy crops is underway and the key producing central‑western areas are experiencing moderate soil moisture deficits due to the below‑average rainfall amounts in the June‑July period. Weather forecasts point to average to above‑average rainfall amounts during the August‑October period, which is expected to replenish soil moisture and be favourable for crop growth.

The Ministry of Agriculture continues to support smallholder farmers for the second consecutive year by purchasing maize, beans, wheat, rice and fresh milk at fixed prices that are higher than the market prices. In addition, in order to boost domestic maize production, the Ministry will implement guaranteed prices for medium‑sized farms (up to 50 hectares).

Cereal import requirements in 2019/20 marketing year anticipated at record highs

Cereal import requirements are officially forecast at 24.4 million tonnes in the 2019/20 marketing year (October/September), an all‑time high and about 20 percent above the five‑year average. The increase mainly reflects the increased demand of yellow maize by the feed industry, compounded by higher import needs of wheat grain and flour following the reduced harvests in 2019 and 2020.

Prices of white maize and black beans started to decline since May

Prices of white maize and black beans increased sharply in March and April, reflecting the increased domestic demand and a significant depreciation of the domestic currency amid the COVID‑19 pandemic. Prices of maize declined since May due to increased market availabilities from the harvest of the minor season crop, and as of June 2020, they were near their year‑earlier levels. Prices of beans only slightly decreased in May and were nearly 40 percent higher year on year. Prices of rice remained stable during the first half of 2020 and were similar to a year earlier in June.

vhttps://reliefweb.int/report/mexico/giews-country-brief-mexico-07-august-2020

 

Area covered under rice 47.60 lakh ha more and under oilseeds 24.33 lakh ha more in comparison to last year

 

 

Description: https://i0.wp.com/orissadiary.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/oilseeds.jpg?resize=248%2C203&ssl=1

New Delhi: The Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare, Government of India is taking several measures to facilitate the farmers and farming activities at field level during COVID 19 pandemic. There has been satisfactory progress of sowing area coverage under Kharif crops, the status of which is given as under:

Rice: About 321.79 lakh ha area coverage under rice as compared to 274.19 lakh ha. during the corresponding period of last year. Thus 47.60 lakh ha more area has been covered compared to last year.

Pulses: About 119.59 lakh ha area coverage under pulses as compared to 114.77 lakh ha. during the corresponding period of last year. Thus 4.82 lakh ha more area has been covered compared to last year.

Coarse Cereals: About 160.43 lakh ha area coverage under coarse cereals as compared to 154.77 lakh ha. during the corresponding period of last year. Thus 5.66 lakh ha more area has been covered compared to last year.

Oilseeds: About 181.07 lakh ha area coverage under oilseeds as compared to 156.75 lakh ha. during the corresponding period of last year. Thus 24.33 lakh ha more area has been covered last year.

Sugarcane: About 51.95 lakh ha area coverage under sugarcane as compared to 51.33 lakh ha. during the corresponding period of last year. Thus 0.62 lakh ha more area has been covered compared to last year.

Jute & Mesta: About 6.95 lakh ha area coverage under jute &mesta as compared to 6.85 lakh ha. during the corresponding period of last year. Thus 0.10 lakh ha more area has been covered compared to last year.

Cotton: About 123.64 lakh ha area coverage under cotton as compared to 118.73 lakh ha. during the corresponding period of last year. Thus 4.90 lakh ha more area has been covered compared to last year.

As on 06.08.2020, actual rainfall received in the country is 505.7 mm against normal of 507.3 mm during the period from 01.06.2020 to 06.08.2020 and as reported by Central Water Commission, the live water storage available in 123 reservoirs in the country is 108% of live storage of corresponding period of last year and 94% of storage of average of last ten years.

https://orissadiary.com/area-covered-under-rice-47-60-lakh-ha-more-and-under-oilseeds-24-33-lakh-ha-more-in-comparison-to-last-year/

$220 m earned from broken rice export to 58 countries in over nine months

 

BUSINESS

PUBLISHED 7 AUGUST 2020

Myanmar has earned over US$220 million from export of over 830,000 tons of broken rice to 58 countries over the past nine months this fiscal year with the largest amount going to Belgium, according to the Myanmar Rice Federation. 

From October 1 to July 17 in the current 2019-2020 fiscal year, 839,956.677 tons of broken rice worth US$224.818 million were exported to 58 countries. Of the total amount, over 220,000 tons worth over US$56 million went to Belgium, over 154,000 tons worth over US$40 million to Senegal, over 143,000 tons worth over US$41 million to China, over 100,000 tons worth over US$30 million to Indonesia and over 30,000 tons worth over US$7 million to the Netherlands.

Myanmar exports rice through both maritime and border trade routes. Maritime route is used for Europe, Africa and China while the border route is used for neighbouring countries including China. 

Some countries have offered to buy rice from Myanmar, according to the Ministry of Commerce. 

Deputy Minister for Commerce Aung Htoo said: “Over two million tons of rice were yearly exported and it is targeted to reach about 2.5 million tons this year.”

https://elevenmyanmar.com/news/220-m-earned-from-broken-rice-export-to-58-countries-in-over-nine-months#:~:text=Myanmar%20has%20earned%20over%20US,to%20the%20Myanmar%20Rice%20Federation.

Govt’s decision on Bernas’ extension considers impacts on Malaysia’s food chainFriday, August 7th, 2020 at , Economy | News

The concession will ensure all aspects across the supply chain will be in good hands, including improving on the SSL for paddy

Description: https://themalaysianreserve.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/07TR001A2-1.jpg

by SHAHEERA AZNAM SHAH/ pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

THE government’s decision to retain Padiberas Nasional Bhd (Bernas) as the sole concessionaire in managing Malaysia’s rice supply considers the risk to the food chain, should the concession be passed on to an unfitted entity.

Agriculture and Food Industries Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee (picture; second from left) said extending Bernas’ concession will ensure that all aspects across the supply chain will be in good hands which will improve the country’s self-sufficiency level (SSL) for paddy.

“The decision was made according to all aspects of paddy farming, including the livelihood of Malaysian farmers, our current level of the stockpile, the SSL and the industry as a whole.

“Thus, maintaining the single gatekeeper mechanism (SGM) and Bernas is the best way to proceed,” he said at the National Farmers, Livestock Breeders and Fishermen Day celebration in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

In a response to a question during a Parliament session on Tuesday, Ronald said Bernas’ concession as the single gatekeeper for rice imports will be extended for an undecided duration.

 

He said in the reply that the government is currently finalising the terms and conditions of the extension agreement, adding that Bernas will have to fulfil more social obligations in addition to the terms stated in the previous contract.

Bernas — through the SGM — was appointed as the guardian for the country’s rice management to prevent a food crisis and be the buffer in the event of it.

The local rice industry has been solely managed through the SGM for the past four decades to prevent excessive profiteering and ensure constant supplies.

The government extended Bernas’ concession in 2011 to manage the country’s rice supply for 10 years. The current concession will end in January next year.

Separately, Ronald said the National Agro-Food Policy (NAFP) 2.0, which is currently being fine-tuned by the ministry, will include ramping up the utilisation of modern technology and encouraging automation, as well as mechanisation adoption.

“As the continuation of the current policy, NAFP 2.0 will be focusing on transforming the agricultural sector into a modern industry that uses advanced technologies with the application of mechanisation and automation.

“Through our agencies, the government has been working with banks to monitor and facilitate loans regarding these implementations, so that our industry does not get held back by financing,” he said.

Ronald added that the utilisation of advanced technology could increase youth participation in the country’s rice farming activities.

In easing the impact of the pandemic, the government has allocated some funds for the agricultural industry through the economic stimulus package, the Prihatin Rakyat economic stimulus package and the National Economic Recovery Plan.

Under Prihatin, RM190 million has been provisioned for the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industries to be channelled to its agencies, including the Farmers’ Organisation Authority (FOA), which has received a total of RM62 million.

FOA said the allocation will be utilised for the upgrading of the machinery under the authorities which will allow the machines’ lifespan to expand by three to five years and benefit about 65,000 paddy farmers in the country.

https://themalaysianreserve.com/2020/08/07/govts-decision-on-bernas-extension-considers-impacts-on-malaysias-food-chain/

 

Severe drought takes toll on 40,000ha rice crops across country

Khouth Sophak Chakrya | Publication date 06 August 2020 | 23:07 ICT

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Description: Content image - Phnom Penh Post

The irrigation canal in Banteay Meanchey province turns dry. Drought has destroyed over 40,000ha of rice crops in Battambang, Banteay Meanchey and other provinces while water sources across the country continued to dry up, further threatening its survival. Supplied

Drought has destroyed over 40,000ha of rice crops in Battambang, Banteay Meanchey and other provinces while water sources across the country continued to dry up, further threatening its survival.

A high-ranking official from the National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM) said on Thursday it will be difficult to pump enough water to affected areas.

NCDM adviser Keo Vy told The Post the damaged rice crops were planted by farmers in May and June and farmers expected to harvest in August or September. But climate change has altered the schedule.

“Meanwhile, over 40,000ha of rice crops in Cambodia are in danger due to water shortages while another 5,000ha have been damaged,” Vy said.

He said the provinces most affected are Battambang, Banteay Meanchey and Kampong Thom.

While these regions face water shortages, others like the Cardamom Mountains and Northeast Plateau have been hit by fierce storms, including three Sinlaku or small typhoons, which cause severe regional flooding.

Despite the deluge, farmers say rainfall density is still low and a reason for concern.

Battambang provincial Department of Agriculture director Chhim Vachira told The Post on Thursday that drought in the past weeks seriously damaged 17,981ha of rice crops in, Bavel, Thma Koul and Banan districts and 1,000ha were wiped out. Farmers are trying to replant.

“There was rain in some parts of Bavel and Thma Koul districts on Wednesday, but rainfall density is still low. It is a concern for us in being able to pump water to rescue rice crops,” he said.

Banteay Meanchey provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries director Pang Vannaseth told The Post in July that 3,030ha of rice crops in Mongkol Borei and Sisophon were damaged entirely and another 6,600ha in Mongkol Borei seriously damaged from a lack of rain.

“We hope that rain will save all these rice crops,” Vannaseth said.

Kampong Thom provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries director Pen Vannarith said on Thursday that up until August 4, farmers in Kampong Thom planted rice crops during the rainy season on 207,038ha.

This is equal to 97.06 per cent of the 213,300ha in the cultivated land plan, but a decrease of 8,260ha from the same period last year.

It is predicted that drought conditions will increase in some areas around Sekong River, Sesan River and Srepok River in the northeast part of Cambodia, a report by the Mekong River Commission (MRC), cited by AKP press on Thursday said.

The MRC’s Regional Flood and Drought Management Centre said there will be a severe drought in the coming weeks that will cause serious drought in some areas of Ratanakkiri, Mondulkiri, Stung Treng and Kratie provinces, said the report.

https://www.phnompenhpost.com/national/severe-drought-takes-toll-40000ha-rice-crops-across-country#:~:text=Battambang%20provincial%20Department%20of%20Agriculture,1%2C000ha%20were%20wiped%20out.

Vietnam exports 3.9 million tonnes of rice in seven months

VietReader

Description: Vietnam exports 3.9 million tonnes of rice in seven months

Illustrative image (Photo: VNA)   Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnam exported 3.9 million tonnes of rice, earning 1.9 billion USD, in the first seven months of this year, according to the Department of Agro Processing and Market Development under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Export volume fell 1.4 percent but increased by 10.9 percent in value over the same period last year.

The department also said that in the first half of this year, the Philippines ranked first in Vietnam’s rice export market with nearly 37 percent of total rice exports.

Vietnam exported 1.4 million tonnes of rice to the Philippines, raking in 635 million USD, up 13.3 percent and 30.5 percent, respectively, over the same period last year.

Other markets with strong growth in rice exports included Senegal (up 19.6 times), Indonesia (2.8 times) and China (nearly 90 percent).

Vietnam’s average rice export price in the first six months hit 487.6 USD per tonne, 13 percent higher than the same period in 2019./. VNA

https://vietreader.com/business/9977-vietnam-exports-39-million-tonnes-of-rice-in-seven-months.html

Asian rice market: Vietnam pushes the peak of export price

VietReader

 

While the increase in demand pushes the Vietnam rice rate, the strengthening domestic currency of Thailand deprives its rice consumption.

Vietnam’s 5% broken rice prices rose to $470 per tonne on Thursday, their highest since mid-June, from $440-$450 last week, said Reuters.

Description: Asian rice market: Vietnam pushes the peak of export price

Illustrative image (Photo: VNA)

“Supplies are running low as the summer-autumn harvest has come to an end,” a trader based in Ho Chi Minh City said, adding that local traders have also been hoarding the grain in anticipation of higher prices, reported Reuters.

“Traders have been focusing mainly on fulfilling their export contracts signed earlier with Cuba, Malaysia and the Philippines.”

Vietnam will start sowing the autumn-winter crop, and the next harvest won’t begin until October, other traders said.

According to some experts, Vietnam may surpass Thailand in rice exports.

This June, Vietnam has won the deal of exporting 60,000 tons of rice supply to the Philippines on the order from the government. This is a part of 300,000 tons of rice to serve national food security under the impact of COVID-19. 

Apart from allocating a quota of 20,000 tonnes of rice to all members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) this year, the Republic of Korea had given a quota of 55,112 tonnes of rice for Vietnam, reported VNA.

Statistics of the Thai Rice Exporters Association show that Thailand exported 2.57 million tonnes of rice worth 54.2 billion THB (1.71 billion USD) in the first five months of this year, down 31.9 percent on volume and 13.2 percent in value year-on-year.

Meanwhile, Vietnam shipped nearly 2.9 million tonnes of rice for 1.41 billion USD in the reviewed period, up 5.1 percent in volume and 18.9 percent in value, according to the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI).

In Thailand, benchmark 5% broken rice prices were quoted at $463-$485, little changed from $465-$483 last week, according to Reuters.

“The strong baht (against the U.S. dollar) has really kept the price of Thai rice higher than our competitors and deterred buyers,” a Bangkok-based trader said. 

Experts forecast that Thailand is likely to fall from the third to the fifth place in the list of global rice exporters in the next decade unless the country adopts long-term policies to increase the competitiveness of the staple, according to VNA.

Other Asian countries are suffering from the risk of food security due to coronavirus and catastrophe. 

India’s rice exporters are struggling to fulfill orders due to the limited availability of containers and workers at mills and the country’s biggest rice handling port due to surging coronavirus cases, according to Reuters. 

“Loading is still limited at Kakinada port due to labor shortage,” said an exporter based at Kakinada in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

In Bangladesh, the longest-running floods in over two decades have submerged nearly 80,000 hectares of paddy fields, according to officials from the agriculture ministry shared on Reuters.

https://vietreader.com/business/finance/9903-asian-rice-market-vietnam-pushes-the-peak-of-export-price.html

Asian rice market: Vietnam pushes the peak of export price

 

Seabird Poop Is Worth More Than $1 Billion Annually

Scientists put a price tag on guano’s global benefits, which range from agricultural fertilizer to coral reef enricher

Guano stains the cliffs of a gannet breeding colony in Shetland (Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

By Courtney Sexton

SMITHSONIANMAG.COM
AUGUST 7, 2020 9:32AM

411766

When Don Lyons, director of the Audubon Society’s Seabird Restoration Program visited a small inland valley in Japan, he found a local variety of rice colloquially called “cormorant rice.” The grain got its moniker not from its size or color or area of origin, but from the seabirds whose guano fertilized the paddies in the valley. The birds nested in the trees around the dammed ponds used to irrigate the rice fields, where they could feed on small fish stocked in the reservoirs. Their excrement, rich in nitrogen and phosphorus, washed into the water and eventually to the paddies, where it fertilized the crop.

The phenomenon that Lyons encountered is not a new one—references to the value of bird guano can be found even in the Bible, and an entire industry in South America grew around the harvesting of what many called “white gold.” What is new is that scientists have now calculated an exact value for seabird poop. This week, researchers published a study in Trends in Ecology and Evolution that estimates the value of seabird nutrient deposits at up to $1.1 billion annually. “I see that [many] people just think you care about something when it brings benefits, when they can see the benefits,” says Daniel Plazas-Jiménez, study author and researcher at the Universidade Federal de Goiás in Brazil. “So, I think that is the importance of communicating what seabirds do for humankind.”

Given that 30 percent of the species of seabirds included in the study are threatened, the authors argue that the benefits the birds provide—from fertilizing crops to boosting the health of coral reefs—should prompt global conservation efforts. Government and interested parties can help seabirds by reducing birds accidently caught during commercial fishing, reducing the human overfishing that depletes the birds’ primary food source and working to address climate change since rising seas erode the birds’ coastal habitats and warming waters cause the birds’ prey fish to move unpredictably.

To show the benefits seabirds provide, Plazas-Jiménez and his coauthor Marcus Cianciaruso, an ecologist at Goiás, set out to put a price tag on the animals’ poop. Scientists and economists lack sufficient data on the direct and indirect monetary gains from guano. So the ecologists had to get creative; they used a replacement cost approach. They estimated the value of the ecological function of bird poop as an organic fertilizer against the cost of replacing it with human-made chemical fertilizers.

Guano bags ready for distribution and sale in Lima, Peru (Photo by Manuel Medir/Getty Images)

Not all seabirds produce guano, which is desiccated, or hardened, excrement with especially high nitrogen and phosphoric content, so the authors took a two-step process to figure out how much waste the birds produce. First, the authors calculated the potential amount of poop produced annually by guano-producing seabirds based on population size data. They valued the guano based on the mean international market price of Peruvian and Chilean guano, which represented the highest-grossing product. Next the scientists estimated the value produced by non-guano-producing seabirds, who also excrete nitrogen and phosphorus. The researchers valued the chemicals based on the cost of inorganic nitrogen and phosphorus traded on the international market. The primary value of the poop based on replacement costs was around $474 million.

The scientists then estimated that ten percent of coral reef stocks depend on nutrients from seabirds, a back of the envelope number that they admit needs more study. Since the annual economic return of commercial fisheries on Caribbean reefs, Southeast Asian reefs and the Great Barrier Reefs is $6.5 billion, the scientists estimated secondary economic benefits from seabird guano to be at least $650 million. That brought the estimated total benefit of guano up to $1.1 billion.

Still, that number, Lyons says, is likely a pretty significant underestimate since there are secondary benefits to not producing chemical fertilizers. “Another aspect of that is the replacement product, fertilizers, are generally derived from petroleum products,” says Lyons. “And so, there's a climate angle to this—when we can use more natural nutrient cycling and not draw on earth reserves, that’s a definite bonus.”

Though the billion dollar-plus price on poop is impressive, it is likely much lower than the comparative value before seabird numbers declined over the past roughly 150 years. The richness of guano in South America, particularly on the nation’s Chincha Islands, has been documented for centuries. Birds nest along the island’s granite cliffs where their excrement builds up and the hot, dry climate keeps it from breaking down. At one point, an estimated 60 million birds—including guanay cormorants, boobies and pelicans—built 150-foot-high mounds of poop. The Incans were the first to recognize guano’s agricultural benefits, supposedly decreeing death to those who harmed the seabirds.

By the early 1840s, guano became a full-blown industry; it was commercially mined, transported and sold in Germany, France, England and the United States. The 1856 Guano Islands Act authorized one of the United States’ earliest imperial land grabs outside of North America, stating that the nation could claim any island with seabird guano, as long as there were no other claims or inhabitants. This paved the way for major exploitation and the establishment of Caribbean, Polynesian and Chinese slave labor to work the “white gold” mines.

The industry crashed around 1880 and revived in the early 20th century. Today, interest in guano is resurgent as consumer demand for organic agriculture and food processing has risen. However, only an estimated 4 million seabirds now live on the Chincha islands, drastically reducing the amount of guano produced. This loss is part of a global trend. According to one study, the world’s monitored seabird populations have dropped 70 percent since the 1950s.

The decline of seabird populations, says Plazas-Jiménez, is devastating to local cultures that have used the organic fertilizers for generations, local economies that depend on fisheries, and the world’s biodiversity. One study found that guano nutrient run-off into the waters of the Indian Ocean increasing coral reef fish stocks by 48 percent. Another study found that dissolved values of phosphate on coral reefs in Oahu, Hawaii, were higher where seabird colonies were larger and helped to offset nutrient depletion in the water caused by human activities.

Improving the health of coral reefs is important. Roughly a quarter of ocean fish depend on nutrient-rich reefs to survive. And seabirds’ contributions to coral reef health provide ecosystem services beyond increasing fish stocks; they also drive revenue through tourism and coastline resilience. Coral reefs function as important natural bulkheads protecting remote island and coastal communities from storm erosion and rising water. “It's really compelling to think in terms of billions of dollars, but this is also a phenomenon that happens very locally,” says Lyons. “And there are many examples of where unique places wouldn’t be that way without this nutrient cycling that seabirds bring.”

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Courtney Sexton, a writer and researcher based in Washington, DC, studies human-animal interactions. She is a 2020 AAAS Mass Media Fellow and the co-founder and director of The Inner Loop, a nonprofit organization for writers.

https://vietreader.com/business/finance/9903-asian-rice-market-vietnam-pushes-the-peak-of-export-price.html

 

 

Why We Oppose Golden Rice


By the Stop Golden Rice Network (SGRN)

The push for corporate-led solutions to hunger and malnutrition is alarming. In particular, Golden Rice is now being proposed as a solution to the worsening hunger and malnutrition associated with the pandemic. Agrochemical transnationals (TNCs) and collaborating institutions such as the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) are using concerns over food security during the pandemic to push for an industrial agricultural system that is already discredited. To quote PAN Asia Pacific:

in the webinar “The future of food systems in Southeast Asia post-COVID19” organised by IRRI and the FAO, Jean Balie, IRRI’s head of Agri-Food Policy, said that they are “looking to increase the mineral and vitamin content in rice grains” as a response to the pandemic, alluding to renewed promotion of the genetically-modified Golden Rice, which has recently been approved for commercialization in Bangladesh and the Philippines” said PANAP.

Golden Rice projects and applications are currently underway in three countries. On December 10, 2019, the Philippines’ Dept. of Agriculture’s Bureau of Plant Industry (DA-BPI) issued a Golden Rice permit for Direct Use for Food, Feed and Processing. This was despite the standing challenge by farmers, scientists and civil society groups regarding Golden Rice’s unresolved safety and efficacy issues.

Description: https://img.scoop.co.nz/stories/images/2008/ecrdzrba1a4oxfj8.jpgStop Golden Rice! Photo: Kervin Bonganciso/MASIPAG

In August 2019, it was confirmed that Indonesia rice research centre (BB Padi) had grown Golden Rice in their testing fields in Sukamandi, West Java. But BB Padi is still awaiting permission from Indonesia’s biosafety clearing house for confined field testing in selected areas.

In Bangladesh, rumours have circulated that Golden Rice would be approved by the Biosafety Core Committee under the environment ministry last November 15, 2019. While there have been no specifics yet, proponents are optimistic that approval in Bangladesh will occur.

We, the Stop Golden Rice Network (SGRN), believe that Golden Rice is an unnecessary and unwanted technology being peddled by corporations purely for their profit-making agenda. Golden Rice will only strengthen the grip of corporations over rice and agriculture and will endanger agrobiodiversity and peoples’ health as well. Therefore, farmers, consumers and basic sectors have been campaigning against the propagation and commercialization of Golden Rice since the mid-2000s, utilizing various forms and actions, including the historical uprooting of Golden Rice field trials back in 2013.

Why is there intense opposition towards Golden Rice?

The importance of rice in Asian countries cannot be understated; 90% of rice is produced and consumed in Asia. Rice is at the center of the social, cultural and economic activities of peoples across Asia. It is also a political commodity as rice is the staple food for a majority of the Asian population. Asian countries such as the Philippines, Indonesia, and India are centers of origin of more than 100,000 varieties of rice. Also considered as among the most biodiverse countries in the world, a wide array of vegetables, fruits, root crops and cereals abound in the farms and forests of these countries, ensuring a dependable source of nutrition for the families and the communities.

Yet, malnutrition is prevalent, particularly among children and women. This is not simply because of the absence of an important nutrient or vitamin. It is caused by the “lack of access to sufficient, nutritious and safe food” due to poverty, and changing food production and consumption patterns (p. 27, UN FAO, 2017).

This impact is seen in IRRI’s Green Revolution wherein many farmers across Asia have become bound to the expensive inputs and seeds peddled by huge agrochemical TNCs who promote a single-crop diet. As a result of green revolution, white rice has become dominant in once very diverse Asian diets; but white rice has a high glycemic index which causes diabetes and 60% of global diabetes cases are in Asia. Packing more nutrients, like Vitamin A, in rice, which requires more rice consumption would make this worse. Especially with the new pandemic for which diabetes is considered a risk factor for severity of Covid-19.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UN FAO) identifies the dominance of large corporations over food systems as among the factors that contribute to food insecurity and malnutrition (p. 27, UN FAO, 2017). In developing countries, large tracts of agricultural lands are being converted either to industrial and commercial land uses, or to large-scale mono-cropped plantations of cash crops such as pineapples, palm oil and bananas that hardly serve the nutrition needs of the people. FAO further acknowledges that the changes in food systems and diets, such as the prevalence of highly-processed foods and displacement of traditional foods and eating habits also contributes to the worsening trend of food insecurity and malnutrition.

Given this context, we assert that Golden Rice is simply a ‘band-aid’ solution to the wide, gaping wound of hunger and poverty. Worse, the issues that continue to hound Golden Rice further prove the point that it is unnecessary and unwanted

  1. Negligible beta carotene content – The current version of the Golden Rice, GR2E contains a negligible amount of beta-carotene (from 3.57 ug/g to 22 ug/g), which the United States Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) also acknowledged, making the product useless in addressing Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) in contrast to existing and readily available food sources. Already minimal, Golden Rice’s beta-carotene was also found to degrade quickly after harvesting, storing and processing, such as milling and even cooking unless the farmers vacuum-pack and refrigerate the GM rice. Farmers from developing countries however, do not seal or store the paddy rice in vacuum packs, which will make the product more expensive. Electricity also remains scarce in remote farming communities so refrigerating the harvest is unrealistic bordering on the absurd.
  2. No meaningful safety tests have been done – Even as the Golden Rice has been approved in the Philippines, there has been no testing done to ascertain if it is safe for human consumption. Meanwhile, the aforementioned beta-carotene degradation may result in toxic compounds causing oxidative stress damage which might lead to cancer. Dr. David Schubert of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, USA and Dr. Michael Antoniou of King’s College London, state that “there have never been short nor, more importantly, long-term safety testing in laboratory animals (of Golden Rice) and this must be done for several generations in rats to determine if it causes birth defects, which we consider a serious possibility.”
  3. Contamination of other rice varieties and wild relatives of rice – Field trials conducted so far have only looked at the agronomic traits of Golden Rice, and not its long-term effects on the environment, including its possible effects on the genetic diversity of the thousands of rice varieties being cared for by small scale farmers and indigenous peoples. While rice is a self-pollinating crop, cross-contamination is still inevitable Contamination can also occur through seed mixing. Such contamination has already happened in the US with the Liberty Link rice scandal back in 2006 that caused US farmers millions of dollars in losses because of the inadvertent contamination of the yet unapproved GM rice.
  4. Safer sources of beta-carotene – Being some of the mega-diverse countries, vegetables and fruits that are high in beta-carotene are found in abundance in the Philippines, Indonesia, Bangladesh, India and other target countries for Golden Rice. These foods are available and accessible for the people, and contain much higher levels of beta-carotene than Golden Rice.

The worsening land-grabbing and land conversion cases, liberalization of agricultural commodities and increasing control of corporations over agriculture and food, however, are preventing farmers and their communities from having access to these safe and nutritious foods. In developing countries the challenges described above remain the main culprit of food insecurity and malnutrition. Both the development of biofortified crops like Golden Rice for solving health issues and corporate led projects in agriculture as ways to ensure food security represent a worrisome push for top-down and anti-diversity approaches to food and health that will ultimately undermine people’s capacities to strengthen their local food systems. By emphasizing dependence on just a few market-based crops biofortification actually promotes a poor diet with little nutritional diversity

Golden Rice is a failed and useless product, and that is why we continue to resist and oppose it. Time and again, huge agrochemical companies, philanthrocapitalists and pseudo-public agencies have done everything in their power to deny the people’s right to participate in decisions about their food and agriculture. Already, zinc and iron GM rice and thirty other GM rice are in the pipeline, with Golden Rice serving as the Trojan Horse to lure the people into social acceptance and false security.

Description: https://img.scoop.co.nz/stories/images/2008/fbgkpem-zoon0skl.jpgA demonstration against Golden Rice, Manila Photo: Ryan Damaso/MASIPAG

More than resisting the release of Golden Rice however, we are pushing for safer, better and healthier alternatives to addressing VAD and other malnutrition issues. VAD and other malnutrition problems can be mitigated and addressed by having a diverse diet. Nutrition does not need to be an expensive commodity, nor rely on advanced technology. 

We believe that instead of pushing Golden Rice and biofortifying crops through genetic modification, governments should promote biodiversity in farms and on tables by supporting safe, healthy and sustainable food production. We are also calling on governments to pay attention to the needs of our food producers, including facilitating access to lands to till, appropriate technologies and an agriculture policy that will promote and uphold the people’s right to food and the nations’ food sovereignty.

https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO2008/S00069/why-we-oppose-golden-rice.htm

 

How to decontaminate an N95 mask in an Instant Pot

Well this is handy.

BY MARK WILSON2 MINUTE READ

Researchers at the University of Illinois have demonstrated a new, easy way to decontaminate 3M’s disposable N95 masks for reuse: Put the mask in an electric cooker. It can be a rice cooker or a pressure cooker. You can even use your oven.

The study comes after months of PPE shortages in the United States, leading scientists to search for methods of decontaminating N95 masks, among them: using a microwave to steam the masks, though that technique may require you to source a few extra supplies to do the job. The Instant Pot method works with things you already have.

So how exactly do you sterilize an N95 in an electric cooker? The researchers started with a $50 Farberware pressure cooker, one of many less expensive Instant Pot clones on the market. They lined the bottom with paper towels (they have demonstrated it with cloth towels too), to ensure that the masks did not touch the heating element at the bottom. Then they stacked several masks on top.

Once that was done, they sealed the lid and set a cooking cycle that would maintain 212°F for 50 minutes. On the Farberware, the setting reads “P03.” Researchers tell us that’s a setting for cooking rice, which makes sense. (Water boils at 212°F, so it’s the temperature at which you cook rice.) But they recommend you consult your manual to check the temperature of various settings to find one that will work for you. No water is poured into the pot at any time; the sterilization requires a completely dry cycle.

You can also use an oven if you don’t have a countertop cooker. The catch is that most ovens won’t let you target 212°F specifically, the way a cooker will. That means you may have to settle for 200° or 225°, but the researchers warn that if you go hotter than 212°F, you could hurt the mask. Go cooler, and it could take longer to sterilize.

The good news is that this process is repeatable. Researchers decontaminated masks 20 times, showing that SARS-CoV-2 and other coronaviruses were destroyed on all parts of the mask. Meanwhile, components such as the elastic headband stayed intact. After sterilization, researchers tested the filtration and found that it still filtered 95% of particles down to 0.3 microns—what makes the N95 such a powerful tool in the fight against COVID-19.

If you’d like to try the technique yourself, all you need is a cooker, a paper or cloth towel, and the right setting. Just remember that, unlike just about everything else you cook in an Instant Pot, you don’t add water.

https://www.fastcompany.com/90537930/how-to-decontaminate-an-n95-mask-in-an-instant-pot

 

This Week: Thirsty Rice, Engaged Investors, and a Bulky Starship

 

What Earth and space science stories are we recommending this week?

Women in the village of Kalar Bhaini, Punjab, planted rice in June. A tube well pumped groundwater continuously for 10 hours to fill the field. Credit: Gurpreet Singh

By AGU  21 hours ago

India’s Food Bowl Heads Toward Desertification. This was an interesting (and alarming) read on the dangerous and long-term effects groundwater extraction could have on the state of Punjab, India. The continuous decline in groundwater levels could change not only the agricultural landscape but the economic landscape as well if drastic measures aren’t taken.
Anaise Aristide, Production and Analytics Specialist

 

Investors Launch Climate Plan to Get to Net Zero Emissions by 2050. A new framework offering guidance on climate-friendly investing sounds like a promising step toward decarbonizing the global economy.
Timothy Oleson, Science Editor

 

https://eos.org/articles/this-week-thirsty-rice-engaged-investors-and-a-bulky-starship

New FDA limits on arsenic levels in infant rice cereals don’t adequately protect children, critics say

NEWS

by: CNN Wire

Posted: Aug 7, 2020 / 10:00 AM CDT Updated: Aug 7, 2020 / 06:46 AM CDT

It’s official: There’s a limit on how much arsenic can be in your baby’s cereal.

The US Food and Drug Administration issued its final guidance on limiting the levels of inorganic arsenic found in infant rice cereal on Wednesday — capping the level of arsenic allowable at 100 parts per billion. That’s the same level it proposed in 2016.

The guidance applies to all types of infant rice cereals: White, brown, organically grown and conventionally grown rice, the agency said.

The action prompted immediate criticism from consumer advocacy groups.

Consumer Reports, which has studied levels of arsenic and other toxic metals in baby food, applauded the FDA for its action but wanted more.

“The FDA’s action is an important first step, but the agency needs to be far more aggressive in protecting young children from the dangers of arsenic and other heavy metals in food,” said Brian Ronholm, the director of food policy for Consumer Reports, in a statement.

“Parents can take a number of steps to limit their child’s exposure to heavy metals in food, but they should be able to expect that the government is putting public health first,” said Michael Hansen, senior scientist for Consumer Reports, in the statement.

“The FDA should set protective targets for reducing exposure to heavy metals with a goal of having no measurable levels in children’s food,” he added.

Healthy Babies Bright Futures, an alliance of scientists and nonprofit organizations working to reduce babies’ exposures to toxic chemicals in the first 1,000 days of development, was equally critical.

“It is not a large enough step,” said Healthy Babies Bright Futures national director Charlotte Brody, in a statement.

“Setting a standard for the maximum amount of arsenic allowed in baby foods is a start to keeping them safe — but 100 ppb is still far too high,” Brody said. “No amount of arsenic, lead or other toxic heavy metal is safe for babies.”

The FDA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Heavy metals in baby foods

In 2017, Healthy Babies Bright Futures commissioned tests of 168 baby foods from major manufacturers in the United States. The tests found 73% of the baby foods contained arsenic, 95% contained lead, 75% contained cadmium and 32% contained mercury. One fourth of the foods contained all four heavy metals.

The results mimicked a previous study by the FDA that found one or more of the same metals in 33 of 39 types of baby food tested.

The Healthy Babies Bright Futures report found infant rice cereal, rice dishes and rice-based snacks topped the list of most toxic foods for babies.

“These popular baby foods are not only high in inorganic arsenic, the most toxic form of arsenic, but also are nearly always contaminated with all four toxic metals,” the 2017 report said.

“Even in the trace amounts found in food, these contaminants can alter the developing brain and erode a child’s IQ. The impacts add up with each meal or snack a baby eats.”

Dangers of arsenic

Arsenic is a natural element found in soil, water and air, with the inorganic form being the most toxic. (“Inorganic” is a chemical term and has nothing to do with the method of farming.)

Consuming inorganic arsenic has been associated with cancer, skin lesions, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. Inorganic arsenic has also been linked to adverse pregnancy outcomes and neurodevelopmental toxicity, according to studies.

Because rice is grown in water, it is especially good at absorbing inorganic arsenic and, according to the FDA, has the highest concentration of any food.

Brown and wild rice are the worst offenders, because the milling process used to create white rice removes the outer layers, where much of the arsenic concentrates.

Buying organic doesn’t help. A 2012 study found that brown rice syrup, a frequent sweetener in organic foods, was also a source of significant levels of arsenic. One “organic” milk formula marketed to toddlers had levels of inorganic arsenic that were six times the levels currently considered safe by the US Environmental Protection Agency.

Infants and children are at higher risk of exposure to inorganic arsenic because their diets are often less varied compared to adults, and they consume more food relative to their body weight than adults.

Levels trending down

Agency data shows most products on the market are already below the level it is now recommending, Susan Mayne, director of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, said in a statement.

The results from sampling the FDA conducted in 2018 show that 76% of samples were at or below the 100 PPB level, compared to 47% of samples tested in 2014 and 36% of samples tested between 2011 and 2013.

Any infant rice cereal manufacturers who do not meet the new standard can achieve the goal by using good manufacturing practices, the agency said.

In particular, the companies can carefully select the source of the rice and rice-derived ingredients and choose those with lower levels of inorganic arsenic.

According to Healthy Babies Bright Futures, the lowest levels of arsenic are found in basmati rice grown in California, India and Pakistan.

However, Consumer Reports said a 2018 test of 50 packaged foods for babies and toddlers found at least two-thirds had worrisome levels of at least one of three heavy metals: Inorganic arsenic, cadmium, and lead.

Snacks and products containing rice and sweet potatoes were particularly likely to have high levels of heavy metals, the tests found.

Most susceptible children

National diet surveys show that Hispanic infants and toddlers are 2.5 times more likely to eat rice on a given day than other children, according to Healthy Babies Bright Futures, while Asian Americans eat nearly 10 times more rice than the national average.

In addition, the group said, children diagnosed with celiac disease — an intolerance to wheat — often eat rice products instead and thus ingest some 14 times more arsenic than other children.

The risks from heavy metals grow over time, Consumer Reports said, “in part because they accumulate in the kidneys and other internal organs.

“Regularly consuming even small amounts over a long period of time may raise the risk of bladder, lung, and skin cancer; cognitive and reproductive problems; and type 2 diabetes,” the Consumer Reports statement said.

“In setting this limit, the agency did not consider IQ loss or other forms of neurological impact, allowed cancer risks far outside of protective limits, and failed to account for children who have unusually high exposures to arsenic in rice,” the Healthy Babies Bright Futures statement said.

“This action by the FDA will do little to lower babies’ risks from toxic heavy metals in rice-based foods.”

https://wreg.com/news/new-fda-limits-on-arsenic-levels-in-infant-rice-cereals-dont-adequately-protect-children-critics-say/

 

 

New state-driven business opportunities for rice farmers

SATURDAY AUGUST 08 2020

    

Description: rice farmers img

Joel Tanui, a senior scheme manager at the Ahero Research Station of the National Irrigation Authority (NIA) in Kisumu. He says the government has provided great opportunities for farmers to add value to their rice through the presidential directive on purchase of local produce. PHOTO | ELIZABETH OJINA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Summary

·         The biggest setback has been the high cost of production but with the presidential directive setting better local prices, the sub-sector is set to change for the better as net margins improve.

·         Birds and mostly the quelea have been dominant in the rice fields due to the proximity of their natural habitat (swamps and riverine bushes).

·         The presidential directive came in at the most desperate time in the rice sub-sector, where brokers and importers dictated prices and quality.

·         Reducing or banning rice imports is not an immediate solution since our production is low as compare to consumption.

By ELIZABETH OJINA

 

Joel Tanui is a senior scheme manager at the Ahero Research Station of the National Irrigation Authority (NIA) in Kisumu. Elizabeth Ojina spoke to him on why the crop is yet to change many farmers’ fortunes and the existing opportunities for growers

Kenya gets nearly all its rice from the Far East, specifically Pakistan, which accounts for 74 per cent of the total imports. With the high importation, is rice growing a profitable venture in the country?

It is a very profitable venture and still boosts of the highest net margins per hectare compared to other cereals.

The biggest setback has been the high cost of production but with the presidential directive setting better local prices, the sub-sector is set to change for the better as net margins improve.

As climate change effects unfold, rice farmers have found themselves battling quelea birds more regularly. What can be done to address the menace besides use of chemicals, which is discouraged?

https://www.nation.co.ke/kenya/business/seeds-of-gold/new-state-driven-business-opportunities-for-rice-farmers-1914612

 

 

Farhat Ali 08 Aug 2020

 

ARTICLE: In July 2020, the export proceeds grew by 5.8 per cent to $1.998 billion as per the data released by the Ministry of Commerce this week. Whereas, the import bill fell by 4.2 percent to $3.54bn, over the corresponding month of last year. The start of the fiscal year, with exports up by 5.8 percent and imports down by 4.2 percent is a positive start in view of the fact that COVID-19 has severely hit the exports of all countries around the globe and majority of them are still struggling for a comeback. Accordingly, the country's trade deficit also dipped by 14.7percent in July from a year ago, mainly due to a fall in imports and growth in export proceeds. In absolute terms, the trade gap narrowed to $1.542bn in July, as compared to $1.808 billion over the corresponding month of last year.

However, imports may spin out of control in the coming months following abolishing of regulatory duties on imports of raw materials and semi-finished products meant primarily to support the industry. If this trend is maintained over the next 11 months, the country may achieve export target of $ 25 billion in the current fiscal year compared to the actual of $ 21.4 billion against a target of $ 26.2 billion in the last fiscal year. The challenge is to maintain, if not improve, this growth trajectory.

However, Pakistan's volumes of exports are still nowhere near other countries' in the region.

Bangladesh's exports for last fiscal year stands at around $40 billion of which $ 34 billion comes from textile and clothing and the country is rated as the second largest exporter in the said sector - with China being No 1.

India exports 7500 products to 90 countries with export value of $ 320 billion of which $ 5billion is in rice exports. Pakistan's exports in value are low even by its own benchmark of having achieved export value of over $ 40 billion in FY 2007-8. The country's export focus, in all these decades, has not moved out of textile and apparel. The export volume and business segments need to be diversified to position the country in the ranks of noticeable exporters.

Pakistan's strongest competitor in textile and clothing is Bangladesh, although the latter, unlike the former, imports cotton. Bangladesh must be doing something right. India, last year, exported around $ 5.3 billion worth of rice as against over $ 2 billion by Pakistan, which is rated as one of the largest growers of quality rice. The country can do better than this.

These are few sectors, among many, where we have lost out and whose answers the taxpayers of the country need to know. One is unsure whether or not our export industry or planners ever sincerely conducted the competitive analyses of our competitors in textile and commodities and worked out gap analyses and a meaningful strategies to be at least at par with our competitors . What one sees and hears in media are the endless bouts of negotiations and disputes between government and exporters, year after year, on subsidies, duty concessions, export rebates which eat away government's meager revenues and maximize exporters' bottom line.

These best of concessions by former governments or their withdrawal by the incumbent government did not have a significant effect on exports in either case. There is something more than the regime of incentives that matters and drives the performance of exports. This is what needs to be truly identified and addressed. Furthermore, the competing countries in the regions have significantly supplemented imports with local produce - limiting their exports largely to high end technology and products. Pakistan lags behind in this field and our imports are liberal.

In the early 50s, Ministry of Science and Technology was established with the mandate to supplement imports with local produce. Pakistan Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (PCSIR) was established to conduct research and development in support of the budding industry. With hundreds of PhDs on its payroll and many complexes across the country the entity has not delivered. For decades the ministry went into oblivion and only recently surfaced in the media after developing a ventilator and working out a lunar calendar.

Be that as it may, the country has tremendous export potential - someone committed has to put its act together. And now is the time to do so. Due to Coronavirus, there is a supply gap and the ones equipped with smart strategies and innovative mindsets can fill the gap.

(The writer is former President, Overseas Investors Chambers of Commerce and Industry)

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020

https://www.brecorder.com/news/40010629

 

Heat up your rice cooker and clean your masks, say researchers

Saturday, 08 Aug 2020 07:56 AM MYT

Description: Certain types of masks could be cleaned in a kitchen cooker. ― AFP picCertain types of masks could be cleaned in a kitchen cooker. ― AFP pic

NEW YORK,  Aug 8 ― According to a team of American researchers, electric cookers can be used to effectively clean N95 masks, worn to protect the wearer from Covid-19. A look at how it works.

More environmentally friendly than disposable masks, fabric masks can be reworn several times, as long as they are cleaned regularly. As wearing a mask is increasingly becoming the new normal almost everywhere, including in many outdoor locations, it's therefore important to carefully follow the guidelines so that the mask provides optimal protection.

Health authorities advise washing the mask using a hot cycle (such as 60 C) for at least 30 minutes. However researchers from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign are proposing a solution that you probably haven't considered: the electric multicooker. These ultra-practical kitchen appliances, like rice cookers or Instant Pots, can be repurposed for cleaning certain types of masks, outline the study authors.

Experiments using N95 masks

The researchers conducted their tests on N95 masks, which are comparable to the FFP2 respirator-style masks used in Europe. These masks protect the wearer by filtering out the smallest particles that could be carrying Covid-19. The method tested functions due to the use of a dry heat cooking cycle that maintains the contents of the cooker at 100 degrees Celsius during 50 minutes and allows for decontamination of the masks inside and out. The results of the tests are explained in detail in the journal Environmental Science and Technology Letters.

“The respirators maintained their filtration capacity of more than 95 per cent and kept their fit, still properly seated on the wearer's face, even after 20 cycles of decontamination in the electric cooker,” explained Vishal Verma, a professor in civil and environmental engineering who co-led the study.

The study only tested N95 masks, meaning it didn't conduct any research on the mass market fabric or surgical masks. However, the researchers believe that this technique could be useful for healthcare personnel whose work requires them to wear N95 masks. As long as they have an electric cooker at home, that is.― AFP-Relaxnews

Related Articles

https://www.malaymail.com/news/life/2020/08/08/heat-up-your-rice-cooker-and-clean-your-masks-say-researchers/1892020

 

Eating Too Much Rice Could Increase Heart Disease Risk, Warns Study

Monit KhannaUpdated on Aug 07, 2020, 18:33 IST

Highlights

Some researchers have discovered that eating a lot of rice spikes the risk of heart diseases due to the naturally-occurring arsenic found in rice cropsArsenic is already present in the soil in areas where farmers have used arsenic-based herbicides. Rice when grown under flooded conditions, draws out arsenic from the later and it is eventually absorbed by rice plants.Researchers at Manchester and Salford university studied the rice consumption pattern in England and Wales in order to find a link between cardiovascular diseases by exposure to arsenicWhile surely no one wants to eat poison, even though it’s delicious, the researchers do mention that more research is needed to confirm a worrying link between consumption of rice and its effects on cardiovascular health

India is a nation that has a crazy variety of cuisine. And one thing that is commonly consumed across the nation, after wheat is rice

In fact regions in South India and East India cannot even fathom their daily meals without a bowl of rice. However, now researchers have found that the bowl of rice we love so dearly could actually kill us in the long run.

Description: rice arsenicReuters

Some researchers have discovered that eating a lot of rice spikes the risk of heart diseases due to the naturally-occurring arsenic found in rice crops.

Arsenic in rice

Arsenic is already present in the soil in areas where farmers have used arsenic-based herbicides. Rice when grown under flooded conditions, draws out arsenic from the later and it is eventually absorbed by rice plants. The reason rice is an easy target as the toxins fool the plant, pretending to be other chemicals that fools the plant’s defences. 

Researchers at Manchester and Salford university studied the rice consumption pattern in England and Wales in order to find a link between cardiovascular diseases by exposure to arsenic

https://www.indiatimes.com/technology/science-and-future/rice-arsenic-heart-disease-risk-study-519804.html

 

 

 

Success in promoting plant growth for biodiesel

High-speed motor protein developed by gene fusion promotes growth and seed yield of Camelina sativa

Date:

August 7, 2020

Source:

Japan Science and Technology Agency

Summary:

Scientists succeeded in promoting plant growth and increasing seed yield by heterologous expression of protein from Arabidopsis (artificially modified high-speed motor protein) in Camelina sativa, which is expected as a useful plant for biodiesel. The study is expected to apply to other plant resources for biodiesel, such as corn, rice, and sugar cane.

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FULL STORY


In JST Strategic Basic Research Programs, a group of Zhongrui Duan (Researcher, Waseda University) and Motoki Tominaga (Associate professor, Waseda University) et al. succeeded in promoting plant growth and increasing seed yield by heterologous expression of protein from Arabidopsis (artificially modified high-speed motor protein(1) ) in Camelina sativa, which is expected as a useful plant for biodiesel.

Cytoplasmic streaming is seen in any plant cells from algae to higher plants as a phenomenon of active cytoplasmic movement with organelles, such as the endoplasmic reticulum and mitochondria. It is known that cytoplasmic streaming is generated by the sliding of motor protein myosin XI(2), which is binding to organelles, along the cytoskeleton constituting actin filaments. Previously, the research group has achieved the growth promotion and increasing size of the model plant Arabidopsis by the development of high-speed-type myosin. This technology has been expected to apply to other plant species than Arabidopsis.

In this study, the research group showed that the increase of seed yield and the growth promotion of stems and leaves in Camelina could be achieved by heterologous expression of high-speed-type myosin XI gene derived from Arabidopsis in Camelina.

Considering the increase of seed yield in Camelina enabled by the expression of high-speed-type myosin XI, it is expected to increase the productivity of biodiesel per area unit. In the future, it is aimed to increase the productivity and quality of camelina oil by co-expressing the genes related to fat synthesis and modification of fatty acid composition with high-speed-type myosin XI. Moreover, as the group showed that the promotion of plant growth by the high-speed-type myosin XI is also effective in other plant species than the model plant Arabidopsis, application development, such as the reduction of CO2 and biomass, is also expected by increasing the production of plant resources, such as corn, rice, sugar cane, and jatropha.

(1) Motor protein

The protein which converts chemical energy via ATP hydrolysis into physical movement. Myosin moving on actin filaments and kinesin or dynein moving on the microtubules is representative examples.

(2) Myosin

A type of motor protein. There are approximately 80 classes of myosin discovered in animals and plants. In plants, there are two classes of plant-specific myosin: myosin VIII (class 8) and myosin XI (class 11). Cytoplasmic streaming is known to occur by the movement of myosin XI.


Story Source:

Materials provided by Japan Science and Technology AgencyNote: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

1.      Zhongrui Duan, Kohji Ito, Motoki Tominaga. Heterologous transformation of Camelina sativa with high-speed chimeric myosin XI-2 promotes plant growth and leads to increased seed yieldPlant Biotechnology, 2020; DOI: 10.5511/plantbiotechnology.20.0225b


Cite This Page:

Japan Science and Technology Agency. "Success in promoting plant growth for biodiesel: High-speed motor protein developed by gene fusion promotes growth and seed yield of Camelina sativa." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 August 2020. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/08/200807093737.htm>.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/08/200807093737.htm

 

Shivraj Singh Chouhan spars with Capt Amarinder Singh over GI tag for Basmati rice

Basmati rice is grown in about 75,000 hectares in 13 districts of Madhya Pradesh as compared to 2.6 lakh hectares in Punjab.

INDIA Updated: Aug 06, 2020 22:42 IST

 

Ranjan| Edited by Sabir Hussain

Hindustan Times, Bhopal

Description: madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said the Punjab  CM’s letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him  not  to allow geographical indication (GI) tagging of basmati rice produced in MP was politically motivated.

madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said the Punjab CM’s letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him not to allow geographical indication (GI) tagging of basmati rice produced in MP was politically motivated.(/HT PHOTO)

     

Madhya Pradesh chief minister (CM) Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Thursday condemned his Punjab counterpart Capt Amarinder Singh’s reported letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him not to allow geographical indication (GI) tagging of basmati rice produced in MP for which the state has been fighting a legal battle for several years.

The Punjab CM wrote to the PM on Wednesday requesting him to intervene in the interest of Punjab and other Basmati growing states which have GI tag for the agriculture produce.

Besides Punjab the other states which have GI tagging for basmati include the states in Indo-Gangetic plains (IGP) below the foothills of Himalayas that include Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi, Haryana and parts of Uttar Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, as per government reports.

Captain Amarinder Singh in his letter reportedly underlined the export of basmati every year worth Rs 33,000 crore from India and also All India Rice Exporters’ Association’s opposition to MP’s claim. He said if MP was provided the GI tagging it would have serious negative impact on Indian export potential and any such dilution in registration of Indian Basmati might give advantage to Pakistan which also produces Basmati.

Chouhan, now in home quarantine after being released from hospital on Wednesday following treatment for Covid-19, said the Punjab CM’s letter was a politically motivated one.

“I condemn the letter written to the Prime Minister by the Congress government of Punjab. I wish to question the chief Minister of Punjab, Captain Amarinder Singh, as to what hostility he has with the farmers of Madhya Pradesh? It is not a matter of Madhya Pradesh or Punjab, it is a matter of farmers of the entire country and their livelihood,” he said in a statement.

Chouhan said, “The case of Agriculture and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) with Pakistan has no connection with the claims of Madhya Pradesh because it comes under the GI Act of India and has no connection with the claims of basmati rice within the country. Basmati exporters of Punjab and Haryana are buying basmati rice from Madhya Pradesh. The central government’s export data confirms this. The central government has been supplying ‘Breeder seed’ of basmati rice to Madhya Pradesh since the year 1999.”

Chouhan went on to say, “It is recorded in the then ‘Scindia State’ records that in the year 1944, seeds were supplied to the farmers of the state. The Indian Institute of Rice Research, Hyderabad has recorded in its ‘Production oriented survey report’ that basmati rice is being produced in Madhya Pradesh for the last 25 years. The GI tagging to Madhya Pradesh will stabilize the prices of India’s basmati rice in the international markets and boost the country’s export. Basmati is produced in 13 districts of Madhya Pradesh since the year 1908 and has been registered in history. Basmati rice of Madhya Pradesh is considered very tasty and is famous both in the country and abroad for its flavour and fragrance.”

The state government also issued a statement saying Chouhan has also written to the Prime Minister in this context “referring to the historical connection of Basmati rice of Madhya Pradesh. He urged him to grant GI status to the state’s basmati rice to encourage farmers and basmati rice based industries”.

Madhya Pradesh has been fighting a tough battle on the GI tagging. On May 28, the state government approached the Supreme Court to challenge a Madras high court’s judgment that rejected the MP government’s appeal and another appeal by a Basmati growers association in March this year. The petitions were filed to challenge exclusion of the 13 districts of Madhya Pradesh from a map submitted by Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), a part of union ministry for Commerce and Industries for GI tags.

Basmati rice is grown in about 75,000 hectares in 13 districts of Madhya Pradesh as compared to 2.6 lakh hectares in Punjab. The total basmati production in Punjab in 2018 was 1.7 million tonne, almost six times of total basmati production in Madhya Pradesh, according to data provided by the two state governments.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/shivraj-singh-chouhan-spars-with-capt-amarinder-singh-over-gi-tag-for-basmati-rice/story-yfzC8aEP7IvUyIiLJz7yxK.html

Tensas farmer inducted into La. Ag Hall of Distinction

By Kenneth Gautreaux / LSU AgCenter

 

 

JAY HARDWICK was inducted into the Louisiana Agriculture Hall of Distinction on Thursday, Aug. 6. Hardwick farms Somerset Plantation, which is located in Tensas Parish near Newellton. Hardwick started out teaching art at the university level, but circumstances led him to the family farm of his wife Mary, and he quickly became enthralled with farming. (LSU AgCenter photo)

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Four icons of agriculture were inducted into the Louisiana Agriculture Hall of Distinction during a ceremony Aug. 6 at the L’Auberge Hotel in Baton Rouge.

The four individuals are James Barnett, a forestry researcher from Pineville; John Denison, a rice, crawfish and cattle farmer from Iowa; Jay Hardwick, a row crop farmer from Newellton; and Calvin Viator, an agricultural crop consultant from Thibodaux.

Barnett was raised in the Ouachita mountains of Arkansas and spent nearly five decades with the U.S. Forest Service. He spent summers in Idaho planting trees to finance his college education, and after graduating, he enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard and spent more than 20 years in the Coast Guard Reserve.

One of his first duties with the Forest Service focused on increasing the survivability of seedlings used to replenish areas that had been cut.

“Alexandria has a reforestation program in research,” Barnett said. “My assigned task when I came to work: figure out how to produce seed, overcome dormancy and how to grow millions of seedlings from the seed we had available.”

Forestry is Louisiana’s largest agricultural commodity. Barnett understood the importance of maintaining a healthy forest industry because of the many benefits.

“They contribute a great deal to the economy of the state and the whole South,” he said. “So, forests are a big part of our environment, and to me, there’s just something aesthetic about it. You drive down the road, you’re going through a forest, you feel good about it.”

Denison, a third-generation farmer, has played key roles in the Louisiana Rice Research Board and Louisiana Farm Bureau and served more than 30 years on the Calcasieu Parish School Board. His career in farming fulfilled a life-long dream.

“From the time I was old enough to get on a tractor, I fell in love with the farming operation,” Denison said. He enjoyed “everything that was on the farm, from working cattle and driving tractors in the field or helping prepare fields for rice growing.”

Because of the ups and downs associated with commodity prices, Denison developed a detailed recordkeeping system that prepared him for the good times and the bad.

“Farming has always been a challenge,” he said. “It’s always been ups and downs. Many times, the prices did not equal what our production costs were. I had to be very studious in recordkeeping and knowing where the dollars needed to be put to serve me best.”

Hardwick began his career teaching art at the university level. A fortuitous set of circumstances found him on the family farm of his wife Mary in Tensas Parish. It was here the allure of farming engulfed him.

“In an academic setting where I came from, control is everything,” Hardwick said. “You have an air-conditioned environment. Mother Nature is completely unpredictable. But that’s part of the seductive quality of farming that I completely enjoy to this day.”

Hardwick is not from the South, and he didn’t start out with farming in his roots. With his induction, he considers it being accepted into the Louisiana farming community.

“I wasn’t born in Louisiana,” he said. “I feel like this is my citizenship. This recognition has made me feel very much a part of Louisiana in a way that I haven’t been full before. I am part of the Louisiana family.”

Viator has had two successful careers. His first one involved teaching agricultural classes at Nicholls State University for 30 years. During this time, he launched his second career that he continues to perform today: an agricultural consulting business in the heart of Louisiana’s sugarcane belt.

“I was fortunate that circumstances allowed me to do both,” Viator said. “While at Nicholls, I only signed a nine-month contract, so I was free during the critical months for doing consulting.”

Viator’s consulting work requires knowledge in various disciplines, including entomology, plant pathology and soil fertility. It also takes a degree of human psychology working with diverse clientele.

“The biggest challenge in ag consulting is — I tell young people, you’ve got to find out what connects with your clients,” he said. It’s not always the same. We’re proud of the fact that many of our clientele are on the third generation.”

Since its creation seven years ago, 22 people have been enshrined into the Louisiana Agriculture Hall of Distinction. The hall is a collaborative effort between the LSU AgCenter, the Louisiana Radio Network, Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation and the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry. It recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to agriculture and agriculture-related industries in Louisiana.

https://www.hannapub.com/franklinsun/community/tensas-farmer-inducted-into-la-ag-hall-of-distinction/article_fd66d8e2-d8bb-11ea-b2aa-4bdb9080dd2d.html

Agusan Sur agri resource center gets P7.1-M machinery

By Alexander Lopez  August 7, 2020, 8:24 pm

MECHANIZATION. The Department of Agriculture in Caraga Region hands over 204 units of pre- and post-harvest facilities and small-scale irrigation project worth PHP7.1 million to the Agricultural Resource Center in Barangay Mabuhay, Bayugan City on Thursday (Aug. 6, 2020). The equipment will help boost the agricultural production of farmers in the province. (Photo courtesy of DA-13 Information Office)

BUTUAN CITY – A resource center for agriculture run by the provincial government of Agusan del Sur has received harvest facilities from the Department of Agriculture in the Caraga Region (DA-13).

In a statement Friday (August 7), the DA-13 said a total of 204 units of pre- and post-harvest facilities and small-scale irrigation projects worth PHP7.1 million were handed over to the Agricultural Resource Center (ARC) in Barangay Mabuhay, Bayugan City on Thursday.

“The agriculture department is strengthening the capacities of our farmers with their groups and organizations through mechanization,” DA-13 Executive Director Abel James I. Monteagudo of DA-13 said.

“Farm mechanization will further boost the agricultural production of our farmers here in Agusan del Sur and the rest of the region,” said Monteagudo, who led turnover of the machinery to the top officials of Agusan del Sur on Thursday.

The DA-13 official also took note of the previous deliveries of farm equipment and types of machinery done by DA-13 to other groups of farmers in the region, including the cassava and corn farmers in Agusan del Norte last month.

Among the equipment delivered include 35 pumps and engine set, 12 rice threshers, four rice reapers, thee mechanical rice transplanters, six hand tractors, and three granule applicators cum seed spreaders worth PHP5.1 million and funded under the DA’s Rice Program.

Another four units of cassava chippers and one corn sheller with the amount of PHP630,850 were also received by ARC on Thursday funded by the agency’s Corn Program.

A total of 137 units of facilities, to include two multi-cultivators, three banana chippers, six pole pruners, three mini chainsaws, five grass cutters, six power sprayers, eight knapsack sprayers, and 104 plastic drums amounted to PHP1.3 million funded by the High-Value Crops Development Program (HVCD) of DA were also turned over on Thursday, DA-13 said.

Monteagudo said more machinery and equipment will be handed over to different farmers’ organizations in the region. (PNA)

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1111492