Monday, August 31, 2020

FDA MedWatch: Harmonic Nature Hand Sanitizer by Harmonic Nature S. De R.L.M: Recall

MedWatch - The FDA Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program
MedWatch Safety Alert was added to the FDA Recalls webpage. 

TOPIC: Harmonic Nature Hand Sanitizer by Harmonic Nature S. De R.L.M: Recall – Due to Presence of 1-Propanol

AUDIENCE: Consumer, Health Professional

ISSUE: Harmonic Nature S. De R.L. Mi is recalling all 800 bottles of 250 mL Harmonic Nature hand sanitizer due to the presence of 1-propanol based on test results.

Do not use any products on this list of hand sanitizers with potential methanol or propanol contamination, and continue checking this list often as it is being updated daily. This list outlines the information on hand sanitizer labels for consumers to use to identify a product that has been tested by FDA and found to contain methanol or propanol. FDA advises consumers not to use hand sanitizers from these companies, or products with these names or NDC numbers.

The agency will provide additional information as it becomes available. Harmonic Nature has not received any reports of adverse events related to this recall.

BACKGROUND: Harmonic Nature is used as a hand sanitizer and can be identified as hand sanitizer Topical Solution packaged in 250 mL plastic bottles.

  • 250 mL plastic bottles UPC 7500462892210
RECOMMENDATION: FDA reminds consumers to wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially:
  •      After going to the bathroom
  •     Before eating
  •      After coughing, sneezing, or blowing one’s nose

If soap and water are not readily available, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend consumers use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent ethanol.

Health professionals and patients are encouraged to report adverse events or side effects related to the use of these products to the FDA's MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program:
  • Complete and submit the report online.
  • Download form or call 1-800-332-1088 to request a reporting form, then complete and return to the address on the form, or submit by fax to 1-800-FDA-0178.

THIS WEEK IN FOOD Aug. 31st,2020



Aug. 31st

Welcome to the weekly Modern Farmer newsletter. We’ll bring you features, recipes and gardening tips, along with food and farming news from around the world. 

Spent grain. A first-of-its-kind collaborative in Minnesota called the Twin Cities Spent Grain Co-Op is uniting a handful of breweries and one distillery to turn spent grain into baking flour. Many brewers typically sell or give away their spent grain (a byproduct of the brewing process) to farmers to feed to livestock. But as the number of American craft breweries has exploded, there aren’t enough farmers in geographic proximity to those breweries to use up all the grain. That’s where a food upcycling company called NETZRO saw an opportunity to make sure the grain isn't going to waste. Read more here. 

How to make dye with excess food. It’s almost inevitable that gardeners will have more veggies than they know what to do with come harvest time. There are many ways to make sure they don't go to waste, but let us introduce you a creative, eco-conscious and dare we say “trendy” option for your garden surplus: using it as natural dye. Lindsay Campbell walks us through the steps of turning your excess harvest into clothing dye. 

Meet this modern flower farmer. When Quilen Blackwell first moved to Chicago in 2011, he wanted to do something to help at-risk youth who were victims of their surroundings. After some thorough research, he figured he could do this through flowers. Blackwell launched Chicago Eco House, an organization that now hires at-risk youth in some of Chicago's lower-income neighborhoods to plant flowers in vacant lots. This past spring the flower farm quickly sold out of many of its bouquets in what was its first season. Read more about Blackwell's story here.  

As always, we love hearing from you, so please send us an email at or let your opinion be known in our comments section.

Alex Robinson

The role IoT has to play in green recovery


The role IoT has to play in green recovery

How IoT technology can aid a green recovery after Covid.


(Image credit: Image Credit: Melpomene / Shutterstock)

Covid-19 has undoubtedly caused major global disruption to both businesses and the wider economy, but not all for the worse. There are, of course, negative repercussions of the pandemic with long-term economic and employment impacts forecast but there have also been some positive changes that have been brought about by this disruption such as the need for the recovery to be sustainable and green.

The various forms of lockdown across the world have had an extremely positive impact on our surrounding environments. The first most notable impact was perhaps a drop in air pollution levels in major cities globally as well as an overall restoration of nature. LA can now see its skyline while in Venice the lack of pollution in the canals has seen a return of wildlife such as swans and dolphins. These events have caused many to realize the extent of the damage that is being inflicted on the environment due to our everyday actions such as commuting. However, as restrictions are beginning to ease there is a greater pressure from consumers and public offices to build greener operations into recovery plans to ensure that all the positive progress made in lockdown is not lost within a matter of weeks of returning to ‘normal’. 

The UK already has a target of reaching net zero emissions by 2050 with some industries committing to an earlier deadline of 2030. Post-recovery lockdown presents an opportunity for businesses to test and roll out new operations and technology that will aid more sustainable business practices.

In particular the internet of things (IoT) provides wider opportunities for businesses to comply by social distancing measures, while also implementing sustainable solutions. IoT allows data to flow easily from anything to anyone and, although traditionally associated with smart home devices this technology opens up a huge opportunity for a wide range of businesses to become greener as they roll out their recovery plans. 


31st August,2020 Daily Global Regional Local Rice E-Newsletter



Value addition equipment change farmer’s livelihoods



Description: Rice mill for Noteeber farmer's group in Ogana

Rice mill for Noteeber farmer's group in Ogana village, Omoro Sub County in Alebtong District. Photo by Charlotte Ninsiima 

In Summary

·         A crusher machine to mill bone meal as an organic fertilizer for their plants and nutritional supplement for the animals. Eric Kihuluka, Chairman of the group asserts, also received a mixer that mixes animal feeds and a pelting machine to reduce wastage of feeds.

·         Not only have they embraced vegetable growing but supplemented their income to purchase a soya oil presser that has boosted both cash inflow in terms of soya oil sales and, food plus manure from the soya residuals.

By Charlotte Ninsiima

Farmer groups in the East and North rice growing regions confirm to improved livelihoods and sustenance wellbeing after National Agriculture Advisory Services (NAADs) doled out value addition equipment worth Shs8 billion two years ago.

“A kilo of husked rice is cheaper than a kilo of milled rice. Our local variety, Super rice has both a local market and regional market, within East Africa, however, our challenge has been produced. With the implementation of value addition equipment, it means our production will go up, and will be able to produce more than we can actually sell out. Also reduce on imported rice from the outside,” Khadija Nakakande, Head of Communications and Public Relations NAADs Secretariat, asserts.

The focus foods include maize, poultry and rice for food security and income generation. NAADs is supporting farmers with rice mills in order to mill their produce to increase their production and reduce on the long treks in search of mills. Alebtong District known to harbour war returnees found solace in growing rice after getting numerous training from NARO. They were given a number of varieties that they have been growing.

The government spent Shs8 billion on procurement of the value addition equipment. The five rice mills cost Shs198.2 million, 105 maize mills cost Shs55.1million, and 19 feed mills at Shs62million. Plans are underway to distribute more to farmers organized under groups.

During 2014, the mandate of NAADs was refocused to look at the distribution of agricultural inputs mainly focusing on the seeds-planting materials and livestock, there have been efforts to prove the ongoing works.

“Six years down the road, we feel that there is an improvement in production of the commodities supported like bananas, maize and cassava. The increased production came in after the farmers’ outcry to access the market easily so as to avoid wastage and produce from going bad.” Nakakande justifies, cases of matooke ripening, and issues of aflatoxins in the maize and the cassava are no longer severe due to improvised value chain addition.

At Bugiri District Integrated Farmers and Agri-business Association that comprises of 2036 farmers clustered in six sub-counties that include Buhday, Nabukalu, Iwemba, Bulidha, Bukeesa, and Buwung in Bugiri Municipality. Vero Kaudha, marketing officer of the Association says, we grew rice but hardly got market until the machines were introduced which opened a window of opportunities.

“Before the pandemic, we exported rice to Kenya at a cost of Shs4200 per kilo compared to the local market stationed at Shs3000. The citation has expanded the ness to local rice seed distribution and acquired more acreage to increase production for other foods like maize, soya beans, rice and cassava.”

On the on the association is capable of milling 30 tons a week. The machine deselects dust or any other dirt and grades rice in four levels.

However, the lockdown has affected them greatly resorting to storing rice as seed and milled until the storm is overdue to dropped prices of rice at Shs1700 from Shs3000.

Also, most farmers are grappling with high maintenance costs of the machinery, low market access during the crisis and unfair electricity bill policy administered to a group of eight millers on one shared electric meter.

“One can’t operate on power unless they have cleared the total bill of others. This policy refrains us from doing business; that is why it was posed for a year,” one of the Busowa traders and farmers’ cooperative society, speaks out.

In Kaliro district, Mikwano EV Uganda, a 416 member group inclusive of the disabled persons in Izinga village, Namuyiwa Sub County, gained more from the intervention.

A crusher machine to mill bone meal as an organic fertilizer for their plants and nutritional supplement for the animals. Eric Kihuluka, Chairman of the group asserts, also received a mixer that mixes animal feeds and a pelting machine to reduce wastage of feeds.

Not only have they embraced vegetable growing but supplemented their income to purchase a soya oil presser that has boosted both cash inflow in terms of soya oil sales and, food plus manure from the soya residuals.



DA gives aid to 2 groups of farmers in Zamboanga Peninsula

ZAMBOANGA. The Department of Agriculture provides some P36.5 million worth of farm equipment to boost the production of rice farmers in Zamboanga Sibugay. A photo handout shows two among the equipment the DA distributed to the farmer-beneficiaries. (SunStar Zamboanga)


August 29, 2020

THE Department of Agriculture (DA) has provided a boost to the livelihood of farmers associations in the provinces of Zamboanga del Norte and Zamboanga Sibugay, a DA official announced.

DA Regional Executive Director Rad Donn Cedeño said the beneficiaries of the DA’s assistance are the Pangian Farmers Association in Barangay Pangian, Siocon, Zamboanga del Norte and 10 farmers associations and cooperatives from seven rice-producing towns in Zamboanga Sibugay.

Cedeño said the Pangian Farmers Association, who is into Broiler Chicken Raising Project, received Tuesday, August 25, two de-feathering machines to hasten the removal of feathers from chickens.

Cedeño said the provision of the machines is part of the 2019 Special Area for Agricultural Development (Saad) livelihood intervention program in the municipality of Siocon.

He said that during the project visit from the Saad team of the DA regional office, the 2,000 heads chickens on the association’s third rollover now weighs an average of 500 grams.

Meanwhile, he said that the 10 farmers associations and cooperatives in Zamboanga Sibugay received Monday some P36.5 million worth of agri-machineries and technologies from the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) Mechanization Component.

He did not name the farmer associations and cooperatives except to say that they are from seven rice-producing towns of Zamboanga Sibugay. The province has a total of 12 towns.

He said the pieces of machinery include 10 units four-wheel tractor; 10 float assist tillers, four walk-behind transplanters, two four-wheel riding type rice planters, one reaper and seven rice combine harvesters.

He said the distribution of the pieces of machinery is to boost the rice production of the farmers’ association-beneficiaries. (SunStar Zamboanga)

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Scientists crack code of genes to accelerate, brake rice stem growth


August 31, 2020 at 07:00 JST

Description: Photo/IllutrationYoung Japanese rice, far left; its grown counterpart, second from left; a young floating rice species, second from right; and matured floating rice, far right. Their stems extend differently, depending on the activities of certain genes and a hormone. (Provided by Nagoya University)

NAGOYA--The growth of rice stems is controlled by two genes that work like gas and brake pedals, researchers here have discovered, a finding that could lead to the birth of a new flood-resistant, productive crop.

A team of scientists primarily from Nagoya University said the gene-balanced growth mechanism is common among other grass families, including wheat and sugar cane.

The stem of the japonica rice variety raised in Japan is only 1 meter tall, while the stem of the floating rice breed cultivated in Southeast Asia stricken by flooding during the rainy season grows to 6 meters or so.

"The discovery never would have been made if we had studied only domestic rice, and comparing it with the floating species made the finding possible," said Motoyuki Ashikari, a plant molecular genetics professor at the university. "Looking into the diversity of rice enabled ascertaining the universal mechanism of stem growth."

A plant hormone called gibberellin is known to promote stem growth, but the Japanese species doesn't extend further even though gibberellin is added when it's young.

Keisuke Nagai, an assistant professor of plant molecular genetics at the university, and his colleagues examined the genes of both japonica and floating rice breeds, and identified differences in genes known as ACE1 and DEC1.

ACE1 acts as an accelerator in stem development, while DEC1 provides the brake, according to the researchers.

ACE1 doesn't function properly in the Japanese species, but a gene with a similar ability to ACE1 is activated in the maturation period to work with gibberellin to extend the stem. The activity of DEC1 is released as rice grows.

In the floating rice, DEC1's braking function is released by ACE1 and gibberellin in earlier stages, resulting in a rapid stem growth, according to the team.

In Japan, rice with longer stems can't survive wind and other elements, which leads to reduced production. The scientists believe that farmers long selected only short-stem breeds with broken ACE1 for improvement.

The team's findings were published in the scientific journal Nature. Readers can view them at (

Call for continued border closure intensifies amid COVID-19

By Femi Ibirogba

31 August 2020   |   3:02 am


Rice paddies

One year on, major stakeholders in agriculture have intensified the call for the continued closure of porous borders abused by smugglers for sabotaging the economy of the country.

Before the closure of the land borders against free movement goods and persons from Nigeria’s neigbhouring countries, out of 184 countries importing rice from Thailand, Benin Republic was consistently the largest, doing great damage to Nigeria’s economy through smuggling.

With a population of about 12 million people, it imported more rice than China, for instance. Benin Republic imported nearly two million metric tonnes of rice in 2017 (1,814,014), while China imported 1,204,911. Also, data from the Thailand Rice Export Association indicated that the Benin Republic was the largest importer of rice till May 2019, a few months before the borders were closed.

In 2018, the country imported 1,603,285 tonnes while China imported 1,003,062; and it imported 695,854 tonnes from January to May 2019 while China imported 205,830. The tonnes of rice were allegedly repacked and smuggled into the Nigerian cities through the land borders. This posed threats to the efforts of Nigeria to become rice-sufficient.

Nigeria, which is larger than the Benin Republic almost 20 times, officially imported 23,192 tonnes of rice in 2017, 6537 tonnes in 2018, and 2,380 tonnes so far in 2019.

The porous borders, stakeholders lament, filled the demand gap in Nigeria from the Benin Republic.

“All goods, for now, are banned from being exported or imported through our land borders and that is to ensure that we have total control over what comes in,” Hameed Ali, comptroller-general of the Nigerian Customs Service told reporters in Abuja a year ago.

The rice value chain and Agricultural Transformation Agenda
Historically, a major component of the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) of the Goodluck Jonathan administration was the Rice Transformation Agenda (RTA), which led to two crops of commercial-scale rice yearly for the first time in the country. Total output of paddy in the 2012 wet season and 2012/2013 dry season from RTA interventions was an additional 1.409 million tonnes of paddies or 916,137 tonnes of milled rice from 403,222 hectares of land. By the 2013 wet season and 2013/2014 dry season, output more than doubled to 2.96 million tonnes of paddy or 1.92 MT of milled rice from 802,108 hectares.

Farmers in the 2012 wet season and 2012/2013 dry season were 403,222, and in the 2013 wet season and 2013/2014 dry season, 2,598,113 farmers participated in farming.

During the 2013 wet season and 2013/2014 dry season, jobs created by local rice production doubled to 751,248 rural jobs, while gross and net value doubled to N313,784,882,555 and N175,020,285,055 respectively.

The economic impact on the lives of farmers, unemployed youths, agro-dealers, of an inflow of N254 billion obtained from the 2012 and 2013 wet and dry rice season farming was documented to have increased household income, employment, and improved livelihoods.

At the beginning of RTA, there was only one functional integrated rice mill with parboiling capacity. With interventions in the rice value chains and the subsequent increase in paddy production, 19 new integrated rice mills with parboiling capacity, and a total combined paddy milling capacity of 780,000,000 tonnes came on board.

These investors were allowed to temporarily import brown or finished rice to bridge the present gap in supply and demand. They enjoyed a 10% tariff and 20% levy. On the other hand, mere rice traders imported at 10% tariff and 60% levy. This policy encouraged a leap in investment into a backward integration scheme aimed at phasing out rice importation by 2017/2018. The policy attracted more than $1.6 billion in private sector investments.

However, porous borders frustrated the efforts, as relatively cheaper bags of rice find their ways through land borders, discouraging home-grown rice, and avoiding tariffs and duty payable to the government.
Views on Anchor Borrowers’ scheme and border closure

The green alternative of the Buhari Muhammadu administration came up with the Anchor Borrowers’ scheme, specifically for rice and maize interventions for small-scale farmers holding fewer than five hectares of land. However, smuggling from the land borders flopped the objectives, leading to the decision to close the borders.

Expressing their views, most farmers and agricultural investors said though the impact of COVID-19 has been devastating on food production system, it could have been worse than now if borders were porous and the CBN had not intervened through the Anchor Borrowers’ scheme before the pandemic.

Dr (Mrs) Nike Olagunju, a rice processor and lecturer at Lead City University, Ibadan, said the statistics of rice farmers in Nigeria in recent times had shown that the closure “is a decision taken in the right direction. Suffice to say that it’s an indication that the growth of our economy is in our hands.”

She said Nigerians are getting used to eating locally produced rice, and farmers are now confident that there is a steady market waiting for their produce unhindered and they could go all the length in production of paddy rice.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has also taught us a great lesson that we can look inwards and better our economy without foreign interventions, even now that the whole world is in great crisis, economic and food-wise. The border closure on rice importation has also favoured employment of labour in the various rice production chain, invariably enhancing the GDP of our nation,” she argued.

Local rice farmers are getting better by the day and closing the quality gap between imported and Nigerian rice.

President, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Mr Ibrahim Kabir, explained that when the border closure happened, Nigeria did not know there would be a pandemic, but luckily, the border closure prevented food items from going out of the country informally as they used to, especially in Katsina.

Kabir added that as time goes on, the borders will have to be reopened “because we have signed the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCTA), but the misbehavior of our neighbours indicated they were not there for us. They were working with some unscrupulous Nigerians to smuggle in what we have comparative advantages in. We were forced to close the borders.”

Drought, COVID-19 and insecurity of farmers are challenges preventing maximization of benefits of closing the borders, he said, adding: “And these factors might not make it reasonable to open our borders now. We need more discipline; we need to get more organised.”

Kabir added that if Nigeria does not increase food production and productivity, prices will continue to soar because the exchange rate is not friendly.

“Farmers,” he explained, “have not been getting value for their labour and investments,” and this appears to the first time chicken and rice producers get value for their investments.

“If you go to a restaurant in the US, you would eat food worth about $100, and that is equivalent of a bag of rice in value here in Nigeria. So, we have not been fair to farmers here,” the AFAN boss said.

Regional Coordinator, Africa Rice Centre, Dr Francis Nwilene, while analyzing the situation, said: “Despite COVID-19, the policy has spurred farmers and agricultural investors to become proactive in food production and processing, especially in rice and poultry.”

He added that it is left for the government to emplace security either through vigilante or military forces for farmers during farm operation periods so they can cultivate crops because Nigerians must eat and so, must produce food.

He advocated irrigation facilities for farmers in the southern zones to make food production possible throughout the year and complement the irrigation farming in the north.

Rain-fed agriculture, he argued, is not adequate to produce food demand of the growing population, and so south-west, south-south and south-east state governments should make efforts to invest in irrigation facilities.

The rice specialist Nwilene also objected to reopening the land borders.

Mr Ajibola Adebutu, Managing Director, JB Farms, Odogbolu (a processor of vegetable oil) in Ogun State, said: “Demand for local palm oil and vegetable oil has gone up. Price has also gone up. Good outcome from this is massive investment in plantation development at the moment.”

He said the policy would, in the long run, pay off for Nigeria in terms of a diversified economy, employment opportunities, and improved gross domestic products.

“So either the borders remain closed or importation of palm oil and vegetable oil should be stopped if smuggling can be controlled. Please tell them not to open the borders,” the young Adebutu said.

Afiz Oladejo, Managing Director of Vertex Rice, Lokoja, Kogi State, said the border closure is actually working for the economy, not only the farmers because Nigerians are being forced to inward. “The only challenge,” he added, “is that we have not been able to plan for sustainability.”

Corroborating Dr Nwilene, Oladejo said: “Rains we have this season have been staggering, which should clearly open our eyes to irrigation farming that we are very poor at. So, this situation we experience now will create a little discomfort, but the moment we get it right by investing in the next dry season, the output we are going to get will be enormous.”

Chairman, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Oyo State, Pa Akinade Samuel, said the CBN/Federal Government scheme for rice farmers and border closure are forces driving rice production and investments in the country. Though there are challenges, in the next few years, Nigeria would become a major rice-producing hub exporting to, at least, other African countries.

However, high production costs coming from inputs, low-quality seeds, and poor infrastructure make domestic prices of local rice brands uncompetitive for now.


Vietnam’s Jan-Aug coffee exports drop 1.3%, rice down 1.7%



Vietnam’s coffee exports in the first eight months of the year probably fell 1.3% from a year earlier, to 1.16 million tonnes, while rice exports are likely to have dropped 1.7%, government data released on Saturday showed.

Coffee exports from Vietnam are expected to drop an estimated 1.3% in the first eight months on the year to 1.16 million tonnes, or 19.3 million 60-kg bags, the General Statistics Office (GSO) said.

Coffee export revenue for Vietnam, the world’s biggest producer of the robusta bean, will probably be down 0.2% at $1.98 billion in the eight-month period.

Its August coffee shipments are estimated at 110,000 tonnes, valued at $197 million.

Rice exports in the period from January to August are forecast to drop 1.7% from a year earlier, to 4.5 million tonnes.

Revenue from rice exports in the period is expected to increase 10.4% to $2.2 billion.

August rice exports from Vietnam, the world’s third-largest shipper of the grain, probably totalled 500,000 tonnes, worth $251 million.

Vietnam’s January-August crude oil exports were seen rising 22.4% on the year, to an estimated 3.35 million tonnes.

Crude oil export revenue in the period is expected to dive 21.2% from a year earlier to $1.1 billion.

Oil product imports in the eight months were estimated at 8.1 million tonnes, up 46.9% over the corresponding period last year, while the value of such imports rose 0.6% to $2.64 billion.

The GSO trade data is subject to revision next month.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Phuong Nguyen; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)



Price of Non-Basmati Parboiled Rice Increases in India on Account of Huge Export Demand



August 30, 2020

Gayathri Arvind


The surging coronavirus cases and the dreadful floods led to a shortage of supply and in turn, increase the export demand for rice. Thus, the current scenario rises the price of Non- basmati parboiled rice in India.

The pandemic outbreak and floods hindered supply and transportation in the country. Ensuring that Indian rice export prices increased. Accordingly, the prices for 5% broken Indian parboiled rice increased to $383-$389 per tonne from $382-$387 last week. On the other hand, prices for Vietnam’s 5% broken rice remained unchanged while Thailand saw an increase in prices for the same.

Indian Exports Hindered

The Kakinada district in Andhra Pradesh is the largest rice shipping port in India. Following the recent events, they are facing labour issues as well as the limited availability of containers. The President of the Rice Exporters’ Association, B.V Krishna Rao worries that the vessel loading rate went done by 30% in Kakinada. Despite the problematic situation, the demand for Indian rice remains high. However, the exports are getting affected due to surging cases and floods in Andhra Pradesh, according to Nitin Gupta, VP of Olam India’s rice business.

Andhra Pradesh alone is not facing the problem. Ashwin Shah, an exporter based in Nagaland, also conveys that they faced similar logistical issues. Nevertheless, as the demand for Indian rice is good due to prices, the industry is optimistic that things will look up again shortly.

Bangladesh Floods Affect Export Flow

India isn’t the only country facing export issues in these challenging times. The neighbouring country of Bangladesh was also affected by heavy floods. Due to this, 50,000 hectares of paddy fields submerged reports Bangaladesh agricultural ministry. Further, the value of the damaged rice crops came up to $4.29 billion on around 100,000 hectares, said Abdur Razzaque, the agricultural minister. Thus, Bangladesh is facing the same plight in export.

Jump in Exports of Non-Basmati Rice

India’s exports of non-basmati rice varieties increased massively. In the first two months of the FY21, the exports were 11.3 lakh tonnes- 52.5% more than the previous year.

Africa is the major importer of this variety and, now Bangladesh is looking to import the same from India as well. Mr BV Krishna Rao also said that Africa depends on India for its rice demand as prices for the Thai variety have shot up. Further, he also believes that the exports will touch FY18 levels which were around 8.64 million tonnes. Bangladesh is looking to import rice because of sluggish procurement rates and the surge in demand for rice.

In conclusion, there is a good chance for India to export a good quantity of non-basmati varieties this year. But, we’ll have to wait for the Bangladesh government’s official announcement that is expected to arrive shortly.

Tags: Agricultural ministryAndra PradeshbangladeshContainerscoronaviruscoronavirus indiadamaged rice cropsdemandexportfloodsFY21indiaNagalandnon basmati ricenon parboiled basmati riceolam india ricepaddy fieldsprocurementshipping portsupplythailandTransportationvietnam



‘Achieving Zero Hunger by 2030’: SKUAST-K holds all-India training prog



Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology, Kashmir held an online all-India training programme on ‘Achieving Zero Hunger by 2030’, in which renowned national and international agriculture and development experts on the subject held sessions.


‘Achieving Zero Hunger’ is a Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) set up by the UNDP to end hunger and malnutrition from the world by the year 2030.


The 10-day training was organised by SKUAST-K’s Faculty of Veterinary Sciences and Animal Husbandry with support of World Bank-ICAR funded National Agricultural Higher Education Project (NAHEP) was organised from August 17-28. The training was part of a series of programmes being organised under Institutional Development Plan (IDP) of NAHEP sanctioned to SKUAST-Kashmir to transform agricultural education and make SKUAST-K a preferred destination for agricultural higher education in the country.


More than 80 participants from the various agricultural university from across the country participated in the programme. Prof Kadambot Siddique from the University of Western Australia and Dr Nafees Meah, International Rice Research Institute representative for South Asia, Dr Srinivsa Rao, Director ICAR-NAARM, Dr Puja Thiel, Nelis Global Norway, Dr Sila Deb, Additional Commissioner MoHFW, Prof AK Srivastava, Ex-Chairman ASRB, ICAR, Prof Nitya Rao, University of Anglis United Kingdom, Dr Vara Prasad, Kansas State University, Joseph George, UNESCAP, Dr ML Madan Former Vice-Chancellor DUVASU & DDG Animal Sciences ICAR, and many more senior-level government functionaries scientists of national and international repute as well as Deans, Directors and Senior Professors of SKUAST-K delivered lectures and held training sessions.


Vice-Chancellor SKUAST-K Prof Nazeer Ahmed chaired the valedictory function. Prof ZA Pampori, Course Director, presented the report of the training, summarized the 10-day proceedings and outlined the road map for the future. Prof NA Ganai Director Planning and Co-ordinator NAHEP complimented the organisers for organizing the training programme and for roping in the national and international experts. He also outlined the Human Resource Development programmes being carried under Institutional Development Programmes of NAHEP.


Vice-Chancellor Prof. Nazeer Ahmed expressed satisfaction over conduct different online training programmes under NAHEP. He congratulated the organizers and participants on successful completion of the training programme. He expressed a hope that the Knowledge gained during the 10-day training shall be put in practice and all the trainees shall contribute in their respective fields to achieve the national goal of achieving zero hunger by 2030.


Achieving Zero Hunger by 2030’: SKUAST-K holds all-India training programme


National, international experts conduct online sessions

Srinagar: SK University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology, Kashmir held an online all-India training programme on ‘Achieving Zero Hunger by 2030’, in which renowned national and international agriculture and development experts on the subject held sessions.
‘Achieving Zero Hunger’ is a Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) set up by the UNDP to end hunger and malnutrition from the world by the year 2030.
The 10-day training was organised by SKUAST-K’s Faculty of Veterinary Sciences and Animal Husbandry with support of World Bank-ICAR funded National Agricultural Higher Education Project (NAHEP) was organised from August 17-28. The training was part of a series of programmes being organised under Institutional Development Plan (IDP) of NAHEPt sanctioned to SKUAST-Kashmir with an aim to transform agricultural education and make SKUAST-K a preferred destination for agricultural higher education in the country.
More than 80 participants from the various agricultural university from across the country participated in the programme. Prof Kadambot Siddique from the University of Western Australia and Dr Nafees Meah, International Rice Research Institute representative for South Asia, Dr Srinivsa Rao, Director ICAR-NAARM, Dr Puja Thiel, Nelis Global Norway, Dr Sila Deb, Additional Commissioner MoHFW, Prof AK Srivastava, Ex-Chairman ASRB, ICAR, Prof Nitya Rao, University of Anglis United Kingdom, Dr Vara Prasad, Kansas State University, Joseph George, UNESCAP, Dr ML Madan Former Vice-Chancellor DUVASU & DDG Animal Sciences ICAR, and many more senior-level government functionaries scientists of national and international repute as well as Deans, Directors and Senior Professors of SKUAST-K delivered lectures and held training sessions.
Vice-Chancellor SKUAST-K Prof Nazeer Ahmed chaired the valedictory function. Prof ZA Pampori, Course Director, presented the report of the training, summarized the 10-day proceedings and outlined the road map for the future. Prof NA Ganai Director Planning and Co-ordinator NAHEP complimented the organisers for organizing the training programme and for roping in the national and international experts. He also outlined the Human Resource Development programmes being carried under Institutional Development Programmes of NAHEP.
Vice-Chancellor Prof. Nazeer Ahmed expressed satisfaction over conducting different online training programmes under NAHEP. He congratulated the organizers and participants on successful completion of the training programme. He expressed a hope that the Knowledge gained during the 10-day training shall be put in practice and all the trainees shall contribute in their respective fields to achieve the national goal of achieving zero hunger by 2030.



‘Achieving Zero Hunger by 2030’: SKUAST-K holds all-India training programme added by KR Desk on 12:48 am August 30, 2020
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State Of Agriculture And Integrating ASEAN

August 29, 2020August 29, 2020 Maimoona Tahir AgricultureASEANintegratingState

Agriculture remains a key driver of ASEAN economic development. As of 2018, it accounts for more than a quarter of total exports of Cambodia and Myanmar, whereas imports range from only 3% in Singapore to 15% in Brunei, suggesting that this sector is relatively self-sufficient, profitable, and with a large export market. Agriculture is also the biggest source of employment in most ASEAN Member States (AMS), from 29% of the labor force in the Philippines to 72% in Laos. However, agriculture makes up a disproportionately low 10% of the entire ASEAN economy, necessitating a concerted effort from AMS to prioritize its development.

Description: State of Agriculture and integrating ASEAN

Total agricultural production and consumption have been increasing as corroborated by the drastic increase in total agricultural trade reported by the ASEAN Statistics Data Portal. There is a remarkable increase since the first ASEAN Free Trade Agreement with an extramural partner, ASEAN-China FTA, which took effect in 2005. According to ASEAN Food Security Information System, the stable rise in rice, maize, sugar, soybean, and cassava production and trade is due to improving productivity, better crop varieties, and supportive government policy. This growth is slightly offset by unfavorable weather, disasters, and decrease in planted areas; the latter due to decreasing demand and prices.

Although agricultural imports increase consistently, exports dipped in specific time periods — years 2009, 2012, and 2015-2016; exports have also been lagging behind imports. Moreover, using the Arkansas Global Rice Model, rice supply is predicted to grow by a mere 1.37% annually, threatening staple food consumption in ASEAN coupled with a growing population. This shows that although significant strides have been made, several barriers remain. For instance, although tariffs have been completely eliminated among ASEAN-6, and close to zero among CLMV, there remain sensitive list exceptions. Non-tariff measures  are increasing especially in the more developed AMS. Although not necessarily trade-reducing, these measures increase compliance costs and may act as trade barriers if not implemented effectively.

Nevertheless, there are notable efforts towards further liberalisation. The Philippines enforced the Rice Tariffication Law which effectively removes rice from the list of exceptions, allowing importation without quota, but instead with tariffs. However, this was immediately met with opposition from farmers, NGOs, and urban poor who cite the negative social impact and lack of economic safety nets for those affected. This polarisation  is a grim  reminder of the disconnected  regionalism in  ASEAN led  only by  state leaders. Nevertheless, the active participation of non-state stakeholders by lending their voices should be a welcome development for an integrated ASEAN community.

However, there are more fundamental challenges that threaten not just stakeholder participation but the very goals of the ASEAN Economic Community. Firstly, although total agriculture volume is expanding, its share in ASEAN GDP is fast shrinking. This is mostly due to the increasing shares of the manufacturing and services sectors. This shift is inevitable, given a number of AMS such as Indonesia, Vietnam, and the Philippines are rapidly industrialising. However, ASEAN must ensure that the gains in agriculture must be seamlessly transferred  to  the agriculture economies.  For instance,  engendering  inclusive and  equitable growth  for Myanmar means translating the dynamic shifts in comparative advantage of agricultural production from AMS into the rice fields of Myanmar.


Factors that promote de-globalisation and protectionism also dampen regional agricultural development. ASEAN-led RCEP has been delayed due to failure of India to commit in an attempt to protect its vulnerable agriculture sector. Thus, ASEAN’s organisational maturity in accommodating flexibilities, potentially through ASEAN Minus X, will be critical to salvage the multilateral arrangement. More importantly, protectionism still exists especially in the lesser developed economies of ASEAN, a remnant of ASEAN’s competing agricultural economies as well as a consequence of opening up to cheaper products outside. However, the established macroeconomic model for the international flow of capital and goods presents the most compelling case against protectionism as it ultimately leads to decreased overall trade, without having any long-term impact on trade balance or net exports; the loss of export demand means lower production, thus lower revenues.

The good news is in the proactive vision of ASEAN to push for the agriculture sector. To this end, there have been many initiatives undertaken by different ASEAN organisations. The Initiative for ASEAN Integration is funded by ASEAN-6 to aid the development of CLMV states through infrastructure, human resource development and regional integration projects aimed at narrowing the development gap. Similarly, the ASEAN Development Fund finances short-term projects especially in poorer regions to alleviate income disparity. Both these are utilised in the agriculture sector of CLMV to expedite their economic development.


Furthermore, ASEAN has implemented initiatives around sustainability and increasing the overall competitiveness of the agriculture sector including the ASEAN Public-Private Partnership Regional Framework for Technology in Food, Agriculture and Forestry Sectors and the ASEAN Roadmap for Enhancing the Role of Agricultural Cooperatives in Global Agricultural Chains. The latter, in particular, will further integrate ASEAN agricultural products in global value chains and establish forward and backward linkages in domestic production lines. Aside from ensuring equitable growth and enhancing access to global markets, these initiatives also aim to eradicate poverty, deepen regional integration, improve sustainability, nutrition, and food security. The work plan around these covers standardisation of product quality and quantity,

resource sustainability, trade facilitation, economic integration and market access within and outside ASEAN. Best practices and SOPs in animal husbandry, agriculture, aquaculture, and sanitation have likewise been finalised. All these will hasten the growth of the agriculture sector while mitigating the impact of adverse events such as disasters and economic shocks such as Malaysia’s oil and rubber trade decline.

The fate of ASEAN’s agriculture sector lies in the prudent implementation of the vision for an integrated, competitive, and equitable ASEAN Economic Community. Without a strong commitment, ASEAN development will be relegated to persistent delays, as seen in the current development gap, thwarted liberalisation, and trade protectionism rampant among AMS economies. Nevertheless, ASEAN’s proactive initiatives have served to hasten the realisation of an economic community, which will in turn, further strengthen ASEAN’s primary sector.

Originally published by Modern Diplomacy


Study found plastic in every seafood sample it analyzed


New research suggests microplastics have invaded the food chain to a greater extent than previously documented.

Description: A biologist looks at microplastics found in sea species at the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research near Athens, on November 26, 2019. Image credit: Louisa Gouliamaki/AFP via Getty ImagesShare on PinterestNew research indicates the prevalence of microplastics in seafood is greater than initially thought.
Image credit: Louisa Gouliamaki/AFP via Getty Images

Millions of metric tons of plastic enter the oceans every year. Some of it is highly visible in the Pacific trash vortex, also known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which lies between North America and Japan.

However, the most prevalent type of debris found in our oceans — microplastics — are less visible.

Microplastics are tiny bits of plastic less than 5 millimeters in length, which is about the size of a sesame seed. Nanoplastics, which are less than 100 nanometers in size, are also present in the marine environment.

A new study from scientists at the QUEX Institute, a research partnership between the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom and the University of Queensland in Australia, analyzed seafood from an Australian market for microplastics.

The scientists found microplastics in every sample of commercial seafood they tested.

Francisca Ribeiro, lead author of the study, says, “Considering an average serving, a seafood eater could be exposed to approximately 0.7 milligrams (mg) of plastic when ingesting an average serving of oysters or squid, and up to 30 mg of plastic when eating sardines.”

The authors recently published their study in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Analysis of the seafood samples

The researchers purchased five varieties of seafood: five wild blue crabs, 10 oysters, 10 farmed tiger prawns, 10 wild squid, and 10 wild sardines.

Before dissection, each sample was weighed and washed to remove any residue of plastic packaging. Only the edible part of each species was tested.

To extract any plastic present, the scientists placed each sample into a flask with an alkaline solvent and agitated it at 60 degrees Celsius in a shaker incubator. Once the solvent had completely digested the sample, the solution was analyzed for plastic.

The researchers then used a technique called pyrolysis gas chromatography mass spectrometry to identify the presence of five types of plastics: polystyrene, polyethylene, polyvinyl chloride, polypropylene, and poly(methyl methacrylate).

These plastics commonly appear in packaging, synthetic textiles, and marine debris.

Plastics found

While the team found plastic in all samples, Ribeiro says: “Our findings show that the amount of plastics present varies greatly among species, and differs between individuals of the same species.” The authors explain:

“Each of the analyzed seafood species of this study has different biological, physiological, and anatomic features and lives in different compartments of the marine environment, which influences the uptake and potential accumulation of microplastics.”

The study found:

  • 0.04 mg of plastic per gram of tissue in squid
  • 0.07 mg in prawns
  • 0.1 mg in oysters
  • 0.3 mg in crabs
  • 2.9 mg in sardines.

All the samples contained polyvinyl chloride. The largest concentrations of plastic were composed of polyethylene.

“From the seafood species tested, sardines had the highest plastic content, which was a surprising result,” says Ribeiro. A grain of rice weighs about 30 mg, roughly the amount of plastic found in a sardine.

Co-author Tamara Galloway, from Exeter University, said, “We do not fully understand the risks to human health of ingesting plastic, but this new method will make it easier for us to find out.”

Roughly 17% of the protein humans consume worldwide is seafood. The findings, therefore, suggest people who regularly eat seafood are also regularly eating plastic.

Scientists have previously found microplastics and nanoplastics in sea salt, beer, honey, and bottled water. They can also deposit on food as dust particles.

How the plastic got there

The study describes how species differently consume food as a possible explanation of the varying amount of plastic they contain. It also suggests other potential sources.

The researchers say plastic may make its way from an animal’s gastrointestinal tract to its edible parts during processing — which includes gutting if performed incorrectly — and general handling. Plastics may also attach themselves to seafood via “airborne particles, machinery, equipment and textiles, handling, and from fish transport.”

Regarding the high concentration of plastic in sardines, the authors note the fish were purchased in bags made of low-density polyethylene.

Citing recent research that shows opening such a bag can result in the shedding of microplastics, they predict these types of packaging may be an additional and significant polluting mechanism for seafood.



Willmar honors Andreen for his decades of service, including to those nearing the end of life

Earlier this year the Minnesota Network of Hospice and Palliative Care named retired Lt. Col. Ronald Andreen as its Veteran Volunteer of the Year for Andreen's years of assisting veterans in hospice care. The original conference and award ceremony were called off due to coronavirus concerns, but on Thursday, friends, family and the city of Willmar celebrated Andreen and thanked him for his service.

Written By: Shelby Lindrud | Aug 28th 2020 - 7pm.


Retired Army Lt. Col. Ronald D. Andreen, 88, was named the Veteran Volunteer of the Year by the Minnesota Network of Hospice and Palliative Care for his years of helping fellow veterans through their final days. A celebration of Andreen was held Thursday at Willmar's Flags of Honor. The day was also proclaimed Ron Andreen Day by Willmar Mayor Marv Calvin. Shelby Lindrud / West Central Tribune

WILLMAR — As final preparations were being made Thursday afternoon for a ceremony in his honor, retired Army Lt. Col. Ronald Andreen found it difficult to put into words how it felt to have such recognition bestowed upon him. He has volunteered for decades but not for any chance of personal gain.

"That is impossible to answer, I am awed," Andreen, 88, of Willmar, said.

At the Flags of Honor in Willmar, a large crowd of family, friends and representatives from the organizations for which Andreen has volunteered gathered to praise Andreen for his service, specifically as a Rice Hospice veteran volunteer.

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In recognition of that service, the Minnesota Network of Hospice and Palliative Care named Andreen its 2020 Veteran Volunteer of the Year.

"You have had a really deep impact on your community, fellow veterans and most importantly on those hospice patients and their families," said Jessica Hausauer, Minnesota Network of Hospice and Palliative Care executive director. "Thank you, Ron. Thank you for showing up and thank you for answering that call to service. Your commitment and dedication is very inspiring."

For eight years, Andreen helped care for veterans in hospice care, part of the We Honor Veterans program at Rice Hospice.

"It is the most powerful and meaningful thing that Rice Hospice does for a veteran hospice client, as we acknowledge, honor and thank our veteran patients, some for the first time since their active military service," said Debbie Gillis, Rice Hospice volunteer and former Rice Hospice social worker.

The first veteran Andreen with whom he met in an end-of-life setting wasn't a hospice patient, and it was prior to Andreen becoming a hospice volunteer. The individual was a Korean War veteran who just wanted to talk to someone and Andreen stepped up. Andreen remembered the man couldn't speak, so Andreen held his hand as Andreen and the man's family talked with him. Two days after Andreen's visit, the veteran died.

"I felt when I left, I had given him what he really needed at the time," Andreen said.

Shortly afterward, Andreen became an official Rice Hospice veteran volunteer. He helped 25 patients and made more than 400 patient and family visits during his time with Rice Hospice.

As a veteran with 38 years in both National Guard and active duty service, Andreen had common experiences with the patients and he was able to relate in ways other people might not.

"I am a good listener, that makes a big difference," Andreen said. ""You try to do anything we can to comfort them. They like to reminisce, (military service) is a big part of their life."

Helping with hospice is only one of the many volunteering hats Andreen has worn over the years. He was a volunteer at the Willmar Area Food Shelf, now the Kandiyohi County Food Shelf, for 25 years, served in various capacities at his church and has been an active member of the American Legion for more than 60 years. In addition to being a past post commander at Willmar's Post 167, Andreen was also part of the honor guard. During his time he participated in more than 500 military funerals and ceremonies, an impact the American Legion also recognized on Thursday.

"It is our privilege to present you with this award for your honorable, faithful and dedicated service," said Wayne Emberland, captain of the Willmar American Legion Honor Guard.

As part of the celebration for Andreen, Willmar Mayor Marv Calvin had proclaimed Thursday, Aug. 27, as Ron Andreen Day in the city of Willmar. Mayor Pro Tem Rick Fagerlie read the proclamation at the ceremony Thursday.

"This award is well-deserved and Ron has served our community and our people very, very well," Calvin said at the Aug. 17 Willmar City Council meeting when he made the proclamation.

Andreen said he volunteers to give back for all the blessings he has had in his life, both professionally and personally.

"I get the satisfaction of being able to help someone else," Andreen said.

While he never sought personal recognition for his military or volunteer service, those close to Andreen and those touched by him were more than willing to give it.

"What a day it has been. Ron, all I can say is I am overwhelmed by you. You are a true American hero," said Deb Van Buren, Carris Health volunteer services manager. "You are an example of patriotism in action. We can't thank you enough for the difference you made in the lives of many of us."


Make in Pakistan'

ARTICLE: Prime Minister Imran Khan this week pledged to promote the local industry and pursue the policy of "Make in Pakistan" so that people rely on local products that will help curtail the country's import bill. "Our government is vigorously pursuing 'Make in Pakistan' policy to promote export-led industrialisation in the country and our efforts in the last two years have been to further this objective through various interventions, particularly in ease-of-doing-business," the prime minister said during a meeting with a delegation of leading exporters from various sectors, including poultry, rice, fruits, information technology, pharmaceuticals and textile.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government, in the first two years of its tenure, did take some steps towards 'Ease of Doing Business', but towards the 'Cost of Doing Business' nothing significant has been achieved except that the import tariffs on some of the raw materials consumed in local produce have been curtailed. To comprehend what really went wrong with 'Make in Pakistan' in the short history of Pakistan, one has to go back a bit in its history and turn of events.

Pakistan, in early 1950s, embarked on an ambitious plan to go for 'Make in Pakistan'. Pakistan Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC) was established to motivate and support the private sector's induction into industry. WAPDA was established for electrification of the country in general and industry in particular. Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (PCSIR) was set up to conduct research and development to facilitate local production and entrepreneurs.

Consequently, the 1960s was a decade of remarkable industrial growth, when apart from local entrepreneurs multinational corporations also stepped in. The 1970s was an era when all good done by the local private sector was nationalised and replaced by State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs). The 1980s was an era where nepotism, corruption and inefficiencies in the system started to creep in. The 1990s and thereafter was an era when vested interests, avarice and utter disdain for the rule of law replaced nationalism and all what was in the interest of the state leadership and their elite cronies was considered good for the country.

A liberal import policy regime coupled with a skewed fiscal policy crippled the local industry as did the random induction of IPPs while sidelining other viable options like hydropower, nuclear, etc. As matters stand today, our local industry is all but crippled, SOE losses bleed the exchequer, cost of electric power and fuel is unaffordable for the industry or trade and incompetence combined with corruption in state machinery creates obstacles at every step.

A combination of all above resulted in shying away of investment by local and foreign investors alike. There was a time when multinationals considered Pakistan an ideal market to be in. Phillips had one of its largest manufacturing facilities in the region in Pakistan, producing electronic items, white goods, bulbs, etc. Siemens, too, had a strong industrial base in Pakistan producing high-tech power transformers. So was the case with Areva of France and many others. Not being provided a level playing field they all packed up and left Pakistan. With them also went away the transfer of technology and high end training of local engineers and professionals in marketing and management. For the same reason our once flourishing ceramics and tile manufacturing industry collapsed. And many more met the same fate.

The strategy of the incumbent government to go for 'Make in Pakistan' is the right strategy to generate the much-needed employment, limit imports and enhance exports. To achieve it, the government has to do far more than a few steps taken towards Ease of Doing Business. Equally, if not more, important is the need to devise ways to reduce the cost of doing business. Presently, our products are neither competitive against imported goods nor in the international markets.

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



Rice Exporter's Organizes First Aid Training For Rice Agri-women Families



ISLAMABAD, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 29th Aug, 2020 ) :Rice exporter's and philanthropic organizations organized the first aid training for rice transplanter's planter's women and their families in different district of Punjab province.

The organization including Rice Partners Ltd (RPL) in collaboration with Helvetas Pakistan organized the "One Day First Aid Training" for rice transplanter's families in four villages namely Qila Bhattian Wala, Saikham, Miana Thatha and Bhoye Pur of district Sheikhupura of the Punjab province.

Chief Operating Officer (COO) Rice Partners Pvt, Muhammad Ali Tariq while concluding the firt phase of training session of agri-women families said approximately 300 women rice transplater's and their family members attended these trainings in different district of the Punjab province, said a news release here on Saturday.

Authorized Trainers of Rescue 1122 Muridke Station, Muhammad Imran Sherazi and Muhammad Tahir provided training to the rice transplanters and their children on different techniques of first aid.

The trainers explained about Basic Life Support i.e fracture management, bleeding control, burn emergency management, snake biting emergency management, Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and Foreign Body Airway Obstruction (FBAO).

They also gave awareness to the participants about prevention from Corona Virus and trained them about use of hand sanitizer and face mask.

Muhammad Ali Tariq said RPL is working for the wellbeing of farmers and farm laborers from past many years through provision of laser land leveling on 50 per cent cost sharing basis.

He said, "We are also conducting trainings on water saving techniques, and ensuring decent working conditions for rice transplanters and their children by establishing Community Child care Centres, distribution of food packs and backpack canopy kits from past few decades.

Tariq said RPL prioritized to improve the livelihood of the farmers and so far about 28,000 farmers are trained by RPL in different trades for improving their skills and shaping future.

COO of RPL said key objective of the trainings was to train ice transplanters to handle the medical emergency during work or any other place.

Project Officer RPL Rizwan Ali said First Aid Trainings are the component of ensuring decent working conditions for rice transplanters and their children.

The response of the participants was appreciable and they made commitment to disseminate the knowledge to other people of their localities.

Zafar Iqbal (Head Sustainability RPL) and Rizwan Ali (Project Officer RPL) distributed first aid boxes at the end.




Raising the bar in rice production in Lagos

August 31, 2020



Description: Imota rice



Rice production is a huge industry, employing thousands of people. The United States (US) Department of Agriculture says Africa’s rice demand this year may hit 15.7 million tonnes. Lagos State is strengthening the rice sector by helping to add to the supply chain, with key interventions at the farming, milling and distribution stages, writes DANIEL ESSIET.

Rice is the most popular staple food for more than half the world’s population.  In Africa alone, the United States (US) Department of Agriculture estimated that rice demand this year stands at 15. 7 million tonnes. Nigeria is a top market for rice.

KPMG’s Rice Industry Review last October stated that only 57 per cent of the 6.7 million metric tonnes of rice consumed in Nigeria yearly is locally produced, leading to a supply deficit of about three million metric tonnes.

In addition, the report stated that with rapid growth in the country’s population, estimated to exceed 200 million, it is expected that the demand for rice would be sustained and increased in the future.

In Nigeria, Lagos is one of the largest markets for rice.The presence of a large consumer base has helped to create a fertile ground for agro businesses selling grains and there are significant opportunities for them.

The large population, however, makes possible the heavy reliant on the external supply of certain food produce, including rice. Worse still, is the scarcity of land for their cultivation. However, the rice production capacity still needs to be developed. The state’s experience with distributing rice brought from North and other places in recent times has been an eye opener.COVID-19 restriction created unexpected opportunities for domestic rice market, but exposed supply and demand imbalances.

For analysts, a revolution in staple food value chains in Lagos would always have heavy impact on the food economy of the rest of Nigeria.

This has led to efforts to upgrade the food value chains in the Centre of Excelence to increase growth.

One of such is construction of the 33-tonne multibillion Imota Rice Mill, Ikorodu, one of biggest public investments in the sector and largest in Sub-Sahara Africa, which the government is hastening its completion and inauguration billed for the end of year.


The bigger picture

With 250,000 jobs projection, the mill is expected to lead to a robust performance in future.

The state Acting Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya, noted that opportunities would be created along the entire value chains in addition to the ripple effects of the project on the locality, among others.

“This mill is going to be a job generator and a wealth generator. We believe that with the partnership of everyone in this locality and the state at large, we will start reaching our food security status goal of making sure that no Lagosian is hungry, zero poverty and also to ensure that there is gender equality and everyone is happy,” Ms. Olusanya added.


Reason for the mill

Demand for sale, nutritious and high quality rice is rising in the country.

Analysts said Lagos consumes one million metric tonnes of rice yearly.

For analysts, the viability of the nation’s rice industry depends greatly, not only on infrastructure such as irrigation systems and input, but also on quality production and milling outcome.

Lagos is ready to guarantee this by ensuring that the rice milling plant produces quality milled rice, thanks to state-of-the-art technologies.

The facility provides an integrated paddy separator and rice whitening machinery.

Besides, the future, the commissioner added, was also about explosion in the number of farmers, traders, millers, cold storage facility managers, and modern and traditional retailers.

The facility is expected to bring about the cultivation of 32,000 hectares of farm land for rice paddy.


Supply of Paddy

Most analysts reason that there is limited scope for more extensive cultivation of rice in Lagos, with the state heavily populated.  But rice farmers in the state would not agree. Some of them maintained that with large pieces of land in Epe and Badagry, and given incentives, Lagos farmers are capable of making huge volume to the rice output.

One of them is the National Deputy President, Rice Farmers’ Association of Nigeria, and (RIFAN), Segun Atho. What they want from the Lagos  government is empowerment to enable them  adopt better rice farming practices, expand market share for  the state’s  agriculture, increase the sector’s profitability and improve farmers’ livelihoods, he said. To achieve this however, he added, would require massive investment in complementary infrastructure and extension services.

The commissioner shares their views and is backing them to vie for a larger pie of the state’s rice market, which has seen demand surge almost yearly.

Description: Imota riceMs. Abisola Olusanya

Ms Olusanya explained that rice farmers are  getting the needed support of the government to ensure that they have a hitch-free planting season to ensure a steady and sustained supply of paddy for the mill.

“We kicked off the rice farmers’ sensitisation, training and empowerment programme for over 800 rice farmers in Lagos State. That is just a kick-off as a back up to the Imota Rice Mill Project.

“The reason is even if we are going to source for paddy from other localities, we should start from our own Lagos farmers, our Eko rice farmers, which is why we are giving them the support and Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu is committed to ensure that this mill runs sustainably,” she said.

The Permanent Secretary, the state Ministry of Agriculture, Dr Shakirudeen Olayiwole Onasanya, said the government is working with researchers to supply farmers with improved rice varieties. He said the performance of rice in Lagos was important. This, according to him, justifies the focus on the domestic market as the rice value chain’s end point.

He said the goal of the Lagos government is to raise many rice farmers that would be trained in farming techniques that would lead to higher productivity. For maximum impact, he said Lagos has identified farmers with interest in efficient and productive  rice supply and is ready to work with them to deliver reach, inclusion, and impact.


Business model

Chairman, the state House of Assembly Committee on Agriculture, Hon. Kehinde Joseph, stressed that to unlock the potential of rice production and overcome the threats, stakeholders must collaborate to find innovative solutions that would sustain the sector and transform.

Joseph wants production to kick off at the mill to help curtail the rising price domestic  of rice.

According to him, recent challenges to the self-sufficiency of the rice industry have highlighted the need for innovative solutions.

She pointed out that a good operating model has been put in place to ensure that the mill is efficiently and effectively managed to ensure the sustainability of the mill upon completion.

”Also, one of the issues that they have raised is around the management of this mill to ensure that tax payers’ money does not go down the drain which is why from the very onset of this administration, we had employed the services of one of the World’s leading Consultancy Firms, Ernst& Young (E.Y), to ensure that we get the right operating model in place. We do not want issues around the sustainability of this mill.

“We do not want it to be another white elephant project. This is why we have taken our time to develop the adequate business and management models, not leaving out the financial analysis around how and how soon we can recoup our investment back.

“As a result, we have come up with a standard operating model that we believe looking at the terrain globally of what is tenable in other countries and in other milling operations to get what will make this mill sustainable.

“I want to assure Lagosians that Mr. Governor is doing all he can to ensure that this project is successful,” she said.

Connecting the mill

As it is movement to the mill from Ikorodu axis is not smooth. While transporters cannot complain about congested space, there are various reasons for traffic delays, which is not unconnected to bad direct access road to the mill.

For analysts, rail and inland ferry link to the mill will make a very credible business opportunity for freight forwarders as the plant is poised  to support small and big businesses.

But the plant’s infrastructure, and environment  have incentives that will make it an attractive site for new developments.

Apart from installing milling machines and milled rice storage, farmers want road improvements.

Ms Olusanya explained that already her ministry is working with the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure as well as its Physical Planning and Urban Development counterpart to ease traffic movement, among others.

“We have in this axis, the Imota Rice Mill, the Imota Regional Market and at the Agbowa axis, the Housing Development Scheme coming up around here; therefore, a triangulation is being done to see if another access road can be constructed to ensure that we do not impede the flow and movement of people on the roads that we have already.

“We will also explore the waterways as well as ensure that going forward, we do not put so much pressure on our roads. A lot also is being done by the Ministry of Water Front Infrastructure on how we can increase the use of our waterways,” the Acting Commissioner said.

Description: Imota rice

 Agro industrial zones

The sprawling facility will host agro industrial zones. The primary purpose is to draw investments in agriculture to the area. Earlier, a Staple Crop Processing Zone (SCPZ) for rice processing is proposed for the area.  The Lagos government is working with the African Development Bank (AfDB) on building agro industrial parks to support agric processing growth. For analysts, there  is a huge potential for growth in various sectors of food processing. These include dairy, fruit and vegetables, meat and poultry.

Ms Olusanya said there are opportunities for value-addition and that the processing industry is of significance to the state’s development because of the synergies that it promotes between industry and agriculture.

According to her, promoting agro industrialisation is predicated upon infrastructure, policy support and technology.This, she added, would be achieved through the parks, including road, transport, electricity and digital facilities.



Lagos is a powerhouse across numerous industries. The state boasts of fertile land and ample water resources.

Against this backdrop, opportunities are available for the state to change the trajectory of its agricultural sector using the Imota Rice project.

For analysts, businesses have many reasons to pitch tent near the mill. The area has a favourable climate, competitively priced  land. Being a future logistics hub, it will attract  hundreds of small and mid-size logistics firms that are responsive to market and demand shifts.

Given these strengths, Imota is well-positioned for success.



Brazil plans to nix import tariffs on soyabeans, corn, rice


Reuters 29 Aug 2020


SAO PAULO: The Brazilian government is mulling temporarily removing import tariffs on rice, corn and soyabeans, the Agriculture Ministry said in a statement on Thursday. The move is aimed at staving off inflation, the statement added. Prices for rice, soyabean and corn have risen recently in the domestic market. While the ministry said there is no sign of a potential shortage of these products, Brazil has exported almost all its soyabeans, and imports are expected to rise this year.

Brazil's partners in South America's Mercosur trade bloc, which are already exempt from import taxes, were taken by surprise by Brazil's move and said it could not be carried out unilaterally.

Argentina and Paraguay stand to gain from higher Brazilian soya imports, and Uruguay from rice imports, but they will lose out, mainly to the United States, if Brazil lowers its tariffs for other countries.

"Brazil cannot unilaterally change its tariffs. It has to do it through talks with the other Mercosur countries," Paraguay's Deputy Agriculture Minister Santiago Bertoni told Reuters.


Lower diabetes, obesity risks seen with diet rich in vegetables, fruits

Adults in China who consumed the most vegetables and fruits had reduced risks for insulin resistance, diabetes and central obesity, whereas those who ate the most sweets and fast food had increased risks for these outcomes.

In a cross-sectional study, published in Nutrition and Diabetes, researchers administered a food frequency questionnaire to 1,432 residents of Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China, aged 40 to 65 years (857 women). Participants reported intake of 81 food items during the previous 4 weeks. Participants also underwent an oral glucose tolerance test and whole body imaging. Body measurements were recorded.

Source: Adobe Stock

The researchers derived four major dietary patterns from the questionnaire data: vegetables-fruits (high consumption of vegetables, beans, mushrooms, fruits and nuts); rice-meat (high consumption of red meat, white rice, poultry, eggs, beans); seafood-eggs (high consumption of eggs, seafood, dairy, nuts, fruits); and sweet-fast food (high consumption of fast foods, alcoholic beverages, desserts).

The vegetables-fruits dietary pattern was negatively associated with insulin resistance determined by homeostasis model of insulin resistance (< 0.001 in men and women), whereas the sweet-fast food dietary pattern was significantly associated with greater insulin resistance (P = .002 for men; < .001 for women).

Participants who followed a vegetables-fruits diet had significantly lower risk for diabetes (men: OR = 0.30; 95% CI, 0.13-0.70; women: OR = 0.28; 95% CI, 0.11-0.72); risk for central obesity was lower with this dietary pattern only among men (OR=0.50; 95% CI, 0.29-0.86).

Risks for diabetes (OR = 2.58; 95% CI, 1.23-5.88) and central obesity (OR = 2.85; 95% CI, 1.67-4.86) were increased for men who consumed the most sweets and fast food.

The researchers saw no association with the rice-meat or seafood-eggs dietary patterns for insulin resistance, visceral fat area, diabetes or central obesity.

No associations with diabetes or obesity were observed for the rice-meat or seafood-eggs dietary patterns.

“The effect of food patterns might be greater in males than in females for [diabetes] and central obesity. Difference between the genders in the physiological response to different food patterns is uncertain, one plausible explanation is the different anatomy and physiology between males and females,” the researchers wrote.


Govt considering extention of Boro paddy, rice procurement deadline

 TALHA BIN HABIB | Published:  August 29, 2020 10:51:04 | Updated:  August 29, 2020 15:50:19

Description: Govt considering extention of Boro paddy, rice procurement deadline

The government is seriously considering to extend the deadline for Boro paddy and rice procurement drive following the requests made by the millers, an official said.

Earlier, the government set the deadline for completing the procurement drive on August 31.

But sources at the Directorate General of Food (DG Food) said that the total procurement (paddy, boiled and non-boiled rice) until August 25 was still below half of its total procurement targets due to the ongoing floods, rains and the Covid-19 pandemic.

The government has set a target to procure a total of two million tonnes of Boro paddy and rice during the current procurement drive. It started to procure Boro paddy on April 26 while rice on May 7.

Of the total two-millions-tonne target, 0.8 million tonnes are paddy while one million tonnes boiled rice and 0.15 million tonnes (1,50,000 tonnes) non-boiled rice.

The procurement price for one kilogram paddy was fixed at Tk 26 while boiled rice at Tk 36 and non-boiled rice Tk 35.

"We (the government) are seriously considering to extend the deadline for completing the Boro rice and paddy procurement," Director General of the DG Food Sarwar Mahmud told the FE on Friday.

He said the amount of procured Boro rice and paddy until August 25 was insignificant compared to that of the corresponding period of last year due to inclement weather such as floods and rains this year.

Until August 25 the DG Food procured only 1,99,654 tonnes of paddy, 5,26279 tonnes boiled rice and 75,143 tonnes non-boiled rice.

The DG Food office has asked the regional and district food controllers to prepare the lists of errant millers who have failed or were not supplying rice (both boiled and non-boiled) timely to the government as per agreements.

Mr Mahmud said that the government is also considering to take legal action against the millers who have failed to supply paddy or rice to the government despite signing contract with the latter.

He said that they have already conveyed the millers' demand for extending procurement deadline to the ministry of food.

"There will be a meeting soon to decide on the extension of Boro procurement deadline," he said, hinting that the extension may be until second week of the next month or September 15.

He mentioned that there are around 1.3 million tonnes of foodgrains stocked at government silos. Out of the 1.3 million tonnes, over one million tonnes are rice and the rest are wheat.


Thailand adopts market-led approach to rice farming

By Pattaya Mail

Description: 5-year rice farming strategy will focus on both domestic and international markets.

The Ministry of Commerce has joined private firms to create a 5-year plan for rice production enhancement, focusing on the promotion of production efficiency, cost reduction, yield increases, variety improvements, processing and marketing.

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The Minister of Commerce, Jurin Laksanawisit, has chaired a Thai Rice Strategy drafting subcommittee meeting, to discuss the 2020-2024 rice strategy, which will adopt the market-led approach to cultivation planning.

Description: Minister of Commerce, Jurin Laksanawisit, has chaired a Thai Rice Strategy drafting subcommittee meeting, to discuss the 2020-2024 rice strategy.

The 5-year strategy will focus on both domestic and international markets, aiming to strike a demand and supply balance in the domestic market, while producing more varieties of rice to meet more diverse demands in international markets.

On the cultivation side, the new strategy aims to help farmers cut down manufacturing costs to less than 3,000 baht per 0.16 hectares, which is about half the current average of 6,000 baht. Better farming techniques will be promoted to help increase the yield from the current 460 kilograms of rice grain per 0.16 hectares to 600 kilograms.

By the year 2024, the new strategy should ensure no less than 12 varieties of rice are farmed in Thailand, with the yield no less than 1 ton per 0.16 hectares.

Innovative processing of rice will be promoted to meet market demands, along with updates to regulations to streamline bureaucratic processes for researchers and business owners. These initiatives will come alongside financial support, to provide businesses with better access to capital.

The plan, currently being drafted, will be concluded and submitted to the Rice Policy and Management Committee and the Cabinet for consideration. The plan will be implemented as a guideline, with real world outcomes expected within 5 years.

On the target to reclaim the world’s No.1 rice exporter spot, the Rice Exporters Association of Thailand President, Pol Lt Charoen Laothammatas, said it is not necessary for the country to reclaim that position, as it is now more important to find ways to increase yield, improve pricing at farms and prevent an excess of domestic supply, which would push down the price. (NNT)





Hurricane Laura Hits Hard, Damage Reports Vary  

By Kane Webb


LOCATIONS IN LOUISIANA, TEXAS, ARKANSAS, MISSISSIPPI, & MISSOURI -- Since September 2005, Hurricane Rita has been southwest Louisiana's reference for measuring the severity of weather events.  Yesterday, thanks to Hurricane Laura, this area received a new reference point and a wound from which it will take some time to recover. 


The city of Lake Charles felt the brunt of the storm although the port and the rail facility there appear to have been spared but Farmers Rice Milling Company reported some roof damage.


In addition to the devastation directly beneath the eye of Laura in Cameron and Calcasieu Parishes, farmers in Vermillion, Jeff Davis, Allen, Beauregard, Evangeline, and Avoyelles Parishes are dealing with flooding and power outages in the aftermath of the storm's strong, hurricane-force winds and rain. 


While a majority of southwest Louisiana's rice crop was out of the field prior to Wednesday, some rice remains to be harvested.  Growers are focusing on recovering from damages to their operations, standing water, and full capacity in the bins and drying facilities.  The most critical need at this point is restoration of electrical power to maintain the quality of rice in their bins.


Late yesterday, Sammy Noel, a rice grower south of Abbeville in Vermilion Parish, said,  "We have a generator to help at the house, and we're working to clean up and get things back in order around the farm, but we don't have the ability to power up the bins."  This morning, there are reports that power in that area has been restored so some bins already are up and running.




Dryer damage near Thornwell (photo by Kevin Berken)


Near Thornwell, in southern Jeff Davis Parish, rice farmer Paul Johnson said damages to the roof of some bins had them "scrambling to get tarps and make temporary repairs to protect the rice before any rain fell."


In the western part of Calcasieu Parish, near Laura's landfall, Ronald Habetz said they lost several shop structures and one of their 36-foot bins.


In central Louisiana, Phillip Lamartiniere, who farms in Avoyelles Parish, echoed the plea for power.  "Guys were cutting up until the rain started, and they need power to get air moving on that rice.  It was higher in moisture than we typically harvest and it needs air to dry out."  He added, "While we had minimal structural damage, the rice that's in the field is flat.  The flag leaves on our younger rice are damaged which will decrease quality and yield potential."


"The storm damage is considerable, especially in southwest Louisiana," said Bobby Hanks, CEO of Supreme Rice Mill in Crowley and chair of USA Rice.  "Even with time to prepare, you can never lock down everything.  Our main concern at the moment I think is to get power restored to farms and dryers so we can maintain the quality of what was harvested."


Meryl Kennedy-Farr, CEO at Kennedy Rice Mill in Mer Rouge, said, "We're ok here but the winds were tough!  Most of our team is without power and internet but, thankfully, the plants are still running."


The storm had a minimal impact on the Texas rice crop.  LG Raun, who farms near El Campo in Wharton County, reported that less than 5 percent of the rice in his area has not been harvested and they received no rain or wind from Laura.  Raun also said that a high percentage of rice there is being ratooned and most of it looks very good.


Dr. Mo Way, research entomologist at the Texas A&M AgriLife Beaumont Research Center, said that most of the main crop was harvested prior to the storm.  "Our area received some gusty winds, but I don't expect it to have an effect on the ratoon crop."  Description: C:\Users\abc\Downloads\unnamed (1).jpg


As in Louisiana, there are major power outages in the region which could impact the ability to dry recently harvested rice.  It is also likely that any unharvested rice in the eastern rice zone was lodged by the winds associated with the hurricane. Description: C:\Users\abc\Downloads\unnamed.jpg





Lodged rice near Stuttgart, AR (photo by Jarrod Hardke)

As Hurricane Laura traveled across Arkansas rice country yesterday, it brought an average of 3 inches of rain and winds that reached speeds of 55 mph. Description: C:\Users\abc\Downloads\unnamed (2).jpg


By yesterday afternoon, southeast Arkansas had received less than an inch of rain.  Twenty-four hours later, Joe Mencer, in Lake Village, reported, "The wind was our real worry.  My weather station in the field recorded gusts up to 44 miles per hour.  Happy to say the crop held up.  We were harvesting rice the last three days ahead of the storm at higher moisture levels than we like in anticipation of high winds.  The yields are good on what's been harvested so far."


In McGehee today, rice farmer Jim Whitaker said, "Twenty-five percent of our rice is down.  Our power is out and the wind was strong enough that it blew a lot of limbs down and there is debris everywhere.  It also caused some damage to our bins and personal property."


High winds also caused downed rice around Stuttgart and Pine Bluff.  Some south Arkansas producers were able to get in the field last week and start harvesting.  However, with more rain expected through early next week, it's still uncertain when fields will be dry enough to get back in.




Twisted metal in Laura's wake at one of Jennifer James'

bean fields      

By the time the storm reached northeast Arkansas, Laura had added tornadoes to her repertoire.  "On our farm in Newport we had tornadoes pop up around us and one tornado took out a field of corn and mangled one of our center pivots," said Jennifer James.  "The storm actually caused more damage to our corn and beans than to our rice."


Mike Sullivan, who farms in Burdette, reported little downed rice on his operation and only an inch and a half of rain.  "Fortunately, the wind here wasn't as bad as predicted.  The heavy rain and wind was between our farm and Jonesboro and down towards Little Rock."


In Mississippi, Marvin Cochran in Washington County reported heavy wind and some rain but no significant damage.  Kirk Satterfield in Bolivar County said they saw rain and strong winds, but that late planting and draining just beginning had much of their rice green, which helped it withstand the storm.  Dr. Bobby Golden at Mississippi State University said he heard reports of lodging around field edges, but no horror stories.


Reports from Missouri's Bootheel also are encouraging.  "We were fortunate," said Rance Daniels, from Hornersville.  "People I talked to had less than an inch or so of rain with no wind damage to speak of.  Everyone here is pleased to have dodged the bullet of Laura."


Steve Linscombe and Emily Woodall contributed to this report.



Todd Fitchette

California rice growers are eligible to apply for funding to help cover the cost of flooding rice fields in the winter under a state plan to enhance winter habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife in the Sacramento Valley.




Combating acid reflux with a few lifestyle modifications


|Georgiana Farrugia Bonnici and Antonella Grima|


Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is the regurgitation of the stomach’s liquid contents back into the oesophagus, causing the typical burning sensation. Photo:

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a chronic condition in which the liquid contents of the stomach regurgitate back into the oesophagus. Since these contents are highly acidic and may at times contain bile, a typical burning sensation behind the breastbone or the upper abdomen is felt. 

Gravity, swallowing and saliva are important protective mechanisms for the oesophagus but they are effective only when individuals are in the upright position. During sleep, gravity has no effect, swallowing stops and the secretion of saliva is reduced. Therefore, reflux that occurs during the night is more likely to cause greater damage to the oesophageal lining.

The causes of GERD are quite complex and tend to vary in different individuals. However, several contributing factors that may increase the susceptibility of a person to develop this condition include abdominal obesity, multiple pregnancies, hiatus hernia, connective tissue diseases, as well as lower oesophageal sphincter abnormalities or delayed gastric emptying.

The diagnosis of GERD is usually suspected by a doctor when the typical symptoms associated with this condition are present over a prolonged period of time. These may include heartburn, acid or bile regurgitation, increased salivation, as well as nausea and vomiting. However, these symptoms are non-specific. 

Thus, the current gold standard for the definite diagnosis of GERD is 24-hour oesophageal pH monitoring. Endoscopy, gastric emptying and oesophageal motility studies are recommended in those individuals who do not respond well to treatment or present with more alarming symptoms such as difficulty in swallowing, anaemia, blood in the stool, wheezing, weight loss or voice changes.

The primary treatment of GERD typically revolves around simple lifestyle modifications as well as prescribed medications to neutralise the acid reflux as well as preventing the formation of excess acid in the stomach. 

As a general guideline, coffee, caffeinated drinks, citrus, tomato juice, alcohol, spicy and fatty foods should be avoided. Red meat, wholegrains and foods that are rich in fibre should be reserved for the earlier parts of the day as they are more difficult to digest and may remain in the stomach beyond bedtime if they are consumed late.

Moreover, smoking and alcohol intake should be minimised. Mindfulness and breathing techniques may also help in controlling excessive stress which may also be a contributing factor to GERD.

Several changes in eating habits, such as eating smaller portions of food and earlier evening meals are recommended. The consumption of chewing gum, milk, as well as elevation of the head and the upper body while sleeping may also improve the symptoms. 

The modifications that have been described above usually are effective in treating the symptoms of GERD. Nevertheless, sometimes they are not enough. In these cases, the standard surgical treatment for severe GERD is fundoplication. In this procedure, the upper part of the stomach is wrapped around the lower oesophageal sphincter to strengthen it. 

In Western populations, GERD affects approximately 10 to 20 per cent of individuals. The prevalence rate of GERD in developed nations is also tightly linked with age, with adults aged 55 to 65 being the most commonly affected. 

Complications of unresolved GERD may include gastric ulcers, oesophageal strictures, Barrett’s oesophagus as well as iron deficiency and inflammation of the oesophagus. Thus, it is vital to seek medical advice if the symptoms persist.


The following light and digestible chicken broth recipe is ideal for dinner time as its ingredients do not take long to be digested. 

Ingredients (makes 2 portions)
2 skinless chicken breasts
1 cup (120g) carrots, peeled and sliced
1 cup (100g) chopped zucchini
½ cup celery, whole or chopped
1 litre water
1 tsp coarse sea salt (optional)
1 cup cooked jasmine or basmati rice
1-2 tbsp of fresh chopped parsley


Bring the water to a boil. Add the carrots, zucchini, celery, chicken and salt. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until the chicken is well cooked.

While the soup is simmering, cook the rice in a separate pot. Drain and set aside.

Remove the chicken from the pot and shred by hand or using a fork. Add the shredded chicken back into the soup. Add the cooked rice and the fresh chopped parsley to the soup and enjoy.

Nutritional information

• Chicken breast has a low-fat content when compared to whole chicken or red meat. Cooking it well also separates the muscle fibres and makes them easier to digest. It is thus ideal for avoiding acid reflux. Other stomach- friendly meats include white fish and turkey.

• Peeled, chopped and well-cooked vegetables like carrots, zucchini, potatoes and cauliflower take a short while to digest and add nutrients to our meals. Heavier vegetables like legumes, aubergines, onions, mushrooms and bell peppers are more difficult to digest and are best reserved for lunchtime and are to be eaten in moderation. Moreover, vegetables are rich in fibre and anti-inflammatory nutrients that aid in digestion, improve bowel movements and strengthen gut health. In order to minimise acid reflux, one should avoid tomatoes or tomato concentrates and base any sauces on other vegetables that are less acidic.

• Finer grains like basmati or jasmine rice, couscous or millet are more easily broken down by the stomach acids when compared to wholegrains and glutinous grains such as wheat which is found in bread, pizza or pasta. If one intends to consume grains later during the day, it is recommended to include a smaller portion of these lighter grains rather than having a large plate of pasta or pizza as the latter may result in poor digestion and the production of acid reflux during the night.

Georgiana Farrugia Bonnici is a former diagnostic radiographer and medical doctor. Antonella Grima is a public health specialist and state registered nutritionist. One may follow their blogs on and



Farm sector sees spike in private investment after reforms: Agri secy


The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, 2020 was brought in to legalise contract farming


Private companies have began investing in farm sector spurred by the recent reforms that will help increase farmers' income, according to Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Agarwal.

The government recently brought three major reforms via Ordinances.

It amended the Essential Commodities Act to deregulate food items, and introduced a new law -- The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020 -- to allow farmers to sell their produce outside the Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMC).

The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, 2020 was brought in to legalise contract farming.

"These reforms are applicable pan-India. They are moving in the right direction and will help increase the income of farmers," Agarwal told PTI.

The government has already held one round of discussion with the industry on implementation of agri-reforms.

"Large number of industries are planning investments, while some have already invested," he said.

"Lot of things are happening. I was told that a rice company has already entered into contract farming with basmati rice growers in 1,000 acres, while another company has opened a private mandi," he said without disclosing investment amount.

On the ongoing kharif (summer) sowing, Agarwal said India has already set a new record in sowing of kharif crops.

"Good rains have improved the prospects of kharif crops. Total area sown to kharif crops has reached 1,08.2 million hectares till August 28, surpassing the 2016 record," he said.

In 2016, farmers had sown kharif crops in a total area of 1,07.57 million hectare.

Total sown area under kharif crops stood at 1,00.99 million hectares during the corresponding period last year. Even in the current Covid-19 crisis, farmers have worked very hard, he said.

"Overall, there has been good sowing till date. All required steps for risk mitigation have also been taken," Agarwal said, adding that reports on status of crops in states that faced floods and heavy rains are awaited.

Sowing of kharif crop begins with the onset of southwest monsoon and harvesting starts from October. Rice is the main kharif crop.

Read our full coverage on farm sector



Pandemic gives fillip to demand for cereals; 200 per cent rise in exports in July



PublishedAug 29, 2020, 12:49 pm IST

UpdatedAug 29, 2020, 12:49 pm IST

Cereals have witnessed increased demand from African countries and the Gulf region during the lock-down.

Description: Representational image.

 Representational image.

Chennai: Cereals, other than wheat and rice, have seen a jump in demand in the overseas market due to the pandemic with their exports growing over 200 per cent in July.

In the month of July, exports of cereals like bajra, oats, corn, ragi, quinoa, yellow maize, sorghum and their seeds collectively grew 226 per cent to Rs 330 crore against Rs 101 crore in the same month last year. Between April and July, exports grew 32 per cent to Rs 673 crore against Rs 509 crore in the same period last year.


Among the cereals, certain varieties of popcorn fetched export revenues of Rs 190 crore in July against nil exports in July 2019. Yellow maize and another variety of maize too saw an emerging demand in the overseas market this July.

According to K Unnikrishnan, deputy director general, Federation of Indian Export Organisations, cereals have witnessed increased demand from African countries and the Gulf region during the lock-down.

“Many of the exporting nations had imposed restrictions on shipments to ensure food security during the lock-down. On the other hand, India had excess production and there were no restrictions on exports. This made countries in Africa and the Gulf region increasingly buy from India,” he said.


Further, the Gulf region was seen stocking up commodities fearing scarcity.

In case of maize, Vietnam, one of the largest producers, had a lower output and importing countries turned to India. Countries like Bangladesh, Myanmar and Sri Lanka have been buyers of cereal seeds from India.

Apart from higher volumes, rise in the price of cereals also has helped higher export earnings. Except for basmati rice, most of the cereals have seen prices going up during the past few months.

Rice other than basmati saw exports surging 115 per cent to Rs 3050 crore in July. Demand for durum wheat too was robust.


However, this surge in demand is likely to be short-lived. “Probably we will see this demand for one or two months more till the situation normalises,” said Unnikrishnan. However, if exporters utilize this opportunity to build business overseas, India can become a leading exporter of cereals as well.