Wednesday, September 09, 2020

9th September,2020 Daily Global Regional Local Rice E-Newsletter


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Welch Foundation gives Rice $100M to establish Welch Institute

Channing Wang/Thresher

By Rynd Morgan     9/8/20 10:21pm

The Welch Foundation announced that it will donate $100 million to establish the Welch Institute for Advanced Materials at Rice University, the largest single gift that Rice University has ever received and the largest in the Welch Foundation’s 65-year history.

The Welch Foundation was founded in 1954 after the death of Houston oil, gas and minerals investor Robert A. Welch and funds chemical research at institutions in Texas.

The Welch Institute for Advanced Materials will support the foundational research responsible for discoveries in material science, according to Adam Kuspa, president of the Welch Foundation.

“There’s lots of companies that want to turn discoveries into useful products,” Kuspa said. “That’s sort of the tail end of research. The whole point of the Welch Institute is the level of investment in the other end of that pipeline, if you will, the very beginning, the discovery aspect.”

Vice Provost for Research Yousif Shamoo said that undergraduate and graduate students will have the opportunity to perform research at the Welch Institute.

“The closest campus example might be The Baker Institute,” Shamoo said in an email. “Other examples of elite collaborative research institutes are the Salk Institute in San Diego and Broad Institute in Boston.”

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The establishment of the Welch Institute was announced on Sept. 2, and featured speakers including President David Leebron and Materials Science and Nanoengineering Department Chair P.M. Ajayan. Peter Dervan, chair of the Welch Foundation scientific advisory board and Mayor Sylvester Turner also gave comments remotely at the announcement.

The Welch Institute has a board of directors and scientific advisory board with members from both Rice and the Welch Foundation, according to Shamoo. The board of directors includes Shamoo, Kuspa, Leebron and Provost Reginald DesRoches, according to the Welch Institute’s website. 

The Welch Foundation has made gifts to Rice University in the past, including endowed chairs of the chemistry department and research grants given to individual researchers at Rice.

Kuspa said that in the previous sixty years, the Welch Foundation has given almost exactly $100 million to individual chemistry researchers at Rice, almost matching the single $100 million gift given last week.

Leebron said that the establishment of the Welch Institute also marks an advancement in Rice’s engagement with the city of Houston, following other recent Rice projects involved with the city of Houston, including the Ion and the Innovation District, the Kinder Institute for Urban Research and the Houston Education Research Consortium.

“It will also be the foundation for economic growth and the establishment of new technologies, new industries and new companies,” Leebron said at the announcement last Wednesday. “Our aspiration is for Houston to be a leader in bringing new materials to all of these fields.”

The current level of investment in foundational research in advanced materials does not measure up to the opportunities to be found in the field, according to Kuspa.

“The opportunity ... seems infinite now because it’s a brand new landscape,” Kuspa said. “We already know they impact everyone’s life. Almost every minute of the day, we don’t think about it.”

The Welch Institute does not have projects at the outset because the faculty who will head the Welch Institute have not been appointed yet, according to Shamoo.

Peter Dervan, chair of the scientific advisory board of the Welch Foundation, said that the Welch Institute will add to the research being done by universities and petrochemical industries in the city of Houston.

“My hope is that major private philanthropy and industry will join TWI to create a world destination research laboratory, not unlike past great engines of innovation for America, like Bell labs, DuPont Central Research, and most recently, the Broad Institute at MIT-Harvard,” Dervan said at the announcement on Wednesday. 

Kuspa said that Rice is ideally suited to the Welch Foundation’s original goal of the institute, which was to exploit computational science in discovering new advanced materials.

“You can’t dictate discovery,” Kuspa said. “It just happens. So what you have to do, in supporting foundational science, in basic science, is just give money to smart people, and let them follow their imagination.”




Grain Company Ruta Invasora fulfills current rice harvest


Description:, Camagüey, September 8.- The Agro-industrial Company of Grains "Ruta Invasora" in the municipality of Vertientes, closed the current rice harvest with more than 24,100 hectares (ha), which represents 96 percent of the agreed plan, of the total, 18 thousand ha correspond to the spring stage that ended at the end of August.

Michel Bayate, director of the aforementioned Camagüey entity, specified that the slight breach in planting will not affect the production commitment set at 17,500 quintals (q), to achieve it, in the midst of the initiatives that force to take the dissimilar limitations of the blockade economic, commercial and financial; a high percent of the plantings were carried out in blocks.

With the aforementioned system, a higher yield per hectare is achieved, use of machinery and savings in conductive water, while at the same time contributing to the increase in resources for cultural attention to rice plantations.

Bayate also reported that current measures in the sector are still insufficient to stop the shipment of rice to other destinations by some producers and demanded that they act as a country to face the limitations, in correspondence with the request of the President of the Republic from Cuba, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez.

He assured that local rice farmers maintain the commitment to remain among the three most productive companies in the country. (Alfredo Ferrer Abelarde / Radio Cadena Agramonte) (Photo: File)


SoCot gets P6.9-M farm machinery, equipment from DA

By Allen Estabillo  September 8, 2020, 6:47 pm

 (South Cotabato provincial capitol courtesy of the provincial government) 

GENERAL SANTOS CITY – The provincial government of South Cotabato has received around PHP6.9 million worth of farm machinery and equipment under the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) farm mechanization program.

Raul Teves, head of the South Cotabato Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (Opag), said Tuesday the machinery were part of the assistance package earlier committed by the agency to the province to boost its food security initiatives amid the coronavirus disease 2019 or Covid-19 pandemic.

He said these were formally turned over by DA-12 officials on Monday in a gathering at the Provincial Scion Grove, Nursery, and Demonstration Farm in Barangay Reyes, Banga town.

A report released by Opag said it received some PHP6.39 million worth of machinery and equipment under the rice program and PHP511,191 more under the high-value crops development program.

These comprise 10 units of hand tractors worth PHP1.35 million; 10 rice threshers worth PHP1.285 million; 20 units of seed spreaders worth PHP1.436 million; six shallow tube wells worth PHP619,864; 10 rice transplanters worth PHP1.9 million; 50 units of garden tools worth PHP250,000; and 10 rolls of high-density polyethylene pipes worth PHP61,000.

Teves said his office will put up a motor pool at the demonstration farm in Banga for the farm machinery provided by DA.

“Farmers can avail of these upon request free of charge, including fuel,” he said in a report.

He said accredited farmers’ associations may avail of some of the machinery and equipment upon proper validation as part of the program’s rollout.

Teves said DA-12, through its regional executive director Arlan Mangelen, committed to providing additional post-harvest facilities in the province, especially for the demonstration farm. (PNA


New machine interseeds cover crops into standing row crops

EARLY SEEDING: Rice County farmer Todd Oden decided to add grazing cover crops to his agricultural rotation this year. He is one of the first producers in south-central Kansas to contract with Central Prairie Co-op to interseed cereal rye into his standing corn fields.

The Hagie Montag Interseeder rolls over tall corn to drop cover crop seed between rows.

P.J. Griekspoor | Sep 08, 2020

Rice County farmer Todd Oden is getting a head start on getting his grazing cover crops planted ahead of harvest this year, thanks to the arrival of a new piece of machinery at Central Prairie Co-op in Sterling.

Oden, a co-op board member, is one of the first producers to contract cover crop seeding with the new Hagie Montag Interseeder that arrived at the co-op in July. He hopes that getting cover crops seeded in August will mean that the rye mix he’s planting will be tall enough for cattle to graze by the time he harvests the corn.

Oden has been a no-till farmer for several years, but says this is his first venture into adding cover crops and grazing — a decision that makes him part of a growing regenerative agriculture movement that is catching on across the country, partly because it’s being heavily supported by organized efforts and big companies such as General Mills and partly because individual farmers are seeing their neighbors become more profitable because of the change in farming methods.

Central Prairie Co-op manager Brent Werth says his board voted to lease one of the eight new interseeders that have become available in Kansas because they felt it would see good utilization in the Little Ark River and Cheney Reservoir watersheds, where there is strong interest in maintaining and improving the quality and quantity of water in the river, the reservoir and the Equus Beds aquifer, all of which supply both drinking water to the state’s largest city, Wichita. The Equus Beds aquifer is also a major source of irrigation water in south-central Kansas.

He says the new interseeders are a brand new piece of machinery on the market. They were built in a John Deere factory in Iowa this spring and arrived in Kansas in July. Deere owns both Hagie and Montag which enabled them to marry the technologies of each to produce the new machine.

Central Prairie Co-op has set per acre cost at $8 per acre application fee for producers who purchase their seed at Central Prairie and $13 per acre flat fee for producers who already have their seed or prefer to purchase it elsewhere.

That compares to about $20 per acre to maintain and use an air seeder to drill the cover crop after harvest.

Using the interseeder also gives the cover crop about 45 to 60 days head start on growing. Werth says the goal is to have the cover crop 8 to 12 inches tall at the time of dry corn harvest.

The Montag fortifier can be removed, and a traditional liquid tank mounted to convert the machine into a conventional sprayer for herbicide or fertilizer as well.

Profitability is strong motive

Oden says his he is glad that a cleaner water supply is a side effect of the regenerative ag movement, but it is the hope of building more organic matter in his soil and keeping precious rainfall in the soil profile instead of in the road ditches is what led him to give it a try. He says he also likes the idea of making a little extra money from leasing some grazing acres while also saving money on winter feed for his own cattle, both of which he thinks will help his farm be more profitable.

The increase in organic matter also promises an increase in cash crop yields, he says. Having the manure and urine deposits across grazed acres enables him to save money on chemical fertilizers.

“It’s a little about making more on cash crops with higher yields and saving money on inputs,” Werth says. “It’s the bottom line that matters.”

Howard Miller, outreach coordinator with the Cheney Watershed conservation group, says he is excited about having the machine available and he hopes it will see good utilization in the area above Cheney Reservoir, which has been the focus of two decades worth of conservation efforts aimed at extending the life of the reservoir and improving the quality of the water that enters it.

OVER THE TOP: The Hagie Montag Interseeder mounts a Montag fortifier on top of a standard Hagie spray rig to allow the machine go move over the top of standing irrigated corn and drop cover crop seed from the dangling tubes that move through the canopy of the field.

“We have 24 farmers in our group that are part of the General Mills regenerative ag pilot program,” Miller says. “Having the ability to interseed fall cover crops will be a big help to them as that project progresses over the next three years.”

General Mills is working with the regenerative consulting firm, Understanding Ag, to provide agronomic coaching to the producers engaged in the project. Understanding Ag is also providing software to help producers keep records of the data collected during the project. Another partner is the Ecosystems Services Market Consortium to establish a voluntary market that incentivizes farmers for the benefits of regenerative ag, which includes reduced water use, carbon sequestration, improved water quality and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

General Mills is operating pilot projects in other areas of the country as well. The company chose south-central Kansas because it wanted to work the wheat farmers who provide much of the hard red winter wheat for its mills.

Water quality effort funding source

The importance of cover crops as a component of a regenerative agriculture program and the role cover crops play in water quality are important to the arrival of the new interseeder technology in Kansas because the funding mechanism for their purchase came though the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s Clean Water State Revolving Loan, one of the sources of funds for municipalities to build and upgrade wastewater treatment plants.

A northeast Kansas non-profit, Glacial Hills Resources Conservation and Development, purchased eight interseeders. One is being used around the state as a demonstration machine; six have been leased to co-ops in northeast Kansas, where sedimentation of reservoirs is a major issue; and one came to south-central Kansas.

Andrew Lyon with KDHE says that extensive research has shown that widespread adoption of cover crops in the source water area means cleaner water arriving at the treatment plant, which reduces costs for the municipalities and their customers.

DANGLING SEED TUBES: The tubes that dangle from the boom of the Interseeder move easily through the corn crop canopy without damaging the plants or knocking off ears. Interseeding into the standing fall crop gives the cover crop extra weeks of time to germinate and grow before the cash crop is harvested.

Lyon says that conservation programs of the past have leaned heavily on taking land out of production, which causes economic harm to both farmers and rural communities, while a movement toward regenerative agriculture is a way to not only keep land in production but increase its profitability while building healthier soils, sequestering carbon and improving water quality.

“It also provides opportunity for younger farmers to benefit from the opportunity to get into raising cattle or increasing the size of their herd without having to buy more land,” he says. “If they can lease cover crop acres for grazing, it’s far more economical than trying to own the land. And the landowner gets the benefits to his land and water and cash crops and makes some money from the lease.”


Kitui farmer grows rice despite harsh climate

He realised it was not as difficult as he thought, as he had believed rice needed to be grown in a flooded area.

In Summary

• Started with two varieties of rice; an uplands variety known as Nerica and Basmati 370, commonly known as Pishori. 

• Water is pumped from a shallow well dug at the bed of the seasonal river Nzeeu and lifted using a motorised water pump onto the farms.

Description: Rice farmer Richard Musyoka in Kitui.

AGAINST THE GRAIN: Rice farmer Richard Musyoka in Kitui.

A farmer in Kunguluni village along River Nzeeu has ventured into rice farming on his one acre in Kitui. 

Richard Musyoka will have his first harvest in the next month. 

In this pilot project, Musyoka and Water engineer Martin Kasina started with two varieties of rice, an uplands variety known as Nerica and Basmati 370, commonly known as Pishori.

Ninety days after sowing, the crop is doing well.

Kasina, who has 10 years of experience as a senior researcher with the National Irrigation Authority based in Mwea irrigation scheme, has played a fundamental role in the success of the project.

“At first, I was hesitant to venture into rice farming but the encouragement from the expert pushed me to give it a trial,” Musyoka said

He soon realised it was not as difficult as he thought, as he had believed rice needed to be grown in a flooded area.

Musyoka says in the past he used to grow vegetables, most of which would go to waste when the supply in the market exceeded the demand.

Kasina said after years of research in Mwea and with new technologies such as water-saving rice culture borrowed from Japan and Thailand, studies had shown that rice can also be successfully grown with reduced amounts of water.

“This knowledge will change the local farmers' perspective from traditional cereal crops such as maize to high-value cereal crops such as rice,” Kasina said. 

Since they lacked the requisite farm machinery such as tractors to till the land, the farmer and his technical assistant engaged manual labour to prepare the farm into sizeable plots which were then levelled to allow holding of water.

The rice was first planted in a nursery bed and then transplanted to the plots at 21 days.

Water is pumped from a shallow well dug at the bed of the seasonal River Nzeeu and lifted using a motorised water pump onto the farms.

The farmer would then move from a plot to the next and flood it with water every two days.

Kasina said rice needs DAP fertiliser to allow for vegetative growth, adding that at day 70 when it starts flowering, Sulphate Ammonia is applied to boost the formation of seeds.

But with the rice farming being a new venture in the county, some chemicals and even fertilisers are not locally available and have to be procured from Embu town.

Weeding is done by plucking the weeds after wetting the plots.

Scarecrows have also been erected to ward off birds that have a huge appetite for Pishori grains.

“Kitui soils are fertile and with the use of seasonal rivers, rice farming can be the next commercial frontier for local farmers,” Kasina said. 

The duo said with the encouragement from other local farmers who have shown willingness to venture into commercial rice farming, their future plan is to upscale the project and add more acreage under rice irrigation.

He says part of their plans is to invest in a mill to be able to produce and package the white rice, thus giving the local farmers all the benefits

Musyoka says getting local production of rice will be his ultimate pride. 

Edited by R.Wamochie 

Description: Musyoka on his rice plantation in Kitui

KITUI RICE FARMING Musyoka on his rice plantation in Kitui

Description: Rice plantation in Kitui

KITUI RICE PLANTATION Rice plantation in Kitui


Government Looking to Strengthen Agriculture

Marketing Through e-NAM


September 8, 2020

Gayathri Arvind

To strengthen agricultural marketing opportunities, the government opened e-NAMs in 18 states and union territories. Furthermore, they have successfully encouraged one crore farmers and 1 lakh traders to register.

Thousands of Mandis Added to the Platform in the Past Few Months

Recently, the central government completed the integration of 1000 wholesale mandis with electronic- National Agriculture Market (e-NAM). The said integration occurred in two phases. The first phase included 585 mandis while the second phase comprised 415 e- NAM integrations. The agricultural minister reports that the 38 mandis integrated recently in Madhya Pradesh and Telangana brings the tally to 415. Following that, Rajasthan also added 119 more mandis to the e-NAM platform to help farmers. Subsequently, they registered 2,205 farmers and 2,989 traders and engaged in the trade of 2,885.3 tonnes.

Many Agriculture Produce Marketing Committees are engaging in digital bidding through e-NAM. Under the current COVID-19 situation, the addition of more mandis is a boon to farmers. Further, e-NAM creates a common online platform, “One Nation, One Market” for all agricultural commodities. Therefore, it is a step in the right direction.

Fast Tracking Integration 

To provide end to end connectivity to farmers, the government is fast-tracking the integration of e-NAMS to FPOs and warehouses. Subsequently, the FPOs and warehouses will connect to “Kisan Rath”, a transport aggregator mobile app. A senior agricultural minister said that this would promote barrier-free interstate and intrastate trade outside the mandi premises. Further, he said that 10,000 FPOs would be integrated with e-NAM in the next five years. Additionally, the farmers will be able to access market data and therefore can sell their product at better prices, he said.

Is the Platform Going to Benefit Farmers?

Though the idea sounds good on paper, many questions arise regarding the viability of the scheme. Firstly, the e- NAM platform would serve as an online market place, just like Amazon or Flipkart. Further, it is mandatory for both the buyer and seller to register. Moreover, the farmers had to take their produce to assessors, who then determined the quality of produce. Subsequently, the government understood the hassles involved. And, they said that farmers could get the products graded at the nearby warehouses. However, the government is yet to offer complete clarity regarding the solutions.

Unfortunately, many farmers are facing difficulties with the process. Even though there is immense pressure from the government to use the e-trading platform, many prefer physical trading.

In conclusion, only 14% of farmers have access to online trading. Therefore, the government should make the (e- NAM) scheme more accessible to benefit the farmers of the nation.

Tags: agricultureagriculture commoditiesagriculture loanagriculture marketingagriculture ministryagriculture sectoragriculture technologyamazone namse- tradingelectronic National Agriculture MarketfarmersflipkartFPOMadhya Pradeshmobile appsone nation one marketonline tradingphysical tradingtelanganawarehouses


 “We Won’t Pay 4.25% Taxes While the Other States Pay Zero” Basmati Rice millers in Punjab Warn Government of Not Buying Crop


September 8, 2020

Gurneel Kaur


As harvest time of basmati nears, exporters show reluctance to buy from Punjab. “We Won’t Pay 4.25% taxes while other states pay zero” basmati rice millers in Punjab warn the government of not buying crop.

Exporters Will Buy Only Levy-Free Basmati

Exporters have warned the state government that it won’t buy basmati from Punjab this year owing to the high fees charged. They argued paying 4.25% taxes whereas they need not pay any tax while buying from Haryana, Delhi, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh. Punjab levies 2% as Market Fee, 2% as Rural Development Fund, and 0.25% as Cancer Cess. Exporters paid Rs 97.73 crore last year and Rs 102.68 crore in 2018.

Other States Levy No Tax 

Punjab Rice Millers Export Association director Ashok Sethi stated that rice export is a price-sensitive and competitive business. Buying basmati from Punjab increases the cost as compared to other states. Basmati output is to reach a record high this year.  PUSA 1509 will start arriving in markets from the second week of September.

Earlier the rice exporters association asked the Punjab government to clarify its stance on the Centre’s ordinance of Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation). They had asked the government to take an immediate decision as all other states have accepted the Centre’s ordinance. Sethi added that the exporters would like to buy levy-free basmati either from farmers or from other states. The Centre’s regulation allows the farmers to sell their crops directly to exporters.

Basmati Rice Exporters Refuse to buy Crops Due to Excess Tax in Punjab

Exporters Educated Farmers for Minimal Pesticide Use

The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) reports that Punjab exported rice worth Rs 14,000 crore from the country’s total basmati export of Rs 34,000 crore. The association also mentioned its role in educating farmers for using minimal pesticides for increasing worldwide acceptability of Indian basmati.

In all, exporters have expressed their dissent on high taxes levied by the Punjab government on basmati.

USD/ INR: Rupee Edges Lower Against the US Dollar

September 9, 2020

Gayathri Arvind

USD/INR- Indian Rupee was at 73.79 as of 7:58 PM IST on 8th September. One of the leading cause for this downfall is the dollar index that strengthened by 0.43% to reach 93.11. Further, the rupee ranged between the highest of 73.37 and lowest at 73.64.

USD/ INR: Oil Prices

The WTI futures fell by 1.6% and was at USD 39.13 a barrel by 02:21 GMT. On the other hand, Brent futures for November rose by 0.6% and was at USD 42.07 per barrel. The oil prices witnessed mixed results yesterday. The increasing number of coronavirus cases in Britain, the US and India also put a considerable strain on prices. Along with this, the questions regarding the strength of the current demand recovery also negatively impacted oil prices.

USD/ INR- Gold Prices

Gold prices fell for the fourth time on Tuesday. The October gold futures fell by 0.5% to Rs. 50,803 per 10 grams on the multi-commodity exchange. Likewise, Silver futures fell by 0.6% to 67,850 per kg. In the international market, spot gold traded at $1,925.68 per ounce, indicating a decline of 0.2%.

The increase in the value of the dollar index negatively impacted gold prices as it made gold expensive for holders of other currencies. But, the increasing number of coronavirus cases and the US-China tensions did slightly affect the gold prices.

USD/ INR- Sensex Today

The Sensex ended in red on Tuesday after starting the week on a good note. That is, it was down by 0.14% and saw a 51.88 point decrease. Accordingly, it ended at 38,365.35 at 3:40 PM IST on 8th September. Similarly, the NIFTY saw a fall of 37.70 points or 0.33% and finalised at 11,317.35. Though the markets witnessed positive trends in the first half, they were impacted by the rising tensions between India and China at the LAC.

Tags: brent futuresChina and Indiacoronaviruscrude futurescrude oildemanddomestic equitiesequity marketglobal equity marketindiaindia and chinaindian economyindian equity marketINDIAN RUPEEmulti commodity exchangenifty50ntpcoctober gold futurespandemicRupeesensex indexsilverthe us and chinaUS and ChinaUS dollarUS dollar indexUS inventoriesusd inrUSD-INRwti crude


Ministry urges enterprises to complete procedures to export fragrant rice to EU

SGGPWednesday, September 09, 2020 11:29

The EU has raised the quota of rice imports from Vietnam from 50,000 tons to 80,000 tons per year. Of which, the additional 30,000 tons of rice is fragrant rice from the Mekong Delta, which will receive a tariff wild card, and according to the schedule, its import tariff will be at zero percent within the next 3-5 years.

Description: Rice harvesting in the Mekong Delta. (Photo: SGGP)

Rice harvesting in the Mekong Delta. (Photo: SGGP)

At a press conference on September 8 in Hanoi, Director of the Department of Crop Production under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) Nguyen Nhu Cuong informed that after the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) took effect, the EU has expanded its quota of rice imported from Vietnam to 80,000 tons per year.

In 2019, Vietnam exported 50,000 tons of rice to the EU market under quotas, with a value of 28.5 million euros. Compared to other countries in the ASEAN, Vietnam's rice exports to Europe were only one-sixth of those of Thailand, one-tenth of those of Myanmar, and a quarter of those of Cambodia. However, since this year, Vietnam will have an additional 30,000 tons of fragrant rice grown in the Mekong Delta, which receives the wild card to enjoy preferential tariff treatment to this market.

According to the Director of the Department of Crop Production, the cultivation area of fragrant rice in the Mekong Delta annually reaches about 25 percent of the total cultivation area, equivalent to about 1 million hectares. The production of fragrant rice is estimated at 5.5 million tons of paddy, equivalent to about 3.5 million tons of fragrant rice.

If the country follows well the EU regulations, and an additional 30,000 tons of fragrant rice can be exported under quotas with low tax rates and high selling prices, since this year, it will improve the efficiency of Vietnam's rice production and also affirm the brand of Vietnamese rice in a fastidious market like the EU in particular, and the world in general. This initial success is also the basis for further negotiations on the expansion of fragrant rice export quotas to the EU market in the coming time.

Mr. Nguyen Nhu Cuong said that the Department of Crop Production has sent a document to enterprises and the Vietnam Food Association to suggest adding some fragrant rice varieties to the list of fragrant rice exported to the EU.

While Deputy Minister of the MARD Le Quoc Doanh informed that on September 4 this year, the Government issued Decree No.103/2020/ND-CP on the certification of fragrant rice varieties exported to the EU. Right after this decree was issued, on September 7, the MARD quickly issued a Decision to guide enterprises on the procedures for certification of fragrant rice varieties exported to the EU.

Currently, three enterprises have submitted their application to the MARD to register to export fragrant rice to the EU. The certification is completed within five days.

Other enterprises can send registration documents through the public administrative service portal of the MARD or by post. The certification for enterprises will be done completely free of charge.

‘The Decree takes effect from the date of signing, the MARD has requested that enterprises that have fragrant rice and export orders of fragrant rice to the EU should urgently send documents to the Department of Crop Production for the ministry to quickly complete procedures for them to soon export rice to the EU,’ Deputy Minister Le Quoc Doanh informed.

Thus, the EU has raised the quota of rice imports from Vietnam from 50,000 tons to 80,000 tons per year. Of which, the additional 30,000 tons of rice is fragrant rice from the Mekong Delta, which will receive a tariff wild card; and according to the schedule, its import tariff will be at zero percent within the next 3-5 years.

From now to the end of this year, there are only four months left. Enterprises need to speed up the registration process to enjoy maximum incentives for 30,000 tons of fragrant rice this year.


Thailand’s grain output mixed


BANGKOK, THAILAND — Thailand’s grain output for 2020-21 will vary as rice is impacted by limited water supply but other crops like corn will be buoyed by good weather and increased acreage, according to a Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Thailand’s market year 2020-21 rice production forecast slips to 18.6 million tonnes as limited water supplies cause production to fall. Despite the anticipated decrease, the USDA production forecast is still 5% higher than 2019-20 market year production. Rice exports are expected to decrease 6.5 million tonnes, or 14%, in the 2020-21 market year compared to the previous year.

Unlike rice, Thailand’s corn production for market year 2020-21 is anticipated to total 5.6 million tonnes, up 24% compared to the previous year. The USDA equates the uptick in production to favorable weather and increased acreage.

“Domestic corn prices are under downward pressure due to record imports of duty-free corn in 2020,” the report said. “In addition, a growing import demand for alternative feed grains and ingredients magnifying the downward pressure on domestic corn prices.”

The USDA expects Thailand’s wheat imports for market year 2020-21 to decrease to 3 million tonnes, down 14% as demand for wheat products wanes on declining tourist traffic.

Less demand in the hotel and restaurant sector pulls the country’s milling wheat imports to 1.2 million tonnes, a 9% drop compared to the previous year.

The USDA does not expect an increase of wheat imports as flour mills in Thailand are still holding large inventories imported in market year 2019-20 following the uncertainties in the government’s import regulations on chemical residues on imported ag products.


Where we are No. 1, it is a global embarrassment

Description: Marlen V. Ronquillo

ByMarlen V. Ronquillo

September 9, 2020

POLICYMAKING in the agriculture sector is littered with quick fixes and quack economics, phrased in grandiose terms and lofty promises. When setting policy for a sector as critical as agriculture toggles between quickies and quacks, you have an idea of how these policies would end — badly or disastrously.

There is a vast graveyard for the serial blunders of the country’s agricultural policymakers. And, in our recent history, from the mid-20th century up to the present, not a single agricultural program has breached the threshold of mediocrity. No lesson has been learned. No remorse has been expressed. Every disastrous outcome, every policy fallout it seems, emboldens the quacks to carry out more quick fixes.

In the 20th century, the most calamitous decision was the country’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in December 1994. The economic quacks of the Ramos administration rolled out the accession, which the then Senate giddily ratified as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to lift agriculture from its middling state into a brave, new world of surging agricultural exports, millions of new agriculture jobs, the unprecedented rise in the agriculture sector’s gross value added (GVA), and a modern, ultra-competitive sector.

Critics from the peasantry and the small farming groups that asked the Senate to vote down the ratification were called “traitors” who wanted agriculture and the small farmers stuck in their historic stasis. The punditry, dazzled and awed by the graphs and charts presented by the quacks of the Ramos administration, abetted the muzzling of the critics.

A medium-term analysis post-accession proved the fears of the muzzled critics. Millions of agricultural jobs had been lost. There was a sharp drop in the agriculture sector’s GVA. Exports plunged. Instead of a vigorous export market, the Philippines became the dumping ground of the excess produce of neighboring countries, an import mania which is the staple policy of today’s food supply chain.

The brutal wages of accession undid even the gains of the small sub-sectors that were still competitive pre-accession. Simply put, the accession to the WTO was a total disaster.

In March of 2019, another policy of great folly, the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL), was again rolled out on the same extravagantly promising note. Tariffs will replace the quantitative restrictions on rice imports. Rice farmers will see price drops on a temporary basis due to the liberal rice import policy. But a money pool from the rice imports tariff collection will ameliorate the temporarily dislocated rice farmers until the desired equilibrium — stable rice prices and a vigorous rice farming sector funded by the money pool — shall have taken place.

The proposition, great on paper as the pre-accession propaganda, was again supported by the same economic quacks that supported the WTO accession decades earlier. The same echo chamber that wrote glowingly on the agricultural miracle that would take place after the accession again wrote glowingly on the great equilibrium that would take place after the implementation of the RTL. It would rein in inflation. It would stabilize rice prices and supply. Rice farming, which was untenable even with official support, would get more support. That last part was a total lie because Filipino rice farmers have been the most neglected in the entire Asean region.

A year and a few months later, what is taking shape is not stable rice prices and supply and a massive amelioration fund that will reinvigorate rice farming, the broader society gaining from the literal culling (state-sponsored culling) of the rice farmers. On the contrary, the liberalization of the rice trade, according to the farm group Federation of Free Farmers (FFF) actually “liberated” the rice traders who found the RTL as the perfect vehicle for the pursuit of unshackled greed. From March 2019 to April 2020, the first year of the law’s implementation, the FFF said the rice traders ran away with P57.5 billion in profits.

The total loss to the Filipino rice farmers was at least P40 billion.

Let this fact and figure sink in. Rice farmers, the public face of poverty, and engaged in one of the most marginal activities known to Filipinos, lost P40 billion. Rice traders, many of them part of the top 1 percent, gained P57.5 billion from a side activity.

The quack economists, who enabled the passage of the RTL on the ground that it would bring down rice prices and benefit the consumers, were again debunked by the FFF study.

The FFF studied two scenarios. First it computed gains to consumers using the average prices of rice that included those periods when rice retail prices were abnormally high. Then it made another computation on consumer gains using the reference period of March 2017 to February 2018, when rice prices were relatively stable. The first scenario yielded a gain of P2 per day for every Filipino rice consumer; the second showed a P1 daily gain for every rice consumer.

The impact of the RTL on the rice farmers, meanwhile, was one unfathomable misery, the kind that brings to mind the Case- Deaton study. That was the 2020 study on the impact of the loss of decent-paying jobs in white, rural America. The study highlighted the “deaths of despair” that roiled rural America that was rooted in the loss of decent-paying jobs. The RTL so depressed the Filipino farmer, I wrote in a previous column, that he is “a dead man walking.”

The reckless and unalloyed greed of the rice traders, of course, catapulted the Philippines to the rank of No. 1 rice importer in 2019 and again the top rice importer for the current year. We import more rice than China, an industrial powerhouse with more than 1.3 billion people.

What happened to the supposed “enhanced” rice production program funded by the money pooled from the tariff?” Enhanced “rice production, in theory, would get us off the embarrassing list as the top importer of rice. Small rice farmers have this sinking feeling that sad Philippines would again be the top rice importer in 2021, in 2022 and beyond.

A feckless Department of Agriculture, a posse of quacks doing quick policy fixes, and a policy establishment with only disdain and loathing for small farmers form the nexus of the ills that seek to obliterate Philippine agriculture and the small farmers.

Where we are No. 1 — the top importer of rice despite a long and glorious rice farming tradition — is a source of global embarrassment.


Vietnam seeks to bolster rice exports to Africa

Rice exports of Vietnam to African nations have been on the rise and the upward trend may continue in the next year.

VNA Wednesday, September 09, 2020 14:20 

Description: Vietnam seeks to bolster rice exports to Africa hinh anh 1Vietnam's rice exports to African nations have been on the rise (Illustrative photo:

Hanoi (VNA) – Rice exports of Vietnam to African nations have been on the rise and the upward trend may continue in the next year.

The Asia-African Market Department at the Ministry of Industry and Trade has joined hands with trade offices to arrange webinars introducing potential of the African and Middle East markets, which drew hundreds of Vietnamese firms.

African countries, especially those in the western region, have high demand for rice because local production cannot meet demand, especially during years with natural hazards, crop failure, political instability and diseases.

Algeria, in particular, relies entirely on rice imports, according to the Vietnam Trade Office in the country.

The surge in its rice consumption is attributed to the increase of Asian migrants in the country, particularly Chinese workers. Algeria purchased about 100,000 tonnes of rice per year, equivalent to 1 percent of the country’s food consumption.

Vietnam shipped in excess of 16,390 tonnes of rice to the African country in 2019, fetching 6.28 million USD, a leap of 20.8 percent in value from the previous year. The figure hit 14.58 million USD in the first six months of 2020, accounting for 58 percent of Vietnam’s total export value to Algeria.

Similarly, Senegal imports up to 800,000 tonnes of rice a year, primarily broken rice.

Vietnam’s rice exports to Senegal witnessed a sharp increase to 96,665 tonnes in 2019, earning 32.62 million USD, rising 13.1-fold in volume and 10.2-fold in value.

The country shipped rice worth 26.47 million USD in the first seven months of 2020, a year-on-year surge of 77.2 percent.

This year, Senegal is projected to import 1.25 million tonnes of the grain.

In both markets, Vietnamese rice faces tough competition from products of India, Thailand, Pakistan, Uruguay and China, among others.

The Vietnam Trade Office is keeping a close eye on adjustments in trade policies and rice import demand in the region, as well as import and payment regulations, especially in the context of COVID-19, to promptly inform businesses./.


The Unique Biodiversity of Rice Fields on The Rice Stuff Podcast 


By Deborah Willenborg


ARLINGTON, VA -- There is no crop that provides the wildlife habitat rice fields do -- from birds and waterfowl to invertebrates and even now fish -- more than 220 species call rice fields home.  The great opportunities for the planet and the challenges for growers associated with this impressive fact is the topic for the new episode of The Rice Stuff podcast.

California rice farmer and chair of the USA Rice Conservation Committee Leo LaGrande and Ducks Unlimited's Director of Conservation Programs Dr. Scott Manley join hosts Lydia Holmes and Steve Linscombe to talk biodiversity of rice fields and why that makes U.S. rice so special.

"We're looking for the win-win-win situation and rice represents one of those where you have food that is produced to feed the world, you have a crop that is environmentally friendly and provides wildlife habitat for a myriad of species, and also at the end of the day generates a wonderful economy for rural areas," explained Manley.
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Linscombe shared some of the dozens of bird species he has encountered in rice fields over his lifetime and LaGrande talked about the unique new salmon project going on in California fields.

"Rice has such a great environmental story to tell, and this is just one aspect of it, but it's so important to get this information out there," said Holmes.  "I was glad we could dedicate an episode to this but even so, we just scratched the surface and will return to it for sure."

New episodes of The Rice Stuff are published on the second and fourth Tuesday of every month and can be found on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher. 

All episodes and additional information can be found on the podcast's dedicated website at  The site includes a "Podcast 101" section on the "About" page for people new to the medium and a means to reach out to the show hosts and guests via the "Talk to Us" button.


ARTICLE: Rice has special...

Shahzad Malik Updated 08 Sep 2020

ARTICLE: Rice has special significance in Asia, where about 90% of the rice is produced and consumed as staple food. Though in Pakistan it is the second most favorite food after wheat, even then increasing mouths to feed in the country and decreasing land and water resources available for rice cultivation needs serious and concrete efforts through research & development to come up with such rice technologies that will result in higher yields.

Pakistan's total population is slightly over 220 million and at current growth rate of over 2.1 percent it is expected to become the 4th most populous country of the world in 2050.

Involvement of seed companies from private sector is crucial to meet the increased demand for hybrid seed.

Realizing the importance of private seed research, Guard Agricultural Research & Services (GUARD) established in 1989 launched research to develop new hybrid seed in collaboration with Hunan Rice Research Institute (HRRI) Hunan, China in 1999. Later on for commercialization of hybrid rice we made joint venture with Yuan LongPing High-Tech Agriculture Co., Ltd, China which is off shoot of HRRI, having share holding of eminent scientist and breeder, Professor Yuan LongPing who is inventor of hybrid rice technology and is also known as "father of hybrid rice", with special focus on looming water scarcity and climate change threats which are posing serious threat to national food security.

So far, Guard alone has introduced 10 new hybrid varieties for general cultivation all over Pakistan. These all are coarse varieties generally sown in Sindh and South Punjab having tolerance against heat and water scarcity. The company is also on the way to introduce a basmati hybrid having an average yield up to 80 mounds per acre with an average grain length of 8 mm. We are very near to achieving this target after hard work of five to six years; our scientists in collaboration with our Chinese partners have developed basmati hybrids out of which one variety is giving 75 mounds per acres and average grain length of 7.4 mm, slightly short of the target of 80 mounds per acre. Our scientists have been tasked to develop heat, drought tolerant and salinity resistant varieties.

Guard commercialized Super Basmati in 1991, which was eventually approved by Government in 1997 for commercial cultivation after 40 percent of Punjab area came under its cultivation. The Company after introduction of coarse hybrid has also started local production of hybrid rice seed. We are the leading company by developing such a large number of hybrids and starting local commercial hybrid rice seed production.

The need to bring new hybrids of rice is because the yield of rice varieties is low and stagnant. Low rice yields do not match with increasing cost of inputs; due to increase in cost of production Pakistan is becoming un-competitive in international market. Land resources are declining, water shortage is becoming a problem, solution is adoption of hybrid rice.

Since the introduction of hybrid rice in Sindh, income of rice farmers has doubled due to double yield of hybrid rice as compared to IRRI varieties, doubled income of farmers, resulted in poverty alleviation, socio-economic changes in rural areas of Sindh and South Punjab. Due to early maturing hybrid rice crop, timely sowing of Rabi crops is ensured. Timely sown Rabi crops give positive and significant increase in per unit production / per acre yield which consequently increase farmer income. Due to shorter maturity period, hybrid rice crop can be planted in late season. Further to shorter maturity period, hybrid rice crop consumes less irrigation as compared to traditional rice varieties. Hybrid rice crop can be successfully grown in stress areas like saline, drought and water logged as compared to inbred.

Success in getting more per acre yield has paved the way for producing more non-basmati rice and increasing its exports thus fetching more revenue for the cash strapped country. There is also a need of more production and supply to explore new markets and achieve the target of US 5 billion dollars export in the next five years, hybrid seeds can make this possible.

High yielding hybrid rice area is going to cross 50 percent in three years from present 25 to 30 percent paddy coverage, yielding additional two million tons output.

All efforts of introducing hybrid rice seed in Pakistan is being commanded by national seed companies mainly in collaboration of Chinese leadership in research & development with 'Guard Agri' having the lion's share. Several multinational seed companies did try to introduce hybrid rice seed but could not outperform national seed companies. Their varieties were less rewarding for farmers due to lack of jump in production while seed cost was also high when compared to what local seed companies were offering.

Being founding chairman of Seed Association of Pakistan (SAP) and Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) and former President of Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI), I believe with untiring efforts of local scientists, the role of private sector in seed research and development is increasing day by day, as I have closely worked with Government and Private researchers.

With doubling of hybrid rice seed coverage from present 25-30 percent to over 50 percent in next three years, national rice production is potentially expected to be increased by hefty two million tons. At present yield is 6.9 million ton from 2.79 million hectares. By doubling the area from 25 percent to 50 percent, the expected increase in yield will be around 2 million tons and total yield will be around 9 million tons.

In total rice hybridization, around 90 percent area of long-grain paddy is in Sindh province while 10 percent in South Punjab. As aromatic basmati rice is first choice for farmers in Punjab, coarse varieties area is still low. However, with production of hybrid rice seed in central Punjab, paddy area in Punjab is likely to increase significantly in coming years, he observed.

The major factor behind success of national seed companies in large-scale acceptance of rice hybrid seed has been development of heat-resistance and drought tolerant varieties. Multinational seed companies had varieties that could not perform well in harsh summer weather of Sindh and Southern Punjab. Long grain hybrid rice that substituted IRRI-6 in the coastal belt and central Sindh is a major success as its export market is rapidly evolving in the favor of farmers and exporters.

Consequently, our long grain rice is gaining grounds globally with much ease by competing major producers and exporting countries of the world like Vietnam and Thailand.

Our company has emerged as a leader in demand driven research in agriculture, challenging the monopoly of public sector institutions and multinationals.

With great passion to increase productivity of farming sector, we are actively striving to achieve food security in an untiring effort spanning over past 30 years. We successfully pioneered the introduction of hybrid rice seed in Pakistan with collaboration of Chinese scientists for which Government of Pakistan honoured me Sitara-e-Imtiaz for contribution in revolution of rice production which doubled the income of farmers, resulting in changing socio-economic conditions and poverty alleviation in rural Sindh. The surplus rice production resulted in increased rice (non-basmati) exports bringing in valuable foreign exchange.

Shahzad Malik (SI) Chief Executive, Guard Agriculture Research & Services (Pvt.) Ltd



Signs your cooked rice has gone bad


Uncooked rice is one of those long-lasting pantry staples that you can count on when you're all out of fresh groceries. Cooked rice? Not so much. According to Still Tasty, cooked rice lasts about 4 to 6 days in the fridge when it's in a covered airtight container or a resealable plastic bag. But even uncooked rice won't last forever, and it's not always obvious when rice is past its prime. Does It Go Bad helpfully notes that bugs, mold, and changes in color are signs that you should not eat your uncooked rice. If your cooked rice smells weird or feels slimy, that also belongs in the trash and not in your mouth.


The Kitchn identifies another cue that your rice might be spoiled: it's become hard and dry. The longer cooked rice sits in the fridge, the drier it gets. If it sits for more than a few days, it may even become really crunchy, meaning it's reached the end of its shelf life. 


What happens when you eat spoiled rice?


If you ignore the signs and eat that week-old rice anyway, you could be risking food poisoning. The United Kingdom's National Health Service warns that reheating rice can cause food poisoning. Rice can contain spores of bacteria that could cause diarrhea and vomiting. "The longer cooked rice is left at room temperature," NHS advises, "the more likely it is that the bacteria or toxins could make the rice unsafe to eat."


NHS also suggests that you serve rice immediately after cooking it, that you refrigerate it within an hour of cooking, that you make sure your rice is "steaming hot all the way through" after reheating, and that you never reheat rice more than once. One study even found that eating 5-day-old rice, in extreme cases, could potentially be deadly (via ScienceAlert). That doesn't mean that eating rice that's more than a few days old is definitely going to kill you, but it does mean that you should exercise caution, pay attention to the signs, and be sure to store and heat your rice properly.








New Recipes for the New Year

Sep 8, 2020  |  by Elizabeth Kurtz

Sweet and delicious menu ideas for Yom Tov and for all year around.

It’s a wonderful time of year to include the sweet flavors of Rosh Hashanah. Apples, honey, fruits, and cinnamon are aromas and tastes that are warm and perfect for the fall in addition to Rosh Hashanah. These are just a few of the menu additions I’m including at my table. The ribs freeze well, the aroma from the rice smells like it’s going to be a sweet New Year, and the dessert is both adult and kid friendly and definitely more fun than any apple cake. The honey cookies are the best I’ve had and they make a very large amount so they are perfect to send over to a friend too.

Serves 5

It’s best to braise short ribs a day (or at least several hours) ahead of serving. First, this allows you to chill the sauce so it can be defatted thoroughly. Also, the flavors only get better with time. To reheat, arrange the meat snugly in a baking dish with sauce, cover with foil, and warm in the oven.

  • 4-1/2 to 5 lb. short ribs
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil or coconut oil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced onions
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped dried figs
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh garlic
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 2 whole cinnamon sticks
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup lower-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 3 tablespoons pomegranate seeds, optional

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F. In an 8-quart Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat. Season the ribs with salt and pepper and add half of the ribs to the pot (or as many as will fit without overlap), and cook, until nicely browned on all sides, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer the ribs to a platter and repeat with the remaining ribs.

Pour off all but a thin layer of fat from the pan. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and heat until simmering. Add carrots and onions to the pan. Cook, stirring and scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan, until soft and lightly browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the figs, ginger, garlic, star anise, and cinnamon sticks, and stir until fully coated. Cook for a minute or two, then add 1/2 cup of the red wine into the pot and cook, stirring to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot, then bring to a boil and reduce until the liquid is reduced to about 2 tablespoons, about 1 minute.

Transfer all the ribs (and any juices that have accumulated) back into the pot. Pour the tomatoes, chicken broth, soy sauce, remaining 1/2 cup of red wine, and 1 cup water over the ribs, arrange the ribs as evenly as possible.

Bring the liquid to a simmer, cover, and put the pot in the oven. Cook, turning the ribs with tongs about every 40 minutes, until they are fork tender, about 2 ½ hours. Season to taste with salt and pepper if needed.

Serve the ribs with the sauce spooned over. Sprinkle with parsley, mint, and pomegranate seeds.

Serves 8

This is a wonderful Yom Tov fish because it incorporates some of the traditional flavors of the holiday, including pomegranate and honey. Although this makes for a nice first course, its showstopper appearance and great taste make it a main course in my home. It can be made a day ahead of time and rewarmed or served at room temperature. Do not freeze prepared fish, as the defrosting process changes the taste and texture. Frozen fish can be used, just defrost in the refrigerator, rinse, and pat dry before cooking.

  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3 medium leeks, dark green tops removed and discarded, white part halved, and thinly sliced
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • ¾ teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup red wine
  • 3 tablespoons pomegranate juice
  • 3 teaspoons honey
  • 8 (4-ounce) cod fillets
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup pomegranate seeds

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add leeks, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper and brown for 12 minutes, until lightly golden. Add balsamic vinegar, red wine, pomegranate juice and honey and bring to a boil and cook until syrupy and thickened, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat.

In a separate cast iron skillet, heat remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Sprinkle cod with onion powder, paprika, remaining 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Sear cod, top side down, for 3 minutes, until slightly browned. Gently flip fish over, add ½ of leek mixture to the skillet and place in the oven to finish cooking, about 6-8 minutes.

To serve, transfer fish and onion mixture onto a platter. Top with remaining leek mixture and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.

Alternatively, cod can be cooked in a 400°F oven for 12-14 minutes. Make the balsamic pomegranate jam as instructed and serve over fish with a sprinkle of pomegranate seeds.

Photo by Healthy Fitness Meals

Serves 5

There is something about roasting vegetables that brings out the natural sweet caramel flavor. For Rosh Hashanah I often sprinkle them with pomegranate seeds and sometimes even roast dates with them too.

  • 12 carrots, peeled, and sliced in spears (or colorful carrots or heirloom carrots)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • A few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, optional
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet.

Slice carrots, at an angle, into 2 to 3 inch pieces. Transfer cut carrots to a large mixing bowl.

Drizzle with oil and honey over carrots and add fresh thyme then season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat and spread out in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet.

Roast for about 20 minutes, or until carrots are caramelized and tender. Garnish with parsley and pomegranate seeds.

Photo by Rookie Cookie

Serves 6

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 Granny Smith apple cored and diced
  • 1½ cup basmati rice
  • 2½ cups chicken stock or water
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • ⅓ cup chopped dried figs
  • 1½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add diced onion and apple; sauté until onion is translucent and apple and onion are tender, 5-6 minutes. Add rice and stir often until lightly browned and toasty about, 6-8 minutes. Add chicken stock, raisins, figs, kosher salt, allspice, cinnamon, and cinnamon stick, and stir. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer about 15-20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. Serve warm.

Photo by Brown Eyed Baker

Serves 6

This is a fun and versatile dessert that is great for a Yom Tov meal. I use vanilla soy creamy ice cream. The apple sauce is great in crepes, on its own and covered in this yummy chocolate. The magic chocolate sauce hardens when it is poured onto cold ice cream.

  • 2 pints pareve vanilla ice cream

Apple Cinnamon Sauce

  • ½ cup margarine
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups sliced apples (I mix varieties, as long as they are cooking ones, for effect)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a heavy saucepan, melt the margarine over medium heat. Add wine and bring to a boil. Cook until wine has reduced slightly, about 5 minutes. Add apples, cinnamon, and sugar. Stir to coat.

Continue cooking for about 10 minutes, then stir in the lemon juice and vanilla.

Lower the heat to a simmer and cover; continue cooking for 20 - 40 minutes, stirring occasionally until the apples break up and sauce is chunky.

Magic Chocolate Sauce

Serves 5

  • 8 ounces chocolate, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil

Pinch of kosher salt

In a small saucepan, combine the chocolate and oil. Melt over low heat, stirring while melting, until smooth and uniformly liquid. Stir in the salt.

Store at room temperature.

To serve: Spoon apple cinnamon sauce into dishes. Scoop ice cream on top, and pour chocolate sauce over to harden. Serve immediately.

Photo by Key

Makes 4 - 5 dozen

Classic and good! For real, these are good and moist and easy to make.

  • 4 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup honey
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¾ cup oil
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon orange zest
  • 4 cups flour

In the bowl of a mixer, beat eggs, vanilla, honey, sugar and oil, until well combined, about 2 minutes. Add baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, orange zest and flour and beat gently until combined. Refrigerate dough for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Roll cookies into balls and place on lined baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake for 13 - 15 minutes or until lightly browned but soft in the center.


Elizabeth Kurtz

More by this Author >

Elizabeth Kurtz is the creator of and columnist for the Jerusalem Post,, and other national magazines. She is a featured chef on videos for Recipe Box TV on and She is passionate about food and entertaining and loves teaching cooking classes. Her first cookbook titled, CELEBRATE, food, family, shabbos is in stores now, on and "celebrates", 200 original recipes easy enough for everyday and special enough for Shabbos or any holiday. She can be reached at


Korea to start purchasing rice for emergency reserves

Posted : 2020-09-08 11:30

Updated : 2020-09-08 11:31



Description: Gettyimagesbank


The government said Tuesday it will start the annual purchase of rice for emergency reserves next week in line with efforts to stabilize the market price and brace for potential natural disasters.

Under the plan, the country will purchase 340,000 tons of rice for the reserves by the end of this year, along with 10,000 tons for overseas aid, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

The emergency reserve system is designed to store staple grains as a contingency against natural disasters or other food supply crises.

The government normally purchases around 17 to 18 percent of the annual consumption amount, about two months worth, as a backup.

The government plans to provide an advance payment of 30,000 won (US$25.2) per 40-kilogram sack of rice and cover the remaining amount by the end of this year.

The country has not yet set this year's price. It came to 65,750 won per sack in 2019.

The country also purchases sacks for overseas aid under the ASEAN+3 Emergency Rice Reserve project, which is aimed at safeguarding the region's food security i,brace%20for%20potential%20natural%20disasters.



Why India's Agricultural Exports Are Increasing Sharply This Year

byM R Subramani-Sep 8, 2020 12:59 PM

Description: Why India's Agricultural Exports Are Increasing Sharply This YearA paddy field in Mandya, Karnataka.


·         With coronavirus proving to be a problem for exports in some countries — a huge backlog has built up in Brazil for example — India has gained this year.

If it can impress buyers with quality and competitive prices, it could sustain the current trend in the long run as well.

India’s agricultural exports surged 23 per cent in the first quarter of the current fiscal, mainly in view of higher rice and sugar exports.

The higher shipments come despite the country being under lockdown due to the spread of novel coronavirus (Covid-19).



Crysbro strengthens Sri Lanka’s food security agenda with seed paddy production

Author LBO
Posted on September 8, 2020 | AgricultureIn Pictures

Cementing its continued commitment to bolstering the country’s food security agenda, leading poultry producer Crysbro recently initiated operations on seed paddy production in a bid to elevate the local rice production capacity. Spread across a 1000-acre stretch of land in Kantale’s Suriyapura Village, Crysbro’s operations are supported by a state-of-the-art laboratory and technical facility set on the company’s farm in Kantale.

At present, Crysbro produces BG352, BG358, BG366, BW367 and BG300 varieties of seed With prime focus on soil and water conservation, this mega project is operated in a strictly eco-friendly fashion.

“At the time of Crysbro’s massive investment in Kantale’s Suriyapura village, most of its residents did not have a permanent source of income and crop cultivation was limited to just one season of cultivation during the availability of rain water. However, Crysbro brought the village to life with the introduction of seed paddy production which brought employment opportunities and a steady source of income for most of the village’s residents, stated Crysbro Senior Marketing Manager Amores Sellar.

Although Sri Lanka is self-sufficient in rice, the high cost of seed paddy is currently forcing numbers of farmers to move away from paddy cultivation to other, more viable crops. It was this realisation that inspired Crysbro to produce and provide seed paddy to these farming communities at concessionary prices, in a bid to strengthen the country’s rice production and thereby its food security.

“Among the numerous other effects of the COVID-19′ epidemic, was its hit on the food supply chain in the country. With the deep shortage of imported food items, people were forced to rely solely on local produce. This unforeseen crisis has inadvertently shed light on a looming problem of food security and has presented us with an opportunity to enforce Crysbro’s deep commitment to this cause by focusing our efforts on securing local rice production through seed paddy production.” he went on to comment.

Crysbro is currently cultivating rice and maize on a large scale, benefiting more than 10,000 farming families in the Mahiyanganaya, Moneragala and Anuradhapura districts. Suriyapura, a village inhabited by people directly and deeply affected by the 30-year long civil war, has made great strides economically and socially with Crysbro’s many initiatives and investment in this region.

Established in 1972 with just 100 chicks and a deep desire to be a market leader in quality and innovation, Crysbro has emerged as Sri Lanka’s first and most sophisticated, fully vertically-integrated poultry producer. Its operations span grandparent and parent farms, hatcheries, broiler farms and feed mills. This thriving ‘Farm-to-Fork’ concept has formed the core of its success. In turn, it has yielded unprecedented benefit for numerous stakeholders including direct and indirect employees, outgrowers, domestic maize farmers and ultimately Sri Lankan consumers.

(Media Release)

Kebbi lacks capacity to tackle flood disasters — Reps


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As lawmakers beg FG to intervene

Description: Kebbi lacks capacity to tackle flood disasters — Reps

By Tordue Salem – Abuja

The Kebbi State Caucus of the House of Representatives has declared their State government as incapable of handling the devastating floods in the state, without the assistance of the federal government.

Devastating floods have swept off huge swathes of rice farms and wrecked buildings, amounting to billions of losses in farms and structures.

The Chairman of the Caucus, Rep. Muhammad Umar Jega, at a press briefing, said an emergency response to the disaster from the government of President Muhammadu  Buhari is required.

Confronted by VANGUARD with the fact that environmental issues are on the residual list of the 1999 Constitution and should therefore be solely handled by State governments, the Caucus responded that “Yes you are right, but the magnitude of the disaster, is too much for the state to handle”.

The Caucus lamented that the floods were a thorough set back for the economy of the state.

“The flood is a serious setback toward addressing food security in the country, the government, therefore, needs to address the shortfall of the food supply chain to reduce the hardship and cost of food items in the market and also address the severe environmental degradation, caused by the flood. This may include adequate and early preparation for dry-season farming and reconstruction of major infrastructure affected in the state”.

The Caucus lamented that “The estimated cost of the disaster is over ten billion Naira (N10,000,0000.00) across the state, early preparation for dry season farming, should commence in earnest with the provision of seedlings, fertilizer and other inputs to be made available to the farmers in good time”.





12:00 AM, September 08, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:20 AM, September 08, 2020

Rice theft video goes viral

Our Correspondent, Patuakhali

It is a way of stealing that many of you probably have never heard of. The whole process is quite simple -- insert a plastic pipe into a sack of rice and wait until a certain amount leaks out through it.

Using this method, a group of perpetrators led by Rabindranath Biswas, officer-in-charge of four food warehouses in Barguna's Amtali upazila, had allegedly been stealing rice from the government warehouses for a long time.

They used to steal three to four kilograms of rice from every 50kg sacks.

Nobody suspected anything in this regard until a video of stealing rice went viral on social media on Thursday night.

Sarwar Mahmud, director-general of the food department, came across the video and paid a surprise visit to one of the food warehouses in Amtali on Friday and formed a three-member committee, headed by Patuakhali District Food Controller Liaquat Hossain, to investigate the incident.

Four food warehouses in Amtali have been sealed to carry out a fair probe. The probe report will be submitted within this week.

Contacted, Rabindranath Biswas claimed that the video that went viral was not recorded in his warehouse.

He claimed that a vested quarter was trying to frame him in a conspiracy.

Sarwar said if the investigation proves the theft of rice, lawful action will be taken against those involved.

Maize-Soybean Intercropping To Increase Soybean Yield In Pakistan

September 8, 2020September 8, 2020 Binish Ali increaseintercroppingMaize-soybeanPakistanSoybeanyield

Maize being the highest yielding cereal crop in the world. It has significant importance for countries like Pakistan, where rapidly increasing population has already out stripped the available food supplies. Maize ranks third most grown crop in the world.


By : Binish Ali, Ibrar Hussain, Syed Zeeshan Haider and Fayaz Hussain



It is grown an area of more than 118 million hectares with an annual production of about 600 million metric tons in the world. In Pakistan, maize is the fourth largest grown crop after wheat, cotton and rice. The area under maize here is over one million hectares and production 3.5 million metric tons. Punjab, KPK, Sindh and Baluchistan contributes 39%, 56%, 5% and 3% of the total area under maize respectively.
At present, maize is grown on an area of about 1.3 million hectares in Pakistan. In this way, the nation’s maize yield can be confirmed and greatly increased. More importantly, Pakistani farmers can harvest considerable soybean meanwhile. That will definitely produce considerable economic benefit for Pakistani people.


Soybean (Glycine max L.) belongs to Leguminosae family. It is originated from china. It is a summer crop. It ranks first among the oilseed crops in world. Brazil’s 2019/20 soybean production is estimated at a record 125 million metric tons (mmt) and the area under its cultivation is about 36.9 million hectares (mha),. Total estimated yield is about 3.39 tons per hectare. This year Brazil is also expected to overtake the United States as the world’s leading soybean producer. US is producing 96.615 million metric tons(mmt) , Argentina 53.000 million metric tons(mmt) and China 17.100 million metric tons(mmt).


During the marketing year (MY) 2018/19 Pakistan purchases of imported soybeans were estimated to reach at 2.0 million metric tons (MMT). Soybean imports during MY 2019/20 are projected at 2.5 (MMT).
It is an very important crop due to high content of protein and oil. It has high nutritional value. Soybean products are directly used for human consumption including soymilk, soya sauce, protein extracts and concentrates. It is a biggest source for production of vegetable oil and oilseed meal for animal feeding. It contains 36-40 proteins, 26% carbohydrates, 18-24% fat and 18% micro and macro elements in seed.
In Pakistan, soybean is a negligible crop because badly affected by soil and environmental conditions that’s why yield is low. Its yield potential is very high but its actual yield is very low than rest of the world. There are many factors limiting soybean production at farmers farm such as improper planting time, climatic factors, low germination percentage poor quality seed and irrigation shortage problems. Exploring the soybean varietal and agronomic flaws can help us to bridge this gap. Quick germination and even crop stands are essential for obtaining higher yield levels

Maize and Soybean Intercropping:

China has introduced an intercropping technology that can enhance the yield of maize and soybean in Pakistan. This technology uses maize-soybean strips and is set to be implemented all over Pakistan and in other countries Africa and Europe such as Ghana and Sweden. The increased maize yields and supplemental harvest of soybean will not only reduce the need to import it for domestic use, but also improve Pakistan’s food security.
At the first time there were some doubts about the technology’s performance because many local farmers had not seen this kind of farming model before. “As long as they follow our technical instructions to plant the two crops, this technology is sure to work out,” Yang said with confidence. “Actually many countries are researching into intercropping. But across the globe our maize-soybean strip intercropping may be the only mature intercropping system that is well-equipped with all-around technologies of field configuration, fertilization, pest control, etc. and promoted on such a massive scale.” Furthermore, this technology has realized mechanization from sowing seeds, crop management to harvest. It should be noted that after 18 years’ research and development, in February, 2020, Yang Wenyu’s maize-soybean strip intercropping technology was included in China’s “No. 1 Central Document” of top-priority by CPC Central Committee and the State Council of the People’s Republic of China to be promoted vigorously and widely in more regions of China.



Professor Yang Wenyu, of Sichuan Agricultural University, Chengdu developed the intercropping technology in which both crops maize and soybean will protect each other by planting them in the same field. When intercropping is used with these two crops, they enhance each other’s growth and yield good quality. Maize gives shade to soybean and minimizes the effect of high temperature while the soybean’s nitrogen fixation stimulate growth in the maize crops.

Implementation in Pakistan:

In Pakistan, four demonstrations have been arranged distinctly in Bahawalpur, Chakwal, Islamabad and Layyah. Yang Wenyu’s team is collaborating with Pakistan’s National Agriculture Research Center and PMAS-Arid Agriculture University to make high-yield demonstrations. “High-yield demonstrations in different regions will prove the technology’s value and receive local people and government’s recognition,” said Yang. They are also working on technical parameters especially for Pakistan. As agriculture is among the six key socio-economic fields under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) cooperation, they believe the completion of maize-soybean strip intercropping technology will carry more benefits to Pakistani and Chinese people in the future.

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Pakistan’s Crop Yields:

According to Wenyu, Pakistan can increase its yield by using maize-soybean strip inter-cropping technology, the yield of maize can reach upto 10,500 kg per hectare with an additional increase in soybean production from 1,350 to 1,650 kg/ha in Pakistan’s irrigated areas. In rain-fed areas, the yield of maize and soybean can reach upto 6,000 kg/ha and 4,500 to 1,500 kg/ha respectively.

Benefits to Agriculture:

These advancements would ideally happen in the 1.3 million acres of land currently used to plant maize crops only. At present Pakistan is the sixth most populous country in the world and the highest population rate. Therefore, limited area of land that can be used for agriculture. This is why planting two crops in the same field can increase production along with other benefits. The country’s agricultural areas are also opulent with sunlight which encourages the growth of soybean crops. This increase in domestic production would result in a considerable economic advantage for the farmers of Pakistan

Binish Ali, Ibrar Hussain, Syed Zeeshan Haider and Fayaz Hussain supervised by Dr. Haroon Zaman Khan Department of Agronomy University of Agriculture Faisalabad