Tuesday, October 20, 2020

20th October,2020 Daily Global Regional Local Rice E-Newsletter



Army-run farms produce ample stocks of rice for sale to troops at subsidized prices


October 18, 2020

In an effort to contribute towards promoting self-sufficiency in rice and ensuring food security in the country, troops have produced an ample stock of paddy through Army-run farms of the Directorate of Agriculture and Livestock for distribution among military personnel at subsidized prices.

Under the multifaceted ‘Thuru Mithuru-Nawa Ratak’ crop cultivation and afforestation project initiated by the Army Commander, paddy harvests of the Maha-2019 and Yala-2020 seasons were collected from newly cultivated Sri Jayewardenepura paddy fields adjoining Army HQ and from other Army farms elsewhere, including organically-produced local varieties of ‘suwandel’, ‘kaluheeneti’ etc.

The species were grown with minimal use of harmful pesticides and chemicals. The stocks of rice free of toxic chemicals produced in the farms were, as instructed by the Army Commander, delivered for sale to Army welfare stalls managed by the Security Force HQ-East, Regimental HQs at Panagoda Army Cantonment and Army Seva Vanitha Unit-managed welfare shops at Kendalanda, Manning Town, Rukmalgama, Panaluwa, Jawatte and Wattala.

On the eve of Army Day on Friday (9), Brigadier Indrajith Kandanaarachchi, Director, Directorate of Agriculture and Livestock, delivered a stock of 25,000 kgs of Army-produced rice to the Army Seva Vanitha Unit (ASVU) at the HQ for distribution among ASVU-run Army welfare shops under the supervision of Mrs Sujeewa Nelson, President, ASVU.

Lieutenant Colonel Nishantha Muttanthirige, Commanding Officer, 6 (V) Sri Lanka Army General Service Corps at Kandakadu, on behalf of the Director Agriculture and Livestock, handed over the stock to Colonel Sumeda Balasuriya and Colonel Aruna Wijekoon of the ASVU office for sale to troops at subsidized prices at welfare shops.


Easter Sunday probe in tatters: Director CID transferred following internal inquiry into Riyaj release


October 19, 2020


AG wants report within one month

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Close on the heels of Attorney General Dappula de Livera, PC, alleging serious lapses on the part of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), in respect of the probe on Riyaj Bathiudeen’s alleged involvement with those responsible for the Easter Sunday attacks, the premier investigating agency’s Director SSP Prasanna de Alwis has been moved out.

The transfer took place consequent to an unprecedented meeting the AG had with the new Director CID Prasad Ranasinghe and three other officers, including SSP Alwis. The AG found fault with the CID over the way the police had released Riyaj arrested last April on the basis of irrefutable evidence of direct links with at least one Easter Sunday suicide bomber.

The National Police Commission (NPC) has cleared the CID Director’s transfer as Director, Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) whereas SSP G.N. de Zoysa received the CID Director’s post. Zoysa had been the Director of the recently formed unit responsible for inquiring into ill-gotten wealth. At the time, SSP de Alwis received appointment as




Explained: How Punjab mandis procure more paddy than state produces; the UP-Bihar link


According to Punjab govt officials, a large amount of paddy from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar is illegally brought to the state, to be sold at the higher price it would fetch in the mandis here.

·         Written By Anju Agnihotri Chaba , Edited By Explained Desk | Jalandhar |

·         Updated: October 20, 2020 8:25:16 am

Description: Paddy procurement punjab, Paddy procurement MSP, paddy msp, Bihar UP Paddy procurement, Punjab grain markets, express explained, indian expressA grain market in Ludhiana. Government agencies bought 163.82 lakh tonnes of paddy in Punjab mandis in 2019-20. (Photo by Gurmeet Singh)

For the past few years, mandis in Punjab have been procuring at Minimum Support Price (MSP) more paddy (non-Basmati) than the state produces. This is because a large amount of paddy from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar is illegally brought to Punjab, to be sold at the higher price it would fetch in the mandis here.

Several cases have been registered in the recent past, including during the current procurement season, against this practice. The government’s action generally ends at confiscating some trucks, carrying a few thousand tonnes of paddy, and registering some cases.

The illegal trade, however, is of far more than a few thousand tonnes of paddy. If the total production and total purchase of paddy in Punjab in the past three years are taken into account, the figure of illegally sold paddy arrived at is in millions of tonnes. How? The Indian Express explains.

How much paddy was purchased by the government in these years?

Almost all the crop brought to mandis by the farmers is purchased by the government. In Punjab, government agencies bought 163.82 lakh tonnes (LT), 170.46 LT and 179.56 LT paddy in 2019-20, 2018-19 and 2017-18 respectively, as per data from the Food Corporation of India (FCI), which purchases it for the central pool.

How much area was under paddy cultivation in Punjab in these three years?

Punjab agriculture department’s records show that 22.91 lakh hectares were under paddy cultivation in 2019-20, 25.94 lakh hectares in 2018-19 and 25.19 lakh hectares in 2017-18.

What was the average paddy yield of the state?

According to the state agriculture department, the total average yield of paddy in Punjab was recorded at 6,635 kg (6.6 tonnes) per hectare in 2019-20, 6,532 kg (6.5 tonnes) in 2018-19 and 6,516 kg (6.5 tonnes) in 2017-18.

Don’t miss from Explained | What is MSP and how is it determined?

What should be the total production of paddy in Punjab in this period?

As per the crop cutting experiments across Punjab by the state agriculture department, the total production should be 152 Lakh tonnes (15.2 million tonnes) in 2019-20, 169.44 LTs (16.9 Million tonnes) 2018-19 and 164.14 LTs (16.4 million tonnes) in 2017-18. Thus, in all the three years, government agencies purchased more paddy than Punjab’s total production, as per the average yield.

Experts said that even if we take 1% or 2% more than the actual average yield (though the government’s estimates are more or less equal to the actual), the amount of the paddy coming to mandis is still much higher.

Moreover, farmers don’t bring their entire crop to mandis –– they keep some for self-consumption and for seeds.

A senior officer in the Food Corporation of India (FCI) said: “Even if they keep 2-3 million tonnes of the crop for self- consumption, one can well imagine how much extra paddy is being transported to Punjab, from Bihar and UP.”

Difference in total production and total purchase

In 2019-20, 11.82 lakh tonnes (1.2 million tonnes) more paddy was sold in Punjab’s mandis than produced in the state. In 2018-19, the figure around 1.02 lakh tonnes, and in 2017-18, it was nearly 15.42 lakh tonnes (1.5 million tonnes).

“If the amount of paddy Punjab farmers consumed themselves is also factored in, the transportation from other states is not less than 4-5 million tonnes (40 to 50 lakh tonnes) every year,” said a senior officer in the state agriculture department.


Who is getting this profit?

In UP and Bihar, paddy is hardly procured by the government, and is sold much below the MSP to traders.

According to officials, several rice millers and a large number of rice exporters, with the connivance of some procurement agencies officials, are involved in the Punjab racket.

They get paddy in UP and Bihar at the rate of Rs 900 to Rs 1,200 per quintal, depending upon quality. Adding milling and transportation charges, it costs them around Rs 1,200 to Rs 1,500 per quintal. In Punjab, they sell at a far higher rate of the MSP, Rs 1,888 per quintal, illegally in the name of state’s farmers.

An official said traders sitting in Delhi are controlling the markets of UP and Bihar and facilitating the millers of Punjab. And such millers in Punjab are earning Rs 400 to 600 per quintal by selling the paddy to the government.

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Gourmet Food Service Delivers U.S.-Grown Rice


By Sarah Moran


ISTANBUL, TURKEY -- U.S.-grown rice is being delivered directly to consumers' doorsteps here thanks to a partnership with Meal Box, the leading food delivery company in Turkey.


"Meal Box has experienced remarkable growth since the COVID-19 pandemic began this past spring, and now caters to more than 2,000 individuals daily, a hundred-fold increase in their clientele," said Eszter Somogyi, USA Rice director for Europe, Middle East, and Africa.  "Most Meal Box customers are white-collar workers who appreciate the company's emphasis on high-quality ingredients like U.S.-grown rice."


USA Rice joined efforts with Meal Box to develop branded delivery boxes, as well as promotional packaging featuring the USA Rice logo on each dish containing U.S.-grown rice.  A recipe leaflet with creative USA Rice recipes and giveaways rounded out the special rice-centric offer. 




Cooking outside the box

with U.S. rice

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"More than 8,000 servings of U.S. rice have been distributed to subscribers in these eye-catching, single-serve USA Rice boxes, utilizing close to 1 MT of U.S. rice in total," said Somogyi.  "USA Rice messaging is reaching a large, prosperous audience through social media, both on the @mealboxtr Instagram channel, and the reposting and sharing of content by Meal Box subscribers."


The U.S. has exported 27,000 tons ($14 million) of rice to Turkey in the first half of 2020 compared with 1,220 tons ($1.1 million) in the first six months of 2019.


USA Rice Daily




Paddy purchasing mechanism : Small and medium-scale millers protected


State Minister of Samurdhi, Household Economy, Microfinance, Self-employment, Business Development, and Underutilised State Resources Development Shehan Semasinghe said that the Government will take all necessary measures to encourage small and medium-scale paddy mill owners.

Description: https://s3.amazonaws.com/themorning-aruna/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/20161418/IMG_0454-300x200.jpg

The Minister said that there is a process in place to protect farmers, small and medium-scale mill owners, as well as consumers in the Government’s programme to purchase paddy. He was speaking at a meeting organised by small and medium-scale mill owners in the Anuradhapura District.

Anuradhapura Chief Government Agent Attorney-at-Law R.M. Wanninayake, who was present at the occasion, said that in the early days of the spread of the Covid-19 disease in the country, the Government’s programme to purchase paddy was carried out more actively than ever through the district secretariats.

During the 2019/20 Maha season, the Government launched a programme to convert paddy stocks purchased from the Anuradhapura District into rice using small and medium-scale mill owners and then supply them to the Co-operative Wholesale Establishment (CWE), with the aim of alleviating the situation when there was a countrywide shortage of rice.

Anuradhapura Additional District Secretary Ruwan Bandara Navaratne, an official who spearheaded the programme, stated that small and medium-scale mill owners in Anuradhapura have been instrumental in this endeavour.




Experts: Study well curbs on rice importation


ByCai Ordinario

October 20, 2020


Description: https://businessmirror.com.ph/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/rice-unload-nonoy-696x430.jpgFile photo: Workers unload tons of rice to be distributed to Quezon City barangays affected by the COVID-19 lockdown. (NONOY LACZA)

more from author


PROPOSALS to limit rice imports to stabilize farmgate price, especially during harvest, require careful study, according to economists.

Economists said proposals such as barring rice cooperatives from importing the commodity, as well as banning importation of commodities during their main harvest, could affect the rice market and eventually hurt consumers.

Last week, the Department of Agriculture proposed to bar cooperatives from importing rice while on Monday, senators suggested disallowing importation during the main harvest of commodities.

“These proposed policies are going to hurt the consumers. While producers are supposedly supported by imposing these restrictions, these can in the long run cause inefficiencies in the market. The goal should be to make producers competitive without causing a burden to the consumers,” Ateneo Eagle Watch Senior Fellow Leonardo A. Lanzona Jr. told the BusinessMirror.

With the passage of the Rice Trade Liberalization (RTL) Law, any entity with proper papers can import rice, Philippine Institute of Development Studies (PIDS) Senior Research Fellow Roehlano M. Briones pointed out.

Briones added that implementing seasonal import bans does not really work given that “someone can pre-purchase rice during open season.”

Non-tariff barrier

Moreover, barring cooperatives from importing could be a form of non-tariff barrier (NTB), said Briones.

Former University of the Philippines School of Economics Dean Ramon L. Clarete explained that there is a difference between NTBs and Non-Tariff Measures (NTMs).

“You distinguish between NTMs and NTBs. Former may be allowed like SPS [Sanitary Phytosanitary] or TBT [Technical Barriers to Trade]. Generally NTMs have valid reasons for using them. But NTBs may just be disguised protection. They appear to be NTMs but without valid reason for using them,” Clarete told the BusinessMirror.

These are important qualifications that need to be understood when making trade policy. These kinds of qualifications include, Clarete said, on the proposal on barring cooperatives from importing as well as the meaning of harvest.

Clarete said before barring cooperatives, the government should make a qualification that the policy covers “co-ops which allow themselves to be used by big importers.”

He added that if the government can define well the meaning of harvest, imposing a seasonal ban could be an NTM more than an NTB.

“A seasonal ban may be defensible under the development criterion of supporting economically depressed rural areas whose residents derive their main income from, say, rice. But if the harvest is arbitrary like growing livestock and poultry then it becomes an NTB,” Clarete explained.

University of Asia and the Pacific Center for Food and Agri Business Executive Director Rolando T. Dy said Agriculture Secretary William Dar should have a basis for not allowing cooperatives to import.

Dy told the BusinessMirror this means determining whether they are legitimate farmers cooperatives or trader-financed farmers’ cooperatives.

He added that before a seasonal ban on importation is enforced, the government should determine whether the country would be compliant with the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

“Such barriers may have implications on the labor market as well since these maintain existing inefficiencies,” Lanzona stressed.

On Monday, certain senators suggested halting importation of commodities during their main harvest season of local output. This includes rice, corn, feed wheat, and whole chicken.

Last week, Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar declared in a hearing presided by Sen. Cynthia A. Villar that he will bar farmers’ cooperatives and associations from importing rice.

(Related story: https://businessmirror.com.ph/2020/10/16/agri-chief-dar-to-bar-farmer-co-ops-from-importing-rice-amid-dummy-for-traders-issues/)

The BusinessMirror broke the story last year that unscrupulous traders continue to use farmers’ cooperatives and associations as their fronts and dummies even after the rice industry was liberalized.

(Read the award-winning story here (https://businessmirror.com.ph/2019/10/31/pre-and-post-rice-trade-liberalization-law-big-traders-gaming-farmer-groups/).





Dharani Portal Registration Will Meet Transparency: Kamareddy Collector

By News Track


Oct 19 2020 04:21 PM



Description: Dharani Portal Registration Will Meet Transparency: Kamareddy Collector

The Telangana government announced on Sunday that it would launch a Dharani portal on Dasarto to be transparent in property registrations. Kamareddy Collector Dr. Sarath has examined the process of registration of non-agricultural property on Dharani web portal.

Collector Sarath examined the registration process in the Kamareddy Tahsildar's office and said that people should protect their property through the Dharani process. Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao Dharani portal will be launched, he said. Through this portal, transparency and intervention of intermediaries in non-agricultural assets registration will be removed.

Dr. Sarath has instructed the authorities to upload at least 10 properties registration details on an experimental basis and the authorities will prepare it till Thesaurus for registrations. He said that the Tahsildar would work as the Joint Sub-Registrar in the Dharani process. Later, the collector inspected the rice mills and ordered the millers to complete the milling process and achieve the targets this year. Additional Collector P Yadireddy, Tahsildar Amin Singh and others participated.




Itik production and management, part 1: Benefits of integrated rice-duck farming

Published October 19, 2020, 10:00 AM

by Patricia Bianca Taculao

Although chicken is commonly used in cuisines all around the world because of the versatility of its meat, another bird that’s worth giving attention to is the duck, or itik in Filipino. 

Not only does it have tender and flavorful meat, its eggs can also be used to make local favorites like balut and salted egg. Moreover, ducks are easy to care for and have various benefits to farmers. 

One of these benefits include the ability of ducks to be integrated in rice farming known as the rice-duck farming model, which is what James P. Longcob, the owner of JPL Farms in Purok 4, Abaga, Lala, Lanao del Norte, practices. 

He has various poultry like turkeys and geese, a small fish pond, and vegetables on the farm. But out of all these, he finds the rice-duck farming technology to be the most profitable and practical. 

“In an integrated rice-duck farming system, I save a lot from what used to be for rice inputs. I don’t have to spray chemicals like pesticides or herbicides, and I don’t even have to add fertilizer,” Longcob said in a webinar broadcasted by the Agricultural Training Institute in Northern Mindanao on their Facebook page. 

Because of this, Longcob manages to harvest naturally-grown rice and contributes to the preservation of the environment. 

This is due to the presence of the ducks in the rice fields. They serve as natural de-weeders due to their tendency to munch on the wild grass, keep pests away, and fertilize the rice with their droppings. 

Different kinds of ducks 

According to Longcob, there are different kinds of ducks to choose from. Some of these include the Campbell duck, the Muscovy duck, and a local breed known as Itik Pinas. Each of them have different characteristics that make them good for duck farming. 

For example, the Campbell duck, or Khaki Campbell duck, is known for its egg laying and active foraging ability. This breed is distinguished by its khaki-color and modestly long features. 

In the meantime, Muscovy ducks are good for meat production. These are easily recognized by the red, fleshy bumps located around their beaks and eyes. Because these are originally wild birds, Muscovy ducks are also good in terms of hunting and foraging. 

Last but not the least is the Itik Pinas which is a breed of the Philippine native mallard layer duck developed by the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD) and the National Swine and Poultry Research and Development Center (NSPRDC) of the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI). This breed has an improved egg laying ability and can adapt to local environments. 

The owner of JPL Farms shares that he cares for the Itik Pinas breed which was given to him by the Agricultural Training Institute when they conducted a seminar on rice-duck farming on his farm. He then raised the ducks until he had a large number of them. 

Basic duck management for the first week and securing the perimeter 

“When venturing into rice-duck farming, there has to be a group of ducklings ready when the rice gets planted. But they are not to be released into the field for one week for the purpose of acclimatizing,” Longcob said. 

In doing so, this would give the ducklings a higher resistance against illnesses once they’ve been released to the field. 170 to 200 ducks can be released per hectare. 

Longcob added that with the ducks growing alongside the rice, these would provide a bigger income for the farmer because not only will the rice be able to grow free from pests like snails and weeds, but the ducks can also be sold either for meat or its eggs. 

As for the rice field, the area should be netted prior to the release of the ducklings. This is to keep the ducks from getting out while also keeping predators or larger animals from getting inside. 

Securing the perimeter can be done using a net that measures 90 meters by 100 meters. 

“This is to ensure the safety of the ducks so they don’t wander far or get in harm’s way,” Longcob said.  

He added that this also mitigates any losses in terms of duck population while also being practical because the net can be used for the next cropping season. 

Part 2 of the article will discuss the proper housing and feeding requirements for ducks.




Plant Pathologist Pamela Ronald Named GCHERA World Agriculture Prize Laureate


Award Recognizes Exceptional Lifetime Achievement in Agriculture

By Amy Quinton on October 19, 2020 in Food & Agriculture

Pamela Ronald becomes the first woman whose work is recognized with the GCHERA World Agriculture Prize. (UC Davis)

Pamela Ronald, distinguished professor in the Department of Plant Pathology at the University of California, Davis, and with the UC Davis Genome Center, has been named the 2020 World Agriculture Prize laureate by the Global Confederation of Higher Education Associations for Agricultural and Life Sciences, or GCHERA. She becomes the first woman whose work is recognized by the award.

“This award is a really special honor and I’m very grateful,” said Ronald. “I’m happy to be part of a global community of agricultural scientists that has been able to make a huge difference in the lives of farmers.”

The award ceremony will be virtually held at 5 p.m. on Nov. 30 from Nanjing Agricultural University, Jiangsu Province, China.

Ronald is recognized for her history of major discoveries in plant molecular genetics. In 1995, she isolated a key immune receptor that revealed a new mechanism with which plants and animals detect and respond to infection. Her discovery in 2006, with UC Davis plant scientist David Mackill, of a rice submergence tolerance gene facilitated the development of high-yielding, flood-tolerant rice varieties that have benefited millions of farmers in South and Southeast Asia.

Ronald also directs the Institute for Food and Agricultural Literacy at UC Davis, which she established to provide the next generation of scientists with the training, support, and tools they need to become effective communicators and infuse scientifically sound information into the public discourse.

“Professor Ronald is extremely deserving of this high honor,” said Dean Helene Dillard of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. “Pam’s molecular discoveries and educational efforts have revolutionized our understanding of the role biotechnology can play in feeding the world while protecting the environment.”

“Pamela was elected a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and is becoming one of the leaders and thinkers in modern agriculture,” said UC Berkeley professor David Zilberman in his nomination letter. “She has made major breakthroughs in developing solutions to major agricultural challenges and her work on public attitudes towards agricultural technology expanded our knowledge and influenced the real world.”

Ronald is also a key scientist at the U.S. Department of Energy Joint Bioenergy Institute, an affiliated scholar with the Center on Food Security and the Environment at Stanford University, and a member of the Innovative Genomics Institute at UC Berkeley.

She was named a National Geographic Innovator and one of the world’s 100 most influential people in biotechnology by Scientific American. With her collaborators, she received the 2012 Tech Award for the innovative use of technology to benefit humanity. Ronald co-authored Tomorrow’s Table with her husband, Raoul Adamchak, organic farmer and former manager at the UC Davis Student Farm. In it, they speak of the need to nourish a growing population without further destroying the environment. Her 2015 TED talk has been viewed by more than 1.8 million people. In 2019, she received the ASPB Leadership Award, an honorary doctorate from the Swedish Agricultural University, and was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

In 2015, R. Paul Singh, distinguished professor emeritus in the departments of Biological and Agricultural Engineering and Food Science and Technology at UC Davis, was named GCHERA World Agriculture Prize laureate for his work as a food engineer.



Rice crop, market likely up for Texas producers

·         Oct 18, 2020

It’s beginning to look like Mother Nature and market forces could make 2020 a good crop year for Texas rice producers. (Texas A&M AgriLife Communications photo.)

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Early indications show Texas rice farmers produced a bumper crop amid a market that could experience a price increase due to crop losses in other rice-producing states, said a Texas A&M AgriLife Research expert.

Ted Wilson, Ph.D., Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center director, Beaumont, said high yields and lower-than-expected supplies elsewhere could be good news for Texas rice growers.

“I’m hearing about extremely high yields in the main crop, but I haven’t seen enough data on quality or yields for an assessment,” he said. “From the way growers are talking, it looks like we’ll be closer to 2018 production numbers than 2019.”

Rice crop numbers

Producers yielded 1,300 pounds more per acre in 2018 compared to 2019, Wilson said.

Rice acres were also up this year—184,400 acres—compared to 2019—154,100 acres, he said.

Wilson said rice acres in Texas typically fluctuate based on global market prices.

“The U.S. is a minuscule producer but a major exporter of rice,” he said. “The U.S. typically ranks third to fifth in global rice exports, so the Texas acreage goes up and down based on the supply and demand.”

Wilson suspects U.S. supplies, including growers in Arkansas and northern Louisiana, were negatively impacted by a series of hurricane and tropical storm systems this growing season. The losses could greatly impact the U.S. export market and rice prices.

Arkansas produces half of the nation’s rice, Wilson said. Losses in Louisiana also likely reduced the U.S. production of long-grain rice, which is the primary rice crop for Texas growers.

“In Texas that’s mostly good news for growers,” he said. “But it’s not good for growers in those other states. They just got too much rain at the wrong time. Losses in Arkansas and northern Louisiana may affect global supplies.”

Wilson said a 5%-10% reduction in overall U.S. production due to those crop losses will likely mean rice acres in Texas remain static next year rather than fall.

Wilson said dry conditions early in the growing season weren’t ideal for other Texas crops but they were good for rice growers. Producers were able to follow planting with a flush of shallow water that is drained and followed by a subsequent flush as plants grow.

“Drought can mean more flushes are necessary, and that can push water costs up, but they had timely rains,” he said. “Too much rain can cause problems too, but there was little impact to the Texas crop from the storms.”

Wilson said disease and pest pressure were low in 2020 as well. The ratoon crop could face heavier infestations because a Caribbean plant hopper reemerged several years ago and caused some black mold development in late-season fields last year.

It is too early to estimate how well the ratoon crop in Texas will perform, Wilson said. Ratoon crops west of Houston typically perform better during the season because the region has lighter soils, receives less rain and ultimately enjoys an extended growing window.

Around 50% to 75% of the acres planted for the main crop have been ratooned in recent years, he said. But grower surveys are not far enough along to provide a glimpse of what the ratoon crop expectations are this year. There also was some concern about late-season tropical storms or hurricanes negatively impacting the ratoon crop.



The Chopped Leaf reveals unexpected classics.

Introducing limited time chef-designed features

/EIN News/ -- Oakville, ON, Oct. 19, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Forget cinnamon, spice and everything nice. Leading restaurant brand, The Chopped Leaf, turns things up-a-notch while we head into the cooler, shorter days of fall. Focusing on innovating seasonal trends, their new chef-inspired limited time menu uses cozy classics as a method of inspiration for these diverse and unexpected flavours.

The introduction of these offerings is in line with the brand’s mission of helping people choose better-for-you options that leave you feeling good. As the temperature continues to drop, it is no doubt that people tend to seek satisfaction through comfort foods. The Chopped Leaf leads this experience, and without changing consumer behaviours, provides revolutionized options that present the best of both worlds.

Chef Derek Easton, The Chopped Leaf’s Product and Development Manager, explains “the brand has been a leader in the fresh food space for years with the offering of our bowls, salads and wraps. As people look for dishes they can warm up with and feel a sense of comfort in during the cooler months, taking a classic and giving it a twist was key. The introduction of this menu focuses on responding to consumer demands while being true to our roots.”

The chef-inspired, limited time menu is available at all restaurant locations across Canada and the U.S. The menu has been built with the Chopped Leaf customer in mind, to enhance the experience, and utilize new and existing ingredients they recognize and love.

Introducing The Chopped Leaf’s newest additions:

Lemon Dill-icious: A tangy dish with crushed pita chips, chopped mix, chickpeas, grape tomatoes, red onions, brown basmati rice, feta and our signature lemon dill dressing.

Spicy Caesar: A nostalgic dish turned up a notch with romaine, real bacon bits, parmesan, croutons, red onions, and a spicy twist to our signature Caesar dressing. Bacon

Pesto Sandwich: A choice of multigrain or sourdough bread, pesto, bacon strips, grape tomatoes, romaine and mozzarella.

For more information on this and other fabulous, fresh menu offerings, visit our menu.


About The Chopped Leaf Proudly Canadian, The Chopped Leaf has over 100 locations open and committed to open within Canada and the USA. We are a lifestyle brand that offers delicious, chef designed meals, served fresh and quick for a better-for-you experience. Find The Chopped Leaf on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram or visit us at choppedleaf.ca. The Chopped Leaf is owned and managed by Innovative Food Brands. Franchise Opportunities with The Chopped Leaf start with the roots to ensure franchises grow. Every element counts, from operations to marketing and design.

If you are interested in becoming a Franchisee, visit https://www.choppedleaf.ca/franchise-opportunities/.


Are We Ready For A World Without Roundup?


Oct 19, 2020,08:40am

Aidan ConnollyForbes Councils Member

Forbes Technology Council

COUNCIL POST| Paid Program


Aidan Connolly is CEO of start-up Cainthus, President of AgriTech Capital (investing & advising), an author and a food / farm futurologist.


Roundup (glyphosate) is a popular weedkiller for a reason. The North Carolina State Extension points out that glyphosate is extremely effective — a "systemic (translocated) herbicide that moves from the treated foliage to other parts, including the roots," killing both annual and perennial weeds. It is nonselective, so it can be used to control most weeds — including grasses, sedges and broadleaves — while leaving little or no soil residual because it is inactivated by soil components. This makes it possible to spray weeds without damaging desirable plants and trees. The NC State Extension explains that it is relatively inexpensive compared to other herbicides, and is considered one of the least toxic herbicides in use.

So why are some cities banning it? It's a good question, and not one with any easy answers. It is true that Roundup persists, which means it could affect the environment far beyond where it is applied and has the potential to degrade the soil microbiome. Glyphosate has generated huge media controversy, especially when Monsanto marketed patented, genetically modified Roundup Ready corn, soybeans, cotton, canola, sugar beet and alfalfa. These crops have been engineered to be resistant to the herbicide.

Bayer, which recently acquired Monsanto, is facing multibillion-dollar legal suits (paywall) in California and elsewhere, as well as recommended or planned bans by EU legislators and other jurisdictions, based on claims of a link to cancer in humans and damage to insect populations. Deeper consumer doubts question the use of all synthetic chemicals to support mono-cropping agriculture systems, "big agriculture" in general, and Monsanto specifically.

While I'm not attempting to defend or justify these opposing views, it is critical to point out that many believe glyphosate has helped enable us to feed a population of 7.6 billion (as of 2018), and without it, we may need to find equally effective technological alternatives. As always, however, "necessity will be the mother of invention," and three areas point to where inventors and startups are making a difference.

Precision Spraying, Less Waste

Can we make alternative herbicides more effective? Alternatives to Roundup such as Liberty (glufosinate-ammonium) may be less effective than Roundup in certain situations, but what if we could spray them better? Irish company MagGrow has created a patented technology that reduces pesticide waste associated with conventional spraying technology. It creates optimum droplet sizes to improve drift control and coverage. Another possibility is computer-vision-aided drones with technology that creates precise spot spraying rather than "spray and pray." These same technologies could make natural alternatives such as bio-herbicides more effective as they arrive on the market.

Weeding By Machine

Robotic weeding is already a reality and can remove the backbreaking demands of weeding by hand or the need for a universal application of herbicides. Weed bots such as FarmWise can physically remove the weed. Blue River Technology’s "see and spray" herbicides use machine learning. Jati’s weedkiller uses lasers, and Brazil’s Zasso electrically disrupts the plant. More startups include Ecorobotix and Small Robot Company, which are working on the micro-application of chemicals and nonchemical weeding, respectively. Drones today focus on delivering herbicides and pesticides within fields, but in the future they could also incorporate similar technology to scan and destroy unwanted weeds without a vehicle to enter the fields and avoid compacting the soils, which could result in better soil health.

Natural Herbicides

I've seen consumers embrace bio-herbicides based on vinegar, vinegar plus salt, bleach and a range of plant extracts including citrus, but these may be unspecific, ineffective or expensive, especially in commercial crops. One startup, TerMir (which I've served as a commercial advisor for) and its offshoot, Harpe, combines multiple modes of action into a single natural product. I learned from the founders that it uses a blend of essential oils, plant extracts and natural surfactants. Trials like these demonstrate the potential to replace Roundup in situations when a bio-herbicide is required or to use alternatives in combination with traditional herbicides to address resistance and make them more effective. 

The world is entering a phase where the monoculture crop systems involving the industrial-scale production of corn, soybeans, wheat and barley that are supported by the extensive use of chemicals are being questioned by consumers and governments alike. A key aquatic crop such as rice is even more challenging because the risk of contamination of groundwater may be much greater.

Perhaps the answer won’t be a single silver bullet, but the combined use of machine vision, AI and robots to create smarter systems that allow us to grow multiple crops in the same fields at the same time, all while meeting the requirements to feed a growing population sustainably. In the meantime, to be ready for a world without glyphosate, dicamba and other chemicals, we will need startups to succeed and feed our need for alternative solutions. Only then can we really be ready for a world without Roundup.

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Description: Aidan Connolly

Aidan Connolly

Aidan Connolly is CEO of start-up Cainthus, President of AgriTech Capital (investing & advising), an author and a food / farm futurologist. Read Aidan Connolly's fu




Loans disbursed for rice millers

Thou Vireak | Publication date 18 October 2020 | 21:51 ICT



Description: Content image - Phnom Penh Post

Soldiers in Mongkol Borei district are helping to harvest over 20ha of rice in Rahat Teuk commune after flooding from the Bavel river, in Battambang on September, 30. Photo supplied

The state-owned Agricultural and Rural Development Bank of Cambodia (ARDB) will disburse an additional $30 million in loans to help rice millers purchase paddy during the upcoming harvest season at the end of the year.

ARDB director-general Kao Thach told The Post on Sunday that the added funding aims to assuage concerns among millers stemming from a lack of capital as they gear up to buy the crop in November-December.

“As per the plan, we will release the loans in November to coincide with the harvest season of the Sen Kra’op and Phka Romduol paddy varieties. We hope the funds will help rice millers buy more paddy from farmers,” he said.

Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF) secretary-general Lun Yeng welcomed the move, which he noted comes following the CRF’s petition to the ARDB earlier this year.

“We appreciate the government for releasing more loans, which will enable rice millers to buy more paddy.

“With nearly everyone [rice millers] suffering from capital shortages, we are merely borrowing supplementary capital in response to the rice export market situation. If the market is weak, we won’t take a gamble applying for more loans,” he said.

Khy Chhaiwatt, the general manager at the Battambang province-based Amru Rice Mill, noted that the additional funding comes at a time when rice millers need capital the most, but called for audits to be conducted on the loans to root out potential abuse.

He said the recent flash floods had led to severely diminished rice harvests in Pursat, Battambang and Banteay Meanchey provinces in the Kingdom’s northwest corridor.

“Some rice mills are facing flooding in Banteay Meanchey province, and if much more paddy is damaged, it will seriously jeopardise the agricultural sector during this period,” he said.

Data from the National Committee for Disaster Management show that flash floods have affected nearly 65,657ha of rice crop as of Thursday, predominantly in Pursat.

According to Thach, the government has so far disbursed nearly $200 million in loans to help address capital shortages in the Kingdom’s rice sector.

“I would like to call on rice millers to continue to help buy paddy from farmers affected by the flash floods at reasonable prices, even if some of the paddy is damaged. They need the income to pay for day-to-day living expenses and for agricultural fertilisers,” he said.

The Kingdom earned more than $328 million from milled-rice exports in the first nine months of this year, surging 10.43 per cent from the $297 million raked in last year, the CRF reported.

Shipments of the crop reached 488,785 tonnes during the period from January-September, gaining 22.62 per cent from the 398,586 tonnes exported in the same period last year, it said.





Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh: Market Monitor (September 2020)


Situation Report








19 Oct 2020


Originally published


19 Oct 2020


Key Messages

·         Mixed price trends observed across most commodities, but significantly so for rice and onions, due to a combination of impacts from the recent monsoon rains and import disruptions.

·         Prices of all rice varieties have risen across all markets by 13 percent on average compared to the 4th week of July, when many parts of the country started experiencing flooding conditions. The mill-gate price of a 50 kg sack of rice rose by 250 – 270 BDT, resulting in a 4 – 6 BDT/kg increase in the wholesale and retail prices.

·         Traders anticipate that rice prices are likely to continue gradually increasing through end of the year, with price stabilization only expected from early next year when harvesting of the Aman season starts or import inflows pick-up.

·         Onion prices increased due to import disruptions from India, the main source. However, imports have since been rerouted to Turkey, Egypt, Pakistan and Myanmar in an attempt to stabilize prices.

·         Oil, vegetables, garlic and red lentil prices also continue to be unstable across many markets and have remained consistently above pre-Covid-19 levels.

·         Wage rates remain unpredictable in the aftermath of the pandemic lockdowns, varying based on supply and demand of labour across different markets.

·         Overall trade levels in wholesale markets are reportedly significantly lower than usual. According to traders, the Chaktai/Khatunganj market in Chittagong which is a major trade-hub is operating at less than 50 percent capacity.

·         Despite minimal supply side disruptions, consumer demand continues to be lower than usual, driving sales down due to lower purchasing behaviour, limited operations within the service sector (food and hospitality), and absence of cultural gatherings.

·         In camp markets, despite gradual resumption of self-reliance opportunities purchasing power for many households remain atypically lower than pre-pandemic periods.



Rice exports drop in volume but still rise in value




Description: Rice exports drop in volume but still rise in value

Harvesting rice in Song An commune of Vu Thu district, Thai Binh province (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnam’s rice exports by mid-September had declined 0.8 percent in volume but still grown 11.8 percent in value compared to the same period last year.

More than 4.8 million tonnes of rice had been shipped abroad by September 15 bringing home 2.4 billion USD, according to the Agro Processing and Market Development Authority under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The revenue increase was partly attributed to higher export prices which averaged 489.2 USD per tonne in the first nine months, up 12.4 percent year on year.

Besides, the country also recorded stronger shipments of high-quality rice , with white rice making up 40.7 percent of the total value, Jasmine and fragrant rice 37.6 percent, glutinous rice 17.4 percent, and Japonica rice and others of Japanese varieties 4.2 percent.

The Philippines, the largest buyer, imported 172 million tonnes of Vietnamese rice worth 797.6 million USD in the January-August period, down 2.4 percent in volume but up 10.9 percent in value year on year, accounting for 35.4 percent of total exports during the period.

Growth was also seen in rice shipments to other markets, including Senegal (up 355 times), Indonesia (2.9 times), and China (82.5 percent), statistics showed./.




Rice and agricultural crop harvests and impact of flash floods

Veng Sakhon with local agri produce at Siem Reap. Photo supplied


Nationwide rice cultivation reaches over 2.75 million hectares, equivalent to 106.42 percent of what was planned, and the harvests have been completed in 20 provinces, before the flooding.


Veng Sakhon, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries shared the update during the World Food Day 2020 held in Sotr Nikum district, Siem Reap province Friday, adding that the harvest in the remaining five provinces will be done soon.

Nearly 800,000 hectares of land, or about 92.11 percent of the planning, are being used for industrial crops, including corn, cassava, bean, sesame, sugar cane, tobacco, etc., he pointed out.

According to the minister, on-going flash floods are inundating agricultural crops in 14 provinces – including 190,017 hectares of rice and 59,515 hectares of short-term industrial crops.

A total of 14,214 hectares of crops, including 6,514 hectares of rice and 7,624 hectares of short-term industrial crops, were damaged, he said.

As of the third quarter of 2020, Cambodia exported nearly 6 million tonnes of agricultural products formally, including 488,775 tonnes of milled rice (an increase of 22.6 percent compared to the same period in 2019), and over 2.6 million tonnes informally to international markets. Chea Vannak – AKP



Gold season in Bac Ha rice paddies

Paddies in Bac Ha District in the northern province of Lao Cai is entering rice harvesting season, making it an attractive destination for visitors.

Description: Gold season in Bac Ha rice paddies

A house facing golden rice fields in Bac Ha.

Description: Gold season in Bac Ha rice paddies

Not receiving much tourists’ attention as compared to other mountainous districts of Mu Cang Chai (Yen Bai province), Hoang Su Phi (Ha Giang Province), and Y Ty (Lao Cai Province), Bac Ha is like a sleeping beauty boasting her charm only a few people.


Description: Gold season in Bac Ha rice paddies

Entering the harvesting season, one can hear the sound of rice threshing machines and laughter of local people across the rice fields.

Description: Gold season in Bac Ha rice paddies

Bac Ha now is experiencing days with mixed weather with sunny days and rainy days alternating.


Description: Gold season in Bac Ha rice paddies

After being harvested, rice is covered with a canvas before transported to their house.

Description: Gold season in Bac Ha rice paddies

All family members going to the field to harvest rice.


Description: Gold season in Bac Ha rice paddies

Vang Binh and his wife in Ban Lien Commune, Bac Ha District harvesting rice in their rice paddies.

Description: Gold season in Bac Ha rice paddies

Buffaloes eating grass in a rice field after harvesting.


Description: Gold season in Bac Ha rice paddies

A rice field after finishing harvesting.

Description: Gold season in Bac Ha rice paddies

A woman transporting rice to the house.



Description: Gold season in Bac Ha rice paddies

This is only a small part of rice need harvesting in her field.

Description: Gold season in Bac Ha rice paddies

Rice ears get heavier with rainwater.


Description: Gold season in Bac Ha rice paddies

Stilt houses nestled at the food of tea and cinnamon hills.

Description: Gold season in Bac Ha rice paddies

Clouds come swooping down over the field.

NDO/ Photo credit: Tuyet Loan



Rice farmers call for safeguard measures probe, extra tariffs

October 19, 2020 | 12:03 am

Description: rice importPHILSTAR

THE Federation of Free Farmers (FFF) called for a safeguard measures investigation into imported rice, rejecting proposals to provide cash aid to farmers from rice tariffs as outlined in a Senate resolution.

In a statement Sunday, FFF National Manager Raul Q. Montemayor said that temporarily imposing safeguard duties or additional tariffs on imported rice would be a more cost-effective approach than designating rice tariffs for farmer aid.

The Senate Committees on Agriculture, Food, and Agrarian Reform, Finance and Ways and Means on Oct. 16 passed Joint Resolution No. 12 calling for the aid to farmers funded by excess tariffs collected on imported rice.

The Rice Tariffication Law or Republic Act 11203 authorizes the collection of tariffs on rice imports and allots P10 billion a year for five years to the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF). The P10 billion total has been exceeded for the year, according to the Bureau of Customs, raising the question of where to send the excess collections.

“If it had instead imposed additional duties on imports, palay prices would not have dropped too much; there would have been no need for cash aid to farmers, and the government might have even earned extra revenue from the safeguard duties,” Mr. Montemayor said.

RA 8800, or the Safeguard Measures Act, authorizes temporary duties on imports after a regulator determines in an investigation that they have been excessive, to the point of doing harm to a domestic industry.

According to FFF, the proposed cash aid would amount to P5,000 per farmer if distributed to some 600,000 farmers tilling one hectare or less.

However, the aid will drop to P2,700 if the number of qualified farmers is 1.1 million, in the reckoning of Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar.

“In comparison, farmers have lost an average of P10,000 per hectare in the ongoing cropping season due to severely depressed palay prices. Either proposal will be unfair to equally affected rice farmers tilling larger areas,” Mr. Montemayor said.

Senator Cynthia A. Villar, who chairs the committee, said that based on preliminary data from the Bureau of Customs, around P13.681 billion has been collected in the nine months to September.

The FFF also contends that tariff collections have been artificially depressed by undervation, which constitutes technical smuggling.

It said P4 billion more could have been collected in tariffs since March 2019 had tariffs been assessed on accurate values.

“These importers will simply look for other proxy groups. What is needed is to tighten the accreditation of importers and make it difficult and costly for them to undervalue their shipments,” Mr. Montemayor said.

“Safeguard duties will not be inflationary as claimed by the Department of Agriculture (DA), because they will be applied only when there is already a proven oversupply in the market.  They can be removed once the situation stabilizes,” Mr. Montemayor said.

Instead of providing cash aid, Mr. Montemayor said the RCEF funding as well as additional tariff collections should be used to address the current problems affecting farmers.

“The P5-billion annual fund for mechanization is not moving well, and it might be more practical at this time to preserve jobs for farm laborers instead of displacing them with machines,” Mr. Montemayor said.

“The P1-billion budget for extension and training could be realigned, considering that farmers cannot attend training activities due to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) -related restrictions,” he added. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave



Villar urges DA agencies not to allow importation of rice, other agri products during harvest season


Published October 19, 2020, 12:13 PM

by Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Sen. Cynthia Villar urged agencies of the Department of Agriculture (DA) Monday not to allow importation of rice, corn, and other agricultural products during harvest season to avoid oversupply and the excessive decline in farm gate prices.

Description: https://mb.com.ph/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/villar.jpgSen. Cynthia Villar
(Senate of the Philippines / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

At the continuation of the Senate Committee on Finance subcommittee deliberation of the DA’s P86.3-billion proposed 2021 budget, Villar asked support from her colleagues to back her motion to halt rice importation amid the plummeting prices of palay.

Villar said the DA  Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) is in charge of issuing the permits for rice importation.

“They should promise us that ‘pag harvest, huwag magbigay ng import permit (during harvest season, they would not release import permit). Common sense naman ‘yon na pagmaghaharvest, huwag magbigay ng import permit (It’s common sense that when farmers are harvesting, you don’t issue import permits),” Villar, a vice chairperson of the panel, said.

“Mag-gawa ng schedule na ‘pag tatamaan ‘yung pagdating ng importation sa harvest time, eh huwag nang ibigay ‘yon (Come up with a schedule that when the importation will arrive during harvest time, we will not allow it). Para wala tayong problema sa (So that we will not anymore have a problem about the) plummeting palay prices,” she added.

“I want senators to support this para makinig naman sa atin ang DA (so that DA will finally listen). Kasi akala nila (Because they thought) we are not united in this.”Senators seconded Villar’s call, adding that the suspension of importation should also apply to other basic commodities, such as corn, feed wheat, garlic, fish, and poultry products.

“So we’ll make a general request to BPI, BAI (Bureau of Animal Industry) and BFAR (Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources),” Villar said.

DA Undersecretary Arie Cayanan explained to senators later that there were “more safeguards” in their issuance of permits to control the entry of imported products, especially rice. 

He said they have also been appealing to traders and millers to support local produce and discouraging them from importing.

“Because the only way para hindi po talaga tayo mag-issue is for them not to apply,” Cayanan said.

But Villar disputed this, saying the DA could have stopped importation by rejecting the application of the importers.

“Huwag niyo sabihin hindi niyo makokontrol, kung ikaw ay DA na desidido kang ikontrol, kaya mong ikontrol. Kung ikaw ang Secretary ng DA at ayaw sumunod ng BPI, eh ‘di tanggalin mo. Tama ba ‘yon? Huwag niyong sabihin sa akin na hindi mo kayang kontrolin ang BPI ninyo,” Villar said.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar said the DA will heed the senators’ request, but suggested to the panel to formalize  the call thru a Senate resolution but Villar said that Congress is currently on break and resolutions will not be passed until next month.

Dar also said the Bureau of Customs (BoC) should also be made to act on the persistent problem of smuggling of agricultural products.





Rice enters harvest season in north China's Hebei

Source: Xinhua| 2020-10-18 21:48:33|Editor: huaxia


A farmer drives a harvester at a rice field in Jiangzhuang Village in Luanzhou, north China's Hebei Province, Oct. 18, 2020. (Xinhua/Mu Yu)





Rice farmers seek bigger financial aid


Published October 19, 2020, 12:26 PM

by Madelaine B. Miraflor

The one-time financial assistance that the Senate directed the Department of Agriculture (DA) to provide to rice farmers amid the declining prices of palay would not be enough, a group of rice farmers said.

Description: https://mb.com.ph/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/RiceFarmers_NorthCotabato_02_KeithBacongco-1024x683.jpg (MB file, Keith Bacongco)

Federation of Free Farmers (FFF) National Manager Raul Montemayor said rice farmers have lost an average of P10,000 per hectare in the ongoing cropping season due to severely depressed palay prices.  

This was his response to the joint resolution recently passed by the Senate Committees on Agriculture and Agrarian Reform, which ordered the DA to appropriate some P3 billion in tariffs from rice imports through the 2021 national budget for cash aid to rice farmers.

Under the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL), which allowed unlimited rice importation in the Philippines, tariff collections in excess of P10 billion per year can be used for additional support to farmers, including cash transfers.

FFF, however, noted that the proposed appropriation would only provide P5,000 per farmer if distributed to some 600,000 farmers tilling one hectare or less.  

If the actual number of qualified farmers is raised to 1.1 million, the subsidy would only amount to about P2,700 per farmer.

Either proposal will be unfair to equally affected rice farmers tilling larger areas, the farmers’ group said.  

Instead, Montemayor said the government could keep palay prices stable by temporarily imposing safeguard duties or additional tariffs on imported rice.

“The government allowed unlimited rice imports, resulting in low palay prices.  Now, it will spend P3 billion to partially offset farmers’ losses. If it had instead imposed additional duties on imports, palay prices would not have dropped too much, there would have been no need for cash aid to farmers, and the government might have even earned extra revenues from the safeguard duties,” said Montemayor.

Under the Section 10 of RTL or Republic Act (RA) 11203, in order to protect the Philippine rice industry from sudden or extreme price fluctuations, a special safeguard duty on rice shall be imposed in accordance with Safeguard Measures Act.  

R.A. 8800 or the Safeguard Measures Act, on the other hand, allows additional safeguard duties on top of regular tariffs in case an import surge is shown to be harmful to local farmers.  

“Safeguard duties will not be inflationary as claimed by the DA, because they will be applied only when there is already a proven oversupply in the market.  They can be removed once the situation stabilizes,” said Montemayor.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar is not keen on slapping additional tariff on rice imports, and has repeatedly appealed for public understanding about the “short-term” effects of RTL to palay prices.

However, he promised to look for other solutions to the plea of the farmers like asking the National Food Authority (NFA), which buys palay at P19 per kilogram (/kg) to boost the government’s buffer stock, to intensify its palay procurement.  

Instead of cash aid, the FFF proposed that existing funds from the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) and extra tariff collections be re-focused to address current problems of farmers.  

It noted that half of farmers receiving free seeds under the RCEF had already been using certified seeds in the past, and that many were seeking other types of support that were not available under RCEF.  

Numerous farmers have also questioned the DA’s promotion of seed varieties like NSIC Rc222, which is of poor quality and are being shunned by traders.

“Also, the P5 billion annual fund for mechanization is not moving well, and it might be more practical at this time to preserve job opportunities for farm laborers instead of displacing them with machines,” Montemayor said.  

“Moreover, the P1 billion budget for extension and training could be realigned, considering that farmers cannot attend training activities due to COVID-related restrictions. The P1 billion for credit could be better used for interest rate subsidies or loan guarantee programs, instead of direct loans which will benefit only 20,000 farmers,” he added.




DA asked to control imports of rice, other produce during harvest time

Posted by Liza Almonte on October 20, 20200

Sacks of rice | Image by chitsu san from Pixabay

The Senate called on the Department of Agriculture (DA) and its attached agencies to stop issuing phytosanitary permits for importation of rice and other food commodities before or during the harvest season to curb continued drop in farmgate prices nationwide.

Kailangan natin ng mga agarang aksyon upang masolusyunan ang patuloy na pagbaba ng presyo ng palay at iba pang produktong pang-agrikultura [We need immediate action to address the continued fall in the price of rice and other agricultural products]. We support this manifestation and we believe that it is a good first step,” Senator Francis Pangilinan said after the October 19 deliberation on the DA’s P63.96 billion budget for 2021.

The price of palay has dropped by as much as P12 per kilo in some provinces even though the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported that the average price of palay (unhusked rice) is P17 to P19 per kilogram.

The Senate also called the DA’s attention to the lowered farmgate prices of other agricultural commodities such as corn and poultry, as well as the over-importation and smuggling of fish.

PSA reported that the price of corn went down by 4.6% during the first week of September.

Importation of whole chicken and chicken parts should be paused as well, Pangilinan said.

Kailangang mabawasan na ang ating pag-asa sa pag-aangkat. Para tayo maging food sufficient, kailangan lokal ang ating mindset. Kailangan ding mayroong sapat na suporta upang kayanin ng lokal na mabigyan ng suplay ang buong bansa,” Pangilinan said. Translation: “We need to reduce our reliance on importation. To be food sufficient we need a local-oriented mindset. There should also be enough support to capacitate local production to provide enough supply for the whole country.”

All senators at the hearing seconded the manifestation.

Farmers and fisherfolk, as well as leaders in agriculture and even in local government, have complained about the low prices of their products due to massive importation. Rice farmers, in particular, have called on Congress to review and amend Republic Act No. 11203, or the Rice Tariffication Law, blaming it for the steep drop in palay prices.

Pangilinan, a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Food and Agrarian Reform, in previous DA budget hearings also expressed alarm over the sudden spike in food prices over the last month, and called for a government revisit of the food supply chain, with focus on logistics and transport bottlenecks.

READ: Solon slams food price surge, calls for supply chain review

The lawmaker suggested bridging the distance between consumer and producer, especially during this pandemic when going out of the house is still dangerous.

He noted some local government units (LGU) are already organizing community or mobile markets and markets on wheels, with LGUs themselves fetching from the farmers the food products and selling or making these available to their constituents.

Under Republic Act No. 11494 or the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, LGUs are allowed to procure agricultural products directly from farmers and fisherfolk or agricultural cooperatives and associations.

Bayanihan 2 also directs the adoption of measures to facilitate and improve supply chain movement and minimize disruptions to ensure essential goods, particularly food and medicine, are available.

Aside from improving the national end-to-end supply chain, it also calls for measures to reduce logistics costs “to the maximum extent possible,” especially for basic commodities and services.

Tags: Department of AgricultureFrancis PangilinanRice Tariffication LawSenate



Rice crop, market likely up for Texas producers

·         Oct 18, 2020 

It’s beginning to look like Mother Nature and market forces could make 2020 a good crop year for Texas rice producers. (Texas A&M AgriLife Communications photo.)

Top of Form

Bottom of Form

Early indications show Texas rice farmers produced a bumper crop amid a market that could experience a price increase due to crop losses in other rice-producing states, said a Texas A&M AgriLife Research expert.

Ted Wilson, Ph.D., Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center director, Beaumont, said high yields and lower-than-expected supplies elsewhere could be good news for Texas rice growers.

“I’m hearing about extremely high yields in the main crop, but I haven’t seen enough data on quality or yields for an assessment,” he said. “From the way growers are talking, it looks like we’ll be closer to 2018 production numbers than 2019.”

Rice crop numbers

Producers yielded 1,300 pounds more per acre in 2018 compared to 2019, Wilson said.

Rice acres were also up this year—184,400 acres—compared to 2019—154,100 acres, he said.

Wilson said rice acres in Texas typically fluctuate based on global market prices.

“The U.S. is a minuscule producer but a major exporter of rice,” he said. “The U.S. typically ranks third to fifth in global rice exports, so the Texas acreage goes up and down based on the supply and demand.”

Wilson suspects U.S. supplies, including growers in Arkansas and northern Louisiana, were negatively impacted by a series of hurricane and tropical storm systems this growing season. The losses could greatly impact the U.S. export market and rice prices.

Arkansas produces half of the nation’s rice, Wilson said. Losses in Louisiana also likely reduced the U.S. production of long-grain rice, which is the primary rice crop for Texas growers.

“In Texas that’s mostly good news for growers,” he said. “But it’s not good for growers in those other states. They just got too much rain at the wrong time. Losses in Arkansas and northern Louisiana may affect global supplies.”

Wilson said a 5%-10% reduction in overall U.S. production due to those crop losses will likely mean rice acres in Texas remain static next year rather than fall.

Wilson said dry conditions early in the growing season weren’t ideal for other Texas crops but they were good for rice growers. Producers were able to follow planting with a flush of shallow water that is drained and followed by a subsequent flush as plants grow.

“Drought can mean more flushes are necessary, and that can push water costs up, but they had timely rains,” he said. “Too much rain can cause problems too, but there was little impact to the Texas crop from the storms.”

Wilson said disease and pest pressure were low in 2020 as well. The ratoon crop could face heavier infestations because a Caribbean plant hopper reemerged several years ago and caused some black mold development in late-season fields last year.

It is too early to estimate how well the ratoon crop in Texas will perform, Wilson said. Ratoon crops west of Houston typically perform better during the season because the region has lighter soils, receives less rain and ultimately enjoys an extended growing window.

Around 50% to 75% of the acres planted for the main crop have been ratooned in recent years, he said. But grower surveys are not far enough along to provide a glimpse of what the ratoon crop expectations are this year. There also was some concern about late-season tropical storms or hurricanes negatively impacting the ratoon crop.

Wilson also said Texas rice production was spared major impacts from COVID-19.

“When it comes to weather, the timing of the Texas crop was pretty close to perfect to avoid storm impacts,” he said. “And as far as COVID, there may have been some shipping disruptions at Texas ports, but I think a lot of that was more from storm damage, so it really hasn’t been affected so far.”




Milma EKM region to boost paddy farming


Our Bureau  Kochi | Updated on October 19, 2020  Published on October 19, 2020

Description: https://bl.thgim.com/news/national/i4gv1z/article32890663.ece/alternates/WIDE_615/bl20-milma

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Joins hands with State’s Subiksha Keralam programme

The Ernakulam Regional Cooperative Milk Producers Union (Milma) has joined hands with the State government’s Subiksha Keralam programme by introducing paddy cultivation so as to achieve self-sufficiency in food production.John Theruvath, Chairman, Milma, Ernakulam region, said the Poothrikka Primary Cooperative Milk Producers Union has taken up cultivation of 2.5 acres of paddy field in its area as part of launching the project by taking over fallow for rice cultivation.

More primary milk cooperatives have evinced interest in taking up paddy cultivation and the initiative would augment income at a time when the diary sector itself is passing through a critical phase in the pandemic times. The Union is considering a substantial allocation in the annual budget to promote paddy cultivation by primary cooperatives, he said.

The Ernakulam regional cooperative spread over Thrissur, Ernakulam, Kottayam and Idukki districts has around 930 primary cooperatives. Encouraging these cooperatives in farming activities would help in bringing substantial areas now laying empty under paddy and vegetable cultivation. He pointed out that the milk procurement by regional cooperative is to the tune of 3.35 lakh per day and sales have touched 3.55 lakh litres per day.

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Published on October 19, 2020





GIEWS Country Brief: Panama 19-October-2020


News and Press Release








19 Oct 2020


Originally published


19 Oct 2020



Paddy production in 2020 forecast at slightly above‑average level

Cereal import requirements anticipated at high levels in 2020/21 marketing year

Prices of beans stable in September and higher year on year

Paddy production in 2020 forecast at slightly above‑average level

Harvesting of the 2020 predominantly rainfed minor season paddy crop is nearing completion. Production is expected at an average level due to favourable rainfall during the second quarter of 2020 that bolstered crop yields.

Harvesting of the 2020 main season paddy crop will start in November and production prospects are favourable mainly reflecting above‑average plantings, instigated by agricultural credits provided to farmers. The Government provided USD 2.5 million of zero credit loans during the July‑September period in order to boost production of rice, maize and beans in the major producing provinces of Los Santos, Coclé and Chiriquí. According to satellite imagery, crop conditions are reportedly near average.

Cereal import requirements anticipated at high levels in 2020/21 marketing year

Cereal import requirements in the 2020/21 marketing year (September/August) are anticipated at an above‑average level of 820 000 tonnes due to the sustained demand of maize by the domestic feed industry. Maize imports account for about 70 percent of the total import requirements. In July 2020, the Government suspended tariffs on imports of yellow maize in order to lower production costs of poultry and porcine industries.

Prices of beans stable in September and higher year on year

Prices of rice have been stable throughout the year as they are regulated by the Government. Rice is one of the 14 basic food items whose maximum prices are fixed since mid‑2014 under the Executive Decree No. 165. Prices of beans have been stable since July, after the sharp increases during the March‑June period due to seasonally tight supplies and the upsurge of domestic demand amid the beginning of the COVID‑19 pandemic. As of September, prices of beans were about 7 percent higher year on year. Prices of maize were also stable in September after declining in July and August due to large import flows. In September, prices of maize were more than 10 percent lower year on year reflecting abundant market availabilities.

Primary country






GIEWS Country Brief: Panama 25-May-2020


News and Press Release




·         FAO





25 May 2020 


Originally published


25 May 2020






Brazil: Brazil Eliminates Soybean and Corn Import Duties

October 19, 2020



Western HemisphereBrazil

On October 16, Brazil announced that it would suspend the import tariffs on corn, soybeans, soy meal, and soy oil from countries outside the Mercosur trade bloc. The tariff on corn and soy imports from outside Mercosur is currently eight percent, six percent for soy meal, and 10 percent for soy oil. Post anticipates that the decision will be published in the Brazilian Federal Register in the next couple of days and will come into force the same day. The import tariff waiver will apply to soybean and soy products until January 15, 2021, and for corn imports until March 31, 2021. The waiver will apply to all incoming imports with no quota. Post sees several hurdles to substantial imports from the United States due to current price spreads and several regulatory and logistical challenges.

Brazil: Brazil Eliminates Soybean and Corn Import Duties


Office of Agricultural Affairs, Brasilia


(011-55-61) 3312-7101

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Government zeroes import tariff for soybeans and corn

Government zeroes import tariff for soybeans and corn

Description: Government zeroes import tariff for soybeans and corn

posted on 10/17/2020 19:19

(credit: José Varella / CB / DA Press – 10/4/08)

To try to contain the increase in food prices, the Brazilian government decided to reset the import tariff for soybeans and corn. The measure had already been taken for rice and aims to increase the supply of products in the country to lower the price.

The decision was taken this Friday (10/16), during an extraordinary meeting of the Executive Management Committee (Gecex) of the Chamber of Foreign Trade (Camex), at the request of the ministries of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply and Economy.

The exemption is valid until January 15, 2021 in the case of soybeans and until March 31, 2021 in the case of corn. And it doesn’t have a defined quota. It is therefore more flexible than rice. In the case of rice, the government allowed imports without a tariff of at most 400 thousand tons until the end of this year.

By means of a note, the Ministry of Agriculture explained that “the objective is to promote an adjustment between the supply and demand for these products in the period before the harvest of the 2020/2021 harvest”. The Ministry of Economy added that “both measures are motivated to contain the rise in prices in the food sector”.

High prices

According to official Brazilian inflation, measured by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), soybean oil has already risen more than rice this year. The product was 51.3% more expensive since January and suffered a 27.54% increase in September alone. Rice, on the other hand, rose 40.69% in the year and 17.98% last month.

The increase is the result of the rise in the dollar, which raised the prices of these products abroad and led domestic producers to export more, especially to China, which also reinforced demand for Brazilian products this year. Soy exports alone rose about 30% between January and September, reaching 79 million tons. Therefore, the supply decreased and the price rose in the domestic market.

In the case of corn, the price increase was more modest – 10.1% in the year and 3.35% in September -, also due to the increase in exports. However, demand has risen sharply, as the product serves as food for livestock production and animal protein exports are also on the rise this year. Meat exports, for example, rose 14% until September. Therefore, producers have been showing concern about the supply and prices of corn and consumers have already complained about meat prices, which rose 4.5% in September.

“Due to these factors, it was convenient to seek a preventive measure, in order to equalize the import conditions from third countries with Mercosur, strengthening the supply of the domestic market,” stated the Director of Marketing and Supply, Sílvio Farnese. He guaranteed, in turn, that there is no risk of shortages.


In early September, the government also zeroed out the import tariff on rice. Since then, Brazilian producers have traded 225,000 tonnes of rice from the United States, India and Guyana, according to the Ministry of Agriculture.

Most of this product, however, has not yet arrived in Brazil. As a result, rice prices still rose in September. In addition, the industry has already warned that there should not be a sharp reduction in prices when imports take place. For the sector, the measure will have the effect of preventing prices from continuing to rise.

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Rice exporters to provide conducive working environment for agri- children


OCTOBER 19, 2020

The rice exporters showed commitment for providing a conducive working environment to agri- children and their families for protecting them from any physical, emotion and psychological abuses in the workplace.

“we have organized workshops for educating the 1000 rice transplanters families and their children on Child Rights and to create awareness for their personal health, hygiene and Prevention from COVID-19 pandemic, ” the Project Officer RPL, Rizwan Ali said in a press release issued here on Sunday.

He said that in the last session of the series of awareness sessions,the Project Officer RPL, Rizwan Ali highlighted the different aspects of children’ s health and threats and also delivered a lecture on child rights.

So far more than 28,000 farmers have been sensitized by RPL,he said. He said that,Rice Partners (Pvt) Ltd (RPL) organized 20 awareness sessions on “Child Rights and Personal Health and Hygiene” for rice transplanter’s families in different regions of the Punjab province.

The Rice Partners (Pvt) Ltd (RPL) in collaboration with Helvetas Pakistan and Swiss Solidarity conducted 20 awareness sessions for agriculture families on “Child Rights and Personal Health and Hygiene “especially for rice trans planter’s families in 16 remote villages of district Sheikhupura and other districts, he said.

He threw light on the rights of children and highlighted the strategies for elimination of child abuses and child labor.

During the series of awareness sessions, more than 2000 participants attended these awareness sessions, he said.

Rizwan ali said that they try their best to improve the livelihood of the farmers and farm labour.

While, SOPs were strictly followed regarding the COVID-19 during these sessions.

He shared the key points of the document of the United Nations Child Rights Convention (UNCRC) with the participants.

The UNCRC has 41 articles which tell us about various rights of the child.

He said that the constitution of Pakistan also grants fundamental rights to the citizens of Pakistan particularly to women and children.

As per article 25-A of Constitution of Pakistan “The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of five to sixteen years in such manner as may be determined by law” he added.

He also said that RPL is providing books, stationery and uniforms to the deserving children of the transplanting community free of cost so they should send their children into schools.

He ended the session by saying that RPL is also supporting birth registration of children.

The Health Officer, Punjab Health Department, Ms Zunaira Arooj sensitized the participants on personal health and hygiene.

She told the participants what measures should be taken in case of heatstroke, accidents, bites, chemical exposures etc.

She added to always use filtered water or boiled water to remain safe from water- borne diseases. She also spread awareness on prevention from novel coronavirus.

She described the methods of making hand sanitizers and ORS at home.

While talking to APP, Muhammad Ali Tariq Chief Operating Officer Rice Partners Pvt Ltd has said that RPL is working for the betterment of farmers and farm laborers from past many years through provision of laser land leveling on 50%, cost sharing basis, trainings on water saving techniques.

“We are ensuring decent working conditions for rice transplanters and their children by establishing Community Child Care Centers, first aid kits distribution of food packs, canopy kits etc.

He also said that RPL has organized a number of medical camps in Punjab and treated more than 20,000 patients in the community.

He said that RPL is the only organization in Pakistan which is working on many aspects of the rice value chain like Water productivity, Crop management, Gender equality, Child rights, Vocational training, Women empowerment, human rights and health issues.



Rice Prices

as on : 19-10-2020 04:34:46 PM

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Kurdistan Region rice farmers harvest bumper crop

32 minutes ago


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HARIR, Kurdistan Region — Rice harvest season has begun in the Kurdistan Region, and farmers in Erbil’s Harir sub-district say there's been a boom in production this year.

"We're making a lot of profit," Mawlud Hassan, a farmer in Harir said.

According to the KRG agriculture ministry, nearly 20,000 dunams of Kurdistan Region land are planted with rice.

Last year, 10,000 tonnes of rice were produced in the Kurdistan Region, the ministry said. This year, production is expected to surpass 15,000 tonnes. 

"This year’s product is better than ever," farmer Mariwan Abdullah said. "The quality is also better than ever, because there was more water. The soil is good too. All the water has come from springs."

There are two types of Kurdish rice: Sadri (long-grain) and round.

The famed quality of the rice makes marketing it easy. Farmers don’t have to take their rice to market, and some are even able to sell it on the threshing floor.

"We have our buyers and don’t need the markets. It is not like tomatoes that you have to take to market in pickups. Every farmer has his own customers. They call you and order the number of canisters or kilograms they want," farmer Karwan Sabah said.

The product is sold in 16-kilogram canisters. One can of Sadri rice sells for 55,000 Iraqi dinars ($45).

Kurdistan Region land produces 6% of the rice sold here.




Telangana faces godown crunch amid bumper paddy produce


However, as Express finds out, some districts of Telangana, especially those in the northern parts, are not yet ready with enough space in their godowns to store the rice derived out of the paddy.

Published: 19th October 2020 07:44 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th October 2020 07:44

A family being shifted to a safe location after their house at Nadeem Colony in Tolichowki got inundated, on Sunday | RVK Rao

By Express News Service

HYDERABAD: Telangana is expecting a bumper paddy produce this year as the crop was sown in over 52,55,607 acres this Vaanakalam, which is 11 lakh acres more than last year. The State government has set a target of procuring 70 lakh tonnes of paddy this kharif. However, as Express finds out, some districts of Telangana, especially those in the northern parts, are not yet ready with enough space in their godowns to store the rice derived out of the paddy.

The gap between the paddy to be procured and the availability of space in godowns is quite stark in Mancherial district, where 13 lakh metric tonnes (MT) of paddy is expected to be procured. After milling, rice of around half the quantity would be derived but the storage space available in the district is just one lakh MT. And, even that is nearly full with the Yasangi produce. There is also a shortage of rice mills in the district; there are only 80. 

In Nirmal district, 1.4 lakh MT of paddy is expected to be procured and the storage available is hardly one lakh MT. In Adilabad and Asifabad districts, paddy was not cultivated over a large extent. In Karimnagar, around 4.80 lakh MT is expected to be procured but the godown space available with the Civil Supplies and State Warehousing Corporation is just 41,700 MT. Under the Agricultural Marketing Committee, only 20 per cent of its 59,943 MT is available for storage, as the remaining space has been occupied.

The godown at Jammikunta is under repair, whereas only 400 MT is available at the Manakondur godown.District Manager of Civil Supplies Department M Srikanth said godowns under their control are being gradually vacated and the existing stock of rice will be sent to Hyderabad, Medchal and Rangareddy districts. The authorities also hope that the paddy from the State arrives gradually from October to December, which will give them time to move around the rice stocks and make space in godowns. However, farmers are desperate to sell their produce and start focusing on the Yasangi cropping season.


In Nizamabad district, there are 27 godowns with around 40,000 MT capacity. Among them, 10 have been hired by the FCI, which are partially filled with rice stocks. However, around 2.5 lakh MT of paddy is expected to be procured from Nizamabad and Kamareddy. ing space for the fresh stock.

Sangareddy is also expected to face some problems as the paddy harvest is expected to be three times than the normal, at about 4.5 lakh MT. While the rice mills in the district can process 4 lakh MT of paddy, these already have stock of 2 lakh MT. In the Warangal Urban and Rural districts, there are 20 godowns with a total capacity of  85,000 MT, but all are full with rice, cotton and maize. The district marketing officials said that harvesting will start after Dasara. There are 100 rice mills in both districts. 

On the other hand, Khammam, Mahbubnagar and Nalgonda are well placed in terms of available storage space. Nalgonda has a storage capacity of around 5.3 lakh MT tonnes - 1.2 lakh MT in FCI godowns, 2.1 lakh in SWC godowns and 2 lakh MT in private godowns.

Khammam is expecting 75,000 MT arrivals of rice after processing. The district has 50,000 MT storage in godowns. District officials said the extra 25,000 MT can be accommodated in FCI godowns and those in neighbouring districts. 

Bhadradri-Kothagudem district has about 80,000MT storage capacity in its godowns for a total rice produce from the Vanakalam season of 68,000 MT. In the erstwhile Mahbubnagar, District Civil Supplies Officer K Vanajatha said 1.54 lakh MT of paddy procurement is expected. Rice mills in the district have nearly the same milling capacity, she said.

In Mahabubabad district, all godowns have been occupied with rice and cotton. There are a total of five godowns with a capacity of just 20,000 MT. In Jangaon district, the godowns are empty and ready to store rice.


How Can We Get the Best From Biochar?

NEWS   Oct 20, 2020 | Original story from Rice University


Description: How Can We Get the Best From Biochar?

Credit: Federico Respini/ Unsplash

 Read Time: 3 min

The abstract benefits of biochar for long-term storage of carbon and nitrogen on American farms are clear, and now new research from Rice University shows a short-term, concrete bonus for farmers as well.

That would be money. To be precise, money not spent on irrigation.

In the best-case scenarios for some regions, extensive use of biochar could save farmers a little more than 50% of the water they now use to grow crops. That represents a significant immediate savings to go with the established environmental benefits of biochar.

The open-access study appears in the journal GCB-Bioenergy.

Biochar is basically charcoal produced through pyrolysis, the high-temperature decomposition of biomass, including straw, wood, shells, grass and other materials. It has been the subject of extensive study at Rice and elsewhere as the agriculture industry seeks ways to enhance productivity, sequester carbon and preserve soil.

The new model built by Rice researchers explores a different benefit, using less water.

"There's a lot of biochar research that focuses mostly on its carbon benefits, but there's fairly little on how it could help stakeholders on a more commercial level," said lead author and Rice alumna Jennifer Kroeger, now a fellow at the Science and Technology Policy Institute in Washington, D.C. "It's still an emerging field."

The study co-led by Rice biogeochemist Caroline Masiello and economist Kenneth Medlock provides formulas to help farmers estimate irrigation cost savings from increased water-holding capacity (WHC) with biochar amendment.

The researchers used their formulas to reveal that regions of the country with sandy soils would see the most benefit, and thus the most potential irrigation savings, with biochar amendment, areas primarily in the southeast, far north, northeast and western United States.

The study analyzes the relationship between biochar properties, application rates and changes in WHC for various soils detailed in 16 existing studies to judge their ability to curtail irrigation.

The researchers defined WHC as the amount of water that remains after allowing saturated soil to drain for a set period, typically 30 minutes. Clay soils have a higher WHC than sandy soils, but sandy soils combined with biochar open more pore space for water, making them more efficient.

WHC is also determined by pore space in the biochar particles themselves, with the best results from grassy feedstocks, according to their analysis.

In one comprehensively studied plot of sandy soil operated by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Agricultural Water Management Network, Kroeger calculated a specific water savings of 37.9% for soil amended with biochar. Her figures included average rainfall and irrigation levels for the summer of 2019.

The researchers noted that lab experiments typically pack more biochar into a soil sample than would be used in the field, so farmers' results may vary. But they hope their formula will be a worthy guide to those looking to structure future research or maximize their use of biochar.

More comprehensive data for clay soils, along with better characterization of a range of biochar types, will help the researchers build models for use in other parts of the country, they wrote.

"This study draws attention to the value of biochar amendment especially in sandy soils, but it's important to note that the reason we are calling out sandy soils here is because of a lack of data on finer-textured soils," Masiello said. "It's possible that there are also significant financial benefits on other soil types as well; the data just weren't available to constrain our model under those conditions."

"Nature-based solutions are gaining traction at federal, state and international levels," Medlock added, noting the recently introduced Growing Climate Solutions Act as one example. "Biochar soil amendment can enhance soil carbon sequestration while providing significant co-benefits, such as nitrogen remediation, improved water retention and higher agricultural productivity. The suite of potential benefits raises the attractiveness for commercial action in the agriculture sector as well as supportive policy frameworks."

Reference: Kroeger JE, Pourhashem G, Medlock KB, et al. Water Cost Savings from Soil Biochar Amendment: A Spatial Analysis. Glob. Change Biol. Bioenergy. 2020. doi:10.1111/gcbb.12765

This article has been republished from the following materials. Note: material may have been edited for length and content. For further information, please contact the cited source.




Farmers need to be convinced incentivised


Farmers need to be convinced, incentivised

Though technology offered to farmers for crop residue management is disruptive in the sense of being contrary to what they have been practising, the farming community had rapidly adopted the technology offered to them in the late 1960s that helped the nation in increasing grain production during the Green Revolution. Increased and consistent govt support is needed to financially enable farmers to utilise the technology now.

     Oct 19, 2020 06:48 AM (IST)

Description: Farmers need to be convinced, incentivised

The Happy Seeder not only cuts and lifts paddy straw, but also sows wheat into the soil.

Baldev Singh Dhillon & VS Sohu

PADDY residue management (PRM) technology is being adopted by farmers at a rate slower than that expected by policy planners. The incidence of farm fires after paddy harvesting in 2019 did not decrease significantly in spite of an appreciable support by the government for popularising farm machinery for the management of paddy residue. These included machines for retention on surface in the field (Happy Seeder and Super SMS-fitted combine), incorporation in the field (chopper, mould board plough and rotavator), and removal from the field (straw baler) of paddy residue. Punjab’s farmers, though known for their keenness to adopt new technologies, neither showed the expected positive response to the advocacy and incentives, nor yielded to other measures adopted by the government.

There is no denying the fact that the alternative technology offered to farmers is disruptive in the sense of being contrary to what they have been practising, but the same farming community had rapidly adopted the technology offered to them in the late 1960s that helped the nation in increasing foodgrain production — the unparalleled feat of the Green Revolution (GR). It would be a learning experience to compare these technologies.

Productivity advantage

GR: The semi-dwarf varieties of wheat and paddy had a distinct (at least 30%) grain yield advantage over the existing varieties. This made it easier to convince the farmers to adopt these varieties, even though their grain type and appearance were not acceptable.

PRM: Paddy residue management technology has more of ‘ecological’ benefit with no crop productivity/monetary advantage. Rather, it may have a little productivity penalty in some initial years. Farmers are very well aware and do understand the environmental and health consequences of residue burning as well as the long-term benefit of residue retention/incorporation on soil health and productivity. However, their immediate concern is to achieve higher productivity and livelihood.

Investment issues

GR: A farmer could start with a few kilos of seed of the high-yielding variety (HYV); once satisfied, he could scale it up. There were practically no risks once the technology was refined and adapted. The HYVs were able to achieve higher productivity in almost all farmers’ fields due to wider adaptability. Further, the farmer did not have to invest much to shift from one to a better HYV. The higher grain yield potential of GR varieties led to higher productivity and profitability, and tempted the farmers to invest more in farm development and inputs like farm machinery, irrigation facilities, application of fertilisers, etc.

PRM: Over the years, farmers have got used to a convenient method of disposal of paddy residue through burning without any cost. On the other hand, the PRM machines are costly. Further, most of the machines are large and for their operation, high-powered tractors are needed, the purchase of which will render the already available tractors useless. Landholdings of farmers have become smaller over time and they cannot afford costly machines. Though custom-hiring is being promoted, there is no surety of getting enough customers, as it happened during 2019. The purchase of costly machines and the use of high-powered tractors will add to the input costs and lower the profit margins of the farmer. Further, most of the machines do not have universal application. With evolving technology, better machines will become available but it is costly to shift from one machine to the other. Thus, in spite of subsidies, the new technology did not embolden the farmer to make heavy investment.

Supporting role

GR: The adoption of semi-dwarf varieties of wheat and rice was facilitated by the availability of matching crop production technology (e.g. herbicide Machete for weed control in rice) and farm machinery (e.g. drummy threshers for wheat threshing).

PRM: Though several farm machines for residue management are available, the supporting technology to facilitate the operation of these machines (e.g. microbes for rapid biodegradation) is not yet available.

Government assistance

GR: The GR technology was cheaper, yet the government provided very strong policy support and incentives driven by the concern for national food security. These included remunerative support price, assured procurement, development of irrigation facilities, supply of fertilisers at subsidised rates, road and marketing infrastructure, electrification, input credit, etc.

PRM: Subsidy is being provided to purchase machines. But multi-pronged policy support and government interventions are earnestly needed. One should not expect that only the development of machines will solve residue management issues.

Technology refinement

GR: The PAU developed and released the first semi-dwarf wheat variety PV 18 in 1966. Farmers were convinced of its yielding ability but being red-grained, they reluctantly adopted it, envisaging problems in the consumption and disposal of produce. The real breakthrough came when PAU released the first amber-grained semi-dwarf wheat variety Kalyan in 1967, later named Kalyansona. This variety was adopted swiftly by farmers due to its amber grain and it continued to rule for the next more than 10 years.

The bottlenecks in the cultivation of these varieties were addressed by the simultaneous refinements in the production technologies. To address poor germination due to shorter coleoptiles, shallower sowing depth was advocated. The dates of sowing and scheduling of the first irrigation (coinciding with the crown root initiation stage) were also modified.

In the case of paddy, after the initial failure of IR 8, farmers were advised to sow the nursery one month earlier, in about mid-May, and a system was developed to provide electricity for early sowing of the nursery since there used to be power shortage at that time. The results were wonderful: early sown crop yielded up to 7-8 tonnes/hectare compared to about 3 tonnes/hectare of the indigenous varieties. Thus began Punjab’s march towards become an important paddy-growing state.

PRM: Refinements are being made in various machines to take care of the limitations and drawbacks noticed in their adoption under different situations. As several stakeholders are involved in this exercise, there has been a multiplicity of machines and terminology (Happy Seeder, Turbo Seeder, Super Seeder, King Seeder, mulcher/chopper/ shredder, etc.). This has added to the confusion and made it difficult for the farmers to decide which machine to buy. Consequently, farmers have adopted a wait-and-watch approach till a refined machine becomes available.

An overview of the trends in the adoption of GR technology gives us a cue that the adoption of residue management technology is likely to pick up with their fine-tuning/refinement but more importantly with increased and consistent government support to financially enable farmers to adopt the technology. Farmers need to be convinced, motivated and incentivised.

The authors are, respectively, Vice Chancellor and Principal Wheat Breeder, Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics, PAU, Ludhiana

Tech choices matter

Paddy residue management warrants different technologies for different situations, e.g. different machines are needed for baling, mulching etc. The choice of the machine is also influenced by other factors, such as the succeeding crop, soil type (heavy or light), residual soil moisture after paddy harvest, residue load, etc. In contrast, the Green Revolution technology was a sort of one-size-fits-all that was relevant to one and all. It could be adopted irrespective of the farm size, soil type, etc., thereby benefiting all kinds of farmers — small, medium or large.




All RCEF surplus shall be earmarked as cash aid to rice farmers until 2025 — Villar

Published October 19, 2020 2:29pm


All rice import tariffs to be collected in excess of the P10-billion Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) until 2025 shall go directly to small farmers as cash assistance, Senator Cynthia Villar said Monday.

"We decided na that it should be given as financial assistance to the rice farmers owning one hectare and below for the rest of the term of RCEF which is until 2025," Villar said during the


Senate hearing on the proposed P86.3 billion budget of the Department of Agriculture and its attached agencies.

"Kasi palagi na lang bagsak ang presyo ng palay. We want to soften the blow to the poor rice farmers especially those owning one hectare and below," added Villar, chairperson of the Senate agriculture committee.

The senator made the manifestation after learning that the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation allocated P1 billion from the RCEF surplus to its proposed budget for 2021.

"No, no, no. You have no right to get it. It should be passed by Congress. And we have filed a resolution that we will use it for assistance for rice farmers. You cannot touch that kasi according to the law, we decide what to do with the excess tariff," Villar said.

On Friday, the Senate committee on agriculture approved a joint resolution seeking to distribute direct cash aid to Filipino rice farmers using the surplus from the RCEF.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar expressed full support to the resolution and said there are about 1.1 million rice farmers who till only one hectare of land and below.

Under the Rice Tariffication Law, which was signed in February 2019, the government should earmark P10 billion annually for the RCEF for a period of six years following the approval of the measure.

From the annual RCEF, P5 billion shall be allocated to rice farm machinery and equipment; P3 billion for rice seeds; P1 billion for expanded credit assistance; and P1 billion for rice extension services such as training for farmers. — RSJ, GMA News



Paddy from outside Punjab entering state mandis

Bharat Khanna | TNN | Updated: Oct 18, 2020, 15:38 IST

Police confiscated 32 trucks loaded with paddy and recovered 822 MT paddy from outside Punjab

PATIALA: Amid their fight against the farm laws, the illegal arrival of paddy from other states has made Punjab farmers apprehensive of procurement blues. A few days back, a number of agitating farmers at Shambu border had confiscated two trucks loaded with paddy and informed the district authorities about the same besides circulating the video of the incident on some social media groups.
Farmers say that as paddy is not being purchased on MSP in some other states, the private buyers including rice millers in Punjab are buying the produce at better prices than private buyers of these states. They said this has led to the arrival of paddy at rice mills in Punjab at a large level which may affect the paddy procurement of farmers in Punjab.

On Friday night, the farmers and rice millers were involved in a clash in a village of Samana block in Patiala district following which rice millers had opened fire to disperse the protesting farmers. The police said farmers levelled allegations against a rice miller in Dhakrabba village of Patiala of procuring paddy from outside states including Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
The farmers staged a protest near the mill following which rice millers fired a gunshot, but nobody was injured.


Samana DSP Jaswant Singh Mangat said, “We have booked the rice mill owner for an attempt to murder under sections of the IPC and Arms Act. No arrest has been made so far. The farmers suspected that the rice miller was procuring paddy from other states. Police have involved the food supply officials to probe the matter.”
Notably, a similar case against a rice miller was registered at Patran police station on Friday after the farmers confiscated a paddy-loaded truck on October 13. The farmers alleged that the paddy from other states was procured illegally by the rice millers on cheaper prices. The police said market committee officials found the bills of paddy with the truck owner and rice miller as fake following which the rice miller was booked for cheating and forgery.
BKU Ekta Dakaunda general secretary Jagmohan Singh said, “The illegal paddy procurement by rice millers from other states would affect the farmers in Punjab as the procurement will slow down when rice millers will run out of space to unload paddy for thrashing process. Like farmers of UP and Bihar who are forced to sell out their paddy in far off states like Punjab at much cheaper prices in the absence of paddy purchase on MSP, the farmers in Punjab will also be ruined if the new farm laws are implemented.”
7 trucks intercepted at Shambhu border
On Friday, a joint team of Mandi Board officials, food supply officials and the police launched an operation to curb bogus milling and unauthorized sale of paddy crop in Punjab from other states. The police said seven truckloads of paddy being brought to Punjab from UP were intercepted at Shambhu border on Friday. Meanwhile, the investigation has been started to unearth the motive of shifting of paddy from UP to Punjab, said district food and civil supplies controller (DFSC) Harsharanjit Singh Brar.
He said following the outcome of the investigation, further action would be initiated. He said at both inter-state borders of the district Patiala including Shambhu border near Rajpura and Ramnagar border near Samana, the teams have been put on alert to check paddy trucks coming from other states to Punjab.
He said as per the strict instructions of the Punjab food and civil supply minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu, a joint team of Punjab Mandi Board, food and civil supplies department and police was formed to conduct a joint operation on the interstate borders of Patiala district. These teams would curb the bogus sale of paddy procured from other states and supplied to Punjab mandis




Koppal district hopes for revival in farm sector with agri varsity


Sangamesh Menasinakai | Oct 18, 2020, 04:15 IST


The proposed agriculture university in Koppal will, once it is set up, help boost farming activities in Kalyan...Read More

Koppal: The agricultural university proposed in Gangavathi taluk in Koppal district has raised hopes of better times among the farming community in Kalyana Karnataka. With agriculture minister BC Patil striking a positive note of setting up the varsity in Koppal, farmers and stakeholders in the education sector in Kalyana Karnataka, a region that has just the one agricultural university in Raichur district.
Gangavathi, known as the ‘Rice Bowl’ of Karnataka, is an ideal place for the setting up of an agriculture university, and farmers and other stakeholders are expecting research into varieties of paddy helping improve harvest and yield. There is also hope technology playing a larger role in agriculture in the region once the varsity becomes a reality.

President of Karatagi Rice Millers’ Association N Srinivasa said that, while there would be no direct benefits that the agrarian community would derive from the varsity, its presence in the region would have much impact, albeit tangentially. “For example, the Sona 5204 breed of rice is original but many other strains of rice have been derived from this particular type of grain. Consumers, however, do not find these other varieties very suitable for cooking. Such feedback often results in farmers incurring losses. If researchers at the varsity can focus on such issues, it would help maintain uniformity, which will, in turn, help increase demand both nationally and globally,” Srinivasa said.
Scientist at Agricultural Research Station in Kalaburagi Mallikarjun Kanganal, who has previously worked in Koppal, said, “The district currently houses a Krishi Vignan Kendra and Parry Research Station in Gangavathi. But there is no scope for education in agriculture in the district. Students either have to go to Raichur or Dharwad, both of which are 180 to 200km far off. An agricultural university in Koppal will help expand the scope of education for the next generation. In Koppal, barring Gangavathi, the remaining three taluks are rain-fed. Once the varsity is set up, it will house 30 to 40 scientists. The varsity will help boost education, agriculture and economy,” said Kangnagal, pointing to the need for more agricultural varsities in Kalyana Karnataka.

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Former gram panchayat member in Danappur Shafi Hebbal Makandar lamented farmers in the region being taken advantage of by merchants and representatives from fertiliser companies. “Intervention from experts in agriculture will help them stay informed. Since most of the region is rain-fed and only partially irrigated, this is an ideal place for the setting up of an agriculture university,” he added.
Basavaraj Karishetti, a teacher and farmer in Marali village, rued the stagnation of the agricultural sector in Kalyana Karnataka. “The quality of soil in declining. New research and technology will energise the sector and the eminence of the ‘Rice Bowl’ will grow further,” said Karishetti, hoping that there would be no delay in the setting up of the varsity since the Koppal district in-charge minister BC Patil was also the agriculture minister.


Pradhan hits out at Shashi Tharoor, Congress over remarks at Lahore event

Pradhan also attacked the Congress for questioning the government over the Ladakh face-off with China.

  • Oct 19 2020, 18:01 ist
  • updated: Oct 19 2020, 18:01 ist

Union Minister for Petroleum & Natural Gas and Steel Dharmendra Pradhan. Credits: PTI Photo

Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Monday slammed Congress MP Shashi Tharoor over his remarks at a Lahore event, and accused the Congress leadership of speaking the "language of Pakistan".

Addressing a meeting of the newly-constituted Chhattisgarh Working Committee of the BJP through video link from Delhi, he also attacked the Congress for questioning the government over the Ladakh face-off with China.

The BJP is targeting Tharoor over his comments, made online, at Lahore Think Fest, where he criticized the Narendra Modi government's handling of the coronavirus situation and spoke about "bigotry and prejudice" against Muslims allegedly witnessed during the pandemic.