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December 10 ,2018

Vol 9 ,Issue 12

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Rice plants may help clean wastewater from farms
By Daily Excelsior

09/12/2018

WASHINGTON, Dec 8:
Rice plants can be used to clean water draining from farms — which contain pesticides — before
it gets into rivers, lakes, and streams, scientists suggest.
Researchers wanted to stop pesticides from getting into water outside the farm in a way that was
easy and cost-efficient for farmers.
―We wanted something that was common, that could be applied in a lot of different places, but
something that‘s non-invasive,‖ said Matt Moore, a scientist at the US Department of
Agriculture.
Researchers planted four fields, two with and two without rice. They then flooded those fields

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with a mix of three kinds of pesticides plus water that together is a lot like runoff during a storm.
They did this for two years in a row.
They found that the levels of all three pesticides were lower in fields where they‘d planted rice.
How much it dropped ranged from 85 per cent to 97 per cent, depending on which pesticide they
measured.
Rice can do this through phytoremediation — using plants and their roots to clean up water.
In real life, this pesticide-cleaning ability of rice could be used in a few ways.
Farmers could plant rice in drainage ditches already on their farms, which would ―let rice clean
off water that runs off into your field before it runs into a river, lake, or stream,‖ Moore said.
Additional research is required to find whether the chemicals end up in the edible part of the rice
plant — the rice grain — itself.
If it doesn‘t, the rice could be that natural water cleaner while also being a food source.
―It‘s potentially huge for developing countries to be able to use this as a crop and water cleaning
technology,‖ he said. (AGENCIES)

http://www.dailyexcelsior.com/rice-plants-may-help-clean-wastewater-from-farms-2/

With No Mandis, Farmers Go For Distress Sale In Odisha


Edited By Vikash Sharma | By Sarmeeli Mallick On Dec 9, 2018 - 12:01:19

Bhubaneswar: After battling with natural calamities and pest attack, paddy and cotton farmers of
Bolangir, Kalahandi and Sambalpur districts are now opting for distress sale due to undue delay
in setting up of mandis by the State government.

Farmers of Deogan in Bolangir district are forced to stock paddy in their houses and nobody
knows when the mandis are going to open even though the concerned officials conducted
meetings after meetings to ensure smooth procurement.

―We can only sell our produce if mandi opens. Though the concerned officials assured that the
centre will open by December 14, they are not ready to answer anything,‖ said Karuna Rohidas,
a farmer from Burda in Bolangir.

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Similarly, the situation has assumed serious proportions in Kalahandi district due to non-
cooperation of rice millers. Although the first mandi in Junagarh was opened on November 28
and tokens were issued to farmers, some issues over fair average quality (FAQ) have now
emerged as a bone of contention.

On the other hand, cotton farmers at Anandpur village in Sonepur district are forced to stock
their produce with no mandi being procurement in the district. Farmers cultivated cotton in more
than 3000 hectare of land in Tarabha, Gulunda and Birmaharajpur blocks of the district this year.

Although the government has fixed the price of Rs 5,400 per quintal but due to delay in opening
of mandis, the farmers have started selling their produce at much cheaper rates.

―As the government agencies are not buying our products, we are forced to sell to the local
traders,‖ said a cotton farmer, Jatin Panigrahi.

Meanwhile, the opposition parties targeted the ruling BJD and accused State Government of
ignoring the interest of the farmers.

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―The millers are not buying the paddy. I doubt the government and the concerned minister are
with the farmers or the millers,‖ alleged Opposition chief whip and Congress leader, Taraprasad
Bahinipati.

―Last year, the mandis were opened lately and the same situation has cropped up this year also.
The Odisha Government has no proper concept regarding paddy procurement,‖ said BJP State
vice-president Bhrigu Baxipatra.

―The Collectors are negotiating with the millers and the procurement will soon start. Till date,
more than 3.8 lakh tonnes of paddy have been procured and the paddy procurement process has
already started in eight districts of the State,‖ informed Food Supplies and Cooperation Minister
Surya Narayan Patro.
https://odishatv.in/odisha/with-no-mandis-farmers-go-for-distress-sale-in-odisha-338576

Senate OKs proposed P122-B budget for DA


Published December 8, 2018, 7:48 PM

By Mario Casayuran

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Before going on recess for the weekend, the Senate approved Friday the proposed P122 billion
budget for the Department of Agriculture (DA).

Senator Cynthia A, Villar, chairwoman of the Senate agriculture and food committee, said the
DA‘s budget for the coming fiscal year is 3.34 percent of the proposed national budget
amounting to P3.757 trillion.

Senator Cynthia Villar


(Senate of the Philippines via Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN)

But with a scheduled briefing Monday morning for senators on a request by the military for an
extension of the declaration of martial law in Mindanao and a probable joint Senate and House of
Representatives session on the martial law issue Wednesday, it is held likely that the proposed
2019 P3.757 trillion national budget might not be approved before both the two legislative
chambers go on a month-long Christmas recess starting December 15.

The approval of the DA budget followed a sponsorship speech by Villar and a subsequent floor
debate.

―We are hopeful, Mr. President (Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III) that the proposed 2019
budget of DA will realize our goal of lifting Filipino farmers and fisherfolks out of poverty.

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Particularly, rice and coconut farmers, who make up for seven million of the 12 million farmers
in the country since under next year‘s proposed budget, we have realigned P20 billion to provide
for standby appropriations for the rice and coconut farmers,‖ Villar said in her sponsorship
speech.

Of the total budget, P15.70 billion was earmarked for programs and P14.97 billion for projects.

The programs are as follows:

• National Rice Program, P7.41 billion


• National Livestock, P1.05 billion
• National Corn, P1.53 billion
• National High Value Crops, P1.48 billion
• National Organic Agriculture, P545.86 million
• Halal Food Industry Development, P44.63 million
• Other Regular Programs, P3.63 billion

Villar also highlighted the P10-billion Rice Fund, the most significant component of the rice
tariffication bill which would be spent to improve competitiveness and productivity of farmers.

The Rice Fund will be allocated as follows:

• Fifty percent will go to the Philippine Center for Post Harvest Development and Modernization
to provide farmers with rice farm machineries and equipment;
• Thirty percent will be released to the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PRRI) to be used for
the development, propagation and promotion of inbred rice seeds to rice farmers and the
organization of rice farmers into seed growers associations engaged in seed production and trade;
• Ten percent will be made available in the form of credit facility with minimal interest rates and
with minimum collateral requirements to rice farmers and cooperatives to be managed by the
Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) and the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP); and
• Ten percent will be set aside to fund extension services by PhilMech, Agricultural Training
Institute (ATI), and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) for
teaching skills on rice crop production, modern rice farming techniques, seed production, farm
mechanization, and knowledge/ technology transfer through farm schools nationwide.

Likewise, P10 billion has also been earmarked for the Coconut Farmers and Industry
Development Fund to increase the income of coconut farmers and to support the developmental
activities of the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA). The P10 billion is divided as follows:

• P2 billion or 20 percent for infrastructure program,


• P2 billion or 20 percent for planting, replanting and establishment of hybrid coconut nurseries,
• P1.5 billion for 15 percent for shared facilities,
• P1 billion or 10 percent for intercropping,
• P1 billion or 10 percent for Research & Development (R&D), coconut disease prevention,
control and eradication,
• P1 billion or 10 percent for credit through LBP and DBP.
• P500 million or 5 percent for fertilization,

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• P500 million or 5 percent for new products and all derivatives of coconut oil and marketing.
• P500 million or 5 percent for training of farmers through TESDA.

―We are confident, Mr. President, that with the efficient utilization of the 2019 budget and
implementation of programs and projects of the department, we are on track in removing the
barriers that keep Filipino farmers and fisherfolks from being more competitive and profitable,‖
Villar said

https://news.mb.com.ph/2018/12/08/senate-oks-proposed-p122-b-budget-for-da/

‘Rice tariffication won’t solve Philippines’ inflation problem’

Posted December 9th, 2018 | Business | 0 Comments | 165 views

Photo via The STAR/Michael Varcas


By Ian Nicolas Cigaral/philstar.com – Lifting the more than two-decade-old caps on rice
imports would not solve the Philippines‘ inflation problem, Deutsche Bank said, adding that the
country‘s ―overheating‖ economy must lose steam to ―stably‖ tame stubbornly high prices.
Households reeling from soaring prices since the beginning of the year finally got their much-
awaited reprieve in November, which saw a four-month low inflation rate of 6 percent on the
back of slower price increments for food and tumbling oil prices.

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The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and the country‘s economic managers have repeatedly stressed
the importance of replacing rice import limits with a system of tariffs to bring inflation back
inside the government‘s 2-4 percent target band.
In a report sent to reporters on Friday, Deutsche Bank, however, said liberalizing rice imports
―will help, but will not solve the Philippines‘ inflation problem.‖
Rice is a Filipino main staple and pivotal political commodity in the Philippines. It is a heavy
item in the basket of goods and services used to compute inflation and accounts for 20 percent of
the consumption of low-income households.

―At nearly 10 percent of the [consumer price index], such a decline in retail prices could put the
inflation rate back inside the central bank‘s target,‖ Deutsche Bank said.

―The problem with this simple logic, though, is that it might take an infeasibly large volume of
imports to drive rice prices down, especially since the prospect of cheaper imports will drive out
local producers,‖ it added.

Congress last month passed the Rice Tariffication bill, which seeks to amend the Agricultural
Tariffication Act of 1996.

Under the measure, individuals and businesses can import additional volumes of the crop from
Southeast Asian countries like Thailand and Vietnam but will have to pay a 35-percent tariff.
The collected tariffs will be used to fund mass irrigation, warehousing and rice research.

Based on the central bank‘s estimate, scrapping import caps on rice could reduce annual inflation
by 0.7 percentage points next year. In the first 11 months of 2018, inflation averaged 5.2 percent,
still above the BSP‘s target range.

Food prices moderated in November, showing signs that the Duterte administration‘s efforts to
ease food supply bottlenecks are starting to work.

‘Slow down’
In the same report, Deutsche Bank said headline inflation is unlikely to fall below the upper end
of the government‘s target range until 2020, adding that the central bank should further raise key
rates to douse the ―overheating‖ Philippine economy.

Overheating occurs when production in a fast-growing economy is not able to keep up with
rising demand, leading to sharp rise in prices.

―The central bank is pinning a lot of its hopes for declining inflation on the rice tariffication
scheme, another piece of delayed legislation that might pass before year-end,‖ Deutsche Bank
said.

―Ultimately, though, to get inflation stably back inside the target band, the economy needs to
slow down to below potential and stay there for a few quarters. With a few more rate hikes, we

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think that will happen although we don't see headline inflation below 4 percent until 2020,‖ it
added. ―Slower external demand, the weaker currency and higher interest rates will slow the
economy down enough to put inflation on a downward trend.‖

In a bid to fight inflation, the BSP has delivered back-to-back interest rate hikes of 1.75
percentage points since May, among the most forceful actions in Asia.

The central bank will meet to review rates on December 13


https://www.philstar.com/business/2018/12/08/1875316/rice-tariffication-wont-solve-
philippines-inflation-problem#24Dlup8hwplZVX48.99

https://www.philstar.com/business/2018/12/08/1875316/rice-tariffication-wont-solve-
philippines-inflation-problem

Imported rice not fit for consumption -Prof. Iwu


Posted By: Charles Okonji On: December 9, 2018 In: Business, News Update

A health expert and professor of pharmacognosy, Professor Maurice Iwu has warned Nigerians

to desist from the consumption of imported rice, saying they contain heavy metals and toxins that

are harmful to the body.

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Professor Iwu gave the advice at the ceremony of the international conference on alternative

sweeteners tagged: ―Harnessing of the economic potentials of Thaumatin (Thaumatococcus

danielli) in Africa,‖ held at Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi (FIIRO) last weekend

in Lagos.

Iwu who is also a former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)

disclosed that most of the countries that Nigeria imports rice from are known to have heavily

contaminated soils that have been over planted over the years with a lot of chemical fertilizers.

Such soil, he stated, contain heavy metals and toxins that are not healthy to the human kidney

and general wellbeing, which are transferred into the rice grains that the country imports.

―This is not anything about promoting Nigeria‘s commodity, but I am talking from the scientific

side of view that it is in our interest to eat made-in-Nigeria food, not just only rice, but

particularly rice because of its nature. The rice grain absorbs minerals from the soil, including

these harmful metals and chemicals.

―Secondly, the imported rice is polished and preserved with additional chemicals before they get

here. That is why most of the imported rice look very clean and white, which is also a very bad

sign,‖ Iwu disclosed.

Meanwhile, the Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi (FIIRO) announced it has

developed simple process technologies for commercial extraction and optimisation of high grade

Thaumatin and Miraculin, a low calorie sweetener and flavour modifier.

Director General, FIIRO, Prof. Gloria Elemo, stated that this breakthrough was apt considering

the fact that global worth of high intensity sweetener both natural and synthetic market was on

the rise estimated at close to $1.3 billion in 2008 and is expected to quadruple by 2021.

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Elemo who disclosed this at the opening ceremony of the International conference on alternative

sweeteners, said that attention is now shifting to sourcing of alternative sweeteners mainly non-

nutritive phyto chemicals from plants in order to close the gap between the production and

consumption of sweeteners, sweetening and flavour enhancers.

According to her, there is increasing large segment of the population with special dietary

requirements containing non-nutritive sugar, such as the diabetic patients, pointing out that over

the past few decades, non-nutritive sweeteners have been gaining significance and are expected

to develop into a major source of high potency sweetener for the growing natural food and

pharmaceutical markets.

She added that in Nigeria, there is a huge gap between sugar production and consumption, saying

this represents a serious problem since an estimated amount and quantity of 2.5 million tonnes

will be imported to meet local demand.

http://thenationonlineng.net/imported-rice-not-fit-consumption-prof-iwu/

Climate Change Impact On Rice Production in Pakistan: An


ARDL-Bounds Testing Approach to Cointegration
Abbas Ali Chandio , Yuansheng Jiang * , Habibullah Magsi

Version 1 : Received: 5 December 2018 / Approved: 7 December 2018 / Online: 7 December


2018 (17:26:03 CET)

How to cite: Chandio, A.A.; Jiang, Y.; Magsi, H. Climate Change Impact On Rice Production in
Pakistan: An ARDL-Bounds Testing Approach to Cointegration. Preprints 2018,
2018120095 Chandio, A.A.; Jiang, Y.; Magsi, H. Climate Change Impact On Rice Production in
Pakistan: An ARDL-Bounds Testing Approach to Cointegration. Preprints 2018,
2018120095Copy

Abstract
This research paper aims to examine the relationship between CO2, temperature, area, fertilizers
and rice production in Pakistan. This study used Augmented Dickey Fuller (ADF) and Phillips
Perron (PP) unit root tests to check the order of integration of each variable. The cointegration
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analysis with ARDL bounds testing approach is used to examine the impact of climate change on
rice production in Pakistan over time series data from the period 1968 to 2014. The parameter
stability test of the model is also checked at the end. The results of estimation show that the
important variables of the study are cointegrated demonstrating the presence of long-run
association among them. Furthermore, climate change factors, e.g. CO2 and temperature have a
long-run and short-run positive effect on the production of rice in Pakistan. This present work is
original and it is first time empirically tested the impact of climate change on rice production in
Pakistan. The annual time series data of 47 years enhances the validity of the empirical findings.
The most fruitful finding of this research is that rice production in Pakistan is positively
influenced by emission of carbon dioxide (CO2) at 5 percent significance level in both long-run
and short-run.

https://www.preprints.org/manuscript/201812.0095/v1 https://mediatrig.com/rice-transplanter-
machines-sales-market-research-report/19973/

Scientists have explained why the rice is harmful to health


By paradox

08.12.2018

This grass is able to absorb contamination from the soil.

Rice found toxic chemicals and recommended to restrict its use.Scientists from New Orleans told
about the dangerous impact of rice on the health that enters international markets from China,
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India and Thailand. The plant actively accumulates harmful substances. During the study experts
found that imported from the listed countries rice contains high amounts of arsenic, lead and
other hazardous elements.

Scientists attribute this to pollution of groundwater in Asian countries. According to American


experts, regular consumption of this rice contributes to the development of incurable diseases
and, therefore, they recommend to strictly limit its quantity in the diet.

After the publication by the Western publications materials research experts from the US, users
began to actively discuss this topic. Some of them said that in China and India, people often eat
rice and the number of people in these countries are not reduced.

According to users, the results of the study about the dangers of this product are greatly
exaggerated in order to expose the bad products of the Eastern countries.

http://micetimes.asia/scientists-have-explained-why-the-rice-is-harmful-to-health/
BECAME AWARE OF THE DANGEROUS IMPACT RICE
HEALTH
Neil Strong | December 7, 2018 | Health | No Comments

In the grass found toxic chemicals and recommended to restrict its use.
Scientists from New Orleans told about the dangerous impact of rice on the health that enters international
markets from China, India and Thailand. The plant actively accumulates harmful substances. During the
study experts found that imported from the listed countries rice contains high amounts of arsenic, lead and
14 | w w w . r i c e p l u s m a g a z i n e . b l o g s p o t . c o m ,
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other hazardous elements. Scientists attribute this to pollution of groundwater in Asian countries.
According to American experts, regular consumption of this rice contributes to the development of
incurable diseases and, therefore, they recommend to strictly limit its quantity in the diet.
After the publication by the Western publications materials research experts from the US, users began to
actively discuss this topic. Some of them said that in China and India, people often eat rice and the
number of people in these countries are not reduced. According to users, the results of the study about the
dangers of this product are greatly exaggerated in order to expose the bad products of the Eastern
countries

https://sivweek.com/became-aware-of-the-dangerous-impact-rice-health/19953/

Academic shines light on structural problems in padi industry


Ainaa Aiman

December 8, 2018 8:50 AM

Universiti Malaya economics professor Fatimah Kari.

PETALING JAYA: Padi farmers are still one of the most marginalised groups where poverty
rate is among the highest in Malaysia, despite large investments in subsidies and training
provided by the government.

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Fatimah Kari, an economist from Universiti Malaya and a senior fellow at the Institute of
Democracy and Economic Affairs, partly attributed this to the unfair market structures within the
padi industry‘s supply chain.

―From the calculations that I made, the rent-seeking index in the industry was very high and
came to about 1.8, almost 2,‖ she told FMT during an exclusive interview after the launch of her
report.

She said this meant that for every RM1 a farmer makes, large corporations such as Padiberas
Nasional Bhd (Bernas), distributors and retailers will make the same amount, without having to
face the same risk factors, bear the same cost, or put in the same amount of labour that farmers
would have to endure.

―Whatever the farmer makes is equally created in distribution centres or big corporations in the
supply chain who face a different, more favourable risk profile,‖ she added.

Her paper reflected the burden that farmers continue to face in a time of technological
advancements and development, and economic uncertainty.

Her other findings included government subsidies often missing the mark, and farmers remaining
as mere producers instead of expanding into major players in the market.

Speaking about Bernas in particular she said, ―The rent-seeking index means that Bernas is
getting 100% of the farmers‘ capital.

―Worse still, with Bernas, you are talking about their rent-seeking behaviour not only in terms of
control of imports but also control of inputs.‖

Bernas is the major importer of rice in Malaysia. It also produces over 30% of all padi
production in the country, equivalent to 800,000 metric tonnes of rice.

It also operates private wholesalers, distributors and rice mills.

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It even owns a share of the ―input market‖ to the padi industry, which refers to the market selling
fertilisers, seeds and other farming necessities to the farmers, she said.

She argued that calculating Bernas‘ rent-seeking index would include all its profits from both
importing and producing rice.

―That is their rent-seeking value because you must understand that they do not take similar risks
as the farmers,‖ she said, adding that farmers were the ones who would have to farm the land,
pay the labour, and use their own resources.

However, Bernas CEO Ismail Mohamed Yusoff, who believed that there was a need for some
monopoly, said during a press conference in July this year that Bernas was not attempting to
make ―monopolistic profits‖.

―Contrary to popular belief, Bernas does not make monopolistic profits,‖ he said.

Citing data, Ismail said Bernas‘ profit margins were minimal – between 0.4% and 1.8% over the
past three years.

He added that Bernas‘ return on equity (ROE), or its net assets or assets minus liabilities, stood
at 4.9% in 2017.

―This in comparison with fast-moving consumer goods companies such as Dutch Lady Milk
Industries Bhd or Nestle (M) Bhd, whose ROE were above 100% that year.‖

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Padi farmers are still one of the most marginalised groups where poverty rate is among the highest in
Malaysia. (Bernama pic)

Break up the monopoly

It was announced by the Pakatan Harapan government that there would be a revision of Bernas‘
control over its licence to import rice.

But ―despite the government‘s formal announcement, the corporation‘s ownership has continued to
be controlled by dominant personalities‖, Fatimah‘s report stated.

In October, The Edge reported Agriculture Minister Salahuddin Ayub as saying that the government
would take over the function of Bernas after its concession terminates in 2021.

Fatimah said efforts were needed to break up the monopoly to ensure open competition with other
players – importers, major wholesalers and millers – who are just as good and knowledgeable about
the market.

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She said these ―other players‖ must also comprise of the farmers themselves.

―The farmers themselves must be part of the market chain, otherwise that monopoly will distort the
whole market.‖

She said they could be under a cooperative or an umbrella of small traders or small millers, who
could control a part of the market.

―Only then will you have a level playing field. Otherwise, now we are seeing a structure that is not
working at all.

―The other reason why breaking a monopoly like Bernas may be beneficial to the industry is you
cannot have one corporation controlling almost everything in the supply chain.

―It wouldn‘t make sense for Bernas to help farmers because if farmers become major producers, it
would affect their market share of the padi industry that they get from their rice imports,‖ she said.

Fatimah acknowledged Bernas‘ existing model which aims to help farmers, but said it was
ineffective.

―After a few years of having this model, its just not working. The farmers are still struggling.‖

She recommended that Bernas be revamped to reflect the reality of farmers on the ground, adding
that they remained just as poor as they were 20 or 30 years ago.

Food crisis

In 2008 when Malaysia had a food crisis, she said Bernas automatically made the decision that it
would not increase its rice imports.

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Back in 2007 to 2008, rice prices surged due to export restrictions by key rice exporting countries
such as India and Vietnam, in tandem with panic buying from rice importing countries such as the
Philippines.

This resulted in an increase in world rice prices by 117% to 149% in the first quarter of 2008.

Fatimah said Bernas having such autonomy and decision-making power in these matters made for a
very vulnerable market structure.

She added that this threatened food security and national self-sufficiency, which refers to a country‘s
capability to produce its own food.

Fatimah‘s report cited a 2018 Khazanah Research Institute paper, which argued that there was
growing concern related to food security and Malaysia‘s capability to be self-sufficient in its rice
production due to high rice production costs, limited production capacity and reliance on imports.

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2018/12/08/academic-shines-light-on-structural-
problems-in-padi-industry/

Sikh temple could build bridge between India and Pakistan

Sikh children shout slogans in front of the Kartarpur Gurdwara Sahib after a groundbreaking
ceremony for the Kartarpur Corridor on Nov. 28, 2018. (Arif Ali/AFP/Getty Images)

By Pamela Constable

December 8 at 9:13 PM
KARTARPUR, Pakistan — Rising above a placid stretch of rice paddies and wheat fields in
southern Punjab province is a graceful white-domed temple. To followers of the Sikh religion,
21 million of whom live in next-door India, it is a sacred site where Guru Nanak Devji, a founder
of Sikhism, spent the last decade of his life and passed away, nearly 550 years ago.
For the past 70 years, though, the site has remained either closed or mostly empty — captive to
the historic enmity stemming from Partition, the process that violently sundered India in 1947
and created Pakistan as a Muslim homeland.

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The temple sits just three miles from the border with India, but the psychological distance is
much greater. This border is one of the tensest, most militarized boundaries in the world, with
thousands of troops guarding both sides of razor-wire fences. The countries have fought two
wars, and shootings often erupt across the ―line of control‖ that divides the disputed Himalayan
territory of Kashmir.

Indian Sikh pilgrims who want to visit the temple on special occasions, such as anniversaries of
Guru Nanak‘s death, must obtain Pakistani visas, walk across the only official border opening,
75 miles away, and travel two hours by bus to reach the isolated temple. Others find it easier to
visit a designated spot on their side of the border, where they can view the temple through
binoculars.

But now, the Pakistani government has announced plans toopen a border crossing directly across
from the temple and build a connecting road, which it plans to open in November 2019. It is a
modest but high-profile gesture that officials say they hope will help improve relations with
Pakistan‘s Hindu-led, nuclear-armed adversary next door.
The idea sprang from a conversation between Pakistan‘s army chief, Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa,
and an Indian Sikh politician and former cricket star, Navjot Singh Sidhu, at the inauguration of
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan in August. On Nov. 28, both officials joined Khan at a
groundbreaking ceremony outside the temple, along with foreign ambassadors and Indian
journalists.

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Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan addresses the groundbreaking ceremony for the Kartarpur Corridor. (Arif
Ali/AFP/Getty Images)

Making an emotional plea for rapprochement, Khan told the crowd that Pakistan‘s government,
army and political parties ―are all on one page. We want to move forward.‖ Indian Prime
Minister Narendra Modi, a strong Hindu nationalist, reciprocated in kind. ―Did anyone ever think
that the Berlin Wall would fall?‖ Modi said in a statement. ―Maybe with the blessings of Guru
Nanak Devji, this corridor . . . will act as a bridge between the peoples of the two countries.‖
But years of deep-seated animosity soon intruded on the hopeful moment. India‘s foreign
minister declined to attend the ceremony, citing ―prior commitments‖ and sent two lower-
ranking officials who are Sikhs. The Hindu and Sikh religions have common roots in India, but
Sikhs believe in a single deity, while Hindus worship a variety of gods.

Pakistan‘s foreign minister accused India of playing politics with the issue. Modi faulted the
Indian opposition Congress party for ―letting Kartarpur go‖ in 1947 and cutting off the temple
from India. Khan complained that the Indian news media had disparaged his gesture as a stunt.

Despite the high-level wrangling, many Pakistanis expressed strong support for the border
opening, saying they hoped it could ease the long-standing tensions that have kept two
neighboring armies on alert and the specter of nuclear war hanging over the region.

Members of Pakistan‘s small Sikh community, which numbered several million before Partition
but has dwindled to about 30,000, were especially excited. Many said they visit the temple at
least once a year, explaining that it holds a strong place in their emotions and beliefs.
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Sarbir Singh, 41, who owns a bridal shop, said a visit to the Sikh temple at Kartarpur ―takes me
to another world.‖ (Pamela Constable/The Washington Post)

―It takes me to another world. I feel a calmness


there like nowhere else,‖ said Sarbir Singh, 41,
who owns a bridal shop at a crowded bazaar in
Rawalpindi city. ―All of us want both countries to
be at peace and their people to mingle,‖ he said.
―This is a first step, and, God willing, it will lead
to more.‖The lane to the temple in Kartarpur, off
a bumpy farm road, is marked with a sign in
English, Urdu and Hindi Sanskrit. The grounds
are surrounded by sugar cane fields, and the
border is just over the horizon, with bulldozers at
work to build the new road. On Wednesday, a
small stream of visitors arrived to tour the site, a
walled compound that was built in 1921. Inside
are neatly tended gardens, pristine tiled pavilions,
and a carved white building containing vividly
decorated chambers for praying and reading from
Sikhism‘s holy book, the Guru Granth Sahib.

Most of the visitors were Pakistani Muslims, some of whom said they had come partly out of
curiosity and partly to pay their respects. Saima Afzal, 34, drove from Lahore in a minivan with
her children and other relatives.

―We have heard since childhood about this guru, that he was a great thinker who cared about
humanity,‖ Afzal said. ―We are Muslims, but we respect him. We want to see more trade with
India, and more understanding. When people meet, they start to know each other.‖

The temple is managed by a Pakistani Sikh, Govind Singh. A fountain of information on Sikh
history, he has lived in the temple compound since 2000, when the site was reopened after being
closed since 1947.

Singh said that all previous Pakistani governments had respected the Sikh religion and that
Pakistanis had never shown to Sikhs the ill-will that historically marred their relations with
Hindus. But even since the temple reopened, he said, only about 15,000 Sikhs a year have
managed to come from abroad, including about 4,000 from India, because reaching the site was
so difficult.Now, Singh said, ―Sikhs all over the world are full of happiness. We pray that the
bridge to Kartarpur will bring them all here.‖

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/sikh-temple-could-build-bridge-between-india-and-
pakistan/2018/12/07/52b01754-f98a-11e8-8642-
c9718a256cbd_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.864addcb68ba

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Uninterrupted power supply to rice mills
 December 8, 2018
This Press Release is issued by Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP). REAP strongly
urges provincial and federal authorities to take up the issue of non availability of electricity in
rice growing belt of Sindh and Balochistan, where upto 15 hours without electricity means
hurting rice export supply chain badly. The concerned Heads of QESCO in Balochistan and
HESCO & SEPCO in Sindh be requested to attend this matter on priority basis. REAP fully
endorses the request made by the General Secretary, Sindh Balochistan Rice Millers and Traders
Association (SBRMTA) in this regard. REAP requests Janab Syed Murad Ali Shah, Hon. Chief
Minister of Sindh and Janab Jam Kamal, Hon.

Chief Minister of Balochistan to personally attend this matter of National interest on priority
basis. In this regard, REAP requests urgently to all concerned quarters to take notice to supply
uninterrupted supply of electricity to Dera Murad Jamali, Osta Muhammad and other
surrounding rice growing areas of Balochistan & Sindh province. Further, our country is facing
huge trade deficit and rice export trade is one of the important FOREX earner and this is the peak
season of rice export and therefore concerned authorities should take necessary measure to
resolve the power supply issue on Top priority basis.

https://pakobserver.net/uninterrupted-power-supply-to-rice-mills/

An ‘agricultural’ Pakistan — a necessity


By Nabeel Qadeer

Published: December 7, 2018

The writer is the chair for UNCTAD — Commonwealth Entrepreneurship Project in Pakistan &
CIO of Superior Group
Since its inception, Pakistan has always primarily been an agriculture-reliant economy. With
the Green Revolution of the 60s being a growth impetus, the sector contributes around 18% to
the GDP, employs 42% of the total labour force, and constitutes 75% of total exports revenue.

To picture its significance in a better way, let‘s see how it affects people at a micro-level.
Income of over 12 million households is directly linked to how well a seasonal crop does.
Another 4 million households are involved in livestock farming. Any fluctuation means their

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livelihood and access to basic needs get compromised. And this does not account for informal
labour, the work performed by women during harvest season. In simple terms, Pakistan‘s rural
population, which is 64% of the total, is affiliated with the agriculture sector. This is what
makes the industry so important.

The agriculture sector experienced a growth of 3.8% in the last financial year. The yield per
hectare of major crops, however, has been on a decline over the years. For example, Pakistan‘s
wheat yield is only 38% of what France produces, rice crop is merely 29% of yield per hectare
of the US and cotton produce is just 52% of what China grows per hectare. There are multiple
reasons for this — soil fertility, seed quality and limited financing being just some of them.

Countries such as China, Israel and Brazil have experienced exponential growth in the
agriculture sector. Pakistan can learn from their policy experiences and interventions to
strengthen its own agriculture sector.
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Brazil‘s agricultural production grew by more than 400% over the past two decades. This
growth has been despite challenges of infrastructure and transportation logistics the country
still faces. What it did right was to invest in research. Thereby, introducing new methods of
operation such as ‗no till‘ agriculture, genetic modification of seeds, and increasing arable land
through chemicals. To complement this, the private sector jumped in with investments in
infrastructure and logistics, even if with a motive of market profitability.

Israel, despite its land area as small as the state of New Jersey, has increased agricultural
output substantially. Smart irrigation methods, including micro-irrigation that utilises drip
technology, have been instrumental in this growth. In addition, Israel treats almost 80% of
domestic wastewater, recycling it for agricultural use. This constitutes nearly 50% of the total
water used for agriculture; hence, overcoming the challenge of water shortage.

If Pakistan is to reposition the agriculture sector as globally competitive and as a tool to impact
millions of lives, it is important that a dynamic long-term strategy be devised — a multi-
dimensional policy that works to improve the total sector output like Brazil did, increase per
unit productivity as China did and enhance efficiency by introducing technology as Israel has.
In doing so, the potential role of different stakeholders, including entrepreneurs and investors,
must be explored and acknowledged. This will encourage them to take policy ownership and
work to make it a success.

Entrepreneurs are natural problem-solvers. They can develop products and propose local
solutions to a set of common agricultural problems. In turn, they have a scalable market ready
to be accessed. Use of drone technology to monitor crop growth is one such solution. However,
any such entrepreneurial solution needs to be backed on a large scale for ground-level
implementation.

Agriculture and ancillary sectors can be utilised for poverty alleviation as was practised in
China. Programmes facilitating small landholders by providing access to micro credit,
subsidised graded seeds and shared advanced technology can improve their livelihood, thereby
pulling them out of poverty.

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In Bangladesh, for example, and other developing countries of Latin America and Africa,
small-scale poultry and livestock businesses have been supported as a means of poverty
alleviation. It promoted women entrepreneurship, financial inclusion and strengthened the
local livestock industry as well. Subsequently, livelihood of those directly involved improved
and so did food supply.

Structured support of the sector will help in striking a better balance in the labour market,
thereby releasing the ‗push‘ factor of urban migration. Government-assisted vocational
trainings and academic degrees, for example, will create an incentive to pursue sector-based
knowledge. It will add some prestige to agriculture as a career field and encourage youth from
rural backgrounds to adopt it as an option.

Pakistan‘s economy is facing enormous challenges. It is exactly in such testing times that bold
decisions are taken — decisions that have the power to convert challenges into opportunities. It
is the right time to create a supportive policy environment for the agriculture sector and
improve the livelihood of over 12 million households. Rather than mocking the Prime
Minister‘s simplistic rhetoric on kattas, murghis & desi andas, it‘ll be more valuable for us, as
a nation, to realise the importance we need to give to promoting the agriculture sector of
Pakistan. Yes, his priorities seem spot-on. Let‘s stay positive and support our government in
making agricultural reforms a prime agenda item.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 7th, 2018.
https://tribune.com.pk/story/1861655/6-agricultural-pakistan-necessity/

Turning ‘agri trash’ into treasure: Rice straw as a potential

energy source
By Kaymart Gimutao

December 10, 2018

Rice straw collected from the fields in Victoria, Laguna.Benjamin Laviña, a farmer from
Laguna, has been planting rice for more than 40 years now. Come harvest time, Laviña gets only
the grains, and burns the stems and leaves—or the rice straw—for disposal.

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Laviña is among the farmers who consider rice straw as an agricultural waste that could hinder
land preparation for the next planting season.

According to the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), some 300 million tons of this rice
by-product are burned every year. The latest assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change projected that burning of crop residue, including rice straw, contributes a fairly
good amount of greenhouse-gas emission by the agricultural sector.

The potential for rice straw to become a common biomass resource is huge, given that 3.5 billion
people or more than half of the world‘s population rely on rice for their staple food. IRRI
estimates that about 6 tons of straw are produced for every 4 tons of rice grain—amounting to
more than 700 million tons of rice straw produced every year, and most of them are simply
disposed of.

―For bioenergy experts, scouting the world for whatever biomass you can use without competing
with food production is more preferable. There‘s a huge opportunity in rice straw as sustainable
source of bioenergy, the fact that it doesn‘t have to be returned to the soil and it‘s being burned

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while there‘s so much of it,‖ said Craig Jamieson, founder of Straw Innovations Ltd. and part of
the ongoing Rice Straw to Biogas (R2B) Project.

R2B project, a collaboration between research institutions (University of Southampton and


University of Manchester in the United Kingdom) and industry actors (Straw Innovations Ltd., a
start-up company based in Los Baños, Laguna, and QUBE Renewables Ltd.), want to turn rice
straws into a viable energy source for agricultural communities and beyond.

The R2B Project seeks to provide energy in rural areas with no or limited access to electricity but
where rice straw is abundant.

Initially, the project is targeted to be used as a cooking fuel in Southeast Asian households,
where firewood is normally used for cooking. Eventually, the project will explore the possibility
of biogas to power agricultural machineries, as well as an energy source for households.

The project hopes to address energy challenges faced by developing countries.

Developing sustainable business models


Straw Innovations Ltd. plans to develop biogas from rice straw by using low-cost technology.
Once villages have been tested, the company will scale up its operations.

―Field testing of biogas has to be conducted at the community-scale, a sweet spot between a
large-scale power plant, which is expensive and difficult to maintain, and a small- or farm-scale
demonstration, which cannot be sustained because farmers are preoccupied with their crops,‖
Jamieson said.

To make the initiative sustainable once the technology is available in the market, Straw
Innovations Ltd. has developed a business model that will involve key players other than
farmers, such as bioenergy experts, potential investors and agribusiness operators.

―It‘s going to be an agribusiness so that it can be sustainable and not just relying on public funds
forever. It‘s a business model and not a leisure farming type. We need people in business who

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are serious about this to co-invest with us—they could be anywhere in the supply chain, they
could be rice mill owners, they could be dairy farmers or fertilizer companies,‖ Jamieson added.

Meanwhile, the First Quezon Biogas Corp. (FCBC), a cooperative composed of commercial
poultry growers in Quezon province, will soon open a biogas powerplant in Candelaria that will
incorporate rice straw, chicken manure and other agricultural wastes for energy production.

According to Liborio Cabanilla, professor of Economics from the University of the Philippines
Los Baños and one of the consultants in the development of FCBC powerplant, the venture is
going to be a win-win situation for both the farmers and FCBC.

Cabanilla explained that rice straw and other agricultural residues that are considered as waste by
famers will now have added value since they will become one of the main materials for biogas
production.

He also shared that the fermented rice straw and manure left after the biogas production can also
serve as organic fertilizer, which the company can donate to farmers.Recognizing the dynamics
in farming communities

The initiative to convert rice straw into massive energy source, however, could only work if
farmers are willing to cooperate.Based on the findings of the Rice Straw Energy Project, an
integrated research from 2013 to 2016 that identified challenges to fulfill the bioenergy potential
of rice straw, farmers have different attitudes toward giving away leftover straw.

According to Angela Minas, researcher from Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the
University of Manchester and was part of the project, opinions of farmers and local communities
need to be recognized during the initiative‘s technology development.

The research project also revealed that cultural traditions and beliefs play an important role in
straw management, as they shape how individual farmers value and use rice straw.

―So far, we have learned from our research in the Philippines and Vietnam that rice-straw
management is a social practice—and industry actors need to understand this,‖ Minas added. But

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according to farmers interviewed in the same research, they were also open to changing their
practices.

Researchers from the project were optimistic that suitable business models could optimize
prevailing market opportunities relevant at each site, address the needs of the farmers and
understand their overall farming system, while more pilot demonstration projects and
experiential learning will benefit farmers and increase their confidence to change their rice
straw-management practices.

As for farmers like Laviña, he sees no problem to changing his practice as long as it will not cost
him too much time and additional expenses.―We are even willing to attend trainings on proper
rice-straw management, and it will really be interesting if this can provide us additional income,‖
Laviña added.

https://businessmirror.com.ph/turning-agri-trash-into-treasure-rice-straw-as-a-potential-energy-
source/

Missouri college develops new rice variety


DECEMBER 10, 2018 BY MISSOURINET CONTRIBUTOR

A new rice breed has been developed by Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau
and the Missouri Rice Research and Merchandising Council (MRRMC). Dr. Mike Aide,
professor of agriculture, says MM17 is the school‘s first-ever release of a new rice variety and it
has been about one decade in the making.
Missouri college develops new rice variety

―It is a cross between a variety from Italy and one of our own lines and it showed excellent
characteristics for taste as well as yield as well as palatability issues,‖ Aide tells Brownfield Ag
News.

He says MM17 rice will be available for the 2019 planting season.

Aide says the rice is beneficial for Asian cuisine, including sushi.

―We are very hopeful that restaurants from St. Louis to New York City will be buying Missouri
rice,‖ he says.

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The variety from Italy is medium grain, crossed with an experimental line from the Cooperative
Uniform Regional Rice Nursery, a multi-state program.

According to Aide, Missouri has about 200,000 acres of rice – most being long grain.

By Julie Harker of Brownfield Ag News

https://www.missourinet.com/2018/12/10/missouri-college-develops-new-rice-variety/

Small Loans Help Increase Rice Yield In Bangladesh,


Study Shows
Microfinance institutions have a positive impact on farmers, allowing them to adopt high-yield
rice varieties and increase their farming output, researchers say. SHARE SHARE TWEET
SHARE AsianScientist (Dec. 10, 2018) – An international research group has found that
microfinance schemes could increase rice yields in Bangladesh.

They published their findings in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics. In the
developing world, access to credit can lead to higher productivity and an increase in living
standards. However, formal financial institutions are reluctant to finance households with low
incomes or which lack collateral.

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This is where microfinance institutions, or MFIs, play a role. MFIs extend small loans, called
microcredit, to individual households. While standard microloans tend to be geared toward
business and entrepreneurial endeavors, in recent years, Bangladesh has made a name for itself
internationally by providing microcredit to tenant farmers. In the present study, researchers from
Bangladesh, Japan and the US have examined the impact of agricultural microcredit on the
livelihood of farmers. Led by Dr. Mohammad Abdul Malek of Kyoto University‘s Graduate
School of Agriculture, the researchers analyzed various outcomes of microcredit loans, such as
the adoption of high-yield or hybrid rice, the overall rice yield, as well as farmers‘ household
incomes. ―The agricultural microcredit program Borgachashi Unnayan Prakalpa—BCUP—
began in 2009 with a primary objective of increasing the credit access of tenant farmers to formal
financial institutions,‖ explains Malek.

―So we conducted two surveys in 2012 and 2014 to see how households receiving this financing
changed over time.‖ The Bangladesh Bank started BCUP with a low-interest revolving fund, as
part of its financial inclusion strategy. The average loan amount was equal to the production cost
of rice for one hectare of land. The team‘s results showed that BCUP helped increase rice yield
as well as overall crop farm income. The researchers also reported that the BCUP helps increase
the probability of adopting hybrid and higher yield rice. Furthermore, they noted a positive effect
on the cultivation of owned land and livestock ownership. ―BCUP has had a number of positive
effects,‖ said Malek.

―While we did not find a change in household income, we noticed that the farmers were able to
allocate more time to self-employment activities.‖ While several studies have examined the role
of agricultural credit on the livelihood of farm households, this is the first to examine the impact
of a program designed specifically to increase the financial inclusion of tenant farmers, said the
researchers. The team hopes to continue their inquiry into the effects of microcredit, seeking to
better inform future policy decisions in Bangladesh or elsewhere in Asia. The article can be
found at: Hossain et al. (2018) Agricultural Microcredit for Tenant Farmers: Evidence from a
Field Experiment in Bangladesh. ———

Source: Kyoto University. Photo: Shutterstock. Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily
reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff. Read more from Asian Scientist Magazine at:
https://www.asianscientist.com/2018/12/in-the-lab/bangladesh-farmer-microcredit-productivity/

China's record rice yield -- a blessing for global grain consumers


18 tons per hectare shows China remains committed to feeding its 1.4bn people
TADANORI YOSHIDA, Nikkei senior staff writerDECEMBER 10, 2018 15:10 JST

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Despite an increasingly wealthy population with changing dietary habits, China continues to
strive to make its rice paddies more productive. © Reuters

TOKYO -- For a second year in a row China has set a record for rice production, this time with a
yield of more than 18 tons on a hectare. This is almost three times the average in neighboring
Japan, where farmers favor flavor over quantity and do not have 1.4 billion people to nourish.

The record was set in an experimental paddy in the northern province of Hebei that had been
planted with a variety known as Xiangliangyou 900. A team of researchers led by Yuan
Longping, China's "father of hybrid rice," developed the varietal.

The new strain is a global blessing. China's experiments with improving rice yields show the
country's commitment to food self-sufficiency, which contributes to food security around the
world. If the most populous nation were to turn to imports for major grains, it would inevitably
push up international market prices.

This would also have consequences in China, whose citizens would find it more difficult to buy
their necessary calories.

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According to Ruan Wei of Japan's Norinchukin Research Institute, Japan "is lucky in that even if
it boosts its dependence on imported food it would not greatly affect the international market."

The country's population is around 125 million and shrinking.

Since 1978, when it launched its reform and opening-up policy, China has modeled its economy
on Japan's two go-go decades through the mid-1970s. It exported its way to explosive growth
and is now striving to expand via domestic consumption.

However, China veered off the Japan trail when it came to agriculture policy.

As the Japanese diet westernized, the country increased its reliance on nonrice grain imports, and
its food self-sufficiency ratio began to plummet.

As Japan's farmers found themselves suddenly competing against hamburgers, they were also
being told to reduce the acreage they devote to rice. So the industry began focusing on
engineering better-tasting grain.

Rice farming in Japan hasn't been the same since 1971, when McDonald's opened its first restaurant in the country, in Tokyo's
Ginza district.

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One factor that pushed farmers to improve the flavor of their rice was a grading system
that the Japan Grain Inspection Association introduced in 1971. Coincidentally, McDonald's
opened its first restaurant in Japan that very same year. Many of Japan's rice-producing regions
looked at the ranking as a contest and thus competed for the highest special A rating. That honor
is still coveted and, once attained, trumpeted.

Who needs to improve rice yields when Japanese are treating their palates to fancier foods?

Although the same dynamic is now playing out in China, prospects for higher prices have left the
government with no choice but to hold strong to a policy of maintaining self-sufficiency in rice,
wheat and staples other than soybeans.

For growing more rice, China has two options, according to Ruan of Norinchukin Research
Institute: consolidation and mechanization.

As for the trend toward richer foods, it is mostly confined to large cities. Outside big burgs, rice,
noodles, dumplings and other foods made from grains that are easy to grow domestically form a
core part of the diet. But in more urban areas, McDonald's, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Starbucks
and other American fast-food chains are ubiquitous.

Xiangliangyou 900 can keep China's low-income masses fed while also serving as a safety net
for the wider population, but it is a matter of time before the prevalence of fast food significantly
alters the country's eating habits.

https://asia.nikkei.com/Economy/China-s-record-rice-yield-a-blessing-for-global-grain-
consumers

12-m farmers, fishermen get big boost with P122-b Agri

budget
posted December 09, 2018 at 11:40 pm by Macon Ramos-Araneta

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At least 12-million Filipino farmers and fisherfolks stand to benefit from the proposed P122-
billion budget of the Department of Agriculture for next year, Senator Cynthia Villar said on
Sunday.
―We are hopeful that the proposed 2019 budget of DA will realize our goal of lifting Filipino
farmers and fisherfolks out of poverty particularly rice and coconut farmers, who make up seven
million of the 12-million farmers in the country,‖ said Villar.
Villar, chairman of the committee on agriculture and food, said DA‘s budget is 3.34 percent of
the proposed national budget amounting to P3.757 trillion.
Under next year‘s proposed budget, Villar said at least P20 billion was realigned to provide for
standby appropriations for the rice and coconut farmers.
Villar, sponsor of the bill in the Senate, also highlighted the P10-billion Rice Fund, the most
significant component of the rice tariffication bill which will be spent to improve
competitiveness and productivity of farmers.
The Rice Fund will be allocated as follows:
• 50 percent wil go to the Philippine Center for Post Harvest Development and Modernization to
provide farmers with rice farm machineries and equipment;
• 30 percent will be released to the Philippine Rice Research Institute to be used for the
development, propagation and promotion of inbred rice seeds to rice farmers and the
organization of rice farmers into seed growers associations engaged in seed production and trade;
• 10 percent will be made available in the form of credit facility with minimal interest rates and
with minimum collateral requirements to rice farmers and cooperatives to be managed by the
Land Bank of the Philippines and the Development Bank of the Philippines; and
• 10 percent will be set aside to fund extension services by PhilMech, Agricultural Training
Institute, and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority for teaching skills on
rice crop production, modern rice farming techniques, seed production, farm mechanization, and
knowledge/ technology transfer through farm schools nationwide.
―The P10 billion has also been earmarked for the Coconut Farmers and Industry Development
Fund to increase the income of coconut farmers and to support the developmental activities of
the Philippine Coconut Authority. We are on track in removing the barriers that keep Filipino
farmers and fisherfolks from being more competitive and profitable,‖ Villar said.
http://manilastandard.net/news/national/282588/12-m-farmers-fishermen-get-big-boost-with-
p122-b-agri-budget.html

Throwing sand in one’s own rice bowl


Sok Chan and Sangeetha Amarthalingam / Khmer Times Share:

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Workers deliver sacs of rice in Phnom Penh. KT/Mai Vireak

A year ago, the European Union offered Cambodia the option of using a unique Harmonised
Systems Code (HS Code) for its Jasmine fragrant rice and white rice to differentiate it from other
Indica rice, a move that could have saved the nation from the conundrum it now finds itself in.

But this did not materialise because of what some have described as a powerful combination of
apathy and arrogance that led key players to believe that Cambodia could not be harmed so long
as she is shielded by the Everything-but -arms (EBA) privileges rendered to Least Developed
Countries (LDCs).

Then the ball dropped. EU launched a safeguard inquiry to determine whether imports of semi-
milled and milled Indica rice from Cambodia and Myanmar resulted in ―serious difficulties to
EU producers of like or competing products‖.

On Nov 5, the Directorate-General for Trade of the European Commission (EC) confirmed that a
significant surge of rice imports from Cambodia and Myanmar caused economic damage to the
rice sector in Europe.

The bloc is also in the midst of classifying semi-milled and milled Indica rice from Cambodia
and Myanmar with commodity codes that are similar to EU Indica rice.

This is already hurting the Cambodian rice sector, and though the local Customs Department is
working on its own code, the effort is seen as too little too late as EU presses ahead with the tax
regime.

On Tuesday, EU member states failed to unanimously agree on the imposition of a regressive tax
that would have started Jan 1, but now the ball is in the EC‘s court to either vote or strike out the
tariff.

While criticism is rife that the government and the Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF) could have
scuttled the entire classification process with a forceful and united front against the EU, there is
also the long-standing quandary of whether Cambodian rice is of the Indica variety or not.

The truth is that Cambodia produces Jasmine fragrant rice and white rice for the EU market,
which fall squarely under the Indica rice classification.

―In the tropics, where Cambodia lies, the type of rice planted – fragrant rice and white rice – is of
the traditional Indica rice species. In temperate regions like Japan and Korea, Spain and Italy, it
is Japonica rice that is grown.

―However, Spain also has a Mediterranean climate, so it can grow white rice,‖ Buyung Hadi,
Cambodia representative of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), told Khmer Times.

White rice is high yielding and matures fast but it is generally of low quality, and is traded at a
lower price compared to fragrant rice, which is photosensitive, meaning it takes a longer time to
grow and can be planted for a limited period of time. This results in lesser supply, pushing up
prices.
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According to the UN‘s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), rice production in Cambodia
is expected to rise marginally this year to reach 10.7 million tonnes. Exports of milled rice are
projected to expand to nearly 1.5 million tonnes from 1.4 million last year.

75 percent of rice produced in the EU is Japonica and 25 percent Indica (long grain white rice),
whereas 55 percent of Cambodia‘s rice exports to EU is fragrant rice, seemingly cancelling out
the competition with EU‘s white rice.

Arguing that there is lack of competition with EU‘s rice sector, Mr Buyung is baffled as to why
the safeguard targets white rice.

―Within the Indica species, there is a variety of qualities that is relevant to trade. Why is the
safeguard targeting the white rice? If that is the case, it is misplaced because most of Cambodia‘s
rice exports consist of fragrant rice,‖ he said.

So where does that leave this debate?

Critics opine that Cambodia is ‗crying‘ because not only did the letters sent by major rice
exporters Amru Rice and Signatures of Asia lack exposure in the EU and were a tad emotional,
but also the entire move to safe the nation from the tariffs was allegedly devoid of a united front.

They also alleged that the cartels in CRF made up of rice exporters were more interested in
sustaining a profit margin than fighting for the sake of rice farmers, which they fervently claim
to do.

According to a source close to the issue, exporters and millers, who largely make up CRF, are
said to buy rice from farmers at low rates, often below market prices.

―It is common knowledge that not a single farmer has a better life in Cambodia because of the
EBA privilege status. From EU‘s standpoint, it is exporters who become richer,‖ said the source.

CRF secretary-general Moul Sarith told Khmer Times that discussions with members started in
March with documents that were sent to the EU as a response to the bloc‘s proposal submitted to
the Directorate General for Trade.

―We were given three weeks from November 5 to submit the documents and evidence to back
our argument before negotiations on November 26. Our leaders went to Brussels to speak with
the Directorate General for Trade,‖ said Mr Sarith.

At press time, intense negotiations are ongoing at the EU.

In the absence of a favourable outcome, the CRF expects to work with its lawyers on the next
course of action.

Nevertheless, a source close to the issue pointed out that Cambodia would be able to sustain its
rice business on the off-chance the tax system is implemented.

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―Cambodian jasmine rice is still $200 cheaper than Thai‘s. If Thailand can market its rice,
Cambodia should have no problem doing the same. Vietnam can also be seen as a key market for
local rice exports, as claimed by Cambodian exporters,‖ the source said.

However, Vietnamese millers usually deal directly with rice farmers in paddy to be reprocessed
in Vietnam and exported at cheaper prices. Cambodian millers and exporters may end up having
less milled rice to export to end buyers, which occurred frequently when the price of paddy was
pushed up by Vietnamese or Thai brokers sent to procure paddy from farmers.

Hopefully, the silver lining here is that some nine million Cambodian rice farmers might finally
see justice done to their crop and efforts.

https://www.khmertimeskh.com/50557719/throwing-sand-in-ones-own-rice-bowl/

DA developing alternative rice farming areas


By Karl R. Ocampo

Philippine Daily Inquirer

December 10, 2018 at 5:14 am

After several typhoons ravaged most agricultural lands in the Northern Luzon area, considered as
the country‘s major rice-producing region, the Department of Agriculture (DA) will develop rice
farming areas in other parts of the country to boost the national inventory.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said on his Facebook page the agency would develop
around 300,000 hectares of land, 200 ha of which would be situated in four towns in Northern
and Eastern Samar.

The towns include Catubig, Las Navas and Mapanas in Northern Samar, and Jipapad in Easter
Samar. These areas were hit by Typhoon Samuel just a month ago.

―Under the supervised rice farming scheme, the landowners will be asked to enter into an
agreement with the DA and PhilRice (Philippine Rice Research Institute) for the development of
their area into a model rice farm,‖ Piñol said.

―All expenses will be covered by the two agencies which, after harvest, will quantify the cost of
the equipment services and deduct it from the gross earnings,‖ he added.

The project, dubbed as the ―Southern Swing‖ initiative, involves a partnership with the private
sector. ChinYe Agricultural Corporation, a company with a state-of-the-art rice processing center
in Alangalang, Leyte, will allow local farmers to use its farm equipment and machinery provided
that the farmers‘ produce will be sold to the company.

Other areas identified in the program are areas in Western Visayas, Mindoro, Palawan, Central
Mindanao, Lanao del Sur, Bukidnon and the Zamboanga Peninsula.
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The new rice areas are scheduled to be fully developed by 2020 or before the end of President
Duterte‘s term.

The initiative was hatched after the sector‘s performance fell by 0.83 percent in the third quarter
as a result of the decline in the country‘s palay and corn production by 5.7 percent and 14.83
percent, respectively.

https://business.inquirer.net/261975/da-developing-alternative-rice-farming-areas#ixzz5ZHKTscTz
VIABILITY OF FARM MECHANIZATION
By Julio Yap Jr.

Monday, December 10, 2018

FARM productivity can be enhanced with the use of appropriate, cost-


effective, and modern agricultural machinery and equipment.Food security in
the country can also be achieved with farm mechanization, which can also
increase the income of the farmers.Aside from improving production
efficiency, mechanization also encourages large-scale production, and help in achieving an
improved quality of the farm produce.

For agripreneur Jonas del Rosario of Purok 2 in Barangay Sta. Rita, Quezon, Nueva Ecija, farm
mechanization has significantly lowered the cost of labor, particularly for labor-intensive crops
like rice.

During a recent visit to his farm in Nueva Ecija, Del Rosario says he was able to realize that
farming became profitable after acquiring a line of various farm machinery from Kubota
Philippines, Inc. (KPI) like the SR-K800PH Automatic Seeder, and NSPU-68CMD Rice
Transplanter.

Following the development he has achieved in utilizing the said farm machinery, Del Rosario‘s
DR1 Farmtech Services has been recognized by the KPI as the 1st Mechanized Seedling Center
in the Philippines recently.
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Increasing the levels of farm mechanization will not necessarily mean the need for bigger
investments in farm machinery and equipment, adding that the return of investment can be
achieved in a little over 3 years.

With farm mechanization, farmers are not only lowering the losses on production and
postharvest, but can also help in achieving sustainability and efficiency.

Today, farm mechanization plays a vital role in the country.

In principle, sustainable mechanization is the process of presenting the right machinery to the
farmers in order to assure that their production is not only more sustainable but become more
efficient in cultivating their crops.

In particular, Del Rosario cited the benefits of the automatic seeder, and the rice transplanter,
saying that he was able to save a considerable amount of resources, at the same time, saved
efforts in cultivating his own farm in Sta. Rita.

For seed requirements alone, Del Rosario was able to save at least 60 percent of the required
volume of seeds to plant a hectare of land, aside from the savings for the purchase of other inputs
like pesticides, fertilizers, and other needs, by using the seeder and transplanter.

Through the automatic seeder, which can perform tasks at the same time, like bed soiling,
watering, seeding and covering, they can produce between 400 and 800 trays per hour, against
the 50 to 100 trays per hour by manual seeding.

For using a rice transplanter, the spaces between hills can become more even due to the
equipment‘s seedling carrying capacity, hill spacing, and planting depth control mechanisms
which are all adjustable to conform to the requirements of the farmers.

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With the traditional farmers‘ practice of transplanting on a one-hectare riceland, a farmer owner
will need the services of at least 10 farmers, and will usually take them to complete the task in
about 2 to 3 days.

But with the rice transplanter that can be operated by two to three persons only, the task can be
done in just about 5 hours. (jaypeeyap@ymail.com/PN)

https://www.panaynews.net/viability-of-farm-mechanization/

Korean expo showcases latest high-tech farm equipment


Published December 9, 2018, 10:00 PM

By YVETTE TAN

Every two years, something big happens in the city of Cheonan in South Korea. This is
KIEMSTA 2018, the Korea International Exhibition for Machinery Equipment, Science and
Technology for Agriculture, staged by the Korea Agricultural Machinery Industry Cooperative
(KAMICO) headed by chairman Shin Gil Kim.

The agri machinery fair is one of five major events around the world, and is set in a sprawling
tent complex inside Cheonan Samgeori Park, a cultural space and tourist attraction. Vendors
from all over the globe flock to showcase their wares. Some of the most striking ones, however,
were Korean homegrown.

On display were tractors of all types, from hand tractors to driverless ones to tractor simulators
for agricultural schools. There were climate-controlled hydroponic setups and drones that
sprayed pesticide, as well as other machines that seemed to come out of a futuristic movie.
And in all of those high-tech farm implements, there were machines built to suit for the small
farms, too.

There were automatic seeders and transplanters that can enable one person to do the work of ten.
There were rice mills compact enough for one family to use, or a small coop to own, and a corn
miller that lets you choose the size of grits. These machines are common in Korea, but have yet
to become popular in the Philippines.

―Farm mechanization is important because manual farming can be inefficient,‖ said Philip Kim,
KAMICO representative and CEO of FIT Corea. ―Have you tried to plant? Even after just 10
minutes, it‘s really painful for your waist. So instead of that, we need only two people to ride the
transplanter. You can do three to four hectares a day.‖

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He added that since there are less people going into agriculture, farm machinery will not only
lessen the need for labor, it might also attract a younger demographic. ―We have to attract young
people to drive tractors and they will find that it‘s an easy way to work the farm,‖ he added.

Factory Tours

Aside from a tour at the expo, the Philippine contingent visited three
agricultural machinery manufacturers: Kukje Machinery, maker of
Branson Tractors; Asia Technology Co., Ltd., whose mini cultivator is
the best selling machine of its kind in the world; and Lee-Hwa Industry
Co., maker of rice and corn milling machines and who proudly employs
10 Filipinos in its factory.―Most manufacturers use premium metal, so
the quality and durability is really over the standard,‖ Kim said, adding
that unlike many manufacturers, all KAMICO accredited companies
make their machines in Korea. Their engines are all Tier three, which means they are eco-
friendly. ―These machines with interchangeable implements will offer Filipino farmers a lot of
choices,‖ he added.

FIT Corea

In the Philippines, KAMICO is represented by FIT Corea, which Kim heads. ―We do not just sell
machines, we also educate users and offer training and maintenance,‖ he said. ―We are working
with PHilMech as technical support.‖

The company also offers discounts to Overseas Filipino Workers upon presentation of their
OFW ID card. ―We consider OFWs the heroes of the Philippines,‖ Kim explained. ―They‘re
looking for ways to invest… If they have a rice mill, how much can they earn in a month?
P50,000.‖

One of the machines that might be most of use right now in the Philippine setting is the direct
seeding machine, which can plant four to five hectares a day. Direct seeding (has been
encouraged) by PhilRice for five years already. The other is the mini cultivator mentioned above,
which is perfect for small farms, especially those that specialize in high value crops. The market
for orchard machines is being explored as well.

Kim believes there is still much to explore in terms of potential in Philippine agriculture. ―Our
slogan is ‗farmers are our future,‘‖ he said. ―Because if they grow, they become rich, they
become stable, and then the Philippines is stable.‖

https://business.mb.com.ph/2018/12/09/korean-expo-showcases-latest-high-tech-farm-
equipment/

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