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18th July , 2013

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News Headlines…  NFA to start selling rice at P32 a kilo  NFA assures ample rice supply in Western Visayas  Chamber of commerce calls on Govt to drop rice mortgage program  Democrat seeks clarifying on reported rice imports from neighbours  Private rice mills to join govt rice pledging scheme  Thailand: 350,000 tons of rice to be auctioned on July 29  Rice seen flat on steady demand  Monsoon showers 16% excess rainfall  Monsoon likely to pick up, no dry spell seen  Current monsoon spell augurs good sign for Kharif crops  Rice prices, supply “stable”  India’s move on rice to hurt Pakistan  How rice twice became a crop and twice became a weed -- and what it means for the future  How rice underwent mutations from crop to weed and back  FPCCI’s reservations over rice subsidies to India

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NEWS DETAILS…

NFA to start selling rice at P32 a kilo by Alvin Elchico, ABS-CBN News Posted at 07/18/2013 3:28 PM | Updated as of 07/18/2013 3:28 PM MANILA, Philippines - The National Food Authority (NFA) will sell regular milled rice at P32 a kilo starting tomorrow (July 19) to counter the price increase in commercial regular milled rice last week.NFA spokesman Rex Estoperez in a telephone interview confirmed that the NFA council has already approved the measure, but it will be available in the market probably by next week.After the National Price Coordinating Council meeting today, Agriculture Undersecretary Salvador Salacup said the NFA might sell P32/kilo regular rice aside from the regular NFA rice at P27/kilo.While Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo said there is a shortage in the regular milled rice variety, the country has enough supply of well-milled rice, which is 80% of the rice market.

NFA assures ample rice supply in Western Visayas By Jaime S. Cabag, Jr.Friday 19th of July 2013 ILOILO CITY, July 19 (PIA) -- The National Food Authority (NFA) regional office here assured consumers that supply of rice in Western Visayas is adequate and steady until the harvest season starts. NFA-6 made the assurance in view of the lean months when local production is diminished and demand for rice increases.Their agency has stockpiled enough rice inventory in its warehouses strategically located within the region, according to NFA-6 Public Information Officer Cashmere Gemarino. Gemarino said Regional Director Javier P. Lozada, Jr. warned accredited retailers against overpricing NFA rice even as he announced that the agency is constantly monitoring the market for possible price surges.Retailers are to sell NFA rice to consumers at the prescribed selling price of P27.00/kg.Lozada added that the agency regulates the distribution of NFA rice in the market for price stability and that accredited retailers are receiving weekly allocations both for inside-the-market as well as outside-the-market outlets.Retailers withdrawing their rice allocations are to pay only what is reflected on the official receipt. Any other charges not covered by official receipts are not sanctioned by the office and, therefore, are illegal.Retailers are urged to report anomalous transactions. To report violations, comments or suggestions, they are advised to call or text at 0915-979-3647 or 0999-919-8174. (NFA/PIA6)

Chamber of commerce calls on Govt to drop rice mortgage program Thursday, 18 July 2013 By NNT

BANGKOK, 17 July 2013 The Thai Chamber of Commerce has suggested the government to cancel the rice pledging scheme and let the market mechanism work, believing it will be more beneficial to the overall rice trade. Commenting on the Commerce Ministry’s plan to use computer chips to check the status of rice in the government’s stock, Chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce Issara Wongkusolkit said there was no need

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to do so. He pointed out that the method would not help prevent corruption as there was a large quantity of rice under the rice pledging scheme.Mr Issara suggested the government to urgently distribute the rice in its warehouses and allow the private sector to operate the scheme. He concluded that the scheme was unnecessary, saying he believed the rice price would return to normal without it.

Democrat seeks clarifying on reported rice imports from neighbours July 18, 2013 6:09 pm The opposition Democrat Party on Thursday called for the government to clarify a Customs Department's report on imports of rice from Myanmar and Cambodia despite oversupply in the state's stocks.Party spokesman Chavanond Intarakomalyasut, said the department's figure showed that Thailand imported rice from Myanmar and Cambodia at Bt50 million and Bt20 million respectively in the first six months of this year.The imports were made after the launch of the rice pledging scheme and it was unnecessary for Thailand to buy rice from other country given excessive supply in the domestic market, he said.He added that random checks by the Food and Drug Administration found over-fumigation of rice, resulting in the existence of chemical residues at volumes higher than imposed standard in some brands of packed rice.He said the fumigation was done twice at some rice mills to prevent damage to rice in the government's stockpiles.Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra today visited the rice packing plant of CP Intertrade in Ayutthaya’s Nakhon Luang district and confirmed that the company's packaged rice, under the Royal Umbrella brand, was safe for consumption and free from contamination. File photo : Chavanond

Private rice mills to join govt rice pledging scheme Thursday, 18 July 2013 By MCOT BANGKOK, July 17 – The Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) will propose including private rice mills in the government’s rice pledging scheme. BAAC president Luck Wajananawat said private rice mills will be allowed to participate in bidding for the rice purchase programme for the 2013/2014 harvest season.Half of the 2013/2014 rice yields will be put up for auction and sold to private rice mills while the

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government will be responsible for the other half, he said, adding that the proposal will be made to the National Rice Policy Committee later this month.Thailand’s total rice yields from two crops in a year are about 30 million tonnes and 21-22 million tonnes are purchased by the government at the pledging price.If private rice mills are allowed to bid for 10 million tonnes of rice, the government’s financial burden for the scheme will be alleviated by half, he said.A Bt70-100 billion expense for the scheme is in the framework set by the Finance Ministry and it will lead to a balanced budget, Mr Luck said.He explained that the proposal, if approved, will relieve the government’s financial burden by half and ensure the purchase of quality paddy which must be thoroughly checked by private rice millers.Commercial banks will grant additional loans to rice mills, he said, and the scheme should cover 85 per cent of farmers or some 16-18 million tonnes of rice.

Thailand: 350,000 tons of rice to be auctioned on July 29 Some 350,000 tons of rice under the government's rice pledging program will be auctioned on July 29, 2013, and private companies are invited to tender their bids on July 26.According to Commerce Minister Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisan, the Department of Foreign Trade will soon hold an auction for the first lot of rice under the rice pledging scheme. He said up to 350,000 tons of rice have been approved to go on auction, divided into 150,000 tons of 5% rice for export and 200,000 tons of broken-milled rice, for both export and domestic consumption.Private companies can submit their offers on July 26, while the auction day is scheduled for July 29. The Minister also said the result is expected within the same day. The rice to be auctioned includes the produce from both the 2012 annual production season and the second rice farming.

Rice seen flat on steady demand Our CorrespondentKarnal, July 18:

The rice market is likely to rule without much fluctuation on account of steady demand and ample stocks in the coming days, said trade experts. With not much trade taking place in the market, prices of full grain rice varieties remained unchanged while brokens dropped on lack of buying on Thursday. Amit Chandna, Proprietor of Hanuman Rice Trading Company, told Business Line that the market is moving at snail’s pace. Trading has been lukewarm over the last couple of weeks. According to trade experts, market sentiments are low and any major alteration in market is unlikely. In the physical market, Pusa-1121 (steam) sold at Rs 7,550-7,650 a quintal while Pusa-1121 (sela) quoted at Rs 7,000-7,050. Pure basmati (raw) quoted at Rs 8,800-20. Duplicate basmati (steam) sold at Rs 6,600. After ruling flat for almost a month, brokens dropped by Rs 150-300 on lack of buying interest. For the brokens of Pusa-1121, Dubar dropped by Rs 300 and quoted at Rs 3,600, Tibar eased by Rs 150 and sold at Rs 4,250 while Mongra was at Rs 2,900, Rs 200 down.

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In the non-basmati section, Sharbati (Steam) sold at Rs 4,750-4,800 while Sharbati (Sela) quoted at Rs 4,300. Permal (raw) sold at Rs 2,300-50, Permal (sela) went for Rs 2,300, PR-11 (sela) sold at Rs 2,900 while PR-11 (Raw) quoted at Rs 2,750. PR14 (steam) sold at Rs 3,400. Paddy arrivals

Around 10,000 bags of different paddy varieties arrived at the Karnal Grain Market Terminal on Thursday from the Uttar Pradesh. About 1,000 bags of Pusa-1121 arrived and quoted at Rs 3,000-3,100. Around 8,000 bags of PR arrived and quoted at Rs 1,000-70 while 1,000 bags of Sharbati quoted at Rs 1,5501,650 a quintal. (This article was published on July 18, 2013)

Keywords: Rice market, fluctuation, steady demand, ample stocks

Monsoon showers 16% excess rainfall M. R. Subramani It has been almost a secular coverage across the country by the South-West monsoon this year. According to India Meteorological Department (IMD), barring part of the Gangetic plains of West Bengal, Jharkhand, Chandigarh and the North-East, the monsoon has been either normal or excess. 1. The feature of monsoon this year is that the key areas that contribute to agriculture production in the kharif season have all received ample rainfall from the monsoon.

This has also reflected in sowing figures put out by the Agriculture Ministry. Plantings in coarse cereals and oilseeds have more than doubled as a result, while sowing in rice, cotton and pulses are up at least by a third over last year’s coverage. Of the 36 meteorological sub-divisions in the country, 20 have

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received excess and 10 normal rainfall. During the same time last year, just one region had received excess and 22 sub-divisions deficient rainfall. The progress in the monsoon has resulted in the storage level in the 85 major reservoirs across the country double. Currently, the live storage in the reservoirs is over 35 per cent of the 154.877 billion cubic metres. The storage level in the South that witnessed a prolonged dry period last year has also improved compared with last year. Meanwhile, going by the IMD forecast, the North-East which has received deficient rainfall till now could see heavy rain in the next couple of days. Other parts of the country, including the peninsula and central parts, are likely to receive heavy rainfall. subramani.mancombu@thehindu.co.in (This article was published on July 18, 2013)

Keywords: Secular coverage, South-West monsoon, IMD outlook, Gangetic plains

Monsoon likely to pick up, no dry spell seen By Ratnajyoti Dutta-NEW DELHI | Fri Jul 19, 2013 4:22am IST (Reuters) - India's monsoon rains turned average last week and may pick up over areas that grow cane, oilseed and cotton in northern and western regions next week, weather department officials said, helping most summer crops into their last leg of planting.That could mean India, one of the world's biggest producers and consumers of grains, has a record harvest this year, a government agricultural expert said.During the last week, rains increased in intensity over areas growing soybean, groundnut and cotton while they eased in the northwest and the northeast regions.The rains, which came in heavily at the start of the June to September season, had slowed to below average in the previous week, allowing the sowing of summer crops to speed up.Most crops except rice are now in their last leg of planting in the country, where 55 percent of farmland is without irrigation and relies on monsoon rains.Seven weeks into this year's monsoon, rains have so far been average or above, suggesting India will avoid a drought. This will mean higher rural incomes in the world's second most populous country, improving sales of everything from cars and gold to refrigerators. "The country rarely gets such a kind of well-distributed rains as has happened so far this year," said J.S. Sandhu, the country's farm commissioner.The heavy early rains did little damage in crop-producing regions but in some parts of northern and eastern India, flash floods and torrential downpours killed hundreds of people and displaced thousands.In pockets of south and western regions which had drought last year, more intense rains have led to higher coverage this year for crops such as corn, pulses and oilseeds.Sandhu said the planting for

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most of the crops, except rice, would finish by the month's end, but rice sowing in some areas of the northeast region could stretch to August, as the areas have received less rainfall so far. "Rice sowing is on everywhere with monsoon rains," he said.Farm officials said output prospects for crops including soybean and corn appeared strong as most of these crops have already been sown on higher acreage than last year.The foograin output could surpass the record level that was witnessed two years ago, if the current favourable conditions of monsoon rains continue," Sandhu said.India recorded the highest ever food grain production in the 2010/11 crop year with 257 million tonnes, including 104 million tonnes of rice, the main grain crop of the South Asian country. (Editing by Jo Winterbottom and David Evans) In snap: A man rides a bicycle during a heavy rain shower in Ahmedabad July 4, 2013. Credit: Reuters/Amit Dave/Files

Current monsoon spell augurs good sign for Kharif crops Thursday, July 18, 2013 - Islamabad—The current Monsoon spell would increase the production of Kharif crops in the country as it only dependent on the quantity of rain water, said Farooq Dar a senior official of Meteorological department on Wednesday. Talking to APP, he said that Pakistan is an agricultural country and this monsoon season is very much beneficial for crops and expected standard production would meet this year adding that it would also help to boost the agriculture economy of the country.Dar said that the monsoon rains will continue in upper and middle areas and further rain spell will increase the production of sugarcane and rice in the country. However, the south Punjab would be deprived from this rain spell, he added. He said that recent rainfall will continue time by time in morning or at evening times in upper areas of Pakistan while Rainfall in upper areas of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Kashmir and some areas of south Punjab are expected in coming days.Dar said that in this week rainfall is expected in south region of Punjab so growers should adopt precautionary measures to safe their cotton crop because it can affect this crop which is nearing to ripe. Talking to APP an agricultural expert Mohammad Tahir said that current season is suitable for the production of rice and sugarcane as these crops required more water for their better production and current season help maintaining their water level as its required but extended rainfall is dangerous for cotton crop. He said that heavy rain also effect the total production of cotton, and to secure cotton production it is necessary that precautionary measures would be taken by the growers to protect the fields for better production of cotton. According to Pakistan Agriculture Research Council’s calculation current year is feasible for agriculturalists in view of climate change and environmental variations in Pakistan, monsoon will impact positive during current year to increase agriculture production in the country.—APP

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Rice prices, supply “stable” PRICES and supply of rice are still stable even as one variety saw a P2 increase, members of the National Price Coordinating Council (NPCC) said yesterday. ―There was a P2 price increase for regular milled rice, and there is also a seasonal shortage in supply, but other than that one variant, all other prices are stable,‖ said Agriculture Assistant Secretary Salvador S. Salacup, during a press conference after NPCC’s meeting yesterday at the Trade department office in Makati.The price of regular milled rice rose to P32/kilogram in the week of July 16 compared with P30/kg last week. Prices of other milled rice, including NFA (National Food Authority) rice, remained stable.The Agriculture department said 80% of the market buys well-milled rice.Other commodities that saw price increases are native pechay and lakatan bananas.Pechay prices went up to P50/kg from P40/kg while lakatan rose to P45/kg from P40/kg.The NPCC, led by the Trade department, gathers government and private sector stakeholders to determine reasons for price increases of basic commodities.Mr. Salacup said the NFA is also considering a scheme to provide commercial well-refined rice at a stable price of P32/kg, but he declined to provide additional details. -- Emilia Narni J. David

India’s move on rice to hurt Pakistan Mubarak Zeb Khan,Published 2013-07-17 11:27:55

ISLAMABAD: Ahead of the next World Trade Organisation (WTO) ministerial meeting, India has begun aggressive lobbying to get legal shelter for subsidy on rice exports to the world market, a move likely to affect Pakistan’s rice exports. The issue of seeking more protection for Indian rice exports came up during the G-33 countries recent consultations in Geneva as part of the proposals on agriculture reforms for Bali meeting to be held in December. ―Pakistan is in the middle ground with China and Indonesia, which are in favour of enlarging the green box subsidies — non-prohibited subsidies — but no exemption to trade distorting support‖, a trade official told Dawn. India is seeking huge flexibility to distort rice production and trade in the name of food security, but trade experts says it will take away food security of rest of the small countries whose farmers depend on the production and export of rice. As a result of trade distorting subsidies in India, Pakistan has already lost its market share in rice exports to India in the last couple of years owing to subsidised Indian exports to the world market. Pakistan lost its position because of the aggressive exports from the stocks maintained by Food Corporation of India, a state-owned organisation.

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Pakistan exported rice worth $1.756 billion in July-May period in 2012-13 as against $1.908bn over the corresponding period last year, reflecting a decline of over seven percent.The impact of the trade distorting subsidy was not limited to Pakistan’s exports of rice because Thailand and Vietnam were also no more the first two exporters of the world as this position was taken over by India. India has already taken number one position in exports by releasing stocks which are highly subsidised. Indian stocks are much higher than what they need. The result is that government warehouses were over utilised and finally the stocks are exported at subsidised prices,‖ the source further said.Contrary to this, government of Pakistan came out of the business of rice export two decades ago and the rice exports have become a steady source of foreign exchange for the country and the whole business was carried out the private sector.Experts says it was a need of the time, that Islamabad should uphold WTO disciplines to protect Pakistan rice exports worth 2bn dollars and invest in research, pest eradication, storage, improvement in yield and develop varieties which consume less water. G-33 proposal is demanding exemption from domestic support (aggregate measurement of support) on this assumption that it is minimally trade distorting and it is linked with the food security of the country. The objective of stock holding programs is to ensure food security of your own population.

How rice twice became a crop and twice became a weed -- and what it means for the future Posted By News On July 17, 2013 - 5:00pm

The evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould once asked whether the living world would be different "if the tape were played twice." If there were a duplicate Earth evolving quietly beside ours, would we observe the emergence of creatures like ourselves and of plants and anaimals familiar to us, or would the cast of characters be entirely different?It's an intriguing question.So far replicate Earths are in short supply, but cases of parallel evolution (the same trait evolving independently in related lineages) allow scientists to ask some of the same questsions.One beautiful case of parallel evolution is the double domestication of rice in Africa as well as Asia, which was followed by its double "de-domestication," or reversion to a wild form, all within the roughly 10,000 years since hunter-gatherers became settled farmers. With the help of modern genetic technology and the resources of the International Rice GeneBank, which contains more than 112,000 different types of rice, evolutionary biologist Kenneth Olsen, PhD, associate

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professor of biology in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, has been able to look back in time and ask whether the same mutations underlay the emergence of the same traits in both cultivated and weedy rice.His latest findings, which take a close look at the genetics of hull color, appear in the July 17, 2013, online issue of the Journal of Evolutionary Biology.The answers are interesting in their own right but also have practical importance because modern agriculture is radically changing the selection pressures acting on rice, the most important food crop for most of the world's populations. In response to these pressures, weedy forms that evolved from the crop forms are taking on traits more like those of wild ancestors. "They're very aggressive competitors," Olsen says, "and they've become a huge problem both here in the U.S. and all over the world.""In some parts of the world farmers have given up trying to grow rice and just market the weedy stuff that's infested the fields as a health food," he says. You sometimes see red rice from the Camargue, the delta region in southern France, in stores, he says. "Red rice is full of antioxidants, which tend also to be plant defense chemicals," Olsen says, "but it is basically a weed."

This image shows a sampling of weedy rice strains from an Arkansas rice field. Modern agriculture is radically changing the selection pressures acting on rice and weedy forms are evolving that have the traits of wild ancestors and are aggressive competitors. (Photo Credit: Ken Olsen) Double domestication Worldwide, most of the cultivated rice is Asian rice, Oryza sativa which was bred from its wild progenitor Oryza rufipogon in southern Asia within the past 10,000 years.Whether the familiar indica and japonica subspecies of Asian rice also represent independent domestications is controversial. Most of the rice grown in the U.S. is japonica rice, Olsen says, which is genetically pretty different from indica rice, the rice grown in a lot of the tropics.In any event there was a second unambiguous domestication event about 3,500 years ago when African cultivated rice (O. glaberrima) was bred from the African wild species O. barthii in the Niger River delta.

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Scientists are now in a position to examine the genetic basis of both the Asian and African domestications, Olsen says. In a way it's like being able to go back to check DNA fingerprints at the scene of a crime committed well before DNA testing first became available.When a plant is domesticated, it acquires a suite of traits called the domestication syndrome that made it easier to grow as a crop. In rice, the syndrome includes loss of shattering (the seeds don't break off the central grain stalk before harvest), increase in seed size, and loss of dormancy (the seeds all germinate at once and can be harvested at once). Do the same genetic mutations underlie the emergence of these traits in both the Asian and African domestication events, or did domestication result from different mutations in the same genes, or even from mutations in different genesIn a series of articles in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology and other journals, Olsen, postdoctoral researcher Cindy Vigueira, and their colleagues have shown that different mutations of the same genes underlie the loss of shattering, and the straw-colored hulls and white grains of both Asian and African cultivated rice.So both Asian and African cultivated rice "broke" at roughly the same places under selection pressure from early farmers. Double de-domestication Like domestication, de-domestication, or evolution from the crop species of unpalatable weedy species that have many wild-like traits, also seems to have happened twice. One weedy strain resembles an Asian rice variety grown only in a small part of the Indian subcontient and the other strain resembles a rice grown in the tropics.Because the weedy forms are closely related to rice varieties that were never grown in the U.S., they probably arrived as contaminants in grain stocks from Asia instead of evolving directly from the tropical japonica crops grown here.The question, Olsen says, is whether crops reverted to wild forms by reversing the genetic changes that resulted in their domestication or through mutations that circumvented domestication in other ways.At the genetic level the history of the weedy forms turns out to be messier than that of the crop forms.For example, the weeds carry the crop form of the loss-of-shattering gene, which means that they branched off from the crops sometime after people selected for loss of shattering. The weedy forms shatter, but they've re-evolved this ability by some other, as yet unknown, pathway, he says.A field in front of a Riceland Foods storage facility in Stittgart, Arkansas, is infested with weedy rice, which stands taller than the other rice plants. Riceland, an agricultural marketing cooperative, is the world's largest miller and marketer of rice. (Photo Credit: Ken Olsen) Weeds stealing crop genes

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The most important part of this story, Olsen says, is that the genetic histories of the crops and the weeds are closely intertwined. This means the weedy forms can draw on both ancestral genes and crop genes as they respond to the selection pressures of modern agriculture.Even though both weedy strains arose in Asia, he says, weedy rice became a problem in southeast Asia only in the last few decades. The reason is that rice seedlings were traditionally grown in paddies and then transplanted to the fields by hand. As they worked in the fields, farmers would recognize and pull weeds growing there. But on industrialized farms, rice is sprouted directly in the field, so there's no opportunity to remove weeds. Because the seedlings of both weedy and cultivated rice look alike, farmers often don't realize they have a problem until the field is really infested.Weedy infestations can drop the yield by as much as 80 percent, Olsen says. If a field is heavily infested, the farmer's only recourse may be to abandon it.In the U.S. weedy rice is increasingly combatted by growing herbicide resistant crop strains, Olsen says. In recent years more than a third of U.S. rice fields have been planted with herbicide-resistant rice.But that places huge pressure on the weeds to acquire herbicide resistance by hook or by crook. The

mechanism of herbicide resistance that is bred into the crop is pretty simple, Olsen says. It's basically a single amino-acid change in a particular gene, although newer varieties are getting a bit fancier and multiple genes may be involved. So it would be pretty easy for random mutations to confer resistance on the weeds.The other possibility is that resistance genes will migrate from the crop to the weeds. Because both cultivated rice and weedy rice tend to self-fertilize, there hasn't been a lot of gene flow going on in rice in general, Olsen says.But the crop and the weeds— which are, after all, the same species – could easily hybridize now that selective pressure is favoring gene flow."We're already seeing more and more hybridization occurring," Olsen says. "It's going to change the overall composition of the weeds in U.S. rice fields and presumably elsewhere in the world as well." Washington University in St. Louis biologist Kenneth Olsena and postdoctoral research fellow Cindy Vigueira sample weedy rice in the WUSTL greenhouse for DNA extraction and analyses.(Photo Credit: Genevieve Hay) Source: Washington University in St. Louis

How rice underwent mutations from crop to weed and back Last Updated: Thursday, July 18, 2013, 15:55

Washington: Researchers have looked back in time to see whether the same genetic mutations underlay the emergence of the same traits in both cultivated and weedy rice. Evolutionary biologist Kenneth Olsen, PhD, associate professor of biology in Arts and Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, latest findings take a close look at the genetics of hull color. Olsen, postdoctoral researcher Cindy Vigueira, and their colleagues have shown that different mutations of the

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same genes underlie the loss of shattering, and the straw-colored hulls and white grains of both Asian and African cultivated rice. Both Asian and African cultivated rice "broke" at roughly the same places under selection pressure from early farmers. Like domestication, de-domestication, or evolution from the crop species of unpalatable weedy species that have many wild-like traits, also seems to have happened twice. One weedy strain resembles an Asian rice variety grown only in a small part of the Indian subcontient and the other strain resembles a rice grown in the tropics. Because the weedy forms are closely related to rice varieties that were never grown in the US, they probably arrived as contaminants in grain stocks from Asia instead of evolving directly from the tropical japonica crops grown here. The question, Olsen said, is whether crops reverted to wild forms by reversing the genetic changes that resulted in their domestication or through mutations that circumvented domestication in other ways.At the genetic level the history of the weedy forms turns out to be messier than that of the crop forms. The most important part of this story, Olsen said, is that the genetic histories of the crops and the weeds are closely intertwined. This means the weedy forms can draw on both ancestral genes and crop genes as they respond to the selection pressures of modern agriculture. Even though both weedy strains arose in Asia, he said, weedy rice became a problem in southeast Asia only in the last few decades. The reason is that rice seedlings were traditionally grown in paddies and then transplanted to the fields by hand. As they worked in the fields, farmers would recognize and pull weeds growing there. The findings have been published online in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology.ANI

FPCCI’s reservations over rice subsidies to India Thursday, 18 Jul 2013 12:00 am

KARACHI - The Pakistani business community expressed its reservations over India’s demand for subsidies on rice.On Wednesday, Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry’s (FPCCI) President Zubair Ahmed Malik said that if the subsidy was granted it would imbalance regional trade. He added that agricultural exporters should compete on the price and quality of their produce and not on the availability of subsidies. Malik informed that during the Doha Round member nations agreed to ensure the elimination of all forms of subsidies and that the Indian demand for rice subsidies was a direct form of agricultural support.He apprehended that granting a subsidy on Indian rice would disturb trade in the entire region, and particularly for the region’s smaller members.Rice production in Pakistan holds an extremely important position in agriculture and in the national economy. It is the country’s second most important crop which earns billions of rupees via export for country. Pakistan is the world’s fourth largest producer of rice after China, India and Indonesia. Pakistan was responsible for supplying 30 percent of the World’s paddy rice output. Millions of farmers rely on rice cultivation as a major source of employment.The Indian request for a subsidy on rice would directly affect millions of Pakistani farmers who were already facing various challenges due to the previous year’s floods. This could also create a serious food security issue for Pakistan.

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