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28th April, 2014

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Daily Rice E-Newsletter by Rice Plus Magazine News and R&D Section Cell # 92 321 369 2874

RICE NEWS Creating an oasis with rice Written by Lanie Reyes.

A car can usually travel down the narrow concrete road in Nagwa Village of Maharanjganj District in eastern Uttar Pradesh. However, during this second week of November—harvest time in the fields surrounding the village—piles of rice straw clogged the way, making passage virtually impossible.Most of the women, including Prabhawati Devi, were busy cutting the straw and piling it neatly on jute sacks that were cut open to serve as mats for the straw. As she was gathering the edges of the stalks, Mrs. Devi said with a smile, ―These are Sahbhagi.‖ Sahbhagi is what the farmers and villagers call Sahbhagi dhan, a drought-tolerant rice variety released in India in 2009 (see Making rice less thirsty). The straw of Sahbhagi dhan is popular among the women in Nagwa, who feed it to their cattle. It‘s a woman‘s life Brick and mud houses, scattered along the road of Nagwa, are not big enough to shield from view the residents inside as they go about their daily chores. One woman was cooking just inside her front door, squinting under the almost-midday sun and shielding her eyes with her hands from the smoke of the burning fuelwood.Outside her house, another woman was threshing rice manually—raising her arms as high as she could as she smashed a bunch of rice stalks on a surface covered with fine mesh net. She gathered the separated grains with her hands, placing the grains at the center of the net and putting the empty stalks neatly to her side. She rose once in a while to straighten her back from her squatting position. Yet another woman had just returned from harvesting rice bundles in the field. Women often harvest rice in staggered shifts because they want to give the fresh rice stalks to their cattle.Nagwa looked like a village of women in a flurry of activities. Their bright saris made them more visible under the bright, scorching sun."As more men migrate from rural areas to the cities to look for 'greener pastures,' women then take on the farming activities that the men leave behind," commented Abha Singh, an associate scientist based in Faizabad, eastern Uttar Pradesh. She is one of the many women who Thelma Paris, a gender specialist recently retired from the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), took under her wings (see Blazing the trail of women's empowerment).

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An all-or-nothing gamble In eastern Uttar Pradesh, where rice production is predominantly rainfed, growing rice is so risky that farmers take a gamble every cropping season and can only hope for the best. They have no choice but to place their bet. When luck is on their side, during a year with ample rainfall, the farmers are blessed with enough food to sustain their families till the next cropping season. But, when drought strikes, the price of crop failure means losing all their investments— labor, seed, and inputs—and long, lean, hungry months ahead.―The eastern part of India was considered a ‗hunger belt‘ that is why IRRI started working on the dissemination of stresstolerant rice varieties in 2008 through the Stress-Tolerant Rice for Africa and South Asia (STRASA) project,‖ said Umesh Singh, STRASA‘s regional coordinator. In 2007, Dr. Singh, along with other IRRI scientists, successfully convinced theBill & Melinda Gates Foundation that this project would provide much-needed assistance to these farmers.―The project aims to develop rice varieties that can withstand flood, drought, and salinity, among other stresses brought about by climate change,‖ he added. ―We call these new varieties climate-smart rice. ‖STRASA researchers evaluate these varieties, including participatory varietal selection (PVS) involving farmers. Gender is integrated into most activities under STRASA and the Global Rice Science Partnership (GRiSP), the CGIAR Program on Rice, that aim to give women farmers input into the selection of improved rice varieties that are approved for release. It also helps in creating awareness among the farmers even before the formal release of a variety. This participatory varietal selection process, modified by Dr. Paris and her research team, initially required that women make up at least 30% of the participating farmers. Women‘s participation will hopefully increase to 50% in the next phase.―STRASA works with the national research partners to get the varieties released and notified for commercial cultivation," explained Dr. Singh. ―It also works closely with the developmental organizations including federal and state governments for the outscaling of new varieties.‖

A refuge of a woman farmer Women farmers such as Mrs. Devi are benefiting greatly from STRASA. Her concrete house has sturdy concrete posts; its blue paint faded just slightly, hinting that she has lived there for just a short time. As I made myself comfortable on a wooden stool, I noticed a gathering crowd of women, children, and some men blocking the natural light coming in from the door. Mrs. Devi grabbed a chair and sat in front of me. Her smile concealed her age and the hard life she has endured.

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―This year, I harvested around 22 quintals per acre of Sahbhagi on my three acres of land,‖ she said excitedly. (Twenty-two quintals is equivalent to 2.2 tons and one acre is 0.4 hectare.) ―Over the last two years, when planting Sahbhagi, I earned around 20,000 rupees (about US$330) per acre.‖Dr. Singh confirmed that the average yield of Sahbhagi dhan is 4 to 5 tons per hectare when other traditional varieties yield only about 2.5 tons under normal conditions. ―What is remarkable is that even under severe drought, where traditional and other high-yielding varieties often yield nothing, Sahbhagi dhan can still produce 1 to 2 tons per hectare,‖ Dr. Singh said. And since Sahbhagi dhan is a short-duration crop that matures in 105 days (medium- to longduration traditional varieties take 120–150 days to maturity), another bonus is that farmers can plant the next crop earlier giving them enough time to plant three crops in a year!Mrs. Devi plants peas, after rice, and then follows with onions. She usually earns $750 from her peas and as much as $580 from the onion crop. For the last two years, she has also been selling Sahbhagi seeds at about $0.50 per kilogram compared to $0.25 per kilogram when sold as grains. This gives her an extra $250.00 per ton of rice.While a traditional variety such as Sarju55 requires four irrigations, Sahbhagi dhan requires only two. Farmers can save up to two irrigations; each irrigation usually incurs an energy cost of $30. Therefore, farmers planting Sahbhagi dhan can save $60 per crop.

Empowered gender The strong-spirited Mrs. Devi is known in the village for having a progressive outlook. She took on the role of the family breadwinner when her husband was stricken with hypertension and a heart problem, making him unable to work.―God has blessed me with four cows, so no worries,‖ she said with an air of cheerfulness that never left her face since I met her two hours ago. Cows are considered ―helpmeets‖ in rural India as they provide milk, a source of protein for the family. She sells some extra milk to her neighbors. A cow can assure them of additional income of about $3 a day. Cows will continue to give milk for several months as long as they are healthy and well-fed. This is why Sahbhagi dhan straw is very important in most farming households.―Four of my five daughters are married,‖ she proudly related. In her village, a married daughter implies that a household has a healthy financial status because the cost of the dowry can range from $400 to more than $800—an amount that is difficult to come by for ordinary farmers.―My life is now easier as I have only one daughter left to marry,‖ she said. After that day comes, Mrs. Devi dreams of enhancing her ―oasis‖ by purchasing a new house and maybe even a new car. She already owns a second-hand white van that she rents out as a public utility vehicle.When a young man in his early twenties approached Mrs. Devi, she proudly introduced him as her son, who graduated from a three-year college course and now works in Bombay. Mrs. Devi has become an inspiration to other women in Nagwa. She has been able to save $800 through a self-help group (SHG) for women. This amount was added to the SHG‘s capital that is available for loans to members at very low interest rates. They can use the money for household or farm-related needs.

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At the end of each year, they distribute the dividends among themselves. One woman farmer bought a pair of earrings from the dividend she got. ―This speaks a lot about these women,‖ Dr. Paris later pointed out. ―The money they‘ve earned themselves can now be used in any way they want. To them, jewelry is a valuable asset they can claim they own. They can sell it, use it as collateral for more loans or give it as a gift for a daugher‘s dowry. This is empowerment in plain clothes.‖ _________________________________________ Ms. Reyes is the managing editor of Rice Today

IRRI bares gains in researches to develop stronger rice variety Category: Science 26 Apr 2014 Written by Marvyn N. Benaning / Correspondent TOPNOTCH scientists have no other arsenal for developing rice strains that maximize photosynthesis and determine the genes that can provide the highest yields and feed a global population estimated to surpass 9.7 billion by 2050.The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) currently maintains the International Rice Genebank, which holds more than 117,000 types of rice, including modern and traditional varieties, and even wild relatives of rice.It is the planet‘s biggest collection of rice-genetic diversity and with this huge sample, IRRI can develop seeds, cross many of these varieties and even map their genomes, as well as locate the genetic materials that would equip the rice strains with tolerance to hot and cold episodes, submergence, salinity and even optimize the use of sunlight for flowering. ―Traditional varieties and the wild species of rice are being lost through genetic erosion. Farmers adopt new varieties, and cease growing the varieties that they have nurtured for generations and eventually lose these varieties. Wild species are threatened with extinction as their habitats are destroyed by human disturbance. Future crop improvement needs the genetic variation from traditional varieties and related wild species to cope with the many biotic and abiotic stresses that challenge rice production around the world,‖ IRRI admitted.―The species of rice conserved in the International Rice Genebank include Oryza sativa or Asian rice, which is the most commonly grown and eaten rice. It probably had its origin between the Himalayas and Indochina and contains two groups of rice—indica and japonica [including temperate and tropical japonica]; and Oryza

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glaberrima or African rice originated in West Africa, and it is not widely cultivated but has been used to breed other types of rice grown in Africa,‖ IRRI added.

Also covered are 23 wild species of rice that are found in Asia, Africa, Australia and the Americas, and only a few of them are closely related to Oryza sativa and Oryza glaberrima.―IRRI develops rice varieties for the benefit of rice farmers and consumers. We conduct research and training to improve rice for better grain quality and higher yield, resistance to pests and diseases, tolerance of environmental stresses, and less farm input requirement. We focus on the major rice ecosystems: irrigated, rainfed lowland and upland systems. We employ conventional breeding and new tools in genetics and genomics—such as marker-assisted selection—as well as genetic modification,‖ the institution stressed.Only 5 percent of the work of IRRI could be classified as biotechnology or genetic modification, and 95 percent covers traditional breeding techniques, which have been responsible for the development of 843 rice varieties that have been released in 77 countries. IRRI is barred by its mandate from securing patents for the work of its scientists and shares breeding lines with rice-producing countries, particularly their research institutions, like the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) in Muñoz, Nueva Ecija.―We are part of the International Network for Genetic Evaluation of Rice that facilitates the evaluation and multilateral exchange of rice products and information, including elite breeding lines. This helps our partners develop varieties in their own breeding programs,‖ the Los Baños, Laguna-based IRRI said.

An interview with Peinda Cissé, Senegal’s mother of modern rice farming Written by Savitri Mohapatra.

The rice connection I was born in Saint Louis, which is located in the northwest of Senegal, near the mouth of the Senegal River. This region is endowed with enormous natural resources and is the country‘s irrigated rice belt.Later, I moved to the neighboring town of Richard Toll, which also has strong links to rice. The town is named after Jean Michel Claude Richard (1787-1868), a noted French botanist, who established an experimental garden, where he

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conducted for the first time irrigated rice trials in Senegal. ―Toll‖ in the local language Wolof means garden.In 1949, the French initiated a rice-growing scheme in Richard Toll on 6,000 hectares for exporting to Europe. But, in the 1970s, the crop lost its predominance in that area because of a lack of government support. Richard Toll is now more known for its sugar industry. To me, this has been a big loss for rice development. From accounting to seed production I started work as an accountant in the French Institute for Tropical Agricultural Research (IRAT), which later became known as CIRAD, the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development. My boss was a dedicated rice geneticist who encouraged me to learn everything about rice cultivation. I soon became a rice enthusiast and first started growing the crop on a 1-hectare area.I was told that it would be difficult for a woman to become a successful rice farmer, but I persisted. I took up rice seed production in 1973 and became president of the National Union of Professional Seed Producers in Senegal (UNIS) in 1994, and served as president until 2000. During that period, I was contacted by the Senegalese National Agricultural Research Institute (ISRA) to produce foundation seeds of all the rice varieties released in Senegal. UNIS took over that job in 2000.In 1998, we produced 105 tons of seed of improved rice varieties developed by Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice) and its partners for Mauritania. Similarly, we produced more than 140 tons of seed for Guinea Bissau, which helped that country to revive its rice industry after the war.

An activist for rural women In Senegal, like in other parts of Africa, rural women traditionally do not have access to agricultural land. Hence, they are obliged to rent land. But, once they develop it for farming and it becomes profitable, the owner takes it away from them. This is the general pattern. To empower these women, we established a federation in 1997.This federation, known by its French acronym FEPRODES, has more than 38,000 members involved in agriculture in Saint Louis. FEPRODES provides training in improved farming and postharvest techniques, computer science, gender mainstreaming, leadership, and management of small enterprises for its members.

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We soon realized that, without microcredit, it would be difficult for our members to reach their goal. So, we created a microcredit facility attached to FEPRODES to serve primarily our members. I‘m proud to say that, in 2012, out of 234 microcredit facilities evaluated for the quality of their service, ours was ranked sixth in the country.As most rural women are very poor, we kept the minimum amount for opening an account in FEPRODES to just 50 F CFA (US$0.10). We encouraged our members to form small associations for obtaining credit from us. In most cases, the women pay back their loans on time. Unfortunately, this is not the case with the men. Right now, we have a huge crisis of unpaid loans.

Association with research and development partners I was an active member of the former rice network for West and Central Africa (ROCARIZ) and the African Rice Initiative convened by AfricaRice. We maintained close links with ISRA and AfricaRice for training and seed production. We were also closely involved in AfricaRice‘s participatory varietal selection (PVS) activities, which bring farmers in direct contact with new rice varieties under development.In 2009, based on the recommendations of AfricaRice and demand from farmers, the government of Senegal passed a decree that varieties selected by farmers in PVS activities can henceforth be released in the country without going through the formal lengthy evaluation process of the national variety release committee. Sixteen new rice varieties selected by farmers were immediately released for large-scale cultivation. We are also greatly benefiting from the recent release of three aromatic rice varieties developed by AfricaRice. There is a big demand for quality rice, particularly aromatic rice, in Senegal, for which clients are ready to pay a premium price.With support from USAID, we are focusing on the production, branding, and marketing of quality rice and our rice is now being sold under the Le Richard brand. The World Food Program recently bought 100 tons of rice from us as part of its new policy of purchasing local rice for distribution. Message to the government Like other African countries, Senegal had marginalized agriculture for a long time. That is why we are relying heavily on rice imports to meet our demand despite having good potential for production. We strongly support the current government‘s strategy to boost rice production and become self-sufficient by 2017.I urge the

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government to give more land to women farmers, because they have shown that they are capable of successfully producing rice. This will also greatly help the government in solving the unemployment problem because women farmers can generate employment. _________________________________________ Ms. Mohapatra is the head of Marketing and Communications at AfricaRice

Blazing the trail of women‘s empowerment Written by Ma. Lizbeth Baroña-Edra.

She grew up watching a young widow pull life together out of meager means to shelter her seven children. Perhaps this is why Thelma Paris, retired senior scientist and gender specialist at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), understood the importance of creating opportunities for those who are without it.―Growing up, our family went through a lot of hardships,‖ said Dr. Paris. ―When my father died, our oldest sibling was 17 and the youngest was one year old. It was a tough time for Mother.‖Her mother was a dentist at the University of the Philippines Health Service and Dr. Paris served as her dental assistant during house calls. ―I started working at an early age because my mother had to supplement her salary to make ends meet,‖ she said. ―But my mother was not only strong, she was also wise. She made good decisions.‖ Good decisions that would later reflect on how Dr. Paris took her own journey forward.

Following her road In 1975, her husband Tirso received a fellowship for his doctorate studies at IRRI. Dr. Paris decided to tag along with Tirso to meet his boss, Edwin Price, then an IRRI agricultural economist. The conversation ended with Dr. Price offering Thelma a job as a research assistant. Without hesitation, she accepted the offer.After earning her master‘s degree, Dr. Paris was assigned to conduct a research project called Linking agricultural production and human nutrition in remote villages in Cagayan Province in the northern part of the Philippines.

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This was her first glimpse of what would be her lifetime passion.―I interviewed a mother with a sick son,‖ she related. ―He was diagnosed as suffering from severe malnutrition. We immediately took him to the town clinic.‖After that incident, Dr. Paris started building her personal knowledge of the role of mothers and the problems they face in terms of food consumption and nutrition.She later worked for National Scientist, and current IRRI consultant, Gelia Castillo, who was then a visiting scientist. At that time, Dr. Castillo was the coordinator of the Women in Rice Farming Systems project under the Asian Rice Farming Systems Network. Dr. Paris tried integrating women‘s concerns in a crop-livestock farming systems project in Sta. Barbara, Pangasinan, in the Philippines. The research, From Field to Lab and Back: Women in Rice Farming Systems, became the first gender-focused case study featured by the CGIAR Gender in Agricultural Project network.

Gender rising It was her trip to India, however, that crystallized her fervor to help marginalized women.―A video shown at a plenary session in one of the conferences I attended featured a farming couple walking on a road,‖ she recalled. ―The wife, walking behind the husband, was carrying a heavy load of rice stalks on her head, while carrying her baby. The husband, who was walking in front of her, was not carrying anything. I was deeply moved.‖Dr. Paris knew that something in the system needed to be examined more closely and, if appropriate, changed. She investigated the factors that determine gender roles in rice-based farming systems in farming villages in eastern Uttar Pradesh, India, under a project funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development. Based on her studies, it was evident that women from the lower caste contributed 60–80% of the total labor inputs in rice production and postharvest activities. And yet, because of deeply embedded social and cultural norms, they did not have access to technologies such as postharvest equipment, seeds of improved rice varieties, crop and natural resource management practices, and training opportunities.―We can no longer ignore the changing and potential roles of women farmers amidst the transformation in agriculture,‖ Dr. Paris said. ―The number of men migrating from rural to urban areas will continue to increase, leaving more women behind to manage their farms and households, and care for young children and the elderly.‖Dr. Paris led the gender research team at IRRI, in collaboration with national agricultural research and extension system partners to meet the technology needs of women.

They invited more women farmers into participatory varietal selection in stress-prone rice areas. They also provided them with seeds of stresstolerant rice, also known as climatesmart rice, through self-help groups. Other activities involving women were testing threshing equipment, conducting training activities, and introducing agribusiness models.As her way of paying back, she developed the first leadership course for Asian

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and African women in research and extension. She loves to mentor young women and hopes that they will follow her trail and be key agents of change themselves.

Taking opportunity by the horns ―It was in 1996 when I went to Washington, D.C., to receive my award given by the CGIAR on excellence in science—outstanding local professional,‖ she related. At the same time as the conferring of the award, a meeting involving directors general of all of the CGIAR centers and donor agencies was underway in Washington.Mahabub Hossain, then head of IRRI's Social Sciences Division, kidded that he would pay my hotel accommodations for one more day so that I could meet people and solicit funding for the Women in Rice Farming Systems research project,‖ Dr. Paris said. ―I did not know what to do. I was a junior staff then who worked in the background. No one knew me there.―At the event‘s dinner, I was pondering how I could meet a donor. I felt that the opportunity to meet a donor was very slim. Instead of going out there to approach the big guys, I decided to step out from the crowd and I tried to compose myself. Then, out of the crowd, a man walked toward me. His name tag read Ebbe Shioler. Mr. Shioler was a senior program officer of the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) at the time. ―Suddenly, I felt a surge of confidence. I introduced myself to him and started talking about our gender research, and requested funding,‖ recalled Dr. Paris. ―I introduced him to Dr. Ken Fischer, then IRRI deputy director for research, and Dr. Roelof Rabbinge, chairman of the Board of Trustees. The next day, I was invited to a breakfast meeting to discuss DANIDA‘s funding for IRRI. I walked away from the meeting with a US$480,000 pledge for gender research.‖

The better half Although the passion of Dr. Paris for gender issues has always been apparent to anyone she gets the chance to talk with about her work, her marriage is a crucial aspect that affirms her life‘s work.―I am lucky to have a husband who allows me to spread my wings and still come home to a warm and loving family,‖ she said.Even when she was contemplating taking up her doctorate studies abroad, her husband reassured her that he would take care of their children in her absence.Dr. Paris pursued her PhD from the University of Western Sydney in Australia and later became an affiliate scientist in IRRI‘s Social Sciences Division. ―I was the first nationally recruited staff who did not have to resign from my post to get a PhD,‖ she said.That, and many other firsts, defines Dr. Paris‘s journey at IRRI. She happily looks back on her path even as she contemplates new trails to blaze in retirement. For now, she savors the time she spends with her husband, their two sons, Carlo and Ivan, and daughter-in-law, Myles.―Andre, my grandson who is the apple of our eyes, just gained a new regular playmate,‖ Dr. Paris laughed.

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Climate-smart rice for Africa Written by Savitri Mohapatra.

―The best adaptation to climate change is a breeding and seed system that rapidly develops, deploys, and then replaces varieties so that farmers will always have access to varieties adapted to their current conditions,‖ said Gary Atlin, senior program officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), in his keynote address at the 3rd Africa Rice Congress held in October 2013 in Yaoundé, Cameroon.This strategy is at the heart of the project Stress-Tolerant Rice for Africa and South Asia(STRASA), which is helping smallholder farmers who produce their crop under mainly rainfed conditions and are vulnerable to flooding, drought, extreme temperatures, and soil problems, such as high salt and iron toxicity, that reduce yields. Some of these stresses are forecast to become more frequent and intense with climate change.

Climate change and farming Climate change is already having a negative impact on Africa through extreme temperatures, frequent flooding and droughts, and increased salinity according to Baboucarr Manneh, irrigated-rice breeder at Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice) and coordinator of the African component of the STRASA project. These environmental stresses covered by the STRASA project have a significant impact on the productivity of rice farms and farmers‘ income. Drought, for example, is a major problem in rice-growing areas of Africa that are predominantly rainfed. Rice yield losses attributed to iron toxicity range from 10 to 100%, with an estimated average of 50%. A survey conducted in three West African countries (Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, and Guinea) by AfricaRice and national partners showed that more than 50% of the lowlands studied and about 60% of the cultivated rice plots were affected by iron toxicity. ―Until now, farmers didn‘t have any solution to climate change except to keep using their traditional varieties,‖ said Peinda Cissé, a rice seed producer and founder-president of FEPRODES in Senegal (see Senegal's mother of modern rice farming). She cited the Senegal River Delta as an example. Vast areas in the delta have been abandoned by rice farmers because of high soil salinity.Mrs. Cissé also mentioned low night temperatures that

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often drop to 9°C during theharmattan (a dry, dusty wind on the West African coast occurring from December to February) season as another big constraint to rice production in the region.

A new generation of rice ―That is why we welcome the new rice varieties tolerant of salt, cold, and iron toxicity for Africa announced by the Africa Rice Breeding Task Force,‖ she said.The stresstolerant varieties are welcome additions to the ARICA (Ad vanced RICes for Africa) brand which was launched by AfricaRice in 2013 to offer farmers a new generation of high-performing rice varieties for Africa.Unlike the NERICA varieties, the ARICAs are not restricted to interspecific crosses. Any line that shows promise, regardless of its origin, can become an ARICA variety as long as the data that are collected are convincing.

ARICA varieties are selected after being successfully tested in many different conditions, including participatory varietal selection involving farmers. Improved rice varieties that are approved for release by some countries are also considered. Five ARICA varieties— three for rainfed lowland and two for upland ecology—

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were selected in 2013.In March 2014, the Rice Breeding Task Force nominated the second series of ARICA consisting of six varieties with improved tolerance of environmental stresses, one of which is noteworthy as it combines tolerance of iron toxicity and of cold temperatures: Iron-tolerant  

ARICA 6 (IR75887-1-3-WAB1): released in Guinea and identified for release in Ghana ARICA 8 (WAT 1046-B-43-2-2-2): released in Burkina Faso and identified for release in Guinea

Cold-tolerant identified in Mali  

ARICA 9 (SIM2 SUMADEL) ARICA 10 (WAS 200-B-B-1-1-1)

Salt-tolerant 

ARICA 11 (IR63275-B-1-1-1-3-3-2): released in The Gambia.

Cold- and iron-tolerant 

ARICA 7 (WAS 21-B-B-20-4-3-3): identified for release in Ghana (tolerant of iron toxicity)/identified for release in Senegal (cold-tolerant)

These varieties were evaluated through the STRASA project, implemented by IRRI and AfricaRice in partnership with national programs in 18 countries and with support from BMGF.―It‘s wonderful to see that products of the first two phases of the STRASA project in Africa have now reached the stage to move into farmers‘ fields,‖ said Dr. Atlin. ―I am also impressed by the Africa Rice Breeding Task Force testing network set up in partnership with the national systems as it is a great conduit for moving improved materials into farmers‘ fields.‖In addition to the ARICAs, the STRASA project has many other stress-tolerant or climate-smart rice varieties in the pipeline that will be delivered to farmers. The STRASA project uses conventional breeding combined with molecular breeding to develop these kinds of varieties.―Incorporating stress tolerance into popular high-yielding varieties has proven to be a very effective approach,‖ explained Dr. Manneh.More than 30 stress-tolerant rice varieties have already been released in nine African countries with support from the STRASA project, according to Dr. Manneh. However, as they were developed before the launching of the ARICA brand, they were not nominated as ARICAs.

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Through the project, STRASA partners produced more than 15,000 tons of improved seed between 2008 and 2012 and distributed these to farmers. More than a thousand scientists, technicians, and farmers have been trained in improved rice cultivation techniques, seed production, new breeding methods, and seed enterprise management. ―One of the key impact points for STRASA will be the quantity of seed produced and disseminated to farmers,‖ said Dr. Manneh. ―As seed production continues to be a major bottleneck in Africa, the main thrust of our recent STRASA meeting was to help countries develop seed road maps.‖The project is linking up with various partners, including nongovernment organizations such as theAlliance for a Green Revolution in Africa and BRAC, as well as private seed producers such as FEPRODES and NAFASO, for the dissemination of improved seed in Africa. AfricaRice has developed an automated monitoring and evaluation tool to track the diffusion of new technologies.

Multiple tolerance

Sometimes, various stresses, such as salinity, cold, submergence, and iron toxicity, can occur at the same time.―That‘s why the third phase of the STRASA project will focus on breeding for multiple stress tolerance,‖ Dr. Manneh explained. The rice varieties that are being developed will help overcome the hurdles imposed by the widespread environmental stresses that limit rice yields in Africa.―To achieve this, we will strengthen our collaboration with development partners who have the capacity for rapid delivery of improved rice varieties to our farmers,‖ Dr. Manneh added. _________________________________________ Ms. Mohapatra is the head of Marketing and Communications at AfricaRice.

Bitter harvest from a noble cause Written by Robert S. Zeigler.

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Norm Borlaug (at center in photo above) had no illusions that the Green Revolution was anything other than a means to buy the world time. Time—to get our house in order to stabilize our populations, generate the knowledge that would allow us to support ourselves without destroying the environment, and enable most people to live in dignity. The expectation, he told me in several conversations in the early 2000s, was that we as societies would take up the new knowledge and use it wisely.As an intellectual direct descendent of the architects of the Green Revolution, it is heartbreaking to see their noble endeavors attacked by people claiming to defend the environment and the interests of the poor. I know that, if we continue to listen to the shrill cries of antitechnology zealots, we will be distracted from taking on and solving the most serious problems that face us and our grandchildren.Like many of my colleagues, I came to agriculture via the environmental movement. My university readings included Rachel Carson, Aldo Leopold, Muir, Thoreau, the Whole Earth Catalog, and, perhaps most importantly, Paul Ehrlich and the Paddock brothers, whose bestselling books predicted mass starvation in Asia. Being part of the organization of the first Earth Day (22 April 1970) at the university was key, as was a sense of social justice. My mother‘s side of the family dug themselves to their deaths mining the coal seams of western Pennsylvania. That, together with the war in Vietnam and the global social upheaval of the 1960s, instilled a healthy distrust for authority and big business, and a knee-jerk response whenever possible to ―stick it to the man. ‖As a Peace Corps volunteer in Zaïre (now known as Democratic Republic of the Congo), I saw close-up the havoc unleashed by an epidemic in the cassava crop. I witnessed the ecological destruction as villagers desperately slashed and burned swaths of tropical forest to meet immediate food needs. I was preparing myself for a career in plant ecology, but the misery caused by crop diseases was clear. They could be triggered by human mistakes and ecological disruptions, but they could also be tackled through human ingenuity and science.I made contact with the only person in the U.S. I could locate with an interest in cassava diseases, Professor H. David Thurston at Cornell University. It turned out he was a contemporary and close colleague of both Borlaug and Peter Jennings—who developed the first semidwarf rice varieties that launched the other half of the Green Revolution. Dave opened the door for me to international agricultural research. He also regaled me with endless tales of the personalities who, trudging their way through small farmers‘ fields in the 1950s and 1960s with funding from the Rockefeller Foundation, strove to transform the lives of desperately poor farmers.

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All these greats had something in common—a fire in the belly to try to make a mockery of the doomsday predictions of Ehrlich (The Population Bomb) and the Paddock brothers (Famine 1975). The flaw in these predictions was obvious to me, even as a student. They assumed that the future would be like the past. The role of science was precisely to make the future different from the past.Soon, I was to meet one of these greats, Peter Jennings, at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Cali, Colombia, where I would conduct part of my PhD research on a cassava disease. We argued endlessly about the best approach to developing lasting resistance to plant diseases.

He was proud of the advances he and his colleagues had made in raising rice yields in Asia and Latin America but saw that, for these to be sustained, and for the overall health of the environment, the way crops were grown had to change (seeWhere Latin America’s rice gets a baptism by fire).By the late 1970s and early 1980s, the shortcomings of the early phase of the Green Revolution were becoming clear. The most serious were the overuse of pesticides and fertilizer, and the inevitable transformations of the rural sector, where many, many gained but some, especially those in marginal environments, lost out. A backlash began among leftist academics who viewed the Green Revolution as a way for capitalist governments and multinational corporations to subjugate small farmers. This view was helped by the fact that some oppressive Westleaning governments were avid champions of the Green Revolution.As the worst examples of the Green Revolution‘s side effects became manifest, environmental concerns became part of the mainstream consciousness, culminating ultimately in the United Nations Rio conference of 1992. But that conference

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framed a false dichotomy that continues to this day, between a healthy environment and idyllic, contented farmers on one side and a high-yielding agriculture on the other.I began to experience cognitive dissonance. My firsthand experience with impoverished small farmers in the developing world was placing me at odds with my ideological brethren.Our understanding of genetics and the ability to proactively manipulate how plants behaved and responded to the environment was becoming a reality. Many of us saw this as a way to reverse the negatives of the Green Revolution and open the way for, in the words of Sir Gordon Conway, a ―doubly green revolution.‖ It was easy to see that we could engineer into crops resistance to insect pests and pathogens that would eliminate the need for spraying toxic chemicals that sickened every organism they touched. Even better, we could now help the people left behind because they lived on lands plagued by droughts or floods that wouldn‘t support modern crop varieties. I have seen this dream validated. India‘s untouchable communities (the lowest class) often farm on marginal flood-prone land. IRRI‘s flood-tolerant rice is most useful to these farmers and promises to transform the lives of millions. In short, we saw modern biology as a driver for transforming agriculture into a tool for protecting the environment, meeting food needs, and reversing millennia of injustices that condemned certain segments of the population to the worst land.Sadly, while we were working to make our dreams reality, the strange brew of anticorporate sentiment, extreme environmentalism, romanticized traditional organic but land-hungry agriculture, and fear of new technologies boiled over to create a powerful antitechnology backlash.

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The extreme regulations for genetically modified (GM) crops demanded by self-proclaimed protectors of the environment had the perverse result that only the largest multinationals could afford to develop such crops. Predictably, this resulted in the same camp denouncing the growing domination of agriculture by multinationals. As costs for developing crop varieties escalated, the few seed companies that could afford the work focused only on areas with large markets. Marginal farmers were once again excluded. This time, though, who is to blame?

Nippon Foundation to deliver rice and medicines to strife-torn regions Published on Saturday, 26 April 2014 21:55

Shuichi Ohno, executive director of the Nippon Foundation seen at a press conference (Photo - EMG). Japan-based Nippon Foundation is planning to supply rice and medicines for victims in Rakhine and Kachin States, Shuichi Ohno, executive director of the foundation said at a press conference under the theme “Beginnings, 2014 and Beyond” at a Yangon Traders hotel on April 25. ―Our main focus is to provide assistance with the internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the conflict-torn regions. We are planning to donate rice and medicines worth US$ 3 million to the victims in those regions in cooperation with the government, the Myanmar Peace Center (MPC) and the armed ethnic groups,‖ said Ohno. The foundation is in talks with the government related this assistance while having a discussion with the civil society organizations and other partners on other type of aids. This scheme is expected to materialise in the next few months. Ohno said efforts to ensure cooperative climate might help supporting the rehabilitation and

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shelters for the IDPs, ensure the peace and stability, improve job opportunities and the quality of life. ―For that reason, we deliver assistances to those regions in which a flow of the IDPs persist,‖ he added.The foundation‘s aids cover four categories—assistances to the IDPs, the disabled, human resources development and health care. And the foundation will spend about US$ 41 million on 33 projects in the four categories.

This edited version of the article is reprinted with permission from COSMOS magazine.

REAP, SMEs lock horns over membership issue April 27, 2014 RECORDER REPORT

Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) and Union of Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs) have come face to face on the issue of membership of REAP. According to Chela Ram, Senior Vice Chairman of Rice Exporters Association Pakistan (REAP), "REAP membership is mandatory for every rice exporter whether they are big or small." But on the other hand officials of Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) have come out strongly contradicting the statement by REAP. "The condition of mandatory membership was removed by Minister of Commerce (MINCOM) on April, 23 2012 but the association kept bluffing the rice exporters that it existed. We approached the minister who clarified that it was removed," they said. But REAP again insisted on its stand forcing SMEs to again approach Mincom who finally on April, 21 2014 reiterated that it has been removed. Chela Ram said: "REAP is a representative body of all rice exporters and the government should encourage the membership as we provide everything for them under one roof. This is a forum and an opportunity for the growth and betterment for small exporters." Union clarified that rice exporters who want to become a member of REAP could do so out of their own will. About the current situation of export, Chela Ram said, "Exporters are still facing big crisis, the government is not making any policies for the improvement of rice exporters. We are still waiting for pragmatic policy by authorities. We have planned our exports according to rumours about more depreciation of Dollar but sudden fluctuation again creates confusion among the exporters." The government should fix the rate of Dollar for three months on quarterly basis and take the exporters into confidence to avoid the loss of million of rupees, he added.

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ORYZA NEWS Oryza U.S. Rough Rice Recap - Warehouse Receipts Canceled Amid Limited Offers Apr 25, 2014

The U.S. cash market was muted today as very few farmers are willing to offer their crop at the moment as they focus on planting. Analysts contend that the cost of loading out warehouse receipts was more attractive to some buyers than the offers they were seeing from farmers in their area, and as a result, there were 24 warehouse receipts canceled overnight leaving only 338 on the exchange (30,758 tons).As of today, a few old crop offers could be found as low as $15.55 per cwt fob farm (about $343 per ton) for nearby shipment; however, most farmers are busy planting their crops and contend that it will take at least $16.11 per cwt fob farm (about $355 per ton) to get them to ship their crop in May. Old crop bids from larger mills were unchanged today near $15.15 per cwt (about $334 per ton) for May delivery while bids for exporters could still be found around $15.40-$15.65 per cwt (about $340-$345 per ton), for the same delivery period, although there were reports of smaller mills willing to pay as much as $16.11 per cwt fob farm (about $355 per ton) for prompt shipment. However, no trades were reported. Tags: U.S. rice prices; U.S. rice market

Oryza Afternoon Recap - Chicago Rough Rice Futures Rally to Erase Earlier Losses; Grains Get a Boost as European Tensions Rise Apr 25, 2014

Chicago rough rice futures for Jul delivery settled 1 cent per cwt (about $0.22 per ton) higher at $15.465 per cwt (about $341 per ton). Rough rice futures finished the day only slightly higher despite strong outside support from a broad based grain rally. The market managed to add a few cents to the previous day‘s rally, once again closing above the 10-day moving average, noted at $15.430 per cwt (about $340 per ton), but only managed to match the high of $15.440 per cwt (about $340 per ton) put in place yesterday. Prices remain unable to break through psychological and technical resistance noted at $15.500 per cwt (about $342 per ton) and traders will play particular attention to this level next week. Gains earned during the late week rebound were enough to erase earlier losses and pushed the market to a 4.5 cent per cwt (about $1 per ton) increase on the week, as prices climbed from $15.420 per cwt (about $340 per ton) at the open of Monday‘s trading session to today‘s settlement price. The other grains finished the day sharply higher, led by a rally in soy and wheat on an uptick in European geopolitical instability; soybeans closed about 1.7% higher at $14.9425 per bushel; wheat finished about 1.7% higher at $7.0825 per bushel, and corn finished the day about 1.1% higher at $5.1375 per bushel.U.S. stocks declined on Friday, with equities sliding into the loss column for the week, as investors tracked escalating tension in Ukraine, with the geopolitical strife overshadowing upbeat results from Microsoft. Ukrainian forces reportedly killed up to five

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pro-Moscow rebels as Russian troops resumed military drills along that nation's border with Ukraine. Russian stocks were slammed, including software company Yandex, down 17%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined as much as 160 points, and was lately off 138.04 points, or 0.8%, at 16,363.61. The S&P 500 shed 14.27 points, or 0.8%, to 1,864.34, with consumer discretionary pacing sector declines and utilities the best performing of its 10 major industry groups. The Nasdaq fell 66.25 points, or 1.6%, to 4,082.08. Gold is trading about 0.8% higher, crude oil is seen trading about 1.3% higher, and the U.S. dollar is seen trading about 0.1% lower at about 1:00pm Chicago time.Thursday, there were 969 contracts traded, up from 634 contracts traded on Wednesday. Open interest – the number of contracts outstanding – on Thursday increased by 40 contracts to 8,462. Tags: U.S. rice prices; U.S. rice market; Chicago rough rice futures

Quick Overview of the Rice Market in Spain Apr 25, 2014

While Europe‘s annual rice production might be measly in the global context, Spain is the continent‘s second largest producer of rice, next to Italy. With fertile land across the nation through regions like Andalucia and Catalonia, along with La Rioja and the Balearic Islands, Spain certainly has no scarcity of tillable land. A recent report supplied by FEGA, Spanish Agrarian Guarantee Fund, shows that Spanish paddy production reached 833,248 tons in 2013 with an average yield of 7.63 tons per hectare on 109,209 hectares. That rice acreage was down 10.2% from the previous year‘s acreage but only a 4.2% decrease from the former decade average of about 113,853 hectares farmed each year. Spain‘s milled rice production in 2013 was about 494,944 tons, equivalent to about 80% of Italy‘s annual production. Spain‘s paddy acreage was divided amongst medium and round as well as long grain varieties with 65,841 hectares and 43,368 hectares of each, respectively. According to local sources, the European specific contribution for rice was fixed at 476.25 euros (about $658) per hectare, a number that will change upon implementation of the Common Agricultural Policy, (CAP), approved in December 2013.In relation to Spain‘s approval of the new CAP, the government issued the following statement that suggest ongoing financial support for rice among other agricultural products: "The maintenance of the current intervention measures for barley, wheat, rice and pig meat is also supported, regardless of whether or not they are currently in use. Such measures are regarded as providing an important safeguard for maintaining market stability‖. Tags: spain rice, Spanish rice, Rice Production, spain agriculture

Oryza White Rice Index - Support at $450 per Ton Holds as Market Awaits Development of El Niño

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Apr 25, 2014

The Oryza White Rice Index, a weighted average of global white rice export quotes, ended this week at $450 per ton, down about $2 per ton from a week ago, down about $3 per ton from a month ago, and down about $33 per ton from a year ago. The index has reverted back to support around $450 per ton as falling quotes from Thailand and India outmatch rising indications out of Pakistan. Rice market analysts and participants continue to watch the development of El NiĂąo for fear that it could cause drought across Asia, especially India, and thus pull India from the rice export market. This could potentially be THE catalyst needed to push Asian quotes higher. Outside of Asia, the European Union reports that for the crop year started in September 2013, European exports of rice are up 30% y/y, with Italy remaining the most important export country. Thailand Thailand 5% broken rice is today shown at about $380 per ton, down about $5 per ton from a week ago, down about $10 per ton from a month ago, and down about $160 per ton from a year ago.Thailand rice was the lowest offered in Iraq‘s tender to buy at least 30,000 tons of rice at $481.98 per ton, according to Reuters. Prices for 5% moisture Thailand rice

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have dropped to about 11-12 baht per kilogram (about $341-$372 per ton), largely due to the government‘s inability to sell 800,000 tons of rice to the Philippines in a tender last week.The government auctioned 162,344 tons of rice from over 212,000 tons of rice offered in the Agricultural Futures Exchange of Thailand auction held Thursday.The caretaker government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Philippines to supply 3 million tons of white rice in 2014-16 at market prices, according to local sources. The Finance Minister has encouraged the new government to continue to help rice farmers in the country with the rice pledging scheme, since the current caretaker government does not have the authority to continue the program. India India 5% broken rice ended the week at about $420 per ton, down about $5 per ton from a week ago, down about $10 per ton from a month ago and down about $20 per ton from a year ago. Total rice exports for India may decline to about 8 million tons in FY 2013-14 (April-March), down about 24% from the record 10.5 million tons exported the previous year, as India faces stiff competition from Thailand and Vietnam, according to Reuters. A private ratings agency in India anticipates India‘s milled rice production will reach 100-110 million tons in FY 2014-15, resulting in a stable outlook for the Indian rice sector due to increased production and higher realized income for farmers. The Indian Meteorological Department is predicting rainfall just below normal at 95% of the long period average, but allows for a margin of error of 5%.Another private weather agency in India has said that monsoon rains are likely to be below normal in India this year as an El Niño weather pattern looks more and more possible.Despite concerns about El Niño, local sources report that basmati rice production in India is expected to reach 20 million tons in FY 2014-15, largely due to higher returns and the new highyielding basmati rice variety PUSA 1509. Meanwhile, analysts outside of India warn that a failed monsoon, on account of El Niño could spell serious trouble for the nation‘s inflation and economic health. Vietnam Vietnam 5% broken rice is today quoted at about $390 per ton, unchanged from a week ago, up about $5 per ton from a month ago and up about $10 per ton from a year ago. During January 1-April 15, Vietnam exported about 1.38 million tons of food, down about 36% from the first four months in 2013, according to the Vietnam Food Association (VFA). The average rice export price this year is about $1 per ton less than the same time last year at $438 per ton (FOB). Vietnam‘s bid to win the Philippines tender to supply 800,000 tons of 15% broken well-milled rice May-August this year has received negative reactions from local rice farmers, who may see their incomes hurt by the $439

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per ton bid, a solid $30 below the next lowest bid (by Cambodian exporters). Meanwhile, the VFA has increased the minimum export price of 25% broken rice to $375 per ton, about 6% higher than the previous floor price of $355 per ton, according to local sources. Rice production in the Mekong River Delta for the 2013-14 spring-winter crop has increased about 2% from the previous year to a total of about 11 million tons. Pakistan Pakistan 5% broken rice is today shown at about $415 per ton, up about $5 per ton from a week ago, up about $10 per ton from a month ago and down about $10 per ton from a year ago. Pakistan exported about 2.4 million tons of rice during July-March, down about 4% from the same period in FY 2012-13, according to provisional data from the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics. Brazil Brazil 5% broken rice ended the week at about $665 per ton, unchanged from a week and a month ago. The Brazilian paddy rice index maintained by CEPEA stood at around 35.33 real per 50 kilograms as of April 22, 2014, up about 1% from around 34.89 real per 50 kilograms recorded on April 14, 2014. In terms of USD per ton, the index stood at around $315.2 per ton on April 22, 2014, up slightly from around $314.89 per ton recorded on April 14, 2014. U.S. U.S. 4% broken rice is today quoted at about $485 per ton, unchanged from a week and a month ago and down about $45 per ton from a year ago. Chicago rough rice futures recovered from the losses they sustained leading into last week‘s holiday weekend. Rough rice futures for May delivery ended last week about $15.360 per cwt (about $339 per ton) but climbed steadily, reaching $15.465 per cwt (about $341 per ton) on Friday. The USDA reported that cumulative net export sales for the week ending on April 17, totaled 70,200 tons, which was considerably higher than last week and slightly higher than the prior 4-week average. Increases were reported for the following destinations: 30,000 tons to Venezuela; 30,000 tons to unknown destinations; 6,200 tons to South Korea; 4,200 tons to Canada; and 3,900 tons to Mexico. There were also decreases of 5,800 tons reported for Japan and 2,000 tons for Turkey. In the same week, U.S. rice exporters shipped 64,300 tons, which was higher than the previous week and slightly higher than the prior 4-week average. The primary destinations included: 26,700 tons to Japan; 13,500 tons to Turkey; 8,400 tons to Mexico; 6,700 tons to Honduras; and 3,400 tons Colombia.

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Other Markets: Cambodia 5% broken rice is today shown at about $440 per ton, down about $5 per ton from a week ago and $15 per ton from a month ago. South Korea purchased 19,521 tons of U.S. ($878.95 per ton) and Vietnam ($478.68 per ton) origins rice in tenders that closed on April 15. The country is looking to purchase 42,400 more tons of rice in an international tender for delivery between September 30 and October 31. Almost 70% of the paddy from 2013-14 crop year in Italy has been sold as of April 15. Average rice prices in Colombia have dropped to about 1.875 million pesos per ton as of April 21, down about 5% from the same time last year. In terms of USD, Colombia‘s average white rice prices have increased to $973 per ton, about 5% higher than in March but 10% lower than the previous year. The Spanish Ministry of Agriculture reports that rice consumption in Spain is slightly higher this year than last, but only due to a growing population. Under an agreement signed between the two countries, Taiwan will assist Haiti in increasing rice production to address food security in Haiti, according to local sources. Russia has banned the production and import of genetically-modified rice for the next three years, according to RT Network. This reverses an earlier decision they had made to allow planting of GM crops starting in July 2014 as part of Russia‘s accession to the World Trade Organization. Rice imports to Hong Kong increased in 2013 to about 339,000 tons, about 9% higher than in 2012, according to the USDA Post. Rice imports to the Philippines in MY 2013-14 may reach 2 million tons, about 43% higher than in the previous year, according to the USDA Post. This is likely due to the high average domestic rice prices there, which reached record levels in early 2014. Uruguay 5% broken rice is today shown at about $625 per ton, unchanged from a week, a month and a year ago. Argentina exported about 73,340 tons of rice January-February, about 10% higher than the same period in 2013. Exports in January were especially high, reaching 50,873 tons, which is about 38% higher than January 2013. According to Reuters, Iraq has rejected offers for its international tender to buy 30,000 tons of rice due to high

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prices. The lowest offered was apparently Thailand rice at $481.98 per ton cif free out. Tags: El NiĂąo, Rice market, Oryza White Rice Index (WRI), global rice prices, Rice

Iraq Passes Tender to Buy 30,000 Tons of Rice Due to High Prices Apr 25, 2014

Iraq has rejected offers for its international tender to buy at least 30,000 tons of rice due to high prices, according to Reuters.Thailand rice was offered the lowest at $481.98 per ton cif free out (ciffo). The tender closed on April 20, 2014 and sought long grain rice from the U.S., Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil and fragrant and parboiled rice from Thailand or Vietnam. Tags: Iraq rice tender, Iraq rice imports, Thailand rice exports, U.S. Rice exports, Vietnam rice exports, Brazil rice exports, Argentina rice exports, Uruguay rice exports

Curious about the Australia Rice Industry? Apr 25, 2014

Australia boasts some of the world's highest paddy yields and adapts to widely varying water availability from one year to the next.The Ricegrowers‘ Association of Australia has produced some videos, which tell the story of the Australian rice industry from planting to milling.The videos are now available at Tags: Australia rice production, australia rice, Rice Production, farming, rice milling

Oryza Overnight Recap - Chicago Rough Rice Futures Quiet Overnight Following Yesterday's Late Session Rally Apr 25, 2014

Chicago rough rice futures for Jul delivery are currently paused 0.5 cents per cwt (about $0.11 per ton) lower overnight at $15.450 per cwt (about $341 per ton) as of 8:00am Chicago time. The other grains are seen higher this morning ahead of floor trading in Chicago: soybeans are currently seen about 0.7% higher, wheat was paused about 1.1% higher, and corn is noted about 0.9% higher. U.S. stock index futures signaled a lower open on the last day of the week, as fears about the Ukraine-Russia situation resurfaced. Ukrainian troops killed several pro-Russian rebels on Thursday, and Russian troops started military exercises close to its border with Ukraine. Standard & Poor's cut its currency rating on Russia, as capital continues to flow out of the country amid heightened tensions with the West.

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S&P downgraded Russia's foreign currency rating to one notch above "junk" status at BBB-/A-3, down from BBB/A-2. Friday's session will see the final version of April's University of Michigan consumer confidence reading, along with the Markit services purchasing managers' index (PMI). U.S. stock index futures are currently trading about 0.3% lower, gold is currently trading about 0.8% higher, crude oil is seen trading about 0.6% lower, and the U.S. dollar is currently trading about 0.1% lower at 8:00am Chicago time. Tags: U.S. rice prices; U.S. rice market; Chicago rough rice futures

Vietnam Mekong Delta Rice Production Increases to 11 Million Tons, Up 2% from Previous Year Apr 25, 2014

Rice production in Vietnam's Mekong River Delta (MRD) in the 2013-14 spring-winter season (planted in November - December and harvested in March-April) has increased to around 11 million tons (milled basis), up about 2% from about 10.8 million tons produced in the previous year, according to local sources.The southwestern Region Steering Committee says that the increase is due to the use of modern farm techniques and measures to prevent plant diseases. The Committee says that regional localities have also provided sufficient irrigation and drainage facilities, which helped in increasing rice production in the Delta. The Mekong Delta contributes about 56% of Vietnam's total rice production and about 90% of the country‘s exports.According to the USDA Post, annual rice production in the MRD (including spring-winter crop) is expected to reach at around 15.63 million tons (around 25 million tons of paddy) in MY 2013-14 (January 2014-December 2014), down slightly from around 15.7 million tons (around 25.16 tons of paddy) in MY 201213.Total rice production in Vietnam is expected to reach around 27.8 million tons in MY 2013-14, up about 1% from about 27.52 million tons produced in MY 2012-13, according to the USDA. Vietnam‘s rice exports are estimated at about 6.5 million tons of rice in 2014, down about 3% from about 6.7 million tons exported in 2013. Tags: Vietnam rice production, Vietnam rice exports, Vietnam Mekong River Delta (MRD), USDA rice

India 2014-15 Basmati Rice Production Set to Surge Driven by High Returns, Research Apr 25, 2014

Basmati rice production in India may surge to around 20 million tons in FY 2014-15 helped by higher returns and the new high-yielding basmati rice variety PUSA 1509, according to local sources.According to the USDA, India‘s basmati rice production is expected to reach around 8 million tons in MY 2013-14, up around 13% from around 7.1 million tons produced in the previous year. However, experts in India say the increase could be

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much higher. Increasing domestic prices and export demand for basmati rice are encouraging farmers to grow more basmati rice, they say. Basmati rice prices in India increased to about Rs.4,200 per quintal (about $687 per ton) in January 2014, up about 24% - 27% from around Rs.3,300 - Rs.3,400 per quintal (about $539 - $556 per ton) at the beginning of the marketing year 2013-14 in October 2013. Basmati rice production is likely to surge also due to the introduction of the new basmati rice variety, PUSA 1509 which was released by the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) last year. IARI scientists say PUSA 1509 was received well by both farmers and traders and is likely to replace about 60-70% of area under PUSA 1121 which dominated the Indian basmati rice production for several years.Scientists say that PUSA 1509 has a yield of around 5.5 - 6.25 tons per hectare, about 25% higher than PUSA 1121‘s average yield of about 4.5 - 5 tons per hectare. The new variety also consumes less water and may replace some non-basmati varieties as well due to growing water scarcity in the northern parts of India. India was the world‘s largest rice exporter in the last two years, but traders say that India‘s non-basmati rice exports could decline around 25% (to around 4 million tons) this year due to competition from Thailand and Vietnam. However, India‘s basmati rice exports are steady, reaching around 4 million tons in FY 2013-14, up about 14% from about 3.5 million tons exported in FY 2012-13. Higher basmati rice production could boost exports and help India remain the world‘s largest rice exporter, say local sources. Tags: India basmati rice production, India basmati rice exports, PUSA 1509. PUSA 1121, Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), Nonbasmati rice

India’s West Bengal State Summer Paddy Rice Production May Increase by 1.5 Million Tons Apr 25, 2014

Paddy rice production from India‘s eastern state of West Bengal boro crop (sown during January-February and harvested in April-May) for the 2013-14 crop year (July - June) is likely to increase to about 7.5 million tons, up about 25% from about 6 million tons in 2012-13 due to higher acreage and favorable weather conditions.West Bengal accounts for about 15% of India's total annual rice production of around 105 million tons. Farmers in the state grow three rice crops in a year: boro, aus and aman. Aus and aman crops are considered as Kharif (summer) crop and account for around 70% of West Bengal‘s annual rice production, while the boro crop accounts for the remaining 30%.Rice production in West Bengal was adversely affected by floods in 2013, with around 32% of Kharif production damaged, leading to farmer suicides in the region, say local sources. However, higher water retention due to the floods and favorable weather conditions helped boost yields and acreage of the boro crop. According to official sources, the 2013-14 boro crop was sown in over around 1.5 million hectares in West Bengal, up about 25% from around 1.2 million hectares sown in 2012-13.The West Bengal government is targeting around 5.1 million tons of rice (milled basis) from the boro crop and around 11.2 million tons from other (Kharif) crops in 2013-14.

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Tags: India rice production, West Bengal rice production, Boro rice crop, Aus rice crop, Aman rice crop

Ghana Develops National Rice Seed Road Map to Boost Rice Production Apr 25, 2014

The Ghana government has developed a national rice seed road map (NRSRM) to ensure self-sufficiency in quality rice seed production by 2018, according to local sources.The NRSRM highlights the challenges faced by Ghana's rice sector especially in the development and release of new rice varieties, distribution and supply of rice seeds, infrastructure and equipment for quality seed production, and training all the players in the rice seed value chain. The NRSRM also aims to create a demand for quality seeds through promotion and provision of research and development.According to the Minister of Food and Agriculture, NRSRM will boost rice production in Ghana and reduce dependency on imports. He says that Ghana's annual rice import bill stood at $306 million in 2013 because the country could produce only 46% of the required supply of 717,361 tons. The Agriculture Ministry is planning to increase rice production by about 20% per annum over the next four years to make Ghana self-sufficient in rice. The Agriculture Minister says the government is targeting at least 13% surplus rice production by 2018.However, self sufficiency in rice remains a challenge for Ghana. According to the USDA, Ghana‘s rice production in MY 2013-14 (October - September) is estimated at 300,000 tons (milled basis) against a consumption of around 925,000 tons. Ghana‘s rice imports are estimated at about 575,000 tons in MY 2013-14. Tags: Ghana rice production, Ghana rice imports, Ghana rice consumption, National rice seed road map (NRSRM), USDA rice

India Rice Sellers Lower Most of Their Quotes Today; Other Asia Rice Quotes Unchanged Apr 25, 2014

India rice sellers lowered most of their quotes by about $5 – $10 per ton today. Other Asia rice sellers kept their quotes mostly unchanged. 5% Broken Rice Thai 5% rice (of new crop) is quoted around $375 - $385 per ton, about a $10 per ton discount to Viet 5% rice shown around $385 - $395 per ton. Indian 5% rice is quoted around $415 - $425 per ton, down about $5 per ton from yesterday and about a $5 per ton premium over Pak 5% rice quoted around $410 - $420 per ton 25% Broken Rice Thai 25% rice of the old crop is quoted about $340 - $350 per ton, about a $15 per ton discount to Viet 25% rice shown around $355 - $365 per ton.

Daily Rice E-Newsletter by Rice Plus Magazine News and R&D Section Cell # 92 321 369 2874

Indian 25% rice is quoted around $370 - $380 per ton, down about $5 per ton from yesterday and about a $5 per ton premium over Pak 25% rice quoted around $365 - $375 per ton. Parboiled Rice Thai parboiled rice of the old crop is quoted around $415 - $425 per ton. Indian parboiled rice is quoted around $395 - $405 per ton, down about $5 per ton from yesterday and about a $40 per ton discount to Pak parboiled rice quoted around $435 - $445 per ton. 100% Broken Rice Thai broken rice, A1 Super, of the old crop is quoted around $305 - $315 per ton, about a $30 per ton discount to Viet broken rice shown around $335 - $345 per ton. Indian broken sortexed rice is quoted around $295 - $305 per ton, down about $10 per ton from yesterday and about a $30 per ton discount to Pak broken sortexed rice quoted around $325 - $335 per ton. Tags: Asia rice quotes, Thailand rice quotes, Vietnam rice quotes, Pakistan rice quotes, India rice quotes

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Daily Rice E-Newsletter by Rice Plus Magazine News and R&D Section Cell # 92 321 369 2874

28th april,2014 daily exclusive oryza & global rice news