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Daily Global Rice E-Newsletter www.ricepluss.com www.riceplusmagazine.blogspot.com For information : Mujahid Ali mujahid.riceplus@gmail.com 0321 369 2874 1 www.ricepluss.com www.riceplusmagazine.blogspot.com Vol 7,Issue IV April 19 ,2016
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Jul 28, 2016

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  • Daily Global Rice E-Newsletter 2016

    www.ricepluss.com www.riceplusmagazine.blogspot.com For information : Mujahid Ali mujahid.riceplus@gmail.com 0321 369 2874

    1

    www.ricepluss.com www.riceplusmagazine.blogspot.com

    Vol 7,Issue IV April 19 ,2016

  • Daily Global Rice E-Newsletter 2016

    www.ricepluss.com www.riceplusmagazine.blogspot.com For information : Mujahid Ali mujahid.riceplus@gmail.com 0321 369 2874

    2

    Editorial Board Chief Editor

    Hamlik Managing Editor

    Abdul Sattar Shah

    Rahmat Ullah

    Rozeen Shaukat English Editor

    Maryam Editor

    Legal Advisor

    Advocate Zaheer Minhas

    Editorial Associates

    Admiral (R) Hamid Khalid

    Javed Islam Agha

    Ch.Hamid Malhi

    Dr.Akhtar Hussain

    Dr.Fayyaz Ahmad Siddiqui

    Dr.Abdul Rasheed (UAF)

    Islam Akhtar Khan Editorial Advisory Board

    Dr.Malik Mohammad Hashim Assistant Professor, Gomal University DIK

    Dr.Hasina Gul Assistant Director, Agriculture KPK

    Dr.Hidayat Ullah Assistant Professor, University of Swabi

    Dr.Abdul Basir Assistant Professor, University of Swabi

    Zahid Mehmood PSO,NIFA Peshawar

    Falak Naz Shah Head Food Science & Technology ART, Peshawar

    Today Rice News Headlines...

    Odisha govt brings in new control order on paddy procurement

    Missing foodgrain row: Millers owe Rs1300 crore: CAG

    Malaysia studying PHL hybrid rice seed imports for commercial

    planting

    Sac Valley rice growers have water, but markets have turned for the

    worse

    Cuba trade, the TPP, rice and legislature expectations

    Vietnamese Govt outlines anti-drought action

    Drought Killing Vietnam Rice Crops Compounds Mekong Water

    Crisis

    Why-India-needs-IMD-to-be-right-about-a-good-monsoon

    GP has rice, corn planting streak

    Creating tech savvy young rice entrepreneurs

    Cubas Construction and Agricultural Machinery Sectors

    Rice and easy: how to boost your pub menu margins with risotto

    USA Rice Sponsors Event Launching Trade Mission for Cubans

    04/19/2016 Farm Bureau Market Report

    Rice Prices

    News Detail...

    Odisha govt brings in new control order on paddy

    procurement PTI | Apr 19, 2016, 10.40 PM IST

    Bhubaneswar, Apr 19 () In a bid to maintain discipline in paddy procurement

    and regulate the custom mills, the state government today decided to bring the

    Odisha Rice and Paddy Procurement and Custom Milling of Rice Order,

    2016.A proposal in this regard by the food supplies and consumer welfare

    department was approved at a cabinet meeting presided over by Chief

    Minister Naveen Patnaik here."This control order has several safeguards with

    respect to procurement of paddy, delivery of paddy for custom mills,

    direction for milling of paddy into rice, ensuring milling of paddy within the

    Kharif marketing season," Chief Secretary A P Padhi told reporters.

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    Stating that Odisha was a decentralised procurement state since Kharif marketing season 2003-

    04, Padhi said the state procures paddy through agencies from farmers and pay minimum support

    price for fair average quality of paddy.The agencies mill paddy through private millers and

    deliver the rice either to the state government or to FCI for meeting the needs of the public

    distribution system, he said.Earlier, the Odisha Rice and Paddy Procurement (Levy) and

    Restriction on Sale and Movement Order, 2013 provided legal framework to regulate the custom

    millers in the state.However, that order was rescinded from October 1, 2015, thus creating a

    vacuum of any regulatory mechanism for custom milling by millers, the Chief Secretary pointed

    out justifying requirement of the new order.

    He, however, said the new order was brought as per the suggestion of the Centre to regulate

    paddy procurement and custom of milling of rice in December 2015.As per the new order, no

    state agency would be allowed to procure FAQ (Fair Average Quality) paddy at a price below

    Minimum Support Price as notified by the Centre and the state would have powers to direct the

    custom millers to convert paddy delivered by the state agency into rice within such time and

    terms as decided.This apart, the new order would ensure that millers were obliged to mill paddy

    and deliver FAQ as per out turn ratio fixed by the Centre, custom millers cannot dispose of

    paddy in shape of paddy and would maintain accounts of all transactions with the state agencies

    and others, separately.

    "The enforcement officers, as per the new order, will have powers of entry, search and seizure in

    respect of custom rice mills," Padhi said.A total of eight proposals today got the cabinet's nod,

    the Chief Secretary said. AAM DKB MKJ http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bhubaneswar/Odisha-govt-brings-in-new-control-order-on-paddy-

    procurement/articleshow/51899717.cms

    Missing foodgrain row: Millers owe Rs1300 crore: CAG

    Rohan Dua | Apr 20, 2016, 01.37 AM IST

    The auditor report says agencies

    ignoring custom milling norms.

    Chandigarh: At a time when RBI

    has warned banks against lending

    to the Punjab government in the

    wake of the missing foodgrains, the

    Comptroller and Auditor General's

    (CAG) report has revealed that the

    government is yet to recover Rs

    1,300 crore from rice millers. The

    millers belong to Jalandhar,

    Sangrur, Ludhiana, Mohali and

    Fatehgarh Sahib among

    others.CAG has listed a number of

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    4

    reasons for the gap between the stock of foodgrains and the cash credit limit (CCL) given by banks. These

    include undue favour given to rice millers, payment made against non-delivery, not delivering the

    requisite quantity and abnormal variation in transportation rates, among others.

    TOI had on Tuesday reported that a part of the CCL was also being diverted to "finance non-operational

    expenditure and losses" of the state's four procurement agencies - Pungrain, PAFC, PSWC and Punsup.

    According to the report, huge quantities of rice were misappropriated by these agencies, violating the

    custom milling procedures (CMP) amid other irregularities.The report said that state agencies like PAFC

    and the millers were joint custodians of the paddy and both were responsible for quality and quantity.

    However, it added that the agencies "failed to conduct timely physical verification of paddy stocks in

    accordance with the CMP during the years when paddy was stored".

    "We observed that 1.36 lakh MT of paddy of crop years 2010-11 to 2013-14 was stored with 20 millers in

    eight districts. Of this millers short delivered/misappropriated 0.48 lakh MT of rice valued at Rs 120.82

    crore during the crop years. The other recoveries after adjustment of amount deposited by millers was to

    the extent of Rs 143.11 crore," it said.

    It also said that the millers who had not delivered the requisite quantity of rice of previous crop years

    were not to be considered for allotment of paddy yet the agencies allotted 0.25 lakh MT of paddy to four

    such millers who had delivered rice worth Rs 31.43 crore. Twelve similar millers did not deliver 0.38 lakh

    MT paddy where government itself had stored it.It said that though the government was pursuing 37

    arbitration cases involving Rs 190.11 crore on account of shortage of paddy, these "proceedings were

    initiated with delays of up to 32 months from the extended date of milling".

    The CAG report also found that there was abnormal transportation rates were found per quintal per

    kilometre from Rs 0.51 to Rs 5.11 between 2010-14."Also, the Government of India did not fix any

    separate rates of transportation charges within 8 kilometres and these were already included in the milling

    charges. Audit of 7 selected district offices of Punjab revealed that for transportation of paddy from

    purchase centres to rice mills within 8 kms, expenditure of Rs 20.71 crore was incurred for crop years

    2010-14 and not recovered from millers.

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/Missing-foodgrain-row-Millers-owe-Rs1300-crore-

    CAG/articleshow/51901850.cms

    Malaysia studying PHL hybrid rice seed imports for

    commercial planting

    MALAYSIAN customers are considering placing an order with SL Agritech Corporation

    (SLAC) for some 20,000 kilos of hybrid rice seed for planting on 1,000 hectares of land.

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    5

    In an interview with reporters, Dr. Frisco M. Malabanan, a senior SLAC consultant, said Titijaya Land

    Bhd and the state-run Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute have expressed interest

    in importing seed from the Philippines.The seed will be used for commercial planting if hybrid tests yield

    positive results.The initial pilot testing will be conducted in the states of Penang and Kedah.Im just

    waiting for the import permit coming from the Malaysian government because Im supposed to start the

    varietal trial this coming wet season, Mr. Malabanan said, referring to 100 kilos of hybrid rice seed to be

    used in the pilot testing.

    Hybrid rice combines the best qualities of its parent varieties. One of its applications is in tropical areas

    subject to disruptive climate conditions like El Nio.Previous pilot tests in Sarawak have been successful,

    the company said, yielding 9 to 10 metric tons per hectare, which is significantly higher than the national

    average rice yield... in Malaysia.However, the policy of Malaysias government limits the commercial

    application of the Sarawak tests.Aside from hybrid rice, SLAC said Malaysian firms have expressed

    interest in importing its Doa Maria premium rice.

    Malaysia currently imports around 35% of its rice supply largely from Thailand. -- Janina C. Lim

    http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Economy&title=malaysia-studying-phl-hybrid-rice-

    seed-imports-for-commercial-planting&id=126227

    Sac Valley rice growers have water, but markets have

    turned for the worse

    A harvester works a field of short grain rice at Gorrill Ranch in Durham September 2014. Wit the price of rice

    going down, farmers face the dilemma of how much to plant. Bill Husa Enterprise-Record file photo

    By Heather Hacking, Chico Enterprise-Record POSTED: 04/17/16, 9:10 PM PDT |

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    6

    Rice harvest gets underway at Gorrill Ranch in Durham, September 2014.Bill Husa Enterprise-Record file photo

    Surface water supplies have returned to normal for most rice growers in the Sacramento Valley.

    Thats great news, especially compared to other parts of the state where the water supply is still in a more severe version of drought mode.However, now that farmers are ready to fire up their

    tractors to plant rice, commodity prices have taken a nose-dive.This might also be the first year

    that new Farm Bill rules are triggered to provide price support payments to local growers.

    The dollar is trading strong compared to other world currency, which makes U.S. exports more

    expensive to international buyers, explained Mark Kimmelshue, who trades rice for ARMCO,

    Associated Rice Marketing Co-op in Richvale.

    Rice isnt alone in the world of lower commodity prices. Almonds and walnuts, the other two main crops grown in Butte and Glenn counties, are down in value by about a third compared to

    last year. Read more about the drop in walnut prices at http://tinyurl.com/z86dalh

    Other commodities, including metals, cattle and oil are also trading lower, he noted.If a rice

    grower received $20-$21 last year for a 100-pound sack of rice, he might received $14.75-$15

    today (which includes what growers refer to as price over loan).The big year for growers was 2008-2009 when a hundred pounds of rice fetched $29-$30, he noted.Being a farmer has its

    highs and lows. Those good and lean years balance out. Last year, about 1/4 of the rice land in

    California was not planted, due to lack of water or the sale of water.

    If the price for rice is expected to be low, one might think it would be in a growers financial favor to sell water instead of growing rice. Other parts of California do not have plentiful

    supplies of water this year.

    However, due to environmental restraints on pumping, and the capacity of water delivery canals,

    there isnt room in the canals for transfers. Read details on this issue

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    7

    at http://tinyurl.com/hmnjp3g.Sometimes farmers will grow another crop, to try to produce food

    that will fetch a better price. However, rice land is quite specialized. The soil is hard and retains

    water perfect for growing rice but not great for other crops that need drainage.

    If rice sold for $14-$15 over loan, Kimmelshue said farmers who own their own land and dont have lease payments or debt should break even with rice at these prices. However, those who

    have more overhead costs could be losing money. Hes a rice trader and isnt certain if prices will remain the same or dip even lower. Kimmelshue said there are many moving parts that

    impact the return growers will receive for rice this year. Australia is running into another dry

    spell, which will cut back on the amount of rice in the world market. Turkey has not been

    importing rice, but is likely near the end of its supply. Last year, growers in the south part of the

    United States grew a lot of medium-grain rice, and 90 percent of the rice grown in the

    Sacramento Valley is medium grain, Kimmelshue said. This year, southern growers are expected

    to grow only half as much medium-grain rice, and focus on long-grain rice.

    It may be 8-9 months before Kimmelshue and farmers learn where prices will settle.

    However, rice needs to be planted this spring.

    FARMERS TEND TO GROW

    Water manager Ted Trimble, of Western Canal Water District based in Nelson, said there are

    some tough decisions being made.

    I suspect that most everything is going to get planted, Trimble said. You kind of have to. You have the equipment. You have payments.

    The big quandary is what if the price of rice plummets, he stated, then growers are losing money.

    These guys are really nervous. Down at the (Richvale) cafe, I see it in their faces, the water manager said.

    END OF FARM SUBSIDIES

    If prices do drop low enough for rice, new rules under the new Farm Bill would go into effect.

    In the past, growers of certain commodities received payments from the government based on

    previous farming acreage. A big criticism of the program was that farmers of corn, soybeans,

    wheat, cotton, and rice received payments even if crops were not grown in a given year.

    Those guaranteed farm subsidies ended in 2013.John Smythe, agricultural consultant, explained

    that as of 2014, growers might receive government payments if commodity prices for those

    program crops drops below a certain point.In 2014, growers needed to make a choice between

    choosing either price loss coverage, known as PLC, or a program based on average production within their county.

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    The PLC establishes a floor for prices, based on average national market prices over the year. If

    the price for rice falls below $15.10, the federal government provides a payment to the grower to

    bring the return up to $15.10 per 100-pounds of rice. Those prices hold until 2018 when the

    Farm Bill will be up for another vote before Congress.The other price protection program is

    based on average county yields. Based on yield and price averages for the past five years, an

    average per/acre revenue is calculated.

    Growers who choose this option are offered a guarantee that the rice grown will fetch at least 86

    percent of that five-year average in the county, Smythe explained.Of the rice growers he has

    worked with, the choice was about evenly split between the two options, he said.

    ON THE INTERNET

    For examples of local commodity prices, the Merlo Farming Group in Oroville provides charts

    on almonds, rice and walnut prices to show general trends:

    www.merlofarminggroup.com.Rocque Merlo said its been fairly quiet in the markets these past

    few weeks. Prices are down and both buyers and sellers are watching to see what will happen

    next. Some of the factors to unfold have been water supply for rice farmers, for

    example.Kimmelshue, the rice marketer, said many rice growers offer their harvest to a

    marketing pool, with the commodity sold over time. Growers who have not yet sold their rice

    may be watching prices decline, and getting very nervous.

    Contact reporter Heather Hacking at 896-7758. http://www.chicoer.com/article/NA/20160417/NEWS/160419794

    Cuba trade, the TPP, rice and legislature expectations Mid-South Ag & Environmental Law Conference in Memphis set for April 22

    Apr 15, 2016 David Bennett | Delta Farm Press

    Where does state stand with regard to Cuba trade?

    Will state legislature, now in fiscal session, tackle anything ag-related?

    U.S. agriculture is set to be a major beneficiary of the softening Cuban/U.S. trade barriers.

    Perhaps no state is as keen to get deals finalized as Arkansas.On April 8, Delta Farm Press

    spoke with Wes Ward, Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture, about Cuba and other issues facing the

    states farmers. Ward is set to speak at the third annual Mid-South Ag & Environmental Law Conference in Memphis on April 22. Among his comments:

    On Cuba

    Cuba is certainly at the front of many folks minds. Look at Arkansas agriculture as a whole and about 30 percent of our production is exported. That means the global marketplace is very

    important as is having solid relationships with other countries.Looking at how close Cuba is to the Mid-South, it makes a lot of sense for us to have a strong trade relationship with them. A few

    sectors in particular certainly poultry and rice, soybeans and a few others are poised to benefit from more trade with Cuba.

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    9

    Arkansas Gov. (Asa) Hutchinson was kind of visionary when the relationships between the two countries began to normalize and he realized what impact it could have on Arkansas. As a result,

    he quickly began putting together a trip to Cuba with the Arkansas World Trade Center and a

    group of business leaders from within the state. He was the first U.S. governor to visit once the

    U.S. embassy opened there. So, driven largely by agriculture interests, Arkansas helped by our Congressional delegation and our Governor -- has been on the forefront of efforts in regards to

    Cuba.Its been an interesting thing to watch unfold. Its one thing if I or an individual producer goes down to Cuba and tries to make trade inroads. But when the Governor personally travels

    there it takes it to a much higher level and opens up a lot of doors.

    On the efforts of Engage Cuba The Cuba Consortium and the Engage Cuba Coalition are two similar efforts to further the dialogue about Cuba.The Cuba Consortium held an Agriculture and Food industry roundtable in Arkansas last month which included remarks from Gov. Hutchinson as well as sessions with Sen.

    Boozman and Rep. Crawford.The Engage Cuba Coalition is another effort to show the benefits of normalizing trade relationships with Cuba. Arkansas recently established an Engage Cuba

    State Council which includes 37 members that are committed to engaging Cuba through

    diplomacy and trade.

    http://deltafarmpress.com/rice/cuba-trade-tpp-rice-and-legislature-expectations

    Vietnamese Govt outlines anti-drought action

    All forces should be mobilised to cope with severe drought and saline intrusion in order to ensure food

    and fresh water for daily usage, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat said at a

    meeting yesterday.

    A resevoir is exhausted in Ea Hleo, Centrak Highland Province of Dak Lak. Agriculture minister said that all forces

    should be mobilised to cope with severe drought and saline intrusion in order to ensure food and fresh water for

    daily usage. Topics addressed by the Central Steering Committee for Natural Calamities Preparedness and

    Control included measures to confront drought and saline intrusion in the Central Highlands, southern

    central and Mekong Delta regions.Phat asked localities to closely watch weather and saline intrusion

    developments and water resources to adequately promote effective measures that would minimise

    production losses and stabilise incomes.The committee pledged to mobilise all forces to cope with the

    situation and avoid hunger and possible epidemic to drought-affected people.

    The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment was assigned to closely supervise and issue reports

    on drought and saline intrusion for specific areas and localities. This helps local authorities set up

    effective plans for drought and saline intrusion control.The Ministry of Industry and Commerce asked the

    management agencies of hydropower reservoirs to supply fresh water to drought-prone areas as a priority

    task.The local authorities should co-operate with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to

    adjust production timetables to reduce losses caused by drought and saline intrusion.This years drought

    was the most severe one in 100 years, and saline intrusion was worsened by the El Nino phenomenon in

    the Central Highlands, southern central and Mekong Delta regions.

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    So far, the droughts and saline intrusion have caused fresh water shortages in 390,000 households and

    damaged nearly 240,000ha of rice and more than 4,000ha of aquaculture production.The total loss was

    estimated to be VN5,200 billion (US$236 million).According to the weather forecast agency, drought

    and saline intrusion are expected to expand to other regions in upcoming months.Thus, preparedness

    measures should focus on supplying fresh water to people and livestock.Colonel Truong Duc Nghia from

    the National Comittee for Search and Rescue said the committee has asked the Government to provide

    funds for purchasing water tankers and ships to transport fresh water to affected areas.The army would

    play a major role in supplying fresh water to save people and production, the colonel said.

    Localities continue to take measures against drought

    The Central Steering Committee on Natural Disaster Prevention and Control must continuously direct

    ministries, sectors and localities to implement measures to cope with and address the consequences of

    drought and saltwater intrusion in the Central Highlands, south central region, and the Mekong

    Delta.Speaking at a conference in Hanoi on April 15, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao

    Duc Phat, also head of the committee, recommended closely monitoring the developments of drought and

    salinity and reporting back to the Government for proper revision and adjustment of policies to support

    the drought-hit regions.The ministry will direct relevant agencies to forecast the impacts of saltwater

    encroachment in the Mekong Delta and evaluate water resources at hydropower reservoirs and river

    basins and help farmers shift to growing drought-resistant plants, especially for the 2016 summer-autumn

    crop.

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    11

    It will also disseminate advanced irrigation and water-saving techniques to each locality, business and

    local, the Minister said, adding that the provision of water storage equipment for locals will continue with

    the foreseeable goal of ensuring sufficient food and fresh water for local daily activities.Localities and

    relevant agencies need to keep reviewing water resources and anticipating the weather conditions to help

    people proactively cope with the possibly prolonged and extensive drought, and also take precautions

    against wildfires, he noted.According to the Central Steering Committee on Natural Disaster Prevention

    and Control, the rainfall in the Central Highlands and south central region from late 2015 to the present is

    very low, with hydropower reservoirs containing much less water than their designed capacity, and some

    small reservoirs even being dried out.The drought has effected some 70 percent of the cultivation areas in

    these regions, with Dak Lak, Gia Lai, Kon Tum, Ninh Thuan and Binh Thuan being the hardest

    hit.Saltwater has intruded as far as 90km inland in the Mekong Delta, about 10-25km farther than

    usual.Up to 11 out of the 13 cities and provinces in the delta were affected by salinity which caused

    serious water shortages and damaged agriculture production.

    As of April 13, 2016, more than 390,000 households in the Central Highlands , Mekong Delta, and south

    central region were faced with water shortages. Drought and saltwater intrusion damaged over 232,000 ha

    of rice, 61,992 ha of fruits, and 4,052 ha of seafood. The total economic loss was estimated at over 5.1

    trillion VND (229.5 million USD).Head of the Department of Search and Rescue under the Ministry of

    National Defence Truong Duc Nghia said military units have raised over 30 billion VND (1.35 million

    USD) to support locals in the drought-stricken regions. The units have transported 34,246 cubic metres of

    fresh water to residential areas in Ninh Thuan, Kon Tum, Gia Lai, Ben Tre, Soc Trang, Tra Vinh and Tien

    Giang, and helped locals drill 59 wells and dredge 35 lakes and 10.5 km of canals.The Governmetn and

    localities nationwide have also provided over 1 trillion VND and 5,220 tonnes of rice in aid to the

    regions.

    http://english.vietnamnet.vn/fms/society/155167/vietnamese-gov-t-outlines-anti-drought-action.html

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    Drought Killing Vietnam Rice Crops Compounds Mekong

    Water Crisis John Boudreau svwriter

    Diep Pham diepngocpham

    Mai Ngoc Chau

    April 19, 2016 4:00 AM PKTUpdated on April 19, 2016 9:53 PM PKT

    Share on FacebookShare on Twitter

    River is lowest in a century after worst dry spell in 90 years

    Millions of farmers at risk from dams on 3,000-mile waterway Share on FacebookShare on Twitter

    The nine acres in southern Vietnam that double as rice paddy and shrimp pond for

    farmer Nguyen Thi Tam have become a wasteland. After the worst drought in 90

    years, almost nothing grows.Tams family had no income for two harvests because the rice crop failed and the shrimp died. They ran up $8,000 in debt -- more than twice

    her earnings in a typical year. To make ends meet, Tam plans to leave her village to

    work at a factory hundreds of miles away. Many others in the area already have fled,

    she said, including her daughter-in-law, who couldnt endure the poverty. I am worried about everything, Tam, 55, said inside the thatched house in Kien Giang province she shares with her husband, three grown children and two

    grandchildren. I cannot sleep.

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    The dry spell in the once-fertile Mekong Delta is devastating food supplies in southern Vietnam

    and threatening to reduce global exports of rice, seafood and coffee. It is also compounding a

    Southeast Asia water shortage along a 3,000-mile river that runs from Tibet to Thailand to the

    South China Sea, as climate change and too many dams erode livelihoods for millions of

    farmers.Waters in the Mekong Delta, a network of channels that cut across vast flatlands in

    southern Vietnam, are at the lowest in almost a century, which may mean shortages for as much

    as 50 percent of the region this year, according to a United Nations report. That means less for

    irrigating crops and an increase in salt levels as more seawater seeps into the delta, causing more

    damage. Parched rice field in Long Phu district, Vietnam.

    Photographer: AFP via Getty Images

    The Mekong River countries of Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar produce

    about 62 million metric tons of rice, or 13 percent of global output, U.S. Department of

    Agriculture data show. The river accounts for as much as 25 percent of the global

    freshwater catch and provides livelihoods for at least 60 million people, according to the World

    Wildlife Fund. Vietnam exported about $3 billion of shrimp last year. Almost half of Vietnams population of 91 million works in agriculture, which accounts for about 13 percent of the

    economy.People in Indonesia and the Philippines will go hungry if the Thais and Vietnamese dont produce enough rice, said Richard Cronin, director of the Southeast Asia Program at the Stimson Center in Washington. This is a preview of the longer-term effect of development and climate change to the Mekong Delta.

    More Dams

    Rice exports from Vietnam, the worlds third-largest shipper, probably will drop 10 percent this year because of lower production, said Do Ha Nam, the chief executive officer of Intimex Group,

    a major Vietnam exporter of agricultural products. Rice output from the Mekong Delta fell 6.2

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    14

    percent in the first quarter from a year earlier, reducing the countrys total agricultural production by 2.7 percent, according to Nguyen Bich Lam, head of the General Statistics

    Office.Water from the Mekong was already under pressure before the drought, which the UN

    attributed to a stronger-than-normal El Nino weather pattern. China has completed six of seven

    major dams on the river in southern Yunnan Province, Cronin said. Vietnam has built dozens in

    the Central Highlands, which, like the Chinese and Laotian dams, deprive the Delta region of the

    critical sediments needed to replenish eroded soil, he said.

    Agriculture Losses

    Eleven more dams planned in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia could result in fish and farming

    losses of $750 million in Vietnam and $450 million in Cambodia, with extinctions for as much

    as 10 percent of fish species in the region, according a study submitted to the Mekong River

    Commission, a group created to mediate water disputes.

    Vietnams government, which relied on rice farming to feed its population during years of dire poverty after its war with the U.S., needs to encourage Mekong Delta farmers to switch to more

    profitable crops, such as fruit trees that require less water, and raise higher-value shrimp in

    coastal areas, said Vo-Tong Xuan, a professor of agronomy and rector of Nam Can Tho

    University.

    Costly Change

    Its not that easy to switch, said Nguyen Trung Kien, vice chairman of the Vietnam Food Association. Fruit trees can take years before the first harvest, he said.

    The drought is changing the landscape in the Mekong Delta. Along National Road 63 in coastal

    Kien Giang province, the soil is parched and cracked on land once soaked with water for rice

    paddies tended by Vietnamese in conical hats. Sugar-cane trees that should be green have

    yellowed.

    Nguyen Van Nhin pumps well water inside his home.

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    Photographer: John Boudreau/Bloomberg

    This is the first time in my 22 years of rice farming I could not grow rice, said Nguyen Van Nhin, 36, who tends nine acres in Kien Giang province behind his thatched-roof hut with wood-

    plank beds and mosquito nets.In Kinh 5, Nhins village, 70 percent of the 281 farms produced no rice this season, said Danh Nhac, the local vice chief of the Communist Party. The majority of the people left in the hamlet are children and people older than 45 or 50.For those who remain, it means looking for alternatives to commercial farming. Nhin is trying to grow vegetables for

    food and looking for work as a manual laborer.I am just waiting for the rain to return so I can grow rice again, he said. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-04-18/drought-killing-vietnam-rice-crops-

    compounds-mekong-water-crisis Why India needs IMD to be right about a good monsoon

    Why-India-needs-IMD-to-be-right-about-a-good-monsoon

    Mumbai: The announcement of plentiful rains this year is likely to spell relief for those forced

    to migrate because of failing monsoons. A slowdown in the construction industry which employs

    most migrant labourers would likely have strained their ability to deal with another deficient year

    after rains fell short in 2014 and 2015.A Mint analysis looked at India Meteorological

    Department (IMD) data on rainfall and compared it with seasonal migration patterns across

    rainfall sub-divisions based on Indian Human Development Survey (IHDS) data.Chart 1 shows

    that there is a negative co-relation between the amount of rain that regions receive and the

    proportion of the population that sees seasonal migration. The survey asks if people have

    migrated over the previous five years (2007-12). Simply put, the lower the average rainfall in a

    region over the period, the higher is the seasonal migration. This analysis is restricted to rural

    males in the age group of 15-64 years (working age population).

    The result can simply be explained by the fact that agriculture is still the biggest employer of

    people, and irrigation is yet to reach around half of the countrys farms. Because of this, India has a fairly significant population which migrates for temporary employment.According to IHDS

    data, an estimated 6.5 million (or 7%) out of the total 94 million agricultural labourers identified

    themselves as short-term migrants, defined as those who temporarily migrated to other

    villages/towns for work. Similarly, an estimated 7.5 million (or 9%) of 84 million construction

    workers identified themselves as short-term migrants. This is liable to be an under-estimation of

    the actual size of the migrant labour force in the construction sector, because much of the

    migration to the construction sector is of a more permanent nature. For example, this UNDP

    study pegs the migrant construction labour estimate at 40 million, which would amount to almost

    50% of total construction workers (assuming the total number of construction workers is around

    84 million, as suggested by IHDS).

    Short-term out-migrants have been estimated to number 12.6 million but recent micro-studies documenting large and increasing numbers of internal migrants suggest that the true figure is 30

    million and rising, says a 2007 study, Circular Migration in India, authored by Kate Bird and Priya Deshingkar Overseas Development Institute (ODI), a think tank.Poor rains act as an

    impetus for this seasonal search for employment.A 2014 paper, titled Rainfall variability, food

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    16

    security and human mobility in the Janjgir-Champa district of Chhattisgarh state, India, examined the issue. There was a single annual rice harvest in the research site which, if affected

    by erratic rainfall patterns, leaves marginal farmers and labourers with very few options. Authors

    Janakaraj Murali and Tamer Afifi noted that some looked to help from relatives or friends and

    the government to help deal with the situation.However, seasonal and permanent migrations are the most opted-for coping strategies in the study area, it said.

    India suffered back-to-back deficient monsoons in 2014 and 2015. The relationship between

    poor rains and migration would indicate a significant undocumented spike in migration over the

    last two years.But there is a problem here.Most of the seasonal migrants find work in the

    construction sector. It accounts for the largest single-sector source of employment for such

    labour. And construction has been going through a rough patch.Data from the Centre for

    Monitoring Indian Economy shows that stalling levels in the construction sector have been

    climbing higher ever since the financial crisis of 2008. While it is not at its peak, it is far off its

    trough. The latest figures show that stalled construction and real estate projects are at 7.84% of

    the projects under implementation compared to 1.19% in March 2009 at the time of the global

    financial crisis.The IMDs forecast is thus a welcome relief. http://www.livemint.com/Opinion/BXWly51H8BqCsaKT5P4uLO/Why-India-needs-IMD-to-be-right-about-

    a-good-monsoon.html

    GP has rice, corn planting streak Last years anomalous growing season made a mess of agricultural predictions, with a cool wet spring followed by pockets of outright flooding in the summer. Planting throughout much of

    the state was delayed well past the date that any agronomist thought could produce near-

    optimum yields.

    By Ryan McGeeney

    UofA Division of Ag

    Posted Apr. 18, 2016 at 1:16 PM

    LITTLE ROCK

    For a brief moment a few weeks ago, it looked as though Arkansas rice growers might be

    looking at 2015, all over again.Last years anomalous growing season made a mess of

    agricultural predictions, with a cool wet spring followed by pockets of outright flooding in the

    summer. Planting throughout much of the state was delayed well past the date that any

    agronomist thought could produce near-optimum yields.

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    For a number of rice growers in central and northern Arkansas, 2016 planting began in mid-

    March under cool, clear conditions. But then, around April 4, a miraculous thing happened: The

    clouds broke; the sun appeared. In the space of one week, the amount of rice planted in the state

    rocketed from 11 percent of the 1.6 million acres predicted for planting in 2016 to 33 percent

    exceeding not just the abysmal amount planted during the same period in 2015, but beating the

    5-year average by 10 percentage points as well, according to the weekly Arkansas Crop Progress

    and Condition Report from the U.S. Department of Agricultures National Agricultural Statistics

    Service.Jarrod Hardke, extension rice agronomist for the University of Arkansas System

    Division of Agriculture, said that the period of April 4-10 really represented the first time that

    the entire eastern half of the state was able to make planting progress.

    Hardke said that much of the rice planted in March through the first week of April was planted

    on larger farms and on high ground. He said many smaller growers tend to delay their rice

    planting somewhat because they may not have the resources to replant if heavy rains or other

    weather factors ruin initial plantings.In rice, the early season issues were most concerned with

    are erratic soil temperatures leading to uneven emergence, or lack of germination and

    emergence, Hardke said. Seedling disease leading to stand loss, and soil crusting which is

    something were concerned with at the moment.Much of the rice planting and growing season is

    something of a tightrope between too much and not enough rain. Thursday evening of this week,

    Hardke tweeted photos of emerging rice in Stuttgart, with the message, Need some heat this

    week and) rain to prevent crusting.

    Seeds only have so much pushing power to make it out of the ground, he said. And some of

    our soils, when they dry out, have a tendency to form a crust thats nearly impenetrable. If the

    plant cant make it out, it will eventually turn down and lose the ability to emerge.

    Corn also saw substantial gains during the week of mild weather, as growers planted an

    additional 30 percent of an estimated 790,000 acres, bringing the state to about 61 percent

    complete for corn planting.

    http://www.stuttgartdailyleader.com/article/20160418/NEWS/160419736

    Creating tech savvy young rice entrepreneurs Posted By: DANIEL ESSIETon: April 20, 2016In:

    Bolstering rural economies, Africa Rice Centre Nigeria believes is not just a matter of helping

    existing agro businesses, but also encouraging new ones. This is what it is seeking to achieve

    by raising a new generation of rice entrepreneurs that are technology savvy and making

    money, DANIEL ESSIET reports.

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    Young agro entrepreneurs will

    soon pad their mobile wallets

    with more than just mobile

    money, theyll get on-demand farming advice, too. Driving this

    is a campaign to boost rice

    business in Nigeria which

    experts believe has a big

    potential to contribute to

    food security and

    even generate foreign currency

    from its export. Though rice is

    one of the nations staple foods, most farmers produce less than

    they consume, and most dont have access to mobile farm

    advice. Consequently,

    productivity is very low and improving it is one of the most pressing issues.

    To this end, Africa Rice Centre, a leading Pan-African rice research organisation committed to

    improving livelihoods throughout the continent, is partnering government agencies to boost

    rice production and improve farmers incomes. This time, the centre is training agro-entrepreneurs that will deploy the speed of information and communications technology (ICT)

    to put information into the hands of farmers who want to get information about good rice

    farming practices to increase yields.Since communications technology has become one of the

    most effective ways of reaching remote farmers, the centre is raising a new group of tech savvy

    rice entrepreneurs in major countries in Africa.According to the Centre Rice Commodity

    Specialist in Nigeria, Dr Philip Idinoba, the emergence of mobile technology in agricultural

    practices has made the sector more attractive to the younger generation.

    Idinoba said the centre wants to engage young people in farming as a business and to provide a

    sustainable livelihood. To achieve this, he said the centre plans to train young Nigerians to

    become rice entrepreneurs who can use mobile technology to bring many benefits to farmers

    and their families, including raising productivity and helping to lift smallholder farmers out of

    poverty and contribute to economic development. For a start, the centre wants to demonstrate

    this in Nigeria and Mali. In Nigeria, the training is scheduled for six states.The states include

    Nassarawa, Niger,Jigawa,Kogi,Kebbi and Kano states. The emphasis of the project is acquisition

    of skills along the rain value chains and the transition of the trainees into business in the sector.

    Idinoba believes technology is going to excite young people to join agriculture, promote

    economic development, and drive sustainable livelihoods for their communities.To this end,

    Africa Rice has developed RiceAdvice, an Android based decision support tool. According to

    him, solutions provided by the software are location-specific and can help rice farmers produce

    sufficient food with higher profitability.

    The internet-based tool,he added, provides rice farmers with advice on the optimal timing,

    amount, and type of fertiliser to apply to their crop to maximise production and profit and reduce

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    19

    waste. The young entrepreneurs will be trained to offer a tailored suite of services available via

    mobile phone. Young entrepreneurs will be engaged to collect information from a farmer

    through easy-to-answer questions about cultivation conditions.The answers are transmitted to an

    online database to develop a fertiliser recommendation matching the specific needs and rice-

    growing conditions of that farmer. He expects the young entrepreneurs to provide this service for

    a fee.

    Expected users also include extension workers, private rice sectors, development agencies who

    are interested in advice for rice production.The Head Farming Systems, Rice Sector

    Development Hub, the National Cereals Research Institute (NCRI),Badeggi,Niger State, Dr.

    Samuel Bakare, said young agricultural entrepreneurs can tap into opportunities all along the

    value chain: from supplying fertiliser and seed, to processing, transporting and marketing of

    food. Once tapped into, he believes such opportunities can turn young, jobless Nigerians into

    success stories.The rice entrepreneurs, according to him, will be taught how to make money

    using rice threshers or help farmers thresh their rice farmers for a fee. The rice thresher, he

    explained, enables smallholder farmers to thresh their own rice without having to hire extra

    labour.

    To increase the supply of improved seedespecially in rural areas,he said Africa Rice will be working with NCRI to train young and other farmers on good agricultural practices and

    facilitate their certification as rice seed producers. He said if young Nigerians can be trained to

    produce and market seeds , it could be the starting point of a viable seed enterprise. They will be

    trained on the production of quality seed, seed selection and entrepreneurship. In addition, they

    will be trained to function as freelance extension agents.Speaking further on Rice Advice

    software, the Principal Scientist , Africa Rice Center and lead innovator of the application, Dr.

    Kazuki Saito, explained that it is an online platform that engages young people who are

    interested, inspiring and using agriculture to generate income and employment.

    He said though RiceAdvice can be largely used without an internet connection, an active

    connection is required from time to time to synchronise information with the database server.

    According to him, the young agro entrepreneurs, who will provide services as freelance

    extension agents will be trained to use their phones to generate tailored recommendations they

    give to individual farmers for a fee.

    With the app, he explained that rice farmers will be able to use their resources efficiently by

    choosing a suitable variety, avoiding a failure in crop establishment, and using an efficient

    fertiliser application. This, according to him, could help reduce their risks and make rice farming

    better and more stable.

    He said the automated rice fertiliser and input recommendation tool that has been tested over the

    past two years can successfully increase farmers income per hectare by one ton.By providing farmers with accurate information, he said farmers can enjoy better harvests, which can translate

    into higher earnings and more reliable profitability. Thus, he said RiceAdvice makes rice

    farming attractive to young people by changing the perception that rainfed agriculture is an all-

    or-nothing occupation.With Rice Advice, he said, the young entrepreneurs serving as freelance

    extensive service providers identify challenges confronting rice farmers and collect data which

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    will be transferred online. The use of the tool, according to him, improves business efficiency

    and profitability for young ICT saavy farmers.He said positive feedbacks are coming from

    farmers on RiceAdvice.Regional Representative, Africa Rice Nigeria, Dr Francis sees youth

    entrepreneurship as the way to tackle unemployment across the continent. Nwilene said the

    centre intends to promote local production and create job opportunities for youths.

    Director-General,Africa Rice, Dr Harold Roy-Macauley said the centre is determined to work

    with the African Development Bank, to develop young entrepreneurs, Nagropreneurs, in

    agriculture. This is because African countries face the challenge of providing employment to the

    young.

    For sustainable economic growth to become a defining reality across the region, he noted that

    young people must be empowered to transform agriculture.According to him, a system of

    mentorship, handholding, and bridging support will be provided to launch youths into higher-

    value crop production using modern agriculture and agribusiness methods. According to him,

    young farmers need to aspire to be successful business people and even those who do not see

    themselves like that at all could learn to become more entrepreneurial

    http://thenationonlineng.net/creating-tech-savvy-young-rice-entrepreneurs/

    Cubas Construction and Agricultural Machinery Sectors

    BREAKING, BUSINESS

    April 19, 2016

    In the event that U.S.

    restrictions on trade with Cuba

    are lifted, Cuban demand for

    construction and agricultural

    machinery is likely to provide

    U.S. producers of such

    machinery with significant

    export opportunities in the

    near term.Cuba is currently

    upgrading its infrastructure in

    most areas and is working to

    increase the countrys

    agricultural productivity.

    Cuban demand for construction machinery is expected to be strong because of Cubas plans to expand its

    tourism industry and revitalize urban core areas, which will require significant construction of buildings

    and underlying infrastructure, as well as conservation of historic structures and neighborhoods.

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    Further, aged roads and airports will require upgrading. Cuban demand for agricultural machinery will be

    driven by Cubas desire to reduce its dependence on imported food and to boost export crops as a source

    of foreign exchange. Moreover, Cuba is in need of modern equipment to replace its antiquated fleet.

    Construction Machinery Cuba

    In 2014, U.S. exports of construction

    machinery to the Dominican Republic

    totaled $28.9 million, down from a

    peak of $84.5 million in 2008. There

    were no U.S. exports of construction

    machinery to Cuba during 200514.932

    In 2015, U.S. exports to Cuba totaled

    $222,250 and consisted of one

    bulldozer and one front-end shovel

    loader.Cuba has no commercial

    production of construction machinery,

    and the current fleet of construction

    machines in Cuba is reportedly

    obsolete. However, there may be

    limited production of components and parts for such machinery. During 200514, Cuba exported

    construction machinery valued at $9.6 million, of which $5.3 million was exported to Mexico in 2006 and

    $2.3 million to Venezuela during 201011. These were likely exports of used construction equipment.

    With no domestic industry, Cuba relies on imports for its construction machinery needs. Cuban demand

    stems from the countrys need to upgrade as well as construct new infrastructure. This ranges from

    improving Cubas airports and seaports to constructing tourist facilities, as well as renovating its city

    cores and improving its road system. In addition, certain construction equipment may be used for

    miningfor example, for use in Cubas nickel industry. Cuban construction activity has increased in

    recent years, and housing shortages, decades of underinvestment in infrastructure, the governments push

    for foreign direct investment (FDI), and the priority placed on developing tourism suggest that such

    activity will continue to grow.

    Cuba: Value of construction by economic activity, 201214 (million dollars)

    Cuban imports of construction machinery rose from $37.3 million in 2005 to a high of $118.7 million in

    2008, before falling to $53.8 million in 2014. Over one-half of total imports during the period were

    comprised of parts for construction machinery (18%), machines with a 360-degree revolving

    superstructure (13%), bulldozers (12%), and front-end shovels (11%). Off-highway dumpers, mobile

    cranes and drilling derricks, backhoes and trenchers, and miscellaneous other machinery made up the

    remainder of Cuban imports during 200514.

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    During 200513, the EU was the principal source of Cubas imports of construction machinery, being

    surpassed in 2014 by China. In 2014, Cubas imports of these goods from China totaled $27.9 million

    (52%), compared with imports from the EU, valued at $22.8 million (42%). Spain has generally been the

    leading supplier of EU machinery to Cuba; in 2014, Spain accounted for 19% ($10.4 million) of Cubas

    imports of construction machinery and 46% of all construction equipment supplied to Cuba by the EU.

    However, in certain years during the 200514 period, Italy, the Netherlands, or Germany surpassed Spain

    as the top-ranked EU supplier.

    Cuba: Construction machinery, imports by major supplier and the United States, 200514 (million

    dollars)

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    The variability of Cuban imports of construction equipment during the period reflects both the specific

    construction projects undertaken in Cuba at any particular time and government-to-government

    agreements that often involve financing for Cubas purchases of such machinery. For example, in 2013

    and 2014, some Cuban imports of construction machinery were the result of a contract with a Chinese

    equipment producer that was partially financed by the Export-Import Bank of China. Cubas imports from

    Brazil in 2010 and 2011 correspond to Brazils involvement in constructing the Mariel Special Economic

    Development Zone (ZED Mariel), a project into which Brazil injected significant funding. Cubas imports

    from Russia totaled $61.6 million during 200913, with Russia and Cuba signing agreements for Russia

    to provide $150 million in grants for Cuba to purchase construction and agricultural machinery. Such

    agreements complicate the landscape for U.S. suppliers, as Cuba reportedly prefers to deal with

    government-owned companies and do business under bilateral relationships, including barter deals with

    countries sharing Cubas socialist-communist values.

    Source: Victoria Friends of Cuba, Cuba Modernizes Its Agricultural Mechanization System, August

    5,2013.

    Agricultural Machinery Cuba

    Cuba has a small agricultural machinery industry focused on equipment and tools for cultivation,

    agricultural trailers, tillage tools, and plows. Cubas Grupo Industrial Maquinaria Agrcola y

    Construccin (GIMAC) is likely responsible for most production of agricultural machinery. Cubas

    exports of agricultural machinery totaled $2.6 million in 2014, down from a peak of $3.6 million in 2011,

    but up significantly from $423,885 in 2005.949 During 200514, 93% of Cubas exports of these goods

    went to Venezuela.

    As with construction equipment, Cuba imports most of its agricultural machinery and is in need of high-

    quality, consistent machinery and spare parts. Cuban imports of agricultural machinery rose from $11.4

    million in 2005 to a peak of $92.8 million in 2013 before falling to $57.5 million in 2014. In 2014, Brazil

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    24

    was the leading supplier of agricultural machinery to Cuba, followed by the EU (largely Spain and

    Italy).The Cuban drivers for increased imports of agricultural machinery have been the need to improve

    agricultural performance and reduce reliance on imported agricultural products. Nonetheless, any

    attempts by Cubas agricultural sector to replace its old and obsolete agricultural machinery are making

    slow progress. In 2013, approximately 1% of Cubas 66,128 tractors were less than five years old, nearly

    12 percent were between 6 and 30 years old, and 87% were more than three decades old.

    Cuba: Agricultural machinery, imports by major supplier and the United States, 200514 (million dollars)

    Like imports of construction equipment, import

    trends for these goods tend to be driven by the

    specific needs of Cubas agricultural sector for

    machinery suited to particular crops, irrigation, or

    pesticide and fertilizer application, as well as by

    favorable financing terms and bilateral

    agreements.One example is Cuban imports of

    irrigation machinery. Imports of sprayers, dusters,

    and irrigation machinery accounted for 34% of total

    imports of agricultural machinery during 200514.

    These imports followed implementation in mid-2003

    of the governments 10-year plan to electrify the Cuban irrigation system, a project co-funded with a $10

    million loan from the OPEC Fund for International Development.

    Another example is the recent growth in Cuban imports from Brazil. These reflect both Brazilian

    investment in Cubas sugar industry and Brazils position as one of the few global suppliers of sugarcane

    harvesting machinery which Cuba needed in order to modernize the sugar sector. Brazil also granted

    Cuba credits to purchase agricultural equipment and other inputs. In fact, Cuba has completed a number

    of deals in this sector with other countries, involving either attractive financing or non-traditional, quid

    pro quo transactions.

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    25

    Effects of the Removal of U.S. Restrictions

    U.S. manufacturers view Cuba as a potential market for U.S.-made construction and agricultural

    equipment, and Cuban government officials report that U.S. machinery is likely to be well received in

    Cuba if U.S. export restrictions are lifted. Industry representatives indicate that the desire for U.S.-

    branded equipment, the size of the Cuban market, and the robustness of the sector suggest that there could

    be immediate business and excellent export potential for U.S. machinery producers.Credit, however, may

    be an important factor in realizing this potential. Cuban government officials indicate that access to credit

    will be necessary for them to be able to purchase U.S. machinery. Therefore, growth of U.S. exports

    could be affected by U.S. exporters willingness to offer favorable financing and credit terms to Cuban

    purchasers. This is because suppliers such as Brazil and China typically provide government financial

    support and easy credit terms. Further, producers from Brazil, China, and the EU have developed business

    relationships with Cuban purchasers, and competing against suppliers with entrenched relationships may

    prove challenging. At the same time, many U.S. manufacturers, particularly larger firms that have their

    own financial arms, are reportedly in a position to provide good financing terms for equipment and

    machinery sales to Cuba.

    If U.S. restrictions are lifted, Cuban government officials have indicated that they would likely import

    agricultural machinery, including rice harvesting machinery and irrigation equipment, noting the quality

    of U.S. machinery. One U.S. source familiar with Cuban agriculture states that Cubas large sugar farms

    could use large U.S.-built tractors and sugar harvesting machinery.

    Likewise, Cubas citrus groves, in spite of the decline in numbers resulting from citrus greening disease,

    are large enough that they would benefit from using U.S.-built agricultural machinery. Regarding

    prospects for U.S. exports of construction machinery, a representative of Caterpillar, Inc., stated that Cuba

    needs and would like to buy many of the types of products that the company produces. The company will

    likely begin by marketing diesel generator sets, which provide continuous or backup electrical power, and

    will follow that up with marketing mining machinery and then construction machinery.

    Recent developments between the United States and Cuba in this sector could lay the groundwork for

    U.S. exports of construction equipment parts in the very near term. In anticipation of the lifting of U.S.

    restrictions on Cuba, an Alabama startup company, Cleber LLC, is working to establish an agricultural

    tractor assembly operation in ZED Mariel. This facility would initially use U.S.-made parts (fabricated in

    Alabama and shipped to Cuba), with the eventual goal of transferring production to the proposed Mariel

    facility.

    CUBA JOURNAL

    Rice and easy: how to boost your pub menu margins with

    risotto

    By Nicholas Robinson+

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    26

    19-Apr-2016

    Prawn and chorizo risotto

    Risotto may not be at the top of chefs agendas but, when it is available on pub

    menus, there are many reasons for it to sell well, including its gluten-free and

    healthy qualities, and the potential for big profits. Nicholas Robinson reports

    Risotto is a dish that ticks all of the current food trend boxes that need to be checked by busy pub

    chefs these days, such as vegetarian, vegan and free-from allergens, while also providing

    generous margins. So far, though, it appears to be a dish thats under the radar for many in the

    trade.Despite its ability to hit the magic words for customers, risotto sales in pubs have remained

    fairly flat in recent years, according to Peter Linden, senior analyst at the Publicans Morning

    Advertisers sister brand MCA.

    The great risotto myth:

    Gallo UK managing director Jason Morrison says: It really is a myth that its difficult to make.

    The key to a good risotto is good ingredients and timing.

    There are two ways to cook a risotto: the pilaf method and the par-boiled method. The most

    frequent method is the pilaf method, which consists of pre-cooking the rice in the morning and

    finishing the dish during service.

    The par-boiled method is using rice thats steam-processed and is dried before it reaches the

    kitchen. It is then cooked in less time than non-processed rice.

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    In pubs, he says, 1.6% of all lunch dishes were either risotto or pasta in the fourth quarter (Q4) of

    2015, down from 2% for Q4 in 2014. On a more positive note, the number of risotto and pasta

    dishes eaten in pubs at dinner rose slightly for the same period to 3.4% in 2015, compared with

    3.2% in 2014. Showing it is an option customers will try when its on the menu.For the total

    eating-out market, risotto/pasta dishes accounted for 2.1% of meals ordered for lunch in Q4 of

    2014 and 2.2% in 2015. For dinner, that dropped from 4.3% for the same period in 2014 to 3.9%

    last year so a reverse in the trend when compared with pubs alone.

    Risottos slight dinner-time growth in pubs may be as a result of its appearance on the menus of

    bigger chains, as Linden points out: A number of leading pub brands offer risotto dishes

    positioned as healthier options. Pub restaurant chains Table Table and Browns serve asparagus

    risottos, while Chef & Brewer and Harvester offer lighter seafood and vegetarian risottos.

    Rice dishes as a whole are also appearing on more pub menus in one form or another, with

    leading operators including dishes such as jambalaya, he adds. The rise in rice dishes could be

    attributed to the increased popularity of gluten-free foods because the grain is naturally void of

    the nutrient.

    Its versatility when it comes to meat and dairy-free options is also a plus. The latest figures from

    MCAs Food-service New Menu Item Analysis claimed vegetarian dishes accounted for 31% of

    all new menu items in 2015, compared with just 18% in the previous year.While rice dishes

    appear to be slowly becoming more of a feature on pub menus overall, recent research by

    Premier Foods shows 45% of the consumers it asked wanted to see more Italian or

    Mediterranean dishes on menus, making risotto a prime dish to fit with this demand and the

    rising interest in gluten and other free-from dishes, such as vegetarian and vegan.

    A rise in customer interest and demand for Italian dishes on pub menus can be attributed to the

    current domination of the high street by Italian food chains, claims Patrick Hames, head chef at

    the Enterprise Inns lease the Farmhouse in Horley, Surrey.

    Risotto on pub menus

    As recently as five years ago, he says, a risotto on a pub menu

    may not have been considered with the same sincerity by

    pubgoers as it would be now, but the increased access to Italian

    food on the high street has made customers more open to trying

    dishes not traditionally associated with pubs. Its pretty

    popular when its on the menu here, explains Hames, who

    recently took over the Farmhouses kitchen. Its not for everybody, because some people still

    want to see the more traditional dishes, but I think the casual-dining trend has probably made it a

    lot more popular for pubs.

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    Watch Italian Embassy head chef Danilo Cortellini make a quick and easy risotto in this

    exclusive video masterclass

    Pubs had lost a lot of their food trade to the likes of high-street chains such as Strada and

    Prezzo, but on the positive side, their popularity has put dishes like risotto more in the

    consciousness of customers.As well as it being a popular dish on the Farmhouses menu

    whether its asparagus risotto or a prawn and chorizo one it is also a quick, easy and tasty dish

    you can pull out to cater for customers who are more demanding, he claims.

    Chefs dont always look to risotto when they need a dish thats vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free.

    But its the ideal dish to meet those needs maybe theyre put off because they think its harder

    to make than it is.

    Ernst van Zyl, chef and co-owner of the Kerridge-based pub the Lord Clyde, in Cheshire,

    understands why some chefs view the dish with apprehension, but says they shouldnt because

    its a simple dish to make.The menu at the Lord Clyde, which came in as a new entry at number

    50 on the Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs list this year, changes weekly, he explains. Risotto,

    in its simplest form a bianco, which is just onion, garlic, celery, stock, rice, butter and cheese

    can take on an unlimited amount of flavours, which makes it the perfect dish, he explains.

    One day it could be as simple as wild garlic, which is in season now, or pancetta or serrano

    ham. But, if you cook your risotto well then whatever other ingredients you use, it will work.

    His biggest tips are: ensure all of your preparation is done before you start cooking the risotto

    and to use really good stock, which should always be kept hot while the dish is being cooked.

    Its an easy and worthwhile dish to put on in a pub. You can pre-cook your rice in the stock to

    about 70% done and then cool it really quickly. Then just finish the dish in the pan when the

    check comes on.Depending on the ingredients you use to flavour the risotto, your GP will be

    good too. One box of rice can feed about 10 to 12 people, so it does go quite far.

    GP from risotto dishes

    GP, at the end of the day, can be the make or break of a dish making the menu, points out Jason

    Morrison, managing director of Italian rice specialist Gallo UK. The margin that chefs could

    make from each dish depends mainly on the cost of ingredients, which also comes down to the

    quality the pub chef wants to achieve, he explains.

    Top Italian rices:

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    Arborio: The most popular risotto rice, with large plump, full-bodies grains. Arborio has a high-

    starch content that that gives it the perfect balance of creaminess and bite for a very traditional

    risotto.

    Carnaroli: Premium risotto rice that is known for its ability to absorb flavours and retain a

    perfectly-cooked al dente texture.

    Venere: A natural black which originally comes from China, but is grown in the Po Valley,

    Italy. Venere cooks in just 18 minutes and has a distinctively nutty aroma and can be eaten hot or

    cold.

    Usually, we consider a portion of risotto to be 80g-90g, so buying 1kg of rice could obtain 12

    portions. In commercial terms, the cost of a portion of rice is based on the maximum 100g raw

    weight and would be 25p, therefore a vegetarian risotto would cost under 1 to make and, with

    protein, about 1.50 a portion.

    This supports the point that high margins are to be had probably the highest on a gastropubs

    main-course menu.

    Importantly, says Italian Embassy head chef Danilo Cortellini, the dish is actually easier than

    most think. Its not that cheffy, really, he explains. Its a pretty straightforward process. If

    you learn to do it properly then everybody can do it.

    Ingredient quality is the biggest challenge, he warns. The rice has to be the best and it has to be a

    risotto rice (see boxout) and not something like a long-grain basmati rice, because that wont

    give you a risotto. Grains such as arborio or carnaroli release the starches needed to achieve a

    creamy risotto. They also maintain their shape during cooking.

    The quality of the grain is important, he affirms. The grains have to be unbroken so the right

    amount of starch can be released and so it stays whole and ends up on the plate al dente.

    Yet, risotto rice is also diverse in its use beyond offering a tasty free-from and high-GP option,

    points out Felicia Troia, owner of the foodservice supplier the Sicilian Kitchen. The firm

    specialises in arancini small balls of risotto rice breaded and fried that are ideal bar snacks,

    starters or even a main-course option.

    They can be a fantastic extra in-come stream and also quite an unusual addition to a bar snack

    menu, especially for those who might not want to eat the likes of a Scotch egg or pork pie,

    Troia says. You could make 100% gross profit from ours, which come frozen and vacuum-

    packed. You just have to reheat them and, to add value to them, you could serve them with a

    simple sauce.

    They can quite easily be a vegetarian bar snack option thats not boring, she adds. If you use

    vegetable stock and no meat in the rest of the recipe then theyre ideal for vegetarians and they

    can be vegan if you dont add cheese. Rice is naturally gluten-free, so theyve got that going for

    them too.So, with that in mind, risottos flexibility could see the dish, understandably, become

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    more of a star on pub menus as chefs become ever more reactive to the rise in demand for free-

    from options. Plus, its potential to offer kitchens a high GP for relatively little input is a real

    bonus.

    The risotto report series was sponsored by Italian rice experts Riso Gallo. The series includes a

    feature report, 10 things you need to know about risotto, a recipe gallery and a video

    masterclass

    http://www.morningadvertiser.co.uk/Pub-Food/Menu-Ideas/Risotto-margins-on-pub-

    menus

    USA Rice Sponsors Event Launching Trade Mission for

    Cubans

    By Kristen Dayton

    WASHINGTON, DC -- Last night, USA Rice co-sponsored an event launching a week-long trade

    mission for Alimport, the Cuban food and agricultural trade agency. Delegates will visit Maryland,

    Missouri, and Louisiana during the trip to tour important areas of U.S. agricultural production and

    transportation. Their itinerary also includes a stop in New Orleans for a lunch hosted by Russell Marine

    Group that many key U.S. rice exporters will attend.

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    31

    USA Rice President & CEO Betsy Ward gave remarks at the event welcoming the delegation and

    highlighted USA Rice's top legislative priority: lifting the embargo against Cuba. Juan Leon, Official

    Ambassador of the Cuban Ministry of Agriculture, also spoke during the reception. "The U.S. has great

    quality food, for instance, great quality long grain rice," Leon commented, "and we think U.S. imports to

    Cuba will pick up again very soon."

    Terry Harris of Riceland Foods, Inc., who attended the event, agreed. "The U.S. rice purchased by Cuba

    since 2001 has been the best into the country in decades, with a competitive price and with much quicker

    shipment and delivery," he said. Cuba last imported U.S. rice in 2008.

    Harris added, "Alimport's visit this week is a great opportunity to exchange information and lay the

    groundwork for cooperation when we overcome the partisan obstacles to exporting U.S. rice to Cuba

    again."

    Opponents of lifting the embargo often point to the political regime in Cuba as one of those

    obstacles. However, President Ral Castro recently announced he will step down in two years,

    welcoming new - and younger - leadership there. During a speech to the Cuban Communist Party

    Congress over the weekend, Castro acknowledged "concrete results in the dialogue and cooperation

    between the United States and Cuba."

    Coincidentally, yesterday the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) released a report

    titled Overview of Cuban Imports of Goods and Services and Effects of U.S. Restrictions that suggested

    "U.S. exports to Cuba could see significant gains from the removal of U.S. restrictions, particularly those

    related to credit financing. U.S. producers can offer a wide variety of high-quality goods, competitive

    prices, smaller shipments, lower transportation costs, and faster delivery times."

    Ward concluded, "We see Alimport's trade mission this week as a continuation of dialogue and

    cooperation. In light of the USITC report findings, the Castro announcement and Alimport's visit are

    positive steps in U.S.-Cuba relations, and these developments bode well for future trade, travel, and

    diplomatic relations.

    04/19/2016 Farm Bureau Market Report

    Rice

    High Low

    Long Grain Cash Bids - - - - - -

    Long Grain New Crop - - - - - -

    Futures:

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    ROUGH RICE

    High Low Last Change

    May '16 1037.5 1020.0 1036.0 +10.0

    Jul '16 1064.5 1047.0 1063.0 +11.0

    Sep '16 1083.0 1066.5 1082.5 +10.5

    Nov '16 1084.0 1084.0 1095.5 +10.0

    Jan '17

    1113.5 +9.5

    Mar '17

    1135.0 +9.5

    May '17

    1137.5 +10.0

    Rice Comment Rice futures recovered somewhat after yesterdays big losses, which were attributed to profit

    taking. The market will be watching crop progress closely. If farmers plant what they reported to

    USDA in the survey, the large crop will limit the upside potential. Currently, USDA says 48% of

    the crop in the ground and 19% emerged. In Arkansas, the totals are 55% planted and 11%

    emerged. Demand is also a key factor. Last weeks sale to Iraq gave the market a much needed

    boost, but wont sustain a rally long-term without better demand across the board. May has

    resistance at Fridays high of $10.46, when the market failed to challenge the 38% retracement

    level, which is $10.50.

    Rice Prices

    as on : 19-04-2016 08:10:28 PM Arrivals in tonnes;prices in Rs/quintal in domestic market.

    Arrivals Price

    Current % Season Modal Prev. Prev.Yr

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    33

    change cumulative Modal %change

    Rice

    Gadarpur(Utr) 3086.00 33.88 102378.00 2945 2237 65.92

    Burdwan(WB) 390.00 -1.76 4629.00 1700 1700 -5.56

    Sainthia(WB) 183.00 3.39 1382.20 1770 1765 -

    Birbhum(WB) 152.50 0.99 2332.50 1785 1770 -7.03

    Memari(WB) 147.00 -0.68 2893.00 1700 1700 -5.56

    Guskara(Burdwan)(WB) 147.00 -3.29 2913.00 2200 2180 2.33

    Sealdah Koley Market(WB) 75.00 -6.25 553.40 2950 2400 18.00

    Dhing(ASM) 68.00 -21.84 2859.20 1800 1800 -16.28

    Barasat(WB) 65.00 8.33 2285.00 2200 2250 -4.35

    Dahod(Guj) 56.20 -8.91 1217.70 2150 3900 -48.81

    Pandua(WB) 52.00 4 1671.00 2650 2600 -1.85

    Kasimbazar(WB) 42.50 -1.16 1668.00 2275 2275 -9.00

    Lanka(ASM) 40.00 33.33 2030.00 1750 1750 -1.41

    Khatra(WB) 38.00 2.7 762.00 2200 2100 -12.00

    Garbeta(Medinipur)(WB) 32.00 28 403.00 2400 2400 4.35

    Balugaon(Ori) 30.00 50 309.00 3200 3200 10.34

    Purulia(WB) 30.00 -16.67 1717.00 2180 2120 -9.17

    Bishnupur(Bankura)(WB) 30.00 -25 1630.00 1900 1950 -11.63

    Alipurduar(WB) 19.00 NC 422.00 2200 2200 NC

    Kolaghat(WB) 18.00 NC 510.00 2300 2300 -8.00

    Ramkrishanpur(Howrah)(WB) 17.90 -26.94 993.70 2400 2300 -7.69

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    Gauripur(ASM) 16.00 -55.56 2442.00 4500 4500 -2.17

    Medinipur(West)(WB) 14.00 NC 519.00 2400 2400 2.13

    Bohorihat(ASM) 12.50 92.31 250.40 2050 2100 -12.77

    Uluberia(WB) 11.80 -29.34 162.50 2200 2200 -4.35

    Deogarh(Ori) 9.50 NC 352.50 2500 2500 NC

    Dibrugarh(ASM) 8.10 80 1026.00 2450 2450 -

    Chalakudy(Ker) 8.00 NC 108.00 2500 2580 3.09

    Nilagiri(Ori) 7.00 NC 381.00 2300 2400 NC

    Tusura(Ori) 6.50 8.33 201.50 2200 2200 -8.33

    Karsiyang(Matigara)(WB) 6.50 30 89.00 2600 2600 -

    Imphal(Man) 4.10 24.24 175.70 2900 2900 NC

    Islampur(WB) 3.20 45.45 246.70 2150 2150 -

    Tileibani(Ori) 3.00 NC 19.00 2500 2500 NC

    Melaghar(Tri) 3.00 NC 107.80 2250 2250 -4.26

    Karimpur(WB) 3.00 NC 46.00 3150 3150 NC

    Rahama(Ori) 2.95 18 34.71 2450 2500 22.50

    Jharsuguda(Ori) 2.20 -12 11.10 2400 2500 -7.69

    Shillong(Meh) 1.20 50 45.60 3500 3500 NC

    Punalur(Ker) 1.00 NC 15.50 1600 1600

    http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/agri-business/article8494203.ece