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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 VI June 2 ,2016
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2nd june,2016 daily global,regional & local rice enewsletter by riceplus magazin

Aug 01, 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 VI June 2 ,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...

    Government urged to set up Rice Development Company

    Ancient rice seeds help explain settlement of Madagascar

    Updates to Nutrition Facts Panel Could Spell Rice Rewrites

    Crop Progress: 2016 Crop 98 Percent Planted

    Eid: Where fasting ends, feasting begins

    Quesadilla is easy: Tortilla, cheese, filling, imagination

    Rice Prices

    06/01/2016 Farm Bureau Market Report

    Growing paddy takes heavy toll on groundwater table

    Customs, Navy seize two boats of smuggled rice

    Scarcity of foreign rice hits Katsina

    Rice import deferred amid ample supply

    Rice federation to vote for president on July 2

    Ebonyi procures 40 tractors to revolutionise rice production

    Rice and Beans Solve Madagascar Mystery

    Agriculture in Sierra Leone: Monty Jones to the rescue

    News Detail... Government urged to set up Rice Development Company

    June 01, 2016

    RECORDER REPORT

    President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF), Mian Zahid

    Hussain has suggested that the government immediately establish Rice

    Development Company to cater for the basmati and non-basmati sectors, give

    rice mills status of industry with zero rating, reduce loadshedding and

    announce tax relaxations in the upcoming budget. Expressing concern over

    falling rice exports, he said that if the government paid attention, the exports

    could boost from the current level of over two billion dollars to four billion

    dollars within three years.

    He said that the repayment of export refinance should be increased from 180

    days to 360 days and fine on late repayment should be waived off.

    Withholdings tax on rice exports should be reduced from one percent to 0.25

    percent while 3.5 percent tax on local purchase be abolished, he said.

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    3

    He further said that duty should be waived on import of dryers and other equipment while import

    should be allowed through Wagah border so that local exporters should re-export the commodity.

    Hussain called upon the government to take notice of falling exports to China, Iran and Kenya

    while Utility Stores Corporation should be asked to buy rice for the holy month of Ramadan. He

    said that a little attention can transform Pakistan into a regional hub for rice trading catering for

    the needs of China, Afghanistan, Middle East and Central Asian markets

    Ancient rice seeds help explain settlement of Madagascar "The origins of Southeast Asian settlers in Africa has long puzzled historians and archaeologists,"

    archaeologist Mark Horton said.

    By Brooks Hays | June 1, 2016 at 10:25 AM

    Archaeologists collected ancient seeds from soil deposits on Madagascar. Photo by Mark

    Horton/University of Bristol

    BRISTOL, England, June 1 (UPI) -- Researchers in England believe the remnants of ancient

    crops in East Africa and on Madagascar hold clues to the settlement of the island by people of

    Southeast Asian origins.How Southeast Asian peoples came to settle the remote island of

    Madagascar is one of the enduring mysteries of Indo-Pacific prehistory.

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    Analysis of ancient crops has offered archaeologists a better sense of when the ancient settlers

    first arrived. Scientists from the University of Bristol, Oxford University and the University of

    Queensland collected thousands of seed samples from 18 dig sites in Madagascar, Comoros and

    along the coast of East Africa.

    In soil deposits dated to the 8th and 10th centuries, evidence of rice and mung bean cultivation

    was found exclusively on the distant islands of Madagascar and Comoros, while indigenous

    African crops were found only on the mainland coast and nearby islands.

    Scientists were able to radiocarbon date individual seed samples, which confirmed the arrival of

    Asian crops several thousand years ago.

    Previous genetic studies proved the people of Madagascar and Comoros share a unique heritage

    with Malaysians and Polynesians, but the latest analysis is the first archaeological evidence of

    Austronesian migration westward.

    "The origins of Southeast Asian settlers in Africa has long puzzled historians and

    archaeologists," Mark Horton, an archaeologist at the University of Bristol, said in a news

    release. "This is the first really clear archaeological evidence that they did indeed make

    extraordinary journeys across 4,000 miles of the Indian Ocean during the first millennium A.D."

    Horton and his colleagues published their latest findings in the journal PNAS.

    "We've been able to not only to show for the first time an archaeological signature of

    Austronesians, we've also shown that it seems to extend beyond Madagascar," added project

    leader Nicole Boivin, an archaeologist at Oxford. "This is really exciting, and highlights how

    much we still have to learn about this fascinating migration.

    http://www.upi.com/Science_News/2016/06/01/Ancient-rice-seeds-help-explain-settlement-of-

    Madagascar/7951464786265/

    Updates to Nutrition Facts Panel Could Spell Rice Rewrites

    By Deborah Willenborg

    WASHINGTON, DC -- Last month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) unveiled updates to

    the iconic nutrition facts panel that appears on the back of food packages. These changes are the first in

    more than 20 years and aim to provide consumers with access to more recent and accurate nutrition

    information about the foods and beverages they're consuming.

    At first glance, the most noticeable changes to the panel are the calorie count and serving size which

    appear in a bolder, larger font. Another significant change includes a newly introduced requirement for

    manufacturers to provide "Total Sugars" and "Added Sugars" in place of the current "Sugars."

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    5

    Other key updates based on newer scientific evidence include: the removal of "Calories from Fat;" a

    modified list of required nutrients that must be declared on the label; and updated Daily Values for

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    nutrients like sodium, dietary fiber, and vitamin D.

    The new regulations will also require "dual-column" labels to indicate both "per-serving" and "per-

    package" calorie and nutrition information for certain food products that could be reasonably consumed in

    their entirety or divided into smaller servings.

    "This new requirement may have some implications for rice products that appear to be single-serve items

    but in fact are between one and two servings, such as quick heat rice packages," said Katie Maher, USA

    Rice director of domestic promotion. "It is likely that products fitting this description will need to display

    the 'dual-column' labels so consumers understand how many calories and nutrients they are getting if they

    eat the entire package instead of the defined serving size."

    USA Rice Retail Subcommittee Chairman and Senior Vice President of Marketing for Riviana Foods

    Paul Galvani says the FDA's nutrition facts panel updates are very timely, stating that, "today's consumers

    are hungry for information and looking for transparency when it comes to the foods they eat and these

    new requirements will provide more clarity so people can make informed choices for themselves and their

    families."

    Manufacturers will have until July 26, 2018 to comply with the final requirements, and those with less

    than $10 million in annual food sales will have an additional year to make the changes.

    Crop Progress: 2016 Crop 98 Percent Planted

    WASHINGTON, DC -- Ninety-eight percent of the nation's 2016 rice acreage is planted,

    according to yesterday's U.S. Department of Agriculture's Crop Progress Report. Eighty-seven

    percent of the 2016 crop has emerged and sixty-six percent is in good to excellent condition.

    Rice Planted, Selected States

    Week Ending

    State May 29,

    2015

    May 22,

    2016

    May 29,

    2016

    2011-2015

    average

    Percent

    Arkansas 95 98 99 95

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    California 99 70 96 95

    Louisiana 100 97 99 100

    Mississippi 95 96 98 93

    Missouri 84 100 100 93

    Texas 85 98 99 96

    Six States 95 93 98 96

    Eid: Where fasting ends, feasting begins

    Fried chicken, stuffed grape leaves, spicy fruit salads, couscous studded with meat and

    vegetables, savory and sweet rice dishes, barbecue ribs, fried plantains, rotisserie chicken, steak

    off the grill with vegetables, potato or pasta salad, stews made with lamb or beef, puddings made

    from chickpea flour or vermicelli and cookies are all part of an Eid al-Fitr feast.

    By ARTHI SUBRAMANIAM Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    Fried chicken, stuffed grape leaves, spicy fruit salads, couscous studded with meat and

    vegetables, savory and sweet rice dishes, barbecue ribs, fried plantains, rotisserie chicken, steak

    off the grill with vegetables, potato or pasta salad, stews made with lamb or beef, puddings made

    from chickpea flour or vermicelli and cookies are all part of an Eid al-Fitr feast.

    Ramadan, the holy month of fasting for Muslims, ends with Eid that begins with the sighting of

    the new moon, and is celebrated for three days. It's forbidden to fast on Eid, which is on July 7,

    and friends and families congregate and celebrate with food all through the day.

    "After 30 days of fasting, it's eat, eat, eat on Eid," said Sadia Sabir, who was born in Pakistan and

    lives in Ross, Pa. "We celebrate the blessed month."

    Alia Schindler, who is the program director at the Council on American-Islamic Relations'

    Pittsburgh chapter, has sampled the different accents of an Eid feast when she taught English in

    the Middle East and Malaysia. In Lebanon, maamoul is commonly served to the well-wishers

    along with thick, strong coffee. The round or oblong cookie has a semolina crust flavored with

    rose water or cardamom, and filled with mashed dates and dusted with confectioner's sugar.

    "Everybody would be dressed so nicely and will be trying to eat this messy cookie neatly as the

    powdered sugar will be flying everywhere when they take a bite," she said.

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    Wara anib (grape leaves stuffed with ground meat and rice), mansef (rice with chunks of lamb

    meat) and tabbouleh salad are also Eid specialties in Lebanon.

    In Malaysia, nasi lemak, which is a rice-and-chicken dish with dried anchovies and red pepper

    flakes, is a favorite Eid preparation. It tastes something between barbecue and a curry, Schindler

    said, and is served with thinly sliced cucumbers in vinegar.

    Muslims in Ghana celebrate with fried chicken, beef and chicken stews and rice dishes made

    with chicken or vegetables while in Nigeria they feature fried plantains. During a Ramadan

    dinner at the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh recently, the chicken dishes and stews were served,

    and were expected to be made on Eid, too.

    For Mona Ramadan, who was raised in Libya, Eid is not so much about having a special meal,

    but it's more about desserts.

    Nagrood, a rectangular dessert that looks like baklava, is Ramadan's favorite. "You make it only

    that one time of the year as it is difficult to make, and so I crave for it," she said. It is made with

    semolina flour, stuffed with ground dates and then soaked in sugar syrup. To pretty it up, it gets a

    little decoration on top.

    Gourayba is more like a shortbread cookie that crumbles in your mouth, said Ramadan, who is

    getting a doctorate degree in chemical engineering at the University of Pittsburgh. It is made

    with flour and clarified butter and is crowned with almonds.

    "It's becoming trendy to bake 10 types of cookies these days," Ramadan said. So everything from

    sugar cookies to baklava makes an appearance. Much as she loves nagrood, Ramadan won't be

    making it because "the semolina flour in Pittsburgh is not like the one in Libya."

    "Honestly, I will be baking chocolate-chip cookies," she said, with a laugh.

    Nur Orak, a doctoral student at Carnegie Mellon University, was looking forward to visit her

    family in Istanbul and her mother's home-cooked specialties this Eid. "My mom is a great chef

    and she cooks traditional recipes like sarma and dolma (stuffed eggplants and grape leaves),

    several meat dishes (it is an important part of the southeastern culture) and perde pilavi (chicken,

    rice and mixed nuts are covered with dough and baked)," Orak said.

    "When I think of Eid, I think first of desserts," said Farah Khalifa, who is attending nursing

    school at Duquesne University.

    Khalifa grew up in Pittsburgh but her parents are from Aleppo in northern Syria, which is known

    for its kibbeh. Made with cracked wheat and lean meat, it is served on Eid but it's the assortment

    of baklavas and cookies such as pistachio baklava, ghraybeh (a butter cookie that is similar to the

    Libyan gourayba) and maamoul that are the topic of conversations.

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    Families clean the house, and bake and stock up on the sweets the night before to be prepped for

    the unexpected guests they receive on Eid, Khalifa said. "It's a family bonding experience, and

    many times this is how recipes are passed on through generations," she added.

    Every household makes at least one or two types of halwa for Eid, said Tabassum Baig, who was

    born and raised in Bangladesh and lives in Allison Park, Pa. The sticky, dense sweet can be made

    with yellow split peas (booster daal halwa), cream of wheat or vermicelli. "Growing up in

    Dhaka, I used to be tired of eating booster daal halwa, but now I crave for it as I don't get enough

    of it," Baig said. Haleem, a stew made with different types of lentils, whole wheat, a little rice

    and goat meat, is the most popular nonsweet dish, she added.

    Tara Bailey of Sheraden, Pa., is known for throwing a serious barbecue for Eid. After the prayers

    in the morning, the kids get gifts and then there's a massive meal, she says. And she's not

    kidding. It usually entails two or three whole rotisserie chickens; a creamy baked mac and cheese

    made with white cheddar cheese and panko breadcrumbs; pasta or potato salad; grilled or fried

    salmon, cod or catfish; barbecue short beef ribs; grilled chicken wings; hamburgers and hot dogs

    for the kids; crab legs; and a sheet cake that says Eid Mubarak.

    "It's nice to bring everyone together for a nice feast," Bailey said. "My parents are agnostic, and I

    have both Muslim and Christian friends, and we all come together and bond as one."

    ---

    CHICKEN BIRYANI

    (From Pakistan)

    PG tested

    3 cups basmati rice

    6 cups water

    Salt for seasoning, divided

    1/4 teaspoon yellow food color

    1 tablespoon garlic paste

    1 tablespoon ginger paste

    1 tablespoon lemon juice

    1/2 cup yogurt

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    1 small, whole chicken, cut in small pieces

    1/2 cup canola oil

    2 medium onions, thinly sliced

    3 large tomatoes, sliced

    1/2 box of Bombay Biryani Mix (found in Indian stores)

    2/3 tablespoons mint leaves, chopped finely

    2/3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped finely

    Wash the rice and soak in water to cover by an inch for about 30 minutes.

    Add water and salt to rice and cook it in a large pot or rice cooker. In a medium-size pan, place

    half the cooked rice and add yellow food color. Gently mix.

    Combine ginger and garlic pastes, salt, lemon juice and yogurt. Marinate chicken in yogurt

    mixture for at least 4 hours or overnight.

    In a large pot, add oil and saute onions until slightly golden brown. Add tomatoes and saute for 5

    more minutes. Add biryani mix and marinated chicken and saute for 15-20 minutes, until chicken

    is cooked. Add salt if needed.

    Layer rice and chicken in large platter. Sprinkle with mint and cilantro. Serve warm.

    Makes 8 servings.

    - Sadia Sabir

    BOOTER DAAL HALWA

    (From Bangladesh)

    1 cup yellow split peas (channa daal; found in Indian stores)

    1 can evaporated milk, divided

    1/2 cup ghee (clarified butter) or butter

    1 inch cinnamon stick

    2 cardamom pods

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    1 bay leaf

    1 cup sugar

    1/4 cup almonds, sliced for garnish

    Wash split peas thoroughly, then boil them until tender. After they cool a little, blend lentils in a

    food processor with 1/2 of the evaporated milk to make a paste.

    In a nonstick pan, heat the ghee (or butter); add cinnamon, cardamom and bay leaf. Add lentil

    paste, sugar, and the rest of the milk. Cook on medium heat, stirring constantly so that the paste

    does not stick to the bottom of the pan. Almonds could be added at this point or added later as a

    garnish.

    Cook for 10-15 minutes, until the paste (halwa) pulls away from the sides of the pan.

    Grease serving dish with ghee or butter before adding halwa. Garnish with almonds.

    Serve it slightly warm. The halwa can also be cooled down completely, then cut into diamond

    shapes and served.

    - Kamrun Munir (Tabassum Baig's mother)

    WARA ANIB (STUFFED GRAPE LEAVES)

    (From Lebanon)

    PG tested

    2 tablespoons olive oil

    2 onions, finely chopped

    1/4 pound lean ground lamb

    3/4 cup white long-grain rice

    2 tablespoons pine nuts

    1/2 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped

    2 tablespoons dill, finely chopped

    2 tablespoons mint, finely chopped

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    1/4 cup lemon juice, divided

    2 cups water

    1 pound preserved grape leaves

    Heat oil in large saucepan; cook onion until softened. Add lamb; cook stirring, until browned.

    Stir in rice and pine nuts. Add herbs, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and half the water. Bring to a

    boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, for 10 minutes or until water is absorbed and rice is partially

    cooked. Cool.

    Rinse grape leaves in cold water. Drop leaves into large pot of boiling water, in batches, for a

    few seconds. Transfer to colander; rinse under cold water, drain well.

    Place a grape leaf, smooth side down on cutting board, trim large stem.

    Add heaped teaspoon of rice mixture in the center. Fold stem end and sides over filling; roll

    firmly.

    Repeat with other grape leaves.

    Line medium saucepan with a few grape leaves; place rolls close together, seam-side down on

    leaves.

    Pour remaining water; cover rolls with any remaining leaves. Place a plate on top of leaves to

    weigh down rolls. Cover pan tightly, bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer over very low heat for

    about 2 hours. Remove from heat; leave covered for about 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.

    Serve with yogurt sauce and/or lemon wedge.

    Serves 10.

    - Adapted from "Mediterranean Cooking"

    PISTACHIO BAKLAVA

    (From Turkey)

    1 pound baklava phyllo dough

    2 cups clarified butter

    4 cups of pistachio, coarsely chopped

    1/2 cup sugar

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    1 cup pistachio, finely chopped for decoration.

    For simple syrup

    2 tablespoons rose water.

    2 tablespoons orange blossom water.

    3 cups water

    2 cups sugar

    Few drops lemon juice

    Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13-by-9-inch baking pan or tray with melted butter.

    Place one sheet of phyllo dough on the bottom of the tray and brush with butter. Be gentle as the

    phyllo dough is fairly thin.

    Place another sheet of phyllo dough on top of the first and again brush with butter. Continue to

    layer phyllo dough (each with a brush of butter) for about 10 sheets.

    In a bowl, mix 4 cups of pistachios and 1/2 cup of sugar. Place nut mixture on top of 10 buttered

    phyllo sheets.

    Place another set of 10 buttered phyllo sheets on top of the nut mixture. Make sure to butter the

    top phyllo dough.

    Cut baklava in desired shape (traditionally it's diamond).

    Place baklava in oven for 1 1/2 hours, or until phyllo dough is a light golden color. Let it cool for

    at least 1 hour.

    While baklava is baking, boil all ingredients for a simple syrup. Cook until it's of a thin syrupy

    consistency.

    Pour simple syrup over baklava. Decorate with pistachio on top before serving.

    Note: For a thicker baklava, double the filling and use 15 to 20 sheets instead of 10. You could

    also add cinnamon to the sugar if desired. Have a clean kitchen towel handy to cover the phyllo

    dough while you work with it. As the phyllo dough is very thin, it easily dries out, and so

    covering with a kitchen towel will help prevent breakage and drying.

    - Farah Khalifa

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    FRUIT CHAAT

    (From Pakistan)

    PG tested

    1/2 cup pomegranate

    1 apple, cubed

    2 peaches, cubed

    8 ounces strawberries, sliced

    1 cup red grapes

    1 pear, cubed

    3 tablespoons sugar

    1/2 cup orange juice

    1/2 tablespoon fruit chaat (can be found in Indian stores)

    Combine all the fruits in a large bowl, gently mix.

    In a separate bowl, add sugar to orange juice. Mix until the sugar dissolves. Then add fruit chaat

    powder; mix well..

    Add orange juice to the fruits and gently mix.

    Makes 8-10 servings.

    - Sadia Sabir

    TARA'S WHITE CHEDDAR MAC AND CHEESE

    (From Pittsburgh)

    2 pounds of pasta shells (small)

    1 stick butter

    2 to 3 cups 2 percent low-fat milk or soy milk

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    3 tablespoons flour

    Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

    1 (32 ounces) extra sharp white cheddar cheese, chopped

    2 cups panko breadcrumbs, plain

    1 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

    Heat oven to 375 degrees.

    Cook pasta in boiling water until al dente; drain and set aside.

    In a medium saucepan, melt butter, add milk and then flour, while whisking constantly. Season

    with salt and pepper.

    Pour pasta into a large aluminum pan (turkey roaster) while hot. Add the chopped cheese to the

    pasta and mix together.

    Add white sauce to pasta, combine well.

    In a separate bowl, combine panko crumbs and grated parmesan cheese. Sprinkle over pasta.

    Bake for 10-15 minutes.

    Serves 10.

    - Tara Bailey

    MAGROOD

    (From Libya)

    For the pastry

    6 cups fine semolina flour

    1 cup all-purpose flour

    1 tablespoon baking powder

    2 cups vegetable oil

    1/2 cup olive oil

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    2 cups water

    2 tablespoons orange blossom water

    Mix the dry ingredients together.

    Add the oils and mix well. Let the flour and oil mixture soak for at least an hour.

    Then add the water mixture and mix well.

    For the filling

    1 pound dates paste

    2 tablespoons sesame

    1 teaspoon cinnamon

    1 tablespoon vegetable oil

    Mix all the ingredients together.

    Roll filling into approximately 20-inch long and 1/2-inch diameter cylindrical segments.

    Place rolls on a greased baking tray; set aside.

    For the syrup

    3 cups water

    6 cups sugar

    3 tablespoons lemon juice

    2 tablespoons orange blossom water

    Boil water and sugar for 10 minutes.

    Add lemon juice and let it boil for one more minute. Turn off the heat and add the blossom

    water. Let it cool.

    Take parts of the dough and roll it to long cylinders (approximately 20 inches long and 2 inches

    in diameter). Then make indents with your fingers in the center of the cylinders and place the

    rolled filling in it.

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    Wrap dough around the filing sealing the two ends. Then roll the dough with the filling in it into

    a cylinder again making sure that the seal faces down.

    Cut dough (diagonally) into 1 1/2 inch-wide pieces. Take each piece and roll it again to smooth

    the edges. Press a fork on top of cookie for decoration.

    Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place magroods on a baking sheet on middle rack. Bake for about 30

    minutes or until golden brown.

    Drizzle sugar syrup on hot magroods and let the syrup soak for at least 24 hours. Sprinkle with

    sesame seeds.

    - Mona Ramadan

    KHEER

    (From Pakistan)

    PG tested

    2 1/2 cups whole milk

    1/2 cup rice

    1 cup sugar

    1/2 teaspoon cardamom

    1/4 cup almonds and pistachios, finely chopped

    Soak rice for 2 to 3 hours. Drain water and keep rice aside.

    In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, boil milk over low heavy, until it slightly thickens, stirring

    constantly.

    Add rice and cook over low heat for at least 30 minutes, until rice is well cooked.

    Stir in sugar and cardamom.

    Serve warm or chilled, garnished with nuts.

    Makes 6 servings.

    - Sadia Sabir

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    18

    Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/food-drink/article81067517.html#storylink=cpy

    Quesadilla is easy: Tortilla, cheese, filling, imagination

    By Chicago Tribune (TNS)

    Posted: June 1, 2016 at 1:53 a.m.

    In case you've just arrived from, I don't know, the sun, and you haven't had a quesadilla before, it's a

    Mexican item made by heating a tortilla on a griddle or pan. (In Mexico they use a flat griddle pan called

    a "comal.") Cheese or other fillings are placed on top, then it's either folded in half or another tortilla is

    placed on top and the whole thing is flipped. They're great on their own, but even better with salsa and

    sour cream.

    There are plenty of quesadilla recipes out there, but a recipe isn't really necessary.

    As long as you have tortillas (corn or flour, although flour is the most popular) or other flatbread, some

    cheese (any kind that melts) and some toothsome fillings, you're good to go. The amounts of cheese and

    fillings largely depend on the size of the tortillas and appetites.

    Here are a few ideas for interesting quesadillas:

    Bean and bacon: Mashed white beans (or black beans or pintos or kidneys or whatever), bacon and

    shredded melty cheese (cheddar, pepper jack, etc.).

    Indian style: Cooked basmati rice, dal (cooked Indian-style lentils) and grilled, sliced chicken breast.

    Breakfast quesadilla: Scrambled egg, cooked greens and more shredded cheese.

    Pizza quesadilla: Like a Mexican calzone; just spread some red or white sauce and add your favorite

    topping.

    Dessert quesadilla: Mascarpone cheese mixed with a little vanilla or a drop of brandy and slices of fresh

    or grilled fruit like peaches or strawberries. (Allow the tortilla to cool somewhat so that the mascarpone

    won't melt.)

    This girl is going to grow vegetables after a PhD Last updated on: June 02, 2016 09:37 IST

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    'We Indians have forgotten what is good for us. Foreigners say oats are good, so we say the

    same, arrey, we have oats since ages!'

    'When I tell my mother we eat ragi biscuits, she says, "big deal, we used to eat it like sattu

    or porridge".'

    On the second leg of their 2,148 km journey from the foothills of the Himalayas to the

    Arabian Sea, Archana Masih and photographer Rajesh Karkera met Preeti Virkar on an

    organic farm in the Doon Valley. A believer of a different kind, her enthusiasm is

    infectious.

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    IMAGE: Preeti Virkar may not be strong enough to till the land with a plough and bullocks, but is

    going to work on her land in a few months.

    Day 2: Navdanya Organic Farm. Ramgarh village, Doon Valley

    "I am thin, but don't I look healthy and happy?" asks Preeti Virkar with a heartful laugh, standing on the farm opposite a mango-laden orchard called 'Amrapali'.

    "After I finish my PhD, I am going home to do farming. In my region they only grow rice, but I

    want to grow vegetables."

    On the outskirts of Dehradun is Ramgarh, a small village in the Doon Valley, home to a farm

    called Navdanya or 'Nine seeds.' A narrow kuccha road with a hand-made board that you may

    easily miss, ribbons past trees covered with mangoes that touch the ground.

    Trees lie on either side of the road. There is no one in sight except a foreigner picking mangoes

    that have fallen on the ground, collecting them in his t-shirt. The wide branches hang

    tantalisingly low that you feel like climbing onto them.

    It is a sight that brings alive memories of the summer holidays of childhood and what we are

    about to encounter is almost as simple and untouched.

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    IMAGE: A road through the mango orchard leads to the farm. The Navdanya farm has a mango

    festival every summer.

    Pretty bunches of dried ladies finger, millet, bottle brush hang artistically outside a thatched roof, that one would find at the entrance of rural homes in Kumaon and Garhwal.

    Two newly born calves neck their mothers, a bunch of farmers are getting a course in farming, a

    group of foreigners is immersed in morning meditation under a thatched gazebo.

    A man ploughs the field with two bullocks...

    And then there's a room that stores perhaps the famer's most precious jewels -- seeds.

    Preeti, who is about to finish a PhD in Entomology, tells me that if a small farmer has one cow, a

    patch of land and saves his own seeds he can cultivate his own land and sustain his family.

    The Navdanya seed bank has 2,000 varieties of seeds. Farmers that come for training here are

    shown how to store them in cane baskets lined with a mixture of cow urine, dung and soil.

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    "It's simple, once you store seeds that way they will never get infected by pathogens. You don't

    need all those harmful chemicals," she says, taking us around the farm, in a weathered pair of

    sneakers.

    IMAGE: The gazebo where interns and farm residents gather to meditate, discuss or chat.

    "We lost our traditional methods of farming to the Green Revolution. The thought was that you can't do farming without chemicals if you have to feed the masses, but what we were

    growing traditionally was so much healthier," explains Preeti.

    Studying for a degree in wildlife science at Dehradun's Wildlife Institute, Preeti, a resident of

    Pune, first came to Navdanya as part of a study project. She then started giving sessions to

    interns here and joined full-time last June.

    "The Green Revolution brought in mono culture. Organic farming on the other hand, has

    everything to do with diversity. Look around -- nature is so diverse -- have you seen a jungle

    with a single variety of trees?"

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    IMAGE: Farmers from Bihar, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh attend a 5-day workshop on

    organic farming.

    A group of farmers from Bihar, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh, men and women, have just arrived for a five-day course in organic farming. It is still not 10 am and they are at work with

    cloth wrapped around their heads to protect them from the scorching sun.

    Farmers and interns share and learn from each other. They live on the farm where they clean

    their rooms, wash their dishes and eat simple vegetarian food. The solution to wash dishes is

    made of reetha (soap nut), that is soaked in water to make a shampoo-like liquid that generations

    of Indian women have used for their hair.

    The dining room has mementos left by farmers and visiting interns -- sculptures, paintings,

    baskets, lamp shades made of dried grass and leaves. Navdanya offers courses to

    interns/volunteers from around the world.

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    IMAGE: The group comprises representatives from food NGOs. Those who come for training live

    and eat on the premises, sharing their farming experiences.

    Sushil Urao, a farmer from Gumla in Jharkhand, is among the group of farmers that has arrived to learn about organic farming. "Chemical fertillisers and seeds are very expensive and scarcity

    of water is our biggest problem," he says. "We have many rivers, but no water."

    "The government's Krishi Vikas Yojana seems to have ignored farmers who don't have any land

    of their own," he adds.

    The group consists of marginalised farmers who say something I had heard from farmers in

    Bihar last year while covering the state's assembly election.

    "The subsidy that the government provides farmers does not directly reach us," says Saumya,

    echoing what farmers reeling under another drought in Bihar had said last October.

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    IMAGE: There are 37 varieties of cows in India. Cow urine is used for many purposes on the farm.

    I walk away after gently being told that it is time for their shram daan and make my way past the family of pahadi cows.

    I am told there are 37 varieties of cows in India. "And we are stuck with the Jersey (not native to

    India) cow because it gives more milk. These cows may produce less milk, but are drug resistant

    and provide good labour," says Preeti, caressing the vermi compost, with tiny earthworms

    wriggling in between her fingers.

    The natural manure made from kitchen and farm waste looks like used tea leaves and is a

    wonderful nutrient for the soil.

    Everything that comes from the 60 acre farm is recycled. Most of the food served comes from

    the farm itself. Navdanya has a staff of over 35, has 122 seed banks in 18 states and has a large

    community of farmer members.

    The organic farm also serves as a model for small farmers -- so that a farmer with a tiny patch of

    land can see how to make best use of it.

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    IMAGE: The Navdanya Organic Farm has 2,000 varieties of seeds, the most treasured asset of the

    farm.

    Isn't organic farming harder and more expensive, I ask and I am told that it is at almost zero cost input as what a farmer doing chemical or intensive farming would incur, provided the organic

    farmer uses his own farm resources well.

    Organic products are more expensive because they need a lot of hard work, cannot be grown out

    of season, but the flip side is that they have long term health benefits.

    "Large companies have alienated us from what we actually grew. We have been doing organic

    farming since our civilisation began," says Preeti with passionate zeal, speaking with the

    infectious enthusiasm of a believer.

    Indians are not eating a proper diet because we have forgotten what is good and that is resulting

    in either malnutrition or obesity, she feels.

    "Foreigners say oats are good, so we say the same, arrey, we have oats since ages! When I tell

    my mother we have ragi biscuits, she says, 'big deal, we used to eat it like sattu or porridge'."

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    IMAGE: These are what jugnus or fire flies look like! And that's a shahtoot (mulberry) tree.

    Dehradun's famous Basmati rice fields and litchi orchards have made way for jungles of concrete. Memories of its trees, flowers and birds can be found in Ruskin Bond's stories, and we

    owe it to that chronicler of the hills for preserving snatches of what life used to be in these parts

    at another time.

    Just then we cross a mulberry tree with insects crawling on its branches. "See, see, these are male

    jugnus (fire flies). They are roosting together," exclaims Preeti, pulling down a fire fly to give us

    a closer look.

    And I wonder what a brilliant cluster of light it would have been if it was night.

    Rice Prices

    as on : 31-05-2016 08:10:36 PM

    Arrivals in tonnes;prices in Rs/quintal in domestic market.

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    Arrivals Price

    Current

    %

    change

    Season

    cumulative Modal

    Prev.

    Modal

    Prev.Yr

    %change

    Rice

    Chitwadagaon(UP) 420.00 -30 1330.00 2015 1940 1.26

    Bangarpet(Kar) 312.00 -23.9 7493.00 1850 1850 NC

    Bindki(UP) 150.00 100 3340.00 2290 2280 8.02

    Goalpara(ASM) 108.10 11.79 1018.50 2050 1900 -

    Azamgarh(UP) 105.00 16.67 4945.50 2200 2135 10.55

    Mathabhanga(WB) 100.00 -9.09 4450.00 2150 2150 4.88

    Kalipur(WB) 95.00 5.56 5521.00 2250 2200 15.38

    Bareilly(UP) 88.00 -25.42 7687.60 2350 2300 13.53

    Rampurhat(WB) 85.00 6.25 744.00 2120 2200 -

    Pilibhit(UP) 84.00 -16 19182.00 2195 2190 0.92

    Shahjahanpur(UP) 83.00 29.08 40732.20 2320 2240 15.42

    Aligarh(UP) 80.00 -11.11 3540.00 2250 2240 19.68

    Barabanki(UP) 78.00 -1.27 354.00 2080 2070 2.97

    Coochbehar(WB) 76.00 -1.3 1617.00 2150 2150 4.88

    Thodupuzha(Ker) 70.00 NC 2800.00 2650 2650 -8.62

    Ballia(UP) 70.00 -12.5 7360.00 2010 1985 NC

    Silapathar(ASM) 56.00 900 538.70 3000 3000 NC

    Saharanpur(UP) 56.00 -17.65 5195.00 2230 2225 4.45

    Mainpuri(UP) 55.00 -15.38 120.00 2060 2075 -

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    Partaval(UP) 50.00 42.86 1427.00 2110 2100 8.48

    Balrampur(UP) 50.00 -14.53 1408.50 2110 2110 5.50

    Rampur(UP) 46.00 15 570.50 2280 2270 9.09

    Jorhat(ASM) 45.00 -18.18 1644.00 2700 2700 -3.57

    Pandua(WB) 45.00 -10 2059.00 2650 2650 -1.85

    Cachar(ASM) 40.00 NC 1870.00 2700 2700 NC

    Lanka(ASM) 40.00 NC 2560.00 1750 1750 -1.41

    Dadri(UP) 40.00 33.33 2034.00 2190 2200 2.34

    Beldanga(WB) 40.00 -5.88 1942.50 2310 2310 0.43

    Kolhapur(Laxmipuri)(Mah) 30.00 20 1803.00 3900 3900 -

    Robertsganj(UP) 26.00 20.93 315.00 1840 1840 -1.08

    Dhekiajuli(ASM) 25.60 -20 1001.60 1800 1960 -4.76

    Mekhliganj(WB) 21.00 -8.7 708.00 2075 2075 12.16

    Lakhimpur(UP) 20.00 33.33 499.50 2215 2150 3.50

    Lohardaga(Jha) 17.00 -34.62 964.00 1700 1850 -15.00

    Kaliaganj(WB) 15.00 7.14 689.00 2200 2150 -6.38

    North Lakhimpur(ASM) 13.80 56.82 1447.80 1900 1900 -

    Pundibari(WB) 13.00 4 227.00 2100 2075 3.70

    Raiganj(WB) 12.00 -7.69 851.50 2250 2200 -6.25

    Bampada(Ori) 10.00 NC 200.00 2500 2500 NC

    Barikpur(Ori) 10.00 100 155.00 2500 2400 NC

    Kasganj(UP) 10.00 66.67 608.00 2120 2080 3.67

    Champadanga(WB) 10.00 -37.5 860.00 2550 2500 NC

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    Deogarh(Ori) 9.00 NC 435.00 2500 2500 NC

    Jeypore(Kotpad)(Ori) 8.60 28.36 79.60 5100 5100 24.39

    Bolangir(Ori) 7.50 -11.76 266.70 2400 2200 NC

    Tusura(Ori) 6.50 -18.75 298.00 2400 2200 NC

    Karsiyang(Matigara)(WB) 6.50 18.18 123.70 2600 2600 -

    Khairagarh(UP) 6.00 -25 401.00 2150 2150 6.97

    Jeypore(Ori) 5.30 -63.7 310.80 610 325 -

    Mirzapur(UP) 4.50 -10 1306.10 1975 1970 NC

    Hailakandi(ASM) 4.00 NC 135.00 2700 2700 NC

    Melaghar(Tri) 3.00 50 112.80 2100 2250 -10.64

    Islampur(WB) 3.00 NC 282.90 2400 2450 14.29

    Darjeeling(WB) 2.80 -6.67 76.80 2800 2800 3.70

    Tileibani(Ori) 2.50 -16.67 21.50 2500 2500 NC

    Fatehpur(UP) 2.50 -16.67 284.20 2210 2200 1.14

    Balarampur(WB) 2.50 NC 70.80 2260 2270 -2.59

    Khatauli(UP) 1.00 -50 31.00 2170 2150 3.33

    Kasipur(WB) 1.00 -9.09 33.30 2200 2150 -4.35

    Shillong(Meh) 0.80 NC 54.60 3500 3500 NC

    http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/agri-business/article8672003.ece

    06/01/2016 Farm Bureau Market Report

    Soybeans

    High Low

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    Cash Bids -- --

    New Crop 1075 1026

    Riceland Foods

    Cash Bids Stuttgart: - - - Pendleton: - - -

    New Crop Stuttgart: - - - Pendleton: - - -

    Futures: SOYBEANS

    High Low Last Change

    Jul '16 1102.50 1068.00 1099.75 +21.25

    Aug '16 1097.75 1066.00 1095.50 +19.00

    Sep '16 1081.00 1053.75 1079.00 +14.75

    Nov '16 1070.50 1045.00 1068.50 +12.75

    Jan '17 1066.25 1042.50 1064.50 +11.50

    Mar '17 1041.00 1022.25 1039.75 +8.50

    May '17 1034.50 1018.00 1033.25 +6.00

    Jul '17 1034.25 1019.25 1032.25 +4.75

    Aug '17

    1021.50 +2.75

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    32

    Arkansas Daily Grain Report

    FOB Memphis Elevator Crops

    Soybean Comment

    Soybeans closed higher today on support from continued strong meal demand. After markets closed

    soybeans received more bullish news as April crush came in above expectations. The market continues to

    trade near $11, and could see old crop gains above resistance tomorrow. Soybeans like corn continue to

    face pressure from expectations for large production this year, but for now strong demand remains the

    driver for prices.

    Wheat

    High Low

    Cash Bids -- --

    New Crop 475 450

    Futures: WHEAT

    High Low Last Change

    Jul '16 474.75 463.00 473.75 +9.25

    Sep '16 485.75 475.00 485.00 +9.50

    Dec '16 504.25 492.00 503.00 +9.50

    Mar '17 521.25 508.75 520.50 +9.75

    May '17 532.50 519.50 531.75 +10.50

    Jul '17 538.75 525.75 538.75 +11.00

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    Sep '17 545.00 544.50 545.25 +10.50

    Dec '17 555.50 555.00 555.00 +8.50

    Mar '18 564.50 564.50 564.75 +7.75

    Arkansas Daily Grain Report

    FOB Memphis Elevator Crops

    Wheat Comment

    Wheat prices closed higher today as prices again bounced off support near recent lows. Wheat continues

    to face a bearish fundamental outlook, however continued strength in corn and soybeans is helping

    support the wheat market.

    Grain Sorghum

    High Low

    Cash Bids -- --

    New Crop 350 283

    Arkansas Daily Grain Report

    FOB Memphis Elevator Crops

    Corn

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    High Low

    Cash Bids -- --

    New Crop 411 400

    Futures: CORN

    High Low Last Change

    Jul '16 414.00 401.00 413.75 +9.00

    Sep '16 415.50 403.25 415.00 +8.25

    Dec '16 416.75 404.75 416.25 +7.75

    Mar '17 424.00 412.00 423.00 +7.75

    May '17 427.50 415.75 427.00 +8.25

    Jul '17 430.00 418.25 430.00 +8.50

    Sep '17 413.50 408.75 413.75 +6.00

    Dec '17 415.00 406.00 415.00 +6.75

    Mar '18 421.00 419.75 421.75 +6.25

    Arkansas Daily Grain Report

    FOB Memphis Elevator Crops

    Corn Comment

    Corn prices closed higher today. The market continues to be supported by dry weather in Brazil that is

    keeping U.S. Corn exports competitive. While there was no announcement of new sales today, the market

    has shrugged off yesterday's neutral report and Bulls continue to bet on improved export demand. This

    combined with another strong increase in soybeans continues to help prices hold near recent highs.

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    Cotton

    Futures: COTTON

    High Low Last Change

    Jul '16 64.08 62.94 63.17 -0.77

    Oct '16 63.99 63.35 63.5 -0.49

    Dec '16 63.59 62.67 63 -0.55

    Memphis, TN Cotton and Tobacco Programs

    Cotton Comment

    Cotton futures ended lower again today. July continues to fail at resistance at the recent high of 64.75

    cents while December has been unable to break above 64 cents. Export commitments reached 99% of

    USDA's projection for the marketing year, and shipments now total 77%. Of course, USDA projects total

    exports to be down 20% from the previous marketing year. Reports indicate that China's daily auctions

    are slowing down. Cumulative sales are reportedly over 500,000 metric tons, or about 2.3 million bales.

    Rice

    High Low

    Long Grain Cash Bids - - - - - -

    Long Grain New Crop - - - - - -

    Futures: ROUGH RICE

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    High Low Last Change

    Jul '16 1103.5 1082.0 1099.5 +5.5

    Sep '16 1129.0 1107.5 1125.5 +6.5

    Nov '16 1150.0 1140.5 1150.5 +5.0

    Jan '17

    1170.0 +6.0

    Mar '17

    1188.0 +5.5

    May '17

    1204.0 +6.0

    Jul '17

    1204.0 +6.0

    Rice Comment

    Rice futures rebounded today. July bounced off support at $10.76 yesterday, which has provided support

    for the market for about 5 weeks. This large crop could limit the upside potential of the market, however,

    dry conditions in other rice growing regions of the world could provide support. The market needs to see

    better export movement, though. Weekly export sales of 78,600 tons last week were not enough to inspire

    any buying interest.

    Cattle

    Futures:

    Live Cattle: LIVE CATTLE

    High Low Last Change

    Jun '16 121.475 120.450 121.425 +0.325

    Aug '16 118.025 116.850 117.450 -0.600

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    Oct '16 117.300 116.150 116.950 -0.375

    Dec '16 116.975 115.700 116.925 +0.100

    Feb '17 116.225 114.675 116.150 +0.400

    Apr '17 115.425 113.575 115.350 +0.850

    Jun '17 108.925 107.075 108.700 +0.450

    Aug '17 107.000 105.500 107.000 +0.250

    Feeders: FEEDER CATTLE

    High Low Last Change

    Aug '16 146.925 144.175 146.425 -0.675

    Sep '16 145.225 142.525 144.850 -0.475

    Oct '16 143.625 140.925 143.300 -0.200

    Nov '16 140.000 137.275 139.650 -0.175

    Jan '17 135.425 132.550 135.225 +0.300

    Mar '17 133.000 131.050 132.650 -0.300

    Apr '17

    132.850 -0.300

    May '17

    132.775 -0.300

    Arkansas Prices

    Conway Livestock Auction

    Pocahontas Livestock Auction

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    Oklahoma City

    Oklahoma City - Weekly Weighted Average Summary Wednesday

    Cattle Comment

    Cattle prices closed mixed today as the market may be beginning to loose steam. While beef prices

    strengthened today, the cash market saw little action and future saw profit taking after the recent rally.

    While cattle prices remain depressed relative to recent record levels, prices are trying to find a new

    trading range that will likely be at a historically high level.

    Hogs

    Futures: LEAN HOGS

    High Low Last Change

    Jun '16 81.250 80.025 81.150 +0.575

    Jul '16 82.925 80.725 82.800 +1.350

    Aug '16 82.400 80.100 82.225 +1.375

    Oct '16 69.400 67.550 69.175 +0.950

    Dec '16 64.575 62.850 64.100 +0.750

    Feb '17 67.925 66.325 67.575 +0.850

    Apr '17 70.900 69.550 70.650 +0.775

    May '17 75.475 74.950 75.475 +1.000

    Jun '17 78.500 78.075 78.200 +0.525

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    Growing paddy takes heavy toll on groundwater table Aman Sood

    Tribune News Service

    Patiala, May 31

    The failure of the state government to promote crop diversification is taking a toll on the depleting water

    table. Two successive deficient monsoons in the past two years coupled with overexploitation of

    groundwater to irrigate fields has added to the problem.A comprehensive data compiled by the

    Agriculture Department, available with The Tribune, from 22 districts of the state shows that the water

    level is falling every year. The pre-monsoon readings in some areas are alarmingly low. The Hoshiarpur-2

    block has the lowest water level recorded at 191 feet (58.40 m) followed by Sardulgarh at 182 feet (55.54

    m), 166 feet (50.80 m) in Patran and 162 feet (49.40 m) in Ropar.

    The data further highlights how the shallowest water table recorded in Barnala is still 21 m while the

    water is available at a mere 0.40 m in Ropars Anandpur Sahib block. In Sangrurs Lehragaga block, the

    shallowest in the district, water is 19.42-m low.In the waterlogging-affected districts of south Punjab in

    Muktsar, the shallowest water depth is 1.40 m in Malout block while the deepest is 6.70 m in Lambi.

    Further in Faridkot, another waterlogged district, the shallowest water level is 1.60 m while it is 16.30 m

    in Kotkapura. In Ferozepur, the shallowest level is 3 m in Guru Har Sahai while the deepest is 27.65 m in

    Zira Block.

    Poor efforts by the state government in bringing farmers out of the paddy cycle are now showing their

    result. In addition, the government policy to release water tubewell connections for vote-bank politics is

    sure to deepen the water crisis. Free power to the farm sector too leads to the misuse of water, claimed

    former chief engineer with the Irrigation Department Jaskaran Sandhu.A weak monsoon in the last two

    years has strained the groundwater more as the power subsidy in Punjab has grown from Rs 4,778 crore

    in 2014-15 to Rs 5,484 crore in 2015-16.

    Though the power subsidy is burdening the state exchequer, the state government continues to give it

    despite criticism by agriculture experts who have been advising the government to do away with the

    subsidy and look for alternative arrangements to save water, claimed another senior expert on power.As

    per the PSPCL top brass, at present, there are roughly 12.76 lakh tubewell connections in Punjab and

    around 1.25 lakh connections more would be added by next year. However, the only good news at present

    is the prediction of a normal or heavy monsoon this year.

    Alarming readings

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    40

    Data compiled by the Agriculture Department from 22 districts of the state shows that the water level is

    falling every year. The pre-monsoon readings in some areas are alarmingly low. The Hoshiarpur-2 block

    has the lowest water level recorded at 191 feet (58.40 m) followed by Sardulgarh at 182 feet (55.54 m),

    166 feet (50.80 m) in Patran and 162 feet (49.40 m) in Ropar.

    http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/growing-paddy-takes-heavy-toll-on-groundwater-

    table/245071.html

    Customs, Navy seize two boats of smuggled rice June 2, 2016

    Comfort Oseghale

    An inter-agency collaboration between the Eastern Marine Command of the Nigeria Customs

    Service and the Eastern Naval Command of the Nigeria Navy has resulted in the seizure of two

    boats laden with smuggled rice.

    A statement by the group said the seizure was made on the Calabar high sea, Cross Rivers State,

    by the navy between the Cameroon and Nigerian border.

    It read, The smuggled rice was carefully concealed in two boats conveying 30 passengers among whom were eight Cameroonians and 13 Nigerians.

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    41

    The seizure has since been handed over to the Nigeria Customs Service in Calabar, while the passengers of the boats were in the same vein handed over to the Nigeria Immigration Service

    for further investigation.

    The Customs Area Controller, Eastern Marine Command, Usman Bello, had recently during the

    2016 Obangame exercise organised by the Nigerian Navy comprising other law enforcement

    agencies, had appealed to the navy to assist the NCS in effecting seizures of contraband goods on

    the high seas.

    Bello thanked the navy for their cooperation so far, urging them to continue in this regard.

    He lamented the inability of his command to patrol the high seas due to lack of sea going vessels.

    There is a need for continued assistance from the navy in order to reduce smuggling to the barest minimum, especially on the high seas within the Eastern Marine Command.

    I thank the outgoing Flag Officer Commanding of the Eastern Naval Command, Calabar, Rear Admiral Atiku Abdulkadir, for the sustained cooperation and synergy between the Navy and

    Customs. We wish him well in his new assignment.

    He also extended a warm welcome to the new FOC, Rear Admiral J. Olawale, urging him to

    sustain the cooperation and collaboration of his predecessor.

    In the same vein, the Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali(retd.) has expressed his

    profound gratitude to the Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Ibok-Eke Ibas, for the operational

    commitment and inter agency cooperation exhibited by his officers in the arrest of the two boats.

    The CGC urged the Nigerian Navy to continue to assist the NCS in the service of the nation.

    In a similar development, the Seme Area Command of the NCS has impounded 12 trucks

    containing 2,131 bags of 50kg rice with a Duty Paid Value of N23.9m.

    The imported rice was reportedly smuggled through Ere-Creeks, bordering Lagos and Ogun

    states.

    A statement from the command said its officers had received intelligence that the rice was

    stocked in an uncompleted building at Ere Creek-Ikoga.

    The Customs Area Controller of the command, Victor Dimka, said investigation was ongoing to

    expose the perpetrators of this act.

    He said, We will continue to work round the clock to suppress all smuggling activities across the frontier to the barest minimum. We will not relent until the needed revenue is generated and

    legitimate trade is facilitated.

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    42

    Dimka commended the efforts of the enforcement unit in suppressing the illegal importation of

    used vehicles.

    Fairly used vehicles escorted in transit to Seme border, which pay duty contribute about 50 per cent of the commands revenue, he added.

    Copyright PUNCH.

    All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be

    reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior

    express written permission from PUNCH.

    Contact: editor@punchng.com

    http://punchng.com/customs-navy-seize-two-boats-smuggled-rice/

    Scarcity of foreign rice hits Katsina

    Survey On June 1, 20168:31 pmIn NewsComments 46 0 1 0 Katsina Following Federal Governments

    ban on importation of rice from foreign countries through land borders, the commodity has become scarce

    in Katsina state. A survey revealed that the scarcity of the product had led to increase in its price in

    markets across the state. Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has adopted strict measures in enforcing the ban

    and in curtailing smuggling of the commodity through the borders. Alhaji Usman Ibrahim, a rice dealer in

    Katsina town, confirmed that sellers of the product were facing difficulty in getting it. Ibrahim said that

    the dealers usually got supply from smugglers, who were taking the risk of getting the rice in the country

    day and night, adding that Customs officials had identified smugglers routes and had blocked them.

    The survey revealed that foreign rice was only available but in limited quantity in Katsina metropolis and

    few local government areas, particularly those that share boundary with Niger Republic like Jibiya, Daura

    and Maiadua. According to the survey, the price of the rice in those places ranged from N12, 800 to N13,

    000 per 50 kiligramme bag as against former price of 12,000, while it cost N13, 300 in other local

    government areas. It was discovered that people in the southern part of the state, including Funtua,

    Malumfashi, Dandume, had resorted to patronizing the local rice due to the high cost and scarcity of the

    foreign specie.

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    43

    Malam Magaji Liman, a farmer in Funtua, told NAN that it was difficult to see foreign rice in his area.

    Since the Federal Government banned importation of foreign rice, you hardly see it in the markets;

    some months back I bought a bag at N10, 000. I am a rice farmer; just last week I sold 11 bags of local

    rice at N10, 000 per bag. I have been cultivating rice for long, but I never imagined that I will sell a bag

    at N10, 000, because in previous years, the highest price of local rice was N6,000, he said. Liman said

    that he had been encouraged by the development to cultivate more rice this year.

    He explained that local rice tasted better than the foreign one, adding that if rice farmers can get modern

    processing machines, our local rice can compete with the foreign one. He, however, lamented the delay

    in the distribution of improve seeds, chemicals and fertilizer to rice farmers, saying that could affect rice

    production in the country. I am calling on the government to hasten distribution of fertilizer and seeds to

    farmers in good time to enable them to plant more in this years planting season, he said.

    http://www.vanguardngr.com/2016/06/scarcity-foreign-rice-hits-katsina-nan-survey/

    Rice import deferred amid ample supply

    June 1, 2016 8:57 pm

    by James Konstantin Galvez

    THE National Food Authority (NFA) has deferred again its rice importation plans because there

    is ample inventory at government- and privately-owned warehouses.

    As of April 1, more than 3.3 million metric tons of rice in stockwell above the inventory requirement for the lean months which is sufficient to feed the population for 105 days. The Food Staples Sufficiency Program requires 90-day buffer stock during lean months and 60-day

    supply at other times.

    Traditionally, the lean season is from July to September. It is also the time when the government

    imports rice that would help stabilize price in retail markets.

    The NFA spokesperson Angel Imperial also cited, during a telephone interview, other factors

    behind delaying a decision on imports.

    Among them, the possibility of NFA moving back to the Department of Agriculture, that the

    grains agency has not so far received formal instructions for importation, particularly the

    mandated buffer stocking by the government and use of the minimum access volume (MAV) by

    the private sector, and a show of respect for the incoming President, Rodrigo Duterte. And he

    pointed out that the decision of the Duterte administration could be expected by the first week of

    July.

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    44

    The former NFA Administrator Renan Dalisay had stated prior to his resignation that the agency

    has already prepared all possible rice importation schemes ready for approval of President

    Rodrigo Duterte.

    The policymakers of the Aquino were said to be considering utilizing the minimum access

    volume (MAV) for the buffer stocking. MAV refers to the minimum volume of farm produce

    allowed to enter into the Philippines at reduced tariff of 35 percent, while shipments outside

    MAV pay higher rates of 50 percent and would need approval by the National Food Authority.

    Another option being considered is through government-led importation using the standby

    authority about 500,000 MT. At present, Manila limits to 805,000 metric tons the amount of rice

    allowed to enter the country through the scheme.

    http://www.manilatimes.net/rice-import-deferred-amid-ample-supply/265408/

    Rice federation to vote for president on July 2

    Thu, 2 June 2016

    Cheng Sokhorng

    With voting A rice farmer uses a small mechanical harvester in a Tbong Khmum province rice field

    earlier this year. Heng Chivoan

    set to take place on July 2 to elect the next president of the Cambodian Rice Federation (CRF),

    the organisation has pledged to further strengthen its mandate, while rice millers and exporters

    claim they have lost confidence in the organisations ability to achieve necessary reforms.

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    45

    Penn Sovicheat, director of the domestic trade department at the Ministry of Commerce and a

    member of the CRF election committee, said that the next president would continue to push for

    the governments elusive 1 million tonne rice export target.

    This will be the second time that the CRF has elected a president since the organisation was

    formed, and the internal structure has been tweaked to be more inclusive, he said. Now, the

    sitting president will be accompanied by five vice presidents chosen by the 16 members of the

    board.

    The new president will follow the plan outlined in the previous mandate, Sovicheat said, adding that there would be no lag time as the structural reforms were already in place.

    However, Kann Kunthy, chief executive officer of Battambang rice miller Brico, said that even

    though the CRF had been restructured to include more voices, he had little hope for the

    organisation.

    I have no confidence in the new mandate, since I have already lost confidence in the current mandate, he said. With one president and five vice presidents, that structure will not allow for reforms. There will be no efficiency and no action.

    In order to survive the rice industry, we need the government to take action, not just have plans.

    Moul Sarith, secretary-general of CRF, countered and said that the next president will be more

    productive and will promote not only short-term interests, but introduce a long-term strategy.

    The next mandate will produce results, as long as we have five committees that meet with the five vice presidents to insure there is an action plan, he said. Phou Puy, director of Baitong (Kampuchea) PLC, welcomed the revised structure, but still questioned the next presidents

    ability to lead. It is good to have a chance to vote, as it is a kind of democracy, he said. But I cant say how it will actually affect the rice industry. Song Saran, CEO of AMRU Rice, was more optimistic that the next president could produce tangible results as he addressed the most

    pressing concerns.

    If the next president can address farmers and rice millers concerns, we will be able to compete in the market, he said. Transportation and production costs should be the biggest concern, he added

    http://www.phnompenhpost.com/business/rice-federation-vote-president-july-2

    Ebonyi procures 40 tractors to revolutionise rice production

    David Nweze Umahi

    The Ebonyi State Government has procured 40 tractors to rev up its efforts to revolutionise agriculture

    and turn around its economic fortune.Governor David Nweze Umahi announced this during Democracy

    Day Celebration and one year anniversary of his administration at the Abakaliki Township

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    46

    Stadium.Umahi used the occasion to highlight the achievements of his administration, and disclosed that

    in view of the dwindling allocations to the state from the Federation account, the state decided to

    emphasize on rice production which the state is known for all over the world.

    The Governor explained that three tractors

    would be allocated to each of the 13 Local

    Government Areas of the state to work on

    about 85 hectares of land mapped out for rice

    cultivation across the state this farming

    season.He stated that government was

    collaborating with IFAD to cultivate a six

    hectare rice farmland and FADAMA III for

    two hectares.He informed that as part of the

    measures to revolutionise rice production in

    the state, his administration had taken

    delivery of the three rice parboiling machines

    procured by the previous administration in the state.Umahi added that the installation of the parboiling

    machines at the three state-owned modern rice mills in Ikwo, Izzi and Oso Edda had commenced.

    The governor noted that the government was partnering UNIDO to install another modern rice mill that

    would be handed over to the Abakaliki Rice Millers when fully installed.He assured that the N2bn

    Federal Government loan for rice production was intact and would be disbursed to genuine farmers who

    met the conditions attached to it.Umahi further stated that the government would give out seeds, fertilizer

    and chemicals worth over N400 million to farmers as loan this farming season adding that the government

    had signed an agreement with Union Dicon Salt Plc for the establishment of a cassava farm and a cassava

    processing factory in the state.

    Engr. Umahi hinted that the government had introduced school agriculture, and is currently working on

    three schools as pilot farms in each of the three senatorial zones. The governor stated that all the available

    land at the permanent site of the state university had been converted to tomato farmland for massive

    production of tomatoes for domestic and international consumption.

    On youth and women empowerment, the governor informed that empowerment of the youth and women

    would be the focus of government in the coming months.

    He stated that government had set aside N500m in addition to the N3bn earlier mapped out for the re-

    settlement of youths of the state engaged in street hawking in major cities across the country

    https://www.today.ng/news/national/130738/ebonyi-procures-40-tractors-revolutionise-rice-production

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    47

    Rice and Beans Solve Madagascar Mystery Posted By: Ginger PeralesPosted date: June 01, 2016

    The native language of Madagascar is Malagasy which doesnt seem particularly interesting until you realize that Malagasy is a language unique to the Pacific and Southeast Asia region,

    6,000 miles away, and that researchers have never found any evidence that the island of

    Madagascar had been inhabited by anyone from that region. Now, recently published findings

    from an international research team finally offer proof that South Asian settlers did in fact

    colonize the island, thus solving one of the ancient worlds enduring mysteries.

    Researchers have identified the remains of ancient Asian specific crops such as mung beans and

    rice, excavated from sites in Madagascar. Evidence, finally, that people from South Asia did

    inhabit Madagascar at one time.

    Human settlements on the island of Madagascar discovered through archaeological research have

    been dated back to the first millennium and there are additional findings which suggest that the

    island might have been inhabited by hunter-gatherers that migrated from Africa sometime

    between the first and second millennium. However, until now there was no archeological

    evidence of an Austronesian occupation.

    Previously completed genetic research confirmed the residents of Madagascar shared a close

    ancestry with Polynesians, Malaysians, and other cultures which also speak languages from the

    Austronesian family, which Malagasy is part of.

    The team of researchers have identified the species of almost 2,500 individual ancient plant

    remains recovered from excavations at the sites of 18 different ancient settlements in

    Madagascar, the east Africa coast and also on neighboring islands. The residues recovered from

    sediments within the archaeological layers were examined using a complex system of sieves.

    The first question regarding the earliest crops planted at the sites was whether they were African

    crops or crops which had been introduced to Africa from somewhere else. The researchers found

    examples of both types, but also found a distinct pattern the African crops were concentrated primarily on the African mainland and the islands closest to it. In contrast, on Madagascar early

    subsistence was focused primarily on Asian crops. The data suggests these Asian crops were

    introduced to Madagascar and the nearby Comoros Islands, no later than the eigth to tenth

    century.

    In a statement provided by the University of Oxford, Dr. Nicole Boivin, the senior author with

    the School of Archaeology, said, Southeast Asians clearly brought crops from their homeland and grew and subsisted on them when they reached Africa. This means that archaeologists can

    use crop remains as evidence to provide real material insights into the history of the island. There

    are a lot of things we still dont understand about Madagascars past; it remains one of our big enigmas. But what is exciting is that we finally have a way of providing a window into the

    islands highly mysterious Southeast Asian settlement and distinguishing it from settlements by mainland Africans that we know also happened.

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    48

    The research also suggests that the same Southeast Asians colonized the islands of the Comoros

    which neighbor Madagascar, because the crops grown there were also dominated by the same

    exact Asian species. By comparison, the crops which were identified on the African coast and

    coastal islands close to east Africa such as Zanzibar and Mafia were primarily African species

    like pearl millet, sorghum, and baobab.

    The study has been published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    http://www.newhistorian.com/rice-beans-solve-madagascar-mystery-2/6585/

    Agriculture in Sierra Leone: Monty Jones to the rescue By Gibril Koroma | 7 hours ago | 99 views

    When Professor Patrick Monty Jones (pictured), Sierra

    Leones Minister of Agriculture was appointed last February,

    many Sierra Leoneans pinned a lot of hope in him to

    transform Agriculture in Sierra Leone, a land with plentiful

    rain and excellent soil that still imports most of its food from

    elsewhere.Monty is a well known agriculturist with a wealth

    of experience as a researcher and plant breeder. His most

    famous achievement was when he led a team of researchers to

    produce the high-yielding hybrid rice NERICA (New Rice for

    Africa), which is a combination of African and Asian

    rice.Now a political administrator, Monty has been meeting

    with traditional rulers and civil servants in the rural areas

    where most of the countrys farmers are found. The purpose

    is to involve them in the various projects of the Ministry geared towards the production of most of what

    the country eats (rice, onions, etc) and thereby save foreign exchange for other purposes.

    Another objective of his is to help create employment for young people in the countryside many of whom,

    with very little formal education and out of frustration and despair, have migrated to urban areas where

    they could find employment, forcing them into anti-social activities and drug abuse.Sierra Leone used to

    be an exporter of rice and other food items in the past and it seems like Professor Monty Jones, who used

    to work at the Rokupr Rice research station in northern Sierra Leone is just the right man to bring back

    those days.Its perhaps too early to expect bumper rice harvests all over the country when farmers start

    harvesting their rice between November and December this year. But at the rate Monty is moving, many

    Sierra Leoneans are expecting the country to be flooded by rice, onions and other commodities by

    December next year.Here is Professor Monty Jones in an interview with F2A: