24th April 2020_Daily Global Regional and Local Rice E-Newsletter.pdf
Indonesia's rice stockpile is secure for up to Nov -official
APRIL 23, 2020 / 3:21 PM
JAKARTA, April 23 (Reuters) -
* Indonesia‘s rice supply is expected to remain at a ―secure‖ level up to November, the Trade
Ministry‘s director general of domestic trade Suhanto told parliament on Thursday
* He said Indonesia is expected to have an additional 19.8 million tonnes of new rice supply
between March and August from harvest, citing an outlook from the Agriculture Ministry
* Suhanto said that would add to around 3.3 million tonnes currently in the stockpile, while rice
consumption up to August is expected at around 15 million tonnes
* Rice stockpile and the expected new supply are ―sufficient to meet demand up to November.
Rice supply is secure,‖ he said. (Reporting by Bernadette Christina Munthe Writing by Fransiska
Nangoy; Editing by Toby Chopra)
Report: Rice prices rise slightly, while corn, cotton and
soybean farmers face historic lows
by George Jared (email@example.com
COVID-19 continues to loom over the world‘s cotton industry and other crops have a gloomy
outlook, according to a report by agricultural economists with the University of Arkansas System
Division of Agriculture. One bright spot might be rice, with the price and number of planted
acres rising this spring.
In addition to COVID‘s impact on the global markets, Arkansas‘ crop producers have two other
worries. The first includes the extended periods of wet conditions and waves of severe weather
that have damaged farms and shut power down to large swaths of the state for days at a time. The
second is the lingering fear that COVID will affect the health and availability of on-farm labor.
―The next issue I see potentially coming up are issues associated with workers becoming ill and
not having the manpower,‖ said Jarrod Hardke, extension rice agronomist for the Division of
Agriculture. ―Most do not have sufficient crews to withstand loss of personnel, but if more cases
begin increasing in the farming community these operations are going to be extremely burdened
getting fields prepared and planted. I‘m starting to encourage growers to make their ‗what if‘
plans for these scenarios.‖
The report, published online, was produced by Scott Stiles, extension economist, Brad Watkins,
professor, Bob Stark, professor based at the University of Arkansas-Monticello, and Alvaro
Durand-Morat, assistant professor.
According to a report released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture on March 31, Arkansas
farmers were projected to plant 800,000 acres of corn, a 4% increase from the previous year.
Cotton acres were projected to drop by 5% to 590,000 acres and soybean acres were projected to
be up 9% at 2.9 million acres. Peanuts are projected to rise by 3% to 35,000 acres, while rice
acres were projected to jump by 21% to 1.4 million.
Acres in many crop sectors are expected to grow, but recent commodity prices are a mixed bag at
Rice prices in the U.S. remain strong with cash paddy prices ranging from $14.25-$15.00 per
hundredweight. New crop future prices increased slightly by 0.5% and closed at $12.11 the week
of April 13. Thai 5% broken long grain rice was quoted at $572 per ton the week of April 13,
running at least $100 above competing Asian countries. In India and Pakistan, COVID-19 is
putting a drag on the countries‘ export capacity.
Corn futures were down 2% last week. Arkansas cash corn price bottomed last Wednesday at
$3.27 per bushel before rising to a closing statewide average of $3.32 on Friday (April 17).
Soybean futures prices were down 2.8% last week, closing at $8.51 per bushel for the week of
April 17. Despite a midweek recovery before Easter, prices slid to an $8.30 closing average on
―Cotton prices remain under pressure as the U.S. Department of Agriculture projects global
cotton consumption to fall to a six-year low and world ending stocks to reach five-year highs,‖
In its April supply and demand estimates, USDA expects the U.S. 2019-20 season-average farm
price to be 59-cents per pound.―Over the past four weeks, applications in the U.S. for
unemployment benefits have swelled to more than 22 million people,‖ Stiles said. ―This likely
translates into a massive drop in textile and apparel sales and a significant impact on the global
textile sector overall. Anecdotal evidence in recent weeks indicates that growers are still
evaluating planting decisions and, in some instances, reducing cotton acreage.‖
―Alternative corn and soybean crops are seeing prices at historically low levels, however, they
might offer advantages in terms of lower production costs and less intensive management,‖ Stiles
Spoiling Rice in Vietnam Show Perils of Food
By Mai Ngoc Chau
23 April 2020, 02:00 GMT+5Updated on 23 April 2020, 14:08 GMT+5
Some 300,000 tons of rice are stuck at ports nationwide
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The owner of one of Vietnam‘s biggest rice exporters, Nguyen Quang Hoa, can only watch as
500 containers of sticky rice stranded in a port container yard for a month slowly degrades.
He‘s furloughed 400 factory workers, but his losses keep growing. If he doesn‘t ship the 12,500
tons of rice soon, he‘s worried his Chinese clients will reject it, and his company will be forced
to default on $13 million in bank loans.
―We may have to throw away all the sticky rice, and spend more money getting rid of it,‖ said
Hoa, director and founder of Duong Vu Co. ―My company is teetering on the edge of collapse.‖
Hoa is one of more than 100 traders in Vietnam hurt by a government measure last month to
restrict shipments on concerns that global demand will spike as the coronavirus upends supply
chains. While the world‘s third-biggest rice exporter has since reopened some trade, hundreds of
thousands of tons of spoiling rice at the country‘s ports show the dangers of curbing exports.
In an effort to ease some of the bottlenecks at ports, the customs department on Thursday said it
is resuming exports of glutinous rice. The shipments will not be part of this month‘s rice export
quota, according to a statement on its website. There would be no limits placed on the April
shipments of sticky rice, the trade ministry said on its website.
Less than three weeks after suspending overseas shipments on March 24, the Vietnamese
government said it would allow 400,000 tons of exports in April. To do so, traders had to submit
customs declarations, with registration opening at midnight on Saturday April 11.
Within three hours, the export quota was full, according to local news. Many were unable to
register, and an estimated 300,000 tons are still stuck at ports, according to Pham Thai Binh,
chief executive at exporter Trung An High-Tech Agriculture Co., who sits on the Vietnam Food
Association‘s governing board.
The trade ministry, which oversees exports, was unavailable to comment.
If the rice isn‘t shipped, the companies involved will struggle to survive, the Vietnam Food
Association said in a state newspaper. Even with the April quota deducted, there‘s still about 1.3
million tons of contracted undelivered rice, according to Bloomberg calculations.
Additionally, uncertainty over whether the government could restrict shipments again is holding
back traders from signing new export deals. No new contracts have been signed, even after the
export halt was lifted, according to the Vietnam Food Association‘s Binh.
―Over 100 rice exporters are in financial trouble as thousands of rice containers have been
ensnared at ports,‖ said Binh, whose firm was also unable to sign up for rice exports in April,
and has more than 100 containers of rice trapped at ports since March 24.
A farmer works in a paddy field in Can Tho.
Photographer: Hoang Dinh Nam/AFP via Getty Images
In Can Tho, a city in Vietnam‘s rice belt, officials estimated that a majority of its rice exporters
have been losing as much as $14,000 a day each on damages paid to shipping companies,
container fees, and fines for being unable to fulfill export contracts, according to Tien Phong
Vietnam‘s handling of the situation has drawn criticism, with the food association urging the
government‘s customs department to stop opening the registration for customs declarations at
midnight like it did this month. Many traders signed up to ship large amounts even though they
didn‘t have enough volumes ready for exports, Vietnam News reported.
In response, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc ordered an investigation into profiteering as well
as whether there has been any wrongdoing in the state‘s management of rice exports. The
government also directed the trade ministry to bring forward some of May‘s export quotas to this
month, adding 100,000 tons for April shipments.
The Vietnam Food Association and rice firms on Wednesday urged the government to terminate
the export quotas from May to facilitate traders‘ shipments and purchases from farmers, local
news website BNews reported, citing a meeting held by the trade ministry.
The Southeast Asian country has shipped 127,600 tons of rice this month through April 23 out of
400,000 tons registered by traders, according to the customs department‘s website. Nearly
700,000 tons of rice was exported from Vietnam a year earlier, the customs data show.
The trade ministry has been ordered by the premier to submit its rice export plan for next month
before April 25. It also proposed that the country ship 2.7 million tons of rice to help farmers,
without specifying if the amount is meant for this year.
But concerns over the outlook for exports is only growing. National rice stockpiles, the very
reason the export ban happened in the first place, have failed to grow to the state‘s target levels
due to a spike in domestic prices, raising speculation the government could intervene again.
Low-quality rice shipments, which account for about 1/5 of total shipments, may be halted until
mid-June to help build inventories.
―We‘ve stopped signing new contracts. How can we know if we are able to deliver?‖ said
Nguyen Van Thanh, director of rice exporter Phuoc Thanh IV Co. ―Vietnam is offering our
export market to other rice producers, and we traders will have to restart from scratch after
everything settles down.‖
— With assistance by Nguyen Dieu Tu Uyen
(Updates to add customs decision to allow resumption of glutinous rice exports in the 5th
Bernas assures stability of rice price and supply
April 23, 2020 00:35 am +08
KUALA LUMPUR (April 22): Padiberas Nasional Bhd (Bernas) will ensure the price stability
and adequate supply of rice even as the nation battles against COVID-19.
In a statement today, the national foodgrain management agency said while the price of rice had
surged in the global market due to the pandemic, it was committed to monitoring and ensuring
the market price of the commodity here remains stable and affordable.
―As stated by the Agriculture and Food Industry Ministry and other relevant Ministries, food
security and supply in the country are under control. The staple food of Malaysians is easily
available and the retail price of rice remains as it was prior to the COVID-19 outbreak,‖ Bernas
It also said it had maintained the prices set for wholesalers for the local white rice and imported
Bernas said it would bear the extra cost of rice or operations to maintain the stability of the
It said this in response to a report which quoted the Malay Economic Action Council (MTEM) as
saying rice millers and wholesalers were complaining of being squeezed by a ―rice import
Bernas refuted the statement by MTEM that it received a subsidy on rice imports and that such
imports were being monopolised by the Agriculture and Food Industry Ministry.
Rice trade to slash prices
PUBLISHED : 23 APR 2020 AT 09:04
NEWSPAPER SECTION: BUSINESS
WRITER: PHUSADEE ARUNMAS
Packaged rice manufacturers and distributors yesterday agreed to cut their prices
by as much as 50%, as requested by the Commerce Ministry.
This is the second campaign initiated by the ministry to lower the prices of goods to help people
during the coronavirus crisis.On April 16, the ministry requested consumer goods makers,
distributors and modern trade operators lower prices by 5-58% to help reduce living costs during
The campaign starts with six categories covering 72 items from March 16 to June 30.
The six categories in the campaign are food and beverage; frozen finished food; seasoning sauce;
daily-use products; body care products; and cleaning products.Six versions of packaged rice
including Hom Mali rice 100%, premium Hom Mali rice and premium fragrant rice are part of
the first campaign.
In the second round of the sales campaign started yesterday, running until the end of June, an
additional 98 items from 18 manufacturers and distributors will have prices cut by as much as
50%.Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit said apart from products in the first and second
campaigns, the ministry has assigned the Interior Ministry to add items in the following rounds.
He also expects more manufacturers to participate in special sales campaigns to help reduce
living costs for consumers hurt by the pandemic.
Somkiat Makayatorn, honorary president of the Thai Rice Packers Association, predicted
packaged rice prices to increase further after domestic rice prices rose by 20-30% since the start
of the year, mostly due to drought and a sharp rise in demand because of the pandemic.
The price of milled rice, which is used as a raw material in packaged rice production, has risen to
15 baht per kilogramme from 12.50 baht in early January.
The price of milled rice is expected to continue increasing until August or September, before the
release of the new harvest into the market, said Mr Somkiat.
He said the worst drought in 40 years is responsible for farmers reporting a decrease of 1.5-2
million tonnes of milled off-season rice.Despite the short-term demand surge, domestic rice
consumption is expected to drop this year as foreign tourists veer away from Thailand.
Bernas urged not to ration rice supply in Sabah
APRIL 23, 2020, THURSDAY AT 9:42 AMSABAH KOTA KINABALU: Syarikat Padiberas Nasional Berhad
(Bernas) has been urged not to
implement rationing of rice
supply on wholesalers in Sabah.
National Youth Council Vice
President Azuwan Marjan @
Norjan said he was informed by
rice wholesalers that Bernas had
started rationing its supply to
them since April 13.
Bernas‘ move has resulted in a
shortage in the rice supply for
domestic use especially during
the Movement Contol Order and
the coming Ramadhan, he
Azuwan said the MCO which has entered into its third phase has caused the demand for rice,
which is a food staple of Malaysia to increase adding that in March, it was 30 per cent higher
than before.The rationing by Bernas means wholesalers in Sabah are unable to supply rice to
retailers, Azuwan said in a statement on Wednesday.
On average, rice wholesalers gets about 20,000 metric tonnes of rice from Bernas a month.―With
the increase in demand, why should Bernas implement rationing in supply?‖ he asked adding
that other than supplying to retailers, rice wholesalers have also received requests from corporate
companies, NGOs and individuals who are actively donating food aid to the needy during the
Govt to beef up rice and palm oil reserves
THIHA KO KO 23 APR 2020
Photo: Aung Htay Hlaing/The Myanmar Times
The government is planning to beef up the national rice and palm oil reserves for
emergencies in case the COVID-19 outbreak drags on.
The Ministry of Commerce (MOC) announced in an April 22 statement that it will buy and
stockpile 50,000 tonnes of rice and 12,000 tonnes of palm oil as reserve food for emergencies. It
also added that the ministry will purchase the items at a reasonable price.
―We would like to inform the public that there is no need to worry about the supply of rice. We
have sufficient supply of rice in the country. The government is planning to buy 10 percent of the
amount of rice exports, which is 50,000 tonnes,‖ commerce minister U Thant Myint said.
The MOC said it has already received funds to procure the supplies needed.
The ministry is also working on the national reserve food plan with the private sector as well as
the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Myanmar Rice
Federation and Myanmar Edible Oil Dealers‘ Association.
Indian rice rates ease as rupee flounders, labour woes
APRIL 23, 2020 / 7:39 PM /
BENGALURU (Reuters) - Rice export prices in India eased from a eight-month peak this week
on the rupee‘s record fall, while the coronavirus lockdown has raised concerns about a shortage
of labour to harvest the summer crop in neighbouring Bangladesh.
FILE PHOTO: A worker spreads rice for drying at a rice mill on the outskirts of Kolkata, India,
January 31, 2019. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri/File Photo
Top exporter India‘s 5 percent broken parboiled variety was quoted $374-$379 per tonne this
week, down from $375-$380 per tonne quoted last week.
―The lockdown has been limiting the movement of paddy and milled rice,‖ said an exporter
based at Kakinada in southern state of Andhra Pradesh, adding that demand from African
countries had been good.
India extended a lockdown on its 1.3 billion people until at least May 3 as the number of
coronavirus cases exceeded 20,000.
The Indian rupee hit a record low this week, increasing traders‘ margin from overseas sales.
In Bangladesh, where the lockdown has been extended until May 5, harvesting of the summer
rice crop varieties could be affected due to a shortage of labourers.
If this persists, Bangladesh could miss its target of 20 million tonnes for the ―Boro‖ summer
variety rice crop this season, agricultural ministry officials said.
Boro contributes more than half of Bangladesh‘s typical annual rice output of around 35 million
Meanwhile in Vietnam, rates were nominal since exporters were not ready to sign new contracts,
given uncertainty over whether they can ship the rice due to the government‘s export quota, a Ho
Chi Minh City-based trader said.
However, prices for 5% broken rice were quoted at $440-$450 per tonne - their highest in nearly
two-years. ―Buyers are not willing to sign contracts as they are not sure if they can buy,‖ the
The Vietnamese government said on Wednesday it would raise its white rice exports quota for
April to 500,000 tonnes from 400,000 tonnes.
Traders said the 500,000 tonnes of rice to be exported this month were not enough to cover
contracts signed before the government introduced a ban on rice exports in March.
Thailand‘s benchmark 5-percent broken rice prices were quoted at $530-$556, wider from last
Traders say rice prices have not fluctuated much as demand has been steady with no major deals
―Many Thai exporters are waiting to see how the return of rice exports from competitors like
Vietnam will impact prices and demand, after the disruption from the COVID-19 pandemic,‖ a
Bangkok-based rice trader said.
Disruptions to sale by major exporters like Vietnam and India earlier this month raised the price
of Thai rice to their highest level since April 2013.
Concerns over possible shortages of rice supply due to the ongoing drought continue to impact
prices as well, traders said.
Wheat production set to surpass rice output for
Published: April 23, 2020 12:40:51 AM
According to the second advance estimates for crop year 2019-20 (July-June), the rice output is
seen at 117.47 million tonne and wheat at 106.21 million tonne.
Backed by the bumper production, the states have geared up plan to purchase 40.7 million tonne of wheat this year
for the central Pool, the food ministry said in a statement.
The country‘s wheat production is set to surpass the rice output for the first time this year,
according to feedback the Centre has received from the states. The food ministry has been
informed by wheat-growing states that production of the rabi-grown cereal may be 118.41
million tonne, 11.5% higher than the estimate of the agriculture ministry. Due to unseasonal
rains and hailstorms in March, there were concerns over the wheat crop.
According to the second advance estimates for crop year 2019-20 (July-June), the rice output is
seen at 117.47 million tonne and wheat at 106.21 million tonne. The estimates, released by the
agriculture ministry in February, also pegged the food grain output at record 291.95 million
Backed by the bumper production, the states have geared up plan to purchase 40.7 million tonne
of wheat this year for the central Pool, the food ministry said in a statement. The procurement
which has commenced from April 15 will continue until June 30 in most of the states except
Bihar, where it is slated to continue till July 15 due to late harvest. Punjab and Gujarat have fixed
the procurement schedule till May-end.
The rabi rice procurement has also been fixed at a record level of 11.29 million tonne, out of
which more than half will be from Telangana as the state has decided to buy the entire 6.2
million tonne of winter-grown crop from farmers.
Price of rice records a sharp increase in Tiruchi
TIRUCHI, APRIL 23, 2020 20:29 IST
Most retail and grocery stores in Tiruchi sell one kg of high quality Ponni rice at ₹60 a kg. |
Photo Credit: M_SRINATH
‘Upward revision is due to high cost of transportation’
Despite availability of sufficient stocks of paddy with rice mills, price of rice has recorded sharp
increase in the retail market in Tiruchi.
On an average, the price has gone by ₹6 -12 a kg of boiled rice, depending on the quality and
variety. In retail rice stores and grocery shops in Tiruchi, one kg of Mannachanallur Ponni (old)
variety was sold between ₹56 and ₹62. The price of Mannachanallur ponni (new) was hovering
between ₹45 and ₹50.
Before the imposition of lockdown, one kg of Mannachanallur Ponni (old) was sold at ₹48 -54
and new rice was sold at ₹42-46. Prices of Andhra and Karnataka ponni have also gone by ₹5-6
a kg. Similarly, the rates of idly rice have also risen by ₹5 a kg.
―Most retail and grocery stores in the city sell one kg of high quality Ponni rice at ₹60 a kg. The
rate is ₹56 in a few stores. The upward revision is due to high cost of transportation of rice,‖ says
Manikandan, who runs a grocery store in Cantonment.
However, except a few old varieties of rice, the rates in Mannachanallur, where about dozens of
rice mills are located, remain unchanged for the last five months. Though the supply chain was
disrupted for a week after the lockdown, it was restored quickly with the intervention of the State
Due to sharp increase in prices of rice, several consumers visit Mannachanallur to buy rice
directly from the mills.
M. Sivanandan, who owns a rice mill at Mannachallur, told The Hindu that the number of
consumers from Tiruchi, who visited Mannachallur to buy rice directly from the mills, had gone
up sharply over the last few days. It was mainly due to a big difference in price.
Industry sources attributed the price rise to a section of retailers, who have created an ―artificial
shortage‖ of rice in the wake of curfew restrictions. Some traders, who have taken, advantage of
restriction in business hours and business days, have increased the prices.
Industry sources further said that there was no reason for price rise in the near future as rice mills
have piled up stocks. Moreover, farmers also have a huge stock. The current price would likely
to continue up to the year end.
Rice growing localities, exporters want export limits
Update: April, 23/2020 - 08:30
Harvesting rice in the Mekong Delta. Rice growing localities and exporters have urged the
Government to resume rice exports without setting limits. — VNA/VNS Photo
HCM CITY — Officials from many localities in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta and rice
exporters have urged the Government to resume rice exports without setting limits, saying many
firms face difficulties because of this.
Speaking at a conference in HCM City on April 22 they also exhorted the ministries of Industry
and Trade and Finance and the customs department to quickly clear the consignments of rice
exports stuck at ports.
The Government recently lifted a ban on rice exports, but capped them at around 400,000 tonnes
each in April and May citing national food security concerns amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
On April 12, the General Department of Customs began accepting online customs declarations
from rice exporters, but many were left disappointed since the quota of 400,000 tonnes was
reached in just three hours.
Some hundreds tonnes of rice are now stuck at ports.
Lê Minh Đức, director of the Long An Province Department of Industry and Trade, said: "Last
year, we sat together to discuss solutions to boost rice exports, but this year we discuss whether
to export or not. This is abnormal, especially in the context that rice output this year has not
decreased despite being affected by drought and saltwater intrusion."
As the COVID-19 pandemic rages globally, demand for rice has increased in many markets, and
Việt Nam should pay attention to this opportunity, he said.
"In the current situation, we have recommended the Government should allow export of rice
without applying limits.‖
Nguyễn Ngọc Nam, chairman of the Việt Nam Food Association, said: ―As of April 18, rice
inventory at member companies was 1.94 million tonnes. Enterprises had signed contracts to
export 1.7 million tonnes with delivery until June. If they fulfil the contracts, they will still have
more than 200,000 tonnes in stock. Besides, the summer-autumn rice crop is about to be
―Therefore, we have petitioned the Government to allow normal rice exports from May.‖
Trương Quang Hoài Nam, deputy chairman of the Cần Thơ City People‘s Committee, agreed
with Đức and called for allowing exporters who submitted customs declaration forms in March
to ship their rice and enabling firms with consignments stuck at ports to complete customs
"Firms in the city had shipped 76,181 tonnes of rice to ports. They submitted customs
declarations for more than 46,000 tonnes in March. But all consignments are stuck at ports."
Trần Hồ Hiền of the Bình Định Food Joint Stock Company (Bidifood) said his company had
nearly 10,000 tonnes stuck at Mỹ Thới Port because customs lost its customs declaration form.
His company has been suffering heavy losses since it has to meet VNĐ200 million a day
(US$8,476) for a month in unexpected expenses, he said."Our company is in danger of collapse.‖
He sought the help of the ministries of Industry and Trade and Finance.Deputy Minister of
Industry and Trade Trần Quốc Khánh, who chaired the conference, called on customs to help
Bidifood and other companies in similar circumstances clear their consignments as soon as
He admitted that there have been difficulties for businesses, but the recent changes in rice export
regulations were due to concerns related to food security and the effect of the COVID-19
pandemic and saltwater intrusion.
Localities in the Mekong Delta have reported a bumper winter-spring crop, and farmers in the
north have also started harvesting their rice crop, which has not affected by pests as earlier
Based on this, his ministry would recommend that the Government should adjust the rice export
regulations from May, he promised. — VNS
GIEWS Country Brief: Benin 23-April-2020
23 Apr 2020
Originally published:23 Apr 2020
Origin:View originalDownload report(PDF | 390.69 KB)
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Planting of 2020 main season maize ongoing in south under
normal moisture conditions
Above-average 2019 cereal crop harvested
Prices of coarse grains overall stable in March
Pockets of food insecurity persist
Start of 2020 cropping season in south follows timely onset of rains
Following the timely onset of seasonal rains in the south, planting of yams was completed in
March, while planting of the main season maize crop is ongoing and will be completed by the
end of April. The harvest of yams is expected to start in July, while harvesting operations of
maize will start in August. Planting of rice crops, to be harvested from August, is underway. The
cumulative rainfall amounts since early March have been average to above average in most
planted areas and supported the development of yams and maize crops, which are at sprouting,
seedling and tillering stages. Weeding activities are normally taking place in most cropped areas.
In the north, seasonal dry weather conditions are still prevailing and planting operations for
millet and sorghum, to be harvested from October, are expected to begin in May-June with the
onset of the rains.
In April, despite the ongoing pastoral lean season, forage availability was overall satisfactory in
the main grazing areas of the country. The seasonal movement of domestic livestock, returning
from the south to the north, started in early March following the normal onset of the rains in the
south. The animal health situation is generally good and stable, with just some localized
outbreaks of seasonal diseases, including Trypanosomiasis and Contagious Bovine
Above-average 2019 cereal crop harvested
Harvesting activities for the 2019 rainfed and irrigated crops was completed by end-January.
Favourable rainfall across the country and adequate supply of inputs by the Government and
several NGOs benefited the 2019 national cereal production, estimated at 1.9 million tonnes,
about 5 percent above the five-year average.
Cereal import requirements for the 2019/20 (November/October) marketing year, mostly rice and
wheat for human consumption are estimated at 400 000 tonnes, about 20 percent below the
previous year and 17 percent below the average. The country usually re-exports rice to
neighboring Nigeria to cover household consumption needs. Following the closure of the border
with Nigeria imposed by the Nigerian Government since late 2019, traders are unable to
re-export their rice stocks into Nigeria. This will likely result in the decline of the quantity
imported by the country.
Stable food prices due to increased supply
Most agricultural markets are well supplied following the commercialization of newly harvested
crops and the relatively high level of carryover stocks from the previous year. Prices of maize
have been broadly stable since the start of the harvests in October on account of good domestic
availabilities. Prices of imported rice were also relatively stable due to the regular supply from
the international markets.
Pockets of food insecurity persist
Despite overall favourable food security conditions, some vulnerable households need external
food assistance. According to the March 2020 ―Cadre Harmonisé‖ analysis, about 14 500 people
(less than 0.5 percent of the population analysed) are estimated to need food assistance from June
to August 2020, below the level of 20 000 food insecure people in June-August 2019. The main
drivers of food insecurity are localized crop shortfalls in 2019 due to floods, mostly in northern
areas, including Alibori and Donga regions.
COVID-19 and measures adopted by the Government
In view of the evolving COVID-19 situation, the Government has decreed a total country
lockdown. The Government has also taken some sanitary, social and economic measures,
including the free diagnosis and treatment of all suspected and confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Official restrictions on population movements, combined with heightened levels of fear, have led
many people to stay at their homes. Although these measures have not affected access to food,
further restrictions on population movements could hamper access to land and have a negative
impact on 2020 agricultural production. In addition, the measures taken by the Government to
limit population movements in 15 high-risk communes in southern parts of the country could
lead to atypical price increases for basic foodstuffs.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
No need to control food prices – Agric Minister
Source: Naa Sakwaba Akwa
23 April 2020 12:21pm
The Minister of Food and Agriculture has dismissed calls for government to regulate food prices to curb
hikes, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic in the country.
At a press briefing in Accra Thursday, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto said, government is putting in place
measures to ensure there is enough food in the system, therefore, price controls are not necessary at the
―There is no need to control prices, absolutely no need. The market is working, farmers are working.
―I think that the open pricing system that this government is following shows the kind of confidence that
we have that we will be able to supply food to the market for consumers at very reasonable prices,‖ he
As residents of Accra, Tema, Kumasi and Kasoa rushed to purchase food items before a partial lockdown
in March – which has now been lifted – food prices soared.
This resulted in the sharp rise in the prices of food items like gari. An ‗Olonka‘ (a local unit of measure)
of gari which used to sell at ₵5.00 was sold at ₵25.00.
The prices of tomatoes and other staple food items shot up by more than 100 percent, prompting calls for
government to step in and put in place a standard price regime.
But the Agric Minister says he is not a believer of controlling prices.
The move, in his view, creates ―an artificial environment for the misallocation of resources. That is the
very simple economic reason why I do not believe in controlling prices.
―In any case, we are talking about nearly three million of farm produce, hundreds of thousands of traders,
small and large in the market. We see the teeming numbers of market women and men, how do you go
about controlling prices,‖ he queried.
But to ensure that there is an abundance of food, Dr Akoto said governemnt has distributed improved
seeds to farmers across the country to expand their yield.
In the case of rice, he said the country was rarely self-sufficient before the current administration took
over.However, from less than 150,000 metric tonnes, the country in 2019 harvested 665,000 metric
tonnes of rice and government is targeting a harvest of between 750,000 and 800,000 metric tonnes for
―I am saying these figures with confidence. It is the amount of improved seeds that we supply to farmers
that we use to do these extrapolations. We have moved from supplying 1,600 metric tonnes of improved
rice seeds to 4,600 to 6,600 and last year we distributed close to 9,000 metric tonnes of seed.
―So we are ramping up the amount of improved rice seeds we are giving to farmers. You cannot compare
the yield of the improved seeds to the traditional seeds…it is double. So the farmer who was harvesting
four bags per acre or so, is now dong more than that…some are doing eight and nine bags and it is
attracting a lot of interest into the seed business in this country and also farming of rice seeds,‖ he
added.Dr Akoto said government is hoping to do more through the supply of mills to rice-producing
communities ,so the farmers themselves can mill rice before it goes on to the traders.
Labour shortage likely to hit Bengal rabi paddy harvest
Shobha Roy Kolkata | Updated on April 23, 2020
Published on April 23, 2020
Govt trying to remedy situation with mechanical harvesters
Harvesting of boro paddy in West Bengal, set to begin in about a week, is likely to be hampered
by labour shortage as most of the workers have gone to their villages following the pandemic
The State government is trying to deal with the manpower shortage by deploying additional
According to Pradip Kumar Mazumder, Chief Advisor (Agriculture) to the Chief Minister, the
State has close to 2,500 combine harvesters and it tried to induct some more just before the
Covid-19 lockdown was imposed. Local labourers are available for harvesting and some migrant
labourers, who got stuck at potato harvesting, will also be used for harvesting of boro paddy.
―We are keeping our ears to the ground. Depending on the situation, we have to take decisions
but as of now, we feel the situation is a manageable, if not comfortable,‖ Mazumder
West Bengal produces 15-16 million tonnes of paddy annually in three seasons; that include aus,
aman and boro. The kharif paddy (aus and aman) output accounts for about 70 per cent of the
total production in the State. Boro paddy is usually cultivated on land which has canal or
irrigation facility. The sowing of boro paddy, just like that of potato, was staggered this year on
account of unusual weather conditions.
Though harvesting will begin by next week, it will peak by April-end or early May.
While the use of combine harvesters will ensure that harvesting is not hampered much, it will
push up the cost of production.
―Many paddy cutting machines have been brought from north Indian States such as Punjab and
Haryana. In a normal year, if 50 per cent of harvesting is done by machines, this year it would be
90 per cent. It will increase the cost of paddy sold to millers, which will ultimately result in
higher prices for rice,‖ said Suraj Agarwal, CEO, Tirupati Agri Trade.
The overall cost of harvesting is likely to increase by around 20 per cent. The rental cost of
machines are high due to the lockdown. Labour cost is also likely to double due to the shortage.
This apart, the transportation cost of paddy from farms to warehouses and then to rice mills will
also be higher.
Paddy procurement will begin in the first week of May. The Bengal government usually offers
incentivised MSP to people coming to procurement centres to cover the cost of transportation. In
view of the Covid-19 situation, the State government is also considering the possibility of
picking up paddy from farmers‘ houses, if need arises.
―If the lockdown continues in May, transportation could be an issue. The Chief Minister has
instructed that we plan to pick up paddy from far-flung villages and gram panchayats. The
additional cost of procurement will be borne by the State and we are preparing for that,‖
According to Sushil Kumar Choudhury, President, Bengal Rice Mills Association, mills are yet
to receive ―clear guidelines‖ from the State government on procurement.
The government is also mulling the possibility of rolling out a mobile application for farmers to
place requests for collection of foodgrain from their doorstep.
―Usually the BDO informs farmers in a particular village about rice mills starting their
procurement. Now this would be facilitated through a mobile app. However, we need to see how
adept the people in villages are when it comes to technology adoption,‖ Choudhury said.
Fresh export orders for tea, basmati from Iran,
China and Russia
Published on April 23, 2020
West Asian nations led by Iran have also placed orders for basmati rice, but traders are
likely to miss the crucial Ramzan period, April 23-May 23, as it takes 40-45 days to ship the
KOLKATA: Iran, China and Russia have placed fresh orders for Indian black tea in the midst of
the Covid-19 outbreak, a boost for the domestic industry which has incurred losses of about 100
million kg of teas owing to the lockdown. West Asian nations led by Iran have also placed orders
for basmati rice, but traders are likely to miss the crucial Ramzan period, April 23-May 23, as it
takes 40-45 days to ship the consignments.
Mohit Agarwal, director, Asian Tea, told ET: ―There is good demand from Iran for orthodox
teas. Their banks have opened and payments for the earlier consignments are coming. Exporters
are buying privately since the auction centres are yet to open.‖ Prices of tea have firmed up by 7-
8% compared from that a year ago, to Rs 280-300 per kg, he said.
Domestic Usage Report Benefits All
The Market Year 2018-2019 Domestic Usage Report Survey has been issued to RMA
members. Following successful updates of the 2017-18 report, the DUR Subcommittee agreed
to continue using the same questionnaire going forward, and asks that completed forms be
returned by May 1.
The updated report provides an accurate and representative picture of the domestic U.S. rice
industry. The entire U.S. rice industry benefits from a comprehensive DUR report, and USA
Rice encourages maximum participation from mill members. Gaining a solid perspective on
current market conditions and market segment shipments helps identify opportunities for growth.
For more information, please contact Jesica Kincaid.
USA RICE DAILY
A Return to Normal for California Rice Planting
By Jim Morris
SACRAMENTO, CA -- Tractors are working ground and the first airplanes are flying seed in the
Sacramento Valley, marking the first normal start to planting season in several years in California.
"Weather has been much more cooperative," said grower Sean Doherty in Yolo County. "The cool and
dry conditions have allowed growers to get a good head start. We are now waiting for Mother Nature to
dictate planting, instead of the calendar. When we consistently have warmer weather later this month and
into May, more airplanes will be seeding fields."
Rice planting will continue in California through May.
More favorable weather for planting will likely mean more rice acres planted in California, although it is
too early for statewide acreage specifics.
Governor Gavin Newsom instituted a statewide stay-at-home order on March 19 due to the coronavirus
pandemic. Rice farms and mills are part of the essential critical infrastructure workforce and their work is
ongoing. Farms and mills have instituted several steps to protect workers from COVID-19, including
employee training, maintaining a six-foot distance whenever possible, washing hands or using hand
sanitizer at a station, regularly wiping down equipment, and having sick employees not come to work.
Rice is grown on about a half-million acres in California, with the vast majority of the crop farmed in the
A Return to Normal for California Rice Planting
By Jim Morris
SACRAMENTO, CA -- Tractors are working ground and the first airplanes are flying seed in the
Sacramento Valley, marking the first normal start to planting season in several years in
"Weather has been much more cooperative," said grower Sean Doherty in Yolo County. "The
cool and dry conditions have allowed growers to get a good head start. We are now waiting for
Mother Nature to dictate planting, instead of the calendar. When we consistently have warmer
weather later this month and into May, more airplanes will be seeding fields."
Rice planting will continue in California through May.
More favorable weather for planting will likely mean more rice acres planted in California,
although it is too early for statewide acreage specifics.
Governor Gavin Newsom instituted a statewide stay-at-home order on March 19 due to the
coronavirus pandemic. Rice farms and mills are part of the essential critical infrastructure
workforce and their work is ongoing. Farms and mills have instituted several steps to protect
workers from COVID-19, including employee training, maintaining a six-foot distance whenever
possible, washing hands or using hand sanitizer at a station, regularly wiping down equipment,
and having sick employees not come to work.
Rice is grown on about a half-million acres in California, with the vast majority of the crop
farmed in the Sacramento Valley.
USA RICE DAILY
Could Changing the Way We Farm Rice Be a
Farmers are on focusing on ways to reduce methane emissions and save water to further
reduce the staple crop‘s climate footprint.
BY LISA HELD
April 23, 2020 |
This article is published in partnership with Covering Climate Now, a global journalism
collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.
Rice may be having a moment. Until recently, the average American ate only about a half a
pound of the grain annually, while people in some Asian countries eat upwards of eight pounds a
year. By early March, however, one data firm found that sales of rice and other staples were
up 84 percent. And, as significant questions have arisen about the short-term future of meat
production, this grain could become a more significant part of the U.S. diet.
As one of only a few commodities grown in the U.S. that go directly to feed people, rice also has
a much smaller environmental footprint than many other foods.
―People underestimate rice. It‘s a small grain,‖ says Meryl Kennedy, who is the daughter of a
Louisiana rice farmer, the CEO of Kennedy Rice Mill, and the founder of 4Sisters Rice. During a
pandemic, however, it can feed a lot of people efficiently.
But rice farming isn‘t perfect. In fact, global rice production accounts for at least 10 percent of
agricultural emissions. It‘s responsible for producing large quantities of methane—a greenhouse
gas that‘s 24 times more potent than carbon dioxide. But, as it turns out, that‘s more a factor of
quantity than it is about growing method. Rice provides one fifth of the world‘s calories, and
research shows that, per calorie, it actually has one of the lowest emissions footprints compared
to meat, fruit, vegetables, wheat, and corn.
Now, there is growing attention to practices that further reduce the climate impact of rice. And,
given that it is the fourth largest crop grown in the world, those changes could amount to a
significant climate solution.
In the 2020 Drawdown Review, which analyzes the impact of various climate solutions across
industries using the latest scientific research, the nonprofit thinktank Project Drawdown includes
two methods of shifting rice production.
―Both of these solutions are about how you can grow rice most sustainably. This is a shift from
conventional to an improved way of rice cultivation,‖ said Dr. Mamta Mahra, a senior fellow at
Drawdown in biosequestration modeling. ―The point is: If we‘re already growing rice, why not
see how much emissions can be reduced?‖
Rice Production Today
According to the United Nations‘ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), rice is the fourth
largest crop in the world. If adjusted to account for how much is eaten by people, it would
probably rise in the ranks, since corn and sugarcane are both also used to produce biofuels.
China‘s farmers far and away grow the most. The U.S. ranks twelfth in global rice production,
and the vast majority happens in six states: Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Mississippi,
Missouri, and Texas. In 2019, American rice farmers harvested about 18 billion pounds of rice
from just under 2.5 million acres. About half of that rice is exported, primarily to Mexico,
Central America, and Northeast Asia, to feed global appetites that are bigger than those in the
―The U.S. produces more rice than we eat,‖ said Kennedy. ―I hope that that changes in my
‘Improved Rice Production’
What is gradually changing is how the industry is thinking and talking about its environmental
impact. Last year, USA Rice, which represents the industry, published a 64-page sustainability
report. And this week, it announced new sustainability goals, pledging to reduce both water use
and greenhouse gas emissions by 13 percent by 2030.
Most rice in the U.S. is produced on thousands of acres that are flooded for the entire season.
Flooding controls weeds and serves other purposes, like making nutrients in the soil available to
the plant. But it requires a lot of water, and microbes that live in the soil beneath flooded fields
produce methane, which is then released by the plants.
An Arkansas rice farm. (USDA Photo by Lance Cheung)
Reducing the amount of time that fields are flooded, then, serves two purposes: conserving water
and reducing emissions. That‘s one of the primary practices involved in what Project Drawdown
classifies as ―improved rice production.‖
In the Southern U.S., a growing number of farmers are using a method called alternate wetting
and drying (AWD). Studies have found that depending on how often and for how long farmers
drain their fields, the practice can reduce methane emissions by as much as 65 or even 90
percent. AWD is not widespread, though, and it‘s not yet clear how it affects yields.
Kennedy said other methods of water conservation like furrow irrigation (also called row rice)
and tailwater recovery, which allows farmers to reuse water multiple times, are more popular.
There is also evidence that some rice farmers are tilling their soil less, another approach that
reduces emissions. According to USA Rice‘s report, a study out of Louisiana found that the
number of rice farmers using low- or no-till methods increased from 26 to 41 percent between
2000 and 2011.
Breeding new strains of rice can also help farmers implement these practices and has the
potential to directly reduce emissions. Anna McClung has been researching rice varieties since
1991 and is the director of the U. S. Department of Agriculture‘s (USDA) Dale Bumpers
National Rice Research Center in Arkansas.
Her team uses a sophisticated form of traditional breeding that tracks existing genes within
plants. Researchers in other countries have used genetic modification to modify rice for
resistance to climate change, but there is currently no GMO rice approved for production in the
―Our current research plan is 80 percent focused on … climate change,‖ McClung told Civil
Eats. Drought and extreme heat threaten rice crops, and her team is looking at traits and varieties
that can withstand those conditions while supporting new farming methods. ―Water is being used
to control weeds, but it also provides this uniform growing environment so the plant can do its
best,‖ she explained. ―If you go to a system where you‘re not keeping the field flooded, but all of
your varieties have been optimized for flooding, that‘s not going to work.‖
McClung‘s team has also compared methane is production based on the variety of rice grown.
―We saw big differences in the amount of methane. Rondo has about 2.5 times the methane
released as the next variety, Jupiter. And about 5 times the methane released as the other three
rice cultivars,‖ she said. ―The question is: why?‖ More research on that front may yield
discoveries that allow farmers to plant low-methane rice varieties.
More growers are choosing to grow rice using organic practices. USDA data show a 5,000-acre
increase between 2008 and 2016, and USA Rice‘s report says organic production has ―increased
six fold in the past 20 years.‖ But there is little research on how organic systems compare in
terms of emissions.
At Lundberg Family Farms in California, Bryce Lundberg‘s parents were growing organic rice
before there was a national organic standard. His family started milling its own rice in 1969, and
he started farming with his brother in 1985. Today, the family grows about half of the rice they
sell and sources the rest from other farmers, the vast majority of whom are nearby.
Eighty percent of the rice they sell is organic; the rest meets a standard they call eco-farmed.
―There‘s no burning of rice straw, there‘s a requirement for rotation. There‘s only one insecticide
approved…and several herbicides, but none of them can be in the danger [category],‖ he said. ―It
can‘t be a carcinogen. It can‘t be a mutagen. It can‘t be on PAN‘s ‗bad actor‘ list. It can‘t be a
broad-based killer that would affect frogs, snakes, fish. It can‘t persist in water.‖
The approach his parents took, he adds, was based on their ―wanting to work closely with nature,
and not poison the place where they farm or the place where they live.‖
On organic rice farms, skipping synthetic fertilizers and herbicides (which are widespread in
conventional rice farming) is a strategy that can result in healthier soil, which may hold more
carbon. Without weed killers, however, flooding becomes even more important. Lundberg
controls weeds by flooding fields to kill grasses and then drying fields out for months to kill
aquatic weeds. The system ends up looking like a version of AWD, and Lundberg said U.C.
Davis has been working with the company on research that shows it does reduce methane
emissions because the plants and soil spend less time immersed in water. They hope to release
the study by the end of this year.
System of Rice Intensification
To Norman Uphoff, all of these improvements are small compared to the benefits of a
revolutionary system called System of Rice Intensification (SRI).
Uphoff is the senior advisor for SRI-Rice, an international network and resource center out of
Cornell University, where he has taught since 1970. SRI was developed in Madagascar in the
1990s as a method for smallholder farmers to feed themselves using fewer resources.
Unlike in conventional systems which involves ―broadcasting‖ seeds (basically, dropping them
from a plane) all over a flooded field, farmers using the SRI system plant rice seedlings in a grid
pattern in dry soil, with space between them. They spread compost to build soil health (although
some also use synthetic fertilizers) and then use an alternating wet-dry irrigation system instead
of flooded fields. They control weeds with rotary weeders or by hand, rather than use herbicides.
Rice planting under the System of Rice Intensification. (Photo courtesy of Lotus Foods)
―The plant will grow to fill available space,‖ Uphoff explains. ―If the roots can grow freely, with
not too much water and enough organic matter, you get more root growth and more tiller
growth.‖ Tillers are like the branches of the plant; when there are more of them, each plant can
produce more rice.
A number of studies over the years have shown SRI can produce high yields—usually from 20 to
50 percent higher—compared to traditional flooded paddy systems, while saving money on
inputs. A meta-analysis done in 2013 found SRI management resulted in 22 percent less water
use. Several studies have also shown that SRI leads to significant reductions in methane
emissions, and while it does increase emissions of nitrous oxide, another powerful greenhouse
gas, the net greenhouse effect is still positive.
Uphoff said farmers in 60 countries are using SRI today, with about 20 countries leading the
charge. ―We estimate that at least 20 million farmers are using these ideas in full or in part—
enough so that they‘re getting improvements in their crop performance,‖ he said. Most U.S.
farmers, however, have shied away from the practice.
―Our primary concern has been for farmers in poor countries. U.S. rice production is highly
capitalized and subsidized,‖ he explained. The idea of cutting a plant population by 80 or 90
percent, isn‘t likely to be popular here, he adds. ―The people who make their livelihood
on…seeds, fertilizers, and herbicides don‘t want to hear about this.‖
There are a few examples of small American farms using some of SRI‘s principles to grow
―dryland‖ rice. Blue Moon Acres in New Jersey is well known in the Northeast, and Next Step
Produce and Purple Mountain Organics are pioneering their own processes in the Mid-Atlantic.
California-based Lotus Foods also sells rice produced by smallholder farmers around the world
using SRI.But for the vast majority of rice production—which is large-scale—sources said
farmers brush SRI off as impractical, especially because it tends to be labor-intensive. Uphoff
said the missing piece is specialized equipment, and if that mechanization existed, there would
be no reason not to apply it on a larger scale.
Project Drawdown, for its part, presents the two approaches—promoting SRI among smallholder
farmers around the world while using other techniques on large-scale farms—as complementary
solutions with real potential. In other words, with so much rice in the world and a rapidly
changing climate, all efforts to shrink this important grain‘s footprint are worth the effort.
Int'l researchers fear double blow
Covid-19 threatens hike in food prices, supply chain disruptions
FE REPORT | Published: April 23, 2020 09:19:12 | Updated: April 23, 2020
Boro farmers returning home with the newly-harvested paddy in Bashkuta village under Sadar
upazila in Magura, May 09, 2018. — FE/FilesConsultative Group on International
Agricultural Research (CGIAR) identified a number of emerging concerns in the country's
food production and supply chain system during Covid-19 pandemic that require
"Notable reduction in the availability of perishable foods, including vegetables,
fruits, and fish, which are crucial for health and nutrition" is among the concerns,
according to a CGIAR statement released on Wednesday.
It said farmers are beginning to face challenges in selling perishable goods at
reasonable prices, as the government has put the entire country on lockdown to stop
spread of Coronavirus pandemic.
CGIAR said despite measures to control prices, foods along with some crucial
commodities are becoming unaffordable, especially for the poor in urban areas.
"Social distancing measures appear to be slowing down ongoing horticultural and
Boro crop harvests, and delay in maize harvest looms as a near-term concern." The
statement further said trucks are permitted to transport agricultural inputs and
produces. But, informal and courier transport services that play a key role in input
supply and food distribution are suffering.
The livestock, poultry, and aquaculture sectors are suffering, as their supply of
essential feeds and veterinary services has been disrupted, and these sectors are
experiencing unprecedented shocks, CGIAR noted.
It also expressed concern, as reduced food and labour demand by food processors,
supermarkets, eateries, restaurants and hotels are, in turn, impacting hundreds of
thousands in the service industry.
To improve the food production and supply situation, the organisation also offered a
set of suggestions, including enhanced permission for transportation.
"Enhanced permission for transportation is required to assure the flow of food items
from rural to urban areas as well as the flow of crucial inputs to farmers through
CGIAR also said ample supply of horticultural, fish and livestock products should
be guaranteed in addition to the staple foods, rice and wheat to provide diverse,
nutritious and safe diets for all.
It urged the government to take some measures, including minimising impacts on
farmers' incomes from high input and labour costs, supporting flow of remittance
and cash flow to rural areas, and expanding access to finance options for farmers.
CGIAR opined that increased social safety-net measures will be required to support
both rural and urban poor consumers.
It further stressed on the need of action plans to support Bangladesh's food systems
in response to international trade restrictions. "Even partial closure of ports may
result in high prices and limited stocks of pulses, edible oils, wheat, and crucial
CGIAR added that prolonged suspension of international trade could undermine the
future supply of key inputs (particularly phosphorous and potassium fertilisers,
vaccinations, pesticides, and fuel) at reasonable prices.
Bangladesh country heads of International Food Policy Research Institute,
International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CMMYT), International Rice
Research Institute (IRRI), WorldFish and International Food Policy Research
Institute (IFPRI), constituents of CGIAR, signed the statement.
[Interview] Lockdown throws up challenges for
quarantine of plant samples for research
by Sahana Ghosh on 22 April 2020
The International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) said that while the world battles
COVID-19, plant pests, and diseases continue to pose a threat to food production,
stressing we must not let our guard down.
Quarantine processes for samples of plant materials brought into the country for
research purposes have been impacted due to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-
19)-associated lockdown, according to the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources
(NBPGR) of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research.
In an interview with Mongabay-India, NBPGR scientists discuss the challenges in plant
quarantine for research samples under the lockdown, the gaps in plant biosecurity in
India and implications for a post-COVID world.
The International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), an inter-governmental treaty signed by
184 countries, dubbed it an ―unfortunate coincidence‖ that during the International Year of Plant
Health (IYPH) in 2020, the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) global outbreak is ―showing
the world how adopting preventive measures is essential to secure countries from the
introduction and spread of devastating human diseases.‖
IPPC, aimed at protecting the world‘s plant resources from the spread and introduction of pests
and promoting safe trade, said that the COVID-19 pandemic is proving that prevention is always
better than cure, and this applies to the health of humans, animals, and plants.
India is a signatory to the IPPC, which stresses while the world battles COVID-19, plant pests,
and diseases that continue to pose a threat to food production, must not slip through the cracks.
In the past, India like the rest of the world has seen the devastating effects resulting from
diseases and pests introduced along with the international movement of plant material,
agricultural produce, and product, experts have said. Among these are examples like coffee rust
introduced in Sri Lanka in 1875 and its subsequent introduction in India in 1876; fluted scale
(sap-sucking insect) on citrus introduced from Sri Lanka in 1928; San Jose scale in apple
introduced into India in the 1930s; and bunchy top of banana introduced from Sri Lanka in 1943.
The COVID-19 associated lockdown in India has posed challenges to scientists involved in
quarantine processing of samples of plant materials that are brought into India for research
purposes. Quarantining these samples prevents the entry of exotic pests during import.
These small samples are of immense quarantine importance because they usually comprise of
germplasm material or wild relatives or landraces of a crop and are thus more likely to carry
diverse biotypes/ races/ strains of the pest.
In India, the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR) of the Indian Council of
Agricultural Research (ICAR), New Delhi, undertakes quarantine processing of germplasm
including transgenic planting material imported into the country for research purposes and issues
phytosanitary certificate for research material meant for export. Phytosanitary certification is an
official declaration by the exporting country attesting that consignments meet phytosanitary
import requirements-stating that plants and plant materials are free from pests and disease. In a
year, at least 100,000 (one lakh) samples are examined by NBPGR in quarantine processes.
In an interview with Mongabay-India, Kuldeep Singh, director, NBPGR and S.C. Dubey, head
and principal scientist, division of plant quarantine at NBPGR, discussed the challenges in plant
quarantine for research samples, the gaps in plant biosecurity in India, the solutions and
implications for a post-COVID world.
How do plants and plant products enter India? What is the role of NBPGR in plant
In India, the entry of plants or their parts is in two ways. The bulk import for commercial use and
consumption is being monitored by the Directorate of Plant Protection Quarantine and Storage
(DPPQS), Faridabad, Government of India. Small samples for research purposes are imported
In both cases, the Plant Quarantine (Regulation of Import into India) Order 2003 has to be
ICAR-NBPGR has been empowered under the Plant Quarantine (Regulation of Import into
India) Order 2003 to undertake quarantine processing of germplasm including transgenic
planting material imported into the country for research purposes.
Besides, NBPGR also issues ‗phytosanitary certificate‘ for research material meant for export.
We have well- equipped laboratories, a greenhouse complex, and a CL-4 level containment
facility to undertake the quarantine processing effectively. NBPGR also has a well-equipped
quarantine station at Hyderabad, which mainly deals with the export samples of the International
Crop Research Institute for Semi-arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and samples for the southern part of
NBPGR‘s Kuldeep Singh (left) and SC Dubey (right). Photo courtesy the scientists.
Can you elaborate on plant quarantine and phytosanitary certification?
Over the years, during quarantine processing in post-entry quarantine (PEQ) facilities, a large
number of pests have been intercepted in germplasm and other research material which includes
several pests that have not been reported yet from India. The consignments must be accompanied
by a phytosanitary certificate stating the status of the consignment to be free from the pests
mentioned in the declaration. NBPGR‘s role in the biosecurity of the country is well defined and
known. In past (1976-2019), a total of 78 pests including fungi (6), viruses (19), insects/ mites
(26), nematodes (9) and weeds (18) not reported from India and of quarantine significance for
India were intercepted in imported germplasm and their entry into India through samples
received by NBPGR was checked.
ICAR-NBPGR is providing regular inputs on biosecurity to government agencies like the Indian
Council of Agricultural Research, Department of Agricultural Research and Education, Ministry
of Agriculture, Ministry of External Affairs, and MoEF&CC
What are the major challenges in plant biosecurity in India?
We need more certified post-entry quarantine (PEQ) facilities to accommodate a larger number
of plant materials for quarantine processes and rigorous inspection of the material before release.
Further, the Pest Risk Analysis (PRA) procedure is one of the biggest challenges for quarantine
workers. PRA in plant introduction is essential to decide whether a particular planting material
could be permitted entry or not. If permitted, what would be the manner of import to prohibit the
introduction of new pests in the country. One of the primary responsibilities of plant protection
organisation/ institutions is to identify foreign pests of crops that are important in the Indian
agricultural scenario and assess the potential damage that those pests could cause if introduced in
This is part of a PRA exercise which consists of risk assessment (scientific estimation of
likelihood and magnitude of risk of establishment of a given pest) and impact assessment
(estimation of the consequences of the establishment of pest).
Therefore, to ensure that imported commodities have no pest or disease risk to our agriculture
and forestry, the Plant Quarantine Order 2003 has made it mandatory to conduct a PRA for all
commodities other than those given in Schedule V, VI and VII, prior to the issue of import
Updated lists of endemic pests, authentic data on country-wide survey/ surveillance, as well as
literature, are indispensable in PRA procedures. To facilitate quarantine processing, and
biosecurity, we need to strengthen the harmonisation of the Indian plant quarantine system with
the global plant quarantine system.
This, in turn, depends on enhanced co-ordination of scientists and resource sharing among the
three concerned organisations: Directorate of Plant Protection Quarantine and Storage
(Department of Agriculture and Cooperation and Farmers Welfare), Indian Council of
Agricultural Research (Department of Agricultural Research and Education) and state
agricultural universities/other research
Additionally, there is a need for integrated
agricultural biosecurity efforts. Presently in
India, agricultural biosecurity is managed on a
sectoral basis through the development and
implementation of separate policies and
legislative frameworks (e.g. for animal and
plant life and health).
Post Entry Quarantine growing of seed samples
of French bean and soybean for the detection of
seed-borne pests especially viruses associated
with seeds. Photo from NBPGR. Although the sectoral agencies organise their work with proper
attention towards the other sectors to meet the challenges of biosecurity that are of interdisciplinary
nature, in the present national system, there is a need for a more harmonised and integrated approach for
agricultural biosecurity working together towards common goals.
At the national level efforts are being made to develop a coherent biosecurity strategy for the
country by the formulation of a comprehensive Agricultural Biosecurity Bill in 2013. The
Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers‘ Welfare (DACFW) has initiated the
establishment of a National Agricultural Biosecurity System. Also, the re-drafting of the
Agricultural Biosecurity Bill in 2018 by the DACFW to address the issue of national biosecurity
in a holistic manner are some of the important steps in the right direction.
Has the lockdown impacted plant quarantine measures and biosecurity measures?
Certainly, as the seed materials are not moving across the world. We do receive a major part of
rice germplasm from International Rice Research Institute during March-April and this may be
affected. NBPGR is monitoring the seeds grown in the post-entry quarantine facility (PEQ) at
New Delhi and Hyderabad. Up to the last week of February, we did post-entry quarantine
inspections at sites where they were indented across the country for research materials.
In a post-pandemic world, what will be the major changes with respect to plant
biosecurity? Any specific way the NBPGR will also evolve its strategies?
We are going to receive huge consignments of seed samples for research purposes after the
lockdown period ends. We will take utmost care at institute level for disinfestation of the outer
surface of the packages containing seeds before it is opened for quarantine.
Internationally, so far there are no specific guidelines for safe and secure handling of plant and
plant products from the areas having an outbreak of COVID 19. ICAR is having trained
scientists and well-equipped laboratories to handle any such conditions in the case of plant pests.
However, the plant quarantine system in the country needs to be strengthened both in the terms
of manpower and facilities.
What are the control points in plant biosecurity procedures that will need rethinking in the
wake of COVID-19?
The virus (SARS-CoV-2) that causes COVID-19 is known to be a surface contaminant, the bags
containing seed samples need a certain minimum policy to be handled with care to avoid
contamination. Our staff has been instructed to surface- sanitise the boxes holding the seed
Banner image: Joint inspection of seed samples by Plant Quarantine staff at NBPGR, New
Delhi. Photo by NBPGR.
IFPRI, IRRI, CIMMYT, WorldFish make joint call
for measures to avert risk to food system
Published at 08:40 pm April 22nd, 2020
Photo: Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune
The CGIAR Centres commend Bangladesh‘s response to contain Covid-19 spread, call
for ensuring transportation of food and farm inputs
World‘s leading food security think-tank and research centres have recommended
Bangladesh to ensure transportation of food from rural to urban areas and the flow of
crucial inputs to farmers through market systems so that risk to food system during
Covid-19 pandemic can be averted.
In a statement paper jointly issued on Wednesday by a few top CGIAR Centres called for
guaranteeing the supply of horticultural, fish and livestock products–in addition to the
staple foods, rice and wheat–to provide diverse, nutritious and safe diets for all.
The CGIAR Centers include the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center
(CIMMYT), International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), WorldFish, and the
International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). Formerly called Consultative Group on
International Agricultural Research, CGIAR is largest global agricultural innovation
These institutions called for minimizing impacts on farmers‘ incomes from high inputs
and labor costs and lower than normal farmgate prices, supporting the private sector in its
crucial role in providing affordable inputs to farmers, supporting the flow of remittances
and cash flows to rural areas, and expanding access to finance options for farmers in need
of capital to assure production.
Their statement noted, ―As seen in the response to the social distancing challenges
currently affecting boro harvest, scale-appropriate farm mechanization options will also
become increasingly important to assure timely operations.‖
The statement is jointly signed by Dr Akhter Ahmed, Country Representative of IFPRI-
Bangladesh; Dr Timothy J. Krupnik, Country Liaison for Research and Partnerships of
CIMMYT-Bangladesh; Dr Humnath Bhandari, Country Representative of IRRI-
Bangladesh and Dr Christopher Price, Country Director WorldFish-Bangladesh.
They feared that even partial closure of ports may result in high prices and limited stocks
of pulses, edible oils, wheat, and crucial feed supplies (particularly maize and soybean).
―Similarly, although current national stocks appear to be initially sufficient, prolonged
suspension of international trade could undermine the future supply of key inputs
(particularly phosphorous and potassium fertilizers, vaccinations, pesticides, and fuel) at
They commended Bangladesh government‘s response in implementing timely,
appropriate measures to contain the spread and mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 but,
hastened to caution that, ―This situation presents substantial risks to Bangladesh‘s food
systems–with important implications for national food, nutrition, and economic
They, however, appreciated that the government has recognized these challenges, and has
responded with measures to exempt essential agricultural activities during the boro
season from closure. ―In particular, we are encouraged that essential inputs continue to be
provided through ongoing agricultural business trade and that appropriate farm machinery
is being used for timely harvesting.‖
Similarly, the announcement of financial support for seed purchase and requisition of
wheat and rice are expected to mitigate this crisis, the statement added.
In an initial rapid analyses carried out by the CGIAR Centers, they identified some of the
emerging concerns as: notable reductions in the availability of perishable foods,
including vegetables, fruits, and fish; farmers facing challenges in selling perishable
goods at reasonable prices; social distancing measures appear to be slowing ongoing
horticultural and boro crop harvests; and delays in maize harvests loom as a near-term
―While trucks are permitted to transport agricultural inputs and produce, informal and
courier transport services that play a key role in input supply and food distribution are
suffering,‖ said the CGIAR Centres.
―The livestock, poultry, and aquaculture sectors are suffering as the supply of essential
feeds and veterinary services has been disrupted and are experiencing unprecedented
Arkansas Rice Growers Could See Increased Demand
Due To COVID-19
By DAVID MONTEITH • APR 22, 2020
Rice is one of the few Arkansas crops positively impacted by the coronavirus.
CREDIT SHAREALIKE 4.0 INTERNATIONAL / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
One of the state's biggest crops could help some Arkansas farmers stay afloat during the
economic challenges caused by COVID-19.
Arkansas is the nation's leading rice producer and that may benefit the state in the coming
months, says to Dr. Tim Burcham, Director of the Northeast Rice Research and Extension
Center for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.
"The good news is that from the standpoint of our rice production, again that's holding steady
for us right now as far as market prices for rice. With that being one of our leading commodities
here in Arkansas, that really helps us out. Of course, we're taking a hit in these other commodity
A rice report produced by the Division of Agriculture in early April, says some other rice-
producing countries, like Vietnam and India are limiting their exports as result of COVID-19.
This has increased demand for Arkansas rice. However, prices for soybeans and corn, two of the
state's other large row crops, have dropped significantly.
Other crops, like strawberries, which are just coming into season in Arkansas, have less certain
futures, according to Matthew Davis, also with Division of Agriculture.
"We're putting the crop in the ground right now, but we're not guaranteed a home for it. And
that's clearly shown with vegetable growers and fruit producers. Right now, they don't have a
home for their crops and a lot of it is having to be destroyed just because it costs too much to
even try to harvest and donate. I've seen several try to donate to foodbanks, but at some point
that becomes not cost effective either,‖ Davis said.
Last week the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the Coronavirus Food Assistance
Program, which it claims will provide $16 billion in direct support to farmers and $100 million
per month for the purchase of fruits and vegetables from farmers across the country. As they
wait for details on the new program, Arkansas farmers will continue planting and hoping for
less rain than last year.
"We're making strides and trying to move ahead, but I definitely think the weather hasn‘t played
fair again this year," Davis said. "We've had some issues, but I think, as usual, everybody's
resilient. As soon as we get some dry days everybody hits the field running. I talked to one guy
yesterday; he was out until 1 o'clock in the morning trying to beat the rain. That's just part of it."
Weather permitting, some predict the state's farmers could plant up to 1.5 million acres of rice,
up nearly half a million acres from last year.
Food psychologist shares her tips for getting into
healthy eating habits
by Julia Bryce
April 23, 2020, 10:00 am
Dr Christy Fergusson (credit: Lawrence Scott Photography)
Julia Bryce talks with Dr Christy Fergusson about how to make positive food
choices during lockdown.
We‘ve all been there. The moment when reaching for the biscuit tin you realise that in fact, this
is not your first of the day.
And while there‘s nothing wrong with a little comfort eating now and then, Dr Christy Fergusson
of The Food Psychologist says there‘s a fine balance between keeping our spirits up and ensuring
we have ‗good foods‘ readily available.
With daily routines across the country affected by lockdown, it‘s easy to fall into bad habits, and
So how do we keep on track and stay in our usual routines as much as we possibly can given the
She said: ―I think that is the biggest challenge for people. Certainly when it comes to my clients
you can feel like you‘re doing well, eating well and following what you want to be doing. Then it
gets to the weekend and everything falls to the wayside and not having that sort of structure to
the day.:Dr Christy Fergusson (credit: Lawrence Scott Photography)
―At the moment everything has just been kind of thrown upside down and it‘s just getting back
to that sort of structure. One of the key things I always recommend is to make sure you‘re having
breakfast within an hour of getting up. That helps set you up for the day.
―I also recommend eating every three to four hours to keep your blood sugars steady throughout
the day. It can really help you avoid dipping into the biscuit tin which I know people can struggle
with. I think it‘s about getting yourself set up for success in the morning and trying to follow a
nice pattern where you‘re eating regularly throughout the day.‖
Keeping healthy and looking after your body and your mind has become increasingly more
important than ever with the majority of the UK workforce operating from home.
But how easy is it to stay motivated when it comes to consuming healthier foods over those not
so healthy foods?
She added: ―If you‘re used to going out to work every day you may be in a system of what you
would usually have before work in the morning. Some people eat before they leave for work,
other times people eat on the train or when travelling, and a lot of my clients wait until they are
at work to have their breakfast at their desk.
―It‘s the same when it comes to lunchtime. You have to sort of redefine and create those healthy
patterns and habits. Even if it is just going to be on a temporary period.
Dr Christy Fergusson (credit: Lawrence Scott Photography)
―I think because we‘ve not got that definition of the week and weekend its about creating a
pattern that works for you and also that you enjoy. I don‘t think it needs to be something that‘s
boring or strict. It‘s a great time to try different breakfasts you may not normally have been able
to try because you were rushing out the door to get to work. It‘s the same with lunches and I
think people are embracing having more time to prepare stuff ans do a bit more cooking at home.
Use it as a positive thing to explore more things.‖
For those struggling to keep focused, Dr Christy‘s advice is very much centred around having
good-quality protein throughout the day and being mindful of stimulants which will also affect
―Keeping our blood sugar balanced throughout the day comes from having good quality protein
regularly,‖ said Dr Chrsity.
―Protein can be a variety of things, it doesn‘t have to be meat. Things like eggs of course are
great, some hummous and oatcakes for snacks, fish, chicken, goat‘s cheese. It‘s a great way to
avoid sugar cravings and keep your blood sugar steady. Low glycemic load carbohydrates are
those slower releasing carbohydrates. Things like oats, brown basmati rice, oatcakes, things that
aren‘t going to cause that big spike in your blood sugar levels.
Eating consistently during the day will help you avoid that ‗crash‘ moment. Be mindful of
stimulants like caffeine. A little bit can be great to give you that boost and alertness in the
morning, but when we start having too much, or over relying on it, it‘s almost like we‘re down
regulating our system and we need more and more. Just be mindful of the foods becoming your
crutches and focus on the good stuff you‘re eating regularly.‖
And with so many parents home schooling their children just now, the food psychologist has
some sound advice on how to combat them constantly asking for food.
She said: ―I have my 11-year-old daughter at home and it‘s an on-going process. I think it
depends on what age the kids are. If you‘ve got toddlers and young ones, sort of primary school
age then one of the things I do with my daughter is make up a snack plate. Instead of having
crisps we would make up a plate with all of these different foods on it. Children often don‘t like
combining too much in one dish, they like things in isolation. A little bit of cheese, some
crackers, chopped up fruit, some raisins, it‘s all on one plate but separate.
―I think it‘s a good opportunity for us to let our kids make some things for themselves. Of course
if they are younger you have to get involved more. My daughter will bake her own cupcakes and
we help her with the oven and stuff. Getting them used to making their own food, or getting them
involved in the process is great, especially if you have a fussy eater. It makes them part of the
One thing is for certain, beating ourselves up about having a treat or experiencing a bad day is
not going to benefit our long-term mental health, says Dr Christy.
She added: ―It is a time where a lot of people are going through anxiety and we‘re facing a lot of
changes to our daily lives. There‘s maybe concerns around financial security or health and I
think at this point it‘s also about looking after our mental health. Yes of course being healthy and
nourishing our body is important but it‘s not about some strict routine that we‘ve got to come out
of this achieving something. It‘s all about being a little kinder to ourselves.
―If you‘re at home and want to continue to look after yourself, one of the key things is to make
sure there‘s lots of good, nourishing foods in the house and not having too much of the so called
‗junk food‘. It can be so easy and convenient to reach for that food if it‘s there. I actually find the
more we rely on those foods the worse we can feel on an emotional level as it really does mess
with our system. It‘s that balancing act of looking after our bodies and being healthy, and we‘re
not going to beat ourselves up if occasionally we indulge in something.‖
We challenged our favorite chefs to cook out of the
pantry — ours, not theirs
By Washington Post Staff
April 23 at 8:00 AM
(Dish photos by Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The
Washington Post. Chef photos: Carla Hall, top left, photo by Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post;
bottom middle, Jordan Ruiz, bottom middle, photo by Alexis Ruiz; and Vikram Sunderam, top right,
photo by Joseph Victor Stefanchik for The Washington Post.)
We know you‘ve been there. We all have: staring at the contents of the refrigerator, freezer and pantry, and
thinking, ―What the heck do I make with all this?‖ Whether your larder is bare or flush, unless you‘re an
expert meal planner, you have surely had moments when you‘ve been positively flummoxed. That feeling is
exacerbated during the coronavirus pandemic, when you‘re limiting trips to the store, can‘t find quick
grocery delivery appointments and are trying to stretch your dollar even further than usual. Falling for a recipe
and then filling any gaps needed to make it is...
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Consumers being charged higher than official rates
LAHORE:In the absence of the writ of the government different prices of the same essential items are
being implemented and charged in the market. Violations of laws regarding displaying of prices, official
rates, weight, manufacturing and expiry dates on products are being committed openly, The News has
Consumers‘ rights are being violated in connivance with the government authorities while Chief
Minister Usman Buzdar is busy only issuing verbal orders against the profiteers. Interestingly,
the industry department responsible for issuing and controlling prices is just issuing guidelines
and holding the deputy commissioners responsible for the violation of the laws. On the other
hand, Deputy Commissioner Lahore is aware of all these violations and admitted that different
rates are being charged against the official rates. The government has failed to take action against
There are four different rates for some same essential items in the city. The price notified by the
Punjab government could not be implemented, exposing incompetence or connivance of the
officers concerned with the profiteers. Prices of super stores could not be controlled. Whenever
the government tries to control the super stores, they go on strike. Interestingly, the rates of
Utility Store Corporations (USC), super stores and Akbari Mandi are higher than the government
notified rates which exposed flaw in price fixation mechanism or the government efforts to check
inflation. TheUtility Store Corporations (USC) governed by the federal ministry for industries
and production has its own rates which are also higher than the official notified rates of the
USC announced the Ramzan relief package according to which the price of gram pulse is fixed at
Rs 160 per kg, white gram Rs 125 per kg, Masoor pulse Rs 130 per kg, Mash pulse Rs 235 per
kg, sugar at Rs 68 per kg, rice broken Rs 73 per kg, basin (gram powder) Rs 140 per kg, Basmati
rice Rs 135 per kg, Ghee 175 per kg, cooking oil Rs 195 per liter, dates Rs 160 per kg.
The prices of the USC are higher than the notified price by the deputy commissioner Lahore. The
DC notified rates are gram pulse (special) Rs 128 per kg, bareek Rs 118 per kg, white gram Rs
108 per kg, Masoor pulse (bareek) Rs 152 per kg, imported at Rs 104 per kg, Mash pulse washed
imported Rs 198 per kg, Mash pulse unwashed imported Rs 168 per kg, Moong pulse unwashed
Rs 202 per kg, basmati rice Rs 128 per kg, dates 215-260 per kg.
On the other hand in Akbari Mandi, the rates were also higher than the DC rates and the DC is
aware of the things but does not take action. In Akbari Mandi, gram pulse is being sold at Rs
130-150 per kg, White gram Rs 100 to 120 per kg, Masoor pulse bareek Rs 160-220 per kg,
Masoor pulse imported 110 to 125 per kg, Mash pulse washed Rs 250 to 320 per kg, Mash pulse
unwashed Rs 220 to 250 per kg, Moong pulse unwashed 220 to 240 per kg, Moong pulse washed
Rs 280 per kg, sugar Rs 79 per kg, black gram 125 to 150 per kg, Basin (gram powder) Rs 140 to
160 per kg. The rates charged by super stores in Lahore are gram pulse (special) Rs 200 per kg,
bareek Rs 130 to 140 per kg, Masoor pulse bareek Rs 240-260 per kg, Masoor pulse imported
130 to 160 per kg, black gram Rs 160 to 180 per kg, white gram 130 to 150 per kg, sugar 83 per
kg, Basin (gram powder) 140 to 160 per kg, Moog pulse washed 340 to 360 per kg, Moong pulse
unwashed Rs 260 to 280 per kg, Mash pulse washed Rs 340 to 360 per kg, Mash pulse unwashed
Rs 260 to 280 per kg, Rice basmati Rs 150 to 190 per kg.
Deputy Commissioner Danish Afzal admitted that the official price rates were not being
implemented and there was difference between the market rates and official rates. ―We were
waiting for Faisalabad management which has revised the rates and we will hold the price review
meeting tomorrow (today) to revise the price list‖,‘ he said.
On the issue of violation of laws by the super stores for not mentioning the price, weight,
manufacturing and expiry dates on the packaging of the products, especially of pulses and spices,
the DC admitted that the law was being violated.
Interestingly, no action was taken over the violation of this law, but the DC said the
administration will also enforce the law in this regard.
Secretary Industry Punjab, Zafar Iqbal, said it was the responsibility of the deputy
commissioners of the respective districts to implement official rates of essential edibles. He said
the Industry department under the law issues clear instructions to the deputy commissioner to
enforce and implement the official rate list which once notified in consultation with all the
stakeholders. ―The industry department gives policy guidelines. The policy is clear that no one
should be overcharged,‖ he said and added checking of printing of prices, weight, manufacturing
and expiry dates on products is also responsibility of the deputy commissioners and they must
ensure protection of the consumers.
Secretary General Lahore Super Stores Association (LSA) Imran Saleemi refused to comment
saying the association chairman decided not to speak on any of pricing and other related issues.
Where to eat during a quarantine: vegetarian edition
BY JOE DESENSI
As a lot of us in The ‗Ville settle into our quarantined, socially distant lives, we still need to eat.
Before the world shut down on us, Louisville was an effortless place to find good gluten-free,
vegetarian food. The good news is: That is still the case.
My wife Hope and I have been trying to eat out three to five times a week to support our favorite
establishments as well as to have a governor-approved reason to leave the house. Some places
have shortened hours, some have a curbside menu (a little smaller than the eat-in menu), and
some have added some great cocktail and drink specials to their takeout options.
Here are some places and meals the veggies might enjoy:
Wild Ginger Sushi Bistro
Wild Ginger provided me with the healthiest meal that I will eat all week. I used to order some
great low-carb sushi there in my quest to lose a little weight before I realized 2020 would not
require a beach bod (and then decided to pull the ripcord). Veggies: My favorite roll is the
Oshinko roll, featuring a crunchy, vibrant pickled vegetable, but you can ask for added grilled
shiitake mushrooms for savory chewiness. I also order a veggie roll and tamago roll, a fluffy
sweet scrambled egg with a cucumber wrap.
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