Wednesday, February 3, 2010

26,000 tonnes of rice for poor households during Tet

Around 351,000 poor households in 11 provinces across the country will be provided with more than 26,000 tonnes of rice before Tet (Lunar New Year Festival) said the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs at a press conference on February 2.
Deputy Minister Nguyen Trong Dam said the Government has asked the Ministry of Finance to provide rice from the country’s reserves to support poor people.
The provinces of Hoa Binh and Da Nang will also help the poor with subsidies of VND200,000-VND300,000 per family.
The Fund for the Poor has financed the construction of 73,800 subsidised houses, of which 56,525 have been completed and the rest will be finished and given to poor families before February 10.
During Tet, every State beneficiary will receive a gift worth VND200,000-VND400,000 from the State President

Fadama III Partners Farmers On Rice Production

In its bid to boost rice farming and production in Nigeria, the third National Fadama Development Project (fadama III) is to partner with the farmers and the national centre for Agricultural mechanization (NCAM).
Speaking at a collaborative meeting in Abuja, National Project Coordinator of Fadama III Bukar Tijani said the project is designed to uplift the living standard of users of land and water resources in the rural areas by increasing their income through good farm yield.

He said rice production can help fight poverty through employment generation which is possible if agricultural activities are improved in the rural areas for income generation.
Tijani said NCAM would work closely with Fadama III to improve the Fadama groups by training them to adopt the technology that would making rice farming simple by bounding, pudding, levelling and smoothening.

Executive Director of NCAM Eng. Ike Azogu said the technology would lead to higher yield.
He said a close linkage with the rural farmers is a platform for the technology to thrive and the project covers 641 local governments in Nigeria.

State reaps over 1.4 mln quintals rice

Bahir Dar, February 3 (WIC) – The Amhara State Agriculture and Rural Development Bureau said more than 1.4 million quintals of rice has been reaped this production season.

Bureau Technology Transfer Expert, Asmare Mengistu, told WIC the rice was obtained from 29, 517 hectares of land developed in 20 woredas of the state.   He said close to 74,000 farmers took part in the development activities.   The bureau is working to expand rice production development in the state as it plays a key role in achieving food security, he indicated.

Rice procurement crosses 200 LT in 2009-10 season

New Delhi, Feb 3 (PTI) Rice procurement has crossed 200 lakh tonnes so far in the ongoing 2009-10 marketing season, even as the total purchase showed a slight dip of over three per cent compared to the corresponding period last year.

According to the latest official data, total rice purchased by the Food Corporation of India (FCI) and State agencies stood at 201.38 lakh tonnes so far this season against to 208.49 lakh tonnes.

The Centre hopes to procure 280 lakh tonne rice this season, more than the annual requirement of 272 lakh tonne for the PDS, even as the grain production this year is expected to be lower by 13 million tonnes. The shortfall in production of the food grain is expected after the country suffered the twin calamities of drought and flood.

Last year the FCI and other state-run procurement agencies had purchased a record 336.

Ministry shortsighted over rice problem

The media has reported on the plight of paddy farmers who experienced ar educed yield due to insect attacks on their crops. Last year, they experienced severe flooding which caused damage to their crops. This year the insects/pests further aggravated the impact of last year's loss. The report focused on the utilisation of pesticides. According to the media: 'In March last year (2009), Deputy Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Minister Mohd Johari Baharum was reported as saying that Muda Agricultural Development Authority (Mada) was preparing a working paper for a standardised pest-control system in the padi fields. Under the system, he said the ministry would provide a suitable amount of pesticides to the farmers'.
The agriculture and agro-vased industry ministry seems very shortsighted about the problems which are beginning, if not already plaguing, the agriculture sector due to first of all to the lack of technology and innovation in improving the yields of locally-produced crops for food.
Furthermore, the ministry and its agencies seem to lack a sense of urgency on what changes in climate are doing to agriculture production all over the world.
We depend on Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and India for about 30% to 35% of our rice supply. Guess what? The agriculture sector is one of the most vulnerable to changes in weather and climate. According to some studies, warming may affect pest life cycles and their ability to respond to pesticides.
Available datasets from China's Cropping Management and Agriculture Department show that the average loss of rice grain yield due to plant diseases and insect pests were 3.79 million tons per year during 1987–1996 and 4.77 million tons per year during 1997–2006, accounting for 2.1% and 2.6% of the national total rice yield, respectively.
The above situation has a direct impact on increased pesticide use and that is exactly what was experienced in China's case when pesticide use grew 30%. As a result, the farmers will bear additional cost of inputs for their agriculture activities and indiscriminate or increased use of pesticides further stresses the environment.
According to the International Rice Research Institute (Irri), some of Asia's most important rice- growing areas are located in low lying deltas such as in Vietnam, Thailand, Bangladesh and India. Southeast Asia collectively produces 150 million tons of rice a year, 95% of which is consumed in the region.
So we urge both the agriculture and agro-based industry ministry and the domestic trade, cooperative and consumerism ministry and other related agencies to have some critical review of our agriculture system, their subsidies and price control mechanism.
In 2008, Vietnam, Brazil and India, enforced the ban on exports of this commodity, causing the price to jump in the international market. During the price hike in 2008 for rice, there was call for the government not to renew Bernas' import permit when it expires in 2010.
Rice of all types are declared as controlled goods under the Control of Supplies Act 1961 – governed by the domestic trade, cooperative and consumerism ministry. We hope with the probability of price hikes, we are not called to consume less rice citing obesity and cardiovascular diseases.
We call on all the relevant agencies to review, implement and continuously improve our National Agricultural Policy based on minimising dependence on imported food, strengthening our food security through adequate adaptation and mitigation measures and enhancing the agriculture sector based on sustainable agriculture principles.
This requires the input and involvement of all stakeholders in the whole supply and value chain; across ministries, researchers, consumers and the industry. The welfare of farmers who are critical to the success of a sustainable agriculture policy must be ensured as this could entice young entrepreneurs into the agro-business which needs a renewed enthusiasm as well as energy from the youth population.