Philippines to fight hidden hunger with recently approved “Golden Rice” variety

PHILIPPINES – Filipino authorities have greenlighted the planting of “Golden Rice”; a new, nutrient enriched rice variety developed by the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Rice Research Institute (DA-PhilRice) in partnership with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).  Golden Rice was first conceived by Professors Ingo Potrykus and Peter Beyer in the late 1980s. IRRI became the first licensee of the scientists’ work in 2001.  The rice variety adds an important nutrient to a staple food that is already consumed in volumes of almost 120kg per capita per year.  Following the approval, Filipino farmers will become the first in…

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Russia allows import of Pakistani rice after a 2-year ban

RUSSIA – Russia has allowed the import of rice from Pakistan, lifting a 2 yearlong ban that had denied Pakistani farmers access to a market that at its peak use to import rice valued at US$40 million  Russia banned the import of rice from the country in May 2019 after Khapra beetle was detected in a Pakistani rice consignment.  The decision to greenlight Pakistani rice was reached after intense negotiations between representatives from both governments.  With the new development, four Pakistani establishments located in Karachi, Lahore, and Chiniot will now be…

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Vietnam rice exports to plummet despite projected rise in production

VIETNAM – Vietnam is losing its market share for white rice to other competitors such as India and Thailand due to uncompetitive prices.  This is according to a recent Grain and Feed update by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).   In the report, USDA officials note that despite Vietnam white rice export prices declining from their peak of US$520 per MT in January to a low of US$490/MT in May 2021, prices of Vietnam five percent broken white rice continued to maintain a $100 per metric ton premium over India rice.  They further…

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Zimbabwe exempts rice from Value Added Tax, retailers welcome the move

ZIMBABWE – Zimbabwean retailers have welcomed the government’s directive of scrapping Value Added Tax (VAT) on pre-packed rice. The traders have been pushing for an exemption from paying the tax on rice packages of 25 kilogrammes or less, arguing that the decision was undermining the “Zimbabwe is Open for Business” mantra. Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers (CZR) President Denford Mutashu, welcomed the removal of VAT saying, “The confirmation of the VAT position for rice shows that Government is indeed committed to establishing a private sector-led economy in line with the open…

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East Africa’s rice sector slated for growth following collaboration among industry players

EAST AFRICA – Rice demand in East Africa has been on the rise in the recent years, triggered by changing consumer preferences, urbanization, diminishing productivity of regional staples such as maize, and population growth. All the East Africa nations have the capability of producing rice but its local out-put is far below local demand, making the countries turn to imports from India, Pakistan, Thailand, United States and China in a bid to meet the balance. According to reports by USDA, Kenya’s rice production is estimated at 159,000 Metric Tonnes (MT)…

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Twiga Foods launches first private label product dubbed SokoYetu Rice

KENYA – Kenyan-based technology food distribution platform, Twiga Foods has further climbed the value chain with the launch of its first private label rice dubbed SokoYetu Rice. Twiga foods is known to source produce directly from farmers and delivers it to retail outlets, kiosks, and market stalls who sell to the end consumers. The launch of the new long grain rice further cements the company’s support to Tanzanian rice farmers in the Kapunga area. Freshly milled directly from paddy, SoKoYetu Rice is sold at the company’s online store known as…

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TBS trains rice stakeholders on recommended standards as production in MY 2020/21 is projected to rise by 13.6%

TANZANIA – Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) has embarked on disseminating information pertaining to the organization, better production principles, standards and recommended operation procedures, to the rice stakeholders in the country. To this end, the regulatory body has urged entrepreneurs dealing with processing, packaging and selling of rice to take into account standards, quality and safety of their products as way to increase productivity. The call was made by the TBS Training and Research Manager Hamisi Mwanasala while training entrepreneurs from Mwanza Region. The entrepreneurs were also guided on to…

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Ghanaian rice producers increase local out-up by 5% as country rallies towards self-sufficiency

GHANA – Domestic rice production in Ghana is expected to jump by 5% to 600,000 MT in the Marketing Year 2021/22, a rise from the previous year’s estimate of 570,000 MT. The increase in production is attributed to expansion of area put under rice cultivation, in line with the country’s plan of becoming self-sufficient in regards to the crop, indicates USDA in a GAIN report. Rice is grown throughout all regions of Ghana. However, the top five production areas are the Volta, Northern, Upper East, Ashanti, and Western in descending…

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Kenya’s demand for grains to surpass local production forcing reliance on imports

KENYA – Kenya is a diverse country with many agro-ecological zones (AEZs) which makes it ideal for agriculture production. However, the country is expected to remain a net importer for corn, wheat, and rice in the Marketing Year 2021/22 as local production does not match demand levels. According to a GAIN report prepared by USDA, the East African nation is expected to produce 4 million MT of its staple grain, corn, during the period under review. This will be against consumption levels of 4.5 million MT due to a rise…

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Central Bank of Nigeria to place sugar, wheat on foreign currency restriction list

NIGERIA – The Central Bank of Nigeria has announced plans to halt foreign currency for sugar and wheat imports, as the country tries to conserve national foreign reserves. According to reports by Naira Metrics, the plan was disclosed by the apex bank via its verified Twitter handle, in a statement credited to the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele. The tweet stated, “Sugar and Wheat to go into our FX restriction list. We must work together to produce these items in Nigeria rather than import them. #Emefiele.” In 2015, the bank listed…

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