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AMIRA Only the finest by any length carries the AMIRA name

the term Golden Rice refer to a genetically engineered, yellow-orange Rice grain that contains beta-carotene. The human body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A . The most recently developed Golden Rice varieties, contain a gene from either maize or daffodil plants and a gene from a common soil bacterium (Erwinia). The enzyme product of these genes lead the formation of lycopene in the grain a process completely absent from the polished rice grain and this lycopene is then converted into beta-carotene and other Provitamin. A Carotenoids (the building blocks of vitamin A) by other enzymes found in the grain. The polished grain from the latest Golden Rice varieties produce up to 36 micrograms per gram of beta-carotene and other provitamin. A carotene - more than a 20-fold increase from the original Golden Rice reported 5 year ago (Ye et al., 2000)2.

How can Golden Rice help improve human nutrition

Worldwide, 125 million children -Particularly those in developing countries-suffer from vitamin. Adeficiency (VAD), causing blindness (up to 500,000 per year according to the world Health Organization) and death Vietnam and Indonesia) have begun breeding this trait into varieties suitable for Asia testing in the field in Asia and with farmer, has began in late 2006.Following the breeding work, the necessary biosafety and related requirement ,varieties suitable for Asia could be released for more widespread the growing within a few years of the tests.

Will Golden Rice be more expensive than regular rice

The technology involved in developing Golden Rice was provided free by the inventors(Ing PotryKus, ETH-Zurich and Peter Beyer, Univ. of Freiburg) using the donation of intellectual property licenses from a number of a private companies .As a result, there will be extra cost to obtain these seeds from IRRI and use them for local purposes. Farmers may also save the seed. No company has plans to commercialize a golden Rice product in developed countries successful varieties developed by the private sector will be donated for public use.

Golden rice :-

An additional one million people die annually due to vitamine A

deficiency and mainutrition. In many of these same countries ,rice is the food staple and may

provide 80% or more of daily calories. Polished, white rice contain no beta-carotene or other forms of provitamin A, and is also a very orr source of other micronutrients (e.g. iron and Zinc). Therfor,the latest varieties of Golden Rice are expected to be a new tool - in addition to existing strategies in helping to overcome VAD among the poor. How much Golden Rice is require to prevent VAD Combined with existing dietary sources, Golden Rice is expected to have a significant impact in reducing malnutrition and premature death. It has been estimated that when the latest Golden Rice is consumed in normal amounts, along with other foods, that most of daily requirements for vitamin A could be met. Tests will soon be carried out in humans to determines the amount of vitamin a that may be derived from the beta carotene in Golden Rice .

When will Golden Rice be available in farmers fields

The newest Golden Rice varieties have been developed by the private sector and are solution U.S. varieties that are not suitable as is for Asia. IRRI and other members of the Golden Rice Network (a network that involves public institutions In india, the Philippines, china, Bangladesh.

Rice update
Indias central government had decided to allow the exportation of a premium variety of nonbasmati rice, PUSA-1121, Beginning October 15, 2008 India had imposed a ban on non-basmati rice exports earlier this year to improve domestics supplies and curtail rising inflation. According to indias Agriculture and food Minister. Sharad Pawar, the Indian government is planning to create a 2 million Mt wheat emergency reserve created earlier this year in the current rice marketing season, over 27.4 million MT of rice had been procures as compared to 24.966 million MT by this time last year.

Indonesia hopes to produce 40 million MT of milled rice in 2009, while maintaining its buffer stock at 3 million MT. According to Indonesias Agriculture Minister Anton Apriyantono, the country was on target to achieving self-sufficiency in rice this year and is likely increase its rice production next year.

Indonesia is expected to produce 37-38 million MT of milledrice in the current year. The Phillippines, the worlds biggest rice importer this year, may buy much less of the grain Department of Agriculture for providing subsidies to encourage farmers to use high-yielding hybrid seeds, fertilizers and other farm input. The GMA rice program was initiated by the department to attain self-sufficiency in rice production by encouraging farmers to use of high yielding hybrid seeds and other farm inputs. According to Chookiat Ophaswongse, president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association, Thailands rice exports may fall to 7,00,000 MT in August, the lowest so far this year. Chookiat added that volumes might decline further next month to around 5,00,000-6,00,000 MT as low demand for rice has started pulling down prices gradually. Thailand has exported somewhere between 7,50,000 to 1 million Mt of rice a month for most of this year. The Vietnamese government has suspended giving out licenses for new golf courses in an effort to maintain soil for rice cultivation and protect poor farmers. Amid Vietnams economics boom, rice land shrank from 4,5 million to 4.1 million hectares between 2000 and 2006 due to the growth of Indus-trial and residential areas, the Agriculture Ministry said in june.

For 2009 barring any major production problems. The Phillippines typically imports about 10% of its annual rice requirement to fill a gap in domestic reduction and boost stocks ahead of the seasonally lean third quarter. Under the agriculture departments rice self-sufficiency plan, unmilled rice production is expected to reach 18.5 million MT in 2010,from a target of 17.3 million MT this year. According to reports in the Phillippine media, The Phillippine Commission on Audit has uncovered irregularities in a PHP218.7 million expenditure by the

Food Security and Biofuels

Energy security has become an area of significance, engaging the attention of all countries. Biofuels have come into prominence as they are considered to be environmentally friendly with reduced gas emissions. Less dependence on fossil fuels is a goal which many nations have set for themselves. The US has fixed a target of reduction in petroleum consumption by 20 per cent in the next 10 years, largely by turning to ethanol and other alternative fuels. Bio-fuels are thus considered to be a viable option for achieving the targeted reduction by many countries. The preferred option of bio-fuel now is agricultural products. These include corn, soya bean, rape seed, wheat, sugar beet, sugar cane and palm oil. it is understandable that a country such as the US, predominantly dictated by the interests of the automobile industry and is selfsufficient in food, has settled for agro-based bio- fuels rather than thinking in terms of reduced consumption.

The use of corn for ethanol production and their demand for soya bean oil has increased world food prices by about 10 percent, according to an IMF report. The Hamburg-based oilseeds analysts Oil world has predicted food crisis unless the use of agricultural products for bio-fuel is curbed or if the weather conditions are ideal and sharply Higher crop Yields are achieved in 2008. More alarming is the forecast that food prices will increase by 20 to 40 per cent in the next decade. Jatropha is ideal as it can be cultivated in waste lands, Little attention and inputs are required. This needs to be gone into carefully to assess the economics as well as employment generation potential .A systematic study of the soil fertility also may be called for.

The desirable proposition

These are times when management gurus talk of out of the box solution .should we be obsessed with bio-energy copying the west and US which are self sufficient in food production ? in fact, the UK had a wheat surplus of 2 million tonnes in 2005 ,which if converted into biofuel (ethanol),would have reduced petroleum consumption by 2.5 percent. it is also to be noted that a 95 liter fuel tank with pure ethanol will require 200 kg of corn-enough calories to feed a person for a year.

Should we not think in term of scientific research to convert non-edible oils into edible oils? Will it not be a more desirable proposition? It may be a challenge to the scientific community, but it is worth pursuing when the threat of rising food prices is looming large before us!

Jatropha curcus is a drought-resistant perennial, growing well in marginal/poor soil. it is easy to establish, grows relatively quickly and lives, producing seeds for 50 years Jatropha the wonder plant produces seeds with an oil can be combusted as fuel without being refined. it burns with clear smoke- free flame. tested successfully as fuel for simple diesel engine. The by-products are press cake a good organic fertilizer, oil contains also insecticide.