September 15,2015

All About Rice News

Daily

Vol 5,Issue XIV

Global Rice E-Newsletter

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The need to formulate Pro-poor research & extension
policies In agriculture
September 18, 2015, 7:11 pm
By Prof. Rohan Rajapakse

Senior Professor and Chair,Department of Agriculture Biology,
University of Ruhuna,
Mapalana,
Kamburupitiya
Application of research outputs in the farmers'
field is a limiting factor in the agricultural sector
of Sri Lanka. On-farm research is essential to
fine-tune the new agricultural technology and
improve the rate of adoption of such
technologies. Hence, research, extension and
development efforts are essential to improve the
level of livelihood of families in the agricultural
sector, particularly the poorer segments of such
families.The issue is to examine in depth, whether current and past performances are focused
towards the benefits that could be gained from the agricultural research and extension policies
and programs, in improving the living standards of the rural poor.
How to identify pro-poor technology
Pro-poor technology should be the outcome of research activities that have focused on the
social, cultural and economic environments of disadvantaged farmers, as well as, poor farming
communities. The elements of pro-poor policies could among others be:
1. Promote opportunities for building assets among poor families
2. Developing infrastructure and disseminating knowledge to poor areas
3. Facilitated empowerment among state and social institutions that work for poor people by
applying good governance and maintaining accountability.
4. Contribute to enhanced security by helping poor people to manage risks
5. Developing national programs to alleviate hunger and responding to major traumas.
The FAO Regional office in Thailand conducted a study along with the Ministry of Agriculture
to introduce this aspect of pro-poor policy formulation in agricultural research in 2009 and the
results were presented.
AGRICULTURE IN THE ECONOMY OF
SRI LANKA
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The agricultural sector in Sri Lanka is focused on food production, increasing gainful
employment, expanding foreign exchange earnings, capital accumulation and labor replacement.
Research and extension activities in the agricultural sector will, therefore, impact greatly on the
economy and needs to be given high priority for better economic development among the
farming community.
The share of agriculture in the GDP in Sri Lanka is one of the lowest in South Asia, despite the
fact that 80% of the population resides in rural areas, with agricultural households accounting
for some 40% of the poor in Sri Lanka. This has serious social and economic consequences as
the potential to increase productivity and improve the level of utilization of resources in the
agricultural sector appears to be limited.
Problems facing the Agricultural Sector
Performance in the Agricultural Sector has been constrained by poor rural infrastructure, an
unstable macroeconomic environment resulting in high interest rates, ill-defined property rights,
and inefficiencies in public sector support services. Together, these have limited the ability of
farmers to increase the efficiency of their operations. Some of the main constraints and
challenges to improve the enabling environment are:
* Low productivity measured in terms of yields of crops, return to land, labour and capital
* Limited land size due to increasing fragmentation
* Poor service to the farming community, leading to high transaction costs
* Lack of improved technical skills among the farming community
* Poor quality Seed and Planting material
* Poor marketing avenues for farm produce
* Reluctance of youth to take to farming
The framework should emphasize a market-based approach aimed at achieving the highest
possible productivity in the sector and increased financial returns to farm households, with
increased employment opportunities for educated youth. However, this should be understood,
keeping in mind the enormous problems faced by a large segment of the farming population that
are poor - both financially and resource wise.
Many of the country's poor are living on smallholdings and depend for a larger part of their
livelihood on agriculture. An effective increase in productivity and profitability in agriculture is
a major mandate to the research and extension system to hoist Sri Lanka's poor out of poverty.
Given the attainment of near self-sufficiency in rice, research and extension programs should
now focus on import substitution and export expansion for other products (e.g., dairy) and other
high value crops.
Pro Poor - Research and Extension
Application of research outputs in the farmers' field is a limiting factor in the agricultural sector
of Sri Lanka. On-farm research at the farmers' field is essential to fine-tune the agricultural
technology to improve the rate of adopting of the same. Hence, research and development
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together with extension is essential to improve the level of livelihood of the poor families who
depend on the agricultural sector.
2.1.3 Strategies:
1. Development of crop varieties, agronomic practices, farm equipment and tools through
agricultural research and by introduction
2. Strengthen research institutes, centers with modern laboratories, equipment, experimental
field facilities.
3. Capacity building of scientists, economists and technical staff
4. Strengthen linkages and collaboration between research and extension.
5. Adopt a participatory approach to enhance productivity in rural communities.
The strategies for this aspect will be through the following:
• Demand driven applied research:
Increasing production within the country crop productivity has to be enhanced, cost of
production minimized and profitability optimized. This can be achieved through demand driven
applied research conducted at agricultural research centers. The activities planned are:
i. Develop new varieties, through hybridization, selection from existing germplasm and the
introduction of exotic varieties.
Research has shown promising new crop varieties developed through hybridization, selection
and introduction from other countries. Such crop varieties have qualities such as high yields,
resistant to pest and diseases, good performances under stress conditions, international standards
in product quality and diversity in consumer preference. In addition, biotechnology research has
shown some potential for introducing the benefits to farmers. Hence, on-farm adaptive research
is needed to select suitable varieties for different cropping/ farming systems under diverse agroecological environments and to popularize these among farmers.
ii. Develop agronomic technologies for increasing water use efficiency, enhancing soil
productivity, and increasing cropping intensity
Research has shown advances in fertilizer formulations for blanket application; site specific
nutrient application; micronutrient requirement particularly Zn and Copper, for obtaining higher
yields from many crops inclusive of rice; integrated plant nutrition; organic farming, fustigation
technologies; application of bio fertilizers; new planting techniques in rice; micro irrigation
techniques; suitability of medium scale machinery in harvesting rice to replace labor, remove
impurities and to minimize grain damages. Such technologies need reaching farmers through a
proper testing of their adaptability.
iii. Develop plant protection techniques which are low cost and effective plant protection
methods, minimum usage of pesticides and for organic farming
Research has shown advances in plant protection with new agro-chemicals; new biological and
mechanical methods in crop protection; integrated plant protection strategies; technology for
minimum usage of pesticides and eco-farming. Such technologies need reaching farmers
through a proper testing of their adaptability.

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iv. Use of modern technology, biotechnology for crop improvement, soil fertility improvement
and planting material production.
Some countries use bio-technology for improving crop varieties and also use Algae, fungi and
bacteria species which are capable of fixing atmospheric nitrogen for enhancing bio fertilizer
production. Those technologies will be adopted in Sri Lanka for crop improvement and biofertilizer production.
v. Participatory Technology Development:
Commodity research has not been always effective in improving productivity in rural
communities and especially in the rain fed farming systems. Technology has to be developed
through participatory and system approaches for wider acceptance by rural communities. This
nature of research has been conducted with teams of scientists comprising extensionists,
economists and researchers, together with farmers. For effective participatory technology
development, the linkages among those parties have to be strengthened.
http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=131968

Rice production: Losses six times more than cash support,
says farmers
By Imran Rana
Published: September 20, 2015

Average paddy productivity is very low compared with regional competitors where the yield is
double than the production in Pakistan, which is the fourth largest exporter of rice in the world.
PHOTO: FILE
FAISALABAD:

A Rs341-billion agriculture relief package announced by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif earlier
this week has not won hearts of all that are associated with the country‘s farms.Growers of
paddy crop, who are perturbed about falling prices of rice in domestic and international
markets, argue that the cash support of Rs5,000 per acre, offered in the package, is not
sufficient to make up for the losses they are enduring.They claim that the losses have jumped
to Rs30,000 per acre, which is six times more than the incentive given to them. Owing to the
market slump, the price of new paddy crop stands 30% lower than last year, farmers say.
However, the crop is bumper and healthy as it has been protected from pest attack.
The government has set aside Rs40 billion for paying the cash grant of Rs5,000 per acre to rice
and cotton growers owning up to 12.5 acres of agricultural land.According to agricultural
experts, basmati rice gives yield in the range of 35 to 45 maunds (40kg) per acre, super basmati
gives 40 to 45 maunds, non-basmati varieties give 50 to 60 maunds and 386 non-basmati
variety produces 45 to 50 maunds.The average paddy productivity is very low compared with
regional competitors where the yield is double than the production in Pakistan, which is the
fourth largest exporter of rice in the world.
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―Indians are very good in agriculture research and development work and scientists there have
developed such paddy seeds that give more than 70 maunds per acre,‖ said Naseer Ahmad, an
agricultural expert, while talking to The Express Tribune.Last year, the price of basmati rice
stood at Rs1,400 to Rs1,600 per maund, but now it has dipped to Rs1,000 to Rs1,100.The 386
non-basmati variety fetched Rs1,000-1,100 per maund last year and the price has now gone
down to Rs650-700, according to Taufeeq Ahmad, a rice exporter and former vice-chairman of
the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan.
He voiced fear that the massive decline in prices would hurt earnings of exporters and he also
pointed to high transportation and shipping costs borne by them. ―The government should give
freight subsidy to rice exporters,‖ he said.Last year, the exporters earned $1.84 billion, but
Ahmad believed that it would be impossible to touch that figure this year following the slump
in international commodity markets. Now, the exporters are looking to make inroads into the
Iranian rice market.
―If Iran starts importing rice, the farmers can recoup their losses,‖ Ahmad said.However,
international buyers are looking perplexed because of wild price movements. Last year, many
of them sustained heavy losses after international prices fell below their purchase price. ―Many
rice traders of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) faced bankruptcy too,‖ Ahmad said.He pointed
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out that the 386 variety had great demand in the UAE, Iran, China and African nations but
price fluctuations kept international traders away.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 20th, 2015
http://tribune.com.pk/story/959924/rice-production-losses-six-times-more-than-cash-support-saysfarmers/

Lagos mulls collaboration with Kebbi on rice production
By Kayode Ogundele
September 18, 2015
Gov. Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi and Ambode of Lagos

Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode has
said that the state government will consider the
possibilities of collaborating with Kebbi State to
explore the economic opportunities in the
production and distribution of high yield quality
rice and other ventures.The Governor spoke at
the closing ceremony of the 2015 Annual
National Women Conference, organised by the
Committee of Wives of Lagos State Officials
(COWLSO) held at the Eko Hotels and Suites,
Victoria Island Lagos.He recalled that his Kebbi
state counterpart, Atiku Bagudu, had during the
opening ceremony of the conference on
Wednesday, sought the cooperation between
women in Kebbi and Lagos States in the
production of high quality yield rice, saying that
it is one area the state will seek to explore.―I am
sure the leadership of COWLSO has taken note
of this and would work towards creating the
platform for this cooperation to work and
further show the economic relevance of women‖.
―I am sure the communiqué that has emerged at this conference will encapsulate a blueprint for
the economic engagement of our womenfolk, not just in Lagos State but across Nigeria,‖
Governor Ambode said.He said his administration will be keen to receive the recommendations
of the conference and see how they can be implemented to improve the lives of Lagosians.―This
conference marks a new beginning for COWLSO. We will remain partners in progress and also
welcome your constructive criticisms to help us improve in our duty to deliver good governance
to the people of Lagos State. This administration counts on your usual support and co-operation,‖
he said.Declaring the conference closed, Osun State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, made
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case for women to be empowered, stressing that, ―there is no society that shackles more than half
of its population that can develop or progress‖.
He also appealed to government at all levels to invigorate efforts in educating the girl child in the
North and women empowerment all over the country.The Governor, who was represented by his
deputy, Titi Laoye Tomori, said recent studies have shown that women through their various
businesses have contributed immensely to the employment rate in the nation.―In recent years, we
have had a reversal of roles on the family front in some cases such that a significant number of
women are now the breadwinners.
Through empowerment, they have been able to sustain businesses and thereby providing for their
families, educating their children and building sustainable homes and businesses‖, he said.In her
closing remarks, Chairman of COWLSO, Bolanle Ambode, said the three-day conference
discussed series of issues among which was the devastating consequences of divorce on the
health and wellbeing of women and children, adding that 80-90 percent of primary care visits to
doctors are due to preventable illnesses, while approximately 95 percent of them are caused by
stress.
She urged all participants to keep the knowledge gained close to their hearts and deploy it
appropriately in future, for maximum advantage.The 10-point Communiqué of the Conference
read by the wife of the Secretary to the Lagos State Government, Professor Ibiyemi Bello,
amongst other things, tasked government at all levels to pay more attention to women
empowerment especially the girl-child.Highpoint of the ceremony was the presentation of
Certificate of Appreciation to four individuals and corporate organisations, including former
House Committee Chairman on Diaspora, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman of Dangote
Group, Aliko Dangote, Anutal Savara and Honeywell Group Nigeria Limited
http://newmail-ng.com/lagos-mulls-collaboration-with-kebbi-on-rice-production/

U.S./China rice trade deal not completed
Protocol still in Chinese review process
Sep 17, 2015David Bennett | Delta Farm Press

Reports that a China/U.S. rice trade pact had been
struck were premature. Hopes that a deal would be
signed next week were put to bed during a
Wednesday (September 16) conference call between
USDA‘s APHIS and major U.S. rice players.―There
was conference call yesterday with high-ranking
APHIS officials,‖ said Michael Klein, USA Rice
Federation spokesman. ―A lot of USA Rice
Federation people were on the call.

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The USRPA (Rice Producers Association) was on the call, as well. ―APHIS officials said they
were doing the call to set the record straight because there are a lot of rumors floating around.
They wanted to confirm there is no confirmation that the Chinese have agreed to the proposal
APHIS sent them in early August. ―What they did confirm is their counterpart in China, AQSIQ,
has sent the U.S. draft protocol to an interagency review process. They‘ve sent it to another
Chinese agency for review.‖Klein was keen to make sure everyone understands ―that doesn‘t
mean AQSIQ hasn‘t made technical changes to what APHIS sent over in August. They may
have. We just don‘t know because AQSIQ hasn‘t gotten back to APHIS with their reaction to the
draft.―We‘re optimistic and think the U.S. rice industry is united behind that last draft. That
included a lot of concessions to the Chinese and asked them for some reasonable concessions, as
well.
We are confident the Chinese could agree to it but there‘s been no confirmation they
have.―There will certainly be no signing next week, which was rumored. We asked APHIS
officials about that. ‗Are you sure there will be no signing next week?‘ They said, ‗that‘s
correct.‘‖Klein said the federation also ―asked point-blank, ‗The USRPA has a press release
saying the Chinese have requested the signing be in Beijing. True?‘ The response from APHIS
was ‗that‘s speculative.‘―There simply was no deal to be delayed.
There was some wishful thinking that the signing would take place next week. You know, ‗Hey,
the right people are coming to D.C. next week. It would be great to have a signing.‘ But without
a deal, there‘s nothing to sign.‖Asked for a statement, Dwight Roberts, USRPA president, said
on the call, ―We were told by U.S. government sources today that the protocol had not completed
the Chinese ‗administrative clearance‘ that was to have been completed in time for the Chinese
delegation‘s visit to Washington, D.C. as APHIS previously had expected.―In the meantime there
is absolutely no indication that there is anything other than a green light towards finalization of
this process.
http://deltafarmpress.com/rice/uschina-rice-trade-deal-not-completed

Just a Passing Glance at Buharinomics
20 Sep 2015
Simon Kolawole Live By Simon Kolawole; Email: simon.kolawole@thisdaylive.com, sms:
0805 500 1961
If anyone needed a good hint on President MuhammaduBuhari'slikelyeconomic policy direction,
he has given one by declaring that there will be "no more devaluation of the naira". It is the
clearestsignalyet that the exchange rate policymay not be formulated by the monetary policy
committee of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). It is going to be determined,
effectively,fromAso Rock. Thus, the exchange rate mayhave nodirect connection to the interplay
of demand and supply in the currency market. Is this good or bad? Actually, every policy has its
good and bad sides, but I honestly don't know how well Buhari's pronouncement will work out.
Things couldeven get messier.
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Listen carefully to Buhari: "The naira has been devalued.It used to be around 160, and now it is
hovering around 200 and above and I don't think it is healthy for us to have the naira devalued
further. That's why we are getting the central bank to make modifications in terms of making
foreign exchange available to essential services, industries, spare parts, essential raw materials
and so on – but things like toothpick and rice, Nigeria can produce enough of those. We don‘t
need to give our hard currency on that but those who insist on having toothpick from Europe or
from China, instead of using Nigerian toothpick, they can go and source their foreign exchange."
Let's break it down to pieces. "The naira has been devalued."True. But we would not be
discussing this if the problem has been solved. "It used to be around 160, and now, it is hovering
around 200."Correct. But crude oil used to be $80 too and it is now $40, so we are short of forex
inflow since oil is our major export."Things like toothpick and rice, Nigeria can produce enough
of those. We don‘t need to give our hard currency on that." Fantastic. But we are not yet
producing enough locally.What then are the overall plans and incentives to encourage local
productionof rice and toothpick — beyond starving the importers of forex?Is forex ban an
incentive? Anyone?
And finally."Those who insist on having toothpick from Europe or from China... they can go and
source their foreign exchange."Beautiful.But 90% of our forex comes from oil — and oil belongs
to the government. Government ispractically the sole earner, sole owner and sole supplier of
forex. If wewere industrialised, we would not be importing this much. Forex demandwould not
be this overwhelming. If we were exporters of petrol, rice, toothpick, chocolate and steel,we
would have diverse source of inflow. CBN would be a little playerin the forex market. Therefore,
sourcing forex elsewhere is not yet feasible. Nigerian importers can't apply to the US
government for dollars.
There is an on-goingdemonisation of theimportation of toothpick and rice.I object. This is trade.
Trade has its own value chain. There are importduties.Banks make margins on loans to traders.
They pay taxes. There are jobs for haulage operators. They pay levies. Sellers make their
margins. Therefore, if you want to stop imported rice or toothpick, you must come up with an
import-substitution programme to create bigger and better value. The programme must factor in
the time it will take to build the factories, the gestation, the infrastructureand the incentives. We
can't start producing sufficient rice and toothpick "with immediate effect". It doesn't work like
that.
My favourite example is cement. Not so long ago, we were heavily dependent on import. In 2005
or so, President OlusegunObasanjo came up with a self-sufficiency plan. Incentives were rolled
out. The only companies allowed to import cementwere those with visible local investments. A
timeline was developed.Today, Nigeria is a net exporter of cement. That is how it works.
Obasanjo did not just say "those who insist on having cement from China can go and source their
foreign exchange".Investors won't start producing rice and toothpick overnight simply because of
a forex ban.It is a business decision, not some national service. Let's be clear on that.
By the way, trading is a major economic activity in Nigeria, at least for now. Denying genuine
traders access to forex will hurtthe economy. The value chain will be jeopardised. Jobs will be
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lost. The GDP will suffer. We will all feel the pain. Import duties are, meanwhile, a major source
of revenue too, so federation revenue will also be hit. If we want to ban importation of rice and
toothpick, there should be an alternative on the ground. If Nigerians eat 10 million bags of rice
per day and produce only 6 million, the shortfall of 4 million must be imported. If you deny the
rice importer forex, there will be scarcity and the price will go up. Who will be hurt? All of us,
not just the importers.
If you care little about the basics of economics, you probably read Buhari with little interest. But
for investors, traders, bankers, economists, economy-watchers and analysts, this was the major
pronouncement they had been waiting for since May 29. They got plenty hints all along — such
as the retention of fuel subsidies and the NNPC maintaining that the refineries will not be sold
but will instead be repaired and run by government. In effect, the foundations of the petroleum
industry bill (PIB) — designed to open up the oil industry by devolvingand divesting state
control — are now, at best,wobbly. We alsonow know that the exchange rate will be politically
determined.
Clearly, Buhari does not want the naira to take any further beating. There may be a nationalist
tinge to it, to protect "national pride and heritage". Maybe he also worries about the impact on
the masses. To be honest, devaluation is not a pleasurable experience for a country that survives
on imports. Prices of goods and services will head for the skies. Only export-led economies may
benefit from devaluation as an inflow of dollars couldtranslate totrailer loads of the local
currency for exporters. But Nigeria is import-dependent and devaluation can indeed make life
more miserable. But we are damned either way. I sympathise with Buhari in this Devil vsDeep
Blue Sea game.
Except he changes his mind, we should expect the naira to officially exchange for N197:$1 for a
while, "by fire by force". However, we should expect the parallel market rate to be at anything
between N210 and N250. If things get worse — say crude oil price falls to $20 per barrel as
predicted — we should expect the parallel market to keep falling, perhaps heading for N300
because the official dollar crumbs it feeds on will also dry up. The CBN will be forced to keep
meeting the official demand at N197. Since we don‘t print dollars, how can the CBN perpetually
keep the exchange rate at N197? Very simple: by perpetually depleting the foreign reserves until
they vanish.
When the reserves run dry, we would not be able to import as we like again, except we run to —
look away now — the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for emergency loans. Yes, IMF helps
troubled economies with short-term fundsto make ends meet. But they don't throw their money
just like that. The good, old IMF will ask us to — look away again — devalue the naira and
remove subsidies!They want to be reassured that our finances are well run to pay back their
money. Alternatively, we can declare a National Day of Fasting and Prayers so that crude oil can
start selling for $120 again. That way, we would have enough forex to defend our national
integrity,
whatever.
If I may quickly chip this in, when we supply forex at N197 to only importers of "essential"
goods and services, there are other issues involved. One, arbitrage and round-tripping can set in.
Clever guys will look at the black market rate and opt to make quick profit. They know how they
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do it. Two, the favoured importers could price their goods at black market rate to maximise
profit. So Nigerians will be buying goods at parallel market rate, whereas the importers bought
forex at official rate. So the inflation we are trying to run away from will still set in. We are
clearly between a rock and a hard place. There are no easy ways out, to be fair. I really
sympathise with the president.
Meanwhile, this naira that I am looking at cannot be on its feet at N197:$1 for much longer.
Something will eventually give. Either we deplete the reserves to keep the rate or devalue the
naira as the "essential demands" keep piling up.Fortune couldwell smile on us overoil price. Or
we can finally choose to liberalise.Obasanjo came to power in 1999 with a statist mindset. It took
him a whiletoembrace liberalisation.The economy exploded in appreciation. Something tells me
Buhari will soon acceptthatWest Germanyhas swallowed up East Germany. It may take him a
couple of years and plenty of mistakes, but I'm so certain he will get the memo someday.
And Four Other Things...

NOISEMAKERS
President Buhari has given us another shocker: that it is civil servants that do the job but
ministers make all the noise. Is that the impression he has been given by those permanent
secretaries he has been working with since he assumed office? Is that why we have not had a
cabinet since? Buhari should commission a research into "a day in the life" of Nigerian civil
servants. He should investigate the owners of choice property in Abuja. He should also
investigate the processes by which money gets stolen from the system. Then we will discuss the
matter again. Stunning.
TSA
TSUNAMI
My belief that ―nothing or no-one is absolutely good or bad in life‖ found further evidence in the
implementation of the treasury single account (TSA). On the one hand, we will have a handle on
all government revenues in the interest of transparency. Also, banks will stop feeding solely on
public funds. One the other hand, the economy will be further squeezed as the already troubled
credit system is jeopardised by lack of cash — with the transfer of over N1.1 trillion to the TSA.
However, credit to Godwin Emefiele, CBN governor, for moving quickly to bridge the liquidity
gap. Kudos.
SARAKI ON TRIAL
Has BukolaSarakifinally come to the end of the road? Since he decided to run for senate
president against the wishes of key APC figures, the battle line had been welldesigned. Indeed,
President Buhari has refused to have a one-on-one meeting with him.The two men are practically
not on speaking terms. I knew something would give along the line. Now that the Code of
Conduct Bureau has finally got something on him, we may be nearing the end game. But getting
rid of Saraki is one thing, replacing him withthe preferred choice is anotherentirely.Dicey.
BURKINA SUFFER
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So in 1993, Gen. Ibrahim Babangidawas forced to "step aside" as military president of Nigeria
after sustained public protests. He set up an interim government and left his ally, Gen.
SaniAbacha, behind. Abacha later did a coup. And so in 2014, President BlaiseCompaore of
Burkina Faso was forced to step down amid widespread protests.An interim government was
installed and his ally, Gen Gilbert Diendere, remainedbehind. Diendere has now carried out his
own coup. What is this thing about African leaders? Why are we eternally locked in crises and
power struggles? When shall Africa be free? Questions.
Tags: Backpage, Featured, Buharinomics, Simon Kolawole Live

Government to ease permits required for exports, imports
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Business | Sat, September 19 2015, 5:42 PM
In following up on the issuance of the government‘s economic policy package last week, the
Trade Ministry will ease export and import regulations to improve the business climate and
ensure national stocks of basic commodities, an official has said. The ministry‘s deregulation
team head Arlinda Imbang Jaya said at least 32 regulations, mostly ministerial regulations,
would be amended by the ministry through October this year.
The ministry will also cut at least 38 export and import permits from the total of 121 permits
under the ministry, including four registered exporter (ET) permits, 21 registered importer (IT)
permits and 13 producing importer (IP) permits. ―We hope the measure will increase the flow of
goods for imports, exports and domestic trade, as well as ensure the supply of the commodities in
the market and therefore stabilize prices,‖ Arlinda said at a press briefing on Friday.
Indonesia recorded US$6.22 billion in trade surplus in the January-August period of this year,
with total exports and imports slumping by 12.7 percent and 18.96 percent year-on-year (yoy),
respectively. The declining exports and imports have indicated that many industries in the
country are still facing a slowdown. The ease for exports and imports will also be applied on socalled strategic commodities, such as rice, sugar, salt and plantation products, with the removal
of requirements for recommendations from other ministries and agencies for the import and
export of the products.
―We have finished talking with the ministries that usually give the recommendations, such as the
Industry Ministry, Agriculture Ministry, Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry and others.
There are some policies that need relaxation from their side to remove the recommendation
requirements,‖ she said.Arlinda added that through the import relaxation, the ministry hoped that
the industry could better utilize raw materials.Imports of raw materials increased by 18.7 percent
month-to-month (mtm) to $9.15 billion in August, a reverse from the 21.4 percent drop a month
before, according to Central Statistics Agency (BPS) data.Under the new regulation, the
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government would make a decision on local production, national demand and import volume of
the commodities in a limited coordination meeting (Rakortas), involving related ministries.
Regarding rice imports, the State Logistics Agency (Bulog) previously said that the national
stock of subsidized rice would be close to running out by the year‘s end, as the stock stood at
62,000 tons while it needed 1.5 to 2 million tons to meet next year‘s demand. The impact of El
Niño on production also loomed, though Agriculture Minister Amran Sulaiman has stated his
confidence on not importing rice this year.
With regard to salt imports, Arlinda said the ministry would scrap requirements for IT and IP,
saying the requirement would only be applied to producing importers‘ identification numbers
(API).Similar ease on imports would also be applied to other commodities, such as steel, with the
scrapping of tax identification number (NPWP) and business permit (SIUP) document
requirements. According to Arlinda, the export-import process would also be available online
starting October.With the easing, the ministry would also still manage the flow of imports by
obliging importers to uphold the policy to label imported product in Indonesian prior to selling
them. (fsu)
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http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/09/19/government-ease-permits-required-exportsimports.html#sthash.jI4scSel.dpuf

Aquino won‘t likely scrap rice import quota
03:34 AM September 19th, 2015
It will be up to the next administration to pursue the removal of the quota on rice importation
and gradually reduce the tariff on the commodity, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio M.
Balisacan said on Friday.Noting that a repeal of Republic Act (RA) No. 8178 or the Agricultural
Tariffication Act of 1996, which had kept the quantitative restriction (QR) on rice importation,
may no longer happen during this administration, Balisacan said the challenge to do so will be
passed on to the next administration.

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The World Trade Organization (WTO) last year allowed the Philippines to extend its QR on rice
until 2017, in a bid to buy more time for local farmers to prepare for free trade in light of the
government‘s goal of achieving rice self-sufficiency.―We can take the period up to 2017 to
prepare farmers and legislators in advocating for the reform from QR to tariffication,‖ Balisacan
said during the policy forum and research symposium dubbed ―Climate Change in the
Philippines: Scenarios, Policies, and Investments in Agriculture.‖Balisacan, who is also the
Director General of the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda), later told a press
conference that in case the QR on rice will be eventually scrapped, slapping an import duty of
30-35 percent would be ―a much better regime than QR.
‖―We can commit to reduce the tariff over time; it can be negotiated with [trading partners],‖ the
Neda chief said.The WTO refers to tarrification as the ―procedures relating to the agricultural
market-access provision in which all non-tariff measures are converted into tariffs.‖―Tarrifying‖
the restriction will make the rice market more predictable, transparent and more market-friendly
while still protecting farmers, he said.Balisacan is pushing for the removal of the quota system,
noting the QR puts the burden of rice demand and supply on the government, while limiting
market forces.
The Neda chief had partly blamed high rice prices, partly due to the prevailing QR regime, for
the higher poverty incidence registered in the first half of last year. The commodity accounts for
a fifth of low income families‘ budgets.Since the government imposes a quota on rice imports,
domestic prices are vulnerable to shocks resulting from meager supply.The extended QR slaps a
35-percent duty on imported rice under a minimum access volume (MAV) of 805,200 metric
tons. Importation outside of the MAV limit are levied a higher tariff of 50 percent.The
Philippines‘ most favored nation or MFN rate—the additional tariff imposed when imported
outside of Asean—on the commodity remains at about 40 percent.
http://business.inquirer.net/199424/aquino-wont-likely-scrap-rice-import-quota#ixzz3mMoVY0hM

From butter chicken to paneer makhanwala at Bali restaurant
September 20, 2015 - 10:37:24 am

By Kavita Bajeli-Datt
BALI, Indonesia: As one walks down the market street on the way to the pristine Kuta beach on
Bali island, Indonesia‘s major tourist destination, it is hard to miss the Queen‘s of India.For the
Indians who come to this beach resort for rest and recreation, but crave for "desi" food,
especially vegetarian fare, Queen's of India is like manna from heaven.In the street dotted with
many restaurants and bars, the Queen‘s stands out not only for its shiny nameplate on top or its
huge swing on the side, but also because it is packed with food lovers - both expats and tourists,
including westerners.No wonder the aroma that floats in air stops many a passer-by who are
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compelled to take a bite of the delicious Indian fare on offer. From south Indian (dosa, uthapam),
to northern (tandoori) or the western (Gujarati thali), all food Indian are served here.

There are many Indian restaurants in Bali from Athithi to Indian Dhaba to Ganesha Ek Sanskriti
Indian Restaurant catering to mostly honeymooners thronging this favoured tourist
town.However, the Queen‘s, which began its journey in 2004 and now has a chain of restaurants
(four outlets) in Bali and two in Jakarata, remains the most famous. So much so that they are
booked by Indians who come all the way from London, Dubai and India to Bali for a destination
wedding.New Delhi-based Puneet Malhotra, the owner of the Queen‘s, said their restaurant is an
epitome of authentic Indian cooking which is served in the most exotic of locations.―At our chain
of restaurants, we understand the basic principle of cooking food - it is not good food unless it
titillates your taste buds into a happy submission.―People choose Queen‘s, when they want to
experience the enriching, authentic flavours of Indian food along with a memorable dining
experience.
Being one of the oldest Indian restaurants, of not just Bali but Jakarta as well, Queen‘s brings
together a pleasurable experience for our each dining guest,‖ Malhotra said.The mouth-watering
butter chicken, chicken makhanwala and prawn tava are most sought after here, while paneer
makhanwala, bhindhi masala and aloo gobhi are the vegetarian fare that is most in demand.The
delicious biryani - both vegetarian and non-veg - served in earthen pots is also a favourite. ―We
have the maximum number of Indian chefs specially flown from India so that our guests get to
taste the true flavours of the delectable Indian cuisines,Â‖ Malhotra, who is helped by his wife,
Neeta Shamdasani Malhotra, a fifth generation Indonesian citizen of Indian origin, born and
brought up in Bali. She is also founder and president of BIFA (Balinese and Indian Friendship
Association) and organizes Diwali and other Indian festivals here.
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Chef Devendra Singh, who earlier worked in a Noida hotel and is now working in Queen‘s
Kuta branch for the past two years, said: ―We largely cater to Indian groups. Indians mostly look
for Indian food whenever they are visiting a country for either leisure or official work.‖ ―Apart
from touring Indians and expats, foreigners love our food. From our vegetarian delights to our
‗gosht‘ segment, the visitors have a wide choice. We source our spices and ‗Basmati‖ rice - to
prepare briyani - from India and thats why the taste is truly Indian.
Our ―Butter Chicken‖, ―Rogan Josh‖ and ―Tandori Chicken‖ is very famous, even the natives
love it.‖They have catered and served Bollywood actors (Shah Rukh Khan, Kareena Kapoor
Khan and Shahid Kapoor), politicians (Atal Bihari Vajpayee, L.K. Advani and Manmohan
Singh) and business tycoons (Lakshmi Mittal), the list goes on.As the brand is making its mark
in Indonesia, Malhotra said they are planning to expand in Australia.―It feel great when people
who have come thousands of miles away from home compliment us about the food or the
westerners who come again and again for our non-vegetarian fare. We want to continue this
tradition of giving a sensory journey into Indian cuisine in Bali to all our customers,‖ Malhotra
added.
The Peninsula

Amarinder seeks adequate compensation for Basmati growers
Last Updated: Sun, Sep 20, 2015 19:20 hrs

Senior Congress leader Capt Amarinder Singh today asked the Punjab government to provide
adequate compensation to Basmati growers who have allegedly been forced to go for distress
sale.In a statement issued here, the leader threatened to launch a protest across the state if his
demands were not met.Singh noted that last year the Basmati sold for about Rs 3,200 per quintal.
But this year the rice variety is not selling for more than Rs 1,200 per quintal."This does not even
meet the input costs of the farmers. Moreover, the Basmati yield is less as compared to other
varieties of paddy," he said.The Congress leader lamented that he has been repeatedly reminding
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to take up the matter with the central government to address
this pressing problem.
"However, he (Badal) only returns after presenting a bouquet to the Prime Minister without
asking for anything, for the reasons best known to him," he said.The former Chief Minister also
warned that if the farmers do not get adequate prices for their produce it may lead to law and
order problem in the state."Better you take serious note of the situation lest it is too late for you
and the state as the resentment and anger among farmers is brewing fast," he charged.The leader
added that he will personally lead the farmers' protests as this government had failed to address
their concerns.Notably, Singh did not attend the 'Kisan Samman rally' by Congress in Delhi
today.
Press Trust of India
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