Women farmers of Bengal’s Jhargram reap fortunes with organic rice

  • Women farmers growing indigenous varieties of rice in Jhargram district of West Bengal. Photo: Aamon women

    Turnover of the company, formed by 2,677 women, from cultivation of indigenous varieties pegged at ₹3 crore for the year

    Panchabati Baske of Damodarpur village and Nirmala Mahato of Murakhati village are trendsetters in their respective villages in West Bengal’s Jhargram district. Though not highly educated, Ms. Baske and Ms. Mahato have started a revolution by cultivating indigenous varieties of rice organically, without using any chemical fertilisers. There are 55 women farmers in Damodarpur village and 21 women farmers in Murakathi village following in their footsteps by growing indigenous varieties of rice.

    Hundreds of women farmers have taken up the cultivation of indigenous rice varieties like Kalabhat (Black rice), Mallifullo (brown rice) and Kerala Sundari (raw aromatic full bran folk rice) and Red Rice, locally called as Sathia, in the remote villages of Jhargram.

    What started in 2017 with a dozen women has taken the form of a company with 2,677 women farmers as shareholders to Aamon Mahila Chasi Producer Company Limited. The number of women cultivators, across the five-gram panchayats of Nayagram block in Jhargram, participating in this initiative now stands at over 4,500. The area of land cultivated this year is more than 1,100 hectares .

    Ms. Baske started by cultivating the indigenous rice varieties in two to three cottahs of land in 2016-17. This year, she has cultivated black rice in 1.5 bighas (1 bigha = 20 cottahs) of land and Sathia rice in one bigha land. “We are saving ₹4,000 to ₹5,000 per bigha on fertilisers and there is not much difference in the yield,” she said. Both Ms. Baske and Ms. Mahato told  The Hindu that they have made profits by cultivating organic indigenous rice varieties. They also said that as stakeholders to Aamon, they have a greater say in decision making when it comes to farming.

    PRADAN, a non-government organisation, have hand-held the women by providing training in the cultivation process. Photo: Aamon women

    PRADAN, a non-government organisation, have hand-held the women by providing training in the cultivation process. Photo: Aamon women

    PRADAN, a non-government organisation, have hand-held the women by providing training in the cultivation process. The body has also set up a rice processing mill and has started marketing the indigenous produce to different parts of the country. A bio- fertiliser unit has also come up in the region replacing the chemical-based fertilisers used in high-yielding varieties by farmyard manure and other natural inputs.

    Madhura Kanjilal, an executive with PRADAN, said that the turnover for Aamon this year is pegged at ₹3 crore. “The women who are part of Aamon have a voice now. Though agriculture is considered a male domain, most of the labour is provided by women. Women farmers at Aamon have the final say as to what to do when it comes to agriculture,” she said.

    According to the women farmers, the yield varies with the varieties. While it is about five to six quintals per bigha for indigenous varieties, for the high-yielding paddy cultivated with chemical fertilisers, this can be about nine to ten quintals. With the price of the indigenous varieties being three times, the women farmers are making profit. 

    Aamon also provided the women farmers with control over what seeds they could use to grow their food. Photo: Aamon women

    Aamon also provided the women farmers with control over what seeds they could use to grow their food. Photo: Aamon women

    Supplementary product

    Aamon has also provided the women farmers with control over what seeds they could use to grow their food, thereby relieving them of dependence on the high-yielding varieties available in the market which require chemical-based fertilisers.  Along with rice, the women also produce plates made of sal leaves, which are abundantly found in the region.  This year onwards, the women farmers are also selling this ecofriendly product.

    Buddhadeb Jana, manager at Aamon, who looks after the marketing of the indigenous organic rice varieties, said that the challenge remains to reach individual customers. “We have customers in different parts of the country from Maharashtra to Tamil Nadu. We at Aamon are mostly dependent on institutional buyers but are ready to sell those seeking orders above 50 kgs,” he said.

    Mr. Jana also added attempts are being made so that the rice varieties are available to individual customers through online platforms.

  • Lotus Foods Introduces Organic White Quick Cook Rice, Ready in Half the Time

  • RICHMOND, Calif., June 23, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Lotus Foods, the leading heirloom and organic rice company, has launched Organic White Quick Cook Rice, a short grain rice that is ready in just 10 minutes or about half the time of most white rice. Perfect for any savory or sweet dish, this unique tiny grain is sometimes referred to as "baby basmati" due to its tender texture, fragrant aroma and delicate flavor.

    Organic White Quick Cook Rice is a beloved heirloom rice variety called Kalijira, grown by family farmers in West Bengal, India, using regenerative More Crop Per Drop® practices that minimize water usage, empower women, financially reward farmers and reduce climate impact.

    Traditionally reserved for special occasions, this innovative new offering now makes it easy to save time when cooking many varieties of global cuisine, all without sacrificing texture and flavor. Organic White Quick Cook Rice will be available at Whole Foods Market stores nationwide this spring and at other major retailers this summer for an MSRP of $4.99 for a 15oz bag. Like all Lotus Foods products, it is certified organic, gluten-free, and non-GMO, and is grown by family farmers who grow rice using organic and regenerative practices.

    Lotus Foods is known for sourcing exceptional rice varieties from around the world, each chosen for its unique flavor, nutritional value and ease of cooking. New Organic White Quick Cook Rice is the latest innovation in flavor and convenience from Lotus Foods, which in 2021 introduced three varieties of Heat & Eat Rice Pouches that are ready in as little as 90 seconds. Lotus Foods also expanded its beloved line of organic rice noodles in 2021 to now include Soba, Pho, Udon and Pad Thai.

    "We're thrilled to expand our organic rice offerings to include a variety that works with so many dishes and makes getting a healthy meal on the table easier without having to compromise quality," said Caryl Levine, Co-Founder/Co-CEO of Lotus Foods. "We are constantly trying new rice varieties in hopes of finding something new we know people will love. Our goal is to introduce innovative, modern products while supporting our global network of family farmers who are growing rice more sustainably."

    About Lotus Foods

    Since 1995, Lotus Foods has partnered in direct and fair trade with small family farmers around the world who are growing rice more sustainably while preserving rice biodiversity. Lotus Foods' product line includes pigmented heirloom and organic rice varieties such as Forbidden Rice®, Jade Pearl Rice, Red Rice, traditional Basmati and Jasmine Rice and Tri-color Rice as well as Rice Ramen, Pad Thai Rice Noodles and Rice Ramen Noodle Soup Cups. Products are available at major retailers nationwide. As a certified B Corporation, Lotus Foods is committed to "Changing How Rice Is Grown around the World" by focusing on rice grown using the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), which we call More Crop Per Drop®. SRI minimizes water usage, empowers women, financially rewards farmers and reduces climate impact. As a business co-founded and co-owned by an Asian American, and with a global supply network encompassing family farmers throughout Asia, Lotus Foods stands with the AAPI community and condemns racial violence.

    SOURCE Lotus Foods

  • Bac Lieu shifts to organic rice farming

  • the transition to organic farming has emerged as an effective solution for the Mekong Delta province of Bac Lieu to cut costs and promote sustainable agricultural production.

    An integrated rice-shrimp farm in Hong Dan district in Bac Lieu. (Photo: VNA)

    Bac Lieu (VNA) – The transition to organic farming has emerged as an effective solution for the Mekong Delta province of Bac Lieu to cut costs and promote sustainable agricultural production.

    The province is believed to have what it takes to expand organic farming as it is home to more than 40,000 hectares of agricultural areas cultivated under the “Fragrant rice – Clean shrimp” production model that applies organic practices.

    Ba Dinh Cooperative in Vinh Loc A commune in Hong Dan district is among the pioneers of organic rice farming. All members of the cooperative have adopted the integrated rice-shrimp farming model, said its director Nong Van Thach, adding that they focus specially on organic practices for rice cultivation.

    With the expansion of the model, farmers have been encouraged to shift to more environmentally-friendly production to reduce costs, increase productivity and product quality, and increase their earnings.

    Farmers have received support from local authorities, especially the provincial agricultural extension centre, to scale up climate-resilient, organic rice areas, and also from businesses to access supplies of quality input materials like seeds, fertiliser and biopesticides, and to distribute their products.

    An alliance of “Fragrant rice – Clean shrimp” cooperatives has been established in the province with 21 cooperative members who are enabled to participate in sustainable value chains.

  • Bac Lieu expands growing rice to organic standards

  • The Mekong Delta province of Bac Lieu is expanding the use of organic fertilisers in rice cultivation to improve farmer’s incomes and protect the environment.

    Bac Lieu (VNS/VNA) - The Mekong Delta province of Bac Lieu is expanding the use of organic fertilisers in rice cultivation to improve farmer’s incomes and protect the environment.

    In the last winter-spring rice crop, Phuoc Long district’s Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Development launched a pilot programme for increasing the use of organic fertilisers and reducing the use of chemicals on a total area of 110ha, with 60 farmers involved.

    Pham Van Cau, one of the farmers, said: “The prices of inputs, especially fertilisers, have shot up, and so the use of organic fertilisers helps farmers reduce costs while rice plants still have high yields and quality.”

    He grew 2ha of Dai Thom 8, a speciality rice variety, and got nearly 10 tonnes per hectare, and earned more than 300 million VND (13,000 USD), he said.

    Organic fertilisers cost less than chemical fertilisers, and farmers in fact can make them themselves from animal waste, leaves and other agricultural by-products.

    Thai Thi Loan, deputy head of the bureau, said organic fertilisers improve soil quality and help rice plants grow well and prevent diseases.

    The pilot programme helped reduce the use of chemical fertiliser by 50-70 percent, she said.

    The bureau plans to expand the organic rice cultivation, she added.

    In the last winter-spring rice, the province Agriculture Extension Centre implemented organic rice farming models on a total of 300ha in Phuoc Long, Hoa Binh and Vinh Loi districts.

    Farmers who took part in them were given free seeds and biological pesticides, and taught advanced farming techniques.

    Huynh Quoc Khoi, director of the centre, said the models reduced costs by 10-20 percent while yields were still high and farmers got higher prices for their clean rice.

    Bac Lieu has great advantages in adopting to organic standards since it has more than 40,000ha of lands where rice is grown in the rainy season and shrimp is bred at other times.

    This model is naturally clean with farmers required to use few chemicals.

    Local authorities encourage farmers to join co-operatives and tie up with companies to implement the model to ensure they can sell their produce and also grow high-quality rice for export.  

    Ba Dinh Cooperative in Hong Dan district was one of the first co-operatives to grow rice to organic standards, and its members now have 300ha under shrimp-rice.

    In the last winter-spring rice crop, they planted ST24 and ST25 rice varieties, which have won awards as the world’s best.

    Nong Van Thach, director of the co-operative, said: “All the rice was planted to organic standards.”

    The co-operative guarantees outlets for all members’ produce, buying the rice at 15-20 percent above market prices and selling it to HCM City, he said.

    Bac Lieu has established the Fragrant Rice - Clean Shrimp Co-operative Alliance with the participation of 21 co-operatives which have more than 4,000ha under shrimp-rice.

    The co-operatives have created favourable conditions for establishing value chains for their products.

  • A bowl of organic rice a day to keep the doc at bay

  • Speaking to DT Next, she gives us a lowdown on lesser-known rice varieties rich in nutrients required for the body.

    CHENNAI: We are the bridge that connects farmers and consumers. We are the middlemen so to speak,” Dr. Vijayalakshmi, Director of Sempulam Sustainable Solutions laughs.

    Sempulam Sustainable Solutions is a 30-year-old company that offers consultancy services to individuals keen on embarking upon sustainable and organic farming, at any scale.

    Vijayalakshmi is backed by a team of researchers, scientists, and farmers aiming to produce healthy and organic rice varieties.

    Speaking to DT Next, she gives us a lowdown on lesser-known rice varieties rich in nutrients required for the body.

    Arbutham Kuruvai:

    This rice variety is a short-term variety of rice that is cultivated in 60-70 days and hence the name. Arbutham Kuruvai is normally cultivated during the period Dec 15 to Mar 15 (Navarai and Kuruvai). This rice variety is rich in proteins, calcium, iron, phosphorus, and magnesium. Dishes like idli, dosa, idiyappam, puttu, porridge, and kozhukattai can be made with this rice variety. Since each variety has different cooking points, the method to cook this rice is a 1:2 rice to water ratio with three whistles on a pressure cooker.

    Raktashali:

    It is dark red in colour with normal texture. Other than it being used for cooking, this rice variety has medicinal properties and is considered nearly an extinct variety of medicinal rice. Ayurveda uses this rice to cure bodily imbalances, purify the blood, and also act as an immunity booster because of the high zinc content. This rice is recommended for lactating mothers. To cook this rice, it is recommended to soak the rice for a couple of hours and use the same water for cooking.

    Anandanoor Sanna:

    This rice gets its name from the region, Anandanoor where it is grown. Sanna which means fine and thin in Tamil indicates the quality of rice. It is generally cultivated from July 15 to January 14 (Samba) since the preferred soil for cultivation must be clayey in texture. The rice to water ratio is 1:2 with four whistles on the pressure cooker. It is rich in magnesium, phosphorus, and protein.

    Iravai Pandi:

    This rice variety is named after a king. It is usually cultivated from July 15 to January 14 (Samba) and needs sandy clay soil. This rice variety is most suitable for South Indian dishes. Soak the rice five hours before cooking. The rice to water ratio is 1:3 with four whistles. It is rich in calcium, potassium, and zinc.

    Karuthakaar:

    This rice variety is cultivated during Samba and is used by people with diabetes. It majorly helps the body build immunity to jaundice. It can be used to make idli, dosa, and other meals. Soak the rice four hours before cooking. The rice to ratio is 1:3 with four whistles. The texture of the cooked rice is coarse.

  • Thailand promotes development of organic rice

  • The Thai Government has urged relevant agencies to step up the promotion of organic rice to raise the income of farmers and create sustainability in the agricultural sector.

    Bangkok (VNA) - The Thai Government has urged relevant agencies to step up the promotion of organic rice to raise the income of farmers and create sustainability in the agricultural sector.

    According to Boonyarit Kalayanamit, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Commerce, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, as Chairman of the National Rice Policy Committee, recently ordered related agencies to rev up promotion of the second phase of the organic price promotion plans for 2022-25.

    The PM also assigned responsible agencies to focus more on research, plant breeding and rice technology to upgrade farmers' income and quality of life, while the government should be able to lower its financial burden for the price guarantee scheme over the long term, Boonyarit said.

    There is 700,000 rai of organic rice, mainly planted in the Northeast (a rai equal to 1,600 square metres).

    In a related development, the National Rice Policy Committee approved 146 million baht (4.2 million USD) to support organic rice farming this year.

  • IBIS Rice programme set to recruit more farmers

  • The Sansom Mlup Prey Organisation (SMP) announced it is recruiting farmers to join its IBIS Rice programme. Members will carry out organic rice cultivation and wildlife rescue in four provinces – Stung Treng, Ratanakkiri, Mondulkiri and Preah Vihear. SMP executive director Keo Socheat said the enrolment of new members to the programme is free of charge, and there is no limit to the number of members, provided they qualify. This project aims to improve the lives of people living in protected areas and encourage them to participate in conservation activities, he said. “Membership is free, and we provide them with good quality rice. We have selection committees in each village that will assess the candidates. The farmers can grow the rice wherever they want – unless they encroach on forest land,” he added. Socheat said that nearly 1,500 families are currently on the programme. As a general rule, when people grow organic rice – which contributes to the rescue of wildlife – his NGO will offer 20 to 30 per cent above the market price, and sometimes up to 60 per cent. The NGO said on March 28 that if farmers are interested in increasing their income by growing wildlife-friendly rice – and live near the targeted wildlife sanctuaries – they should contact the project coordinator in their area to find out more details. Applications close at the end of April. The programme will be available to those who live in or near Lumphat Wildlife Sanctuary and Veun Sai-Siem Pang National Park in Ratanakkiri; Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary in Mondulkiri; Siem Pang and Prey Lang Wildlife Sanctuary in Stung Treng; and Kulen Promtep, Prey Preah Roka and Chhaeb wildlife sanctuaries in Preah Vihear. The NGO said that in addition to receiving high market prices, by participating in this project, farmers are protecting forests and wildlife, as well as preventing climate change. They also get access to new farming techniques. Lin Sambath, a field worker at the NGO, said that he inspects the rice at each stage of growth until it is delivered to the mill. The quality inspection of the rice is based on size, colour, cracking and hardness, and includes peeling, seeding and moisture inspection processes. Sambath said he quit his job at an oil company to work with this NGO because of the value of its four main principles – The use of non-chemical fertilizers, protecting the forest, refraining from cutting down trees and trading in illegal timber, and the protection of wild animals. “I expect that most new members will be with the project for a long time. The IBIS rice programme offers a real chance at a better life, and gave a lot of farming families the chance to send their children on to higher education. I hope that the next generations will see the forests and the wildlife and will recognise and understand the work that went into preserving them,” he said.
  • Despite rising recognition, Pokkali farmers seek help

  • Pokkali rice from central Kerala, a grain variety that has a geographical indication (GI) tag in 2007, has now become a part of India’s postal stamps.
    Express News Service
    KOCHI: Pokkali rice from central Kerala, a grain variety that has a geographical indication (GI) tag in 2007, has now become a part of India’s postal stamps. In an event organised by Kadamakudy Nellulpathaka Padasekhara Samithi in Kochi, the stamp was released to the public in the presence of Vypeen MLA K N Unnikrishnan, District Collector Jafar Malik and Post Master General of Central Kochi Mariamma Thomas.  The move will help popularise pokkali, a unique rice variety that can grow in saline waters, said K A Thomas, secretary of Kadamakudy Nellulpathaka Padasekhara Samithi. He said the organisation will submit a memorandum to the MLA and the collector detailing the struggles and demands of paddy farmers.  “Pokkali rice is grown without any fertilisers or pesticides — be it organic or chemical. That is what makes pokkali rice unique and highly nutritious. But now, pokkali farmers are struggling to stay afloat. Moreover, the number of paddy fields and farmers producing pokkali has also come down drastically,” said Thomas. The base price set by Supplyco for the rice is Rs 28 per kg. “It is to be noted that many organic varieties are sold at over Rs 100 per kilo. It’s difficult for the farmers to survive when our crops are so underpriced,” Thomas said.   The reduction in the price of prawn varieties, which are farmed in waterlogged pokkali fields after harvest, has made things worse for these farmers. “In 1995, we used to earn nearly Rs 300 per one kilo white shrimps. Now, we get only around Rs 200 even for the highest quality prawns. Pokkali farmers used to depend on prawn farming to survive. But right now, neither of them is fetching us enough money. If we spend around Rs 45,000 for farming pokkali, we earn only around Rs 25,000,” he said. To survive, the organisation has demanded the government revise the base price to Rs 120 per kg. Demands Increase the base price of pokkali rice to I120 Help farmers with basic cultivation needs Help to remove silt from farms Adding pokkali to super-speciality rice category  A governemnt master plan to help the prawn and pokkali farmers
  • Cooperative nets much yearly from growing organic rice

  • The Long Hiep Cooperative in the Mekong Delta Province of Tra Vinh’s Tra Cu District has gradually grown and netted hundreds of millions of Vietnam dong per year from growing organic rice though it faced many various difficulties, lack of investment capital, application of technology at first.
     
     Cooperative nets much annually from growing organic rice ảnh 1
    After graduating with a master's degree in food technology, young man Tram Minh Thuan worked for a time to gain experience, then returned to his hometown in Long Hiep Commune in Tra Cu District to establish Long Hiep cooperative. In 2018, the cooperative went into operation but faced many difficulties because people did not trust this model initially. Thanks to the support of local government and scores of organizations, the cooperative has gradually grown gaining residents’ trust.
    The cooperative had 61 members, the farming area was about 50ha, now it has expanded to 120ha with 72 members, specializing in cultivating rice varieties OM 18, OM 5451, ST24, and ST25. The cooperatives focus on producing high-quality, organic rice, grown by exploiting the natural productive power of paddy fields without relying on pesticides or chemical fertilizers in combination with giant freshwater prawn farming.
    According to the cooperative’s plan, normal rice is grown in a large field in Long Hiep commune, which is less susceptible to saline intrusion while organic rice is grown in an area of about 20 hectares in Dong Xuan commune in Duyen Hai District, where salinity is affected. In the saline area, the cooperative will also raise freshwater shrimp.
    Organic rice cultivation has a lower yield than normal rice production, but many farmers prefer growing organic rice in saline areas because without using pesticides and chemical fertilizers, farmers can breed freshwater prawns. In addition, the cooperative promised to buy all organic rice according to the market price and pay farmers an extra of VND500 a kilogram of rice they buy.
    According to Mr. Thuan, the cooperative will continue to invest in growing organic rice by expanding the area of organic rice cultivation and developing the clean rice supply chain. The expansion of organic rice cultivation area not only helps the cooperative to develop but also helps farmers not to be forced to sell rice at lower prices to traders.
    In addition, the cooperative has constantly improved the value of clean rice production chains in saline areas with typical clean rice products and rich flavors investing in rice seeds and providing microbiological fertilizers for farmers to produce according to the technical process.
    Cooperative nets much annually from growing organic rice ảnh 2An aerial view of an organic rice field
    This approach helps cooperative members reduce investment costs and increase productivity by 10-20 percent. The cooperative proposed to buy organic rice at high prices, farmers are more excited. Currently, the price of organic rice is about VND7,500 per kg widely consumed.
    The profits of the cooperative have increased year by year, in 2021 alone, the revenue reached VND3.2 billion (US$139,708), bringing hundreds of millions of Vietnam dong in profit, said Thuan.
    Thanks to his contributions to the province’s growth, Mr. Tram Minh Thuan has just been elected as Vice Chairman of the Young Entrepreneurs Association of Tra Vinh Province. In addition, Mr. Thuan also entered the top 100 outstanding young entrepreneurs nationwide in 2021 and was one of 56 typical young people to receive the 2020 Luong Dinh Cua Award.
    Mr. Le Van Dong, Deputy Director of Tra Vinh Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that the Long Hiep cooperative is highly appreciated by functional sectors. From this effect, the province is continuing to replicate and develop many similar models in the area.
  • India’s natural, organic farming strategy for rice and wheat

  • This can help in targeting global export market, thereby feeding the world population and getting valuable foreign exchange for the country India’s natural, organic farming strategy for rice and wheat Photo: iStock India is predominantly agrarian — 80 per cent of the population is directly or indirectly dependent on agriculture. Rice and wheat are the staple for 90 per cent of the country’s people.  Till the early 1960’s, the predominant mode of cultivation was what is now called “organic farming”, with no synthetic fertilisers or pesticides available or known.  At that time, farmers relied on cow dung, twigs of leguminous plants like Crotalaria junceaTephrosianeem and jeelugu. These materials mulched the fields ploughed for rice plantation. Oil cakes of groundnut, castor, neem were also used which is a good source of nitrogen.  Since the use of urea from the beginning of the 1960s, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium-based fertilisers became available after the establishment of industrial plants at Sindri (Bihar) Udyog Mandal (Kerala).

    Fortunately, in this decade, synthetic pesticides like dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), endrin, and others entered the market. Another spectacular discovery was that of the high-yielding hybrid wheat and rice. The high-yielding wheat was discovered by Norman Borlaug (Nobel Prize winner) and was rapidly adopted by India largely due to the pioneering work of Dr Swaminathan and MV Rao. 

    Swaminathan is remembered as the ‘father of Green Revolution’ and Rao as the “wheat man of India”. With hybrid varieties and synthetic fertilisers and insecticides, the production of rice per acre increased to 40 quintals from 10 quintals, a tremendous victory in fighting hunger. There were also some setbacks during the 1960s and 70s. India’s budget (read agriculture) is dependent on the monsoon season, as George Curzon pointed out in 1905.  Due to drought from 1964-70, India had to import food and became heavily dependent on the United States for wheat supplies under the Public Law 480 agreement. At one time, we were eagerly waiting for the arrival of a ship full of wheat at the Mumbai port. The late former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri gave a call to “miss a meal” on Monday nights as a part of the Jai Kisan movement.  Green Revolution Ultimately, the Green Revolution was initiated. The theme of the initiative was to boost food grains production of rice and wheat using any method and at any cost. Success followed many setbacks. Biologist-turned-science-writer Rachel Carson published a seminal book called Silent Spring, focused on the harmful effects of pesticides, primarily DDT on our health and environment.  DDT was found to be non-biodegradable and its remnants were traced everywhere — in our body, soil and water. Studies showed its effects on liver and kidneys, including causing cancers.  Scientists rapidly found alternatives and advocated Integrated Pest Management (IPM). IPM is a need-based use of pesticides, alternating crops, intercropping as well as usage of bird perches where birds rest, detect insects on crops and eat them.  After DDT, other insecticides like monocrotophos, metasystox, cypermethrin came into use but these are equally harmful to humans, livestock and fish. The “turn to nature” to get pesticide-free food has become a priority. The order of the day is organic farming — natural farming or zero-budget agriculture — which is welcome and most wanted in the agriculture sphere. 

    Not without setbacks

    The first and foremost sound solution is the usage of organic manures from compost, cow dung and ploughing and mulching of leguminous plants. Several plant-based botanical pesticides were discovered. Neem oil, neem kernel extracts, which contain azadirachtin, is the active principle discovered by Germans, the United Kingdom and US.  Neem revived the hope of using harmless pesticides but its availability is very low. Several commercial formulations were available in India. Karanj oil (Karanjin active principle), several leaf extracts like Adathoda and garlic-buds aqueous extracts are found to be effective to some extent as active repellants but they cannot replace synthetic pesticide. There is a growing awareness in India to cultivate the crops by natural fertilisers such as cow dung, leguminous green manures, compost, vermicomposting and biopesticides fungi, bacteria and virus-based  pesticides like Bacillus thuringiensisPseuedomonas aegleTrichoderma verdi.  These bio-pesticides are chiefly produced from diseased insects and soil, among other things. However, it only has limited use on too few fruit and vegetable crops. The problem with the bio-pesticide production is that it is confined to a small industry with no standardisation and doubtful efficacy. Several symposia are held by non-governmental organisations, ideal farmers and governments. Many agricultural magazines hail the miracles of higher yields from organic farming. Particular mention should be made about jeevamrutham — a recently designed concoction called Ramabanam, which gained prominence. These concoctions are made from jaggery, ginger, cow milk, cow curd, cow dung, cow urine, asafoetida. All the ingredients are mixed and fermented for a week, diluted and sprayed on crops.  It is claimed that the product can be used as a fertiliser and a pesticide. The farmers who experimented were quick to endorse the products. Their studies on organic farming presented in symposia on organic farming, however, were confined to few vegetables like tomatoes over a limited area. The yield, the farmers said, is high but not quantified with randomised block design studies.   The active principle of such concoctions is unknown and doesn’t stand scientific security. Moreover, the cost of these concoctions is as high as pesticides and starting products like cow dung are not available in plenty as of today.  For about 90 per cent Indians, rice or wheat are almost exclusively the staple food. So, encouragement of organic farming in a country like India will be meaningful, if applied for rice / wheat. Studies on these crops should also be prioritised. The inconvenient truth, as many farmers put it, is that the land is infertile now without urea in the first few days of rice plantation, and with no application of synthetic pesticides, the entire crop is prone to pests resulting in no yield. The challenge for agriculture scientists is how to maintain the current volume of yield (40 quintals per acre) with organic farming. We need to take with caution some sporadic success stories of organic farming on vegetables and fruits grown in an acre or two. Thus, all the available tools we have with us, like bio-fertilisers, bio-pesticides, green manure and vermicompost, their limitation is discussed herein. Constraints of sustainable organic farming are: None of the organic farming tools are available, especially for organic farming of rice that is the staple food in India. Importantly, the whole organic farming depends on cow dung, which is dwindling even as we are particular about their protection (gosamrakshana).  The staple food for cattle is rice straw. While we claim rice production is high and in surplus, the cost of rice remains very high and is not affordable for the poor man. Thus, the increase of cattle population is linked to paddy by rice production. Both are interlinked. Quantification for pesticide residues in food should be done by High Performance Liquid Chromatography / Mass Spectra / Mass Spectra (HPLC / MS / MS) method. The sophisticated method has been adopted by advanced countries but is still not in use in India.  The real structure of crop production is dependent on high-yielding hybrid seeds. Continuous research on high yielding varieties by cross breeding with pest resistant wild varieties is essential.

    Compost from urban areas and vermicompost, in particular, don’t seem to have been examined for pesticide residues and harmful trace elements such as arsenic, cadmium, mercury and lead is needed by using HPLC /MS / MS method and atomic absorption spectroscopy. 

    Introduction of transgenic varieties is not recommended for organic and natural farming. Therefore, it is wise to use the first three sprays on crops with natural organic materials and the last two sprays with synthetic pesticides. Research on organic farming should be done using robust scientific methods only. Surprisingly, rice was found to contain high pesticides and trace elements.  This technique should be standardised in India. Our slogan should be “natural and organic farming with high yields at an affordable price to the common man”. India’s wheat exports surpassed $872 million (2021-22) and rice exports in 2021-22 is likely to surpass the record $10 million, according to the agriculture department of the Government of India. 
  • ‘Formulate organic food policy to regulate outlets in State’

  • An exhibition of traditional paddy strains under way at Bishop Heber College in Tiruchi on Friday.

    Organic rice farming can be profitable if marketed well, says expert

    The importance of promoting organically-farmed traditional paddy varieties was the focus of a conference organised by the Department of Biotechnology and Bioinformatics, Bishop Heber College in collaboration with Consumer Research, Education, Action, Training and Empowerment (CREATE) and its affiliated programme Save Our Rice Campaign Tamil Nadu on Friday. The event included an exhibition of traditional paddy strains. “For the past 15 years, we have conducted the National Paddy Festival, and distributed traditional rice seeds to farmers. As a result, they have started shifting over to organic rice farming. But they face a major problem with marketing their produce. Only when they can sell their crop can farmers sustain organic cultivation. We are taking some steps to rectify this situation from this year,” P. Duraisingham, chairman of Madurai-based CREATE, told The Hindu. “Since it is World Consumer Day on Saturday, we have invited consumer group heads from 40 districts to brief them about the medicinal value and nutritional benefits of heritage paddy,” he added. The lack of certification was a major drawback in organic paddy farming today, said Mr. Duraisingham, who is also a member of Bureau of Indian Standards. “We would like the State government to formulate an organic food policy to regulate the outlets. From the consumer’s perspective, the price of organically grown rice is exorbitant. This too has to be standardised, because some farmers and middlemen are creating a false impression about the high cost of organic cultivation,” he said. In her address, Usha Soolapani, national convenor of ‘Save Our Rice Campaign’, said, “Along with wheat, maize and potato, rice is among the four crops that ensure global food security. Paddy is a part of Asian culture, and India is a major producer of rice. But even though farmers are growing more than three times of what we need, they are still losing money when they invest in rice cultivation. This is why they are moving away to more remunerative crops such as banana, coconut and areca.
     
    R. Ponnambalam, CREATE managing trustee, Sridhar Radhakrishnan, Save Our Rice Campaign national coordinator and Bakkiyalakshmi, Assistant Professor of Biotechnology, Bon Secours College, Thanjavur also spoke.
  • Sri Lanka: Government’s Badly Planned Organic Farming Policy

  • sri lanka farm rice By R.M. Samanmalee Swarnalatha Sri Lankan government’s badly planned organic farming policy that has banned the use of chemical fertilizer in farms has upset farmers in this rice-growing heartland and a political stronghold of the ruling coalition. The policy has also drawn criticism from agricultural experts, who warn that Sri Lanka’s food security is at stake. Chairman of Minneriya Integrated Farmer Organization, Anil Gunawardhna argues that the government organic fertilizer program is an utter failure because it was announced without any proper program and work plan to achieve its aims. “The government’s original plan was to achieve this organic cultivation in ten years time.  However, without any discussion with farmers they banned the import of chemical fertilizer,” he complains. Writing in The Sunday Times in May last year just after the government banned chemical fertilizer imports, agricultural scientist Saman Dharmakeethi criticized the decision predicting that it would cause loss of forests and a food crisis.  In his election campaign in 2019 under the theme of ‘ Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour’  President Gotabaya Rajapakse, clearly mentioned that “building up a community of citizens who are healthy and productive, we need to develop the habit of consuming food with no contamination with harmful chemicals”. In order to guarantee the peoples’ right to such safe food, the entire Sri Lankan agriculture will be promoted to use organic fertilizers within ten years, the election policy platform said.
     
    When President Rajapakse banned the importation of chemical fertilizers and pesticides in April 2021, he cited health concerns. The ban on its importation was imposed through an Extraordinary Gazette Notification on May 6th last year, following the Cabinet endorsement of the plan under the theme of  “Creating a Green Socio-economy with Sustainable Solutions for Climate Change”.  The document admitted that the use of chemical fertilizers has led to better harvests but has also contaminated lakes, canals and groundwater. For more than two decades a mysterious kidney disease has been spreading among farmers in the mainly rice-growing areas, which has baffled both hydrologists and medical experts. It is suspected that the overuse of chemicals in farming may be the cause.

    Weaning Away From “Green Revolution” Technology

    With many vested interests at work, the government is learning a bitter lesson that it is not easy to wean away farmers from the use of chemicals in farming. It needs careful planning and closer consultations with farmers. The agricultural production system in Sri Lanka consists of two traditional and well-defined components. One is the plantation section, established during the colonial period, consisting of large units, and producing perennial crops such as coffee, tea, rubber, and coconut mainly for export. The other is the smallholder sector comprised of small farms, which produce most of the country’s rice, vegetables, legumes, tubers, spices, and fruits. While, fertilizers and pesticides have long been used for the production of plantation crops in Sri Lanka, until several decades ago, most of the smallholder operations were farmed with little or no input of agricultural chemicals. Wide use of chemical fertilizer was introduced to the country during the so-called ‘green revolution’ in the decades 1960-70 along with “high-yielding” seeds.

    Costly Fertilizer Imports and Subsidy

    In 2020, Sri Lanka imported (both state and private sector) foreign fertilizers worth  $259 million, representing 1.6 percent of the country’s total imports by value according to Central Bank statistics. Sources indicate that the 2021 import bill could potentially total in the range of $300-$400 million given current international prices. By limiting and/or banning costly foreign exchange draining fertilizer and agrochemical imports, the Sri Lankan government aims to generate significant import cost savings. But, Professor Buddhi Marambe, a former Dean of Agriculture Faculty at the University of Peradeniya in recent newspaper articles has warned that an overnight shift to organic fertilizer could lead to crop declines that in turn cause huge food shortages within months. “We have spoken based on science. Without going for evidence-based decisions, nothing will go right,” he argues, refuting claims by the government that they are being manipulated. “Food security is national security,” he stresses, adding, “we must have sustainable policies to ensure food security because there is no point relying on food imports from outside”. 

    Rice Farmers’ Grievances

    Some rural farmers have already decided not to cultivate Sri Lanka’s staple rice in the ongoing ‘Maha’ or next ‘Yala’ cultivation seasons, because of the government’s failure to supply necessary fertilizers. Farmers here are deeply unhappy at the sudden banning of the import of chemical fertilizer. They mainly cultivate paddy, low country vegetables, cereals, grains, and onions. However, in this ‘Maha’ season, they could not use chemical fertilizer, If the government promised to supply the required organic fertilizer, farmers say they didn’t receive it at the correct time. Rice farmers have thus used different fertilizer that is normally used for tea, cinnamon, and coconut. They say this season’s rice harvest is very disappointing with resulting low incomes. Piyarathna, Chairman, Eksath Sulu Farmer Organization, representing farmers from Dehiyannewela, Divilunkadawala ,Viharagama, Medirigiriya areas told IDN that there are 142 farmers in their farmer organization and they cultivate more than 190 acres using minor irrigation  water. “Our farmers normally harvest 100- 120 bushel (2500-3000 kg) per acre using chemical fertilizer. However, this time farmers can’t expect such harvest due to improper fertilizer usage” he says, adding, “farming is now a business enterprise, (and) farmers cultivate not only for (their)consumption”. Paddy plants take around 3–6 months to grow from seeds to mature plants, depending on the variety and environmental conditions. They undergo three general growth phases: vegetative, reproductive, and ripening. “Our farmers cultivate two groups: the short-duration varieties which mature in 105–120 days and the long-duration varieties which mature in 150 days”, he explained.  “They (farmers) use hybrid seed and not traditional varieties. These hybrids varieties need quality fertilizer to increase the harvest. By using organic fertilizer farmers can’t expect high yield”.  Piyarathna says that farmers in the Polonnaruwa area have complained that the compost they have received is of inferior quality with most of the purchased compost having debris, seeds and stones. Kapila Ariyawasnsa, a 38 year old farmer from the Ekamuthu Bedum Ela Farmer Organization in Mahaweli river irrigation System B told IDN that he cultivate 8 acres of low land  both in Yala and Maha seasons – mainly paddy – and there are also 206 rice farmers belonging to his organization. He thinks that the proposed organic fertilizer program is not practical in their area. “There are not enough resources to make compost in our village. Greenery vegetables can be cultivated using compost, not paddy,” he argues, because  “there is no traditional varieties and only have all hybrid seeds (and) these hybrid seeds need required fertilizer for bumper harvest”. Further, he said that he had to spend Rs 23000 (USD 115) to purchase Yuria in black market. Ariyawasnsa, predicts that the rural economy will collapse after the coming rice harvest. “Farmers won’t have the yield this time, they would get only 30 per cent of the harvest” he predicts.  “Most of the people in Mahaweli area depend on agriculture”. He added that not only Mahaweli B zone, but most farmers in the Polonnaruwa District, would face bad harvests due to the government’s organic fertilizer program. “The current government’s policy (has been based on) unplanned policy decisions” he laments.

    Farmer’s Expectation

    There is also growing interest among farmers for producing organically-grown food products and they understand the export potential for it. Some farm production units have already experienced considerable success in such ventures. Organic food production and marketing could be greatly expanded in Sri Lanka. But, research is needed to develop organic farming systems and practices that are efficient, productive, and profitable. This is the criticism the government is facing at the moment. M.G. Dayawathi Chairman of Kalukele People’s company said that banning of chemical fertilizer has affected their company’s microfinance system too. “We have given more than 52 lakhs (5.2 million) of cultivation loans to 75 farmers for this Maha season. Unfortunately, farmers would not make the expected income and they are not in position to repay loans” she told IDN “Moreover, farmers mortgage their gold and their vehicles to purchase chemical fertilizer in the black market. They are trapped in a loan cycle.  Government cannot expect livelihood improvement (among farmers) with this kind of unplanned program”. 
  • 1st Woman Entrepreneur From Village

  • 1st Woman Entrepreneur From Village, 63-YO Earns Rs 50K/Month with Organic Rice & RagiTadhvanam organic products Saroja Patil from Karnataka started Tadhvanam to sell organic farm products that earn her Rs 50,000 a month. She now helps farmers switch to organic farming while promoting a healthy lifestyleIn the recent annual budget, the Indian government emphasised the use of chemical-free, natural farming methods for farmers and committed policies towards it. But Saroja Patil from Nitturu village of Harihar taluk in Karnataka has been practising the same for over two decades. She is the first woman entrepreneur of her village to become a pioneer in organic products. Moreover, the 63-year-old helped empower hundreds of women across Karnataka. A native of Arablache in Bhadravati taluk, she says. “I am the second born among three daughters and I never studied beyond Class 10.” She moved to Nittur village after marrying Nagendrappa in 1979. Her husband’s family owned 25 acres of farmland, but eventually, the family separated, and her husband became an owner of a smaller distributed piece of land. To earn an additional income to make ends meet, Nagendrappa joined a coir factory in the village. “The factory made mattresses, ropes and other products by converting coconut waste into coir. So, I decided to set up a small unit at home and start a business,” she says. Taking some money on loan from family and using her savings, Saroja set up the unit to make coir mats, brushes and other items. Some months later, she also procured cows to set up a small dairy farm. “The products had a great demand in the market, and the business started well. But poor infrastructure and erratic power supply did not help me earn expected profits. Eventually, the operations had to be shut down as the business started running into losses,” Saroja says.

    It was then that Saroja thought of switching over to selling organic food and products. “I was always interested in cooking using millets and other traditional food grains. My husband grew organic vegetables and foodgrains like jowar, ragi, paddy and millets. So, I decided to sell the [harmful] chemical-free produce and traditional recipes using our farm fresh harvest,” she says.

    Saroja started the business informally. But it was only after her products were appreciated and received a better value in the market that many farmers approached her. “I started teaching women and men alike to effectively use available farm resources for organic pest management, increasing soil quality and yield,” she adds. Her work was recognised by the agriculture department officials who approached her to promote organic farming. She then joined the officials travelling around 20 villages near Harihar and other parts of the state, guiding farmers. “I became a better teacher, but also learned new techniques to grow crops from other farmers,” she says, adding, “The learning and earnings from agriculture helped me improve my family’s financial condition.” Saroja then felt the need to scale up and promote the goodness of organic food to a larger audience.

    Starting Tadhvanam

    In 2014, she registered her business under the brand Tadhvanam, offering a range of products such as her famous banana flour, papad made from ragi, rice, jowar and pearl millets. Other unique products included vermicelli made from rice-wheat, ragi and other items.She also offers a Rava idli mix, Navane Bisi bele bath mix, Ragi maldi — a mixture of ragi powder with spices, jaggery and native herbs. She also sells a wide range of chutneys.Saroja says that one Eshwar Theerta, an organic food grower, taught her how to package and market the products. Eshwar adds, “Saroja has progressed far beyond where I taught her and feel proud of her achievements.” The gritty entrepreneur has promoted her organic products at various exhibitions across cities, like Mumbai, Ahmedabad, New Delhi, Chennai and Karnataka. “I earned more confidence in my products when on one occasion, ISKCON approached me to place an order for rice papad as per their requirements. I felt proud about delivering and customising products according to customers,” she says.

    Her banana flour, too, became an instant hit. “The product is made by drying bananas and making a powder through processing. It is a healthy replacement for maida or other types of flour. The daily use product was unique during those days and received a significant demand. I also shared 15 healthy recipes, including cake and spicy items like thakali (tomato rice), which customers liked,” she adds.

    Promoting a Healthy Lifestyle

    Eventually, Saroja started forming women self-help groups and taking them on her exhibition tours. So far, she has trained over 500 women across Nittur, Hospet, Chitradurga, Harihur, Bellary, Gadag, Dharwad and Hubli, helping them establish a business. Many started their product manufacturing or entered organic farming, which helped them become financially independent. Mamatha, a farmer from neighbouring Harihar village, says she became acquainted with Saroja about four years ago. She says, “I learned organic farming techniques from Saroja to grow paddy and seasonal vegetables on my farm. My husband passed away due to an illness. But organic farming has helped me sustain and become financially independent.” While empowering women, Saroja helped them overcome and avoid hardships she faced as an entrepreneur. “I faced many challenges in convincing customers and farmers to opt for organic farming. To encourage buyers, I gave away samples in small mud pots. I requested them to try consuming [harmful] chemical-free food. They loved it and returned for more. Even today, the majority of my customers repeat,” she adds. She says arranging finances also made her entrepreneurial journey difficult. “Unlike urban entrepreneurs, the government and private banks do not offer loans to rural women fearing losses and lack of confidence. I had to make arrangements with my family. Moreover, I did not know effective marketing techniques and social media did not exist during my early years. I had to build trust by interacting personally with customers,” Saroja shares. The entrepreneur adds, “Today, I help women procure finances through reliable entities and share experiences in marketing and promoting their products.” However, Saroja says the villagers welcomed her decision of becoming an entrepreneur, which helped her gain confidence and establish her business.

    Today, Saroja earns a monthly business of Rs 50,000 and is content with her achievements. “I have employed 20 women working part-time as per their convenience. I aim to promote organic food. Many products available in the market are adulterated and I want to encourage people to choose healthier food,” she says.

     She adds, “I want the concept of organic farming to reach every corner of the globe. City dwellers should practise organic farming and grow their vegetables to avoid consuming chemical-laden food. Every human should eat and live healthily.”
  • Organic black rice finds few takers in Anantapur

  • Enthused by the wide publicity given by the State government to the Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) a couple in Dharmapuri village near Dharmavaram in Anantapur district took to organic farming without using chemical pesticides or fertilizer and has been reaping goodyields. Polepalli Revathi and Kondarajugari Seetaramaraju, owning justtwo acres of land in this nondescript village, are seen as ‘different’ as they do not resort to farming in the way other villagers do, and use neem and castor cake in the soil, Jeevamrutham and neem oil for fertilizer and pest control and once their crop comes to harvest stage, they use fermented curd. However,while they have more than 550 kg of processed and packed black rice with them, they are struggling to findtakers. “We expected some NGOs or government agencies to show ushow to market it, but getting back our investment of ₹30,000 per acre looks difficult,” Mr. Seetaramaraju told The Hindu. Things have come to such a pass that at a time when organic black rice is sold at an average of ₹250 to ₹300 a kg in stores, entrepreneurs are asking for the stock for prices lower than the normal white BPT rice. The State government’s agriculture departmentis not providing any support, they lament
     
    “We have reaped very good results for the past three years and got enough seed for our use in the first year in 2019 and used BPT-2841 variety of black rice seeds sourced from Haripuram in Sangareddy, which gave us a healthy crop in 2020 Kharif,”said Ms. Revathi, who also doubles as a tailor at home toboost the family income. Describing the health advantages and nutritional values of black rice, Ms. Revathi said 100 grams of it containsnine grams of protein, as againstseven grams in brown rice. It’s also a good source of iron, and several nutrients, protein, and fiber. Scientists at Agriculture Research Centre at Rekulakunta said thatblack ricehas over 23 types of antioxidants and has the highest antioxidant activity of all rice varieties. The couple can be reached over phone at 8147467521.
  • Organic Rice Protein Market to Reach $307.2 Million by 2028 – Powered by Increase in Consumer Awareness about Healthy Diet

  • Vantage Market Research’s recent analysis of the Global Organic Rice Protein Market finds that emergence of organic rice proteins as an alternative to animal proteins is expediting market growth. Primarily driven by increasing consumer awareness about healthy diet, the total Global Organic Rice Protein Market is estimated to reach USD 307.2 Million by 2028, up from USD 95.3 Million in 2021, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 18.2%. Furthermore, the changes in lifestyle and food habits of consumers are also anticipated to augment the growth of the Global Organic Rice Protein Market, states Vantage Market Research, in a report, titled “Organic Rice Protein Market by Type (Rice protein isolates, Rice protein concentrates, Others), by Application (Sports & energy nutrition drinks, Beverages, Dairy alternatives, Bakery & confectionery), by Form (Dry, Liquid), by Region (North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa) - Global Industry Assessment (2016 - 2021) & Forecast (2022 - 2028)”.
  • Precious ‘super-organic’ rice produced from formerly ‘dead’ fields

  • In the world today, there is no rice variety that reaches all 545 quality criteria like Quang Tri organic rice. Two compounds found in this variety are considered highly valuable. Precious 'super-organic' rice produced from formerly 'dead' fields One day in early summer 2019, holding in his hands the test results of an organic rice variety grown in the central province of Quang Tri, Associate Professor Tran Dang Xuan, head of Laboratory of Plant Physiology and Biochemistry at Japan’s Hiroshima University, was very surprised. A month before, when receiving a bag of rice from Dai Nam Company, which had worked with farmers in Quang Tri to test an organic rice variety, Xuan had thought that Quang Tri was heavily affected in the war and local farmers had used too much pesticides and chemical fertilizers, so it could not produce organic rice. He was surprised to see the test results. The dead field in the land that was heavily contaminated with dioxin in the war had been miraculously revived. The organic rice variety produced from this field was not only organic but super organic, as it met all 545 quality criteria. Furthermore, two compounds Momilactone A and Momilactone B (MA and MB) found in this rice variety are effective in fighting diabetes, obesity, and gout. Precious 'super-organic' rice produced from formerly 'dead' fields “We are conducting further research on many valuable characteristics of these two compounds, which have been published in many international biological journals. These compounds are found in the organic rice from Quang Tri,” Xuan said, adding that these two compounds are 30,000 times more precious and expensive than gold. Eating a certain amount of this rice daily can help reduce the risk of getting these diseases. This conclusion changes the conventional thought that eating rice increases the risk of having diabetes. According to Xuan, these compounds have also been found in Japanese rice, but Quang Tri organic rice has much higher concentrations. Based on the analysis, he said that the rice is very organic. He said Vietnam should encourage the development of the business-farmer model to create high-value rice products and strengthen Vietnam's rice position in the world. The founder of the Quang Tri organic rice production chain model, Tran Ngoc Nam - General Director of Dai Nam Production and Trading Co., Ltd. – told VietNamNet that the day he decided to develop this model in Quang Tri, his friends and family all told him to not invest in this project. They said that field was a dead and infertile land, which was unsuitable to grow rice, let alone organic rice. Precious 'super-organic' rice produced from formerly 'dead' fields Nam has proven that they are all wrong. So far, local farmers have harvested five crops of organic rice, with increasing output and earnings. Nam has cooperated with farmers in many provinces to produce organic coffee, organic pepper, organic fruit... but Quang Tri was the place with the most unfavorable conditions. “After a period of struggling, I decided to try to do something to change this land. I accepted the Quang Tri officials’ invitation to bring the technology I had studied for decades to this land to help local farmers change their lives," said Nam. In recent years, in many large granaries across the country, farmers have not planted rice and turned to fruit trees for higher profit. So it is difficult for Quang Tri authorities to persuade farmers to grow rice, said Ha Sy Dong, Vice Chairman of Quang Tri Provincial People's Committee. After five successful crops, local farmers are now very eager to plant organic rice.
    Precious 'super-organic' rice produced from formerly 'dead' fields
     
    The area of organic rice in Quang Tri has increased to 158,224 hectares. The organic rice farming model has been implemented in 11 cooperatives in five districts and towns. The dead fields have been revived. Farmers can make a profit of up to 40 million VND per hectare, plus income from selling fish caught in the field. "In the past, earnings from rice farming were just enough to cover daily life expenses. I never thought that there would be a day when I would get as much profit as now," said Cao Dinh Lap, a farmer in Vinh Thuy commune, Vinh Linh district. His family earned a profit of nearly VND100 million (nearly $5,000) in the last crop. After three years of growing organic rice, from the dead field, farmers have created the Quang Tri organic rice brand. This product has been sold throughout the country and will be exported to the US and Japan.
    Precious 'super-organic' rice produced from formerly 'dead' fields
     
    Quang Tri’s Vice Chair Ha Van Dong told VietNamNet that in the near future, the area of organic rice will increase to about 10,000 hectares. Moreover, in early July, the construction of an organic agricultural product processing factory commenced in Quang Tri. This VND100 billion (nearly $5 million) factory will process organic agricultural products such as rice, coffee, peanuts, corn... in a closed circle for domestic consumption and export. Quang Tri organic rice chain has become a model for many provinces and cities to learn from.
  • Mindanao organic rice group delivers colored rice in Manila

  • Don Bosco Multi-Purpose Cooperative North Cotabato Chairman of the Board Mario Alolosan, together with Renato de la Cruz, owner of the Phoenix Larrel Agri-ventures, prepare the shipment of ready-packed organic rice bound for Manila on Sunday, Dec. 12, 2021. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO THE Mindanao-based Don Bosco Multi-Purpose Cooperative (DBMPC),together with groups of organic rice farmers and entrepreneurs, has supplied 480 metric tons of organically grown rice to the senior citizens of the City of Manila. Mario Alolosan, chairman of the board of DBMPC, said the cooperative in North CotabatoPhoenix Larrrel Agriventures and many organic farming families are thankful for the support of Mindanao Development Authority through its investment and marketing promotions initiatives. Manila City Mayor Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagoso ordered 650 metric tons of black, red and brown organically-grown rice for the city's estimated 150,000 senior citizens last year. "The new volume of Mindanao organic rice purchased by the City of Manila for its senior citizen program is very helpful to the farmer-producers and cooperatives of the region. It opens an opportunity for Don Bosco MPC to expand its organic rice initiatives beyond North Cotabato and Region 12 so that other areas in Mindanao can also avail of the markets," Alolosan bared. "We hope that this initiative with LGU-Manila can be sustained and that other formal partnership and agreements with LGUs in Luzon can be forged too so that we can really help uplift the lives of our farmer-producers in Mindanao, alongside the support of the other agencies of the government such as National Organic Agriculture Board of DA and DTI North Cotabato," Alolosan added.
  • New grant advances research on domestic organic rice

  • Washington D.C., Sept. 28, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The University of Arkansas, in collaboration with The Organic Center and the University of California Cooperative Extension, has been awarded nearly $500,000 through USDA’s Organic Research and Extension Institute (OREI) to help undertake a three-year project studying the challenges and opportunities for organic rice production and usage in the United States.  Currently, consumer demand for organic rice exceeds domestic supply, and leads to significant import competition. Meanwhile, research is needed to determine whether domestic organic rice production can be competitive and sustainable, and what attributes consumers consider desirable in the rice they eat.  The long-term goal is to facilitate the growth of organic rice production in the U.S. and foster the growth of the domestic market. Specifically, researchers will focus on identifying and assessing the economic impacts of different production practices used in domestic organic rice production. To expand domestic consumption of organic rice, researchers plan to study consumers’ preferences. In addition, researchers will develop a multi-state outreach program to disseminate the findings of the research. “It will be important to assess producer and consumer attitudes about organic rice production and consumption, and then identify any barriers that need to be overcome to improve the market opportunities” says Dr. Alvaro Durand-Morat of the University of Arkansas who is lead Project Investigator. The research will include using discussions with farmer focus groups and surveys, as well as studies of consumer behavior and attitudes concerning desired attributes of rice they buy and consume. Findings and results will be disseminated through many channels, including interactive extension tools, presentations, and journal and newspaper publications, to reach targeted audiences. During the first year, The Organic Center will issue press releases and grower group announcements to publicize the planned research. It will also provide a web portal to post description of the project, updates, and other information. Meanwhile, it will launch a social media campaign about the research via The Organic Center and Organic Trade Association Facebook and Twitter accounts. This campaign will continue throughout the full four years of the project to disseminate information gathered at farmer and industry group listening sessions, requests for stakeholder input, research findings, and stakeholder meeting conference sessions and workshops.  During the second and third years, The Organic Center will increase its outreach to allow wide dissemination of on-farm research findings and recommendations. Included will be webinars, and publications explaining research results. “We are thrilled to be a part of this monumental research,” said Dr. Jessica Shade, Director of Science Programs at The Organic Center. “This project will fill a critical need to help increase the domestic supply of organic rice.” OREI helps support wide ranging research projects that specifically address the most critical issues impacting organic growers. The 2018 Farm Bill approved increasing funding for OREI to $50 million per year by 2023, thus establishing permanent funding for the program. For the current 2021 funding round, this amount increased from $20 million to $25 million. In 2022, the amount will increase to $30 million. In 2023, the program funding amount will be capped at annual distribution of $50 million.    
  • A.P. organic rice set to tap world market

  • Export body to give it a makeover to help it face competitors from Southeast Asia

    Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) Chairman M. Angamuthu has said that the authority has prepared a road map to export organic rice varieties from Andhra Pradesh to meet the growing demand in the European Union, Middle East and East Asia. Mr. Angamuthu told The Hindu here, “Post COVID-19, many countries, including the European Union are looking for rice varieties grown through organic farming methods in India. We have chosen Andhra Pradesh to source such rice for export.” “The APEDA under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry will be the facilitator between the importer and the exporter, and help the latter obtain necessary certification for export. Decks will be cleared for export once organic rice varieties are certified,” said Mr. Angamuthu.

    ‘Branding needed’

    “Despite India being a major rice exporter to 170 countries across the globe, Vietnam, Thailand and Philippines remain the prime competitors as India continues to export rice without any key features - branding, promotion and value addition,” explained Mr. Angamuthu. “In a war-footing initiative, a strategy has been prepared to brand the Indian rice varieties with value addition. However, product diversification will be the key strategy to face the challenge from our global competitors,” he added
     

    The senior IAS officer said that the APEDA is all set to groom a group of 100 progressive farmers or Farmers' Producer Organisations from Andhra Pradesh and connect them to the global market to export their respective products including horticulture crops and maize.

  • CRF: Bumper 2021 for organic rice

  •           Cambodia exported 11,200 tonnes of organic milled rice to international markets in 2020, a slight 1.2 per cent increase over 2019, according to the Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF). While the milled-rice export sector by and large chalks up 2020’s lacklustre growth performance to the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, the CRF has only strengthened its resolve to ramp up sales of Cambodian milled-rice abroad. According to the CRF, more than 90 per cent of the exports were shipped to the European market, while “a small amount” went to the US. With the Kingdom’s total 2020 milled-rice exports weighing in at 690,829 tonnes, organic rice accounted for just 1.6 per cent. Song Saran, president of the CRF and CEO of miller and exporter Amru Rice Cambodia Co Ltd, told The Post on January 11 that total milled-rice exports surged 11.4 per cent from 2019, far outshining the growth seen in the organic variant. Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries data show that the Kingdom exported 387,000 tonnes of milled rice in 2014, 538,396 tonnes in 2015, 542,144 tonnes in 2016, 635,679 tonnes in 2017, 626,225 tonnes in 2018 and 620,106 tonnes in 2019. Each figure has fallen short of the government’s pledge to export one million tonnes of rice per annum, originally made in August 2010 for 2015. Saran attributed the uninspiring growth in Cambodian organic milled-rice exports to tariffs levied by the EU, citing the market’s dependence on the bloc. Cambodia’s rice sector officially lost its import duty exemption granted by the EU in January 2019 after the bloc’s decision to impose tariffs on imports from the Kingdom and Myanmar to protect European rice farmers’ interests. Saran added that Covid-19 had brought organic rice demand in the EU to a virtual halt. “While overall milled-rice exports to Europe did not increase due to tariffs, organic milled rice did enjoy a bumper year,” he said. “Without tariff barriers, we’d be even more competitive. Still, the growth we saw is acceptable given the context. “We’ll strive to find more and larger organic milled-rice export markets, especially in the US, where demand is high and [import] volume remains small. We’ll boost Cambodia’s organic milled-rice exports to around 15,000 tonnes in 2021,” he said. According to Saran, Amru Rice accounted for 9,000 tonnes, or 80 per cent, of 2020 organic milled-rice exports, which represents a 10-20 per cent gain over 2019. With its production based on “natural principles” with a “clear control system”, he said organic rice is widely known for its myriad health benefits. Chan Sokheang, chairman and CEO of Signatures of Asia Co Ltd, another local rice miller and exporter, said Covid-19 had diminished global demand for organic rice. He said his company exported more than 2,000 tonnes of organic milled rice last year, declining about 20 per cent from the year before, and 22,000 tonnes of regular varieties, up around 30 per cent over 2019. “Declining incomes during the Covid-19 epidemic have led people to opt for the types of rice they need, with less focus on [the healthier] organic rice, which costs almost twice as much,” he said. According to Sokheang, organic white milled rice was valued at around $950 per tonne on the international market last year – similar to 2019, while fragrant varieties fetched around $1,200-1,300 per tonne. “As the global economy remains mired in uncertainties, it’d be ill-conceived to presume what the volume of organic milled-rice exports will look like in 2021, given how concretely interwoven [its performance] is with economic growth acceleration. “If people’s incomes increase, the purchase volume of organic milled rice will swell up in consonance,” he said.
  • Thai Organic Rice Helps Promote People’s Wellbeing

  • BANGKOKJuly 1, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The Department of Foreign Trade, Ministry of Commerce, Thailand, has introduced a project called "Think RICE, Think THAILAND" to encourage international community to pay attention to consumer health and to raise awareness on the national crop by providing a wider range of knowledge, ranging from national agricultural history, standards and Thai rice quality.

    Thai Organic Rice Helps Promote People's Wellbeing
    Thai Organic Rice Helps Promote People's Wellbeing

    The Ministry of Commerce explained that Thailand, as a leader in rice production and exports, has rapidly expanded its organic rice farming due to the increasing preference for organic food amongst consumers around the world. The country aims to become ASEAN's organic rice production hub with efficient production and product traceability, from grain selection to packaging.

    The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, in cooperation with the Ministry of Commerce, encourage farmers and traders to produce quality organic rice that meets the requirements of international standards including: International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements, EU Organic, USDA National Organic Program, Canada Organic Regime, Japanese Agricultural Organic Standard, China Organic Food Certification Center and Ecocert.

    To produce Thai organic rice, the country starts with quality grains selection from organic rice suppliers, then, carefully preparing soil to minimize weeds without using chemicals. Next, it is about selecting fertile farmlands with controlled irrigation to prevent contamination from outside water sources and enrich the soil with organic plant fertilizers. Eliminating weeds is done by using non-chemical methods along with microbial pesticides. To prevent and eliminate diseases, a natural balance and proper irrigation to strengthen the rice's immunity to diseases provided. The country relies on natural predators to prevent and eliminate pests. Moreover. Thai organic rice farmers also focus on the chemical contamination prevention, before and after harvest to maintain the organic chain. Paddy rice must be stored in its suitable environment. As for pack milled rice, using either the vacuum packing method or CO2 technique.

    Think Rice, Think Thailand.

    Visit us: www.thinkricethinkthailand.com

  • Big push planned for organic products

  • THE COMMERCE Ministry plans to enlist the support of Asean members to set up an Asean Organic Agriculture Federation aimed at boosting organic agricultural products in the regional market.

     
    The proposed federation will also strive to improve the quality and standards of Asean organic agricultural products and also be an instrument to bargain in the global market, Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn said yesterday. Trade of Thai organic agricultural products were worth Bt2.7 billion last year, with Bt1 billion worth of exports and Bt1.7 billion from the domestic market. The Commerce Ministry expects organic agricultural products will achieve Bt3 billion this year, up 10 per cent from last year, with half of the total from exports, and the rest from the domestic market.  Thai Organic Trade Association president Peerachot Charanwong said that the total global market for organic agricultural products was worth about US$140 billion (Bt4.8 trillion) with $60 billion in the US, Canada, and Europe, and $80 billion in Asian markets such as India, China, Japan and Asean. 
     
     
    To drive sales of organic agricultural products in Asean, especially Thailand, the Commerce Ministry will organise the Organic and Natural Expo 2017 from July 27-30 at Queen Sirikit National Convention Center. The event will present Asean organic and agricultural products such as foods and beverages made from rice, vegetables, and fruit, and also will introduce other organic agricultural products for personal care, healthcare, and other areas. The ministry expects up to 45,000 visitors, generating trade value of Bt32 million at the event, with another Bt100 million of trade after the event, Apiradi said.  She added that more than 200 Thai organic producers would join this event, while some 100 Asean organic agricultural producers would also display their products at the event. The event will also bring visitors and importers of organic agricultural products from around the world to participate and place orders.  “We believe that this event will promote Thai organic agriculture and enable double-digit growth in exports annually,” Apiradi said.
  • Philippines exports organic rice to UAE, US

  • MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines has exported organic rice to the Middle East and the US as part of efforts to provide additional source of income to  farmers from the Soccsksargen region. The Don Bosco Multipurpose Cooperative from North Cotabato recently shipped 13.5 metric tons (MT) of organic pigmented rice, 10 MT of which was bound for Dubai while the balance was sent to the US. This brings the cooperative’s total exports to more than 150 MT of organic black, brown and red rice to more than 10 countries. It is the first cooperative in the country to receive an international certification from Europe-based Certification of Environmental Standards and the US Department of Agriculture. The cooperative said this would allow overseas Filipino workers to provide additional financing to organic rice cultivators in the province. “The additional 10 MT organic rice shipment is the product of the Dubai OFW Reintegration Program,” said Romano Laurilla, general manager of the cooperative. “Through this program, we offer our OFWs a potential opportunity to invest here in the Philippines while they are earning abroad,” he added. The cooperative’s organic black, red and brown rice are grown in more than 500 hectares in several towns in North and South Cotabato, as well as in Sultan Kudarat. While the local demand for organic rice is still very small, studies showed that there is a huge potential for the variety in the global market particularly in Western countries which are more health conscious. The Department of Agriculture continues to assist the cooperative to sustain the exportation of organic pigmented rice.
  • Packaged organic food may need government stamp

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  • Go organic to beat drought, says seed reviver

  • Nel Jayaraman  
    MORE-IN

    Nel Jayaraman says some varieties of indigenous paddy are drought and salt water resistant

    Organic farmer Nel Jayaraman has some advice for farmers struggling to grow high-yielding varieties of paddy during drought: Go organic. Having switched to growing indigenous paddy in an organic manner some 15 years ago, Mr. Jayaraman said farmers need spend only a little on input costs and can get good returns on their investment if they grew traditional varieties of paddy. Some of these rice varieties require less water compared to high-yielding varieties developed under the System of Rice Intensification (SRI). “India is home to around 100,000 varieties of indigenous paddy, but the Green Revolution wiped out everything. I have managed to revive around 150 indigenous varieties, and these crops grow very well with no fertilisers and chemicals,” he said. Though the yield may be low compared to varieties such as IR-8, Mr. Jayaraman said organic farmers could earn more with less, unlike farmers now who produced higher yield but got less returns for their produce from the government. “In a well-tilled field with good soil, I can grow 20 sacks (60 kg) of paddy in an acre of land. The market fetches around ₹30,000 in total at the rate of ₹1,500/sack. This is much higher compared to what farmers growing high-yielding varieties get from the government,” he said. Low profit High-yielding paddy fetches around 30-35 sacks/acre, which could be sold for ₹880-900 per sack, and the total expenses for cultivating per acre of paddy this way was around ₹30,000, farmers say. The margin of profit in SRI cultivation is low. There are native varieties that required only five bursts of rainfall to grow: during seed germination, during flowering, and so on, he said. More than 3,000 organic farmers converged in Thiruthuraipoondi on Saturday to participate in an open seed festival, supported by CREATE, Mr. Jayaraman’s organisation, and NABARD as a major partner. Among those attending are horticulturist Usha Kumari and scientist S. Sulochana. Usha Kumari, who represents Thanal, an organic farming organisation based in Thiruvananthapuram, said that a national-level ‘Save our Rice’ campaign that started in 2004 in Kumbalangi, Kerala, has begun to attract farmers from across the country who wish to switch to organic farming practices now. “After cotton, rice cultivation has the highest pesticide use ,” she said.
     
    “In Tamil Nadu, varieties such as kattuyanam are both drought-proof and salt water tolerant. In places like Nagapattinam district where salt water intrusion has made farming difficult, farmers could grow these varieties.” Health benefits The Kattuyanam is a very tall variety of paddy, growing up to 8 feet tall. A red rice variety, it fetches more than Rs. 150/kg in the open market, Ms. Kumari said. Besides good returns, the health benefits of organic rice is also a reason for its growing popularity. Scientist S. Sulochana, a researcher at the Indian Institute of Food Processing Technology, Thanjavur, said she had conducted studies that showed several indigenous paddy varieties had components that could cure cancer. “Mappillai Samba, Kuzhiadichan, Kattu Ponni, Garudan Samba, Seeraga Samba and Poonggar are some of the indigenous paddy we studied. These traditional varieties contain squalene, compounds that are present in olive oil and cod liver oil, which can reduce bad cholesterol,” she said, sharing some of her research findings.
  • Velez: All rise for rice! Read more

  • WE ARE a rice-loving people. Most of us have rice for breakfast, more rice for refueling at lunch and an optional rice in the evenings depending on your need to reduce carbs. Let's face it, we live and die with rice. That's why some love unli-rice. Some can even have rice topped with (target) toyo, asin or kamatis in hard times. So here comes Senator Cynthia Villar suggesting, with the good intention of helping us eat healthy, to cut down the consumption of well-milled white rice and unli-rice in fast foods. We are on a trend that going organic is healthier, and the well-polished rice we get from markets and fast-foods are just too polished and whitened with less nutrients and potentially harmful. But the problem is, the solution may not be good. As fellow Sunstar columnist Arnold Alamon points out, it's a suggestion without looking at the state of the Filipino table, or kitchen, or farms. Organic farming is good and it is trending among the middle class. But it is expensive, both for farmers producing and for consumers. Somehow the rice cartel and agriculture players are killing this. Multinationals and even the Department of Agriculture are promoting modified rice grains and commercial farming methods with herbicides and all that will harm organic rice and farmers and consumers. For all the boasting of the agriculture department, these things need to be checked. Our rice is being "commercia-riced" Besides that, the senator needs to look into food security. That means looking into why farmlands are being converted into plantations of export crops from bananas, pineapples, palm oil. If not, they are being converted into subdivisions, commercial complexes and highways. It doesn't help that the senator's family investments is into real estate and construction, and they have dislodged farmlands for this. A friend calls this unli-land conversion, which is really unhealthy. And there's more, in the hinterlands where farmers, lumads and indigenous peoples are being bombed no end, more so with the ongoing Martial Law and all-out war. Our fellow Filipinos in the countryside are being "milita-rice" "terro-rice" and "pulve-riced". But senators should look rather at the overall economic policies and agreements that make or un-break our agriculture sector. Did you know that the Philippines entered a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) with China, which in essence would drastically reduce rice production from this point up to 2022? The Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS)-funded study showed that this agreement would sink our rice production by 4% while rice imports will double from the current 2.2 million tons up to 4.4 million by 2022. The same study showed that the income of impoverished farmers will most likely dropped by 29% once this and the lifting of import restrictions will come into play. And our rice production has been dropping 1% yearly. Poor farmers might be eating “memo-rice” more. Perhaps, this is where the negative reaction comes from, when leaders rather decide what is on our table, but they just left the door open to greedy capitalism. And that is why, for the love of our food, our farmers and our land, let's stop these human "rice" violations! Let's rise for rice! Read more: http://www.sunstar.com.ph/davao/opinion/2017/06/17/velez-all-rise-rice-547945
  • Palm Beach County-grown Florida’s Table rice in Publix, Whole Foods

  • Palm Beach County is known for growing sugar cane and winter vegetables, but now a lesser-known crop, rice that’s produced during the summer in the Everglades Agricultural Area, is getting its day in the sun.
    Florida’s Table, a new brand of rice launched by Domino Foods Inc. and owned by West Palm Beach-based Florida Crystals Corp., is now available in most Publix and Whole Foods stores in Florida. Domino is a sales and marketing firm owned by Florida Crystals and American Sugar Refining.
    The rice, available in four varieties, brown and white in both conventionally grown and organic, is all produced in rice paddies in western Palm Beach County.
    John Lebl, new products marketing manager for Domino Foods, said, “We are a very consumer-focused company, and we really try to give consumers what they are looking for. What we have seen is that today’s consumers are seeking locally grown products from people who they can trust.
    “Not only do they want to know where their food comes from, but how it is made and who makes it,” Lebl said.
    The 2-pound packages in stand-up resealable pouches retail from around $3.09 to $3.99 for the conventional rice and $4.39 to $5.49 for the organic, Lebl said.
    Publix is featuring the long grain rice, along with other foods produced in Florida, in a Florida Local display positioned at the “end cap” of aisles.
    “The great thing about it is when shoppers go in and see this set, they know these products were made in their home state by their neighbors,” he said.
    Florida Crystals, a major sugar producer, has been growing rice since the 1980s, and this year has planted 22,000 acres. Along with about 6,000 acres planted by other local growers, the acreage is the largest ever. The crop has been forecast at 120 million pounds, up from 90 million pounds in 2016, said Florida Crystals spokeswoman Marianne Martinez.
    But until Florida’s Table debuted in Whole Foods in November and in Publix this month, the local rice was not sold directly to consumers. Instead, Florida Crystals’ Sem-Chi rice was sold to companies such as Winn-Dixie and Goya, which marketed it under their private labels. Sem-Chi will continue as an industrial brand, but unlike the many Florida Crystals’ sugar products on store shelves, it has never been in front of consumers.
    In the last five years, Florida Crystals has invested $8 million in its Sem-Chi rice mill off County Road 880 east of Belle Glade. Two new silos have expanded the storage capacity and allowed the company to grow more rice, Martinez said.
    The mill also produces rice flour and organic rice flour. The rice flour supplies the gluten-free market.
    While rice is an important food grown all over the world, it also serves another purpose in the EAA, as a rotation crop with sugar cane and sweet corn. Growing rice restores the soil, removes unwanted pests and also provides a habitat for many species of native wildlife, especially wading birds.
    The rice plants, resembling a sea of verdant grass, grow in about two inches of water. It’s a low-input crop that doesn’t require fertilizer, and for the most part, weeds are controlled by flooding the rice farm.
    Rice planting begins in March and runs through June. Harvesting begins in July and ends in early November.
    “Florida Crystals utilizes Precision Agriculture in our rice farming. That includes using technology in our land preparation — surveying our fields and land leveling to ensure perfectly flat fields. We also use GPS-guided tractors and combines for all of our field prep, planting and harvesting,” Martinez said.
    During the 1950s, about 2,000 acres of rice was grown in the EAA. Although the rice produced satisfactory yields, the discovery of the the rice “hoja blanca” (white leaf) virus in other countries led to a federal quarantine of rice production in Florida, according to University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researchers.
    Rice was re-introduced in the EAA in 1977. Production has more doubled since 2008.
    Florida ranks seventh in rice production nationally, following Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Texas. Florida produces less than 1 percent of the U.S. crop.
  • Global Organic Rice Market 2017 – Business Attractiveness and Forecast to 2022

  • The recent report of Market Research Store on the “Organic Rice Market Research” has the complete assessment of the latest trends of the global Organic Rice market. The report focuses on the manufacturing challenges that are being faced and provides the solutions and the strategies that have been implemented to overcome the problems. Deep researches and analysis were done during the preparation of the report.

    The information and the data that was collected was checked and validated by the industry experts. The clients will find this report very helpful in understanding the Organic Rice market in depth. The prime objective of this report is to help the user understand the Organic Rice market in terms of its definition, segmentation, market potential, influential trends, and the challenges that the market is facing.

    Download Brochure for In-feature Information of Organic Rice Market:http://www.marketresearchstore.com/report/global-organic-rice-market-by-manufacturers-regions-type-97096#RequestSample

    The data and the information regarding the market are taken from reliable sources such as websites, annual reports of the companies, journals, and others. The facts and data are represented in the report using diagrams, graphs, pie charts, and other pictorial representations. This enhances the visual representation and also helps in understanding the facts much better. The attributes that are explained in the report are the technological advancements that are made in the Organic Rice market, the sales made in the global market, the annual production, the profit made by the industry, the investments made by the manufacturers and the initiatives that are taken by the government to boost the growth of the market.

    The Organic Rice market revenue generation is also included in the report. The various segments from which major sales of the market is obtained is included within the report along with the regional segmentation. The regional segmentation helps the market players to understand where to make investments and where there will support from both the consumers and government.

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  • Organic journey to health

  • Hollywood stars like Gwyneth Paltrow and Elizabeth Hurley have been strongly endorsing an ‘organic’ lifestyle. Back in Bollywood too, celebrities like Aamir Khan, Katrina Kaif and R Madhavan are supporting local farms, buying natural products and changing their vibes. The growing fondness for organic food has gripped the cities in India and Vizag is gradually catching up to this ‘green’ lifestyle as well. In the past two to three years, the number of organic stores in the city has grown, with new age entrepreneurs starting exclusive stores in their quest to promote the ‘organic’ journey to health. Among the first organic store entrants in the city are the Ancient India Organics – an enterprise started by Aastha Lalit Bajaj about four years ago. Disturbed by the growing incidences of life threatening diseases like cancer within her family and friends circles and a chance to see the ‘Cancer Train’ or the Abohar-Jodhpur passenger train that it was originally called, Aastha was determined to embark on an entrepreneurial journey that would help people to stay away from the ill-effects of indiscriminate use of agro-chemicals, which is being attributed as a cause for the rising cancer cases. Thus, Ancient India Organics was founded. “It wasn’t easy in the initial months to market the idea of ‘organic’ food in Vizag’s price-sensitive consumer segment. Many did not understand the concept of ‘organic’,” says Aastha. That’s when she decided to create awareness among the people by holding talks and workshops. Today, Ancient India Organics not only caters to the local health conscious consumers seeking out organic substitutes of pulses, millets, spices and other food products, the firm has evolved into a thriving export-import business, riding on a global shift in consciousness towards leading an organic lifestyle. “The only answer to stop the vicious cycle of use of pesticides and chemicals in agricultural practices is by supporting local farms in adopting organic farming,” says Aastha. Apart from keeping private organic product brands like Nature Land and Pure & Sure and being the state-wide distributors of EcoLife organic brand, she has also launched her own brand of organic tea and coffee under the Eastern Brew label. “We collaborate with social organisations practicising certified organic farming in parts of Darjeeling and help them to market their produce under our label,” says Aastha. Her venture has spread out to the Middle-East, Europe, US and Africa markets in the international segment, while back home she is one of the main suppliers of certified organic products to most of the hypermarkets and stores in the city. “The demand for organic products is particularly growing among senior citizens and young parents who are more aware about the benefits,” she says. The store of Ancient India Organics is located near the Abhaya Anjaneya Swamy Temple in Seethamadhara.
     
    While organic food may not be mainstream yet in the city, nevertheless, it is more accessible than before. Most city malls and hypermarkets in the city have a dedicated section of organic products. This apart, more standalone stores stacking organic products have sprung up. In a span of two years, Bandaru Naresh expanded his organic food product enterprise of Sumaja Eco Wellness from one store in Gopalpatnam to three branches. “When we started off, we hardly had one or two brands of organic products. Now, we have 20 private brands and also sell varieties of jaggery, rice and a few spices under own brand in association with a farmer’s cooperative society in West Godavari,” says Naresh. After opening its Seethammadhara branch in 2015, Naresh launched the third store in Pandurangapuram last year. “Interestingly, we have observed that contrary to popular belief that organic food is more of a high-society lifestyle choice, we have customers from different walks of life who come to us by making an informed choice on the need to lead an organic lifestyle. We get elderly people who are diabetic and young mothers who seek high nutritional value for their children,” he says. Sumaja Eco Wellness works closely with farmers’ cooperative societies in AP like Sahaja Aharam Producer Company and Titos Organic, and other cooperative societies based in Telangana, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu and helps them market the organic produce in Visakhapatnam. Apart from rice and pulses, Naresh says that millets have made a remarkable comeback with many in the city preferring organic versions of the varieties of these ethnic food grains and ready-to-cook varieties of mixed millets. Riding this feisty wave of support for organic products, the latest entrant in this space is Swaraj Organics in Peda Waltair. Started by K.V. Suresh Kumar, Swaraj also stocks fresh organic vegetables apart from pulses, millets and spices. “The vegetables are all organically produced in my 30-acres farm,” says Kumar. After practicising organic farming for over a year, Kumar realised the difficulties in marketing the produce and bringing it to the customers. It was then that he decided to start his own organic store venture in the city. “The city is still slow in accepting organic products. But we are making progress towards a healthier lifestyle and the demand for organic products is definitely on the rise,” says Kumar. With millets being a favourite among the locals, his store offers a complete package solution like ragi grains, ragi powder and sprouted ragi. “Millets in sprouted form is the best source of nutrition. Human body can absorp 80 per cent of the nutrients if consumed in sprouted form. We want to give that option for the consumers,” says Kumar. His store is currently getting ready to stack a wider range of organic vegetables and food products spread across 2,700 sft area.
  • Going against the grain when it comes to white rice

  •  

    Going against the grain when it comes to white rice
    Reuters file photo
    SINGAPORE — White rice is a common staple on most dinner tables here. However, the starchy grain has gained a bad reputation ever since local health authorities singled it out last year as one of the top concerns in the nation’s battle against diabetes. Diabetes risk rises 11 per cent for every daily serving of white rice, according to a meta-analysis by the Harvard School of Public Health published in the British Medical Journal. Replacing it with wholegrain options (like brown or red rice) may cut diabetes risk, and Singapore’s Health Promotion Board (HPB) recommends consuming wholegrains instead of refined grains wherever possible. 
     
    But nutrition experts say when it comes to diabetes and weight management, the answer is not always so clear-cut.  WHITE IS BAD, BROWN IS GOOD? While Asians are genetically more predisposed to Type 2 diabetes than Caucasians, principal dietitian at Raffles Diabetes and Endocrine Centre Bibi Chia pointed out that in the past, obesity and diabetes were not public health issues although previous generations probably consumed more white rice than most people do today.  “We can’t just blame rice. It’s also about what you’re eating the entire day — how much fat, excessive sugar, processed food, deep-fried food — as well as the lower amount of physical activity people are doing these days. Rising obesity rates mean that more people are also developing insulin resistance,” said Ms Chia at the media launch of Kinmemai Better White and Better Brown rice earlier this month.  The Japanese-crafted healthier rice products, processed using a gentler rice-buffing technique that retains more fibre and nutrients, will be available in Singapore next month, offering more options for healthier rice.   The main reason white rice gets a bad rap is due to its high glycaemic index (GI), which is a measure of how rapidly a starchy food affects blood sugar after it is digested.  A value of 55 or less is considered a low GI rating, while 70 or above is considered high, said Dr Iain Brownlee, director of operations for food and human nutrition at Newcastle University (Singapore).  High GI foods cause rapid spikes in blood sugar levels, which over time, could raise Type 2 diabetes risk. Some preliminary research has also linked high GI diets to other conditions like colorectal cancer and age-related macular degeneration.  For diabetics, prolonged high blood sugar levels can also lead to life-threatening complications as their bodies are unable to effectively manage them, said Dr Brownlee.  Nutrition-wise, white rice also pales in comparison to wholegrain varieties as its hull, bran and germ, the outer part which contains most of the fibre, B-vitamins and other nutrients, are removed.  The polishing process leaves only the endosperm, which contains mainly starch and some protein.  On the other hand, wholegrain rice like brown rice, which retains its germ and bran, has a lower GI and almost five times the fibre of white rice. This keeps a person fuller and blood sugar levels stable over a longer period, making it a recommended choice from the perspective of weight and diabetes management, said Ms Riddhi Naidu, a clinical dietitian at HealthQuay Medical.  PROCESSING, COOKING METHODS, AND PORTION SIZES MATTER TOO However, Dr Brownlee said it is not always possible to accurately predict the GI of different types of rice as many factors can affect its digestibility.  While wholegrain varieties like brown rice will provide a wider range of nutrients, some may not necessarily be lower in GI than white rice.  For one, the processing methods and conditions in which the rice is grown can impact the GI of rice varieties, he added. Other factors such as cooking methods and how the rice is eaten can also affect its GI value, said Ms Naidu.  For example, a bowl of rice porridge has a higher GI than plain rice as the longer cooking time breaks down the cellular structure, making it easier to digest and raises blood sugar levels.  Ms Chia added while replacing a portion of white rice with brown rice lowers its GI, the common habit of upsizing one’s rice portion can raise the GI even when consuming wholegrains. The HPB recommends that wholegrains like brown rice form at most a quarter of a plate at every meal.  “A lot of hawker fare don’t come with adequate vegetables. When you have just two slices of cucumber with your chicken rice, you’ll have to eat more chicken and rice to feel full,” said Ms Chia.  “Another common mistake is to eat rice with a lot of gravy, which increases the carbohydrate, calorie, salt and fat content of the meal.”  LOW GI MAY NOT ALWAYS BE HEALTHIER The experts stressed that it is also important to note that the food’s GI value does not indicate its nutritional value.  Take rice fried in a copious amount of oil. When combined with carbohydrates, fat tends to lower the GI of the food as it slows down digestion, but it does not mean the fried item is a healthier option, said Ms Naidu.   Besides eating right, practising portion control is crucial in managing blood glucose levels and weight.  “Having low GI rice does not mean you can have more of it. If you dislike brown rice, you may choose to have parboiled or basmati rice, which are lower in GI than conventional white rice varieties,” said Ms Naidu. Finally, it is also important to get moving for at least 15 minutes after every meal to manage blood sugar levels, added Ms Chia. KNOW YOUR RICE The demand for healthier rice options has risen in recent years. NTUC FairPrice’s director of grocery products Victor Chai said this year, the chain has seen a 25 per cent growth in demand for healthier rice products such as unpolished brown rice, red rice, mixed rice and organic rice compared to the same period last year.  It currently offers about 30 different rice products considered to be healthier.  Ms Riddhi Naidu, clinical dietitian at HealthQuay Medical, gives the low-down on the nutritional content and glycaemic index (GI) value of the different rice varieties.  White rice The hull, bran and germ are removed, hence, it is lower in nutritional value and is easier to digest. But not all white rice has a high GI. For instance, long-grain varieties like basmati have a lower GI (under 70) than short grain options (above 70).  Brown rice  The germ and bran, an outer shell that is full of fibre, B-vitamins and other minerals, are retained. It contains almost five times the fibre of white rice and takes longer to digest, keeping one’s blood sugar levels stable over a longer period.  Red rice  Contains a variety of anthocyanins that gives its bran a red or maroon colour. It has a similar amount of fibre as brown rice, but six times the amount of zinc.  Parboiled rice Also called converted rice, this type of rice has a lower GI (40) and a firmer and less sticky texture than regular white rice. It is also more nutritious because its processing method — pressure-steamed and dried — forces the nutrients and vitamins (fibre, B-vitamins and minerals) from the husk into the starch granule.  Black rice Its black-coloured bran layer comes from a unique anthocyanin combination, which causes the rice to turn a deep purple colour when cooked. It contains about three times the fibre of brown rice. Wild rice Not a true rice, but comes from a wild North American grain-producing grass. Compared to brown rice, it contains a similar amount of fibre but twice the amount of zinc and eight times the amount of Vitamin E. It requires the most water, soaking and cooking time among other rice types.   GI of rice varieties: High (70-100): white rice, sticky (glutinous), puffed rice  Medium (56-69): brown rice, basmati rice  Low: parboiled (converted) rice (around 40)
  • U.S. organic food sales jump more than 8%

  • Organic Growth Chart
    WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S.  — Organic food sales in the United States increased by 8.4% in 2016 to reach $43 billion, marking the first time sales surpassed $40 billion, according to the Organic Trade Association’s industry survey released May 24. The 8.4% jump compared to an increase of 0.6% in overall U.S. food market sales.

    Overall U.S. organic sales were about $47 billion in 2016. Sales of organic non-food products increased 8.8% to $3.9 billion. Organic food accounted for 5.3% of total U.S. food sales.

    Organic fruits and vegetables, the largest organic food category, accounted for nearly 40% of all organic food sales, rising 8.4% to $15.6 billion in 2016. Organic fruit and vegetables made up almost 15% of the produce that Americans ate in 2016.

    Sales of organic meat and poultry rose more than 17% in 2016 to $991 million. Organic dips and organic spices, although still smaller categories, recorded double-digit jumps in sales. Organic dip sales increased 41% to $57 million, and organic spice sales increased 35% to $193 million.

    More than 60% of all organic businesses with more than five employees reported an increase in full-time employment in 2016.

    Laura Batcha
    Laura Batcha, executive director of the Organic Trade Association.

    “Organic farmers are not just staying in business, they’re often expanding,” said Laura Batcha, executive director of the Organic Trade Association. “Organic handling, manufacturing and processing facilities are being opened, enlarged and retooled. Organic farms, suppliers and handlers are creating jobs across the country, and the organic sector is growing and creating the kinds of healthy, environmentally friendly products that consumers are increasingly demanding.”

    She added the organic sector needs help in meeting demand.

    “We need more organic farmers in this country to meet our growing organic demand, and the organic sector needs to have the necessary tools to grow and compete on a level playing field,” Batcha said. “That means federal, state and local programs that help support organic research and provide the organic farmer with a fully equipped tool kit to be successful.”

    Nutrition Business Journal conducted the survey on behalf of the Organic Trade Association. More than 200 companies responded to the survey, which took place from Feb. 2 to March 31. 
     
  • Awareness about organic produce must increase

  • As the sourcing of organic seeds is difficult in Telangana, they started with the propagation of their own seeds.
    Chekoti Bio Organic puts its products on display at its office. (Photo: DC)
     Chekoti Bio Organic puts its products on display at its office. (Photo: DC)
    HYDERABAD: Veera Reddy, a mechanical engineer by profession, started organic farming in 2007. After working abroad for a few years, Reddy returned to Hyderabad and found everything here adulterated. He decided to produce his own organic eatables in a 10-acre farm. According to him, only educated people are aware of the importance of organic products and going organic, and there is a need for more awareness among the people in this respect.
     
    Chekoti Bio Organic products were founded by Veera Reddy in 2015 along with his daughter Keerthi Chekoti and son-in-law Rajesh Kumar Chekoti in their individual farms in Pakala village, Warangal district and in Kothapalli Village, Jangaon District in Telangana. As the sourcing of organic seeds is difficult in Telangana, they started with the propagation of their own seeds. Today they also produce and sell a wide range of certified organic vegetables and herbs for sale in Telangana. “Initially, in 2007, we started with the plantation of wonder fruit NONI — Botanical name Mori-nda Citrifolial in Pakala village. M. Citrifolia fruit powder contains carbohydrates and dietary fibre in moderate levels. These macronutrients evidently reside in the fruit pulp, as M. Citrifolia juice has sparse nutrient content,’’ Veera Reddy said, He added, “In an area with low rainfalls, strong winds and high temperatures in summer, the production of vegetables poses many challenges. I guess it is true to say that we have pioneered organic farming here on the West Coast. We have achieved and maintained organic certification –INDOCERT, USDA and INDIA ORGANIC since in 2008.” “Our premises and systems were upgraded to meet the latest standards in hygiene as well as all relevant occupational and environmental regulations,” he explained. “Today, we produce a select range of fresh vegetables, pack them with as little plastic as possible, and distribute our produce through our own brand shops and through other organic shops’’, he added. ‘Getting farmers shift to organic farming is tough’ Organic farming — once upon a time the only way farmers farmed — is a better alternative than chemical farming that is widely practised in India, but 26-year-old biotech engineer Likitha Bhanu is doing her bit to reverse the trend. After graduating from the Vellore Institute of Technology in Biotechnol-ogy, Likitha took a year’s break and then decided to take up organic farming. She and her mother Padm-aja established Terra Gre-ens Organic Food Comp-any based out of Hyder-abad in 2013. “We had two aims: to spread awareness about organic food and to help farmers across India adopt this method of farming,” says Lakitha.

    26-year-old Likitha Bhanu along with her mother Padmaja Bhanu strikes a pose with staff at the Terra Greens Organic Food Company established by the duo in Hyderabad in 2013. (Photo: DC)26-year-old Likitha Bhanu along with her mother Padmaja Bhanu strikes a pose with staff at the Terra Greens Organic Food Company established by the duo in Hyderabad in 2013. (Photo: DC)

    The company supplied mangoes to the upmarket Nature’s Basket chain of stores, under the brand name Terra Greens Organic. Consumers took to the organic mangoes instantly and demand outstripped supply. Terra Greens produces the staples of an Indian kitchen such as pulses, all types of fruits, spices, honey, and tea. Likitha says quality of the product is important so they procure produce from pla-ces where it was originally grown. Terra Green’s basmati rice comes from Uttarakhand, its other rice from Kannur, pulses from Maharashtra and wheat from Rajasthan. “We started our first farming project in Rajasthan with a loan and our savings, followed by Mahara-shtra and Andhra Prad-esh because the demand and understanding of organic farming was better in these states at that time. We have our farms in 16 states and over 650 stores for which 4,000 farmers are working across India,'' says the eco-conscious entrepreneur. She says the main challenge is to convince the farmers, who have been used to chemical agriculture, about the importance of organic farming. Organic products are costly because the demand is so low, but once the dem-and increases, the market will improve, she says. “The government should increase awareness among farmers to go in for organic farming and also promote the consumption of organic farming. Partnership should be increased between farmers and the companies to encourage farmers to get into organic farming.”
  • India to treble export of organic products by 2020

  • Organic vegetables
    India’s of (both food and non-food) are likely to treble by 2020 following relaxations in quota restrictions, thereby, allowing farmers to compete in global
     
    According to the Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (Apeda), Indian farmers produced around 1.35 million tonnes of certified in the financial year 2015-16. This includes food products such as sugarcane, oilseeds, cereals, millets, cotton, pulses, medicinal plants, tea, fruits, spices, vegetables and coffee, among others. However, remained low primarily due to quantitative restrictions. Food exports, for example, stood at 2,63,687 tonnes, which was worth $298 million.
     
    The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), had through a notification in April,  liberalised the quantitative restrictions on the export of from -- a move that experts believe would boost India’s production and significantly in future.
     
    “Despite having an immense potential, Indian organic farmers failed to explore opportunities in the global due to the quantitative ceiling. Perhaps, the government had imposed such restrictions to ensure food security for domestic consumers. But, quantitative restrictions were only discouraging farmers to intensify their work on Hence, such restrictions were no longer needed. We, therefore, urged the government to liberalise the restrictions,” said Manoj Menon, Executive Director of Indian Competence Centre for Organic Agriculture (ICCOA), a Bengaluru–based networking organisation of organic value chains.
     
    Thus, the overall market of Rs 4,000 crore is estimated to grow and range between Rs 10,000 and Rs 12,000 crore by 2020 with a concomitant increase in exports, Menon added.
    While of organic wheat, non-basmati rice, edible oil and sugar have been exempted from all annual quantitative ceilings, the ceiling for pulses and lentils has been increased from 10,000 tonnes to 50,000 tonnes.
    Indian farmers exported largely to the (EU), United States of America (US), Canada, Switzerland, the Middle East, among others. Oilseeds contributed half of India’s overall organic exports, followed by processed food products that account for 25 per cent of the total export.
     
    “The growth of organic farming was limited due to the lack of incentives offered by the government to encourage farmers. In fact, farmers tend to see low productivity and, thereby, low income for at least three years in case they switch to organic from conventional or hybrid farming. Since organic farming does not use chemicals and fertilisers, the only way farmers can be compensated is through premiums for their produce. In fact, Indian like tea, vegetables and pulses fetch much higher premiums from overseas than conventional and hybrid products. The liberalisation in the quantitative ceilings, however, would encourage farmers to fetch premiums in the international markets,” said a senior industry official.
     
    With around 50 per cent of the market share, the continues to be the biggest market for organic produce worth $80 billion followed by the EU and others.
    At present, the total area available for organic cultivation in stands at 5.71 million hectares. Out of this, 26 per cent or 1.49 million hectares of land comes under cultivable area, while the remaining 4.11 million hectares fall under forest cover that is used to collect minor forest produce.
     
  • Pesticides, heavy metals found in ‘organic’ rice

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    (Representative image)(Representative image)
     
    AHMEDABAD: Recent comparative product testing by city-based Consumer Education and Research Centre (CERC), found traces of pesticides and heavy metals in six supposedly-organic brands of rice.Three brands of rice sold as organic had traces of the pesticide chlorpyrifos, and these were above the safe limit in two brands. All seven organic rice brands tested by CERC, were found to have heavy metals, copper and lead, but these were within the safe limits. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) suggests that short-term exposure to chlorpyrifos can cause changes in behavior or sleeping patterns, mood changes, and effects on the nerves and/or muscles in the limbs. Contrary to the findings, the packaging of most products carried claims such as 'pesticide-free', 'free from chemicals and toxic substances', among others, which are misleading, the study concluded.
    "The very rationale for buying an organic product is to buy a product free of pesticides and chemicals. Moreover, consumers pay a premium for organic products and despite this, they don't get the proper quality. This is because there are no standards to govern the production and sale of organic food products," said Pritee Shah, chief general manager, CERC.In the past, CERC urged the Bureau of Indian Standards and the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India to formulate standards for organic products through a representation.
    CERC further emphasized that the National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP) certification be made mandatory for organic products and not just processes."Currently, NPOP certifies organic process standards; but it should also certify the final product. While we do encourage promoting consumption of organic products, manufacturers and regulatory authorities must ensure that consumers get quality products. India also needs to follow labelling norms according to global best-practices in the interest of consumers," added Shah.