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D.A. PUSHES SWIFT PASSAGE OF AGRI-FRIENDLY BILLS (Philippines)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 3, 2009

01/03/2009

The Daily Tribune

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE DAILY TRIBUNE’ (Philippines)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE DAILY TRIBUNE’ (Philippines)

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Posted in AGRICULTURE, BANKING SYSTEMS, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FARMING SUBSIDIES, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FISHERIES, FOOD PRODUCTION (human), FRUITS AND FRESH VEGETABLES, GRAINS, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, MEAT, PHILIPPINES, PUBLIC SECTOR AND STATE OWNED ENTERPRISES, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »

PRODUTORES DE TRIGO E MILHO LIDERAM A PROCURA POR GARANTIAS DE RENDA – ADESÃO A CONTRATOS PÚBLICOS DE OPÇÃO CRESCEU 238% NESTE ANO (Brazil)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 26, 2008

25/12/2008 – 16h02min

Letícia Luvison – Brasília (DF)

PUBLISHED BY ‘CANAL RURAL’ (Brazil)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘CANAL RURAL’ (Brazil)

Posted in AGRICULTURA, AGRICULTURE, AGRONEGÓCIOS, BANKING SYSTEMS, BRASIL, COMMODITIES MARKET, CORN, ECONOMIA - BRASIL, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, EXPANSÃO AGRÍCOLA, EXPANSÃO ECONÔMICA, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FLUXO DE CAPITAIS, GRAINS, INTERNATIONAL, MINISTÉRIO DA AGRICULTURA, PECUÁRIA E ABASTECIMENTO, O PODER EXECUTIVO FEDERAL, O SISTEMA BANCÁRIO - BRASIL, RECESSION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, WHEAT | Leave a Comment »

APROVADO ZONEAMENTO AGRÍCOLA PARA CEVADA IRRIGADA E SORGO GRANÍFERO – FATORES CLIMÁTICOS FORAM CONSIDERADOS PARA IDENTIFICAR AS ÁREAS MAIS APTAS PARA CADA CULTURA (Brazil)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 23, 2008

20/12/2008 – 16h10min

CANAL RURAL – ClicRBS

PUBLISHED BY ‘CANAL RURAL – CLIC RBS’ (Brazil)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘CANAL RURAL – CLIC RBS’ (Brazil)

Posted in A INDÚSTRIA DE ALIMENTOS, AGRICULTURA, AGRICULTURA FAMILIAR, AGRICULTURA SUSTENTÁVEL, AGRICULTURE, AGRONEGÓCIOS, BRASIL, CIDADES, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIA - BRASIL, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, EXPANSÃO AGRÍCOLA, EXPANSÃO ECONÔMICA, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FLUXO DE CAPITAIS, FOOD INDUSTRIES, GRAINS, INTERNATIONAL, MINISTÉRIO DA AGRICULTURA, PECUÁRIA E ABASTECIMENTO, O PODER EXECUTIVO FEDERAL, RECESSION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »

RECORD HIGH GRAIN PRICES BRING POLITICS TO THE TABLE

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 16, 2008

December 15, 2008

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE BUSINESS REPORT’ (South Africa)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE BUSINESS REPORT’ (South Africa)

Posted in AGRICULTURE, ECONOMY, GRAINS | Leave a Comment »

U.S. BUSINESS JUST SHUTTING DOWN – EXPERT

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 15, 2008

4:00AM Monday Dec 15, 2008

Associated Press

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE NEW ZEALAND HERALD’

WASHINGTON – Signs that the US recession will be long and severe mounted with a fresh round of bad economic news, including plunging sales from manufacturers to stores and falling prices that raise fears of dangerous deflation.

The widening economic troubles did put a lid on inflation. But they raised concerns about the opposite threat – the potential for a bout of deflation that could drag down incomes, clobber home prices even more and shrink corporate profits.

“Everything is going wrong in the fourth quarter,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Economy.com. “We have collapses in consumer spending, housing and now investment. Business is just shutting down.”

The new batch of data Friday showed retail sales fell by 1.8 per cent in November, marking a record fifth straight monthly decline.

The weakness was led by another sharp drop in auto sales – the worst sales month for automakers in 26 years. After an auto bailout collapsed in Congress on Thursday night, the White House offered a partial reprieve on Friday for the Detroit Three, pledging temporary help to avoid a “disorderly bankruptcy” for one or more of them.

Treasury Department officials were discussing with the automakers what form that support would take. That gave Wall Street a lift, with the Dow Jones industrials rising about 65 points to close just under 8630.

The stock market has shown signs of settling down the past two weeks. While there’s still volatility, the terrifying lurches of several hundred points at a time have become rarer.

The Dow has closed between 8000 and 9000 for 15 trading sessions in a row.

And on two of the last three days, it has moved only double digits for the day, the first time that has happened since Lehman Brothers went bust in mid-September.

A second report from the Commerce Department showed that all stages of production – manufacturing, wholesale and retail – suffered a record drop in sales in October, the month the financial crisis hit with force.

Businesses trimmed their total inventories by the biggest amount in five years, which probably means more cuts in production and layoffs in the months ahead.

And a Labour Department report showed wholesale prices dropped 2.2 per cent in November, the fourth consecutive monthly decline. They had fallen 2.8 per cent in October, a record.

Wholesale prices have not fallen for such an extended stretch since the period between October 2001 and January 2002, when the country was struggling to emerge from the last recession.

The severity of the current recession, already the longest in a quarter-century, was raising the risk of a period of deflation for the first time in the United States since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

While falling prices for fuel and other products mean people have more to spend on other items, a prolonged stretch of price declines can escalate into falling wages as businesses are forced to slash production costs to compete for sales.

Economists say the threat of deflation is remote but the risks are increasing as the downturn worsens, especially with Wall Street in upheaval and businesses and people having trouble getting loans.

“People are just scared at the moment with the financial markets locked up,” said David Wyss, chief economist at Standard & Poor’s in New York.

Wyss and other economists expect the Federal Reserve not only to cut rates sharply at the conclusion of its two-day meeting Tuesday, but also to signal other novel approaches it may employ to get credit into the system.

The Fed’s target for the federal funds rate, the interest that banks charge each other, is already at 1 per cent, tying the lowest level of the past 50 years.

The 1.8 per cent fall in retail sales in November was concentrated in bad results for automakers and a plunge in sales at petrol stations because of cheaper petrol.

Other businesses, such as department stores, posted modest sales increases.

But economists caution against reading too much into those gains, contending that the weak economy and continued layoffs will likely make this the weakest holiday shopping season for stores since the 1981-82 recession.

All the economy’s woes are expected to show up in a steep drop in overall activity during the current October-December quarter.

Some economists said the gross domestic product could fall by 5 per cent or more in the fourth quarter and keep falling next year.

Wyss said he expects the recession to end in June.

That would mean it had lasted for 18 months, which would be the longest downturn since World War II.

The current record is 16 months. Both the 1981-82 recession and the 1973-75 slump lasted that long.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE NEW ZEALAND HERALD’

Posted in AGRICULTURE, BANKING SYSTEM - USA, BANKRUPTCIES - USA, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, CONSUMERS AND PSYCHOLOGICAL FACTORS, DEFLATION, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, FARMING SUBSIDIES, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FOREIGN POLICIES - USA, FOREIGN WORK FORCE - LEGAL, GRAINS, HOUSING CRISIS - USA, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES - USA, MACROECONOMY, NATIONAL WORK FORCES, PETROL, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, STOCK MARKETS, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, THE WORK MARKET, THE WORKERS, USA | Leave a Comment »

WORLD BANK PLAN BLAMED FOR FOOD CRISIS

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 14, 2008

December 14, 2008

by Alison Fitzgerald and Helen Murphy

PUBLISHED BY ‘BUSINESS REPORT’ (South Africa)

The silo, which once held thousands of tons of beans and cereals, is now empty. It was abandoned in 1991 after the bank told Salvadoran leaders to privatise grain storage, import staples such as maize and rice, and export cash crops including cocoa, coffee and palm oil.

Outside, at a food stand propped against a tower wall, price increases for grains have whittled business down to 16 customers a day from 80.

“It is a monument to the mess we are in,” says stall owner Rosa Chavez.

About 40 million people joined the ranks of the undernourished this year, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the UN said this week, bringing the estimate of the world’s hungry to 963 million of its 6.8 billion people.

In addition to natural causes, the recipe for famine included corrupt governments and companies that profited on misery. Another ingredient was the World Bank’s free market policies, which have brought poor nations like El Salvador into global grain markets, where prices surged.

Jeffrey Sachs, the director of the Earth Institute, said: “The World Bank made one basic blunder, which is to think that markets would solve problems of such severe circumstances. But history has shown you need to help people to get above the survival threshold before the markets can start functioning.”

Created in 1944, the World Bank spent much of its first 35 years dispensing low-interest loans, grants and advice to poor countries with an eye toward promoting self-reliance.

In 1980, the bank’s executives began attaching conditions to loans that required “structural adjustments” in the recipients’ economies.

The mandates were designed to get poor countries to cut import tariffs, reduce the government’s role in enterprises such as agriculture and promote cultivation of export crops to attract foreign currency.

The philosophy, known now as the Washington Consensus, assumed that importing basic grains would be inexpensive and that poor farmers could earn more producing exports.

Food prices had fallen for years and few economists thought that would change, said Mark Cackler, the manager of the bank’s agriculture and rural development department.

Then in 2007 and the first half of 2008, an index of 60 food commodity prices compiled by the FAO rose 82 percent. Costs have since eased, but were still 20 percent higher on November 1 than at the end of 2006.

The spike hit hard in countries that that took structural adjustment loans, like El Salvador. Its central bank said the sum total of loans was “not available”, but the agriculture ministry did give a gauge of their effects. The country was an exporter of rice 20 years ago; now it imports more than 75 percent of its needs.

Consistently wrong

East Timor’s president, Jose Ramos-Horta, said the World Bank gave “consistently wrong advice”. The 1996 Nobel peace prize winner added: “It is their advice – that buying externally is cheaper than producing – that has resulted in this.”

Current and former World Bank officials say small countries hurt their own agriculture industries by suppressing prices, taxing farms, inflating exchange rates and favouring urban development. They reject the assertion that structural adjustment loans hurt self-sufficiency.

World Bank spokesperson Geetanjali Chopra said the institution did not agree that “this crisis was caused by these policies. This crisis was caused by much more than underinvestment in agriculture.”

Still, FAO data show imports of basic grains climbed in nations such as Honduras and Ghana after they eliminated agricultural subsidies, sold off grain stores or cut tariffs to get World Bank loans in the 1990s.

In Honduras, 23 000 rice farmers went bankrupt after the government cut import duties, according to human rights group Oxfam International. Honduran farms now supply 17 percent of the domestic demand for rice, down from 90 percent before.

In Ghana, the World Bank required a tariff reduction on rice to 20 percent from 100 percent. Imports tripled, said Raj Patel, a scholar at the University of California.

Uma Lele, a World Bank economist between 1971 and 2005, said the free market policies were a sharp turn from the bank’s earlier efforts to develop poor countries’ agriculture and self-reliance.

Former bank president Robert McNamara introduced the structural adjustment concept in 1979 as he urged rich nations to open their markets to poor countries’ exports.

“Developing countries will need to carry out structural adjustments favouring their export sector,” he said in a speech in Manila.

Pierre Landell-Mills, a bank economist at the time, said officials were frustrated that their farming investment through the 1970s was not paying off, especially in Africa.

The “preferred solution”, he said, was to dismantle state marketing boards, shrink governments and remove barriers to entrepreneurship.

McNamara approved the first three structural adjustment loans in 1980. By 1985 they made up more than a quarter of the World Bank’s total lending, according to Kyle Peters, its country services director.

Free market principles were on the rise in the US and the UK, the bank’s major funders. Alden Clausen, appointed by the US to succeed McNamara in 1981, was sure “you could fight poverty better if you get the policies of a country right. I loved structural adjustment loans, and I made a lot of them,” he said.

As these loans grew, the portion of the World Bank’s lending devoted to agriculture fell, to 8 percent in 2000 from 30 percent in 1980. Last year, farm-related loans made up 12 percent of its $24.7 billion book.

“One of the reasons we have problems today is because of the cuts in agriculture,” said Montague Yudelman, the director of the bank’s agriculture unit under McNamara. “If they’d made a continuously high level of investment, we’d have been in much better shape.”

By the late 1980s critics began saying the bank was fostering poverty and dependence.

In 1995, just 30 days into his tenure as bank president, James Wolfensohn promised changes. In a meeting with 12 non-profit organisations, he heard their argument that 15 years of adjustment lending had wiped out small farmers in Africa, Latin America and Asia.

A different way

“I am looking for a different way of doing business,” Wolfensohn, who led the bank until 2005, told them.

The bank’s commitment to free-market principles didn’t waver.

In 2000, as a condition for a $6.8 million agriculture loan in East Timor, the bank demanded that state-funded agricultural service centres be privatised and rejected money for a public grain silo, according to Tim Anderson, a political economy lecturer at the University of Sydney.

In 2001 several non-profit groups released a report saying the policies “have undermined the viability of small farms, weakened food security and damaged the environment”.

In August 2004, James Adams, the World Bank’s head of operations policy, declared the end of structural adjustments, saying the bank had “abandoned the prescriptive character of the old policy”.

The next year, the bank demanded that Niger privatise its irrigation systems, according to a report by non-profit coalition Eurodad. The condition “has seriously damaging effects on poor farmers’ access to a precious resource”, says the 2007 report. The group found economic policy conditions were attached to 71 percent of loans and grants.

In this year’s World Development Report, the bank acknowledges that limiting state participation in agriculture has hurt small farmers.

Bank president Robert Zoellick has promised to double agriculture spending while touting free trade as a solution to rising food prices.

Poor countries remain sceptical. In world trade talks in Geneva in July they insisted on their right to raise tariffs to protect domestic agriculture, stalling the negotiations.

El Salvador, meanwhile, has invested about $240 million in agriculture since 2004. Agriculture minister Mario Salaverria said: “The World Bank had a very short-term vision. It could not have been more wrong.”

His country must regain self-sufficiency, he said. “We can stop using our cars because of price increases, but we cannot stop eating.”

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PUBLISHED BY ‘BUSINESS REPORT’ (South Africa)

Posted in AGRICULTURE, BANKING SYSTEMS, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FOOD PRODUCTION (human), GRAINS, INTERNATIONAL, RECESSION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, WORLD BANK | Leave a Comment »

FINANCIAL CRISIS KILLS OFF AGRICULTURE SCHEMES (Australia)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 2, 2008

December 02, 2008

by Rick Wallace

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE AUSTRALIAN’

THE economic crisis appears to have killed off one of the most divisive trends in Australian agriculture: the growth of aggressively marketed, tax-effective investment schemes.

The future of the schemes, loathed by many growers for buying up land and billions of litres of water, is in jeopardy thanks to the global financial collapse and recent tax changes.

The two largest agricultural managed investment scheme companies, Timbercorp and Great Southern Plantations, are trading at less than 5 per cent of their peak values in 2006. Overall, their plummeting share prices have stripped more than $1.7 billion from their combined market capitalisation.

Timbercorp will quit the MIS sector next year and has begun selling plantations to reduce debt while Great Southern has also announced a major restructure that will reduce its involvement in non-forestry MIS schemes.

Enviroinvest, another MIS operator, controlled by the family of former Liberal politician Roger Pescott, recently went into liquidation with debts of $100 million.

The sector’s woes may change the landscape of horticulture in Australia with investment slowing to a trickle and plantations along the Murray River potentially sold off to foreign investors.

Under restructure plans, Timbercorp will sell some forestry blocks along with almond and olive groves, although it will lease them back. Great Southern is converting some cattle, forestry and horticultural projects to non-MIS based structures.

Analysts predict Great Southern will have to sell more assets if investors don’t support the restructure, although the company is upbeat about its chances.

Individual growers reeling under debt and a decade of drought believe much of the land and water rights controlled by MISs will now be bought up by foreign firms.

Northwest Victorian grape grower and MIS critic Bill McClumpha said many MISs would fold. “The schemes are financially unviable and just an arm of the tax avoidance industry,” he said.

The growth of MISs saw them expand from forestry into almonds, avocados, abalone, pearls, truffles and walnuts, olives and wine grapes. Investors ploughed almost $1.1 billion into them in 2007 at the height of the boom, buying hundreds of thousands of hectares from farmers to establish plantations and orchards.

According to their detractors, who include Liberal senator Bill Heffernan and former Nationals agriculture minister Peter McGauran, the attraction was not so much the returns but the tax deductions they offered.

From July this year, a tax office ruling has meant non-forestry schemes no longer attract the deduction, although this is being reviewed by Treasury and challenged in the Federal Court.

Many of the schemes were sold on commission to high-income earners. To their supporters they offered innovation, economies of scale and capital beyond the reach of the average farmer.

Great Southern spokesman David Ikin said the company would wait on the tax reviews before considering any new non-forestry MIS and Timbercorp is now focusing on agribusiness rather than fund management.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE AUSTRALIAN’

Posted in AGRICULTURE, AUSTRALIA, BANKING SYSTEMS, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FOOD INDUSTRIES, FOOD PRODUCTION (human), FRUITS AND FRESH VEGETABLES, GRAINS, INTERNATIONAL, RECESSION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, WATER | Leave a Comment »

CHINA SIGNS GREEK PORT DEAL

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 27, 2008

Nov 26, 2008 6:38 AM

Chinese President Hu Jintao vowed to increase maritime investment in GREEK PROTESTERS - ReutersGreece after the signing of a 3.4 billion euro deal to run the country’s largest port, despite protests from dockers.

Hu and Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis witnessed the signing of the contract by state-controlled China Ocean Shipping Company (Cosco) to operate the container port of Piraeus (OLP) for 35 years, part of Greece’s privatisation agenda.

“Our priorities are to widen our economic cooperation … to strengthen maritime cooperation and investments,” the Chinese leader told journalists, during a three-day state visit.

Greece controls one fifth of the world’s merchant fleet. Its ship owners have profited from a huge boom in demand for iron ore, oil and grain from China in recent years, and they are the largest clients for Chinese shipbuilding yards.

Until a collapse in freight rates earlier this year, the boom helped Greece’s economy grow by 4% a year for a decade.

“The agreement between OLP and Cosco signals a new important chapter,” said Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis. “Greek ports can become transit points for Chinese goods to the EU and southeast Europe, as well as the Mediterranean.”

Several hundred dockworkers, carrying a banner reading “Cosco Go Home” and waving black flags, marched past the Greek parliament before the signing, saying the deal would mean job losses and tougher labour conditions.

“They must not sell the ports. OLP is a profitable business … it doesn’t make sense,” said Manolis Gemeliaris, 54, an engineer at the port. “When Cosco comes, we will lose our jobs.”

The Chinese company has insisted that it will create 1,000 new jobs at the port for Greek workers and more than double its capacity by 2015.

Hu, who toured the ancient temples of the Acropolis in central Athens with his wife, has insisted during his visit that China’s economy is still experiencing “significant growth” and he would cooperate with international efforts to tackle the global economic downturn.

However, the World Bank said in a report published Tuesday that China’s economic growth would slow to 7.5% next year, its lowest rate since 1990, despite a 4 trillion yuan ($US586 billion) stimulus package.

Despite the opposition of Greece’s restive unions, the conservative government is pressing ahead with privatisations and has put loss-making Olympic Airlines on the block.

The ruling New Democracy party, whose parliamentary majority was cut to one seat this month by the expulsion of a rebel deputy, has fallen behind in opinion polls for the first time since winning power in 2004 amid discontent at its economic policies. Many analysts expect an early election next year, ahead of a 2011 deadline.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘TVNZ’ (New Zealand)

Posted in CHINA, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FOREIGN POLICIES, GRAINS, GREECE, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, IRON ORE, MARITIME, NATIONAL WORK FORCES, PETROL, SHIPYARD INDUSTRIES, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE WORK MARKET, THE WORKERS, TRANSPORT INDUSTRIES, WORLD BANK | Leave a Comment »

FREE TRADE HURTS FARMERS, CLAIMS NFU PRESIDENT (Canada)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 23, 2008

Published: Friday, November 21, 2008

by Joanne Paulson, The StarPhoenix

Grain prices may have soared earlier this year, but the 20-year average income of the Canadian
family farmer remains at zero, the president of the National Farmers Union (NFU) said Thursday.

Farmers have generated two-thirds of a trillion dollars in gross income during that time and have kept none of it, said Stewart Wells in an address to the NFU convention at the Hilton Garden Inn.

“Farmers have been brought up to that zero mark due to taxpayers’ transfers,” Wells said later in an interview.

While grain prices were quite high during the spring and summer, other commodities including beef, pork and potatoes have been tanking for some time. Meanwhile, input costs have risen faster than commodity prices and as commodities have dropped off, input costs have not.

These problems have narrowed the window of economic viability, he said. Once, farmers had three or four years to harvest a crop that would get them out of the hole. Today, they’re lucky if they have one or two years, said Wells.

“We need a systemic Canadian-made policy that will allow family farms to grow high-quality, safe food for Canadians.”

Farmers have worked too hard to grow safe food for it to go into corporate production plants where it can be contaminated with listeriosis, said Wells.

Farming problems are not cyclical, but systemic, and began with the free trade agreements that began to fall into place in the late 1980s, he said. Between 1945 and 1985, farm income was relatively stable.

“Now we’ve fallen completely out of that channel,” said Wells.

Family farmers are not surprised by the erosion of the global economy. They saw it coming with the first free trade agreements of the late 1980s, which allowed for more lax regulations and food safety processes for trading partners.

Wells says he is not opposed to all free trade, but he said the agreements must enhance local economies rather than replace them.

CWB ELECTION UNDEMOCRATIC: WELLS

Wells also slammed the Harper government for what he says is an undemocratic approach to running – and trying to get rid of — the Canadian Wheat Board.

“Over the last three years, we’re seeing how thin this veneer of democracy really is,” said Wells.

In the upcoming CWB election, between 10,000 and 15,000 wheat board permit book holders will not be voting, Wells estimated. Under new election parameters, only permit book holders who delivered to the CWB in the last 15 months (or two crop years) were automatically placed on the voters list.

The changes were mandated by the Harper government and set out by Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and by Chuck Strahl before him.

The CWB election is managed by official election co-ordinator Meyers Norris Penny, but should be taken over by Elections Canada in the future, said Wells.

Asked how the voters list problem will affect the election – which pits single-desk advocates against open market candidates in many cases – Wells said, “we’ll never know.”

Wheat board directors are elected in five of 10 districts per election, which are two years apart, to maintain board continuity. The same election rules applied two years ago, said CWB spokesperson Maureen Fitzhenry.

Fitzhenry said the permit book holders were eligible, but just weren’t automatically on the list. An oversight with unclear wording on the voters application form did cause some problems, but the oversight was fixed, she said.

Non-permit book holders were also eligible to vote if they could prove they had grown one of the major six grains in the last two years.

“We’re very committed to running the election in the most neutral, balanced way so the process has integrity,” said Fitzhenry.

© The StarPhoenix (Saskatoon) 2008

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘The Saskatoon StarPhoenix’ (Canada)

Posted in AGRICULTURE, CANADA, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FARMING SUBSIDIES, GRAINS, INTERNATIONAL, THE WORK MARKET, WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION | Leave a Comment »

OILS, OILSEEDS SLIP FURTHER ON NEGATIVE OVERSEAS ADVICES – Grains and non-ferrous metals presented mixed signals (India)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 17, 2008

16 Nov 2008, 0143 hrs IST, AGENCIES

NEW DELHI: The Delhi oil and oilseeds market remained depressive past week following discouraging VEGETABLE OILS - Indiaoverseas advices coupled with increased arrivals from producing centres. With the CPO (crude palm oil) in Malaysia down by $ 25 to $ 450 per tonne and Chicago soya oil futures tumbling to around 250 cent this led to nervous selling by stockists easing prices of all major edible oil on the Delhi wholesale market.

According to marketmen, increased arrivals of soya seed at crushing units also had a deep impact on edible oil prices. Soya seed which was quoting at Rs 1550/1600 per quintal in producing centres fell to Rs 1480/1500 per quintal.

Prices in Ratlam and Neemuch were seen quoting even lower at Rs 1375/1400 per quintal leading to sharp fall in soya oil prices. With soya oil in Indore down by Rs 350 to Rs 4000 per quintal its prices in Delhi also declined from Rs 4800 to Rs 4500 per quintal following heavy selling by stockists.

Cottonseed oil slumped to a low of Rs 4050, losing Rs 250 per quintal tracking the weak trend prevailing in Punjab where cottonseed oil prices came crashing down to Rs 3900 per quintal.

Sesame oil was also hit by selling pressure with prices easing by Rs 100 to Rs 4250 per quintal even as sesame seed held strong. Mustard seed slipped by Rs 25/50 to Rs 2900/3100 per quintal on weak demand.

GRAINS & PULSES

The Delhi wholesale grains and pulses market ruled mixed past week on the back of mixed signals from upcountry market centres. Tight inventory in roller flour mills appreciated mill-quality wheat Rs 56/58 to Rs 1150/1156 per quintal following spurt in demand.

Atta (wheat flour) was also quoting upward by Rs 30/35 at Rs 620/625 per 50 kg on heavy buying by local stockists and retailers. Wheat bran firmed by Rs 20 at Rs 430/450 per 50 kg on increased offtake by upcontry centres.

Fine rice 1121 average quality held steady at Rs 5900/6000 per quintal, while rice steam was quoting at Rs 6500/7000 per quintal end week. According to marketmen, sustained arrivals of fine paddy at mills in Haryana eased Paddy grade 1121 from Rs 3000/3100 to Rs 2800/2900 per quintal.

NON-FERROUS METALS

The Delhi non-ferrous metals market observed mixed trends past week. While Nickel and Tin closed firm in tune with the LME (London Metal Exchange) trend copper, brass and aluminium incurred losses. Nickel Russian Plate spurted by Rs 20 to Rs 765/775 per kg on hectic buying by stockists and speculators as nickel on LME rose from $ 11550 to $ 11578 per tonne.

Inco nickel was also quoting upward by Rs 10 at Rs 865 per kg. Lead desi soft and hard edged up by Re 1 to Rs 86.50 and Rs 85/89 per kg following firm LME lead which moved up by $ 40 to $ 1332 per tonne. Brass parts, huny scrap and sheet tumbled by Rs 7/8 to Rs 183, 186 and Rs 184 per kg respectively amid increased arrivals from Pune and Hyderabad.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE ECONOMIC TIMES’ (India)

Posted in AGRICULTURE, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, GRAINS, INDIA, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, MALAYSIA, METALS, RICE, WHEAT | Leave a Comment »

WHEAT PRICES MAY RALLY SHARPLY IN 2009

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 14, 2008

November 13, 2008

by Ray Brindal

Article from: Dow Jones Newswires

GLOBAL wheat prices have steadied in recent weeks after a savage two-month slide, but the WHEATpreconditions are in place to underpin a rally early in 2009, and if production doesn’t meet high expectations it could be a very sharp rally.

Against a backdrop of a general decline in the value of all asset classes, wheat prices slumped as the market focused on a sharp increase in global wheat production, with the US Department of Agriculture on Monday estimating a 12 per cent on year increase in output in 2008-09 to a record 682 million tonnes.

But the market may have overlooked “the missing salient fact” that demand is continuing to grow because the global population is expanding, says Mark Martin, a risk management adviser and director at Australian commodity manager MarketAg.

USDA estimates demand for wheat will grow 6.2 per cent on year in 2008-09 to 657 million tonnes.

“With that growing demand and tight stocks, it wouldn’t take too much for a production hiccup to cause an explosion in prices,” Mr Martin told Dow Jones Newswires.

Australia’s most active wheat futures contract – ASX January – settled yesterday at $268 a tonne. That’s up from a low of $258 late October but still well below a recent high of $392 on August 21 and a still higher peak of almost $450 in late February.

“If we have a serious weather problem, or a scare…you’d see a $200 lift in these prices,” Mr Martin said.

He isn’t alone in seeing a solid floor in place for wheat prices.

In analysing the USDA estimates, Merrill Lynch said that despite expectations of higher output of wheat, soy and corn in 2008-09, inventories are projected to remain at low levels.

Wheat stocks – at their third-lowest level in 35 years – should remain near record lows, it said.

“With grain demand expected to grow at 3-4 per cent in the coming year, inventories at historically low levels and limited arable land available for expansion, grain markets are expected to remain tight in the near to mid term,” Merrill Lynch’s analyst Mario Maia wrote.

“We expect tight market conditions to support grain prices above historical levels.”

In order to meet demand, increase productivity and improve land use efficiency, larger amounts of agricultural inputs will have to be applied, Mr Maia said.

The United Nation’s Food & Agriculture Organisation warned in its biannual Food Outlook report that a prolonged financial crisis could adversely affect plantings of various crops globally and potentially lead to an even more severe price hike in farm commodities next year than was seen earlier this year.

“The financial crisis of the last few months has amplified downward price movements, contributed to tightened credit markets, and introduced greater uncertainty about next year’s prospects, so that many producers are adopting very conservative planting decisions,” one of the report’s authors, Concepcion Calpe, said last week.

This was amplified yesterday by Abdolreza Abbassian, the Secretary of FAO’s Intergovernmental Group on Grains, who said that while attention is distracted by the international financial crisis and the drop in grain prices has taken the urgency off of dealing with soaring food prices, a new, more severe, food crisis is looming.

“We don’t have stocks – no security against production disruptions,” he said in an interview with Dow Jones Newswires.

MarketAg’s Mr Martin said that wheat is one of a number of agricultural commodities whose charts suggest prices are forming a base. After hitting its $258 low on October 23, ASX January wheat traded up to $285 on October 28 and this month traded in a range of $260-$275.

As for the future of prices, “you’d have to say there’s 10 per cent to 20 per cent risk to the downside and an 80 per cent to 90 per cent risk to the upside,” Mr Martin said.

Richard Koch, managing director of Perth-based marketing advisory service Profarmer Australia, is more circumspect, in part reflecting a rebuilding of global wheat stocks, saying “the upside potential outweighs the downside.”

“The best chance we have for a recovery in wheat prices is for Black Sea selling to reduce, that’s been the overwhelming influence on grain markets in the past couple of months,” he said today.

Until outside markets show signs of stabilising, it’s hard to make a case for grain prices to push too far away from where they are now, he said.

That said, probably early next year in the northern hemisphere spring, the battle for acres between competing grains should underpin a recovery in prices, but these likely won’t “blow off the charts” so much as just grind higher, Mr Koch said.

Dow Jones Newswires

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE AUSTRALIAN’

Posted in AGRICULTURE, AUSTRALIA, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, GRAINS, INTERNATIONAL, USA, WHEAT | Leave a Comment »

WHY EATING GM FOOD COULD LOWER YOUR FERTILITY (UK)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 14, 2008

Last updated at 11:22 AM on 12th November 2008

by Sean Poulter

Genetically modified corn has been linked to a threat to fertility in an official study that could deliver a Frankencorn by Monsantohammer blow to controversial ‘Frankenstein Food’.

A long-term feeding trial commissioned by the Austrian government found mice fed on GM corn or maize had fewer offspring and lower birth rates.

The trial has triggered a call from Greenpeace for a recall of all GM food crops currently on the market worldwide on the grounds of the threat to human health.

Fertility threat: mice fed on genetically modified corn had fewer offspring

Most of the research on GM crop safety has been conducted by biotech companies, such as Monsanto, rather than outside independent laboratories.

GM advocates have argued that the fact the US population has been eaten some types of GM food for more than a decade is proof of its safety.

However, these reassurances have been turned on their head by the study commissioned by the Austrian Ministries for Agriculture and Health, which was presented yesterday at a scientific seminar in Vienna.

Professor Dr Jurgen Zentek, Professor for Veterinary Medicine at the University of Vienna and lead author of the study, said a GM diet effected the fertility of mice.

GM expert at Greenpeace International, Dr Jan van Aken, said: ‘Genetically Engineered food appears to be acting as a birth control agent, potentially leading to infertility.

‘If this is not reason enough to close down the whole biotech industry once and for all, I am not sure what kind of disaster we are waiting for.

‘Playing genetic roulette with our food crops is like playing Russian roulette with consumers and public health.’

The Austrian scientists performed several long-term feeding trials with laboratory mice over a course of 20 weeks.

One of the studies was a so-called reproductive assessment by continuous breeding (RACB) trial, in which the same parent generation gave birth to several litters of baby mice.

The parents were fed either with a diet containing 33per cent of GM maize, a hybrid of Monsanto’s MON 810 and another variety, and a normal feed mix..

The team found changes that were ‘statistically significant’ in the third and fourth litters produced by the mice given a GM diet. There were fewer offspring, while the young mice were smaller.

Prof Zentek said there was a direct link between the changes seen and the GM diet.

A press release from the Austrian Agency for Health and Nutrition, said the group of mice given a diet of genetically engineered corn saw a significant change in fertility.

It said: ‘The number of litters and offspring decreased in the GE-fed group faster than in the control. In the GE-fed group more females remained without litters than in the control group.’

Monsanto press offices in the UK and USA were unable to provide a comment on the findings.

CropGen, which speaks for the biotech industry, claims GM crops have been accepted as safe by Government authorities on both sides of the Atlantic.

British scientists recently unveiled a GM purple tomato they claimed could help people avoid developing cancer. The tomato is high in antioxidants – naturally found in other fresh produce such as blueberrys, cranberries and carrots – which are seen as a protection against ill health.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘DAILY MAIL’ (UK)

Posted in AGRICULTURE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENVIRONMENT, FRUITS AND FRESH VEGETABLES, GENETICALLY MODIFIED AGRO-PRODUCTS, GRAINS, INTERNATIONAL, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, UNITED KINGDOM | Leave a Comment »

AGRICULTURE SECTOR GROWS 4.19% IN 9 MONTHS — DA (Philippines)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 13, 2008

11/13/2008

Farm output grew by 4.19 percent in the first nine months of the year with all sectors except livestock DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE - PHILIPPINES - GOVERNMENT AGENCY - FARMING posting gains, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said yesterday.

Growth for the January to September period was down from 4.32 percent for the same period last year, the department said in a statement.

The statement attributed the rise in output partly to early planting, use of special high-yielding and early-maturing rice and corn seeds in some regions and earlier incidence of rainfall in some areas.

Crop output rose by 6.1 percent and accounted for 47.73 percent of total agricultural output in the first nine months of the year, the DA statement said.

The fisheries sector, which accounted for 26.14 percent of total agricultural output, rose by 3.55 percent in the first nine months.

Production of unhusked rice, the country’s main crop, rose by 7.22 percent to 10.59 million tonnes, the department added.

Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap said in terms of value, the agriculture sector grew 22.23 percent to P836.3 billion at current prices.

Yap said the crops subsector, which accounted for 47.73 percent of the total agricultural output for the January to September period, grew 6.1 percent, with palay production rising by 7.22 percent and corn production by 4.86 percent. The subsector grossed P458.5 billion at current prices or 30.38 percent higher than the 2007 record for the same period.

With a 13.82-percent share in total production for the first nine months of 2008, the poultry subsector showed a 4.8-percent hike in output, mainly due to the increase in chicken yields. Poultry earnings rose 12.03-percent increase to P90.1 billion, Yap said.

The fisheries subsector, on the other hand, recorded a 3.55-percent increase in production, accounting for 26.14 percent of the total agricultural output. Aquaculture gained 5.31 percent, while commercial and municipal fisheries posted production increments of 1.54 percent and 1.91 percent, respectively.

Only the livestock subsector decreased production by 1.97 percent due to the 2.7-percent decline in hog output in the first three quarters. The subsector, which contributed 12.31 percent of the total output, still kicked up its profits 12.76% to P132.1 billion at current prices.

The growth of Philippine agriculture for the first nine months of 2008 was slightly slower than the 4.32 percent uptick in the same period in 2007, owing to climate change and sky-high petroleum prices that have jacked up the cost of everything from petroleum fertilizers to transport costs.

Yap said there could be a further weakening of farm growth in the last quarter of 2008 due to typhoon damage and the significant cut in the use of petrochemical fertilizers following the 100-percent jump in domestic prices. Field reports reaching the Department of Agriculture pointed to a 30-percent drop in sales of inorganic fertilizers nationwide during the wet or main crop, leading to an expected decline in per-hectare yields of farmers who were forced to scrimp on the use of this essential production input owing to exorbitant prices.

Even so, palay production reached 10.59 million metric tons (MT) in the January-September months, which is 7.22percent higher than the 2007 output for the same period, owing to aggressive planting in the third quarter brought about by better palay prices especially in the areas of the Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Mimaropa (Mindoro-Marinduque-Romblon-Palawan), Western Visayas and Caraga.

“Moreover, the early onset of the rainfall allowed more plantings specifically in the rainfed areas of Western Visayas and Caraga, while the early release of irrigation water resulted in increased production in the palay farms of Cagayan and MIMAROPA,” Yap said.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘DAILY TRIBUNE’ (Philippines)

Posted in AGRICULTURE, CATTLE, COMMODITIES MARKET, CORN, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FISHERIES, GRAINS, INTERNATIONAL, MEAT, PHILIPPINES, POULTRY, RICE | Leave a Comment »

UN: WORLD CEREAL PRODUCTION TO HIT RECORD HIGH BUT NEW PRICE SURGE COULD BE AHEAD

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 11, 2008

Last update: November 6, 2008 – 5:19 AM

by MARTA FALCONI , Associated Press

ROME – World cereal production is expected to hit a record high this year, but the global financial turmoil could trigger a new price surge and unleash more severe food crises, a U.N. agency said Thursday.

Cereal production, which is forecast to rise 5.3 percent from last year to 2.24 billion tons, was boosted by increased plantings encouraged by high prices and good weather, the Food and Agriculture Organization said.

However, the Rome-based agency warned in a new report that farmers in developing countries burdened by the rising cost of seed, fertilizer and other farm inputs may be unable to expand or keep up with production next year.

“The financial crisis of the last few months … has contributed to tighten credit markets, and introduced greater uncertainty about next year’s prospects,” said Concepcion Calpe, one of the report’s main authors. “Many producers are adopting very conservative planting decisions,” she said.

For the first time in four years, world cereal production is likely to cover short-term needs and help replenish much depleted global stocks.

However, Calpe said that should the current price volatility continue in 2008-2009, “output could be affected to such an extent that a new price surge might take place in 2009-2010,” causing even more severe food crises than those that sparked riots and protests worldwide early this year.

The agency said in the report that this year’s cereal production recovery centered mainly in rich countries while farmers in developing nations experienced more difficult access to credit and high prices of inputs.

FAO said the food price surge in past months pushed the number of hungry people to 923 million worldwide. The agency has estimated that 75 million more people were undernourished in 2007 and another 25 million people will be thrown into hunger this year.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE STAR TRIBUNE’ (USA)

Posted in AGRICULTURE, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, CORN, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, GRAINS, INTERNATIONAL | Leave a Comment »

MS EXPORTOU 62,7% MAIS NOS ÚLTIMOS 10 MESES QUE EM 2007 (Brasil)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 4, 2008

Segunda-feira, 03 de Novembro de 2008 18:42

por Jefferson da Luz

As exportações de Mato Grosso do Sul bateram recorde no acumulado de janeiro a outubro, foram exportados UU$ 1,87 bilhões. Na comparação com 2007, as exportações do Estado cresceram 62,7%, o que o coloca no quarto lugar no ranking dos que mais expandiram seus negócios no comércio exterior. Em 2007 o total exportado, entre janeiro e outubro foi de US$ 1,14 bilhões.

Mato Grosso do Sul, no item crescimento percentual, ficou atrás do Distrito Federal, Piauí e Tocantins, porém estes Estados têm participação muito pequena em exportações. Tocantins, terceiro no ranking do crescimento, vendeu apenas US$ 269 milhões. O Distrito Federal que aumentou suas exportação em 121,9%, exportou somente US$ 141 milhões, menos de um décimo das nossas exportações.

Os produtos que mais foram vendidos para o exterior foram os grãos, com destaque especial para a soja. Em segundo lugar estão as carnes bovinas congeladas. Em terceiro farelo de soja outros resíduos vegetais, e o quarto produto mais exportado foi o minério de ferro.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘CAMPO GRANDE NEWS’ (Brasil)

Posted in AGRICULTURA, AGRONEGÓCIOS, BRASIL, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIA - BRASIL, EXPANSÃO AGRÍCOLA, EXPANSÃO ECONÔMICA, GRAINS, MEAT, MS, O PODER EXECUTIVO ESTADUAL, OS GOVERNADORES, PECUÁRIA, POLÍTICA - BRASIL, POLÍTICA REGIONAL, SETOR EXPORTADOR, SOY | Leave a Comment »

FARMERS ASSAIL IMF TERMS FOR LOAN (Pakistan)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 3, 2008

November 03, 2008 – Monday

Bureau Report

HYDERABAD, Nov 2: The Sindh Abadgar Board has rejected the government proposal for obtaining $5 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund and cautioned that if the government does not change its decision it would be tantamount to signing the death warrant of the national economy.

The board leaders said at a meeting held on Saturday under its chairman Abdul Majeed Nizamani that the IMF always targeted agriculture sector and the fund was more likely to impose condition to end subsidy for agriculture sector.

The meeting pointed out that the IMF loan would be extremely dangerous for the national economy and political stability of the country and demanded that the president and prime minister bring the matter before the National Assembly.

The meeting advised the government to make efforts to obtain $1.5 billion from China by mortgaging shares of government corporations and $800 million reimbursement from the United States under the coalition support fund for war on terror.

The meeting warned that if the government fell into the IMF trap and withdrew subsidy on agriculture, it would have to spend more money on importing food items.

The meeting resolved to make the “Grow More Wheat” campaign a success and demanded that the government make all the purchasing centres for wheat functional in Umerkot, Mirpurkhas, Badin and other areas where wheat was harvested earlier.

The meeting said that keeping in view 35 per cent shortage of water in the system, Irsa should be asked to ensure supply of 11.7 million acre foot water of Sindh’s share.

The meeting stressed the need for safeguarding wheat from the smugglers and disclosing the names of “30 respectable people” involved in the grain’s smuggling as disclosed by the prime minister himself on the floor of the assembly.

The meeting said that sugarcane growers were switching over to other crops largely due to government’s helplessness before PSMA over the past 10 years, which was very dangerous for sugar industry. The sugar mills must start crushing season according to government notification, the meeting demanded.

SCA: The Sindh Chamber of Agriculture warned on Sunday that delay in start of crushing season would seriously affect wheat cultivation and lead to wheat crisis in the coming months.

The senior vice-president of the chamber, Mir Murad Ali Khan Talpur, said at the chamber’s meeting that the government had fixed price of cotton at Rs1,900 per maund but the growers were being forced to sell their produce at Rs400 to Rs500 per maund.

The chamber’s general secretary, Akhund Ghulam Mohammad Siddiqui, complained that open blackmarketing of urea fertiliser had inflicted huge losses on the growers.

Sain Bux Rind said that Pasco’s failure to establish purchase centres for rice had created an opportunity for the rice traders to fleece growers. The government had fixed purchase of Irri-6 at Rs900 per maund but the growers were forced to sell their produce at Rs500 per maund, he said.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘DAWN’ (Pakistan)

Posted in AGRICULTURE, ASIA, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, GRAINS, IMF, INDUSTRIAL SUBSIDIES, INTERNATIONAL, PAKISTAN, RICE, SMUGGLING, SUGAR, WHEAT | Leave a Comment »