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MILL ON FULL STEAM BUT FOR FUNDS (Australia)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 8, 2009

January 6, 2009

by Ben Cubby and Andrew Darby

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE SIDNEY MORNING HERALD’

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE SIDNEY MORNING HERALD’

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Posted in AGRICULTURE, AUSTRALIA, BANKING SYSTEMS, COMMERCE, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENVIRONMENT, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, JUDICIARY SYSTEMS, PAPER INDUSTRIES, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, VEGETABLE FIBERS | Leave a Comment »

COTTON TRADING REMAINS FIRM ON ACTIVE BUYING (Pakistan)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 7, 2009

Tuesday, 06 Jan, 2009 – 10:26 AM PST

By Our Staff Reporter

PUBLISHED BY ‘DAWN’ (Pakistan)

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘DAWN’ (Pakistan)

Posted in AGRICULTURE, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, COTTON, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, GARMENT INDUSTRIES, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, PAKISTAN, RECESSION, STOCK MARKETS, TEXTILE INDUSTRIES, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, VEGETABLE FIBERS | Leave a Comment »

LINT PRICES EASE AS FEARS OF SHORT CROP ALLAYED (Pakistan)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 20, 2008

November 19, 2008

by Our Staff Reporter

KARACHI, Nov 19: Cotton prices on Wednesday eased from the recent higher levels on active selling by the ginners followed by larger arrival of phutti into the ginneries for the third consecutive month, allying fears of a short crop.

Prices of fine types were lowered by Rs50 per maund but some of the medium staple length lint in the central Sindh cotton belt was traded as lower as 2,700 per maund, signaling fresh pruning may be on the cards, floor brokers said.

In physical trading, fine lots from the southern Punjab cotton belt were traded lower by Rs100 per maund, having negative impact on phutti prices, they said.

“What worries us most is the larger than normal unsold stocks lying in their godowns, said a leading ginner, adding “if the resumption of operations by the TCP is further delayed, prices can ease further.”

He said about Rs30 billion are tied to the unsold stocks and the consequent liquidity crunch is delaying payments to growers as well as limiting our buying capacity.

Spinners said the conditions on the export front are not that ideal as falling prices of textiles owing to recession in the importing countries had cut our profit margins.

Moreover, finished stocks of textiles are piling in our godowns owing to lack of active demand, having an adverse impact on our liquidity, they said.

They said the textile industry being one of major foreign exchange earners for the country is worst hit by the prevailing financial crisis in advanced countries, both in terms of quantum and export proceeds.

New York cotton futures on the other hand resisted fresh fall and ended with fractional gains of 0.02 and 0.22 cents per lb at 39.39 and 41.84 cents for both the maturing December and the ruling March settlement, respectively.

The following are some of the notable deals reported by the brokers in the ready section.

SINDH TYPE: 1,000 bales, Mirpurkhas and Sultanabad at Rs2,700 to 2,750, 400 bales, Hyderabad at 2,900, 600 bales, Shahdadpur at 2,800 and 400 bales, Sanghar at 2,850, 800 bales, Rohri at 2,950 to 3,000, 600 bales and 400, Khairpur and Hala at 2,750.

PUNJAB VARIETY: 1,000 bales, Khanewal at Rs3,045 to 3,050, 1,000 bales, Burewala at 3,000 to 3,075, 1,000 bales, Chani Goth at 3,050, 2,600 bales, DG Khan at 3,025, 1,000 bales, each Shadan Lund and Shah Jamal, 1,400 bales, Rajanpur, at Rs3,000, 800 bales, Mian Channu at 2,950 to 3,075, 800 bales, Liaquatpur at 3,050, 400 bales, each Yazman, 600 bales, Ahmedpur East and Bahawalpur, 400 bales each Faqir Wali, Kabirwala and Rahimyar Khan at 3,000, and 1,200 bales, Bahawalnagar at 2,975.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘Dawn’ (Pakistan)

Posted in COMMODITIES MARKET, COTTON, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, INTERNATIONAL, PAKISTAN, VEGETABLE FIBERS | Leave a Comment »

PAKISTAN, INDIA ASKED TO SIGN BILATERAL INVESTMENT TREATY

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 14, 2008

November 14, 2008 Friday – Ziqa’ad 15, 1429

ISLAMABAD, Nov 13: The Saarc Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) has stressed upon the governments of Pakistan and India to sign bilateral investment treaty to foster economic cooperation between the two countries.

“The investment treaty will also motivate other countries of the region to promote intra-regional trade and investment,” SCCI president Tariq Sayeed said while addressing the inaugural session of the “Conference on Pakistan-India Economic Relations” being held in India.

According to a SCCI press release received here on Thursday, the conference has been organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) in collaboration with Saarc Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

The SCCI president stressed the need for promoting mobility of people, particularly business community of the region and urged upon the governments of the two countries to issue five years multiple visa for 500 businessmen.

He said the number of Saarc Visa Exemption Stickers should be increased from 100 to 300.

Speaking on the occasion, Indian State Minister for Commerce and Power Jairam Ramesh said that the Indian government was trying its best to remove Non-Tariff Trade Barriers (NTBs), which had been identified by various countries.

He said that India had no country-specific restrictions, adding that the only noteworthy NTB was the requirement of certification of standardisation of products imported into India.

Pakistan’s High Commissioner in India Shahid Malik said that Pakistan was willing to established lasting economic cooperation with India based on sincerity and reciprocity.

He said that Pakistan had adopted positive approach to promote trade relations with India, which could be quantified by the increasing volume of trade between two countries.

FPCCI president Tanvir Ahmed Sheikh who led Pakistan’s delegation in his detailed presentation identified areas of cooperation such as iron and steel, tea, leather and textiles and energy.

The newly elected President of India-Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, S. M. Muneer, in his speech emphasised the need for greater economic cooperation to unleash the untapped potential.

FICCI senior vice-president Singhania in his welcome address presented 10-point agenda to enhance economic cooperation. He said trade volume of $2 billion through legal channel and that of $5 billion through third country was reflective of potential of trade between Pakistan and India.

Dr Amit Mitra, the secretary-general of the FICCI and eminent economist inaugurated the inaugural session. A delegation of 75 leading businessmen from Pakistan is participating in the conference.

NON-TARIFF BARRIERS: Talking to APP in New Delhi Tanvir Ahmed Sheikh urged Indian government to remove non-tariff barriers on Pakistani goods to provide a level-playing in trade. He said negotiations for the purpose were in progress.

He said that major trading items between the two countries were cement and cotton.

He hoped that talks on liberalising visa policy for businessmen would succeed and the trading community would be able to get five-year multiple visa to visit each other’s country.

Mr Sheikh said Pakistan would participate in Indian International Trade Fair in a big way, beginning here on Friday. The fair would help Pakistan to introduce its products to Indian businessmen.—APP

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PUBLISHED BY ‘DAWN’

Posted in ASIA, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, COTTON, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, INDIA, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, PAKISTAN, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE WORK MARKET, VEGETABLE FIBERS | Leave a Comment »

THE GM GENOCIDE: THOUSANDS OF INDIAN FARMERS ARE COMMITTING SUICIDE AFTER USING GENETICALLY MODIFIED CROPS

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 3, 2008

Last updated at 12:48 AM on 03rd November 2008

by Andrew Malone

When Prince Charles claimed thousands of Indian farmers were killing themselves after using GM crops, he was branded a scaremonger. In fact, as this chilling dispatch reveals, it’s even WORSE than he feared.

The children were inconsolable. Mute with shock and fighting back tears, they huddled beside their mother as friends and neighbours prepared their father’s body for cremation on a blazing bonfire built on the cracked, barren fields near their home.

As flames consumed the corpse, Ganjanan, 12, and Kalpana, 14, faced a grim future. While Shankara Mandaukar had hoped his son and daughter would have a better life under India’s economic boom, they now face working as slave labour for a few pence a day. Landless and homeless, they will be the lowest of the low.

Shankara, respected farmer, loving husband and father, had taken his own life. Less than 24 hours PHOTO - Human tragedy - A farmer and child in India's SUICIDE BELTearlier, facing the loss of his land due to debt, he drank a cupful of chemical insecticide.

Unable to pay back the equivalent of two years’ earnings, he was in despair. He could see no way out.

There were still marks in the dust where he had writhed in agony. Other villagers looked on – they knew from experience that any intervention was pointless – as he lay doubled up on the ground, crying out in pain and vomiting.

Moaning, he crawled on to a bench outside his simple home 100 miles from Nagpur in central India. An hour later, he stopped making any noise. Then he stopped breathing. At 5pm on Sunday, the life of Shankara Mandaukar came to an end.

As neighbours gathered to pray outside the family home, Nirmala Mandaukar, 50, told how she rushed back from the fields to find her husband dead. ‘He was a loving and caring man,’ she said, weeping quietly.

‘But he couldn’t take any more. The mental anguish was too much. We have lost everything.’

Shankara’s crop had failed – twice. Of course, famine and pestilence are part of India’s ancient story. PHOTO - Distressed - Prince Charles has set up charity Bhumi Vardaan Foundation to address the plight of suicide farmers
But the death of this respected farmer has been blamed on something far more modern and sinister: genetically modified crops.

Shankara, like millions of other Indian farmers, had been promised previously unheard of harvests and income if he switched from farming with traditional seeds to planting GM seeds instead.

Beguiled by the promise of future riches, he borrowed money in order to buy the GM seeds. But when the harvests failed, he was left with spiralling debts – and no income.

So Shankara became one of an estimated 125,000 farmers to take their own life as a result of the ruthless drive to use India as a testing ground for genetically modified crops.

The crisis, branded the ‘GM Genocide’ by campaigners, was highlighted recently when Prince Charles claimed that the issue of GM had become a ‘global moral question’ – and the time had come to end its unstoppable march.

Speaking by video link to a conference in the Indian capital, Delhi, he infuriated bio-tech leaders and some politicians by condemning ‘the truly appalling and tragic rate of small farmer suicides in India, stemming… from the failure of many GM crop varieties’.

Ranged against the Prince are powerful GM lobbyists and prominent politicians, who claim that genetically modified crops have transformed Indian agriculture, providing greater yields than ever before.

The rest of the world, they insist, should embrace ‘the future’ and follow suit.

So who is telling the truth? To find out, I travelled to the ‘suicide belt’ in Maharashtra state.

What I found was deeply disturbing – and has profound implications for countries, including Britain, debating whether to allow the planting of seeds manipulated by scientists to circumvent the laws of nature.

For official figures from the Indian Ministry of Agriculture do indeed confirm that in a huge humanitarian crisis, more than 1,000 farmers kill themselves here each month.

Simple, rural people, they are dying slow, agonising deaths. Most swallow insecticide – a pricey substance they were promised they would not need when they were coerced into growing expensive GM crops.

It seems that many are massively in debt to local money-lenders, having over-borrowed to purchase GM seed.

Pro-GM experts claim that it is rural poverty, alcoholism, drought and ‘agrarian distress’ that is the real reason for the horrific toll.

But, as I discovered during a four-day journey through the epicentre of the disaster, that is not the full story.

In one small village I visited, 18 farmers had committed suicide after being sucked into GM debts. In PHOTO - Death seeds - A Greenpeace protester sprays milk-based paint on a Monsanto research soybean field near Atlantic, Iowasome cases, women have taken over farms from their dead husbands – only to kill themselves as well.

Latta Ramesh, 38, drank insecticide after her crops failed – two years after her husband disappeared when the GM debts became too much.

She left her ten-year-old son, Rashan, in the care of relatives. ‘He cries when he thinks of his mother,’ said the dead woman’s aunt, sitting listlessly in shade near the fields.

Village after village, families told how they had fallen into debt after being persuaded to buy GM seeds instead of traditional cotton seeds.

The price difference is staggering: £10 for 100 grams of GM seed, compared with less than £10 for 1,000 times more traditional seeds.

But GM salesmen and government officials had promised farmers that these were ‘magic seeds’ – with better crops that would be free from parasites and insects.

Indeed, in a bid to promote the uptake of GM seeds, traditional varieties were banned from many government seed banks.

The authorities had a vested interest in promoting this new biotechnology. Desperate to escape the grinding poverty of the post-independence years, the Indian government had agreed to allow new bio-tech giants, such as the U.S. market-leader Monsanto, to sell their new seed creations.

In return for allowing western companies access to the second most populated country in the world, with more than one billion people, India was granted International Monetary Fund loans in the Eighties and Nineties, helping to launch an economic revolution.

But while cities such as Mumbai and Delhi have boomed, the farmers’ lives have slid back into the dark ages.

Though areas of India planted with GM seeds have doubled in two years – up to 17 million acres – many famers have found there is a terrible price to be paid.

Far from being ‘magic seeds’, GM pest-proof ‘breeds’ of cotton have been devastated by bollworms, a voracious parasite.

Nor were the farmers told that these seeds require double the amount of water. This has proved a matter of life and death.

With rains failing for the past two years, many GM crops have simply withered and died, leaving the farmers with crippling debts and no means of paying them off.

Having taken loans from traditional money lenders at extortionate rates, hundreds of thousands of small farmers have faced losing their land as the expensive seeds fail, while those who could struggle on faced a fresh crisis.

When crops failed in the past, farmers could still save seeds and replant them the following year.

But with GM seeds they cannot do this. That’s because GM seeds contain so- called ‘terminator technology’, meaning that they have been genetically modified so that the resulting crops do not produce viable seeds of their own.

As a result, farmers have to buy new seeds each year at the same punitive prices. For some, that means the difference between life and death.

Take the case of Suresh Bhalasa, another farmer who was cremated this week, leaving a wife and two children.

As night fell after the ceremony, and neighbours squatted outside while sacred cows were brought in from the fields, his family had no doubt that their troubles stemmed from the moment they were encouraged to buy BT Cotton, a geneticallymodified plant created by Monsanto.

‘We are ruined now,’ said the dead man’s 38-year-old wife. ‘We bought 100 grams of BT Cotton. Our crop failed twice. My husband had become depressed. He went out to his field, lay down in the cotton and swallowed insecticide.’

Villagers bundled him into a rickshaw and headed to hospital along rutted farm roads. ‘He cried out that he had taken the insecticide and he was sorry,’ she said, as her family and neighbours crowded into her home to pay their respects. ‘He was dead by the time they got to hospital.’

Asked if the dead man was a ‘drunkard’ or suffered from other ‘social problems’, as alleged by pro-GM officials, the quiet, dignified gathering erupted in anger. ‘No! No!’ one of the dead man’s brothers exclaimed. ‘Suresh was a good man. He sent his children to school and paid his taxes.

‘He was strangled by these magic seeds. They sell us the seeds, saying they will not need expensive pesticides but they do. We have to buy the same seeds from the same company every year. It is killing us. Please tell the world what is happening here.’

Monsanto has admitted that soaring debt was a ‘factor in this tragedy’. But pointing out that cotton production had doubled in the past seven years, a spokesman added that there are other reasons for the recent crisis, such as ‘untimely rain’ or drought, and pointed out that suicides have always been part of rural Indian life.

Officials also point to surveys saying the majority of Indian farmers want GM seeds – no doubt encouraged to do so by aggressive marketing tactics.

During the course of my inquiries in Maharastra, I encountered three ‘independent’ surveyors scouring villages for information about suicides. They insisted that GM seeds were only 50 per cent more expensive – and then later admitted the difference was 1,000 per cent.

(A Monsanto spokesman later insisted their seed is ‘only double’ the price of ‘official’ non-GM seed – but admitted that the difference can be vast if cheaper traditional seeds are sold by ‘unscrupulous’ merchants, who often also sell ‘fake’ GM seeds which are prone to disease.)

With rumours of imminent government compensation to stem the wave of deaths, many farmers said they were desperate for any form of assistance. ‘We just want to escape from our problems,’ one said. ‘We just want help to stop any more of us dying.’

Prince Charles is so distressed by the plight of the suicide farmers that he is setting up a charity, the Bhumi Vardaan Foundation, to help those affected and promote organic Indian crops instead of GM.

India’s farmers are also starting to fight back. As well as taking GM seed distributors hostage and staging mass protests, one state government is taking legal action against Monsanto for the exorbitant costs of GM seeds.

This came too late for Shankara Mandauker, who was 80,000 rupees (about £1,000) in debt when he took his own life. ‘I told him that we can survive,’ his widow said, her children still by her side as darkness fell. ‘I told him we could find a way out. He just said it was better to die.’

But the debt does not die with her husband: unless she can find a way of paying it off, she will not be able to afford the children’s schooling. They will lose their land, joining the hordes seen begging in their thousands by the roadside throughout this vast, chaotic country.

Cruelly, it’s the young who are suffering most from the ‘GM Genocide’ – the very generation supposed to be lifted out of a life of hardship and misery by these ‘magic seeds’.

Here in the suicide belt of India, the cost of the genetically modified future is murderously high.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘DAILY MAIL’ (UK)

Posted in AGRICULTURE, ASIA, BANKING SYSTEMS, COMMODITIES MARKET, COTTON, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FARMING DEBTS, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, GENETICALLY MODIFIED AGRO-PRODUCTS, INDIA, INTERNATIONAL, THE WORKERS, VEGETABLE FIBERS | Leave a Comment »

FARMERS ASKED NOT TO SELL COTTON AT LOW PRICE (India)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 2, 2008

October 31, 2008 Friday

By Our Correspondent

MULTAN, Oct 30: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Thursday urged farmers to avoid selling their crops at cut prices because the industrialists had no other option but to purchase cotton from the local market.

Speaking at a workshop on BT cotton, organised by the Bahauddin Zakariya University’s Biotechnology Department, the foreign minister claimed that the industrialists would not be able to import cotton due to dollar appreciation.

He said the government had announced the procurement prices of cotton, rice and other crops and the farmers should not worry about the current market situation.

“What we need to do is fight the multiple challenges, that is, economic crisis, electricity, water and gas shortage, instead of bickering about the issues for which the previous government was responsible.”

In order to make political gains, he said, the previous government had issued fabricated statistics about economy and did not generate even a single megawatt of electricity.

The foreign minister said some ‘vested interests’ were creating an impression that the country was on the verge of default but “it is my promise that neither the country will default nor will the government freeze accounts”.

He said two science and technology universities would be established, one in Multan and the other in Lahore.

Bahauddin Zakariya University Vice-Chancellor Dr Muhammad Zaffarullah said the agriculture sector was facing huge losses despite being the major contributor to economy.

“We can make up for the losses with the help of engineering and biotechnology,” he said, requesting the foreign minister to help in release of funds for the construction of the biotechnology department building.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘DAWN’ (India)

Posted in AGRICULTURE, ASIA, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, COTTON, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, INDIA, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, TEXTILE INDUSTRIES, VEGETABLE FIBERS | Leave a Comment »

CHINA MARKET FOR COCO FIBER UNLIMITED – The Philippines is faced with unlimited market of up to 300 metric tons (MT) of coconut fiber in China yearly, but government has to boost coconut production in order to capture a larger chunk of the market.

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 2, 2008

Sunday, November 2, 2008

by Melody M. Aguiba

Exporting coconut fiber to China opens up big opportunities for Filipino farmers specially from far-flung islands as Alabat in Quezon where Filcoco Ventures Inc. (FVI) is operating.

In partnership with Hainan Econ, a trading firm from China, FVI has put up a processing plant using Hainan’s technology and now exports coconut fiber weekly to China.

Coconut fiber commands a price beginning at $ 170 per MT in China, but processing it into geotextile, which is what China is already doing, will even raise the benefits for Filipino coconut growers.

China extensively needs coconut fiber that it turns into erosion-controlling nets used in combating desertification. China also gets the same raw material from Sri Lanka, India, or Vietnam.

“The Philippines should be the model here since we are the biggest producer of coconut,” said FVI President Noel. T. Florido in an interview.

Filcoco is now producing 6.25 MT of coconut fiber per day at Alabat as it has a capacity to employ 50 people. But the apparently bigger benefit is the company’s buying activity as it buys P20,000 worth of coconut husks daily or P600,000 per month. The husks otherwise simply go to waste without the FVI plant.

“We want to generate employment and help farmers because I’m from this island, a fourth class municipality. People here (48,000 population) are marginalized. But now they can already buy what they need,” he said.

FVI has started operating early this year a roll on, roll off shipping venture that transports goods (marine products, kalamansi, coconut products) from Alabat to the Quezon mainland. Located in the eastern coast off Pacific Ocean, the island can eventually produce processed coconut fiber or geotextile given the company’s plan for expansion.

FVI has a plan to expand to a total capacity of more than 100,000 MT per year by 2013. It has yet to fully utilize its total capacity of 12.5 MT per day by January or a total of 3,750 MT per year at 300 days.

Alabat has 14,400 hectares of land presently planted to coconut out of its 16,000-hectare area.

However, Florido insists government should encourage more coconut rehabilitation, fertilization, and planting, or else supply may run out in five to six years.

“The government should put someone with a mandate to rehabilitate coconut. The programs now are not enough to solve the problem. Government is supporting the construction of more malls (than planting of coconut). Our crushing plants (for coconut oil) are just operating at half their capacity because of the lack of supply,” he said.

Because of typhoon Milenyo and other calamities, even supply at Alabat has obviously declined.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘MANILA BULLETIN ON LINE’ (Philippines)

Posted in AGRICULTURE, ASIA, CHINA, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, PHILIPPINES, VEGETABLE FIBERS, VEGETABLE OILS | Leave a Comment »