Saturday, 30 June 2012

European Meat Processing Industry Slowly Evolving

Over the last number of years, some of the major European meat processors were at a crossroads in terms of the direction their business was heading with the majority having no operations outside their domestic country, writes Peter Duggan, Strategic Information Services, Bord Bia-Irish Food Board.
This has represented a real challenge to expansion with the main players growing their business by expanding domestic production.

Some companies have restructured their business to concentrate on margin at the expense of volume according to GIRA’s Meat Panorama report, which focuses on developments among Europe’s largest meat processors.

In 2005, the top 15 European meat companies accounted for 23 per cent of EU-27 meat output at 9.9 million tonnes.

Following consolidation and expansion, the market share of the top 15 companies increased to 28 per cent or 12.1 million tonnes by 2010.

The leading meat processor in Europe in 2010 was Vion.

Despite being the main player on the European landscape, GIRA reports that Vion has faced increasing pressure from Tönnies in its pig processing business. This reflects the manner in which the German company is run in terms of strategic management and being a quality low-cost processor.

To grow meat market share in volume terms, Vion has relied on the poultry industry to drive the company forward, a sector in which it has only recently become engaged.

A significant lack of industry concentration is evident across most European countries. For this to change, some of the below factors will be crucial to changing this outcome according to GIRA:
Forward integration into secondary cutting and perhaps retail packing, and even further processing
Increase overlap between red meat (pig meat and beef), and poultry, and
Labour cost and availability issues – with automation being increasingly popular.
Original Article Here

Soybean Fundamentals Remain Strong

US soybean market fundamentals have been strong for an extended period of time, says University of Illinois agricultural economist Darrel Good.
"The strong fundamental factors have included record large exports in 2009-10 and 2010-11 as Chinese demand expanded, a reduction in US soybean acreage in 2011, a relatively low US average yield in 2011, intentions to reduce US acreage again in 2012, and a very small soybean harvest in South America this year," Professor Good said. "These strong market fundamentals continue in the form of a rapid pace of consumption and concerns about the size of the 2012 US crop."

Good reported that soybean prices began moving higher in July 2010, starting from about $9.50. July 2012 soybean futures reached a high of about $14.70 in late August 2011, declined to a low near $11.25 in mid-December 2011, and reached a high of $15.12 in early May 2012.

Prices have been very choppy the past two months, but the July futures contract is now trading within about .30 cents of the early May high. November 2012 futures prices have been lower than July futures but have followed a similar pattern and are now trading at a contract high near $14.30.

"The pace of the domestic soybean crush started slowly this year," Professor Good said. "The National Oilseed Processors Association reported that its members crushed 7.7 per cent fewer soybeans in the first quarter of the 2011-12 marketing year than in the same quarter the previous year."

Crush during the second quarter, however, was 2.3 per cent larger and crush during the third quarter was 7.2 per cent larger than in the respective quarters last year. Crush during the first three quarters of the year was 0.3 per cent larger than the crush last year. For the year, the USDA projects the crush to be 0.7 per cent larger than during the 2010-11 marketing year, he said.

"It now appears that the crush may exceed that projection for several reasons. First, crush was relatively small in the fourth quarter of the 2010-11 marketing year. Second, the pace of domestic soybean meal consumption has been expanding. Third, the small South American crop may support US soybean meal exports above the current projection. The crush may be about 10 million bushels larger than the current projection of 1.66 billion bushels," Professor Good said.

At the beginning of the marketing year, the USDA projected US exports at 1.415 billion bushels, said Professor Good. The projection was reduced as the year progressed and was at 1.275 billion bushels by January 2012.

"The forecast, however, increased beginning in April and now stands at 1.335 billion bushels," he said. "Total export sales already exceed that projection, which is common, and exports will need to average about 13 million bushels per week during the last 10 weeks of the year to reach the projection."

The current pace of exports is a little slower than the needed pace, but exports are still likely to reach the projected level. While the pace of exports has slowed in a typical seasonal pattern, sales for export during the 2012-13 marketing year are record large, underscoring the strength in Chinese demand.

"The USDA will update the projections of consumption and ending stocks for both marketing years on July 11. The estimate of June 1 stocks, to be released on June 29, will provide some confirmation about the pace of consumption and likely year-ending stocks," Professor Good said.

With prospects for relatively small year-ending soybean stocks, the focus is quickly turning to the prospective size of the 2012 US crop. An estimate of planted and harvested acreage will be available with the USDA's 29 June Acreage report.

"With the soybean price rally that occurred this spring, it would not be surprising if acreage exceeded intentions reported in March," Professor Good said. "While acreage estimates will influence production prospects, the major focus will be on yield prospects."

In the June WASDE report, the USDA projected a US average yield of 43.9 bushels and 2012-13 marketing year-ending stocks at what is generally considered to be a minimum level of 140 million bushels. Good said that the trend yield for 2012 is 43.4 bushels, 1.9 bushels above the 2011 average yield.

"Continuation of stressful weather in the central and eastern growing areas along with declining crop condition ratings suggest that the 2012 yield could be below trend again in 2012," Professor Good said. "A shortfall in production would require that consumption during the year ahead be reduced from the current USDA projection of 3.255 billion bushels. The recent price rally is in recognition of the rationing that may be required.

"Unless weather and crop conditions improve soon, which does not appear likely, additional price strength is expected," Professor Good said. "Talk of the 2008 futures price peak near $16.60 has surfaced. While prices at that level are not yet justified, they are within the range that we have projected for the 'new era' of prices that began in 2007."
ThePoultrySite News Desk

Identification of some nutritional deficiency symptoms in Citrus

Boron deficient
citrus chlorosis due to iron deficiency
Iron deficiency in citrus
magnesium deficiency
Manganese deficiency
molybdenum deficiency
phosphorous deficient 

Youth seminar: ‘Increase spending on education’

Youth urged to form an understanding of political, economic affairs.

FAISALABAD: Speakers at a seminar on Saturday said spending on education should be increased to ensure that the youth were adequately trained for leadershiop roles they would take up in future. The youth seminar was arranged jointly by the University of Agriculture’s Career Development Centre, Department of Women Development and Positive Pakistan, a non-governmental organisation.
Positive Pakistan president Abid Iqbal Khari said the country was fortunate to have a majority of young population. “Young people are open to new and different ideas,” he added. Khari urged the youth to focus on first completing their education and to form an understanding of political and economic affairs. He said the youth should equip themselves with adequate skills before start their careers so that they could contribute towards the sustainable development of the country.
He said in the absence of education opportunities, young people from poor households were being manipulated by different political and sectarian groups and organisations. National Institute of Food Science and Technology Subject Specialist Prof Javeed Aziz Awan said he would arrange similar seminars at his organisation in the coming days. Earlier, UAF Career Development Officer Asifa Naz gave the welcome address and briefed the participants about the services offered by the Career Development Office, including career counselling and assistance with interview techniques.
Published in The Express Tribune

Acai berry nutrition facts

Does acai berry have highest anti-oxidant levels than some commonly used fruits like pomegranate,blueberries etc?
Recent revelations establish that it has no extra beneficial nutrients than some of commonly used fruits like mango, blueberry, pomegranate etc. This berry has been traditional staple food of Amazon basin tribes but recently has gained recognition in the United States as so-called "super food.” Nonetheless, this wonderful berry has very good levels of anti-oxidants, minerals, and vitamins that would benefit overall health and fitness.
Acai berry is a small, round, dark purple fruit obtained from acai palm tree. Botanically, acai belongs to palm orArecaceae family of trees in the genus Euterpe and known as Euterpe oleracea.
Each berry measures about the size of small sized grape, 2-3 cm in diameter. They are dark green initially then turns to dark purple color once reach maturity. Technically, the fruit is a drupe, consists of outer edible pulp surrounding a central large seed. Only the outer pulp, comprising about 10-15% of berry weight, is edible.
Acai palm is a tall, slender tree, which grows 15 to 25 m in height. The average mature plant has 3-10 well-developed stems (10-18 cm in diameter) from a single seed and root system. It grows better under waterlogged low-lying plains receiving good annual rainfall. Each stem behaves like individual tree and bear 3-5 bunches with each bunch holding about hundreds of berries in a way similar to areca palm or coconut palm.
Health benefits of acai berry
  • Acai berry has very good levels of anti-oxidants, minerals, and vitamins that have health benefiting and disease preventing properties.
  • Unlike other berries and fruits, acai has high caloric values and fats. 100 g of berries provide about 80-250 cal depending up on the preparation and serving methods. In fact, fresh acai berry has been the staple nutritious diet of native Amazonians for centuries. There is no research evidence that the use of these berries will help you lose weight.
  • Acai berry contains many polyphenolic anthocyanin compounds like resveratrol, cyanidin-3-galactoside, ferulic acid, delphinidin, petunidin as well as astringent pro-anthocyanidin tannins like epicatechin, protocatechuic acid and ellagic acid. Scientific studies on these compounds suggests that these compounds have been claimed to act as anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer functions by virtue of their anti-free radical fighting actions In addition tannins are known to have anti-infective, anti-inflammatory and anti-hemorrhagic properties.
  • Preliminary research studies suggest that ellagic acid in acai has anti-proliferative properties due to its ability of directly inhibiting the DNA binding of certain carcinogens, including nitrosamines toxins in the food.
  • Acai berry is also rich in medium chain fatty acids like oleic acid (omega-9) and linoleic acid (omega-6). These compounds help reduce LDL-cholesterol level and raise good HDL-cholesterol levels in the body as well as help prevent heart disease. In addition, they help prevent skin dryness by maintaining adequate moisture in the skin
  • Acai pulp has good levels of dietary fiber. Good fiber in the diet helps remove cholesterol in the stools.
  • ORAC value (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) of acai berry is thought to be at mid-level range for fruits, higher than that of oranges but less than pomegranate. USDA so far not validated exact ORAC value of acai.
  • Acai berries contain good amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, copper, iron, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.
  • They are rich in B-complex vitamins and vitamin-K. Contain very good amounts of niacin, vitamin B-6 and riboflavin. These vitamins are function as co-factors and help body in the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

Acai uses in traditional medicine
  • Acai extracts has been used by Amazon basin tribes as treatment remedy for diarrhea, parasitic infections, hemorrhages, and ulcer treatment.
  • A kind of decoction obtained from crushed seeds has been used in the treatment of fever.
  • Decoction obtained from the roots has been used in the treatment of menstrual pain, liver diseases, malaria in Peruvian culture.

Selection and storage
  • Fresh acai are only available near their plantation. In general, acai fruits harvested twice a year. People expert in climbing trees collect the completely mature bunch from the top end of the acai palm. 
  • Acai are highly perishable. Once harvested, they should either be eaten or transported to processing units.
  • Several commercial products from the acai extraction are available in the stores. Freeze-dried whole acai also available over shores; however, they are nutritionally much inferior to fresh berries.

Preparation and serving methods
  • The outer peel or pulp has been the main edible content in acai. Seeds are either discarded or used as animal fodder.
  • Here are some serving tips:
  • Acai juice is a refreshing drink commonly obtained from macerating ripe fruits. To prepare the juice the ripe fruits are soaked in lukewarm water to soften the thin outer shell. They are then squeezed and the large seeds strained out to produce a dense purple creamy liquid with a distinctive nutty flavor.
  • Acai drinks, either freeze-dried or powdered juice preparations, are quite popular in the Americas.
  • Traditionally, in tribal Amazon belt, acai extracts commonly mixed with starchy root vegetable calledmanioc and is eaten as a purple porridge.
  • It is mixed with sugar or sugar cane to sweeten and drunk as a beverage.
  • Its extract has been used to flavor ice creams, smoothies, shakes, liquor, and other desserts.
  • Further, the berries are being used as energy boosting nutritional supplements or snacks in the forms of capsules, tablets, and energy bars.

Acai palm hearts
The acai palm hearts are eaten as vegetable worldwide. They are obtained by cutting down the stem and removing the outer layers of bark leaving center core or palm heart. Palm hearts are the tender, whitish immature growing buds of the palm frond just above the growing point on each stem. Although they have no or little nutritious value, palm hearts have been a delicacy and priced very high.

Safety profile
Acai berry has no notified contraindications. It has been used by pregnant women safely in the Amazon basin. So far, no cases of allergic or toxicity cases notified so far.

True facts about Acai
  • Acai berry is the fruit from palm tree. As the fruits from any other similar palm family like coconut, date palm, oil palm, acai is no different in caloric and nutritional profile. It is high in calorie and fats. There are no established studies to show eating or drinking acai products results in weight loss.
  • Acai has been staple food of Amazonians for centuries. So it is treated more like a food item than a novel fitness fruit unlike blueberry, pomegranates etc which are, in fact, very low in calories.
  • Anti-oxidants levels present moderately in acai in contrast to claims made by certain companies, websites, articles etc. USDA has so far not even bothered to find out its nutritional profile and ORAC value. Nobody knows its exact ORAC strength. But there are countless herbs, fruits, berries and vegetables in nature that have antioxidants higher than acai (for example cinnamon has highest USDA documented ORAC value of 267536 trolox equivalents (TE), which is many hundred times more than in acai, chokeberry, apples etc.
  • Acai berry is high in calories and hence gives immediate strength and stamina. There are no known food items in nature, which are high in calories and fats yet known to reduce weight.
  • Acai berry has so far has no documented evidences to be used as aphrodisiac.
Original Article Here

Banana fruit nutrition facts

Go for banana fruit, nature's own energy rich food that comes in a safety envelope! Fresh, delicious bananas are available year around and are very cheap. Botanically, the fruit belongs to the family of Musaceae. Commercially, it is one of the widely cultivated crops in the tropical and subtropical zones.
Scientific name: Musa acuminata colla.
Banana is a perennial herbaceous plant that develops from underground rhizome. It flourishes well under tropical moisture-rich, humid low-lying farmlands. The whole plant is a false stem (pseudostem) consisting of broad leaves and their petioles overlapping around each other in a circular fashion standing up to 2 to 6 meters tall from the ground surface depending upon the cultivar types. At maturity, the rhizome gives rise to flower (inflorescence) that is carried up on a long smooth un-branched stem through the centre of the pseudo-stem emerging out at the top in the centre of the leaf cluster. The flower subsequently develops to hanging bunch consisting of 3 to 20 hands (tiers), each with at least 5-10 fingers (fruits) in each hand (tier). Banana plant or plantain bears hanging clusters of fruits as bunch. Fruits are arranged in tiers, with 6-20 fruits in each tier.
There are several cultivars of banana grown with different size (4”-9”inch), color (yellow to brown), weight (70-150g) and taste. Structurally, fruit has a protective outer skin and delicious, sweet and tart, creamy white color edible flesh inside.
Plantains are other cultivars types, more often used as cooking bananas. They are closely related to the familiar fruit banana or dessert banana. Plantains are used as a staple diet in Thailand, Laos, and other Southeast Asian as well as in many parts of tropical African and Caribbean regions.
Health benefits of banana fruit
  • Banana fruit is rich in calories, but very low in fats. The fruit contains good amounts of health benefiting anti-oxidants, minerals, and vitamins.
  • Banana pulp is composed of soft, easily digestible flesh with simple sugars like fructose and sucrose that when eaten replenishes energy and revitalizes the body instantly; thus, for these qualities, bananas are being used by athletes to get instant energy and as supplement food in the treatment plan for underweight children.
  • The fruit contains good amount of soluble dietary fiber (7% of DRA per 100 g) that helps normal bowel movements; thereby reducing constipation problems.
  • It contains many health promoting flavonoid poly-phenolic antioxidants such as lutein, zeaxanthin, beta and alpha carotenes in small amounts. These compounds help act as protective scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging and various disease processes.
  • It is also a very good source of vitamin-B6 (pyridoxine), provides about 28% of daily-recommended allowance. Pyridoxine is an important B-complex vitamin that has beneficial role in the treatment of neuritis, anemia, and decreasing homocystine (one of the causative factor for coronary artery disease (CHD) and stroke episodes) levels in the body.
  • The fruit is also good source of vitamin-C (about 8.7 mg per 100g). Consumption of foods rich in vitamin-C helps body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful oxygen free radicals.
  • Fresh bananas provide adequate levels of minerals like copper, magnesium, and manganese. Magnesium is essential for bone strengthening and has cardiac-protective role as well.  Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Copper is required in the production of red blood cells.
  • Fresh banana is a very rich source of potassium. 100 g fruit provides 358 mg potassium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure, countering bad effects of sodium.

Selection and storage
  • Once ripened, bananas are very fragile and start decaying in short time. In the field, bananas are usually harvested while they are green as it is easy to transport when the fruits are raw and firm.
  • In order to ripen, they are usually subjected to ethylene or kept in close proximity with other ripened fruits. In the stores, choose banana fruits based on when you want to use them; greener ones last for more days, while yellow and brown-spotted bananas should be eaten in a few days.
  • Ready to eat bananas should be quite firm, bright yellow in color and emanate rich fragrance, and the skin should be peeled off easily. Ripened, fresh bananas are nutritionally enriched and sweeter in taste.
  • Avoid mushy or damaged bananas, as they are un-appealing.

Preparation and Serving methods
  • Bananas comes with nature gifted protective outer layer of skin, therefore are less likely contaminated by germs and dust.
  • Just remove the peel and enjoy!
  • Banana fruit sections are a great addition to the fruit salads.
  • Fresh "banana-milkshake" with sugar syrup is a delicious drink.
  • Bananas have also been used in the making of fruit jams.
  • Banana fritters can be served with ice cream as well.
  • Banana chips are a snack produced from dehydrated or fried banana or plantain slices.
  • Mash ripe banana fruits and add to cakes, casseroles, muffins, bread pudding etc.
  • Plantain is raw unripe banana that is used as vegetable in recipes.

Safety profile
Banana fruits are sometimes known to cause skin and systemic allergic reactions. In "oral allergy syndrome" which causes itching and swelling in the mouth or throat within hours after ingestion and is related to birch tree and other pollen allergies.
The other type of reaction is related to latex allergies and causes urticaria and potentially serious gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. 
Original Article Here

Agriculture backbone of national economy: CM

F.P. Report
LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif has said that agriculture is the back bone of national economy, and the goal of self reliance, at the national level, can be achieved by increasing agricultural productivity, through promotion of latest agricultural technology.
The Chief Minister said that Punjab Government has adopted an effective strategy for creating awareness among the farmers about use of modern technology for the betterment of agriculture sector. He pointed out that Star Farm Pakistan has been introduced in the province for increasing agricultural productivity and enhancing commercial capability.
He informed that a special fund of Rs. 2 billion has been setup for modernization of agriculture sector. The Chief Minister said that collaboration between the Punjab Government and Star Farm Company China for promotion of agricultural products and capacity building of farmers is a highly auspicious step. The Chief Minister directed that the pace of implementation on Star Farming Project be further expedited.
The Chief Minister was presiding over a high-level meeting held at his Tent Office, Minar-e-Pakistan here today which reviewed in detail the pace of implementation on Star Farming Project and promotion of agricultural products.
Provincial Minister for Agriculture Ahmad Ali Aulakh, Members Assembly, Chairman Planning & Development, Secretaries of Finance and Agriculture departments, besides representatives of the farming community attended the meeting. The Agriculture Secretary and Mr. Hans Peter of Star Farm Company gave a detailed briefing regarding pace of implementation on the project.
Addressing the meeting, Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif said that Pakistan is an agricultural country, majority population of which is associated with the agriculture sector. He noted that agriculture and livestock are two highly important sectors, and promotion of these can help the country in eradication of poverty and unemployment.
The Chief Minister said that national economy can be further strengthened by promoting agri-based industries. He hoped that, with the improvement of supply chain management and cooperation with Star Farm Network, the exports of agriculture and livestock products would be increased to a considerable level.
The Chief Minister said that as a result of collaboration with Star Farm Company, the farming community is benefiting from the experiences of China. Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif suggested that, alongwith providing necessary training to the farmers, the Star Farm Company should also perform the role of facilitator for export of agricultural goods.
He directed early finalization of the process of selecting agricultural associated supplier companies, for which only such companies be selected, which have better coordination at the international market. The Chief Minister directed that road shows should also be conducted at Multan, Vehari, Bahawalpur, Sahiwal and other areas, besides making effective preparation for the international exhibition of agricultural products to be held in Berlin, Germany during the next year.
Earlier, Secretary Agriculture informed the Chief Minister about the programme of provision of loans for agri business, pace of ongoing projects in collaboration with Star Farm Company, along with other steps taken for the promotion of latest agricultural technology. The participants of the meeting presented their suggestions and proposals regarding export of agricultural products.

Agriculture update in the county

By Calli Forbes
The Agricultural Service Board (ASB) presented Strathcona County council with its annual report at a spring meeting, which included a list of activities that the board will be focusing on in 2012.
The ASB is a board of council that considers all agricultural matters that are pertinent to Strathcona County in accordance with the Alberta Agricultural Service Board Act and makes recommendations to council. The board is comprised of four public members and four councillors who represent rural areas of the county, including Bonnie Riddell, Linton Delainey, Peter Wlodarczak and Ward 5.
During 2012, the ASB will provide input into the Land Use Bylaw review process, said Jackie Christie, the board’s vice
“We took a look at the 2003-2004 Future in Agriculture Report here in the county, and it has a number of really interesting recommendations and information in it,” Christie said.
“We thought it might be timely to take another look at that and look at an update and see if the predictions then have come forward or if we perhaps need to look at some new information.”
She said the board will also be working to improve awareness of agriculture in the county.
“We’re looking at bringing more of an understanding and frequency of local markets into Strathcona County,” she said.
“There’s a social movement and an economic movement in terms of eating local and also the 100-mile diet and a number of our residents are very interested in that,” Christie said.
”So we’d like to take a look at our bylaw situation to see if there’s any barriers in there that perhaps we’re not aware of, and how we can promote and encourage that sort of activity within the county.”
Christie stated that one of the challenges to this is that the board cannot conduct farmers markets because those markets are under a provincial program, which prevent community leagues from hosting such events at community halls around the county.
The ASB is also promoting urban gardening within Sherwood Park where people plant fruits and vegetables on their own
The board believes county residents should have more local sources for produce, rather than sources from abroad, Christie said.
“It’s also a great tourist attraction and it’s very popular that people come and visit farms,” she said. ”So we’re looking at maybe doing a three-year pilot with some of the entrepreneurs and the producers in the county to get their opinion on what works and doesn’t work.”
Christie added the board will also make a concerted effort to promote community gardening.
“Community gardens take it beyond just the agriculture and the food and they move into family activities and social activities and they strengthen the community, so we’re a very strong supporter of that.”
The board will also continue its review of Club root procedures to ensure the program is effective.
The ASB is participating in the Classroom Agriculture Program, where board members discuss agricultural topics with students, such as how youth can grow their own fruits and vegetables from their homes.
Mayor Linda Osinchuk asked if the board has looked into bringing forth a business plan to council for constructing a livestock arena in the county.
Joel Gould of the county’s Transportation and Agriculture Services department stated that the construction of this type of facility is being considered and will be discussed by the ASB when it re-examines the Future in Agriculture Report.
Original Article Here

Appropriate land with compensation: Zuma

The state must be allowed to appropriate land with compensation, as set out in Constitution, President Jacob Zuma said.
"Land reform must represent a radical... break from the past without significantly disrupting agriculture production and food security," Zuma told ANC delegates at the close of the party's policy conference.
"[The] conference also affirmed the proposal to replace willing buyer, willing seller with the just and equitable principles in the constitution immediately – where the state is requiring land for land reform purposes."
Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson said expropriation without compensation will only happen with land that is acquired illegally.
"The expropriation that we have now is unconstitutional and that act needs to be brought in line with the Constitution," she told reporters at the ANC policy conference in Midrand.
"We do not need to change the Constitution for this. Expropriation without compensation will only happen when land was acquired illegally. Only the court will determine whether land was acquired illegally, so there will be no indiscriminate expropriation."
She said the conference had decided that the "willing buyer, willing seller" approach to land restitution would be dropped.
Instead land expropriation would be done in terms of the “just and equitable” requirement of Section 25 of the Constitution.
Joemat-Pettersson said the section was a property clause that "allows us to do exactly we wanted to do [with land]".
She said the conference had not set any goals for expropriation, but would rather wait for the land audit to be completed at the end of the year.
Zuma also said the ANC proposed that land ownership by women be accelerated. "This is aimed at correcting the land question to address poverty," said Zuma.
He said women were the largest group affected by poverty and inequality. Zuma said the policy conference also proposed that land reform needed to be done in a way that would not disrupt agriculture and food security.
Original Article Here

Revival and promotion of sustainable agriculture stressed

The Damaan Development Organization organised one-day seminar with the title of ‘Discourse on Sustainable Agriculture’ to explore different models of sustainable agriculture challenges and opportunities, loss of traditional knowledge, impact on farmers and food security.
The seminar was held in collaboration with Sustainable Agriculture Action Group (SAAG), Action Aid and Sungi Development Foundation.
Shoaib Aziz, project manager, Damaan Development Organisation, highlighted impact of climate change on sustainable agriculture and called for revival and promotion of sustainable agriculture.
He said since climate change is a big threat to Pakistan, therefore, farmers should practise traditional knowledge and improve food security through sustainable agriculture.
He said the increasing population and decreasing resources may pose threat to our future generation. He said there is a need for setting up market infrastructure for the promotion of organic produce.
Speaking on the occasion, Khadim Hussain highlighted the role of civil society for the promotion of agriculture. He said that SAAG and other partner NGOS are striving hard for awareness creation and promotion of sustainable agriculture.
Gulfam Dogar said the farmers from mountains in Pakhtoonkhwa are growing medicinal plants and earning good amount for their produce.
He stressed the need for establishment of plant health clinic and requested farmers to link their agriculture to lunar calendar to counter rapidly changing climate in Pakistan. He said alien plant species are destroying ecology and new pests are creeping up to destroy local plant species.
Mehnaz Ajmal Paracha from Oxfam Novib said that present agriculture system is creating inequality and food insecurity. She said forty percent of people are food insecure in Pakistan and small farmers have no say in decision making.
She pointed out that farmers are not getting their rights under labour laws. She lamented that big farmers have representation in legislation process and are getting all benefits from the government but agriculture is no longer profitable for small farmers.
She called for organising a farmers’ association so that they could fight for their rights.
Original Article Here

Agriculture and tourism failing: new report

President Mikheil Saakashvili has
brought in tractors, but his strategy has feiled
 to create more jobs in agriculture. His tourism
strategy has also failed, the report says.(IPN.)

TBILISI, DFWatch – A new report shows that President Saakashvili turned his back on Georgian farmers in order to develop tourism, but the strategy failed.
Six out of ten employed persons in Georgia are self-employed. More than 50 percent are employed in agriculture, a sector which is responsible for 9 percent of the country’s GDP.
These are some of the findings in the report ’20 Years of Independence’, prepared by Liberal Academy Tbilisi.
It opens with a brief look at the period before the Rose Revolution in 2003 and then presents an analysis of statistics, tables and interpretation of the period afterwards, based on data from local and international organizations.
Even though the current government’s focus is to make Georgia into a tourist country, it was always considered an agricultural country. If we look at numbers from 1996, agriculture’s share of GDP was 33 percent, while in 2010 it was 7.3 percent.
According to the report, small business produce 80 percent of agricultural products, but only 8-10 percent makes it to the local market. The rest goes to subsistence.
This is also the sector that is least attractive to foreign investors. The highest amount of foreign investments in this field in recent years was in 2009, when it accounted for 3.4 percent of the total of such investments. In 2011 only 1.4 percent of foreign investments went to agriculture, about USD 14 million.
According to data from the International Monetary Fund, the level of unemployment in Georgia was 16.2 percent in 2011 and has not changed significantly for four years.
But the majority of the employed people are working in the agriculture sector. These people are self-employed. They do not sell what they cultivate, but consume it themselves.
The report says that Georgia is in first place in regards to self-employment among post-Soviet countries.
The number of unemployed is four times higher in cities than in villages.
In 2010, about 62 percent of those employed, were self-employed, according to GeoStat, the Georgian Statistics Department.
Among those who are employed at a workplace, only 31 percent live in villages.
For reasons of survival, many people chose to leave Georgia in order to work abroad and send the money back to their family. Georgia does not publish official migration statistics. There are however some estimates made by the World Bank.
People who live abroad and send money back to their family contributed 9.2 percent of the country’s GDP in 2011, according to Georgia’s National Bank. But this figure only includes money transferred through banks. Since people often send money by giving it to someone who travels by bus to Georgia, or some other ways, the real extent of remittances is larger.
When it comes to tourism, the government’s priority, the study shows that a majority of visitors to Georgia come from neighboring countries: Turkey – 26.2 percent, Azerbaijan – 25.3 percent, Armenia – 24.8 percent, Russia – 9.9 percent, other countries 13.8 percent.
The number of visitors increased after Georgia established visa-free rules for more than 80 countries in the world. Also, in February 2011, Georgia canceled visa rules with Russia, which increased the number of Russian visitors.
The goal of the government is to create more jobs by helping the tourism sector develop. But according to the statistics presented in the report, there is no growth in the number of jobs in the hotel and restaurant sector. On the contrary, in 2011 it fell by 11 percent.
The national tourism agency has presented data showing an impressive increase in the number of visitors. If in 2003 the number was 313 442, in 2011 it was 2 820 185.
But the problem is that there is no method for determining how many of the visitors who were tourists. Many who enter are on business visits, and many are Georgians coming back from visits to other countries. Since all of these are counted as tourists, the official data does not reflect the realities in terms of tourism.
The situation in the labor market hasn’t changed for the last 15 years, the report says.
“Half of the Georgian labor force is related to agriculture, which has an influence on poverty. The libertarian economy policy doesn’t foresee any specific sectoral policy in the agriculture sphere and leaves the development of this sector to the market,” according to the report.
“The economic policy, which wasn’t able to create development opportunities for the sector in which half of the population is employed, failed in social terms,” the authors argue.
There were several attempts to implement projects in the agriculture sector. But most of the government’s programs are short-term and there has not been observed any growth in jobs recently.
The report speaks about a paradox: if the government intervenes in agriculture sector, which is important to a majority of the population, it is considered anti-market policy. But the government’s policy towards tourism in fact replaces the private sector, and in most cases the initiator of tourism oriented programs is the government.
However, in his latest speeches, the President Mikheil Saakashvili has promised to focus on this field and help agriculture develop. His has been saying this more frequently after his main opponent, Bidzina Ivanishvili, promised to establish a one billion lari fund to support agriculture.
Original Article Here

USDA: US farmers planting most corn since 1937

The Associated Press
Farmers nationwide are anticipating more profit from corn than other crops this year and planted 96.4 million acres of it this spring, the most in nearly eight decades, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Friday.
The new acreage number, based on farm surveys from early June, reflects a 5 percent increase from last year and is the largest amount of planted acres since 1937, when the nation's farmers planted 97 million acres of the crop.
The push is coming from higher corn prices and the expectation that corn demand will remain high thanks to exports, livestock feed and ethanol production, said Garry Niemeyer, president of the National Corn Growers board.
Farmers each fall review the prices of fertilizer, seed and other chemicals, and the price they're projected to receive from selling the grain. Many concluded that corn would be a better bet than other crops, such as soybeans, he said.
"They felt like they would probably make more money on corn," said Niemeyer, a corn and soybean farmer in Auburn, Ill.
And if the heat and lack of rain continue in corn-growing states, the increased planting could help offset losses due to the weather. A significant drought would drive up prices since demand for corn would remain strong despite a diminished supply.
However, higher corn prices mean livestock farmers have to pay more to feed their hogs and cattle, which means meat prices could climb at the grocery store. Higher prices also could impact the cost of other food that contains corn products, such as breakfast cereal, bread, salad dressing and chips.
"The good news is we did plant a lot more corn acreage this year. Because of the dry and the heat, we're losing yield by the day," said Paul Bertels, an agricultural economist with the National Corn Growers in St. Louis. "I don't think the corn supply is going to grow tremendously this year and there is potential for it to get smaller."
According to the USDA, the nation has 3.15 billion bushels of corn in storage, down 14 percent from last year's June estimate.
Iowa — the nation's top corn producer — has the most acreage devoted to corn at 14 million, compared to 14.1 million in June 2011. Illinois increased to 13 million this month from 12.6 million last year, while Nebraska inched up to 9.9 million from 9.85 million, according to the USDA.
Record amounts of planted acreage are expected in Idaho, Minnesota, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon and South Dakota.
The benchmark that analysts use is the price for corn that gets delivered by farmers in December, following the year's harvest. On Friday, corn for December delivery rose 1 cent to $6.33 a bushel, which is where corn has been trading this week and is significantly better than $5 to $5.50 price range the market has seen since April.
Copyright The Associated Press

mango post harvest disease

The endophytic fungus causing this serious mango post harvest disease "Stem End Rot"/SER that has become very well established in our older orchards.......since we don't take any proper preventive measures this disease has picked the pace and becoming a major threat to our mangoes....Following are some suggestions if these are properly followed gradually this problem can be minimized...
After harvest "ASAP" as soon as possible without any prune your orchards......... skirting only or just removing the major limbs of the mango trees from sides or tops will not work........These are part of overall pruning protocols but for SER management in the orchard along with above two following things are of utmost importance....... remove or cut back all the terminals/branches atleast 2-3 feet with sharp tools.......all the debris needs to be taken out from the orchard......put copper based fungicides ASAP after pruning.......@ flushing or new vegetative growth apply system/preventive fungicides depends upon weather conditions....if dry apply contact fungicides/if wet apply system fungicides Note: if insects like thrips, leaf minor appears on new leaves with reference to diseases do control them........@ bud swelling stage apply systematic fungicides and @ flowering apply contact/system fungicides (depends upon weather conditions).............@ fruit setting or its growth & development this process can be repeated....Two very important inputs needs to be carefully applied Irrigation Water & Nitrogenous fertilizers........use of potassium may be helpful....under & over application may triggered this problem............Always remember this: the symptoms of this disease only becomes visible when mango fruit is ripe...........So it is a time to do something against this disease later on all the efforts will not be as fruitful as they are now....

By. Hadi Laghari 

Species of Mango Fruit fly in Pakistan

Two species of Mango Fruit Fly in Pakistan

by.Hadi Laghari 

Friday, 29 June 2012


Photo Credit Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images

Food is classified as acid-forming, alkaline-forming or neutral based on its pH nature after the body metabolizes it. A food’s own acid content or pH value does not determine whether it will have an acidifying or alkalizing effect on the body. For example, eggs have an alkaline pH but are acid-forming in the body. Likewise, various cakes and baked goods have pH values above 7.0, meaning they’re alkaline. In the body, however, sugary desserts are highly acid-forming. In contrast, the vast majority of fruits and vegetables contain enough acid to give them acidic pH values, yet have a highly alkalizing effect on the body.
Acid-containing Foods
Food is classified as having a high acid content if it has a value of 4.6 or lower on the pH scale. Acid occurs naturally to some degree in most fruits and vegetables in the form of tartaric, malic, sulfuric, oxalic, benzoic or citrus acid. Some fruits and vegetables contain more than one type of acid, but one is usually dominant. Other foods contain varying degrees of acid, including the lactic acid in milk, the caffetannic acid in coffee and the acetic acid in vinegar.
High-acid Fruits
Lemons, limes, grapefruit, oranges, Mandarin oranges, tangerines and tangelos are high acid-containing citrus fruits that are also highly to moderately alkaline-forming in the body. In particular, lemons, limes and their freshly squeezed, unsweetened juices contain high amounts of acid and are highly alkaline-forming. Regularly adding slices of lemon or lime to a glass of water is a way to boost your body’s alkali reserves. Other high acid-containing, alkaline-forming fruits include pineapples, strawberries, cherries and kiwi fruit.
Other Fruits
Many of the other fruits that are considered “high-acid” have a lower acid content than citrus fruits but contain more acid than “low-acid” fruits. Alkaline-forming fruits containing a moderate to high amount of acid include peaches, apricots, apples, pears, figs, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and grapes. Fresh and dried figs rank as one of the most highly alkalizing foods. Bananas, all melon varieties, persimmons and papaya are alkaline-forming fruits with a low acid content. Of these, watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, persimmons and papaya are highly alkaline-forming.
Nearly all vegetables contain a low amount of acid, with the average pH value falling somewhere between 5.5 and 6.9 on the acid-base scale. Many vegetables, including zucchini, asparagus, celery, endives, kale, lettuce, all varieties of squash, sweet potatoes and yams have only slightly acidic pH values but are highly alkaline-forming. Some of the most alkalizing acid-containing vegetables include yams, pumpkins, butternut squash, mustard greens, artichokes, beets, cabbage, asparagus and rutabagas.
Most fruits and almost all vegetables are alkaline-forming in the body. Exceptions include cranberries, pomegranates, dates, plums, prunes and tomatoes, all of which have a slightly acid-forming effect when eaten. Although many other foods, including dairy, meat, seafood, pickled food, jams and various types of sugar contain low amounts of acid, they're moderately to highly acid-forming in the body. Apple cider vinegar and umeboshi vinegar are exceptions — according to “The Acid Alkaline Food Guide,” these high-acid vinegars are alkaline-forming in the body.
“The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods”; Michael Murray, N.D., et al.; 2005
“The Acid Alkaline Food Guide”; Dr. Susan E. Brown, et al.; 2006
“The pH Balance Diet”; Bharti Vyas, et al.; 2007
“Alkalize or Die”; Dr. Theodore A. Baroody; 1991
Oklahoma State University; The Importance of Food pH in Commercial Canning Operations; William McGlynn
Original Article Here


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